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And every one of the cherubim had four faces: the first face was the face of the cherub, and the second face was the face of a man, and the third the face of a lion, and the fourth the face of an eagle. Bible

“the first face was the face of the cherub, and the second face was the face of a man, and the third the face of a lion, and the fourth the face of an eagle.” This is an apparent discrepancy with the description given in Ezekiel 1:10, and it has been explained in a few different ways, some of them more plausible than others. The easy way out for some scholars is to simply suggest that the Hebrew text had been corrupted, and “bull” (or “ox”) changed to “cherub.” However, that is generally rejected due to the lack of similarity between the Hebrew for “ox” and “cherub.”

The wording of the text here in Ezekiel 10:14 is different that in 1:10, and here just one face of each cherub is described, rather than the four faces of each cherub, and thus, as the scholars point out, there is no need for a complete redescription of the cherubim (that each one did have four faces is repeated in Ezekiel 10:21). So it seems that what Ezekiel is describing in Ezekiel 10:14 seems to be the face of each cherub that he is looking most directly at. In the case of “the cherub” face, it is the face of a cherub, so that is correct even if it is uninformative, but we would know from Ezekiel 1:10 that it is the face of an ox. On the other hand, C. F. Keil proposes that since the text reads “the face of the cherub” instead of what we would expect, “the face of a cherub,” it is intending to point out and emphasize that “the” cherub is “the” cherub who took the coals from the fire in Ezekiel 10:7, and thus emphasize that individual cherub rather than its ox face, and that seems certainly plausible also.


Commentary for: Ezekiel 10:14