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Friday, June 21st, 2024
the Week of Proper 6 / Ordinary 11
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Bible Commentaries
Ezekiel 32

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - UnabridgedCommentary Critical Unabridged

Verse 1

And it came to pass in the twelfth year, in the twelfth month, in the first day of the month, that the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,

In the twelfth year, in the twelfth month - the twelfth year from the carrying away of Jehoiakin; Jerusalem was by this time overthrown, and Amasis was beginning his revolt against Pharaoh-hophra.

Verse 2

Son of man, take up a lamentation for Pharaoh king of Egypt, and say unto him, Thou art like a young lion of the nations, and thou art as a whale in the seas: and thou camest forth with thy rivers, and troubledst the waters with thy feet, and fouledst their rivers.

Pharaoh - Phra in Burmah signifies the king, high priest, and idol.

Thou art like a young lion of the nations, and thou art as a whale [ taniym (H8577)] - rather, any monster of the waters; here the crocodile of the Nile. Pharaoh is 'as a lion' on dry land, 'a crocodile in the waters' - i:e., an object of terror everywhere; formidable alike by land and sea.

In the seas; and thou camest forth with thy rivers - `breakest forth' (Fairbairn). The antithesis of 'seas' and 'rivers' favours Grotius' rendering, 'thou camest forth from the sea into the rivers;' i:e., from thy own empire into other states. However, the English version is favoured by the "thy:" thou camest forth with thy rivers

(i:e., with thy forces), and with thy feet didst trouble the waters (i:e., neighbouring states).

Verse 3

Thus saith the Lord GOD; I will therefore spread out my net over thee with a company of many people; and they shall bring thee up in my net.

I will therefore spread out my net over thee with a company of many people - namely, the Chaldeans (Ezekiel 29:3-4; Hosea 7:12).

My net - for the Chaldeans are my instrument.

Verse 4

Then will I leave thee upon the land, I will cast thee forth upon the open field, and will cause all the fowls of the heaven to remain upon thee, and I will fill the beasts of the whole earth with thee.

Then will I leave thee upon the land. As a fish drawn out of the water loses all its strength, so Pharaoh (in Ezekiel 32:2, compared to a water monster) shall be (Ezekiel 29:5).

Verse 5

And I will lay thy flesh upon the mountains, and fill the valleys with thy height.

I will ... fill the valleys with thy height - thy hugeness (Fairbairn). The multitude of thy forces, on which thou pridest thyself, shall only be a great heap of corpses to fill the valleys with up to the sides of the mountains. "Height" may refer to mental elevation as well as bodily (Valabus).

Verse 6

I will also water with thy blood the land wherein thou swimmest, even to the mountains; and the rivers shall be full of thee.

I will also water with thy blood the land wherein thou swimmest - Egypt: the land watered by the Nile, the source of its fertility, wherein thou swimmest (carrying on the image of the crocodile - i:e., wherein thou dost exercise thy wanton power at will). Irony. The land shall still afford seas to swim in, but they shall be seas of blood. Alluding to the plague of the waters turned into blood (Exodus 7:19; Revelation 8:8). Havernick translates [ tsaapaatªkaa (H6824)], 'I will water the land with what flows from thee, even thy blood, reaching to the mountains:' 'with thy blood overflowing even to the mountains.' Perhaps this is better. Literally, 'I will water the land of thy overflowing (i:e., the land which overflows) from (owing to) thy blood' (Buxtorf). Junius explains, as the English version, 'I will also water the land of thy swimming with thy blood' - i:e., I will make the land in which thou swimmest as a great "whale" or crocodile (Ezekiel 32:2), itself to swim with blood.

Verse 7

And when I shall put thee out, I will cover the heaven, and make the stars thereof dark; I will cover the sun with a cloud, and the moon shall not give her light.

