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Ezekiel 1:11

11 Such were their faces. And their wings were spread out above. Each creature had two wings, each of which touched the wing of another, while 1two covered their bodies.

Ezekiel 1:11 Meaning and Commentary

Ezekiel 1:11

Thus [were] their faces: and their wings [were] stretched
The former clause, "thus [were] their faces", either belongs to ( Ezekiel 1:10 ) ; and the meaning is, this, as now represented, was the likeness of their faces, and this the position of them: or it may be read in connection with the following clause, and be rendered, "and their faces and their wings were stretched upwards"; as they are in the Chaldee paraphrase, the Vulgate Latin, Syriac, and Arabic versions: "their faces were stretched upwards", showing that the ministers of the Gospel look up to Christ for fresh supplies of gifts and grace, of light, knowledge, wisdom, and strength, to enable them to perform their work: "and their wings were stretched upwards", that is, two of them; not four, as the Arabic version has it; for two covered their bodies, as is after said. Those that were stretched upwards answer to the two with which Isaiah's seraphim flew; for these were, as in the original text, "parted upwards" F16; though they were joined together at the bottom of them, as in ( Ezekiel 1:9 ) ; yet being spread in flying, they opened wider and wider, and were at a greater distance from each other in their extreme points. This may design the agility, swiftness, and readiness of ministers in the performance of their work; two [wings] of everyone [were] joined one to another:
with which they, covered their heads and faces, as did Isaiah's seraphim, as conscious of their unworthiness and infirmities; looking upon themselves to be less than the least of all saints, unfit to be ministers of the Gospel; acknowledging they have nothing but what they have received and therefore would not glory as though they had not received, and as ashamed of their poor performances and ministrations; and two covered their bodies;
their lower and secret parts called their feet in Isaiah; which however to others beautiful upon the mountains, running and bringing the good news of peace, righteousness, and salvation by Christ; yet sensible of their deficiencies, they cover them, and confess, when they have done all they can, they are but unprofitable servants; from hence it appears that these living creatures had six wings, as the seraphim in Isaiah, and the four beasts in John's vision.


F16 (twdwrp) "disjunctae", Montanus; "divisae", Calvin, Starckius. So Ben Melech.

Ezekiel 1:11 In-Context

9 their wings touched one another. Each one of them went straight forward, without turning as they went.
10 As for the likeness of their faces, each had a human face. The four had the face of a lion on the right side, the four had the face of an ox on the left side, and the four had the face of an eagle.
11 Such were their faces. And their wings were spread out above. Each creature had two wings, each of which touched the wing of another, while two covered their bodies.
12 And each went straight forward. Wherever the spirit would go, they went, without turning as they went.
13 As for the likeness of the living creatures, their appearance was like burning coals of fire, like the appearance of torches moving to and fro among the living creatures. And the fire was bright, and out of the fire went forth lightning.

Cross References 1

  • 1. ver. 23; [Isaiah 6:2]
The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.