11 And coming is the word of Yahweh to me, saying: 12Son of mankind, lift a dirge over the king of Tyre, and say to him, Thus says the Lord Yahweh:
|You are the seal-print of a
Full of wisdom and consummate in loveliness.
|13||In the luxury of the garden of God you
come to be.
Of every precious gem is your booth-like pavilion:
|Carnelian, peridot and diamond,
Topaz, onyx and jasper,
Lapis lazuli, carbuncle and emerald,
|And with gold you have filled the
shoulders of your pavilion
And your alcoves which are in you.
|In the day of your creation, 14they
establish the anointed cherubs booth,
And I bestow you in the holy mountain of God; you come to be in the midst of the fiery gems.
|15||You walk flawless in your ways, from the day of your creation, till iniquity is found in you.|
|16||In the increasing of your trading, they fill your midst with wrong, and you are sinning.|
|And I am violating by thrusting you from
the mountain of God,
And destroying you is the cherub of the booth from the midst of the fiery gems.
|17||Haughty is your heart in your
You ruin your wisdom on account of your shining.
|7For the multitude of your
sins,0 on the earth have I flung you,
Before kings have I given you to make of you a spectacle.
|18||Because of the multitude of your
By the iniquity of your trading, you violate your sanctuaries,
|And I am bringing forth fire from your
midst. It devours you,
And I am giving you to be ashes on the earth for the eyes of all to see you.
|19||All who know you among the peoples are desolate over
Decadent you become and there is nothing of you for the eon.
A careful reading of the foregoing and comparison with
the Authorized Version will reveal several distinct differences, and also that two of the
major statements of the Authorized Version concerning the king of Tyre must go. Moreover,
the way is opened to make a real consideration, not only of these changes based on the
language of the Hebrew, but also the reason for the cherub being spoken of in the
discourse. It is claimed that the latter will much enhance our understanding of the
The tentative translation given above really takes us beyond the first objectives of this article. Lest its main purpose be obscured and lost amidst the details of the proposed adjustments, some of the paragraphs will discuss vital matters in the light of the Authorized Version and its connection with the Hebrew text.
examination of the Hebrew, and comparison with the LXX brings features to the surface
which lead us to adopt some of the adjustments in the foregoing translation. A brief
explanation of some of the changes may be welcomed.
The word sealest of verse twelve of the Authorized Version is not a verb in the Hebrew. It refers to the seal on a signet, and is so rendered by the Authorized Version. The Hebrew word rendered sum occurs but once elsewhere, viz., Ezekiel 43:10, and in this case the Authorized Version translates it pattern, noting sum or number in the margin. From Ezekiel 43:10 we may realize the difficulty in the Hebrew word, which is thknith. The translators were constrained to give a sense agreeable to the context rather than the Hebrew word. In the two occurrences of this word, the LXX rather agrees with the Hebrew thbnith, which signifies model, and is synonymous with the Authorized Version pattern. The difference between the Hebrew letters k and b is very slight, and this will be understood by those familiar with the Hebrew letters. An up-to-date example of this may be seen in the index to Wigrams Englishmans Hebrew Concordance where, under the word pattern, thknith of page 1347 is printed thbnith. It seems that we must accept the LXX understanding, for it is so agreeable to the associated word seal-print.
The word covering (verse 14) belongs to the word family of OVERSHADOW, and appears to be after the grammatical form of the piel participle. Without the initial m it is rendered booth, tabernacle, and pavilion in the Authorized Version. At this stage of investigation we render the m form as booth-like, supplying the word pavilion to complete the sense. The other cases (verses 14 and 16) which are kal participles, we render by booth. These renderings seem to be more suitable than our Authorized Version in these cases.
The rendering workmanship in the Authorized Version (verse 13) represents the Hebrew word, mlakth, but it was not so understood by the LXX. They seem to have read mlath, which is the verb you fill. It would appear that the two final letters of mlakth have become transposed, and the k probably belongs, as an initial letter, to the word thphik (AV, thy tabrets). This makes the word to be kthph, signifying SHOULDER, figuring the side of a building. The LXX render this by the Greek word treasure.
In line with this we find the LXX read the Hebrew nqb (AV, pipes) as having the significance of store. In Numbers 25:8 we have qbbe; this is the feminine form, and has been subjected to apheresis, which takes away an initial unaccounted letter, similar to that which happens in the case of our words esquire and squire. The b of the Hebrew word is doubled in compensation for the elision. Now our Authorized Version renders qbbe by tent; it indicates an antechamber, and so we suggest alcove. Nqb occurs as a proper name, Job 19:33, and the lexicons give cavern as its meaning, which confirms the suggestion here made.
