The focus in this episode is Ezek 28:1-19. This is a controversial passage. he debate is over just who the prince of Tyre in vv. 11-19 is being compared to — i.e., what is the point of analogy? Many say that the prince of Tyre is being compared to Adam in Eden. This would mean that it is Adam who is being referred to as a “guardian cherub” (v. 14) who walked in the midst of the stone of fire (a reference to either divine council members or the divine council locale. Other scholars who say that the prince of Tyre is being compared to a divine rebel — and that this passage is related to another one (Isaiah 14) that compares a human ruler (king of Babylon) to a divine rebel. Further, he argues that these two passages are related to Genesis 3, the OT’s own story of a primeval divine rebellion. This means that the anointed cherub is a divine being, a rebellious member of the divine council (stones of fire) – not Adam.
Ezekiel 28. I'm going to read the whole chapter. We might as well just jump in here. There's a lot to cover. I'll just warn people ahead of time that some of this is going to be pretty technical, but it really can't be avoided.
So Ezekiel 28 is, as I mentioned, the prophecy against the prince of Tyre. In the last episode, we had two chapters about Tyre, and here Ezekiel zeroes in on the prince. For our purposes, we're really going to focus on the first 19 verses.
This is part of the oracles against the nations, so in verses 1-10 you have the oracle about the demise of the prince of Tyre. And then in verses 11-19, there's a lament over the king of Tyre. Those are the first 19 verses. There's a little bit more in the chapter. There's a prophecy against Sidon and a little hint about Israel's regathering. Of course, just a few chapters ago, Jerusalem has been destroyed (or at least that's what Ezekiel tells the captives, but we have to wait until chapter 33 to actually get the fugitive that tells them the news that it really happened and it's destroyed). But you have a hint here at the end of the chapter about Israel's regathering in contrast to what's going on in Tyre and Sidon. We're going to focus on the first 19 verses, but let's just jump in and read the chapter and then we'll get to commenting on those 19 verses because, honestly, that's what really draws people to this chapter. So reading from the ESV:
The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, say to the prince of Tyre, Thus says the Lord God: “Because your heart is proud, and you have said, ‘I am a god, I sit in the seat of the gods, in the heart of the seas,’ yet you are but a man, and no god, though you make your heart like the heart of a god— you are indeed wiser than Daniel; no secret is hidden from you;
We should just stop there. What you have here, "I am a god, I sit in the seat of the gods, the heart of the seas..." These are phrases drawn right out of Canaanite Ugaritic material for the divine council. So that situates us pretty clearly in supernatural divine territory as far as the analogy. Everybody knows that this chapter is about the prince of Tyre—a human being. But the key question is going to be, "What is he being analogized to or with?" And I'm going to say it's a tale of a divine rebellion. Other scholars are going to disagree with that, and we'll get to that point. But here you have at the very opening some very clear indications tapping into Ugaritic material. "You are indeed wiser than Daniel." Remember a few chapters ago we had the whole discussion of the Ugartic Dan'el versus the biblical Daniel and Ezekiel and Daniel are contemporaries, so who is this guy? There's that issue, as well. Are we also tapping into Ugaritic material there? At least in the first two verses, it's pretty clear what the orientation is.
you are indeed wiser than Daniel; no secret is hidden from you; by your wisdom and your understanding you have made wealth for yourself, and have gathered gold and silver into your treasuries; by your great wisdom in your trade you have increased your wealth, and your heart has become proud in your wealth— therefore thus says the Lord God: Because you make your heart like the heart of a god, therefore, behold, I will bring foreigners upon you, the most ruthless of the nations; and they shall draw their swords against the beauty of your wisdom and defile your splendor. They shall thrust you down into the pit, and you shall die the death of the slain in the heart of the seas. Will you still say, ‘I am a god,’ in the presence of those who kill you, though you are but a man, and no god, in the hands of those who slay you?
Again, in the last episode there was this reference to being put into the pit—into the Abyss. We get the language here, as well. This netherworld language… it reminds you of the destiny of the rebel guy in Isaiah 14, which is clearly a divine being. It's clearly a divine council context. "I will be above the stars of God, I will be like the Most High"—all that stuff in Isaiah 14. Part of that language overlaps very clearly here and even in the preceding chapter. So again, the context here is a divine council context. I'm going to suggest that we have the tale of a divine rebellion in the council and that is going to be the point of the analogy to or for or with the prince of Tyre. So verse 10:
You shall die the death of the uncircumcised by the hand of foreigners; for I have spoken, declares the Lord God.”
