JUDGMENTS ON GENTILE NATIONS
The prophet’s “dumbness” enjoined in the last chapter, was only towards his own people, and the interval was employed in messages touching the Gentiles. These nations might have many charges laid against them, but that which concerned a prophet of Israel chiefly was their treatment of that nation see this borne out by the text. Their ruin was to be utter in the end, while that of Israel was but temporary (Jeremiah 46:28).
Seven nations are denounced, “the perfect number, implying that God’s judgments would visit not merely these, but the whole round of the Gentile world.” Babylon is excepted here, because she is, for the present, viewed as the rod of God’s justice against Israel.
Use the marginal notes of your Bible for light on the historical references, and the maps for geographical data. A Bible dictionary also would be of much assistance.
“Men of the east” (Ezekiel 24:4) means the nomadic tribes beyond the Jordan. The prophecies upon Gentile powers in these chapters, have had partial fulfillments, of which history bears witness. But the mention of the “Day of the Lord” (Ezekiel 30:3) makes it evident that a fulfillment in the final sense is still future. These countries will once more be the battleground of the nations.
TYRE (Ezekiel 26-28)
In the first of these chapters we have Tyre’s sin (Ezekiel 26:1-2), her doom and the instruments of its execution (Ezekiel 26:3-14), and the effect of her downfall on the other nations (Ezekiel 26:15-21). In the second, we have a lamentation over the loss of such earthly splendor, and in the third, an elegy addressed to the king on the humiliation of his sacrilegious pride. This last is the most important chapter of the three.
As to the destruction of Tyre, secular history shows how accurately God’s word has come to pass. “Though thou be sought for, yet shalt thou never be found again” (Ezekiel 26:21). This is not to say that there should be no more a Tyre, but that there should be no more the Tyre that once was. As a matter of fact there were two Tyres in Ezekiel’s time, old Tyre and new Tyre, the first on the main land and the other out in the sea; and as to the first not a vestige of it was left.
Passing over the lamentation attention is called to the description of the king of Tyre (Ezekiel 28:1-19), which should be read in connection with that of the king of Babylon in Isaiah 14. The comment in that case fits this also, for although these verses are referring to the king of Tyre then reigning, Ithbaal 2, yet they have evidently an ulterior and fuller accomplishment in Satan, or in his earthly embodiment, the beast, or the Antichrist (Daniel 7:24; Daniel 11:36-37; 2 Thessalonians 2:4 and Revelation 13:6). Many expressions in the chapter baffle our understanding at present.
EGYPT (Ezekiel 29-32)
It should be remembered that “Pharaoh” was a common name of all the kings of Egypt, meaning, as some say, “the sun,” others, “a crocodile,” which was an object of worship by Egyptians. That nation was very prosperous and proud at this period, and no human sagacity could have foreseen its downfall as Ezekiel describes it, and as it came to pass, God’s instrument was Babylon (Ezekiel 29:19; Ezekiel 30:10), whose work is figuratively set forth in Ezekiel 29:4-12 of which 6 and 7 refer to the false confidence Israel reposed in Egypt during the siege, and which was recorded in Isaiah and Jeremiah. Note verses 13-15 in the light of the subsequent history of Egypt, and compare them with the promise to Israel (Ezekiel 29:21). God’s covenant with the latter holds good, notwithstanding for the present she is dealt with like the Gentiles. “In that day” means in the fullest sense, the coming Day of the Lord.
Reaching chapter 30 we find two messages: the first (Ezekiel 30:1-19), a repetition, with details, of that in Ezekiel 29:1-16; and the second, a vision particularly against Pharaoh himself.
“Heathen” (Ezekiel 30:3) should be “nations,” from which it will be seen that “the judgment on Egypt is the beginning of a worldwide judgment on all the Gentile people considered as God’s enemies.” “No more a prince of the land of Egypt” (Ezekiel 30:13), means, no more an independent prince ruling the whole country.
Chapter 31 illustrates the overthrow of Egypt by that of Assyria, for although the former was not utterly to cease to be as in the case of the latter, yet it was to lose its prominence as an aspirant for world-dominion.
Assyria was overthrown by the Chaldeans or Babylonians, and so Egypt would be.
Chapter 32 includes two lamentations rather than one, a fortnight apart in time, divided at Ezekiel 32:17. Ezekiel 32:7 may refer figuratively to the political sky, and yet the thought of supernatural darkness (as in Exodus 10:21-23) is not excluded. The second lamentation accompanies Egypt in imagination to the unseen world where she shares the fate of other nations (Ezekiel 32:18 ff.).
1. What were the limitations on the prophet’s dumbness?
2. Why were judgments pronounced against the Gentile nations?
3. How many nations are named, and what is the symbolism of that number?
4. Have these prophecies yet been entirely fulfilled?
5. Briefly analyze chapters 26-28.
6. What secondary yet complete application awaits the prophecy of Ezekiel 28:11-19?
7. How would you explain Ezekiel 30:13?
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Gray, James. "Commentary on Ezekiel 25". The James Gray's Concise Bible Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
Second Sunday after Epiphany