When I shall put thee out - when I shall extinguish thy light (Job 18:5). Pharaoh is represented as a bright star, at the extinguishing of whose light in the political sky the whole heavenly host are shrouded in sympathetic darkness. Here, too (as in Ezekiel 32:6 there was an allusion to the plague of turning the rivers into blood), there is an allusion to the supernatural darkness sent formerly (Exodus 10:21-23). The heavenly bodies are often made images of earthly dynasties (Isaiah 13:10, "The stars of heaven, and the constellations thereof, shall not give their light;" Matthew 24:29).

Verse 8

All the bright lights of heaven will I make dark over thee, and set darkness upon thy land, saith the Lord GOD.

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 9

I will also vex the hearts of many people, when I shall bring thy destruction among the nations, into the countries which thou hast not known.

I will also vex the hearts of many people, when I shall bring thy destruction among the nations - i:e., when I shall bring the tidings of thy destruction (literally, thy breakage), carried by captive and dispersed Egyptians "among the nations" (Grotius); or, 'when I bring thy ruins among the nations:' thy broken people, resembling one great fracture, the ruins of what they had been (Fairbairn).

Verse 10

Yea, I will make many people amazed at thee, and their kings shall be horribly afraid for thee, when I shall brandish my sword before them; and they shall tremble at every moment, every man for his own life, in the day of thy fall.

Yea, I will make many people amazed at thee ... when I shall brandish my sword before them - literally, in their face or sight.

Verses 11-12

For thus saith the Lord GOD; The sword of the king of Babylon shall come upon thee.

No JFB commentary on these verses.

Verse 13

I will destroy also all the beasts thereof from beside the great waters; neither shall the foot of man trouble them any more, nor the hoofs of beasts trouble them.

Neither shall the foot of man trouble them anymore, nor the hoofs of beasts - (see note on Ezekiel 29:11). The picture is ideally true, not to be interpreted by the letter. The political ascendency of Egypt was to cease with the Chaldean conquest (Fairbairn). The virtual sense of "I will destroy all the beasts thereof from beside the great waters; neither shall the foot of man trouble them anymore, nor the hoofs of beasts trouble them," is, henceforth Pharaoh must figuratively no longer trouble the waters by man or beast - i:e., no longer was he to flood other peoples with his overwhelming forces.

Verse 14

Then will I make their waters deep, and cause their rivers to run like oil, saith the Lord GOD.

Then will I make their waters deep - rather, 'then will I make their waters to subside' [ 'ashqiya`

(H8257)] - literally, 'to sink in the deep' (Fairbairn).

And cause their rivers to run like oil - emblem of quietness. No longer shall they descend violently as the overflowing Nile on other countries, but shall be still and sluggish in political action.

Verse 15

When I shall make the land of Egypt desolate, and the country shall be destitute of that whereof it was full, when I shall smite all them that dwell therein, then shall they know that I am the LORD.

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 16

This is the lamentation wherewith they shall lament her: the daughters of the nations shall lament her: they shall lament for her, even for Egypt, and for all her multitude, saith the Lord GOD.

This is the lamentation wherewith they shall lament her - as in Ezekiel 19:14, the virtual meaning is, 'This is a prophetic lamentation; yet so shall it come to pass' (Grotius).

Verse 17

It came to pass also in the twelfth year, in the fifteenth day of the month, that the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,

In the twelfth year - the same year as Ezekiel 32:1. The second lamentation for Pharaoh. This funeral dirge in imagination accompanies him to the unseen world. Egypt, personified in its political head, is ideally represented as undergoing the change by death to which man is liable. Expressing that Egypt's supremacy is no more-a thing of the past, never to be again.

In the fifteenth day of the month - the twelfth month (Ezekiel 32:1); fourteen days after the former vision.

Verse 18

Son of man, wail for the multitude of Egypt, and cast them down, even her, and the daughters of the famous nations, unto the nether parts of the earth, with them that go down into the pit.

Wail for the multitude of Egypt, and cast them down - i:e., predict that they shalt be cast down: so Jeremiah 1:10, "I have set thee over the nations, to root out, and to pull down," etc. - i:e., to foretell that they shall be rooted out and pulled down, and to effect that they shall be so; because the prophet's word was God's, and carried with it its own fulfillment.

