1 It was in the thirtieth year, in the fourth [month], on the fifth [day] of the month, as I was among the exiles by the river Kebar, that the sky was opened, and I saw visions of God. 2 On the fifth [day] of the month, which was in the fifth year of King Jehoiachin's captivity,3 a message from Yahweh came to Ezekiel ben Buzi, the priest, in the land of the Babylonians by the river Kebar. The hand of Yahweh came upon him there.
4 I looked and saw a stormy wind coming from the north, a great cloud, and a lightning flashing, surrounded by bright light from within it like polished brass from within the fire. 5 From within it came the appearance of four living creatures. And this is how they looked: they had a human appearance. 6 Each one had four faces, and each one had four wings. 7 Their legs were straight, and their feet were like calves' feet. They sparkled like burnished brass. 8 They had human hands under their wings on their four sides. The four of them had faces and wings: 9 and their wings were joined to one another. They did not turn as they moved; each one went straight ahead.
10 And [this is] the appearance of their faces: the four of them had a human face, and the face of a lion on the right, and the four of them had the face of an ox on the left, and the face of an eagle. 11 And their faces and their wings were stretched upward: of each one two wings were touching one antoher and two covered their bodies. 12 Each one went straight forward. Wherever the spirit would go, they went, and did not turn as they went. 13 And the form of the living creatures, their appearance, was like burning coals of fire, like torches. It darted between the living creatures, and shone like fire, and from the fire lightning flashed. 14 The living creatures darted back and forth like lightning.
15 As I looked at the living creatures, I saw one wheel on the ground near [each of] the living creatures, with its four faces. 16 The wheels and their construction looked like the color of tarshish, and the four of them had the same form. Their appearance and their construction was like a wheel in the middle of a wheel. 17 As they moved, they went on their four sides; they did not turn as they went. 18 Their wheels rims were tall and frightening, and each of the four rims were covered in eyes. 19 And when the living creatures moved, the wheels moved with them, and when the living creatures were lifted up off the earth, the wheels were lifted up. 20 Wherever the spirit would go, they went. The wheels would lift up along with them, because the spirit of the living creature was in the wheels. 21 When [the creatures] moved, [the wheels] moved; and when [the creatures] stood, [the wheels] stood; and when [the creatures] were lifted up off the earth, [the wheels] were lifted up; because the spirit of the living creature was in the wheels.
22 There was a form above the living creatures, a vault, sparkling like terrifying crystal, stretched out above their heads. 23 And under the vault their wings were straight, one toward the other: each one had two covering them, each one had two covering their bodies. 24 I heard the sound of their wings, like the sound of great waters, like the voice of Shaddai, as they went, the sound was a noise like the sound of a military encampment. When they stood they let down their wings. 25 There was a sound from the vault which was over their heads. When they stood, they let down their wings.
26 Above the vault which was over their heads there appeared like sapphire stone the likeness of a throne, and upon the likeness of the throne was the likeness of what appeared like a human being upon it above. 27 I saw the gleam of polished brass, like the appearance of fire within it around from what appeared to be his loins and upward, and from what appeared to be his loins and downward, I saw what looked like fire, and shining splendor surrounding it. 28 As a rainbow appears in a cloud on a rainy day, that is how the shining splendor appeared all around. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of Yahweh. I saw it and fell on my face, and I heard the voice of the one who spoke.
- (1:1) Kebar: some translators spell it Chebar.
- Jehoiachin was taken captive in 597 BCE, so the date given here is about 592.
- (1:3) Babylonians: Hebrew Kasdim, sometimes translated as Chaldeans.
- (1:4) stormy wind: Hebrew ruah searah, which some interpret as "whirlwind."
- (1:4) lightning flashing: Hebrew esh mitlaqqahat, which Gesenius interprets as fire taking hold of itself, that is, a mass of fire.
- (1:4) polished brass translates the Hebrew hashmal, which is a word of uncertain meaning. Other attempts to translate it include electrum, glowing metal, or amber.
- (1:16) tarshish. According to Gesenius this refers to some kind of precious stone, its exact identity unknown.
- (1:20) This translation follows the Septuagint here. The Masoretic Text has, in addition, the words "there the spirit would go" after the words "they went."
- In the Hebrew Bible, the term "Shaddai" is used as an alternate name of Yahweh. Its original meaning is obscure.