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Bible Commentaries
Ezekiel 30

Fairbairn's Commentary on Ezekiel, Jonah and Pastoral EpistlesFairbairn's Commentaries

Verses 1-26



THIS chapter is composed of two distinct messages, the first of which reaches to the close of Ezekiel 30:10, and is merely, as to its substance, a repetition of what had already been announced in chap. Ezekiel 29:1-16, only carried out into much greater fulness of detail. It is another proof how congenial it was to the peculiar temperament of Ezekiel to have the prophetic outline filled up by a great variety of particulars, so as to give a lifelike distinctness and body to the picture. His spirit was not satisfied till the representation had been clothed, as it were, with flesh and blood, and it was seen in all its variety of parts. This is the more striking here, as the vision does not appear to have been given till long after that of which it forms the detailed sequel. The date at Ezekiel 29:17 is most naturally regarded as extending to this portion; as also the commencement of the message, by declaring the day of the Lord to be near for Egypt, suits better to the time when Nebuchadnezzar, having finished his operations at Tyre, was on the eve of marching against Egypt.

The other vision in the chapter was of a much earlier date, having been communicated on the seventh of the first month of the eleventh year; not quite a year after the first date in Ezekiel 29:0, and about three months before the taking of Jerusalem by the Chaldeans. It relates directly to Pharaoh, and, from some reverses already experienced by him, proceeds to announce the entire overthrow of his kingdom. The general subject being the same in both parts as in the immediately preceding chapter, we shall do little more than give a translation of the original, with some explanatory notes where such are required.

Ezekiel 30:1 . And the word of the Lord came to me saying,

Ezekiel 30:2 . Son of man, prophesy and say, Thus saith the Lord Jehovah, Alas! for the day.

Ezekiel 30:3 . For the day is near, and the day of Jehovah is near, a day of clouds, the time of the heathen shall it be. (The commencement is almost precisely in the words of Joel 1:15; Joel 2:1-2. The peculiar expression also, “the day of the heathen,” indicates briefly what is described more at large in the last chapter of Joel; it reveals the world- wide import of the judgment to be inflicted on Egypt, which was like the beginning of revenges on the heathen. We find the same representation given by Obadiah (Obadiah 1:15) with respect to Edom.)

Ezekiel 30:4 . And the sword comes upon Egypt, and there shall be terror in Ethiopia, because of the falling of the pierced-through in Egypt, and they shall take away her store, and shall destroy her foundations.

Ezekiel 30:5 . Ethiopia, and Phut, and Lud, and all the mixed multitude, and Chub, (It is not possible to determine with certainity all the countries and people here named. The people of Phut and Lud were formerly mentioned as among the hired soldiers of Tyre (chap, 27:10); and as it is known Egypt relied very much on her mercenary troops at the time before us, it is likely that they are mentioned here in the same character. Indeed, in Jeremiah 46:9; Jeremiah 46:21, they are expressly named the hired warriors of Egypt; and are rendered by our translators, Lybians and Lydians. This is a very ancient opinion, and in regard to both countries is concurred in by Gesenius. See Thes., at the words. The people named must have been some warlike races of Asia or Africa, who hired themselves out to other countries for military service. And this holds of both the Lybians and the Lydians. The Chub (or, with a different pointing, Kuf) are wholly unknown. Hävernick would identify them with a people named Kufa on the monuments, and by Wilkinson (vol. i. p. 379) considered to be a people situated considerably to the north of Palestine. But this also is mere conjecture. The LXX. omit the name, as if they did not know what to put for it. The mixed multitude are the people from various countries in the pay of Egypt.) and the children of the land of the covenant, with them that fall by the sword. (Who are to be understood here by “the children of the land of the covenant,” or the covenant-land, is also a matter of dispute. Hävernick takes the expression generally: persons in covenant, allies. But the expression, as Hitzig notices, is too definite for that; and the covenant-land can hardly be taken for anything but the land of Canaan. So the LXX. took it, and to make the matter plain, put “my covenant.” So also Jerome and Theodoret understood it of the Jews who migrated to Egypt, as mentioned in Jer 32:-44 .)

Ezekiel 30:6 . Thus saith Jehovah, And the supporters of Egypt shall fall, and the pride of her strength shall go down; from Migdol to Syene they shall fall by the sword in it, saith the Lord Jehovah.

Ezekiel 30:7 . And they shall be desolate in the midst of the lands that are desolate.

