The faces of the four living creatures (Ezek 1:10-1:11)

“As for the appearance

Of their faces,

Each had

The face

Of a human being

In front.

Each had

The face

Of a lion

On the right side.

Each had

The face

Of an ox

On the left side.

Each had

The face

Of an eagle

At the back.

Such were their faces.

Their wings

Were spread out above.

Each creature

Had two wings.

Each wing

Touched the wing

Of another.

The two wings

Covered their bodies.”

Each creature had the face of a human being in front. Then there was a face of a lion on the right side with a face of an ox on the left side. In the back was the face of an eagle. Interesting enough this is similar to the idea of cherubim in Assyrian and Babylonian times. They had a statue of a god who had the head of a human, the body of a lion, the paws of an ox, with wings. This same symbolism was later taken up as the symbols of the four Christian evangelists, as well as the 4 creatures of the apocalypse in the Book of Revelation. There is also the interpretation that these animal heads symbolize mobility, intelligence, and strength. Their wings were spread out above each of these creatures, so that they touched each other. Thus these wings covered the bodies of these creatures.

Eating other humans (Jer 19:9-19:9)

“I will make them eat

The flesh of their sons

As well as the flesh of their daughters.

All shall eat the flesh

Of their neighbors

In the siege,

In their distress.

Their enemies,

Those who seek their life,

Will afflict them.”

Things will be difficult during this siege of the city. They will eat the bodies of their sons and daughters as they become cannibals. They will also eat the flesh of their neighbors in this time of great distress. Their enemies, who were seeking their lives, would afflict them greatly.

The acts of charity of Tobit (Tob 1:15-1:18)

“When King Shalmaneser died, his son King Sennacherib reigned in his place. The highways into Media became unsafe, so that I could no longer go into Media. In the days of King Shalmaneser, I performed many acts of charity to my kindred. I would give my food to the hungry. I would give my clothing to the naked. If I saw the dead body of any of my people thrown out behind the wall of Nineveh, I would bury it. I also buried anyone that King Sennacherib put to death, in those days of judgment, when they came fleeing from Judea because of his blasphemies. In his anger, King Sennacherib put to death many Israelites, but I would secretly remove the bodies and bury them. So when King Sennacherib looked for them, he could not find them.”

Apparently, things were pretty good when King Shalmaneser (727-722 BCE) was in charge. When he died, things deteriorated so that the roads were not safe. When King Shalmaneser was alive, Tobit was active in charitable works of feeding the hungry and clothing the naked. He also began burying the dead outside the walls of Nineveh. However, things changed under King Sennacherib (689-681 BCE). He was killing Israelites when he was angry. Tobit began burying the dead Israelites.