1 1-3 Ezekiel was a priest (the son of Buzi) who lived with the Jewish exiles beside the Chebar Canal in Babylon.
One day late in June, when I was thirty years old,[a] the heavens were suddenly opened to me and I saw visions from God. 4 I saw, in this vision, a great storm coming toward me from the north, driving before it a huge cloud glowing with fire, with a mass of fire inside that flashed continually; and in the fire there was something that shone like polished brass.
5 Then from the center of the cloud, four strange forms appeared that looked like men, 6 except that each had four faces and two pairs of wings! 7 Their legs were like those of men, but their feet were cloven like calves’ feet, and shone like burnished brass. 8 And beneath each of their wings I could see human hands.
9 The four living beings were joined wing to wing, and they flew straight forward without turning. 10 Each had the face of a man in front,[b] with a lion’s face on the right side of his head,* and the face of an ox on the left side, and the face of an eagle at the back! 11 Each had two pairs of wings spreading out from the middle of his back. One pair stretched out to attach to the wings of the living beings on each side, and the other pair covered his body. 12 Wherever their spirit[c] went they went, going straight forward without turning.
13 Going up and down among them were other forms that glowed like bright coals of fire or brilliant torches, and it was from these the lightning flashed. 14 The living beings darted to and fro, swift as lightning.
15 As I stared at all of this, I saw four wheels on the ground beneath them, one wheel belonging to each. 16 The wheels looked as if they were made of polished amber, and each wheel was constructed with a second wheel crosswise inside.[d] 17 They could go in any of the four directions without having to face around. 18 The four wheels had rims and spokes, and the rims were filled with eyes around their edges.
19-21 When the four living beings flew forward, the wheels moved forward with them. When they flew upwards, the wheels went up too. When the living beings stopped, the wheels stopped. For the spirit of the four living beings was in the wheels; so wherever their spirit went, the wheels and the living beings went there too.
22 The sky spreading out above them looked as though it were made of crystal; it was inexpressibly beautiful.
23 The wings of each stretched straight out to touch the others’ wings, and each had two wings covering his body. 24 And as they flew, their wings roared like waves against the shore, or like the voice of God, or like the shouting of a mighty army. When they stopped, they let down their wings. 25 And every time they stopped, there came a voice from the crystal sky above them.[e]
26 For high in the sky above them was what looked like a throne made of beautiful blue sapphire stones, and upon it sat someone who appeared to be a Man.
27-28 From his waist up, he seemed to be all glowing bronze, dazzling like fire; and from his waist down he seemed to be entirely flame, and there was a glowing halo like a rainbow all around him. That was the way the glory of the Lord appeared to me. And when I saw it, I fell face downward on the ground and heard the voice of someone speaking to me:
- Ezekiel 1:1 when I was thirty years old, literally, “in the thirtieth year.”
- Ezekiel 1:10 in front, implied. of his head, implied.
- Ezekiel 1:12 their spirit, literally, “the spirit.”
- Ezekiel 1:16 a second wheel crosswise inside, literally, “a wheel within a wheel,” perhaps as in a gyroscope.
- Ezekiel 1:25 from the crystal sky above them, literally, “from above the firmament, over their heads.”
New International Version
Ezekiel’s Inaugural Vision
2 On the fifth of the month—it was the fifth year of the exile of King Jehoiachin(E)— 3 the word of the Lord came to Ezekiel(F) the priest, the son of Buzi, by the Kebar River in the land of the Babylonians.[a] There the hand of the Lord was on him.(G)
4 I looked, and I saw a windstorm(H) coming out of the north(I)—an immense cloud with flashing lightning and surrounded by brilliant light. The center of the fire looked like glowing metal,(J) 5 and in the fire was what looked like four living creatures.(K) In appearance their form was human,(L) 6 but each of them had four faces(M) and four wings. 7 Their legs were straight; their feet were like those of a calf and gleamed like burnished bronze.(N) 8 Under their wings on their four sides they had human hands.(O) All four of them had faces and wings, 9 and the wings of one touched the wings of another. Each one went straight ahead; they did not turn as they moved.(P)
10 Their faces looked like this: Each of the four had the face of a human being, and on the right side each had the face of a lion, and on the left the face of an ox; each also had the face of an eagle.(Q) 11 Such were their faces. They each had two wings(R) spreading out upward, each wing touching that of the creature on either side; and each had two other wings covering its body. 12 Each one went straight ahead. Wherever the spirit would go, they would go, without turning as they went.(S) 13 The appearance of the living creatures was like burning coals(T) of fire or like torches. Fire moved back and forth among the creatures; it was bright, and lightning(U) flashed out of it. 14 The creatures sped back and forth like flashes of lightning.(V)
15 As I looked at the living creatures,(W) I saw a wheel(X) on the ground beside each creature with its four faces. 16 This was the appearance and structure of the wheels: They sparkled like topaz,(Y) and all four looked alike. Each appeared to be made like a wheel intersecting a wheel. 17 As they moved, they would go in any one of the four directions the creatures faced; the wheels did not change direction(Z) as the creatures went. 18 Their rims were high and awesome, and all four rims were full of eyes(AA) all around.
19 When the living creatures moved, the wheels beside them moved; and when the living creatures rose from the ground, the wheels also rose. 20 Wherever the spirit would go, they would go,(AB) and the wheels would rise along with them, because the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels. 21 When the creatures moved, they also moved; when the creatures stood still, they also stood still; and when the creatures rose from the ground, the wheels rose along with them, because the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels.(AC)
22 Spread out above the heads of the living creatures was what looked something like a vault,(AD) sparkling like crystal, and awesome. 23 Under the vault their wings were stretched out one toward the other, and each had two wings covering its body. 24 When the creatures moved, I heard the sound of their wings, like the roar of rushing(AE) waters, like the voice(AF) of the Almighty,[b] like the tumult of an army.(AG) When they stood still, they lowered their wings.
25 Then there came a voice from above the vault over their heads as they stood with lowered wings. 26 Above the vault over their heads was what looked like a throne(AH) of lapis lazuli,(AI) and high above on the throne was a figure like that of a man.(AJ) 27 I saw that from what appeared to be his waist up he looked like glowing metal, as if full of fire, and that from there down he looked like fire; and brilliant light surrounded him.(AK) 28 Like the appearance of a rainbow(AL) in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the radiance around him.(AM)