Ezekiel 28:11-14

EZEKIEL 28:11-14 is a scripture passage often quoted to describe Lucifer/Satin as a master of music. Proponents use the passage to enhance the argument for Satanic influence on various Rock/Pop/Rap bands and their music etc.

I’ve reproduced two scripture passages, one from the Douay-Rheims Bible (DRB) and the other from the New American Bible (NAB) which is the version I currenlty use. There seems to be a difference in in verse 14 where the DRB uses the word “PIPES”, (refering to the playing of music). The NAB uses “JEWELS” instead.

What is the best interpreation of this scripture passage?

Douay-Rheims Bible

11 And the word of the Lord came to me, saying: Son of man, take up a lamentation upon the king of Tyre: 12 And say to him: Thus saith the Lord God: Thou wast the seal of resemblance, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty. 13 Thou wast in the pleasures of the paradise of God: every precious stone was thy covering: the sardius, the topaz, and the jasper, the chrysolite, and the onyx, and the beryl, the sapphire, and the carbuncle, and the emerald: gold the work of thy beauty: **and thy pipes were prepared in the day that thou wast created. **14 Thou a cherub stretched out, and protecting, and I set thee in the holy mountain of God, thou hast walked in the midst of the stones of fire. 15 Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day of thy creation, until iniquity was found in thee.

*Commentary from that site follows:
12 “Thou wast the seal of resemblance”… The king of Tyre, by his dignity and his natural perfections, bore in himself a certain resemblance to God, by reason of which he might be called the seal of resemblance, etc. But what is here said to him is commonly understood of Lucifer, the king over all the children of pride.
14 “A cherub stretched out”… That is, thy wings extended. This alludes to the figure of the cherubims in the sanctuary, which with stretched out wings covered the ark.-- Ibid.
14 “The stones of fire”… That is, bright and precious stones which sparkle like fire. *

New American Bible

11 Thus the word of the LORD came to me: 12 Son of man, utter a lament over the king of Tyre, saying to him: Thus says the Lord GOD: You were stamped with the seal of perfection, of complete wisdom and perfect beauty. 13 In Eden, the garden of God, you were, and every precious stone was your covering (carnelian,topaz, and beryl, chrysolite, onyx, and jasper, sapphire, garnet, and emerald); **Of gold your pendants and jewels were made, on the day you were created. **14 With the Cherub I placed you; you were on the holy mountain of God, walking among the fiery stones. 15 Blameless you were in your conduct from the day you were created, Until evil was found in you,

Two observations - both of which apply not only to this passage.

First is that Any and All of the good things in God’s creation can be corrupted by Satan. The fact that something (music, art, authority, sex, religion) can be used for evil does not make it evil.

Second is that Scripture passages typically have multiple levels of meaning - so it is entirely possible that this passage refers to an historic King of Tyre and to Lucifer, and indeed can also be applied to any musician who has fallen from grace.

In my humble and unknowledgable opinion on this matter the word “pipes” in the DRB seems a little out of place. What I mean is that the lines preceding “pipes” is talking about precious stones and metals used for ornamentation and jewelry. It seems that “pipes” comes out of nowhere in this instance.

In the NAB to render the words as “pendants, jewels and gold” seems a little more in line with the previous sentences that talked about gold and precious jewels.

So perhaps the NAB is more accurate in regards to this?


Let me put forward my two cents.

Verse 13 in Hebrew is:

‏בְּעֵ֨דֶן גַּן־אֱלֹהִ֜ים הָיִ֗יתָ כָּל־אֶ֨בֶן יְקָרָ֤ה מְסֻכָתֶ֙ךָ֙ אֹ֣דֶם פִּטְדָ֞ה וְיָהֲלֹ֗ם תַּרְשִׁ֥ישׁ שֹׁ֙הַם֙ וְיָ֣שְׁפֵ֔ה סַפִּ֣יר נֹ֔פֶךְ וּבָרְקַ֖ת וְזָהָ֑ב מְלֶ֨אכֶת תֻּפֶּ֤יךָ וּנְקָבֶ֙יךָ֙ בָּ֔ךְ בְּי֥וֹם הִבָּרַאֲךָ֖ כּוֹנָֽנוּ׃

bə‘ēḏen gan-’ĕlōhîm hāyîṯā, kāl-’eḇen yəqārâ məsuḵāṯeḵā: ’ōḏem, piṭəḏâ, wəyâălōm; tarəšîš, šōham, wəyāšəfēh; sapîr, nōfeḵə, ûḇārəqaṯ; wəzâāḇ məle’ḵeṯ tupeyḵā ûnəqāḇeyḵā bāḵə bəywōm hibāra’ăḵā kwōnānû.

The term used for what the KJV renders as “thy tabrets and thy pipes” (underlined above) is toph (tup) and neqeb (nəqāḇ).

The word rendered as ‘pipes’, neqeb (a word which actually occurs only here throughout the OT), is interpreted as meaning rather a groove, a socket, a hole, a cavity, or even a bezel for a gem. Now the word toph could refer to a timbrel or tambourine, but having a reference to a musical instrument is out-of-place: up to this, Ezekiel was talking about precious stones and gold!

We must remember that ancient Hebrew was originally written with consonants only; the added phonetic signs to mark vowels (niqqud) were produced much later in history. In the present-day Hebrew text, the word in question is written with the consonants tav-pe-yod-kaph, but it is not exactly clear what the phonetic signs for vowels should have been. Many translators have thus felt that the consonants in question must refer to ‘settings’ or something similar, due to the context.

Meanwhile, the Septuagint renders the phrase in question as καὶ χρυσίου ἐνέπλησας τοὺς θησαυρούς σου καὶ τὰς ἀποθήκας σου, “and with gold you filled up your treasuries and your storehouses.” The Clementine Vulgate meanwhile, has aurum, opus decoris tui: et foramina tua, in die qua conditus es, præparata sunt. Apparently Challoner followed the KJV here by rendering foramina as pipes (it could also be rendered as ‘fissures’; Ron Conte rendered it thus in his CPDV).

That’s an interesting analysis of the passage. Would I be safe to assume that you agree with my first post on this subject?


Yeah, though I feel the NAB employs a bit of paraphrasing in that instance. :slight_smile:

Thnaks for your all your comments! God Bless.

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