The daughters of the famous nations - i:e., the nations with their peoples. Egypt is to share the fate of other ancient nations once famous, now consigned to oblivion: Elam (Ezekiel 32:24), Meshech, etc. (Ezekiel 32:26), Edom (Ezekiel 32:29), Zidon (Ezekiel 32:30).

Verse 19

Whom dost thou pass in beauty? go down, and be thou laid with the uncircumcised.

Whom dost thou pass in beauty? - Beautiful as thou art, thou art not more so than other nations, which nevertheless have perished.

Go down, and be thou laid with the uncircumcised - "go down" to the nether world, where all "beauty" is speedily marred.

Verse 20

They shall fall in the midst of them that are slain by the sword: she is delivered to the sword: draw her and all her multitudes.

She is delivered to the sword - namely, by God.

Draw her - as if addressing her executioners: drag her forth to death.

Verse 21

The strong among the mighty shall speak to him out of the midst of hell with them that help him: they are gone down, they lie uncircumcised, slain by the sword.

The strong among the mighty shall speak him out of the midst of hell - (Ezekiel 31:16). Ezekiel has before his eyes Isaiah 14:9, etc.

Shall speak to him - with "him" join "with them that help him;" shall speak to him and his helpers with a taunting welcome, as now one of themelves.

Verse 22

Asshur is there and all her company: his graves are about him: all of them slain, fallen by the sword:

Asshur is there, and all her company: his graves are about him - "her-his;" the abrupt change of gender is because Ezekiel has in view at one time the kingdom (feminine), at another the monarch. "Asshur," or Assyria, is placed first in punishment, as being first in guilt.

Verse 23

Whose graves are set in the sides of the pit, and her company is round about her grave: all of them slain, fallen by the sword, which caused terror in the land of the living.

Whose graves are set in the sides of the pit. Sepulchres in the east were caves hollowed out of the rock, and the bodies were laid in niches formed at the sides. Maurer needlessly departs from the ordinary meaning, and translates, 'extremities' (cf. Isaiah 14:13; Isaiah 14:15).

All of them slain, fallen by the sword, which caused terror in the land of the living - all they who, alive, were a terror to others, are now, in the nether world, themselves a terrible object to behold.

Verse 24

There is Elam and all her multitude round about her grave, all of them slain, fallen by the sword, which are gone down uncircumcised into the nether parts of the earth, which caused their terror in the land of the living; yet have they borne their shame with them that go down to the pit.

Elam - placed next, as having been an auxiliary to Assyria. Its territory lay in Persia. In Abraham's time an independent kingdom (Genesis 14:1). Famous for its bowmen (Isaiah 22:6).

Yet have they borne their shame with them that go down to the pit - the just retribution of their lawless pride. Destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar, according to the prophecy Jeremiah ( Jeremiah 49:34-38).

Verse 25

They have set her a bed in the midst of the slain with all her multitude: her graves are round about him: all of them uncircumcised, slain by the sword: though their terror was caused in the land of the living, yet have they borne their shame with them that go down to the pit: he is put in the midst of them that be slain.

They have set her a bed - a burial niche "in the midst of the slain."

All of them uncircumcised, slain by the sword ... - (Ezekiel 32:21; Ezekiel 32:23-24). The very monotony of the same phraseology so often repeated gives to the dirge an awe-inspiring effect.

Verse 26

There is Meshech, Tubal, and all her multitude: her graves are round about him: all of them uncircumcised, slain by the sword, though they caused their terror in the land of the living.

Meshech, Tubal - northern nations: the Moschi and Tibareni, between the Black and Caspian Seas. Herodotus (3: 94) mentions them as a subjugated people, tributaries to Darius Hystaspes (see Ezekiel 27:13).

Verse 27

And they shall not lie with the mighty that are fallen of the uncircumcised, which are gone down to hell with their weapons of war: and they have laid their swords under their heads, but their iniquities shall be upon their bones, though they were the terror of the mighty in the land of the living.

