As for their rims, they were high and awe-inspiring; and the rims of the four of them gleamed all the way around. Bible see other translations

“they were high and awe-inspiring.” The translation “awe-inspiring” may be the meaning, but the Hebrew word is more actually “dread,” than awe. Although many English versions have “awe-inspiring” or “awesome,” others have “terrifying” (NIRV); and “frightening” (CSB; NLT). The wheels were no doubt awesome, but their power and size would also seem to be somewhat frightening.

“their rims gleamed all the way around.” Although most Bibles translate the Hebrew word `ayin (#05869 עַיִן) as “eyes,” and say the wheels are full of “eyes” all around, that does not fit with the idea of a chariot, nor does it fit the way that `ayin is used in Ezekiel. The word `ayin is used in Ezek. 1:4, 7, 16, 18, 22, and 1:27, although it is plural here in verse 18 (cp. the NJB: “and the rims of all four sparkled all the way around.”

It does not seem that the wheels themselves were alive and could see, and in fact that is highly unlikely. The Hebrew word “eye” was used of many things, including things that sparkled or gleamed, like eyes are said to gleam. Also, in the Babylonian world, “eye” was used to refer to a nail or pebble that looked like an eye or had the shape of an eye. It is possible that the text is simply saying these wheels sparkled all around, or that they were decorated with sparkling gems or rivets like eyes. There are many examples of the Hebrew word not referring to an eye, many in Ezekiel itself. For example, the word “eye” is used for “gleam” in Ezekiel 1:4, 16; 10:9, and “glittering” in Ezekiel 1:22. Also, it is used of wine which “sparkles” (gives its eye) in the cup (Prov. 23:31), and many other uses could be cited.

Commentary for: Ezekiel 1:18