Bible Commentaries

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Ezekiel 30

Verse 2

Howl ye, inhabitants of Egypt, and whoso are near enough in friendship and alliances to fall under the like calamities.

Woe worth the day! Ah the day! O sad and miserable times.

Verse 3

The day; the time of such distresses, as never the like known by you.

Near; it will begin in your overthrow in the Cyrenian and Libyan deserts in very little time next it will continue in your civil war, and finally end in the Babylonish conquest: some two years, and you shall be miserably routed in the deserts of Libya; immediately after the civil war for eleven years together shall waste you; and then Nebuchadrezzar’s forces will be upon you; so that, whereas there may be about sixteen or eighteen years between the prophecy and its fulfilling, here is thirteen or fourteen of them taken up with sorrows and afflictions, forerunners of the last.

The day of the Lord; of the Lord’s sore displeasure against Egypt and its allies.

Near; within two years, as is said.

A cloudy day; a dark day, so times of trouble are called, whereas prosperity is a day of light. Troubles, like violent storms, are black.

Of the heathen; of the Egyptians to be wasted, and of the Babylonians to waste them; the day of pride, cruelty, and revenges to the one, the day of falling, spoil, and destruction to the other.

Verse 4

The sword: see Ezekiel 29:8.

In Ethiopia; next neighbour and ally to Egypt; they shall tremble at so great danger, so near, and they uncertain whether it will come on them, but very certain to be ruined if it does come, and as certain that they have cause to suspect it will come on them.

When the slain shall fall in Egypt; when the Egyptians, under the eye of the Ethiopians, shall fall in battle, and at the taking of their towns.

They shall take away her multitude; in miserable captivity carry them to Babylon, by whole droves.

Her foundations, their government, laws, counsellors, strong holds, which are to a nation as foundations to a house, are destroyed.

Verse 5

Ethiopia, Heb. Cush, which are commonly thought to be the Ethiopians in Africa, but some more inquisitive geographers have found them originally and chiefly in Arabia, which was either subject or ally to Egypt in its prosperity; and these were, as Ezekiel 30:4, in a panic that, lest the Babylonian should pass the sea, and take them in his way home.

Libya, Heb. Phut; hence the Putaens or Phutaans, who afterwards were better known by Libyans, a part of whose country was near to Egypt.

Lydia; Lydians, not the Asiatic, but the Africans, placed between some part of Cyrene and Egypt.

All the mingled people; the hired soldiers from all parts, a confused mixture of nations, such as the Libyans had got together; or all Arabia, so the word 2 Chronicles 9:14 Isaiah 13:20; or all that ravenous sort of people, that like crows fly to slaughters; so soldiers of fortune follow the wars, and the Hebrew word is crow, Leviticus 11:15 Deuteronomy 14:14 Psalms 147:9, as well as mixed.

Chub; Ethiopians beyond Egypt south, the inhabitants of the inmost Libya, which reached to the Nigritae; perhaps they may be the Nubians at this day, a letter easily changed.

The men of the land that is in league; the sons of the land of the covenant: some refer to the Jews, children of the covenant, but this is forced; it is all the people of Egypt’s league, all the allies of the Egyptian kingdom. With them; with the Egyptians.

By the sword; in war by the sword of Babylon.

Verse 6

They also that uphold Egypt; either the princes, counsellors, and martial men in Egypt, or those abroad, that favour her and help her.

The pride of her power; the glory of all her strength, of which she was proud.

Shall come down; be trodden under foot. From the tower; from Magdalum in the north-east part of Egypt, toward the Red Sea, to Syene in the most south-west part of Egypt. See Ezekiel 29:10.

Verse 7

They, all those before mentioned,

shall be desolate; as much wasted as any of them that are most wasted. Her cities, of Egypt, equally wasted with other cities that have been sacked, as Jerusalem, Tyre, Zidon, Rabbath, &c.

Verse 8

They shall know; all that act, and all that suffer, in this tragedy, shall by the evidence of the things be enforced to own God’s hand, and ascribe justice, and truth, and glory to him.

A fire; that war, which like increasing fire consumeth all.

Shall be destroyed; the destruction of so many and powerful aids shall prove that it was God’s hand did it.

Verse 9

In that day; the day of God’s severe but just judgments, and Egypt’s fatal desolation.

Messengers; such as having seen and escaped the sword, shall tell the dismal news.

From me; by my permission and providence they shall go, as if sent by me.

In ships; ships that either carried them over into Pentapolis, crossing the river Nilus, or rather going down the river into the Mediterranean, and so to any part of those north parts of Africa, and others by ship through the Red Sea to Arabia Felix, which is that Ethiopia which is here meant; though it is possible in those days the African Ethiopia might, as once it did, extend quite to the mouth of the Red Sea. on whose shore their ancestors must needs first land out of Arabia, whence the Abyssinians, who are our present Ethiopians, do own their descent. So messengers by ships might carry the news to both the Ethiopian, Asian, and African, by the Red Sea.