They shall not lie with the mighty - i:e., they shall not have separate tombs, such as mighty conquerors have, but shall all be heaped together in one pit, as is the case with the vanquished (Grotius). Havernick reads it interrogatively, 'Shall they not lie with the mighty that are fallen?' But the English version is supported by the parallel (Isaiah 14:18-19) to which Ezekiel refers, and which represents them as not lying, as mighty kings lie, in a grave, but "cast out of" one, as "a carcass trodden under foot."

Which are gone down to hell with their weapons of war - alluding to the custom of burying warriors with their arms ( 1Ma 13:29 ). Though honoured by the laying of "their swords under their heads," yet the punishment of "their iniquities shall be upon their bones." Their swords shall thus attest their shame, not their glory, being the instruments of their violence, the penalty of which they are paying (Matthew 26:52, "All they that take the sword shall perish with the sword").

Verse 28

Yea, thou shalt be broken in the midst of the uncircumcised, and shalt lie with them that are slain with the sword.

Yea, thou shalt be broken - thou, too, Egypt, like them, shalt lie as one vanquished.

Verse 29

There is Edom, her kings, and all her princes, which with their might are laid by them that were slain by the sword: they shall lie with the uncircumcised, and with them that go down to the pit.

There is Edom ... and all her princes - Edom was not only governed by kings, but by subordinate "princes" or "dukes" (Genesis 36:40).

Which with their might are laid by them that were slain by the sword - notwithstanding their might they shall be brought down (Isaiah 34:5; Isaiah 34:10-17; Jeremiah 49:7; Jeremiah 49:13-18).

They shall lie with the uncircumcised. Though Edom was circumcised, being descended from Isaac, he shall lie with the uncircumcised, much more shall Egypt, who had no hereditary right to circumcision.

Verse 30

There be the princes of the north, all of them, and all the Zidonians, which are gone down with the slain; with their terror they are ashamed of their might; and they lie uncircumcised with them that be slain by the sword, and bear their shame with them that go down to the pit.

There be the princes of the north - Syria, which is still called by the Arabs the north; or the Tyrians, north of Palestine, conquered by Nebuchadnezzar, (Ezekiel 26:1-21; Ezekiel 27:1-36; Ezekiel 28:1-26.) (Grotius.)

And all the Zidonians - who shared the fate of Tyre (Ezekiel 28:21).

With their terror they are ashamed of their might - i:e., notwithstanding the terror which they inspired in their contemporaries, they are confounded in the expectations which they had of security, owing to their might. "Might" is connected by Maurer thus, 'Notwithstanding the terror which resulted from their might.'

Verse 31

Pharaoh shall see them, and shall be comforted over all his multitude, even Pharaoh and all his army slain by the sword, saith the Lord GOD.

Pharaoh shall see them, and shall be comforted - with the melancholy satisfaction of not being alone, but of having other kingdoms companions in his downfall. This shall be his only comfort-a very poor one!

Verse 32

For I have caused my terror in the land of the living: and he shall be laid in the midst of the uncircumcised with them that are slain with the sword, even Pharaoh and all his multitude, saith the Lord GOD.

For I have caused my terror - the reading of the margin or Qeri' [ chitiytiy (H2851)]. The Hebrew text, or Kethibh, is 'HIS terror' [ chitiytow (H2851)], which gives good sense (Ezekiel 32:25, "Their terror was caused in the land of the living" Ezekiel 32:30). 'My terror' implies that God puts His terror on Pharaoh's multitude, as the they put 'their terror' on others; e.g., the Egyptians under Pharaoh-necho put their terror on Judea.

In the land of the living. As "the land of the living" was the scene of "their terror," so it shall God's; especially in Judea He will display His glory, to the terror of Israel's foes (Ezekiel 26:20, "I shall set glory in the land of the living"). In Israel's case the judgment is temporary, ending in their future restoration under Messiah. In the case of the world-kingdoms, which flourished for a time, they fall to rise no more.

