INTRODUCTION TO EZEKIEL 30
This chapter is a continuation of the prophecy against Egypt, both against the country and the king of it. It is introduced with expressions of lamentation, because of the destruction coming on, Ezekiel 30:1, and not only Egypt, and the cities thereof, should be destroyed, but all her friends, associates, and allies; the Ethiopians, Lydians, Lybians, and others, Ezekiel 30:4. Nebuchadnezzar and his army were to be the instruments of her ruin, Ezekiel 30:10, particular cities are mentioned by name, which should suffer much, and become desolate, Ezekiel 30:13 and then Pharaoh king of Egypt himself is threatened with broken arms, and his people to be scattered among the nations, Ezekiel 30:20, and the king of Babylon is again mentioned, whose arms should be strengthened to do all this, Ezekiel 30:24.
The word of the Lord came again unto me,.... Whether this prophecy was delivered about the time of that in the former part of the preceding chapter, namely, in the tenth year, tenth month, and twelfth day of it; or whether about the time that was which is recorded in the latter part of the chapter, in the seven and twentieth year of Jehoiachin's captivity, is not easy to say; I am inclined to think it was about the time of the latter, since the time of the fulfilment of it is said to be near, Ezekiel 30:3,
saying: as follows:
Son of man, prophesy and say, thus saith the Lord God,.... Prophesy against Egypt's king and inhabitants, and in the name of the Lord thus speak against them:
howl ye; ye Egyptians, and also ye Ethiopians, and all others after named, which should share in the destruction of Egypt; this is said to give them notice of it, and prepare them for it:
woe worth the day! or, "alas for the day!"
For the day is near,.... The day of Egypt's destruction, the time fixed for it:
even the day of the Lord is near; the day appointed by him, and in which he would make himself known by the judgments he executed: Kimchi observes, that, the same year this prophecy was delivered, Egypt was given into the hands of the king of Babylon:
a cloudy day; or; "a day of cloud"
it shall be the time of the Heathen: both when the Heathen nation of the Chaldeans should distress and conquer others; and when Heathen nations, as the Egyptians, Ethiopians, and others, should be destroyed by them. The Targum is,
"it shall be the time of the breaking or destruction of the people.'
And the sword shall come upon Egypt,.... The sword of the Chaldeans shall come upon the Egyptians, by which they should be cut off; it having a commission from the Lord for that purpose:
and great pain shall be in Ethiopia, when the slain shall fall in Egypt; Ethiopia being a neighbouring nation to Egypt, shall be in a panic when it shall hear of the sword of the Chaldeans being in Egypt, and of the ravages made by it, of the multitudes slain with it; fearing it will be their turn next to fall into the same hands, and in the same manner; and the rather, not only as they were neighbours, but allies:
and they shall take away her multitude; that is, the Chaldeans shall carry captive vast numbers of the Egyptians; such as fell not by the sword should not escape the hand of the enemy, but be taken and carried into other lands. Egypt was a very populous country; according to Agrippa's speech in Josephus
and her foundations shall be broken down; either in a literal sense, the foundations of the cities, towers, and fortified places in Egypt, should be undermined and destroyed, and consequently the buildings on them must sink and fall; or in a figurative sense, her king, princes, magistrates, laws, and government, which are the support of a state, should be removed, and be of no more service.
Ethiopia, Lybia, and Lydia,.... Or, "Cush, Phut, and Lud". Cush and Phut were both sons of Ham, from whom Egypt is sometimes called the land of Ham; and Lud or Ludim was the son of Mizraim, the son of Ham, the common name of Egypt in Scripture, Genesis 10:6. Cush is by us rendered Ethiopia; and is thought by some to be a part of Arabia, which lay near to Egypt. Phut and Lud are properly enough rendered Lybia and Lydia; and both these, with Ethiopia, are represented as the allies and confederates of Egypt, Jeremiah 46:9.
And all the mingled people; the Syriac version renders it, "all Arabia": and so Symmachus, according to Jerom; though others think they are the Carians, Ionians, and other Greeks, which Pharaohapries got together to fight with Amasis
And the men of the land that is in league shall fall with them by the sword; all the nations above mentioned, with whomsoever should be found that were confederates with Egypt, should share the same fate with them. The Septuagint render it, "and those of the children of my covenant"; as if the Jews were meant that were in Egypt, who are sometimes called "the children of the covenant", and of "the promise", Acts 3:25, and so some interpret the place; but it takes in all the allies of Egypt, and does not design the Jews, at least not them only.
