Son of man, take up a lamentation for Pharaoh king of Egypt,
&c.] Pharaohhophra, or Apries; say a funeral dirge for him; this is ordered, not out of honour and respect to him, or in compassion for his misery and ruin, but to assure him of it: and say unto him, thou art like a young lion of the nations;
for strength and fierceness, for cruelty and tyranny, which he exercised, not in one nation only, but in many; a lively emblem of the beast of Rome, spiritually called Egypt and Sodom, compared to a leopard, bear, and lion, ( Revelation 11:8 ) ( 13:2 ) : and thou art as a whale in the seas;
or rather "like a crocodile" F21, which was common in the rivers of Egypt, but not the whale; which also has not scales, nor does it go upon land, nor is it taken in a net; all which is said of this creature here, and in ( Ezekiel 29:3 Ezekiel 29:4 ) and to the crocodile there is an allusion in the name of Pharaoh, in the Arabic language, as Noldius from Camius observes F23; see ( Ezekiel 29:3 ) : and thou camest forth with thy rivers;
or, "by thy rivers" F24; as the crocodile in the river Nile, by the arms of it, or canals made out of it, sometimes went out from thence to other parts: or, "out of thy rivers" F25 upon the land, as the crocodile does; so the king of Egypt went forth with his armies out of his own land, into other countries, to disturb them, as follows: or rather, "camest forth in thy rivers" F26; as the crocodile puts forth its head out of the water for respiration: and thou troublest the waters with thy feet, and foulest their rivers;
just as the feet of men or beasts, in shallow waters, raise up the mud or clay at the bottom, and so foul them; this best agrees with the crocodile, which has feet; Grotius thinks, for this reason, the sea horse is intended; the meaning is, that Pharaoh with his soldiers entered other nations, made war upon them, and disturbed their peace and tranquillity. The Targum is,
``thou hast been strong among the people, as a whale in the seas, thou hast fought with thine army; and thou hast moved the people with thine auxiliaries, and thou hast wasted their provinces.''
F21 (Myntk) "similis es crocodile", Noldius, Ebr. Concord. Part. p. 375.
F23 Ibid. No. 1306.
F24 (Kytwrhnb) "per flumina tua", Vatablus, Junius & Tremellius, Polanus.
F25 "Ex fluminibus tuis", Starckius.
F26 "In fluviis tuis", V. L. Piscator; "in fluminibus tuis", Cocceius