Ezekiel 30:8 . And they shall know that I am Jehovah, when I have set fire in Egypt, and all her helpers are broken.

Ezekiel 30:9 . In that day shall messengers go forth from before me in ships, to alarm Ethiopia in her security, and terror shall be among them, as the day of Egypt, for behold it comes. (The sending of messengers to Ethiopia, to rouse it out of its security, is probably mentioned with reference to Isaiah 18:2. It merely denotes that the tidings of evil would quickly travel from the one country to the other; Egyptians fleeing from before the Lord, in his executions of judgment, would hasten in their vessels to their neighbours in Ethiopia, and would do the part of special messengers. “As the day of Egypt” may either mean that the time of sore visitation would come on them as it had just come on Egypt, or as it had been at some former time in Egypt, the day peculiarly of Egypt’s judgment at the smiting of the first-born. Hävernick would refer the expression to the latter event. But this seems unnatural. The connection of the passage is best sustained by understanding day of the present time Egypt’s day would shortly be Ethiopia’s.)

Ezekiel 30:10 . Thus saith the Lord Jehovah, And I will make the fulness of Egypt to cease by the hand of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon.

Ezekiel 30:11 . He and his people with him, the terrible of the nations, are a-coming to destroy the land; and they will draw their swords against Egypt, and fill the land with the pierced-through.

Ezekiel 30:12 . And I will make the rivers dry, and sell the land into the hand of the wicked; and I will make the land and its fulness desolate by the hand of strangers; I Jehovah have spoken it.

Ezekiel 30:13 . Thus saith the Lord Jehovah, And I will destroy idols, and make images to cease from Noph, (Noph is Memphis, the residence of the kings of Egypt, and the chief seat of its idolatrous worship; hence in connection with it both idol-gods and princes are named as going to be cut off.) and a prince of the land of Egypt shall no more be; and I will put fear in the land of Egypt.

Ezekiel 30:14 . And I will make Pathros desolate, and put afire in Zoan, and execute judgments in No. (Pathros denotes Upper Egypt, of which No, or No-Ammon, was one of the chief cities; but it is coupled with Zoan, or Tanis, a principal city in Lower Egypt.)

Ezekiel 30:15 . And I will pour out my fury upon Sin, the strength of Egypt, (Sin is the same with Pelusium, which, on account of its position as a barrier-town, might justly be called the strength of Egypt. Suidas names it the Key of Egypt, because the possession of it opened the way to the whole.) and will cut off the multitude of No.

Ezekiel 30:16 . And I will make fire in Egypt; and Sin shall have great pain; and No shall be for tearing asunder, and Noph distresses perpetually. (That a difficulty was early felt in rendering this last clause of Ezekiel 30:16, is evident from the obviously conjectural meaning given by the LXX., “and waters shall be poured out.” צָרֵי is either enemies, or the distresses, troubles occasioned by them. So also יוֹמָם is either by day, of the day, or daily, perpetually; in which last sense, though rare, it occurs also in Psalms 13:3. Hence there are two literal renderings: Noph’s enemies shall be in the day, that is, fill her streets in broad daylight; or, Noph shall be distresses perpetually. I prefer the latter, as yielding a better sense, and more in accordance with the immediately preceding clause, in which No is said to be for tearing asunder given up, as it were, to that. So here Noph is to be made the subject of perpetual distress. Hävernick adopts from the Aramaic the sense of splitting or division, and thus gives to the last clause respecting Noph much the same meaning as the preceding bears respecting No: Noph shall be for perpetual splitting. I don t think the meaning would be improved by this change, even if it could be established; but the entire absence of any countenance to it in the Hebrew is enough to set it aside, considering that the word is one in such common use.)

Ezekiel 30:17 . The young men of Aven and of Pi-beseth shall fall by the sword, and these (i.e, the cities themselves their inhabitants bodily) shall go into captivity. (The Aven in this 17th verse is undoubtedly the same as what is elsewhere read On, Heliopolis, a strong and well-fortified city in Lower Egypt, and one of the great seats of Egyptian idolatry. On this account, probably, the prophet, by a slight alteration in the name, marks it as the place of iniquity the Aven. Pi-beseth is rendered Bubastos in the LXX. and Vulgate; and doubtless Bubastos, or Bubastis, was a mere corruption of Pi-bast. The place, situated in lower Egypt near the Pelusiac branch of the Nile, was celebrated for the worship of the goddess Bubastis (Copt. Pasht), regarded as the same with Diana of the Greeks. A beautiful and much-frequented temple stood there in honour of her (Herod, ii. 137, 138). The Persians destroyed the walls of the city, though it continued to be a place of some note long afterwards.)