Thus saith the Lord, they also that uphold Egypt shall fall,.... That is, by the sword; either their allies and auxiliaries without, that supported the Egyptians with men and money; or their principal people within, their nobles that supported their state with their estates, their counsellors with their wisdom, their soldiers with their valour and courage:
and the pride of her power shall come down; or the power they were proud of, the dominion and grandeur they boasted of; the greatness of their king, and the largeness of their empire, with the wealth and riches of it:
from the tower of Syene shall they fall in it by the sword, saith the Lord God; or rather, from "Migdol to Syene"; so the Septuagint and Arabic versions, from one end of Egypt to the other; the sword would ravage, and multitudes fall by it, in all cities and towns, between the one and the other; which denotes the general slaughter that should be made; See Gill on Ezekiel 29:10.
And they shall be desolate in the midst of the countries that are desolate,.... Or among them, shall be ranked with them, and be as desolate as they are; as Judea and other countries, ravaged by the same enemy:
and her cities shall be in the midst of the cities that are wasted; undergo the same fate as they have done, as Jerusalem and others. The cities of Egypt were very numerous; Diodorus Siculus
And they shall know that I am the Lord,.... The Egyptians shall know the Lord to be the true God, and acknowledge him to be omniscient and omnipotent, that should so exactly foretell their destruction, and accomplish it:
when I have set a fire in Egypt: a war there; the heat of battle, very devouring and consuming, as well as very grievous and terrible, as fire is. The Targum is,
"when I shall give (or set) people that are strong as fire against Egypt;'
the army of the Chaldeans:
and when all her helpers shall be destroyed; her auxiliaries, the neighbouring nations in alliance with them, before mentioned.
In that day shall messengers go forth from me in ships,.... Either by the river Nile, or by the Red sea, to Arabia Felix, which some think is meant by Ethiopia. Cush or Ethiopia was encompassed about with water, so that there was no coming to it but by ships; see Genesis 2:13, compare with this Isaiah 18:1, the messengers here were either such who under a divine impulse, or however by the providence of God, were directed to go to Ethiopia, and tell them the news of the destruction of Egypt; or these were messengers sent by the king of Babylon, to demand a surrender of their country to him; or it may design him himself, and his army, who marched thither to subdue that country also, after the conquest of Egypt. So the Targum,
"at that time messengers shall go forth from before me with legions;'
and because all this was by the appointment and providence of God, they are represented as messengers sent by him:
to make the careless Ethiopians afraid; with the news of the fall of Egypt their confederate, and of a mighty army coming against them; who had dwelt securely and confidently, at ease and unconcerned, without any sense of danger, or fear of any enemy:
and great pain shall come upon them, as in the day of Egypt; either as of old, when the plagues were on Egypt, and especially when they were drowning in the Red sea; or as of late, when the sword was in Egypt, and ravaging there:
for, lo, it cometh; the same day was coming on them as came on Egypt, the day of the Lord, a cloudy one, and the time of the Heathen; it was certain, just at hand, and there was no escaping it; see Ezekiel 30:3.
Thus saith the Lord God, I will make the multitude of Egypt to cease,.... The vast numbers of people that inhabited Egypt; some of its cities were very populous, especially the city No, after mentioned; but now the numbers should be greatly lessened, and the whole land sadly depopulated: or the "noise"
by the hand of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon; the then greatest monarch in the world.
He and his people with him,.... He and his army, consisting chiefly of Chaldeans; though there were of other nations among them, as were in his army when he besieged Jerusalem, as seems to be suggested in the next clause:
the terrible of the nations shall be brought to destroy the land; the Chaldeans, the most fierce, cruel, and terrible of all people, and others the most terrible that could be collected out of all nations under the yoke of the king of Babylon; and all of them terrible to the nations against whom they came, as now against Egypt to destroy it; see Habakkuk 1:6,
and they shall draw their swords against Egypt, and fill the land with the slain; go through the land with their drawn swords, and kill all they meet; and not put them up till they have quite depopulated the land, and filled it with dead carcasses.
