A prophecy against Egypt. (1-19) Another. (20-26)
Verses 1-19 The prophecy of the destruction of Egypt is very full. Those who take their lot with God's enemies, shall be with them in punishment. The king of Babylon and his army shall be instruments of this destruction. God often makes one wicked man a scourge to another. No place in the land of Egypt shall escape the fury of the Chaldeans. The Lord is known by the judgments he executes. Yet these are only present effects of the Divine displeasure, not worthy of our fear, compared with the wrath to come, from which Jesus delivers his people.
Verses 20-26 Egypt shall grow weaker and weaker. If lesser judgments do not prevail to humble and reform sinners, God will send greater. God justly breaks that power which is abused, either to put wrongs upon people, or to put cheats upon them. Babylon shall grow stronger. In vain do men endeavour to bind up the arm the Lord is pleased to break, and to strengthen those whom he will bring down. Those who disregard the discoveries of his truth and mercy, shall know his power and justice, in the punishment for their sins.
Ezekiel 30:1-26 . CONTINUATION OF THE PROPHECIES AGAINST EGYPT.
Two distinct messages: (1) At Ezekiel 30:1-9 , a repetition of Ezekiel 29:1-16 , with fuller details of lifelike distinctness. The date is probably not long after that mentioned in Ezekiel 29:17 , on the eve of Nebuchadnezzar's march against Egypt after subjugating Tyre. (2) A vision relating directly to Pharaoh and the overthrow of his kingdom; communicated at an earlier date, the seventh of the first month of the eleventh year. Not a year after the date in Ezekiel 29:1 , and three months before the taking of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar.
2. Woe worth the day!--that is, Alas for the day!
3. the time of the heathen--namely, for taking vengeance on them. The judgment on Egypt is the beginning of a world-wide judgment on all the heathen enemies of God ( Joel 1:15 , Joel 2:1 Joel 2:2 Joel 2:3 , Obadiah 1:15 ).
4. pain--literally, "pangs with trembling as of a woman in childbirth."
5. the mingled people--the mercenary troops of Egypt from various lands, mostly from the interior of Africa (compare Ezekiel 27:10 , Jeremiah 25:20 Jeremiah 25:24 , Jeremiah 46:9 Jeremiah 46:21 ).
Chub--the people named Kufa on the monuments [HAVERNICK], a people considerably north of Palestine [WILKINSON]; Coba or Chobat, a city of Mauritania [MAURER].
men of the land that is in league--too definite an expression to mean merely, "men in league" with Egypt; rather, "sons of the land of the covenant," that is, the Jews who migrated to Egypt and carried Jeremiah with them (Jeremiah 42:1-44:30'). Even they shall not escape ( Jeremiah 42:22 , 44:14 ).
6. from the tower of
7. in the midst of . . . countries . . . desolate--Egypt shall fare no better than they ( Ezekiel 29:10 ).
9. messengers . . . in ships to . . . Ethiopians--( Isaiah 18:1 Isaiah 18:2 ). The cataracts interposing between them and Egypt should not save them. Egyptians "fleeing from before Me" in My execution of judgment, as "messengers" in "skiffs" ("vessels of bulrushes," Isaiah 18:2 ) shall go up the Nile as far as navigable, to announce the advance of the Chaldeans.
as in the day of Egypt--The day of Ethiopia's "pain" shall come shortly, as Egypt's day came.
10. the multitude--the large population.
12. rivers--the artificial canals made from the Nile for irrigation. The drying up of these would cause scarcity of grain, and so prepare the way for the invaders ( Isaiah 19:5-10 ).
13. Noph--Memphis, the capital of Middle Egypt, and the stronghold of "idols." Though no record exists of Nebuchadnezzar's "destroying" these, we know from HERODOTUS and others, that Cambyses took Pelusium, the key of Egypt, by placing before his army dogs, cats, &c., all held sacred in Egypt, so that no Egyptian would use any weapon against them. He slew Apis, the sacred ox, and burnt other idols of Egypt.
no more a prince--referring to the anarchy that prevailed in the civil wars between Apries and Amasis at the time of Nebuchadnezzar's invasion. There shall no more be a prince of the land of Egypt, ruling the whole country; or, no independent prince.
14. Pathros--Upper Egypt, with "No" or Thebes its capital (famed for its stupendous buildings, of which grand ruins remain), in antithesis to Zoan or Tanis, a chief city in Lower Egypt, within the Delta.
15. Sin--that is, Pelusium, the frontier fortress on the northeast, therefore called "the strength (that is, the key) of Egypt." It stands in antithesis to No or Thebes at the opposite end of Egypt; that is, I will afflict Egypt from one end to the other.
16. distresses daily--MAURER translates, "enemies during the day," that is, open enemies who do not wait for the covert of night to make their attacks (compare Jeremiah 6:4 , 15:8 ). However, the Hebrew, though rarely, is sometimes rendered (see Psalms 13:2 ) as in English Version.
17. Aven--meaning "vanity" or "iniquity": applied, by a slight change of the Hebrew name, to On or Heliopolis, in allusion to its idolatry. Here stood the temple of the sun, whence it was called in Hebrew, Beth-shemesh ( Jeremiah 43:13 ). The Egyptian hieroglyphics call it, Re Athom, the sun, the father of the gods, being impersonate in Athom or Adam, the father of mankind.
Pi-beseth--that is, Bubastis, in Lower Egypt, near the Pelusiac branch of the Nile: notorious for the worship of the goddess of the same name (Coptic, Pasht), the granite stones of whose temple still attest its former magnificence.
these cities--rather, as the Septuagint, "the women," namely, of Aven and Pi-beseth, in antithesis to "the young men." So in Ezekiel 30:18 , "daughters shall go into captivity" [MAURER].
18. Tehaphnehes--called from the queen of Egypt mentioned in 1 Kings 11:19 . The same as Daphne, near Pelusium, a royal residence of the Pharaohs ( Jeremiah 43:7 Jeremiah 43:9 ). Called Hanes Isaiah 30:4 ).
break . . . the yokes of Egypt--that is, the tyrannical supremacy which she exercised over other nations. Compare "bands of their yoke" ( Ezekiel 34:7 ).
a cloud--namely, of calamity.
20. Here begins the earlier vision, not long after that in the twenty-ninth chapter, about three months before the taking of Jerusalem, as to Pharaoh and his kingdom.
21. broken . . . arm of Pharaoh--( Psalms 37:17 , Jeremiah 48:25 ). Referring to the defeat which Pharaoh-hophra sustained from the Chaldeans, when trying to raise the siege of Jerusalem ( Jeremiah 37:5 Jeremiah 37:7 ); and previous to the deprivation of Pharaoh-necho of all his conquests from the river of Egypt to the Euphrates ( 2 Kings 24:7 , Jeremiah 46:2 ); also to the Egyptian disaster in Cyrene.
22. arms--Not only the "one arm" broken already ( Ezekiel 30:21 ) was not to be healed, but the other two should be broken. Not a corporal wound, but a breaking of the power of Pharaoh is intended.
cause . . . sword to fall out of . . . hand--deprive him of the resources of making war.