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Bible Commentaries
Ezekiel 30

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New TestamentsSutcliffe's Commentary

Verses 1-26

Ezekiel 30:5 . Ethiopia, Libya, and Lydia or Ludd. These allies of Egypt fell alike under the Assyrians, justly called “the bloody Assyrians.” The western shores of the Nile were then fertile districts; but now the western storms blow the sands of the deserts into the river, and impoverish the adjacent soil.

Ezekiel 30:13 . I will cause images to cease out of Noph. The vengeance should begin on their images or idol gods; and after that, as foretold by another prophet, the sceptre of Egypt should depart away. Noph, sometimes called Moph, or Memphis, a celebrated town in Egypt, on the western banks of the Nile, once contained many beautiful temples of idolatrous worship, which are here the objects of prophetic denunciation. Through this city also the Nile once flowed with such an expanse of waters that in the Hebrew scriptures it is sometimes called the sea. The lake Mereotis was in the time of Herodotus seventy five miles in circumference, though it is now only twenty five miles round its shores. The pyramids, twenty in number, extend fourteen miles from north to south, along the banks of the Nile. The largest of them is no less than four hundred and eighty five feet in perpendicular height, on a square base, each of whose sides is also four hundred and eighty feet, enclosing full eleven acres of ground. The inside of the pyramid is full of receptacles for the dead, the outside is ascended by steps, connected with superior entrances, evidently designed as places of retreat in case of future inundations. These stupendous monuments, whose beauty and grandeur still astonish the modern traveller, were apparently erected during the sojourn of Israel in Egypt, and not long after the tremendous inundation of one of the superior rivers in the time of Ogyges, the most ancient king of Greece. But though these huge monuments still exist, the images of Noph or Memphis have long ceased, and even the scite on which the city stood is now unknown. The ruins of its fallen grandeur were conveyed to Alexandria to beautify its palaces, or to adorn the neighbouring cities.

It is also here foretold that there shall no more be a native prince of the land of Egypt. Her dynasties had subsisted from Menes, her first king, who is said to have reigned in the year of the world 2251, to the destruction of the Pharaohs by Nebuchadnezzar, which terminated the reign of the Egyptian princes, and showed the fulfilment of prophecy, and the judgments of God upon the oppressors of his people.

Ezekiel 30:15 . I will cut off the multitude of No. The prophet Nahum asks Nineveh, What art thou better than populous No, whose rampart was the sea; yet she was carried away into captivity. Cyaxares, king of Media, and Nabopolassar king of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar’s father, took Nineveh, and destroyed the Assyrian empire about twenty three years after this, and so fulfilled the prophecy of Nahum and Zephaniah. The priests of Memphis told Herodotus, as in the beginning of his second book, Euterpe, that Menes was the first king that had ever reigned, and that the Egyptians were the first nation who had discovered the names of the twelve gods, which the Greeks had borrowed. That they were also the first who had erected altars to the gods, and introduced statues into the temples. That in Menes’ time all Egypt was a morass, excepting Thebaid, of which Thebes was the capital. That the land from the lake Mereotis to the sea had then no existence; and that the country for seven days’ journey had been warped up by depositions of the water. And from the appearance of the country this judicious traveller entirely concurs in opinion with the ancient priests of Egypt.

Juvenal describes No-ammon as the old Thebes, having a hundred fortified gates. Atque vetus Thebae centum jacet obruta. Sat. 15. It is called by the Greeks Diospolis, the city of Jupiter, Lower Egypt being formed by depositions of the sea and the Nile: the sea once indented itself as high as Thebes. It is probable that the Ethiopians, prior to the annals of history, had sacked this city, and ruined upper Egypt, which flourished again after the expulsion of the shepherds. Genesis 46:34. Herodotus says that Egypt, in the time of king Amasis, had twenty thousand towns and villages densely populated.

The ruins of Thebes, surnamed Hecatompylos, because of its hundred gates, are found on the eastern shore of the Nile, in north latitude 25’ 40. The geologist will make no scruple to believe the prophet Nahum, that the sea once reached the ramparts of Thebes. The Rev. Mr. Ray has proved that the sea once washed the shores of Canterbury, and that there are six acres of oysters near Reading. The tides once played, and for a long time, at the foot of the Craven hills near Keighley in Yorkshire, depositing a broad line of bowlders, and also mixed with bowlders of limestone, and of a character quite dissimilar from any liases in this country.

Ezekiel 30:17 . The young men of Aven and of Phibeseth. The Vulgate reads, Heliopolis, the city of the sun, and Babastos. The former city is the Greek name for On.


We are here struck with the exact accomplishment of the prophecies against Egypt, against its cities and its princes, by the wars of Assyria and surrounding nations. When the measure was full, the visitation came. Therefore Isaiah, Nahum, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel, must have been inspired by Him to whom futurity is without a veil. What instruction then should the ruins of ancient cities where powerful kings once reigned, suggest to the flourishing cities of Europe who imitate them in every species of crime, and forget the Lord, who does what he pleases in the heavens above, and in the earth below. Ah, we want all the energies of religion to be in active operation, to counteract the evils of the heart, that righteousness and peace may everywhere flourish and abound.

Bibliographical Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Ezekiel 30". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jsc/ezekiel-30.html. 1835.
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