So this is what's going to happen, an oracle against the prince of Tyre. Then in verse 11, it shifts to a lament over the king of Tyre. As we've seen earlier in parts of Ezekiel, "prince" and "king" can be two terms that really speak to the same person. We don't need to sort of retread that ground. But beginning in verse 11:
Moreover, the word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, raise a lamentation over the king of Tyre, and say to him, Thus says the Lord God: “You were the signet of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering, sardius, topaz, and diamond, beryl, onyx, and jasper, sapphire, emerald, and carbuncle; and crafted in gold were your settings and your engravings. On the day that you were created they were prepared. You were an anointed guardian cherub. I placed you; you were on the holy mountain of God; in the midst of the stones of fire you walked. You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created, till unrighteousness was found in you. In the abundance of your trade you were filled with violence in your midst, and you sinned; so I cast you as a profane thing from the mountain of God, and I destroyed you, O guardian cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire. Your heart was proud because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor. I cast you to the ground; I exposed you before kings, to feast their eyes on you. By the multitude of your iniquities, in the unrighteousness of your trade you profaned your sanctuaries; so I brought fire out from your midst; it consumed you, and I turned you to ashes on the earth in the sight of all who saw you. All who know you among the peoples are appalled at you; you have come to a dreadful end and shall be no more forever.”
So early in verses 11-19 we get clear divine council/divine abode... the reference to Eden as "the holy mountain of God." The context is once again very supernaturalistic in terms of the content of the analogy that's being used to describe the king of Tyre. And then the rest of verses 11-19 sounds a whole lot like chapters 26 and 27: what's going to happen or what did happen. We don't need to go over that ground again. Then we hit verse 20:
The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, set your face toward Sidon, and prophesy against her and say, Thus says the Lord God: “Behold, I am against you, O Sidon, and I will manifest my glory in your midst. And they shall know that I am the Lord when I execute judgments in her and manifest my holiness in her; for I will send pestilence into her, and blood into her streets; and the slain shall fall in her midst, by the sword that is against her on every side. Then they will know that I am the Lord. “And for the house of Israel there shall be no more a brier to prick or a thorn to hurt them among all their neighbors who have treated them with contempt. Then they will know that I am the Lord God. “Thus says the Lord God: When I gather the house of Israel from the peoples among whom they are scattered, and manifest my holiness in them in the sight of the nations, then they shall dwell in their own land that I gave to my servant Jacob. And they shall dwell securely in it, and they shall build houses and plant vineyards. They shall dwell securely, when I execute judgments upon all their neighbors who have treated them with contempt. Then they will know that I am the Lord their God.”
That's the end of the chapter. So it closes, again, with this hint that Israel's situation is going to change for the better, as opposed to the nations. Their judgment (when it happens) is going to be pretty permanent. We saw that back in chapters 26 and 27—this contrastive idea a little bit.
But we want to focus on 28:1-19. It's a controversial passage, to put it lightly. It's definitely an oracle and a lament against a human prince of Tyre. Everybody agrees on that. So you'd say, "Why is it controversial?" Well, although no one disputes the point about who it's directed against in Ezekiel's own context, the disagreement is about verses 11-19 mostly, but the whole section of 1-19 is affected. There are two divergent views over who the prince/king in these verses (11-19) is being compared to. In other words, what specifically is the point of analogy?
Adam in Eden?
Adam in Eden?
I'll just outline these two views for you. The first one... Many (and I would say probably a majority of scholars today) say that the prince of Tyre is being compared to Adam in Eden. That would mean that it is Adam who is being referred to as a guardian cherub in verse 14. It was Adam who walked in the midst of the stones of fire, which is a reference to either divine council members or the divine council location. We did a whole episode on the stones of fire when we were going through Enochian material. For instance, if you read 1 Enoch 17-19, you're going to get this kind of language, where it is either stones of fire or members of the divine council. Remember divine beings were thought of as stars, which are stones of fire. They're bright, fiery, shining things in the sky— stones. This is how they're described. Or it describes the place. It's kind of six of one and half dozen of another. It's the divine council either way—it's either the place or the members.
So if you take the first view, you would have Adam as either a member or right there in the divine council... I wouldn't object to that—that Adam was in the divine abode and Eden is the divine abode. And so it's appropriate to talk about Adam in the context of the divine council. We all get that. But what I'm saying is that the point of the analogy isn't Adam. But that is the dominant view. You'd have to argue, therefore, that Adam was filled with pride, even though Genesis 3 never says that. Adam was filled with pride (Ezekiel 28:17). It was he who was destroyed or exiled from the midst of the stones of fire—from the divine council. That you could argue from Genesis because of what Eden was.
