Old Testament

Ezekiel received his prophecies while he was an exile in Babylon, beginning in about 592 BC. Ezekiel had been carried off to Babylon along with King Jehoiachin in 597 BC.
The first half of Ezekiel's book (ch 1–24) prepares the people of Judah for the fall of Jerusalem in 586 BC. The second half of the book (ch 25–48) points them ahead to their return to the city of Jerusalem in about 537 BC and to the New Jerusalem in heaven.
Three special traits of Ezekiel are that the language is very emotional, repetitive, and, at times, shockingly graphic. The translation tries to accurately reflect this character.
Because the book of Ezekiel is so challenging, the translation provides a greater number of footnotes than is usual for the EHV.
Ezekiel's First Vision
11In the thirtieth year,[] in the fourth month, on the fifth day of the month, when I was among the exiles by the Kebar Canal, the heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God. 2On the fifth of that month, in the fifth year of the exile of King Jehoiachin, 3the word of the Lord came in a dramatic way[] to Ezekiel, the son of Buzi, the priest, in the land of the Chaldeans,[] by the Kebar Canal, and the hand of the Lord was upon him there.
The Glory of the Lord Appears
4As I watched, I noticed a windstorm coming from the north. There was a large cloud, with fire flashing through it, and there was a bright light all around it. In the middle of it, there was something that looked like glowing metal[] in the middle of the fire.
5In the middle of it I saw what looked like four living creatures. This was what they looked like. Each of them had a human appearance, 6but each one had four faces, and each of them had four wings. 7Each of their legs was straight,[] and their feet were like a calf's hoof, and they gleamed like polished bronze. 8They had human hands under their wings on all four of their sides. All four of them had faces and wings.
9Their wings were touching one another. The creatures did not turn from side to side as they moved, but each one faced straight ahead.[]
10This is what their faces looked like. Each one had a face like a man's face. On the right side of their heads, all four of them had a face like a lion. On the left side, all four of them had a face like an ox. All four of them also had a face like an eagle. 11Those were their faces.
Their wings were stretched upward. Each of them had one pair of wings which touched the wings of each of the cherubs next to it, and another pair of wings which covered their bodies.
12Each one faced straight ahead as it moved. They went in whatever direction the spirit[] wanted to go. They did not turn as they moved ahead.
13The appearance of the living creatures was like red-hot coals, like the appearance of blazing torches. Fire was moving back and forth among the living creatures. The fire was bright, and lightning was coming out of the fire. 14The creatures darted back and forth. They looked like jagged bolts of lightning.
15As I looked at the living creatures, I noticed one wheel on the ground beside each one of the living creatures that had four faces. 16The appearance of the wheels and their design were like the sparkle of topaz,[] and the four of them looked alike. Their appearance and their design were like a wheel within a wheel.[] 17They could go in any of the four directions when they moved, but the wheels did not turn from side to side when they moved.[] 18As for their rims, they were high and intimidating, and their rims were full of eyes all the way around—all four of them. 19Whenever the living creatures moved, the wheels moved beside them, and whenever the living creatures would rise from the ground, the wheels rose too.
20Wherever the spirit wanted to go, they would go. Wherever the spirit wanted to go,[] the wheels would rise together with them, because the spirit of the living creature was in the wheels. 21Whenever the living creatures moved, the wheels would move. Whenever the living creatures stood still, the wheels would stand still. Whenever the living creatures rose from the ground, the wheels would rise together with them, because the spirit of the living creature was in the wheels.
22There was something above the heads of the living creatures like the dome of a vaulted ceiling.[] It looked like ice. It was spectacular. It stretched out above their heads. 23Under the dome, two of their wings were stretched out to touch the wing of another one of the creatures. Each of the creatures also had two wings covering themselves, each had two wings covering themselves—covering their bodies.[] 24I heard the sound of their wings, like the sound of rushing water. It was like the voice of the Almighty when they moved—a sound of commotion, like the noise in an army camp. When they stood still, they lowered their wings. 25A voice came from above the dome that was over their heads. When they stood still, they lowered their wings.
26Above the dome that was over their heads, there was something that appeared to be a sapphire that was shaped like a throne. Seated on that throne-like form there was a figure that looked like a man. 27I saw something like the gleam of glowing metal[] with fire in it and all around it. It extended upward from what appeared to be the man's waist. Below what appeared to be his waist, I saw what appeared to be fire, and a bright light surrounded him. 28The bright light that surrounded him looked like the rainbow that is in the clouds on a rainy day.
This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. When I saw this, I fell on my face, and I heard a voice speaking.


  • 1:1 Apparently the thirtieth year of Ezekiel's life, when he would have become eligible to serve as a priest in the Temple, if he had not been in exile in Babylon
  • 1:3 Or in a powerful way. The Hebrew uses an intensive verb form.
  • 1:3 The Chaldeans were the ethnic group ruling Babylon.
  • 1:4 Perhaps electrum, a natural alloy of gold and silver, or perhaps amber
  • 1:7 Or stretched out straight. It is not clear what this phrase means. Perhaps it means they did not bend at the knee. It is also uncertain whether each creature had two legs like a man or four legs like an ox, as many cherubim pictured in Near Eastern art have.
  • 1:9 This apparently means that each one of the living creatures that Ezekiel was seeing always remained facing in one of the four directions of the compass. When the platform moved in any direction, the living creature facing that direction served as the driver. The other living creatures did not turn when the platform serving as a chariot headed in a different direction, but they remained facing in their assigned direction.
  • 1:12 Or Spirit
  • 1:16 Hebrew tarshish, a gemstone of uncertain identity
  • 1:16 This seems to mean one wheel was at a right angle inside the other.
  • 1:17 The wheels revolved when the platform was moving in the direction they faced, but the wheels did not turn to the right or left as automobile wheels do.
  • 1:20 Repetitious speech is common in Ezekiel. Such repetition often marks excited, emotional speech.
  • 1:22 This is the same word that describes the dome or expanse of the heavens in Genesis 1. Here this structure serves as a platform for God's throne.
  • 1:23 The repetition may be due to excited speech, due to seeing such an amazing vision.
  • 1:27 Or electrum, a natural alloy of silver and gold, or amber