Ezekiel 29

Judgments against Egypt and restoration of Israel
Text Comments
.1 ¶ In the tenth year, in the tenth month, in the twelfth day of the month, the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
 2 Son of man, set thy face against Pharaoh king of Egypt, and prophesy against him, and against all Egypt:
 3 Speak, and say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against thee, Pharaoh king of Egypt, the great dragon that lieth in the midst of his rivers, which hath said, My river is mine own, and I have made it for myself.
.4 But I will put hooks in thy jaws, and I will cause the fish of thy rivers to stick unto thy scales, and I will bring thee up out of the midst of thy rivers, and all the fish of thy rivers shall stick unto thy scales.
 5 And I will leave thee thrown into the wilderness, thee and all the fish of thy rivers: thou shalt fall upon the open fields; thou shalt not be brought together, nor gathered: I have given thee for meat to the beasts of the field and to the fowls of the heaven. 
  1 - Tenth year That is "of the captivity of Jehoiachin ez0102. January 587 BC. This prophecy of Ezekiel was against the king of Egypt. Jeremiah had predicted the failure of the siege of Jerusalem je3705. The siege had apparently been lifted temporarily because the Egyptian army was coming.
  2 - Pharaoh For the origin of the term, see on ge1215.
  3 - Great dragon Hebrew tannim meaning "jackals" but some manuscripts use a similar word meaning "crocodile." The river animal claimed the river as his. It even claimed to have created the river.
  4 - Hooks People used hooks to catch crocodiles. "Pharaoh, presuming on his power as if he were God (Eze 29:3, "I have made it"), wished to stand in the stead of God as defender of the covenant-people, his motive being, not love to them, but rivalry with Babylon. He raised the siege of Jerusalem, but it was only for a time (compare Eze 29:6; Jer 37:5,7-10); ruin overtook not only them, but himself. As the fish that clung to the horny scales of the crocodile, the lord of the Nile, when he was caught, shared his fate, so the adherents of Pharaoh, lord of Egypt, when he was overthrown by Amasis, should share his fate." (JFB commentary).
 6 And all the inhabitants of Egypt shall know that I am the LORD, because they have been a staff of reed to the house of Israel.
 7 When they took hold of thee by thy hand, thou didst break, and rend all their shoulder: and when they leaned upon thee, thou brakest, and madest all their loins to be at a stand.
  6 - Inhabitants ... Staff of a reed Again a symbol the Egyptians would understand like crocodiles and fish. God had warned against depending on them is3006, is3103, je0236. They would fail to help Zedekiah (see on v1). It is not God's plan to seek help from His enemies.
 8 ¶ Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will bring a sword upon thee, and cut off man and beast out of thee.
 9 And the land of Egypt shall be desolate and waste; and they shall know that I am the LORD: because he hath said, The river is mine, and I have made it.
.10 Behold, therefore I am against thee, and against thy rivers, and I will make the land of Egypt utterly waste and desolate, from the tower of Syene even unto the border of Ethiopia. 
 11 No foot of man shall pass through it, nor foot of beast shall pass through it, neither shall it be inhabited forty years.
 12 And I will make the land of Egypt desolate in the midst of the countries that are desolate, and her cities among the cities that are laid waste shall be desolate forty years: and I will scatter the Egyptians among the nations, and will disperse them through the countries.
  8 - Bring a sword Egypt as well as Israel was to suffer for Israel's disobedience in trusting in Egypt.
  9 - Waste ... river is mine In response to the blasphemous boast in verse 3.
  11 - Neither ... inhabited ... forty years The "forty years" may be an unspecified time drawing symbolism from the extra 40 years in the wilderness in response to rebellion on the way to Canaan. nu1434.
  12 - Desolate ... scatter "Some Egyptians were to be carried to Babylon, also many "scattered" in Arabia and Ethiopia through fear; but mainly the "scattering" was to be the dissipation of their power, even though the people still remained in their own land." (JFB)
 13 Yet thus saith the Lord GOD; At the end of forty years will I gather the Egyptians from the people whither they were scattered:
.14 And I will bring again the captivity of Egypt, and will cause them to return into the land of Pathros, into the land of their habitation; and they shall be there a base kingdom.
 15 It shall be the basest of the kingdoms; neither shall it exalt itself any more above the nations: for I will diminish them, that they shall no more rule over the nations.
 16 And it shall be no more the confidence of the house of Israel, which bringeth their iniquity to remembrance, when they shall look after them: but they shall know that I am the Lord GOD.
  13,14 - At the end of forty years This appears to indicate a revival of the nation but is not seen in history. The nation was certainly weakened by the plagues and would have been considered base by the other nations. Divine promises are subject to human response de2801,15. Pathros is apparently a transliteration indicating Upper Egypt. "Upper" is with respect to the flow of the Nile. Thus "South Egypt."
  16 - No more the confidence of ... Israel The low state of Egypt was to be a lesson for Israel which had often turned to Egypt, God's enemy, for help 2ki1704, 2ki2335, is3002.
 17 ¶ And it came to pass in the seven and twentieth year, in the first month, in the first day of the month, the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
 18 Son of man, Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon caused his army to serve a great service against Tyrus: every head was made bald, and every shoulder was peeled: yet had he no wages, nor his army, for Tyrus, for the service that he had served against it:
  17 - Seven and ... year Of Jehoiachin's captivity. See ez0102. Verses 17-21 are inserted here apparently to keep prophecies about Egypt together. Otherwise, prophecies about foreign nations are in chronological order.
.19 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will give the land of Egypt unto Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon; and he shall take her multitude, and take her spoil, and take her prey; and it shall be the wages for his army. 
 20 I have given him the land of Egypt for his labour wherewith he served against it, because they wrought for me, saith the Lord GOD. 
 21 In that day will I cause the horn of the house of Israel to bud forth, and I will give thee the opening of the mouth in the midst of them; and they shall know that I am the LORD.
  19 - Take her multitude "he shall take away ... out of Egypt. The success of Nebuchadnezzar is implied in Tyre's receiving a king from Babylon, probably one of her captives there, Merbal. (JFB commentary)
  19 - Take her spoil "literally, 'spoil her spoil, prey her prey,' that is, as she spoiled other nations, so shall she herself be a spoil to Babylon." (JFB)
  21 - Horn That is "power." See on de3317; also ps09210.
  21 - Opening of the mouth Probably indicating the prophet's work as a teacher.
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Study questions - Chapter 29
  1. What was the purpose of the prophecy?
  2. Where did the word "pharaoh" come from?
  3. What did the dragon in the river represent?
  4. The Lord promised to gather the Egyptian people. What earlier Bible story was apparently used as a symbol and, in what sense was the promise conditional?