We now turn to another kind of difference, that of division into sentences. It is well understood that both the Hebrew and Greek division into sentences and verses is the work of textual editors, and so we are not bound to follow them, provided significant sense is maintained.
In the present study the sentence construction is also influenced by the word workmanship of the Authorized Version, and of course its Hebrew equivalent. Since we make this to be the verb you fill, we must modify our sentences, or we shall have too many verbs. Thus the was prepared of the Authorized Version (verse 13) finds its object in the word which commences verse fourteen, but the Hebrew for was prepared is not necessarily the passive form; it can be active, and so the Hebrew ath, discussed in a later paragraph, points out the object. Thus we render: they establish the anointed cherubs booth.
This adjustment of verbs requires that we construe the words in the holy mountain of God as being accusative to I bestow. Also you come to be with in the midst of the fiery gems. Then you walk as with flawless in your ways. By close attention these details will be understood, and it will be observed that the supplied verbs of the Authorized Version are not required, yet we have a vigorous and intelligible sense.
THE GOVERNOR IS ALSO THE KING
will be well to first discuss the connection of these verses with those of the prior
section of the chapter which the Authorized Version makes to be speaking of the
prince of Tyre. Can this one be the same as the king of Tyre? The Authorized
Version translates eleven Hebrew words by the word prince and it behooves us
therefore to enquire whether the one here used is really prince. The Hebrew is ngid;
some of the Authorized Version renderings are captain, chief, governor, leader, noble
and ruler. The words signifies governor, and its usage reveals several interesting
Saul was anointed to be governor over Israel (1 Sam.9:16) and was later proclaimed king at Mizpeh (1 Sam.10:17-27). David also was commanded by Yahweh to be governor (1 Sam.13:14), and this issued in his being king. It is also recorded of Solomon that he was king and governor (1 Chron.29:22). It is obvious that the word ngid names the function of the king, and consequently both king and governor may be said of the same person. On the other hand the term governor may be used of those who assist the king (see 1 Chron.13:1). There are a number of other interesting instances, but these will be sufficient to show that the governor of Tyre is most likely the king of Tyre also, merely differentiated to emphasize another angle of his overthrow. Neither the arrogance, nor the wisdom of the governor of Tyre preserved him. Nor did the luxury and apparent flawlessness protect the king of Tyre. The governor of Tyre was a man, and the king of Tyre is said to be known among the peoples, and to become ash on the earth in the sight of all.
Such features entirely remove the king from consideration as other than a human, and at the same time tend to confirm that the governor and king are one and the same person. Other details around the king indicate the eminence he had, and also lift the curtain to reveal the position God had afforded him in relation to the supreme and effective agencies by which the earth is governed under Gods economy.
The dirge against the king of Tyre opens with a terse description: You are the seal-print of a model, full of wisdom, and consummate in loveliness. This epitomizes the glory of the king, and is elaborated in verses thirteen and fourteen. The consummate loveliness is expanded in verse thirteen, and the fullness of wisdom finds its correspondence in verse fourteen, for the kings sagacity was such that Adonai bestows him with the overshadowing, anointed cherub. The model is explained in verse fifteen as the kings ways being flawless. The ancient splendor of the city of Tyre can be judged by its ruins, and these agree with the glory here ascribed to the king, its governor.
IN LUXURY, NOT IN EDEN
change from the Authorized Version rendering Thou hast been in Eden, the garden of
God calls for a remark. The suggested presence in Eden of the Tyrian king has been a
problem, and no explanation has been satisfactory. Our versions have treated the Hebrew
word odn as a proper noun, a name, but this does not give a sense fully agreeable
to the surrounding context, besides creating other insurmountable difficulties. If we
regard odn as a general term and render it by a word which gives its significance,
we then reach a sense fully pertinent to the drift of the passage, and solve our problem
in regard to Eden. At the same time we realize that the words garden of God
are not a repetition of what would be meant by Eden, but are, in fact, required to
complete the statement: You come to be in the luxury of the garden of God.
The wisdom of the king corresponds with that of the governor, wiser than Daniel. From the governor no secret was hid. His understanding seemed merely to afford the acquisition of immense riches and treasures. These banished the flawlessness from the kings ways, and the real inwardness of the heart was then found. It revolted against Adonai and showed ignorance and lack of realization that all the luxury and splendor of position was actually due to Gods economy, rather than to human ability and prowess.
