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Bible Commentaries
Ezekiel 30

Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & PsalmsHengstenberg's Commentary


Chapters 29-32

The prophecies against Egypt now follow, in which the prophet turns from the members of the coalition to its head.

Of the prophecies against Egypt there are in all six, each with a date,—properly only five, as the second (ch. Ezekiel 29:17 to Ezekiel 30:19) proves itself to be an appendix to the first by this, that it departs from the otherwise so strictly observed chronological order: it does not lie, as most of the other prophecies against foreign nations, between the date given in ch. Ezekiel 24:1 and that in ch. Ezekiel 33:21; it departs from the chronological order even within the collection of prophecies against Egypt. Its object is to point out that the fulfilment of the first prophecy is fast approaching, to which it is in part verbally attached, to show most emphatically that it has no independent import, but is merely a supplement. Thus there remain only the prophecies, ch. Ezekiel 29:1-16, Ezekiel 30:20-26, Ezekiel 31, Ezekiel 32:1-16, and Ezekiel 32:17-32. The number seven can only be carried through by forcibly separating what is united. There is in the whole collection of Ezekiel no single independent discourse which is not dated.

Verses 1-5

Ezekiel 30:1-5. The naked thought, expressed in the introduction of the prophecy (ch. Ezekiel 29:17-21), of the great catastrophe hanging over Egypt, assumes flesh and blood in the main bulk of the prophecy (ch. Ezekiel 30:1-19). In four paragraphs the prophet brings the destruction of Egypt to view in a pictorial way, as a substitute for sight to those to whom not seeing and yet believing is so difficult. Ch. Ezekiel 29:17-21 as introduction, and ch. Ezekiel 30 as completion, are inseparably connected. “We have no complete prophecy in Ezekiel that is so general as ch. Ezekiel 29:17-21, none that blunders out so awkwardly as ch. Ezekiel 30. Ezekiel 30:2-3 especially require that the party to be judged should be mentioned before. That ch. Ezekiel 30:1-19 also belongs to the prophecy, which announces the speedy fulfilment of the earlier prophecy in ch. Ezekiel 29:1-16, the intentionally verbal repetition of passages of this prophecy leaves no room to doubt.

Ezekiel 30:1. And the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, 2. Son of man, prophesy and say, Thus saith the Lord Jehovah, Howl ye, Alas the day! 3. For near is the day, and near the day of the Loud, a day of cloud; a time of the heathen will it be. [191] 4. And a sword shall come upon Egypt, and trembling shall be in Kush, when the slain shall fall in Egypt, and they shall take away her tumult, and her foundations shall be pulled down. 5. Kush, and Phut, and Lud, and all the throng, and Kub, and the sons of the land of the covenant, shall fall with them by the sword.

[191] Luther, “The time is present that the heathen shall come,” contrary to Jeremiah 27:7 and the other parallel passages.

