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Details Of Egypt’s Judgment
In this chapter the prophet continues to declare the word of the Lord concerning the judgments which were to come upon Egypt, all of which were fulfilled in due time.
“The word of Jehovah came again unto me, saying, Son of man, prophesy, and say, Thus saith the Lord Jehovah: Wail ye, Alas for the day! For the day is near, even the day of Jehovah is near; it shall be a day of clouds, a time of the nations. And a sword shall come upon Egypt, and anguish shall be in Ethiopia, when the slain shall fall in Egypt; and they shall take away her multitude, and her foundations shall be broken down. Ethiopia, and Put, and Lud, and all the mingled people, and Cub, and the children of the land that is in league, shall fall with them by the sword”-vers. 1-5.
“Alas for the day!” The day referred to was the day in which Jehovah was to use Nebuchadnezzar and his armies to chastise the people of the land of Egypt for their idolatry and corruption. It was to be a day of clouds, and it was called specifically “a time of the nations.” This expression is very much like the one used by our Lord in Luke 21:24, where He tells us that “Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.” While the two terms seem at first sight to be similar, the context in each instance shows that they have a very different application. The time of the nations here in Ezekiel was the time when judgment was to fall upon the nations surrounding the land of Palestine-the nations with which the people of Israel had trafficked for years, and from some of which they had suffered greatly. In Luke 21:24 the Lord uses the expression, “the times of the Gentiles,” to cover the entire period during which Palestine, the city of Jerusalem, and the people of the Jews, are under Gentile domination. This began with the rise of Nebuchadnezzar, and is still in progress, and will continue until the day when the Lord Himself appears from heaven in His glorious second advent to execute judgment upon the nations and to set up His own heavenly kingdom over all this lower universe.
The sword of Nebuchadnezzar was to come upon Egypt, and not only upon Egypt, but also upon the lands contiguous to it, Ethiopia, Put, and all the mingled people, and Cub-these are all lands bordering upon Egypt according to their ancient names. Ethiopia alone still retains the name it had at that time. In addition, judgment was to fall upon the children of the land that is in league, or, as the margin of the Revised Version gives it, the children of “the land of the covenant.” This undoubtedly refers to the Jews who had fled from Palestine and settled in the land of Egypt, hoping thereby to find relief from the troublesome times that had fallen upon their own country, but their hope was in vain. In looking to Egypt for help they trusted in a bruised reed.
“Thus saith Jehovah: They also that uphold Egypt shall fall; and the pride of her power shall come down: from the tower of Seveneh shall they fall in it by the sword, saith the Lord Jehovah. And they shall be desolate in the midst of the countries that are desolate; and her cities shall be in the midst of the cities that are wasted. And they shall know that I am Jehovah, when I have set a fire in Egypt, and all her helpers are destroyed. In that day shall messengers go forth from before Me in ships to make the careless Ethiopians afraid; and there shall be anguish upon them, as in the day of Egypt: for, lo, it cometh”-vers. 6-9.
The Lord now proceeds to mention definitely certain cities and sections of the land of Egypt against which His judgment was to be executed in order that the pride of her power might be destroyed. All the way from Migdol to Seveneh (from “the tower” to Seveneh) the people were to fall by the sword. These two places mentioned are at the northern and southern extremities of upper Egypt. This entire part of the land was to become desolate and her cities wasted; thus should the Egyptians know that they had to deal with the Eternal One, Jehovah, whom they had defied in years gone by. Messengers would go from them to the careless Ethiopians who were allies of Egypt at this time. Because of the almost inaccessible character of their country, they dwelt in utter indifference to the conflicts going on elsewhere, but the fall of Egypt would be to them a serious omen, foretelling the desolation coming upon their own land.
“Thus saith the Lord Jehovah: I will also make the multitude of Egypt to cease, by the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon. He and his people with him, the terrible of the nations, shall be brought in to destroy the land; and they shall draw their swords against Egypt, and fill the land with the slain. And I will make the rivers dry, and will sell the land into the hand of evil men; and I will make the land desolate, and all that is therein, by the hand of strangers: I, Jehovah, have spoken it”-vers. 10-12.
By the overrunning of the armies of the King of Babylon, the multitude of Egypt would be made to cease. The terrible Chaldean conquerors would not draw their sword against Egypt in vain, but through them the land was to be filled with the slain. Moreover, providential judgments were to fall upon the country itself so that the rivers, that is, the streams of the Delta, would be made dry, and the land sold into the hands of evil men; thus should it become desolate and strangers inherit what once belonged to the Egyptians. There could be no way of escape, for Jehovah Himself had spoken it.