TWO ASPECTS OF THE SAME MATTER
The separation of Adonai Yahwehs messages under the titles of governor of Tyre and king of Tyre is to show more plainly that the normal course of events is not divorced from Gods administrating. To the governor it is shown that God is watching and ordering the rise and fall of Tyre. To the king the more intimate connection of Adonai to his position is revealed: they established the anointed cherubs booth. This declares to the king something which his wisdom failed to understand. He did not perceive that Adonai had set him for rule and order in his section of the earth, that he, in his God-given kingly capacity, was an agent of God for the good of his people, and, as such, should restrain evil and not promote it.
NOT THE CHERUB
is an infelicity in the Authorized Version rendering Thou art the anointed
cherub, and it is quite important that we make the adjustment, for it controls the
sense. The italics of the Authorized Version are supplied words, and, if correct, are
admissible. The Hebrew word ath may be either the pronoun you or indicate
the object of the verb. Since ath as a pronoun, without the pointing, is the
feminine form, and the words king and cherub are masculine, the rendering as
a pronoun must be ruled out, and so we do not require to supply the substantive verb
art. This gives us ath krub, which must be accusative rather than
nominative. We find confirmation of this when we perceive that the Authorized Version
rendering and I have set thee is without an object as indicated by the
supplied so. We may therefore render; they establish the anointed
The difficulty that the king of Tyre was the anointed cherub is thus resolved into a matter which reveals Gods effective government over the earth, and, if we follow this indication, it is suggested that we shall receive an insight into the fact that God rules supreme over earths affairs. This will require that we consider the cherubim and endeavor to obtain fuller understanding of their function in the universe and the earth.
THE CHERUB DESTROYS THE KING
taking up the cherubim, we will first discuss another inapt rendering, in verse sixteen,
which reads thus in the Authorized Version: And I will destroy thee, O covering cherub.
The details of the employment and activities of the cherubim ought to cause us to question
the Authorized Version rendering that a cherub should require to be destroyed; that a
human should be termed a cherub is quite out of keeping with the scriptural references to
these creatures. Their connection with judgment suggests that the action would be by the
cherub rather than against it. And this agrees with the result of our examination of the
prior verse fourteen, from which we saw that the pavilion of the king of Tyre was
associated with the cherubs booth. The kings office supplemented that of the
anointed cherub in whom the authority over Tyre really resided.
The solution of our problem concerning the verb destroy, abd, lies in the fact that, divested of the pointings, it may be either first or third person, and since considerations point out that the king of Tyre was not the cherub, then it is fully agreeable to decide that it must be third person, and hence should be rendered: And destroying you is the cherub of the booth. These changes bring the references to the cherub into line with all other cases in the Scriptures, for they are employed to check the powers of evil and keep them within Gods requirements.
TYRE WITHIN THE BOUNDS OF THE HOLY MOUNT
The statement that the king of Tyre comes to be in the holy mountain of God seems to require to be understood in reference to the land of Israel. We must first note that the preposition should be in not upon as rendered in the Authorized Version. This is in keeping with the geographical situation of Tyre. Israel is Gods holy mount (Ezek.20:40), and its land is apparently looked upon as such also. The city of Jerusalem is also spoken of as Gods holy mount (Dan.9:16,20), whilst Daniel 11:45 seems to require the whole land to be so considered. Thus speak Isaiah 57:13 and Jeremiah 31:23. In reference to the future, a journey to Israel will be a journey to Yahwehs mount. Gods coming kingdom will also be His holy mount (Isa.11:9). This understanding relieves us of holding any recondite idea, and makes the statement to be quite normal. We thus come to perceive that, of old, Tyre held a place in relation to Gods ordering of His kingdom for Israel. The nations around had their function and office in Gods government, but, like Israel, they overstepped and violated their assigned positions and duties, and God restrained them according to His counsel, and by the functionaries of His throne who operated according to Adonais fiat.
THE KING ASSOCIATED WITH THE CHERUB
the king of Tyre comes to be in the midst of the fiery gems tells us in figure that he was
in his ruling capacity associated with the cherub who really was charged with control in
its initial aspect. This may be deduced from the mention of fire in the details of the
cherub vision seen in Ezekiel (see 1:4,13,27; 8:2; 10:6,7). The fire in the visions was
used to judge Jerusalem. And so, when saying that the king of Tyre is in the midst of the
fiery gems, this seems to signify that it was his duty to judge in the earth by reason of
the authority invested in the cherub. Probably the precious gems enumerated in verses
thirteen are the stones of fire, emblems of the dignity of the king.