“A time of the heathen will it be” ( Ezekiel 30:3): the time of the heathen here is identical with the day of Egypt in Ezekiel 30:9. These are the heathen, who, according to the introduction (ch. Ezekiel 29:17 f.), here come into view. The general designation is explained by the contrast with the people of the covenant, whose time had come earlier. The heathen are judged in Egypt, one of their chief representatives, after the judgment on the house of God had already begun. We have here the fundamental passage for the often misunderstood word of the Lord, Luke 21:24: “And Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled”—that is, arrive ( Genesis 25:24). The times of the heathen are, according to the fundamental passage here, the times of judgment; comp. Isaiah 13:22. The judgment begins with unbelieving Jerusalem, and passes, after it has there consumed all its fuel, over to the heathen, who were the instruments of the judgment on Jerusalem: being the fall of the Roman empire elsewhere also often foretold by Jesus, of the mountain that shall be cast into the sea after the barren fig-tree of the Jewish people is dried up ( Matthew 21:21), of the sycamore-tree that is to be rooted out and cast into the sea in Luke 17:6. Kush trembles at the fall of the slain in Egypt ( Ezekiel 30:4): this shows that Ethiopia had made common cause with Egypt, and thus behoved to be afraid of being involved in its fall; comp. on ch. Ezekiel 23:42. “Their tumult:” this is here the prosperity of Egypt bringing active life with it. “Her foundations shall be pulled down:” the state under the figure of a house that is destroyed from the foundation, after the example of Isaiah 19:10, where it is said of Egypt, “Its foundations shall be broken.” The enumeration of the foreign auxiliaries of Egypt that suffer with it ( Ezekiel 30:5), begins with Kush, which was already ( Ezekiel 30:4) mentioned as closely connected with it. Then follow Phut and Lud, that already occur, ch. Ezekiel 27:10, among the mercenary troops of the Tyrians. The Phutaeans appear, Jeremiah 46:9, along with Kush and Lud as mercenaries of Egypt. The three names are followed by a collective term, “and all the throng”—the whole remaining motley company of mercenaries. Two others besides are then made prominent. First, Kub. This seems to correspond with the Persians named in ch. Ezekiel 27:10 along with Phut and Lud, and indeed at their head, who, as was remarked, had probably entered in consequence of the coalition into the service of Tyre; so that it cannot surprise us if we meet them here also. As the name Kub does not occur elsewhere in the Old Testament, we must antecedently expect that those who are thereby designated, and here occupy so important a place, may appear under other names—that the name Kub may be a native one, that first became known in anterior Asia in the time of Ezekiel, in consequence of the nearer political contact with this country. In old Persian Kufa means mountain. Kufa occurs in the Egyptian monuments as a mighty Asiatic power with which the Egyptians had relations. [192] It has been already indicated that the coalition had formed a connection with Medo-Persia. Among those who must drink of the Chaldean cup are named ( Jeremiah 25:25) all the kings of Elam and all the kings of Media. Elam had then, at the time designated in ch. Ezekiel 29:17, already suffered a severe defeat from the Chaldeans (ch. Ezekiel 32:24). It was natural that they should seek to avenge this defeat, as they were a strong, pushing people, destined to succeed the Chaldeans in the supremacy. Wherever the battle against the tyrants burned, in Tyre and in Egypt, their mercenaries appeared. Along with Kub are the “sons of the land of covenant” specially signalized. The pre-eminently so-called covenant land of Egypt can only be Kush. This appears everywhere as such in the Assyrian and Babylonian times. The close returns to the beginning, and explains that there the beginning was made with Kush. Kush appears in Ezekiel 30:4, Ezekiel 30:9 as partaking next in the fall of Egypt. The “sons of the land of covenant” that, according to ch. Ezekiel 23:42, entered into direct relation with Israel, the confederate of Egypt (for the Sabeans there mentioned belong to Kush), are before all led to the help of Egypt, and along with them the volunteers from farther Asia, and others from the African confines.

[192] Wilkinson’s Manners and Customs of Ancient Egypt, i. 1, p. 375 f.

Verses 1-19

Ezekiel 29:17 to Ezekiel 30:19. We have here an appendix to the preceding prophecy,—an announcement from the twenty-seventh year of Jehoiachin, above sixteen years later than that in Ezekiel 1-16; later also than the concluding prophecy of this altogether chronologically arranged book, the vision of the new temple. For this belongs, according to ch. Ezekiel 40:1, to the twenty-fifth year of Jehoiachin. The appendix that, as already remarked, proves itself to be such by departing from the chronological order, goes on to the following new superscription, and so embraces not merely ch. Ezekiel 29:17-21, but also ch. Ezekiel 30:1-19. The resumption of Ezekiel 29:1-16 must, if it had taken place, have been more distinctly marked in ch. Ezekiel 30; and we cannot think of an independent discourse there, because all independent discourses are dated in Ezekiel. We have seen already that the prophecy in ch. Ezekiel 29:1-16 was not designed to go immediately into fulfilment. At the time when this fulfilment was to take place, and the course of instruction for Egypt during four decenniums was to begin, the prophet takes up again his earlier announcement, and enlarges it. The hindrance to the immediate fulfilment of the former prophecy, the resistance of Tyre, is now removed. The siege of Tyre began, according to ch. Ezekiel 26:1, towards the end of the eleventh year of the deportation of Jehoiachin. It lasted, according to Menander, extracting from the Tyrian annals (Joseph, c. Ap. i. 21) and Philostratus (Joseph. Arch. x. 10, 1), thirteen years. Some time of rest must have been granted to the army, which, according to ch. Ezekiel 29:18, was completely exhausted. The blow also which was to shake the foundations of Egypt required much preparation. Two years after the conquest of Tyre, at the beginning of the twenty-seventh year of Jehoiachin, began the expedition against Egypt, the principal foe; and simultaneous with this beginning is our prophecy, which, with a clearness and certainty that can only be given by the Spirit of God, declares the end from the beginning ( Isaiah 46:10). There is much probability that we have before us, in the chronological date at the beginning of our prophecy, at the same time that of the present collection of the prophecies of Ezekiel, and that on the occasion of this collection he added this supplement. The collection was prepared in connection with the great conclusion, which was accomplished by the expedition of Nebuchadnezzar to Egypt. The whole prophetic activity of Ezekiel moves around the great anti-Chaldaic coalition. His first appearance was contemporary with its formation. With its close, the expedition of Nebuchadnezzar to Egypt, the mission of Ezekiel is completed; and as soon as it is completed, he brings together the documents relating to it.

