Ezekiel 29:4

4 I will put hooks in your jaws and drag you out on the land with fish sticking to your scales.

Ezekiel 29:4 Meaning and Commentary

Ezekiel 29:4

But I will put hooks in thy jaws
The allusion is to fishhooks, which are taken by fishes with the bait into their mouths, and stick in their jaws, by which they are drawn out of the river, and taken. The king of Egypt being before compared to a fish, these hooks design some powerful princes and armies, which should be the ruin of Pharaoh; one of them, according to Junius and Grotius, was Amasis, at the head of the Cyreneans and Greeks; and another was Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon; see ( Job 41:1 Job 41:2 ) ( Isaiah 37:29 ) : and I will cause the fish of thy rivers to stick unto thy scales;
the people of his kingdom, especially his soldiers, generals, princes, and great men, to cleave to him, follow him, and go out with him in his expedition against Amasis. The Targum is,

``I will kill the princes of thy strength with thy mighty ones:''
and I will bring thee up out of the midst of thy rivers:
alluding to the crocodile, to which he is compared, which sometimes comes out of the river, and goes on dry land. The king of Egypt was brought out of his kingdom by the following means: Amasis, with the Cyreneans and Greeks, having seized upon Lybia, and drove the king of it from thence, he applied to Pharaoh for help, who gathered a large army of Egyptians, and led them out into the fields of Cyrene, where they were defeated by Amasis, and almost all perished, and the king saved himself by flight; upon which the Egyptians mutinied and rebelled against him, and Amasis became their king: and all the fish of thy rivers shall stick unto thy scales;
the common people of Egypt; for the above numerous army consisted only of Egyptians, whom he gathered from all parts, drained his rivers of them, and almost exhausted his country hereby; he had indeed in an army, after this battle with Amasis, thirty thousand auxiliaries, Carians and Ionians; but these were not the fish of his rivers. The Targum is,
``I will make thy kingdom to cease from thee, and all the princes of thy strength with thy mighty ones shall be killed;''
with which the history agrees. The allusion to the crocodile is here very just and pertinent, which is a fish full of scales. Monsieur Thevenot F1, who saw many of them, says, that
``the body of this fish is large, and all of a size; the back is covered with high scales, like the heads of nails in a court gate, of a greenish colour, and so hard that they are proof against a halberd; and it has a long tail covered with scales like the body;''
and another traveller says F2 they have scales on their back musket proof, and therefore must be wounded in the belly; but another traveller F3 says, this is a vulgar report that a musket shot will not pierce the skins of the crocodiles, for upon trial it is found false; yet all writers, ancient and modern, allow it to have very firm scales on its back, which render it capable of bearing the heaviest strokes, and to be in a measure impenetrable and invincible; so Herodotus F4 says, it has a skin full of scales, on the back infrangible; or, as Pliny F5 expresses it, invincible against all blows and strokes it may be stricken with; and so says Aristotle F6, with which Aelian F7 agrees, who says that the crocodile has by nature a back and tail impenetrable; for it is covered with scales, as if it was armed as one might say, not unlike to hard shells.

F1 Travels, par. 1. B. 2. c. 72. p. 245.
F2 Mandelsloe in Harris's Voyages vol. 1. p. 759.
F3 Tavernier in ib. p. 835.
F4 Euterpe, sive l. 2. c. 63.
F5 Nat. Hist. l. 8. c. 25.
F6 Hist. Animal: l. 2. c. 10.
F7 De Animal. l. 10. c. 24.

Ezekiel 29:4 In-Context

2 “Son of man, turn and face Egypt and prophesy against Pharaoh the king and all the people of Egypt.
3 Give them this message from the Sovereign LORD : “I am your enemy, O Pharaoh, king of Egypt— you great monster, lurking in the streams of the Nile. For you have said, ‘The Nile River is mine; I made it for myself.’
4 I will put hooks in your jaws and drag you out on the land with fish sticking to your scales.
5 I will leave you and all your fish stranded in the wilderness to die. You will lie unburied on the open ground, for I have given you as food to the wild animals and birds.
6 All the people of Egypt will know that I am the LORD, for to Israel you were just a staff made of reeds.