We should not find any difficulty in the word create, for this must not necessarily be confined to the particular aspect that we have when Adam was created. The features of any creation must be based upon the requirements of the case. Ezekiel speaks of the Ammonite being created (21:30); similarly in 21:19 we have: choose (create) thou a place, choose (create) it at the head of the way to the city. A creation is something new, and thus the rise of a city or a nation is spoken of as its creation, and any detail is part thereof.
Having discussed difficulties concerning the king of Tyre, it may be now desirable to briefly consider the cherubim, especially as it has emerged that the king of Tyre was not a cherub. In the course of our examination, hints have been made which really anticipate matters regarding these beings, and it is hoped that such observations may have prepared the ground for a fuller understanding of their reality and position in the Scriptures. If so, then we have reason to be thankful to God that His Word does instruct rather than perplex.
THE VISION OF EZEKIEL
In Ezekiel the cherubim are perhaps more prominent than in any other section of the Scriptures. Doubtless there is good reason for this. Are we able to discover it? If so, it will help our understanding. This prophet is much concerned with the evil in Israel, and with its restraint. The series of visions and their accompanying messages issue in the judging and deposing of Israel from the position which Yahweh had given to them. Throughout the book the title Adonai, that is, Adjudicator, is associated with the title Yahweh. The nations around Israel are also dealt with; their expressed pleasure at Israels plight is an affront to Adonai Yahweh. The nations do not understand that they are assigned their positions in relation to Israel, and so they must learn of the glory, majesty and judgment of Yahweh. When the several nations have been subjected to correction, the visions return to the establishing of Israel in their land in that future day when they will fully display Yahwehs glory and respond to his choice of them.
GODS PRESENCE ORDERS EVENTS
reason for the controlling movements in the visions being around the cherubim seems to
emphasize that Gods presence is peculiarly in the upheaval of Israel and the
nations. They are not haphazard movements, but God is, through the cherubim, restraining
the existing evil and ordering the future which shall realize His will.
The presence of the cherubim indicates coming judgment. In Ezekiel they are beneath the throne, whilst in the Unveiling they are incorporated into the throne. The first mention of them in Genesis 3:24 employs them to guard the way to the tree of life, and in the holy of holies, overshadowing the lid of the ark containing the law, we see their zeal and concern for Gods law. In the tabernacle and temple they are much in evidence, being almost a center of the service, possibly reminding of the divine presence therein, and the importance of the law and worship.
In visions, Gods presence seems to be indicated by the cherubim. Hezekiah realized this when he spread the king of Assyrias letter before Yahweh in Yahwehs house, praying to Him Who dwells between the cherubim, recognizing Him as the God of all the kingdoms of the earth (2 Kings 19:15). Yahweh responds to Hezekiahs prayer, and Sennacherib was restrained.
GODS GOVERNMENTAL AGENTS
would seem that the cherubim are the prime agents in Gods government of the earth.
God has supreme and effective control of it, which is carried out by manifold agencies,
but we see only the instrumental aspect, as when one nation overthrows another, and the
Scriptures reveal it to be of God. When we read about the cherubim in visions, then we see
Gods throne in operation, and the cherubim take part in His government. They are
related to the authority of God as displayed in directing the affairs of the earth, and
hence, because of the way which earthly matters take, this directing usually issues in
judgment. The cherubim thus are employed to check the powers of evil, for they are the
divinely constituted delegates of the earth, over and above the human. The cherubim
forward essential good and frustrate evil, for they are always subservient to the fiat of
God. If the cherubim are the primary means of Gods ministry of earths affairs,
then such as the king of Tyre are but the remote agents.
The cherubim, then, are executives of Gods rule, and should be distinguished from the emblems used to represent them. They have a flexibility in details of form, which doubtless corresponds to the particular requirements of the vision. When seen in vision they seem especially to depict the glory of Gods throne as it threatens judgment.
SIGNIFICANCE OF THE WORD CHERUB
The derivation of the word cherub is not without interest, especially in regard to their being representative. It is a compound word of two parts, k signifies as and rub meaning many, thus as-many, or, made a little more English, like-many. In figure they are the likeness of many earthly things and deal with the dominion which is in the hands of man over sentient creatures, animal and human, populating the earth. They seek the good of the living, and are themselves also spoken of under the general title of Living Ones.
SATAN DECEIVES CHERUBIM CHECK EVIL
From our considerations it should become obvious to us that not only is the king of Tyre not a cherub, but also that the cherub cannot be the Adversary and Satan. The function and employment of the cherubim are opposite to that of the Dragon, that ancient serpent, called Adversary and Satan. It deceives the nations and promotes evil. The cherubim check the powers of evil.
E. H. Clayton
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