First, the introduction Ezekiel 29:17-21. And it came to pass in the twenty-seventh year, in the first month, in the first of the month, the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, 18. Son of man, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon caused his army to serve a great service at Tyre: every head was made bald, and every shoulder peeled; and there was no reward for him or his army from Tyre, for the service that he served against it: 19. Therefore thus saith the Lord Jehovah, Behold, I will give Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon the land of Egypt: and he shall take its tumult, and seize its spoil; and it shall be a reward for his army. 20. As his hire, for which he has served, I give him the land of Egypt, because they wrought for me, saith the Lord Jehovah. 21. In that day will I cause a horn to bud forth for the house of Israel, and I will give thee the opening of the mouth in the midst of them; and they shall know that I am the LORD.

In the statement in Ezekiel 29:18, that the Chaldeans had laboured in God’s service against Tyre, it is involved that the taking of the city was actually accomplished: for where God gives a special mission, He causes it to attain its object; and the mission in regard to Tyre, according to all the announcements of Ezekiel, is not directed to the siege, which comes into view only as the means to the end, but to the conquest. That they attained the object of their mission is as good as expressly said, inasmuch as they obtain a reward for their severe labour. If they had not executed their task, there could have been no talk of a reward. For the work concerns God not in itself, but only in its result. The failure here intimated of a reward in Tyre for their labour there, says nothing against the conquest. For the prophet speaks of a reward which was suitable to a grand and decisive result obtained by immense efforts; and it will be expected beforehand, that after a siege of so many years, not much was to be found in Tyre, as the best was partly consumed, partly destroyed, and partly carried away. Moreover, we must distinguish between the thought and its form. The thought is, that Nebuchadnezzar, by God’s appointment, will find in Egypt abundant satisfaction for his expectations in Tyre that were not quite satisfied. The form is taken from human relations, where to one who has executed a task that does not repay him, another is committed in which he finds a recompense. It is impossible, in truth, to speak of reward, as Nebuchadnezzar acted not in obedience to the command of God, but in the service of his own lusts and passions. “Every head is made bald, and every shoulder peeled:” the labours in which this took place—the erecting of besieging towers, and especially the raising of a mound against Tyre—are described in ch. Ezekiel 26:8. To the impending humiliation of Egypt, the prophet in Ezekiel 29:21 opposes the impending exaltation of Zion, as he had done in regard to the other nations of the coalition at the close of the prophecy against them in ch. Ezekiel 28:25-26. “In that day”—when Egypt is thus humbled. The whole period of the humiliation of Egypt is viewed under the figure of an ideal day. The horn is an emblem of power and ability for self-defence, [190] in contrast with the weakness which befalls Egypt, which can no longer push the nations ( Deuteronomy 33:17), but only be pushed by them. The real fulfilment is, according to the other indications of the prophet himself—for ex., ch. Ezekiel 17:22 f.—to be sought in Christ, in whom Israel obtains the absolute power of defence against the heathen world (comp. Luke 1:69, Revelation 5:6), yet so that even earlier the prophecy several times prelusively verifies itself. “And I will give thee the opening of the mouth in the midst of them:” the prophet speaks, even after he is dead, lives still among his people, in his book still to be found at the close, on which, after the analogy of the monumentum exegi aere perennius, he here impresses as it were the seal. When all is finished that he has announced in this book, in salvation for Israel as well as in punishment for his foes and betrayers, then may he as it were joyfully open his mouth and say, “You have heard it, see it now all” ( Isaiah 48:6): ye see now that the son of man is no mere son of man; that the sentence, “And the word of the Lord came unto me, saying,” is true, that I do not fall under the judgment of Deuteronomy 18:20. If his prophecy were not fulfilled, then must he, surviving in his book, have been dumb, and not have gone out of the door ( Job 31:34). The expectation that his prophecy of the horn being caused to bud forth for Israel would be fulfilled in his lifetime, Ezekiel could not entertain. For he was thirty years old in the fifth year of Jehoiachin (ch. Ezekiel 1:1), when twelve only of the seventy years of the Chaldean servitude had elapsed; and according to ch. Ezekiel 29:12-13, the Chaldean supremacy was to endure forty years after the desolation of Egypt here announced as impending, which absolutely excluded the budding forth of the horn for Israel.

