Ezek 1 notes


וְיָדֹו) [וִידֵי] אָדָם מִתַּחַת כַּנְפֵיהֶם עַל אַרְבַּעַת רִבְעֵיהֶם וּפְנֵיהֶם וְכַנְפֵיהֶם לְאַרְבַּעְתָּם   1:8

Ezek. 1:8   and the hands were of a human from beneath their wings on four of their four sides, and their faces and their wings, for four of them;

So did they have four pairs of hands, one pair on each side?  Apparently!  They also had four faces and four wings.  On each side?  Not clear at this point.

Now I’m going to go out on a rather flimsy thin limb at this juncture.  I have to disclose to you that I believe that Ezekiel is regularly mistranslated more than any other book of the bible.  As I see it, Hebrew words in the text are frequently ignored, translation words are added, the gender and number of pronouns are hardly considered, and more.  I have to say that although Ezekiel is the most confusing prophet of the bible, he can be translated accurately, but with considerable hardship.  Every pronoun must be carefully connected with its antecedent, even if it is five, six, or seven verses back.  Along the way, one has to take into account the genders, numbers, and form of every noun, adjective, and pronoun.  I have painstakingly constructed a spreadsheet for keeping track of these so I can connect them to each other.  The differences between my translation and others are not monumental; they amount to relatively minor details in most cases.  But these minor details form much of the basis for Jewish mysticism.  So they may be very important.

As for this verse and its error, I believe the “correction” in the brackets is also in error.  As I understand the Hebrew of the first two words (not including the correction and notwithstanding the error), my translation is more accurate.  The typical translation is something like And they had the hands of a man, but nowhere can the Hebrew words for they had be found in the verse.  With the suggested correction, my translation would have to be “And the hands of a human were from beneath ...,” which is fairly reasonable, though a bit awkward.   The more accurate correction, according to my thinking, is the word for and the hands, וְיָדַיִם.