But you can see there are some connections and there are some disconnections. Really, Adam was a guardian cherub? But that's what you have to argue. Or that he was with a guardian cherub—there's actually two figures being talked about here in Ezekiel 28 instead of one. You might be thinking already because we just read the passage that it only sounds like there was a cherub. Where's Adam? How does he even enter the picture? Because you can't really call Adam a cherub, but if you have Adam with the cherub... we just read the chapter and where's Adam? We'll get to that. But this is the dominant view....
Part of this view is the gemstones that show up in the chapter. A lot of scholars say these gemstones are reminiscent of the gemstones on the breastplate of the high priest, so Adam is viewed as some sort of high priestly figure in Eden. If that sounds odd, look—this isn't my view. I'm just telling you what the dominant view is. Adam would be some sort of mediator, I guess, between God and the rest of humanity that are going to be birthed from Adam and Eve and so on and so forth. This is how you'd have to think and this is how scholars do think about the passage. This is the majority view, that the point of analogy to the prince or the king of Tyre is Adam, not a divine rebel figure.
Southern (:) View and Mine, for other reasons
Southern (:) View and Mine, for other reasons
Now my view is different. And with influence in the south…. My view is that the prince of Tyre is being compared to a divine rebel and that this passage is related to Isaiah 14— the helel ben sachar or so-called "Lucifer" passage (because that's the way helel gets translated in the Vulgate: "Lucifer"... "the shining one" is all it means). the vulgate is source.... I think that this passage (Ezekiel 28) has a very close relationship to Isaiah 14 and Isaiah 14 compares another human ruler (the king of Babylon) to a divine rebel. There's really no way to get away from the divine rebel idea in Isaiah 14. Basically, all scholars are going to agree with that in Isaiah 14. The only disagreement there is which myth of divine rebellion Isaiah 14 is drawing on. Nobody argues that you have a human with the divine rebel or the human is the focus and there's no divine... Nobody argues about Isaiah 14 the way they argue about Ezekiel 18. It's very clear that there's a relationship between the two. They're very similar. Everybody agrees with that. Right away, what should be surfacing in your mind is that if Isaiah 14 is pretty much clearly a divine rebellion thing that is kind of transparent, then why, since it's so similar to Ezekiel 18, can't they accept that for Ezekiel 28? Good question. We'll get to that.
I would argue that Ezekiel 28 and Isaiah 14 are related. That's the part everybody would agree with, even though they're going to argue about which rebellion story goes with Isaiah 14. Then I further argue that those two passages are, in turn, related to Genesis 3 and that all three passages either utilize the story of divine rebellion or describe a divine rebellion.
That means that the anointed cherub in Ezekiel 28 is a divine being. It's not Adam or Adam's not with him. The divine being to whom the prince in Ezekiel 28 is being analogized was a member of the divine council, in my view, who was destroyed or expelled from the divine council—from the midst of the stones of fire. The gemstones, in my view, are not about the high priest. They are descriptors of shiningness—luminescence. They do not correspond with precision to the high priest's breastplate. They just don't. Some of them do, some of them don't. Rather, this kind of description (fiery stones, shining stones, gemstones) are stock descriptions of divine beings in the ancient world. I would argue that the gemstones have a precise correspondence... You can account for all of them in later descriptions of the temple—the new temple in the new Eden in the book of Revelation. The gemstones are about the divine council, they're not about the Israelite high priest. So this is how I flesh this out. The gemstones just give us no reason to think of the high priest. It gives us every reason to think of the divine council context. And if you don't have a human high priestly figure in there, what are you left with? You're left with a divine rebel.
So those are the two views in general. You can imagine we're going to jump into specifics here. I have two objectives as we go through this material. One is that I want everyone listening here to understand why scholars would opt for this "Adam thing"—either have Adam as the cherub, or more properly, have Adam in the scene where you have this anointed cherub. How do they get two figures in that scene—one of them being Adam? And then why do they argue that the prince is being compared to Adam and not the other guy—not the divine rebel guy? Why do they argue this? I hope that is going to be clear by the end of our examination of this chapter. Then I hope people understand and see why opting for Adam being in the picture at all is unnecessary, and I would say even misguided.