[190] Comp. on Psalms 148:14.

Verses 6-9

Ezekiel 30:6-9. Desolation strikes Egypt, after it has fallen with all its auxiliaries, from end to end. Ezekiel 30:6. Thus saith the Lord Jehovah, And they that uphold Egypt shall fall, and its mighty pride shall come down: from Migdol to Syene they shall fall in it by the sword, saith the Lord Jehovah. 7. And they shall be desolate among the desolate countries, and their cities shall be among the wasted cities. 8. And they shall know that I am the LORD, when I set a fire in Egypt, and all her helpers are broken. 9. In that day shall messengers go forth from me in ships to frighten Kush the secure, and trembling shall come upon them in the day of Egypt: [193] for, lo, it cometh.

[193] Luther, “as it happened to Egypt when her time came.” He took כ , which here, as in the fundamental passage, Isaiah 23:5, serves as a definition of time, as a particle of comparison.

After the new break, “Thus saith the Lord” ( Ezekiel 30:6), the and connects this paragraph, and shows that only new touches are to be given to the picture. This beginning with and is common to all new sections after the first ( Ezekiel 30:1-5). They thereby show themselves to be parts of a whole. The defeat of the helpers of Egypt is taken over from the foregoing, and includes what was said in Ezekiel 30:4-5. This is followed by the defeat and desolation of Egypt itself, which in this and the following verse is intentionally depicted, in almost literal agreement with ch. Ezekiel 29:10, Ezekiel 29:12, to show that already the term for the fulfilment of that earlier prophecy is come, which in the continued prosperity of Egypt might have been a mockery to many. The “mighty pride” appeared in ch. Ezekiel 24:21 in reference to Jerusalem; now comes the succession of humiliation on the heathen people. The “knowing” in Ezekiel 30:8 is an actual experience, in which it does not appear whether they in their thoughts refer to the Lord that which they must suffer from Him. So much the worse for them if they do not. The fire is the fire of war (comp. Revelation 8:7, Revelation 9:17), which often also comes to view in material fire. The point of comparison is the consuming power. The messengers sent from the Lord in Ezekiel 30:9, who, ascending [194] the Nile in ships, bring the news of the fall of Egypt effected by the Lord to the covenant land of Ethiopia, belong to the poetic conception. The real import is, that the alarming news will soon reach Ethiopia. The sending of the messengers is ascribed to the Lord, because the act which forms the substance of the message proceeds from Him. The messengers here form a contrast to the messengers with joyful tidings for Ethiopia in Isaiah 18:1-3. Then the Lord, by the defeat of Sennacherib, graciously turned away the danger from Jerusalem which threatened, as Judea, so also Egypt and Ethiopia, from Assyria. Now it is otherwise. To Babylon is given power, as over Judea, so also over Egypt and Ethiopia. Sons of the latter fall in Egypt ( Ezekiel 30:5), and it is threatened in its own borders by the Chaldeans. A second allusion to Isaiah is found in the words, “And trembling shall come upon them in the day of Egypt.” In Isaiah 23:5 it is said in the prophecy against Tyre: “They (the Egyptians) shall tremble at the report of Tyre.” Tyre, Egypt, Ethiopia, stood together in the battle formerly against Assyria, afterwards against Babylon. When the one of these powers, the bulwark, falls, the next following trembles in expectation of a like fate. “It comes”—the threatened misfortune.