And I will make the rivers dry,.... Egypt was a country that abounded with rivers; however, with canals cut from the river Nile; its wealth and riches very much depended here on, partly on account of the multitude of fishes taken out of them, and the paper reeds that grew upon their banks; but chiefly because the whole land, was watered by them, and made exceeding fruitful, rain being not so common in it; so that to dry up the riven was in effect to take away their substance and dependence; besides, hereby the way was made easy and passable for the enemy; there was nothing to obstruct him, he could overrun and ravage the land at pleasure:
and sell the land into the hand of the wicked; the Chaldeans under Nebuchadnezzar, who were wicked idolaters, men of flagitious lives, and of merciless and cruel dispositions; who would show no favour to the inhabitants of the land, when delivered up to them, which is called a selling it; for, as things sold are delivered to the buyer, so should this land be to them; which though they had no right to it before, yet by the event of war, and disposal of divine Providence, came to have a property in it, given them by him who is the proprietor of all lands; and after them into the hands of the Persians, under Cambyses, and Ochus; who were very wicked and cruel princes, and may be reckoned among the terrible or violent ones of the nations in the preceding verse; and then into the hands of the Grecian, Romans, Saracen, Mamaluck, and now the Turks, all very wicked people:
and I will make the land waste, and all that is therein, by the hand of strangers; the Babylonians, people of another country and distant, of another language, and with whom they had no commerce, alliance, and friendship, and so would not spare them, and their land, when in their possession; and so all the rest above mentioned, into whose hands they successively fell:
I the Lord have spoken it; determined it, prophesied of it; and it shall come to pass, as it did accordingly.
Thus saith the Lord God, I will also destroy the idols,.... With which Egypt abounded, making an idol of all sorts of creatures, rational and irrational, animate and inanimate, and in which they trusted; wherefore these being destroyed, they had nothing to put their confidence in:
I will cause their images to cease out of Noph; called Moph, Hosea 9:6 and which we there rightly render Memphis, as many versions do here, and was very famous for idolatry: here stood the temple of Serapis, and the temple of other idols; here Isis and Osiris were worshipped; and it was in Jerom's time, as he says, the metropolis of the Egyptian superstition. It was built by Menes
and there shall be no more a prince of the land of Egypt; that is, a native of that country; or that should rule over the whole of it, and in that grandeur the kings of Egypt had before; or, however, not dwell in Memphis, which was the seat of the kings of Egypt, but now should be so no more: when Egypt was conquered by Nebuchadnezzar, it was under the Babylonians; and then under the Persians; and then under the Greeks; and afterwards under the Romans; since under the Saracens and Mamalucks; and now in the hands of the Turks; so that it never recovered its former glory; and indeed, after Nectanebus was driven out of it by Ochus, king of Persia, it never after had a king:
and I will put a fear in all the land of Egypt; a panic in all the inhabitants of it; as soon as they shall hear of the king of Babylon entering into it, their courage, bravery, and fortitude, shall at once leave them, and they shall be dispirited, and have no heart to defend themselves, and oppose the enemy.
And I will make Pathros desolate,.... A country in Egypt; See Gill on Ezekiel 29:14, perhaps it was the first place that Nebuchadnezzar entered, and so went from place to place in the order hereafter mentioned:
and I will set fire in Zoan; or Tunis, a famous city in Egypt in the times of Moses, Numbers 13:22. The Targum and Septuagint version call it Tanis here; and from hence a nome in Egypt was called the Tanitic nome. This city was burnt down by the king of Babylon: the place now built on the spot is called Mansourah, as Dr. Shaw
and I will execute judgment in No. The Vulgate Latin version renders it Alexandria; and so does the Targum; of which place Jarchi, Kimchi, and Ben Melech interpret it; and so does Jerom; which, though built after these times by Alexander, and called so after his name, yet is supposed to be built on or near the place where ancient No stood. The city is now called Scanderoon, or Scanderea; the Turks calling Alexander Scander: here the judgments of God were executed in the destruction of it by the Chaldean army; and great devastations have been made in it since it was rebuilt by Alexander, by the Saracens, who destroyed all places where they came; so that, as Dr. Shaw