The careless Ethiopians; in much security they had hitherto lived, the most potent and formidable neighbour having been their ancient ally, till the news of so mighty an enemy at their very doors.

Great pain; apprehensions of danger, that puzzles their wisdom, weakens their courage, makes them in perplexity, both sick and astonished.

As in the day of Egypt; either like that which, when their host was drowned in the Red Sea, seized all Egypt, or rather like this latter fear, which arose from the mighty havoc made by the Chaldean.

It cometh; a storm like that certainly cometh against you.

Verse 10

The multitude; the numerous families and tribes. To cease; to dwindle and decrease.

By the hand; by the army, power, and conduct of Nebuchadrezzar.

Verse 11

He; Nebuchadrezzar.

His people; his own subjects, not hired soldiers.

The terrible: this is the description of them, Habakkuk 1:7, a fierce and cruel people, as Psalms 137:8,9.

Shall be brought, by the hand of God, using means for that end, as before noted, Ezekiel 29:4.

Draw their swords against Egypt; readily, and with resolution not to sheath them till Egypt be filled with slain.

Verse 12

I will make the rivers dry; either by some extraordinary drought, or rather by means of that mighty lake, which drew so much water from Nilus, that all their canals were ever after shallow, and the lake, as the oracle foretold, helped their enemy, and hurt their friends; or the Chaldeans might divert them, and so their fortified towns would want one great defence.

Sell the land: God gave it, here he sells; the one is proper, the other a borrowed expression; indeed God seems to pay wages with it, Ezekiel 29:19,20; but hereby is intimated, that as sellers deliver into the hand of the buyer, so God would deliver Egypt into the hand of Nebuchadrezzar, as surely as if he had bought it. arid we may conclude the Chaldean as a buyer will make the most of all he buys.

Of the wicked; not of just and compassionate, but of injurious and merciless men. Strangers, who leave nothing they can carry away, eat up, or spoil.

I the Lord have spoken it; it is the decree and edict of Heaven, which cannot be broken.

Verse 13

I will also destroy; God did it by the Babylonians; those proud and impious nations did triumph over the gods of the conquered, and out of contempt of them burnt them or broke them, as is well known; so Sennacherib threatened, 2 Chronicles 32:19 Isaiah 37:19,24, against the true God, as he did to idol gods.

The idols; dunghill gods, as the words, fitter to be trod under foot than to be decked and respected.

Their images; these nothings, as the word imports; whoever destroyed the image destroyed the god, for it was nothing but an image.

Noph; Memphis, now Grand Cairo, the chief city of the country, the seat of their kings first, of their priests by consequence, and of all their several gods too; but the Chaldeans destroyed the nest and birds too.

A prince; either an Egyptian horn, or independent, or over all Egypt, or that shall have the power, wealth, or honour like a former brave Egyptian king. A fear of consternation and cowardice, that should disable them for counsel and action in their most urgent affairs.

Verse 14

Parthos: see Ezekiel 29:14.

Set a fire in Zoan: it may be literally understood, that Zoan, Tanis, for that is its name, should be burnt down to ashes; or metaphorically, of war, and civil dissensions.

No; a very great and populous city, situate on one of the mouths of Nilus, and on the sea, Nahum 3:8. Now Alexandria stands where that did. But it was greater in sin than in people, and it was visited with very great and dreadful judgments, Nahum 3:8-11, which see.

Verse 15

Will pour my fury: see Ezekiel 21:31.

Sin; either Sain, or more likely Pelusium, which was a frontier, and secured the entrance of Egypt from the desert of Sin, was the key of Egypt, and therefore always well fortified and strongly garrisoned; it was called Damtiata.

The strength of Egypt; one of the principal munitions of Egypt; for it was a good and large haven, and was strengthened with all needful fortifications.

The multitude, or the riches and tumultuous noise which the multitudes thereof made. If we read as the margin, it is plain, God does threaten Pelusium after No is cut off; if we retain our own translation, we must think of another city of that name, which God threatens with Sin. Now this may be Thebe Egyptiacae or this city may be Hamon No, called Diospolis, the city of Jupiter; possibly it may be the same mentioned already, and the threat repeated to confirm it.

Verse 16

Will set fire: see Ezekiel 30:14, and Ezekiel 20:47.

Sin: see Ezekiel 30:15. Great pain: see Ezekiel 30:9.

No: Ezekiel 30:14,15.

Rent asunder; her walls, and towers, and fortresses battered, torn, and broken through by the continued violence of engines, and by the assaults of the soldiers.

Noph: see Ezekiel 30:13.