[194] Of the difficulties which the navigation on this river from Egypt to Ethiopia presents, Ezekiel has taken as little account as Isaiah in the fundamental passage. The papyrus boats, of course, ply on the Nile ( Isaiah 18:2).

Verses 10-12

The peculiarity in Ezekiel 30:10-12 is the naming of the conqueror—the same man who is engaged in the invasion of Egypt. Ezekiel 30:10. Thus saith the Lord Jehovah, And I shall make the tumult of Egypt to cease by Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon. 11. He and his people with him, the violent of the heathen, shall be brought to destroy the land: and they shall draw their swords against Egypt, and fill the land with the slain. 12. And I will make the Niles dry, and sell the land into the hand of the wicked; and I will desolate the land and the fulness thereof by the hand of strangers: I the LORD have spoken it.

“The tumult” ( Ezekiel 30:10)—as it is heard in a land rich in men and goods, full of life and movement. The word comprises what is afterwards enumerated in detail. It refers not merely to the multitude, but to the prosperity of Egypt. Ch. Ezekiel 29:19 is also against the limitation of it to the multitude. “The violent of the heathen” ( Ezekiel 30:11)—those who are counted as violent even among the heathen, who are generally addicted to violence—occurred before in ch. Ezekiel 28:7 as a designation of the Chaldeans. “Shall be brought:” they come not of themselves, but the Almighty brings them, and hence they are irresistible; he to whom they come is irretrievably lost. The drying up of the Nile in Ezekiel 30:12 denotes, as in Isaiah 19, the destruction of prosperity. The Nile in the strict sense—the foundation of this prosperity—is as good as dried up for Egypt, for strangers consume its produce. “And sell the land into the hand of the wicked:” this presupposes that the Egyptians also are wicked, yet in another sense than that in which ( Matthew 7:11) all men are so called: the accomplished sin first bringeth forth death ( James 1:15). God punishes one knave by the other, who does not escape His judgment, but is only reserved for the same; as in Jeremiah 25 the king of Babylon has no other advantage over those punished by him but this, that he drinks last. “Into the hand of the wicked:” this shows that the want of a prophecy against Babylon in Ezekiel can only be referred to external grounds. Wickedness and judgment go hand in hand. Power can only be given to the wicked for a short time. The announcement, so often repeated in Ezekiel, of the restoration of Israel has the annihilating judgment on Babylon, the despot, for its presupposition.

Verses 13-19

Ezekiel 30:13-19. In the specification of the ruin hanging over Egypt, those points are made prominent which have special import in any respect. No, Thebes, occurs thrice; Noph, Memphis, twice, to give special prominence to their importance as the two capitals of the country—No of Upper, and Noph of Lower Egypt. Along with these, Zoan, Tanis, situated also in Lower Egypt, which appeal’s in Isaiah 19:11, Isaiah 19:13, and previously in Numbers 13:22, as the capital of Egypt. Besides are named Daphne and Sin as frontier fortresses. The latter, Pelusium, is designated by Hirtius the Lock of Egypt— claustrum Ægypti. Then On, the city of the sun—Heliopolis, as it is called by the Greeks—as the religious centre, the spiritual capital. Even in Genesis it appears as such, where Joseph marries the daughter of the high priest of On: this was the most distinguished alliance, that by which he could be most effectually freed from the disgrace of his origin. Pathros, not a city, but a country, is, according to ch. Ezekiel 29:14, named as the mother country—as it were, the birthplace of the people. Thus is the land robbed of all its ornaments (ch. Ezekiel 25:9).

