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Introduction

\\INTRODUCTION TO EZEKIEL\\

This book is rightly placed after Jeremiah; since Ezekiel was among the
captives in Chaldea, when prophesied; whereas Jeremiah began to
prophesy long before that captivity, and concerning it. The name of
this prophet signifies, as it is commonly interpreted, "the strength of
God", or "strengthened by God", as he was, and as he needed to be,
having great work to do, and a perverse people to deal with; see
\\#Eze 3:8\\; but the learned Hillerus {a} chooses to render it, "God shall
prevail"; with which compare \\#Jer 20:7\\. There was a Levite of this
name, of whom mention is made in \\#1Ch 24:16\\; whose name is there read
"Jehezekel"; and this prophet was a priest, \\#Eze 1:3\\; and both Clemens
Alexandrinus {b} and Eusebius {c} cite a Jewish writer of tragedies, of
the same name; which some have very wrongly thought to be the same with
our prophet; but whether Ezekiel is not the same with Nazaratus or
Zabratus, the master of Pythagoras, mentioned by Clemens as such,
according to the opinion of some, is a matter of question; and which
the learned Selden {d} seems to think probable. According to the
judgment and opinion of Jerom {e}, his style is neither very eloquent,
nor very rustic; but between both, and has a mixture of each. The
visions he saw are very abstruse and difficult of interpretation,
especially the vision of the living creatures and wheels; wherefore the
Jews {f} forbad the reading of it, as well as the end of this prophecy,
until persons were thirty years of age. The divine visions in this
book, the whole subject matter of it, its agreement with the prophecy
of Jeremiah, and the accomplishment of events predicted in it, prove
the authority of it; and its divine authority has always been allowed,
both by the Jewish synagogue and the Christian church. There were
indeed some ancient Jewish Rabbins, who were perplexed about some
things in it, and consulted about laying it aside, because of some
words in it, which seemed to them to be contrary to the law of Moses;
but R. Chananiah ben Goron, a very famous doctor in those times,
withdrew to his chamber, and wrote a commentary, in order to remove
those difficulties to satisfaction {g}. This book, in general, contains
various visions the prophet saw; several threatenings against the
people of the Jews; and prophecies against other nations; and an
abundance of comfortable promises of the Messiah, and of blessings of
grace by him; and of the state and condition of the Gospel church, and
the worship of it. Josephus {h} says Ezekiel left two books written by
him; one of which Athanasius {i}: or the author of the Synopsis under
his name, thinks is lost; but the learned Huetius {k} is of opinion
that the prophecy of Ezekiel, in the times of Josephus, was divided
into two parts; the first containing the first thirty nine chapters,
and the other the nine last chapters; which is not improbable. If the
authorities of Epiphanius {l}, or the writer of the lives of the
prophets that goes by his name, and of Isidorus {m}, are of any weight,
Ezekiel was born in the land of Sarera; killed by the governor in
Babylon; and buried by the people in the field of Maur or Mahurim, in
the sepulchre of Shem and Arphaxad. The account R. Benjamin Tudelensis
{n} gives is, that there is a synagogue of the Prophet Ezekiel by the
river Euphrates; and over against the synagogue sixty towers, ; and
between every tower a synagogue. In the court of the synagogue is a
library; and behind it the grave of Ezekiel the son of Buzi the priest;
and over it a large vault, of a beautiful building, erected by Jeconiah
king of Judah, and thirty five thousand Jews, who came with him, when
Evilmerodach brought him out of prison; and over the grave a lamp burns
night and day. The Cippi Hebraici say {o} he was buried by, the river
Hiddekel; and Menasseh ben Israel {p} affirms that he died in Babylon,
and was buried there; and so Kimchi {q} says the tradition is.

{a} Onamast. Sacr. p. 224, 320, 845.
{b} Stromat. l. 2. p. 344.
{c} Praeper. Evangel. l. 9. c. 23. p. 436. & c. 29. p. 439.
{d} De Dis Syris, Syntag. 2. c. 1. p. 210, 211.
{e} Praefat. in Ezek. tom. 3. fol. 9. D.
{f} Praefat. in ib. ad Eustochium, tom 5. fol. 174. G.
{g} T. Bab. Sabbat, fol. 13. 2. & Taanith, fol. 17. 1, 2. & Maimon.
Bartenora in Misn. Sabbat, c. 1. sect. 4.
{h} Antiqu. l. 10. c. 5. sect. 1.
{i} Synops. Sacr. Script. p. 134, 136. tom. 2.
{k} Demonstr. Evang. Prop. 4. p. 272.
{l} De Prophet. Vit. c. 9.
{m} De Vit. & Mort. Sanct. c. 39.
{n} Massaot, p. 78, 79.
{o} P. 74.
{p} De Resurrect. Mort. l. 1. c. 2. sect. 5.
{q} In Ezek. xliii. 19.

\\INTRODUCTION TO EZEKIEL 1\\

This chapter contains a vision, which is the introduction to the
prophet's call and commission to perform his office; in the account of
which may be observed the time when it was seen, \\#Eze 1:1,2\\; and the
place both where the prophet was when he saw it, and the object or
things that were beheld by him; and the original, form, and manner of
the vision, \\#Eze 1:3,4\\; next follow the particulars of it; and first,
four living creatures appear, described by their general likeness, as
human, \\#Eze 1:5\\; and, in particular, by their faces, feet, hands, and
wings, \\#Eze 1:6-11\\; by their motion and progress, and the spirit by
which they were influenced, \\#Eze 1:12\\; and by their forms of light,
brightness, and heat, in which they appeared and moved, \\#Eze 1:13,14\\;
and next the wheels, described by their number; for, though they seemed
to be as one, they were four; and by their situation on the earth, and
by the side of the living creatures, \\#Eze 1:15\\; by their appearance,
which was alike in them all, and as the colour of beryl, and as a wheel
within a wheel, \\#Eze 1:16\\, by their motion, which was on their sides,
and not retrograde, \\#Eze 1:17\\; by their rings or circumferences, which
were high, dreadful, and full of eyes, \\#Eze 1:18\\; by their dependence
on the living creatures, moving as they, having the same spirit they
had, \\#Eze 1:19-21\\; and then a firmament is seen, described by its
situation, over the heads of the living creatures; and by its colour, as
the terrible crystal, \\#Eze 1:22\\; by what were under it, the wings of
the living creatures of which a more particular account is given,
\\#Eze 1:23,24\\; by what was heard from it, a voice, \\#Eze 1:25\\; and
by what was above it, a throne; described by its colour, as a sapphire
stone; and by a person on it, who had the appearance of a man,
\\#Eze 1:26\\; who, in general, looked like the colour of amber; within
which was the appearance of fire from his loins upwards, and from his
loins downwards; the fire had a brightness round about it; and that
brightness was like a rainbow in a cloud, on a rainy day; and this
appearance was no other than that of a divine and glorious Person;
which, when seen by the prophet, caused him, through reverence, to fall
upon his face; when he heard a voice speaking to him what is recorded
in the following chapter, \\#Eze 1:27,28\\.