Ezekiel 30:18 . And at Tehaphnehes the day is darkened, because I break there the yokes of Egypt; and the pride of her strength ceases in her; she a cloud shall cover her, and her daughters shall go into captivity. (Tehaphnehes, or Tapannes, rendered by the LXX. Taphnæ, is the city Daphne, not far from Pelusium, on the confines of Lower Egypt, a place of considerable strength; hence with its capture the pride or glory of Egypt’s strength is said to cease. Jeremiah speaks of Pharaoh having a house there (chap, 43:9), which implies that it had been occasionally at least a royal residence. By “breaking the yokes of Egypt” there, appears to be meant her dominion or supremacy which she exercised over many other people in and around her. I see no need for any other view than this simple one. The LXX. (and after them, Ewald, Hitzig, and others) render as if מַטּוֹת were in the text: “the sceptres of Egypt.” As if Egypt was made up of several states or kingdoms! The present text gives a better meaning. The idea of Hävernick, hat by the yokes of Egypt reference is made to the Jews who, according to Jeremiah 44, 46, went and settled there, is quite unnatural. In going there, they acted of their own accord, and there was no yoke or bondage of Egypt on them.)

Ezekiel 30:19 . And I will execute judgments in Egypt, and they shall know that I am Jehovah.

20. And it came to pass in the eleventh year, in the first month, in the seventh day of the month, that the word of the Lord came to me, saying,

Ezekiel 30:21 . Son of man, I have broken the arm of Pharaoh king of Egypt; and lo! it shall not be bound up to be healed, to put a bandage for binding, that it may be strengthened,- that it may lay hold of the sword.

Ezekiel 30:22 . Therefore, thus saith the Lord Jehovah, Behold, I am against Pharaoh king of Egypt, and I break his arms, both the strong and that which is broken, and I make the sword to fall out of his hand.

Ezekiel 30:23 . And I disperse the Egyptians among the nations, and scatter them among the countries.

Ezekiel 30:24 . And I strengthen the arms of the king of Babylon, and put my sword in his hand; and I break the arms of Pharaoh, and he utters the moanings of the pierced-through before him.

Ezekiel 30:25 . And I strengthen the arms of the king of Babylon, and the arms of Pharaoh shall fall down; and they shall know that I am Jehovah, when I give my sword into the hands of the king of Babylon, and he stretches it forth against the land of Egypt.

Ezekiel 30:26 . And I will disperse the Egyptians among the nations, and scatter them among the countries, and they shall know that I am Jehovah.

This word against Pharaoh appears to have been occasioned by some reverse he had experienced, which was like the breaking of one of his arms, and which the prophet regarded as the sign of his coming downfall. What the reverse was we can have little doubt when we refer to Jeremiah 37:0, and find that the army of Pharaoh had unsuccessfully attempted to deliver Jerusalem from the hand of the Chaldeans. On the appearance of the Egyptian army the Chaldeans raised the siege for a time, and inarched against the Egyptians, who, however, durst not give battle, but retired again to their own country, leaving the Jews to the mercy of their adversaries. This pusillanimous or prudent retreat the prophet here regards as tantamount to a discomfiture of the Egyptians by Nebuchadnezzar; it was like the breaking of one of his arms, which was not again to be healed, but only broken anew, and the other also with it, by the conquests of the Chaldeans. It is, of coarse, the breaking of the power of the king of Egypt, and the subjection of his kingdom to a foreign yoke, that is meant by the prophet, and not any injuries that might be done to his person. And it is no more necessary here, than in the similar language used of the king of Judah in Ezekiel 21:25, to suppose that Pharaoh must have been corporeally wounded and pierced by the sword of the king of Babylon, and fallen before him in the agonies of death. As king of Egypt, he was smitten to death, and his empire scattered and destroyed, when his forces were vanquished by the king of Babylon, and he and all his kingdom lay at the feet of the conqueror. And in the same relative sense must be understood the ceasing of a prince from Memphis in the former part (Ezekiel 30:13); it indicates, not the absolute non-existence of any one of princely rank, but the comparative failure of such no prince now as had been formerly, no strictly independent monarch.

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on Ezekiel 30". "Fairbairn's Commentary on Ezekiel, Jonah and Pastoral Epistles". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/fbn/ezekiel-30.html.
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