Ezekiel 30:13. Thus saith the Lord Jehovah, And I will destroy the detestable things, and make the vanities to cease out of Noph; and there shall no more be a prince of the land of Egypt: and I will put fear in the land of Egypt. 14. And I will make Pathros desolate, and set a fire in Zoan, and execute judgments in No. 15. And I will pour out my fury upon Sin, the stronghold of Egypt, and cut off the tumult of No. 16. And I will put a fire in Egypt: Sin shall writhe, and No shall be broken, and Noph shall have foes by day. 17. The young men of Aven and Pi-beseth shall fall by the sword; and these shall go into captivity. 18. And in Tehaphnehes the day shall spare, when I break there the yokes of Egypt; and her mighty pride shall cease in her: a cloud shall cover her, and her daughters shall go into captivity. 19. And I will execute judgments on Egypt; and they shall know that I am the LORD.

The idols and the princes are in Ezekiel 30:13 connected, because they were the two chief objects of the pride and worship of the Egyptians. What still remains to Egypt after the catastrophe in the way of princes, in comparison with her former proud monarchs, deserves no more the name of princes: they are, in fact, miserable slaves. “The tumult”—Hamon of No. There is an allusion to the surname Amon, which No received from its god (comp. Nahum 3:8, Jeremiah 46:25). Amon is unable to preserve for the city its Hamon. The fire in Ezekiel 30:16 is the fire of war, or of the annihilating catastrophe. “Noph shall have foes by day:” this denotes, as “the spoilers at noonday” ( Jeremiah 15:8; Zephaniah 2:4), a state of deep humiliation, in which the enemy disdains to surprise the city by night (Obad. Obadiah 1:5), and rather, in consciousness of his absolute superiority, marches in broad daylight against the unresisting. “Foes by day” stands briefly for one that has to deal with foes by day. On, in Jeremiah 43:13 called Bethshemesh, sun-house, as the chief place of the Egyptian sun-worship, appears in Ezekiel 30:17 with a slight alteration under the name of Aven, to indicate by this change the cause of the divine judgments coming upon it. Those cannot fail where men commit the iniquity of worshipping the creature rather than the Creator. In like manner had the older prophets put in place of the name Bethel, house of God, that had become a lie from the time of Jeroboam, the real name Bethaven, house of iniquity ( Hosea 4:15; Hosea 4:10: Hosea 10:5). The name On still more easily admits of this change. Pi-beseth is Bubastis, which is also regarded as a chief place of idolatry by its collocation with On, and by its name, which refers to the cat-worship there established. To the “young men,” the men fit for service, as also in the New Testament young men without any addition stand for soldiers ( Mark 14:51), are opposed the cities themselves, to the military the civil population,—a contrast explained by this, that in Egypt the soldiers formed a separate caste; for which reason the young men of On cannot here be all the young men in it, but only the soldiers who form its garrison. Tehaphnehes, in Ezekiel 30:18, Daphne, is also mentioned in Jeremiah 43:7 as a frontier stronghold of Egypt. There, where a decisive combat with the invading Chaldean power was to be expected, the day is dark, as the sun no longer shines for the unfortunate: for him the luminaries of heaven are as good as extinguished. “The day shall spare”—withhold as a miser: this stands by choice for, It is dark, and as a variation from it. On the words, “When I break there the yokes of Egypt,” we should compare ch. Ezekiel 29:15, “And I will diminish them (or bring them down), that they shall no more rule over the heathen;” and also here, Ezekiel 30:13, “There shall no more be a prince of the land of Egypt.” The yoke of Egypt, which in former times pressed heavily on Israel, and afterwards on other nations (comp. ch. Ezekiel 32:2), will now be broken for ever, while the once enslaved Zion rises to universal dominion. The “mighty pride” refers not to Tehaphnehes, but to Egypt (comp. Ezekiel 30:6 and ch. Ezekiel 32:12), whose pride is broken in the battle at the frontier fort. The “daughters” of Daphne are the minor cities in its neighbourhood. In Ezekiel 30:19 is the object of the judgment passed upon Egypt. The true God, whom they do not mean to worship willingly, must come to His rights in the punishment inflicted on them. This is not merely an alarming, but also a comforting point of view. The most comfortless of all thoughts is to have no part in God. How many transgressors have joyfully devoted themselves to the sword, in the conviction that by the punishment they come to have a part in God!