Remarks:

(1) The princes and conquerors this earth, who, like Pharaoh, gain a great name by aggression and violence, are no better in God's eyes than beasts which live by making the weaker their prey, or monsters of the deep which "trouble the waters and foul the rivers" in pursuit of their victims (Ezekiel 32:2). He will therefore repay them in their own coin. "All they that take the sword shall perish with the sword" (Matthew 26:52). As they had spread their net over weaker peoples, with a company of many people, so God will spread out His net over them with a company of stronger people, the Chaldeans, who should bring them up as fish caught in His net (Ezekiel 32:3; Habakkuk 1:14-17). As a fish out of its element, so would Pharaoh be when deprived of all his power and resources. The river Nile and the canals from it, on which Egypt had prided herself as the sources of her fertility, should now be filled with the blood and carcasses of the Egyptians slain (Ezekiel 32:6).

Thus darkness, answering to the literal plague of darkness formerly sent upon Egypt, should again come "upon the land" (Ezekiel 32:7-8). When God has a controversy with any people, or with individuals, because of their sin, no power can withstand His judgments. The very resources which seem to be for them are all turned against them, and their light is extinguished in the blackness of darkness. (2) All they who had admired the grandeur and power of Egypt, when the tidings of her destruction should be brought, would be "amazed and horribly afraid" (Ezekiel 32:10). The kings, whosoever were conscious of similar sins to those of Pharaoh, would "tremble every man for his own life, when the Lord should brandish His sword before them." Those who admire the pomp of worldly greatness shall necessarily be astounded at its downfall, and shall tremble for themselves, as involved in the same condemnation as the world which they love. But the fall of earthly things will not take by surprise, nor alarm the children of God, whose portion is not in this world, and who know its real emptiness.

(3) All who love "troubled" waters, and try therewith to overwhelm others, as did Pharaoh, shall be troubled themselves, and their power of troubling the peaceable shall be taken from them, as it was taken from Pharaoh. They shall be forced to be still and quiet, by being deprived of the means of aggression (Ezekiel 32:13-14), as Egypt was made by God "destitute of that whereof it was full" (Ezekiel 32:15).

(4) How soon God can empty of worldly goods those who have the greatest abundance of them! and the more a man has made them his chief joy, the more of "lamentation" will he be caused by their loss (Ezekiel 32:16).

(5) What a sad picture of the end of all earthly power, greatness, and wealth is given here by the prophet in the representation of Egypt, Assyria, Elam, Edom, and other once "famous" nations, as they shall be seen at last, when they shall have been brought down to the pit! (Ezekiel 32:18-31.) However beautiful in aspect any nation now may seem (Ezekiel 32:19), others no less beautiful have nevertheless passed into oblivion. Let all who make "beauty" their idol remember that soon it must go down to the grave, which mars all beauty. "The strong" fare no better than the beautiful: they who once by their strength "caused terror in the land of the living," in the nether world are a terror to themselves (Ezekiel 32:23-24). In just retribution the proud oppressors shall there bear their own shame. Those who grasped at earthly honours, reckless of the laws of God and the rights of man, shall lie dishonoured with "their iniquities upon their bones" (Ezekiel 32:27). They who have not had the true circumcision of the heart "shall lie with the uncircumcised" (Ezekiel 32:29). They who boasted of their might on earth shall in hell be "ashamed of their might" (Ezekiel 32:30).

(6) The only consolation left them shall be the wretched one of having multitudes of others as companions of their misery. As on earth violent men put their terror on their fellow-men, so God will put His terror on them.

(7) The theater of its displ ay shall be not only in hell, but also "in the land of the living," where God will gloriously vindicate the cause of His people against their foes (Ezekiel 32:32). Surely men disquiet themselves about a vain thing in so keenly pursuing pleasure, gain, fame, and power, at the cost of their immortal souls. What will all these objects of worldly men's pursuit do for them when they are laid in the grave? Lord, do thou teach us the blessedness of having thee as our portion forever!

Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Ezekiel 32". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jfu/ezekiel-32.html. 1871-8.
 
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