Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition
The Vision of the Chariot
1 In the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, on the fifth day of the month, as I was among the exiles by the river Chebar, the heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God. 2 On the fifth day of the month (it was the fifth year of the exile of King Jehoi′achin), 3 the word of the Lord came to Ezekiel the priest, the son of Buzi, in the land of the Chalde′ans by the river Chebar; and the hand of the Lord was upon him there.
4 As I looked, behold, a stormy wind came out of the north, and a great cloud, with brightness round about it, and fire flashing forth continually, and in the midst of the fire, as it were gleaming bronze. 5 And from the midst of it came the likeness of four living creatures.[a] And this was their appearance: they had the form of men, 6 but each had four faces, and each of them had four wings. 7 Their legs were straight, and the soles of their feet were like the sole of a calf’s foot; and they sparkled like burnished bronze. 8 Under their wings on their four sides they had human hands. And the four had their faces and their wings thus: 9 their wings touched one another; they went every one straight forward, without turning as they went. 10 As for the likeness of their faces, each had the face of a man in front;[b] 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 at the back.[c] 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 In the midst of[d] the living creatures there was something that looked like burning coals of fire, like torches moving to and fro among the living creatures; and the fire was bright, and out of the fire went forth lightning. 14 And the living creatures darted to and fro, like a flash of lightning.
15 Now as I looked at the living creatures, I saw a wheel upon the earth beside the living creatures, one for each of the four of them.[e] 16 As for the appearance of the wheels and their construction: their appearance was like the gleaming of a chrysolite; and the four had the same likeness, their construction being as it were a wheel within a wheel. 17 When they went, they went in any of their four directions[f] without turning as they went. 18 The four wheels had rims and they had spokes;[g] and their rims were full of eyes round about. 19 And when the living creatures went, the wheels went beside them; and when the living creatures rose from the earth, the wheels rose. 20 Wherever the spirit would go, they went, and the wheels rose along with them; for the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels. 21 When those went, these went; and when those stood, these stood; and when those rose from the earth, the wheels rose along with them; for the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels.
22 Over the heads of the living creatures there was the likeness of a firmament, shining like crystal,[h] spread out above their heads. 23 And under the firmament their wings were stretched out straight, one toward another; and each creature had two wings covering its body.[i] 24 And when they went, I heard the sound of their wings like the sound of many waters, like the thunder of the Almighty, a sound of tumult like the sound of a host; when they stood still, they let down their wings. 25 And there came a voice from above the firmament over their heads; when they stood still, they let down their wings.
26 And above the firmament over their heads there was the likeness of a throne, in appearance like sapphire;[j] and seated above the likeness of a throne was a likeness as it were of a human form. 27 And upward from what had the appearance of his loins I saw as it were gleaming bronze, like the appearance of fire enclosed round about; and downward from what had the appearance of his loins I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and there was brightness round about him.[k] 28 Like the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud on the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness round about.
Such was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord.[l] And when I saw it, I fell upon my face, and I heard the voice of one speaking.
- 1.5 four living creatures: The description recalls the Assyrian karibu: statues of animals with human heads guarding the palace at Nineveh. Here these creatures are pressed into the service of Yahweh. They are met again in Rev 4.6-8. The point of the vision is that Yahweh is not tied to Jerusalem and could follow his people into exile.
- Ezekiel 1:10 Cn: Heb lacks in front
- Ezekiel 1:10 Cn: Heb lacks at the back
- Ezekiel 1:13 Gk Old Latin: Heb And the likeness of
- Ezekiel 1:15 Heb of their faces
- Ezekiel 1:17 Heb on their four sides
- Ezekiel 1:18 Cn: Heb uncertain
- Ezekiel 1:22 Gk: Heb awesome crystal
- 1.23 cf. the cherubim over the ark (Ex 25.20-22; 1 Sam 4.4).
- Ezekiel 1:26 Heb lapis lazuli
- Ezekiel 1:27 Or it
- 1.28 the glory of the Lord: The luminous cloud, or shekinah (Ex 24.16), that normally dwelt in the temple.