And I will pour out my fury upon Sin, the strength of Egypt,.... Either the city Sais, as the Septuagint and Arabic versions; or rather Pelusium, as the Vulgate Latin version, so called from "pelos" which signifies "clay" in the Greek language; and the same "Sin" signifies in the Chaldee, Psalm 18:43, and as now called Tineh, from טין, "clay": it had a very fine haven, and may be called the strength of Egypt, it lying at the entrance of it; and having a strong fortified tower, it was difficult to enter into it; but could not stand before the wrath and fury of the Lord of hosts, when he sent the Chaldeans to it. It is thought by some to be the same with Pithom, built by the first of the pastor kings of Egypt, and fortified by him, Exodus 1:11, according to Manetho
and I will cut off the multitude of No; the numerous inhabitants of it; hence called "populous No", Nahum 3:8, or "Hamon No"; See Gill on Ezekiel 30:14; here, as before observed, the Septuagint version renders it Memphis; as does also the Arabic version. Some take it, as before, to be the Egyptian Thebes, where was a temple dedicated to Jupiter Hammon; and which city, Pausanias
And I will set fire in Egypt,.... Kindle a war there, which shall consume it; see Ezekiel 30:8,
Sin shall have great pain; as a woman in travail, seeing its destruction is just at hand; the same with Pelusium, as before:
and No shall be rent asunder, the walls of it shall be broken down by the enemy, or a breach shall be made in it, like the breach of waters which were about it; see Nahum 3:8,
and Noph shall have distresses daily: that is, Memphis, as before; enemies shall surround it daily, as the Targum; shall besiege and distress it, until it is taken: or, "in the daytime"; their enemies should not come as thieves in the night, openly in the day. Abendana interprets it of their unfortunate day, their star being unlucky.
The young men of Aven and of Phibeseth shall fall by the sword,.... Aven is the same with On, of which Potipherah was priest in Joseph's time and whose daughter he married, Genesis 41:45, the same with Heliopolis, or Bethshemesh, the city of the sun, see Jeremiah 43:13; see Gill on Jeremiah 43:13; where was the temple of the sun, and where it was worshipped; and so it is rendered by the Septuagint, Vulgate Latin, and Arabic versions. It is called here "Aven", or "vanity", because of the vain and idolatrous worship here performed. Phibeseth is the Bubastis of Herodotus, and called by other writers Bubastus; hence there was a nome or province in Egypt called the Bubastic nome, mentioned by Ptolemy
"for me the city of Bubastia is built; be glad, be glad, O Egypt, which brought me up.'
This place is now called Bishbesh, according to Dr. Shaw
and these cities shall go into captivity; the rest of the inhabitants of the cities of Aven and Pibeseth, that shall not fall by the sword, shall be carried captive into other lands. Joseph Kimchi supplies "women" instead of "cities"; and thinks, that as the males are mentioned before, the females are understood here. The Targum is,
"they that served them shall go into captivity;'
that served the idols worshipped in these cities.
At Tehaphnehes also the day shall be darkened,.... The same with Hanes in Isaiah 30:4 and Tahapanes in Jeremiah 2:16 and Tahpanhes, Jeremiah 43:7, it was a royal seat of the kings of Egypt: there was in Solomon's time a queen of Egypt of this name, and perhaps it might be so called from her, 1 Kings 11:19. It is generally thought to be the Daphne of Pelusium, it being near that city; though Junius takes it to be a place in another part of Egypt, at a great distance, which Herodotus
when I shall break there the yokes of Egypt; the yokes they put upon the necks of others, who now should be freed from them: or, "the sceptres of Egypt", as the Vulgate Latin version renders it; the regalia of their kings, which might lie in this place; it being a royal seat where Pharaoh had a house, as appears from Jeremiah 43:9,
and the pomp of her strength shall cease in her; all that grandeur and magnificence which appeared in the courts of the kings of Egypt in this place:
as for her, a cloud shall cover her; as for this city, a cloud of calamity shall cover it, so as its glory shall not be seen. The Targum is,
"a king with his army shall cover her as a cloud ascends and covers the earth:'
and her daughters shall go into captivity; which may be taken either in a literal sense for the daughters of the inhabitants of this place, which must be a great affliction to their tender parents, to have them forced away by rude soldiers, and carried captive into distant lands; or in a figurative sense, for the villages and the inhabitants of them round about this city; it being usual to represent a city as a mother, and its villages as daughters; and so the Targum, Jarchi, and Kimchi interpret it.
Thus will I execute judgments in Egypt,.... In the several provinces, and in the several cities of it before mentioned, and in all other places; even the judgments of fire, famine, sword, and captivity:
and they shall know that I am the Lord; God omniscient and omnipotent, by the, judgments executed; and own the same: this more especially they did, when the Gospel was preached among them, and many were converted by it in the times of the apostles.
