1Then I looked and there above the firmament over the heads of the cherubim was something like a sapphire, something that looked like a throne.a 2* And he said to the man dressed in linen: Go within the wheelwork under the cherubim; fill both your hands with burning coals from the place among the cherubim, then scatter them over the city. As I watched, he entered.b 3Now the cherubim were standing to the south of the temple when the man went in and a cloud filled the inner court. 4The glory of the LORD had moved off the cherubim to the threshold of the temple; the temple was filled with the cloud, the whole court brilliant with the glory of the LORD. 5The sound of the wings of the cherubim could be heard as far as the outer court; it was like the voice of God Almighty speaking.c 6He commanded the man dressed in linen: Take fire from within the wheelwork among the cherubim. The man entered and stood by one of the wheels. 7Thereupon a cherub stretched out a hand from among the cherubim toward the fire in the midst of the cherubim, took some, and put it in the hands of the one dressed in linen. He took it and came out. 8Something like a human hand was visible under the wings of the cherubim. 9I also saw four wheels beside the cherubim, one wheel beside each cherub, and the wheels appeared to have the sparkle of yellow topaz. 10And the appearance of the four all seemed alike, as though one wheel were inside the other. 11When they moved, they went in any of the four directions without veering as they moved; in whatever direction the first cherub faced, the others followed without veering as they went. 12Their entire bodies—backs, hands, and wings—and wheels were covered with eyes all around like the four wheels.d 13I heard the wheels called “wheelwork.” 14Each living creature had four faces: the first a cherub, the second a human being, the third a lion, the fourth an eagle.e 15* When the cherubim rose up, they were indeed the living creatures I had seen by the river Chebar.f 16When the cherubim moved, the wheels went beside them; when the cherubim lifted up their wings to rise from the earth, even then the wheels did not leave their sides. 17When they stood still, the wheels stood still; when they rose up, the wheels rose up with them, for the spirit of the living creatures was in them. 18Then the glory of the LORD left the threshold of the temple and took its place upon the cherubim. 19The cherubim lifted their wings and rose up from the earth before my eyes as they departed with the wheels beside them. They stopped at the entrance of the eastern gate of the LORD’s house, and the glory of the God of Israel was up above them.g 20* These were the living creatures I had seen beneath the God of Israel by the river Chebar. Now I knew they were cherubim.h 21Each of them had four faces and four wings, and something like human hands under their wings. 22Their faces looked just like the faces I had seen by the river Chebar; and each one went straight ahead.
* [10:2–13] The burning coals, a sign of the divine presence (cf. 28:14; Ps 18:9), represent the judgment of destruction that God is visiting upon the city; they may also represent the judgment of purification that prepares the land to become the Lord’s sanctuary (cf. Is 6:6–7).
* [10:15–19] The throne represents God’s presence as ruler and protector of the land. In chap. 1, God is revealed as the lord of the world who can appear even in a far-off land; here God is about to abandon the Temple, that is, hand the city over to its enemies. God and the throne return again in 43:1–3.
* [10:20–22] The repetition of description from the preceding verses is a device intended to suggest the rapid, constantly changing motion of the vision and the difficulty of describing the divine in human language.