Verses 20-26

Ezekiel 30:20-26. We have here the second prophecy against Egypt, delivered on the seventh day of the first month in the eleventh year, and thus separated from the first (ch. Ezekiel 29:1) by the interval of almost a quarter of a year. In the fourth month of the eleventh year, almost three months after our prophecy, the conquest of Jerusalem took place ( Jeremiah 39:2). The practical point of view is here the same as in ch. Ezekiel 29:1-16. It is designed to annihilate the hope of aid from Egypt; by the relentless destruction of all earthly expectations in the exiles, to direct the eye to God alone. The earthly hope had probably then received new vigour from the circumstances of the times. We see from the thirty-seventh chapter of Jeremiah, that during the siege of Jerusalem Pharaoh had marched with an army from Egypt to drive the Chaldeans from Palestine, and that the latter, in consequence of this, raised the siege and went to meet him. The first prophecy referred to this hope. Already had it, as it appears, attained to full bloom through the departure of the Chaldeans.

Ezekiel 30:20. And it came to pass in the eleventh year, in the first month, in the seventh of the month, the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, 21. Son of man, the arm of Pharaoh king of Egypt I have broken; and, lo, it is not bound up to apply healings, to put a roller to bind it, that it may be strong to hold the sword. 22. Therefore thus saith the Lord Jehovah, Behold, I am against Pharaoh king of Egypt, and will break his arms, the strong and the broken; and I will make the sword fall out of his hand. 23. And I will scatter Egypt among the heathen, and sprinkle it through the lands. 24. And I will strengthen the arms of the king of Babylon, and put my sword in his hand: and I will break the arms of Pharaoh, and he shall groan with the groans of a wounded man before him. 25. And I will seize the arms of the king of Babylon, [195] and the arms of Pharaoh shall fall; and they shall know that I am the Lord, when I put my sword into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall stretch it out against the land of Egypt. 26. And I will scatter Egypt among the heathen, [196] and sprinkle it through the lands; and they shall know that I am the LORD.

[195] Luther’s translation, “I will strengthen the arms of the king of Babylon,” overlooks the distinction of the Hiphil here from the Piel in Ezekiel 30:25.

[196] Luther, “And I scatter the Egyptians among the heathen,” mistaking the independeut character of the verse in which the object is stated.

The breaking of the Pharaoh in Ezekiel 30:21 refers to a great defeat. This can only be that at Karkemish or Circesium, in the very beginning of the career of Nebuchadnezzar (Niebuhr, p. 205 f., 369), in the fourth year of Jehoiakim, and thus seventeen years before our prophecy. By this battle the fate of Egypt was decided for ever, and from this it has never recovered. Already Jeremiah, in ch. Jeremiah 46, sees in this battle the beginning of the end of Egypt, and regards it as having inflicted an incurable wound on Egypt; comp. especially Ezekiel 30:11, a passage which leaves no doubt of the reference of our author to the defeat at Karkemish: “Go up to Gilead, and fetch balm, O virgin daughter of Egypt: in vain dost thou multiply medicines; there is no cure for thee.” Of a defeat which the Egyptians suffered in the attempt to come to the aid of Judah, history knows nothing. The retreat of the Egyptians without crossing swords cannot have ensued at the time of the composition of our prophecy. After it, it would have been unnecessary. Our prophecy must have been delivered at a time when, humanly speaking, there was hope from the Egyptians. The “healings,” or cures, which might be applied, consist chiefly in the bandage itself. The arm comes into view as the seat of power. The broken arm in Ezekiel 30:22, that is to be broken a second time, denotes the already weakened power of the Egyptian kingdom; the strong, what still remained of unbroken power. “Before him” ( Ezekiel 30:24)—the Babylonian conqueror. The Lord seizes the arms of the king of Babylon ( Ezekiel 30:25), and they are thereby kept strong, as it is said of Joseph in Genesis 49:24, “Strong are the arms of his hands by the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob;” while, on the contrary, the arms of the king of Egypt, left to his own weakness, hang down powerless. In Ezekiel 30:26 the scattering is once more repeated, to connect with it the statement of the object, in which the whole suitably issues. The true God, despised by Egypt from ancient times, is thereby to come to His rights regarding them. If He be the true Jehovah, the personal Being, the absolute Essence, He must necessarily be glorified, if not by their action, yet by their passion.

Bibliographical Information
Hengstenberg, Ernst. "Commentary on Ezekiel 30". Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/heg/ezekiel-30.html.
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