And it came to pass in the eleventh year,.... Of Zedekiah's reign, and Jehoiachin's captivity; some little time after the prophecy in Ezekiel 19:1, here the prophecies come into their order again, being interrupted by those of a much later date, at the end of the preceding chapter, and the former part of this:
in the first month, in the seventh day of the month; the month Nisan, which answers to part of March, and part of April; the seventh day must be about the twenty ninth of March; but, according to Bishop Usher
that the word of the Lord came unto me, saying; as follows:
Son of man, I have broken the arm of Pharaoh king of Egypt,.... Not Pharaohnecho, king of Egypt, whose army was overthrown at Carchemish by the king of Babylon, in the fourth year of Jehoiakim; when the latter took from the former all that belonged to him between the river of Egypt and the river Euphrates; by which he was so weakened and dispirited, that he could not stir any more out of his own land, Jeremiah 46:2 and of him Jarchi and Kimchi interpret it; but Pharaohhophra, or Apries, who was defeated by the Cyreneans, and saved himself by flight; See Gill on Ezekiel 29:4,
and, lo, it shall not be bound up to be healed, to put a roller to bind it; a metaphor taken from chirurgeons, who, having set broken bones, put on a bandage or rollers of linen, or such like stuff, to keep them tight; but nothing of this kind should be done; hereby suggesting that Egypt should receive such a blow or wound as would be incurable; see Jeremiah 46:11,
to make it strong to hold the sword; which it should not be able to do, or to make war any more, at least with success, or to defend itself.
Therefore thus saith the Lord God, behold, I am against Pharaoh king of Egypt,.... The then present king of Egypt, whose name was Hophra or Apries, Jeremiah 44:30,
and I will break his arms, the strong, and that which was broken: both his arms, the sound and the broken one, his whole power, strength, and dominion; meaning that that part of his kingdom which lay between the two rivers of Egypt and Euphrates, that had been taken away by the king of Babylon, should remain so; and the other part of his kingdom should fall a prey to him also:
and I will cause the sword to fall out of his hand; so that he should be so far from being so able to make use of the sword, that he should not be able to hold it; it should drop out of his hand; nor should he be able to take it up again, and make war, either offensive or defensive.
And I will scatter the Egyptians among the nations,.... Among the several provinces of Babylon, and other places, where the Chaldeans should carry or send them:
and will disperse them through the countries: the same thing repeated in different words for the confirmation of it.
And I will strengthen the arms of the king of Babylon,.... Give him a commission to make war; direct his councils; supply him with all necessaries; animate and encourage his soldiers; and give him success in all his enterprises:
and put my sword in his hand; which confirms the above sense, that he should have power and authority from the Lord to attack the king of Egypt, and should gain a victory over him; since it was not his own sword he drew, but the sword of the Lord of hosts; which coming from him, and having his commission, cannot fail of doing execution;
but will break Pharaoh's arms; as before in Ezekiel 30:21,
and he shall groan before him with the groanings of a deadly wounded man; that is, before the king of Babylon; by whom, as an instrument, his arms shall be broken, and his power destroyed; and he be like a man in the agonies of death, just expiring, not able to speak, but groaning out his life under the inexpressible anguish of broken bones, and none to set them.
But I will strengthen the arms of the king of Babylon,.... Which is repeated for the sake of confirmation:
and the arms of Pharaoh shall fall down: as when a man's arms are broken; and he shall not be able to lift them up and defend himself:
and they shall know that I am the Lord; namely, the Egyptians, as in Ezekiel 30:19,
when I shall have put my sword into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall stretch it out on the land of Egypt; that is, when he shall have a commission to carry the war into Egypt; and he shall spread desolation over all the land, cutting off the inhabitants of it everywhere, as before described in this chapter.
And I will scatter the Egyptians among the nations, and disperse them among the countries,.... Of which they might assure themselves, since the Lord had before spoken it, and here again repeats it:
and they shall know that I am the Lord; whose name alone is Jehovah, and does whatsoever he pleases; sets up kings, and puts them down; strengthens and weakens kingdoms just as seems good in his sight; none having any power but what is given by him, and which he can take away when he thinks fit.
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Gill, John. "Commentary on Ezekiel 30". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/
the First Week after Epiphany