JW Reading - Daily portion
“The thirtieth year” seems to have reference to Ezekiel’s age. He began his duties as a prophet at this time.
(Cheʹbar) [from Babylonian, meaning “Great (Canal)”].
A “river” in “the land of the Chaldeans” near which Jews of the community of Tel-abib were exiled. (Eze 1:1-3; 3:15) When speaking of “the river Chebar, ” Ezekiel used the Hebrew term na·harʹ (rendered “river”) apparently in its widest sense to include the numerous Babylonian canals that once intersected the fertile area between the lower courses of the Euphrates and Tigris rivers. This usage would be consistent with the corresponding Babylonian word that also describes either a river or a canal. The precise location of the Chebar is unknown.
However, most Biblical geographers connect the “river Chebar” with the Shatt en-Nil, which has been identified with the naru Kabaru (or “Grand Canal”) mentioned in cuneiform contract tablets found at the city of Nippur, about 85 km (50 mi) SE of Babylon. The Shatt en-Nil branches off the Euphrates above Babylon and runs in a SE direction, passing near Nippur, to rejoin the Euphrates S of Ur, about 240 km (150 mi) below Babylon.
The four living creatures seen in vision by the prophet Ezekiel accompanying the chariotlike throne of Jehovah each had four faces, one of which was that of a bull. (Eze 1:10) In the vision of the apostle John, one of the four living creatures around the throne was like a young bull. (Re 4:6, 7) Hence, the bull would fitly represent one of Jehovah’s basic attributes, namely, unlimited power.
Jehovah likens himself to a lion in executing judgment on his unfaithful people. (Ho 5:14; 11:10; 13:7-9) And God’s foremost judicial officer, Jesus Christ, is “the Lion that is of the tribe of Judah. ” (Re 5:5) Appropriately, therefore, the lion, as a symbol of courageous justice, is associated with Jehovah’s presence and throne.
A transparent or translucent, yellow or green semiprecious stone composed of silicates of magnesium and iron. It generally occurs in volcanic rocks (also, in dolomite and some types of limestone) in solid, crystalline, or granular form. “Chrysolite” is from the Greek word khry·soʹli·thos, meaning “gold stone, ” and it seems that at least some ancients applied this name to various yellow-colored gems. Fine-quality chrysolite crystals are found in Egypt.
Precious stones are sometimes used Scripturally to symbolize qualities of heavenly or spiritual things or persons. The heavens were opened for Ezekiel, and in two visions he beheld four winged living creatures accompanied by four wheels, the appearance of each wheel being likened to “the glow of chrysolite, ” that is, having a hue of yellow or possibly green. (Eze 1:1-6, 15, 16; 10:9) Later, Daniel saw an angel, “a certain man clothed in linen, ” whose “body was like chrysolite. ”
By the river Chebar in the land of the Chaldeans during the fifth year of King Jehoiachin’s exile, Ezekiel envisioned Jehovah riding upon a swift-moving chariotlike celestial vehicle. Its four wheels had rims filled with eyes, and within each wheel was another wheel apparently at right angles, making it possible to go forward or to either side without changing the angle of the wheels. Beside each wheel was a cherub, the cherubic living creatures and wheels moving in unison as they were directed by the spirit. (Eze 1:1-3, 15-21; 3:13)
Visionary representations of Jehovah’s glory had an awe-inspiring impact. The platform of the celestial chariot, above which the prophet Ezekiel saw the glory of Jehovah, sparkled like awesome ice. High above the heads of the living creatures, which were representations of cherubs, this platform was like a translucent expanse, awesome in size and appearance. Through the translucent platform, the representation of what appeared to be a throne of sapphire stone was visible. The seated form on the throne glowed with the yellow brilliance of electrum in a refiner’s fire, the whole form also being surrounded by a similar brightness. This vision of Jehovah’s glory moved Ezekiel to fall upon his face in worshipful reverence.
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JW Reading - 2017