“Thus saith the Lord Jehovah: I will also destroy the idols, and I will cause the images to cease from Memphis; and there shall be no more a prince from the land of Egypt: and I will put a fear in the land of Egypt. And I will make Pathros desolate, and will set a fire in Zoan, and will execute judgments upon No. And I will pour My wrath upon Sin, the stronghold of Egypt; and I will cut off the multitude of No. And I will set a fire in Egypt: Sin shall be in great anguish, and No shall be broken up; and Memphis shall have adversaries in the daytime. The young men of Aven and of Pibeseth shall fall by the sword; and these cities shall go into captivity. At Tehaphnehes also the day shall withdraw itself, when I shall break there the yokes of Egypt, and the pride of her power shall cease in her: as for her, a cloud shall cover her, and her daughters shall go into captivity. Thus will I execute judgments upon Egypt; and they shall know that I am Jehovah”-vers. 13-19.
From early days Egypt had been a land of idolatry, and her great images have remained throughout the centuries as the memorials of her false religion. Against these idols, which really represented demons as we know, God’s heavy judgments were to be executed. Memphis, or Noph, was one of the leading cities devoted to such worship. Its vast temples and colossal images were among the greatest in the world, but God declared He would cause these things of nought to cease. And in that connection we are told, “There shall be no more a prince from the land of Egypt.” This prophecy was soon literally fulfilled. When the dynasty then ruling Egypt died out there was never again a genuine Egyptian king ruling over the land. The Ptolemies who were strangers from the outside came in later, but even they were destroyed eventually; and through all the years since to the present day no prince of Egyptian blood has ever ruled that land. Egypt has a king, but King Fuad was not an Egyptian but an Albanian, and his son now reigning is not of real Egyptian blood.
Pathros, which is usually the name for upper Egypt in the prophetic writings, was to be made desolate, and a fire kindled in Zoan. Zoan is generally supposed to be identical with the land of Goshen where the people of Israel dwelt. Upon a portion of this land, in which was situated the capital of the shepherd kings of the Hyksos rulers, God’s sore judgments fell in the days of His controversy with the king who knew not Joseph.
No is No-Amon or Thebes, another great center of idolatry. Upon this, too, God’s judgment was to fall, so that Thebes was to become but an empty ruin. God declared, “I will cut off the multitude of No.” His wrath was to be poured upon Sin, which is generally identified with Pelusium. All these cities were utterly ruined, and today men look with wonder on the evidences of their former greatness, and perhaps few realize that their present condition is the result of divine indignation against them.
The young men of Aven and of Pibeseth, or Bubastis, were also to fall by the sword, and the people in the cities to be carried into captivity. At Tehaphnehes where many of the Jews congregated, the power of Egypt was to be broken and a cloud cover her, and her daughters go into captivity. In this way was God to execute His judgments upon Egypt that men might know that He was Jehovah God.
In the last section of the chapter, from verse 20 to the end, the Lord makes it plain that whatever efforts Egypt might make to strengthen itself against Babylon, they would be in vain.
“And it came to pass in the eleventh year, in the first month, in the seventh day of the month, that the word of Jehovah came unto me, saying, Son of man, I have broken the arm of Pharaoh king of Egypt; and, lo, it hath not been bound up, to apply healing medicines, to put a bandage to bind it, that it be strong to hold the sword. Therefore thus saith the Lord Jehovah: Behold, I am against Pharaoh king of Egypt, and will break his arms, the strong arm, and that which was broken; and I will cause the sword to fall out of his hand. And I will scatter the Egyptians among the nations, and will disperse Lhem through the countries. And I will strengthen the arms of the king of Babylon, and put My sword in his hand: but I will break the arms of Pharaoh, and he shall groan before him with the groanings of a deadly wounded man. And I will hold up 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 shall put My sword into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall stretch it out upon the land of Egypt. And I will scatter the Egyptians among the nations, and disperse them through the countries; and they shall know that I am Jehovah”-vers. 20-26.
Pharaoh and his hosts had been completely defeated by the Chaldeans and retreated to Egypt. Pharaoh had endeavored to rebuild his army and to fit it for another trial of strength with the Babylonian leader, but God Himself declared that He was against Pharaoh, whom He likened to a man with a broken arm, endeavoring to stand against a powerful foe. Whatever efforts he might make to defend himself would prove abortive: his armies would be destroyed, and his people would be dispersed among the nations, for God who puts up one and puts down another, was at this time using the king of Babylon as a sword in order to judge the nations with whom He had a controversy. Through Nebuchadnezzar the armies of Pharaoh would be broken, and he would cry out as a deadly wounded man, but the arms of the king of Babylon were to be upheld by God Himself until He should have executed the judgments decreed upon Egypt and the nearby nations, for it was Jehovah who had put His sword into the hand of the Chaldean leader, and that sword was not to be sheathed until the predicted doom fell upon all the land of Egypt, and the Egyptians were Scattered among the nations and dispersed through the countries, to learn in abject captivity that it was a vain thing to fight against Jehovah.
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Ironside, H. A. "Commentary on Ezekiel 30". Ironside's Notes on Selected Books. https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 20 / Ordinary 25