Distresses: being the chief city where king and councils sat, whence orders should be given, whither all intelligences were brought, all should be so bad abroad, that nothing but fears and distresses fill their ears, mouths, and hearts, beside the wants that would increase daily on them.

Verse 17

The young men: it is probable these might be a select army of valiant youths in one body, collected out of these two cities, that resolved to break the Chaldean army, or fall in the enterprise; or else that they did to the utmost defend the walls, and were put to the sword when the city was taken by assault.

Aven; Bethshemesh and Heliopolis, an idolatrous city, that worshipped the sun, and in which was a stately temple built to the sun. Its size was one hundred and fifty furlongs, six miles and three quarters, in compass, a very vain and sinful city, as its name Aven intimates.

Pi-beseth; Bubastus, and sometimes called Haephestus, no inconsiderable place, and I believe not far from Avon. It should seem to be some convenient pass, as I conjecture.

These cities; the citizens, cities put for citizens.

Go into captivity; some of the first, it may be the very first; which put Memphis, at report of it, into a sick fit, with great pain; this being the first-fruits of the sad coming harvest.

Verse 18

Tehaphnehes; a great and goodly city of Egypt. Tachapanes, Tachpanes, Tahapanes, Tahpanes, Chanes, and Hanes, Isaiah 30:4, are names given it, and this from a queen of Egypt of that name in Solomon’s time, 1 Kings 11:19,20. It stood not far from Sin or Pelusium, and by the Greeks, a little softening the name, called Daphne Pelusiaca. It was a royal city, in it Pharaoh had a house; to it many Jews fled, when forbidden of the Lord by the prophet Jeremiah, Eze 44. It was one of the first cities you come to out of the desert of Sin, and was one of the keys of Egypt.

The day shall be darkened; a night shall come upon it, and such a night of sorrow as shall grow darker and darker till the day, i.e. their day, be

darkness; or else, word for word, darkness shall be the day, and may bear this sense, shall be more welcome, more useful, more desired, than the day, whose light would discover their flight, which the night concealed.

I shall break, as into shivers.

The yokes; the sceptres; for there was one of Pharaoh’s houses, and probably some sceptre and other regal ornaments: or, the bars, which kept enemies out, and secured the citizens and country; such was this frontier town. Or, when, by giving this strong place into Nebuchadnezzar’s hand, I shall break the kingdom of Egypt, that it no more oppress with yokes, i.e. burdens.

The pomp; the beauty and goodliness with which the strength of this city was set out in her buildings, towers, forts.

Shall cease in her; shall be buried in her own ruins.

A cloud; sorrow at the success of the Chaldeans against her, compared often to a cloud.

Her daughters; either metaphorically, i.e. the towns and villages about her, or literally, her children; her daughters only mentioned, because her sons were destroyed and slain.

Verse 20

The eleventh year of Jeconiah’s captivity, three months and two days before Jerusalem was taken, Jeremiah 52:4.

In the first month; the fourth day of our April.

Verse 21

I have often told thee I would break, now I tell thee

I have broken, partly by the victory of the Chaldean over Pharaoh-necho, partly by the victory the Cyreneaus got over Pharaoh-hophra to raise the siege, from which attempt he fell with shame and loss, but more by civil wars.

Pharaoh; Hophra or Apries.

It shall not be bound up to be healed; and this wound is incurable,

it shall never be bound up to be healed, his arm shall never be strong and fit to encounter a potent enemy, as once it was.

Verse 22

In the former verse God had broken the arm, in this he will break the arms of Pharaoh, he will show he is still against Pharaoh, and will break him more and more.

The strong; that part of his kingdom which remains entire.

That which was broken; that which was shattered before, that part of his kingdom in Syria, taken from him, from Euphrates to the river of Egypt; that once was a strong arm, but now is broken and useless to him: and Egypt, whatever strength it now hath, shall be as weak and useless too; thus all his power and strength shall be destroyed.

Verse 23

See Ezekiel 29:12, and Ezekiel 20:23, where are the same expressions.

Verse 25

These two foregoing verses are a repetition of God’s threats against Pharaoh, and of his promises to assist Nebuchadnezzar in the war, and every thing plain in them.

Will strengthen; give the first strength, and continue it with new supplies, so that with strength from God he shall proceed.

Put my sword in his hand; is strength shall have a weapon suited and proportioned to it; and what will be hard, where God’s sword and his strength are engaged to effect it?

He, Hophra,

shall groan; not only as the stoutest must when nature breaks, but cry out and sigh, or howl, not becoming a brave man.

Before him, king of Babylon,

with the groanings of a deadly wounded man; who hath given him his deadly wound, under which he roars while he hath any strength, and groans when his voice fails him. It speaks sore griefs, and deep sense of them, as Exodus 2:24 Jude 2:18 Job 24:12.

Verse 26

See Ezekiel 30:23.

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Bibliographical Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Ezekiel 30". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. 1685.