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Bible Commentaries
Ezekiel 30

Utley's You Can Understand the BibleUtley Commentary


Ezekiel 30:0


Oracles Against the Nations(Ezekiel 25:1-32)
Lament Over EgyptEgypt and Her Allies Will FallThe Doom of EgyptThe Lord Will Punish EgyptAgainst Egypt: The Day of Yahweh
Ezekiel 30:1-5Ezekiel 30:1-5Ezekiel 30:1-4Ezekiel 30:1-4Ezekiel 30:1-3
(vv. Ezekiel 30:2-4)(vv. Ezekiel 30:2-4)(vv. Ezekiel 30:2-4)(2c-4)
Ezekiel 30:4-5
Ezekiel 30:5Ezekiel 30:5
Ezekiel 30:6-9Ezekiel 30:6-9Ezekiel 30:6-8Ezekiel 30:6-8Ezekiel 30:6
(vv. Ezekiel 30:6-8)(vv. Ezekiel 30:6)(vv. Ezekiel 30:6-8)
(vv. Ezekiel 30:7-9) Ezekiel 30:7-8
Ezekiel 30:9Ezekiel 30:9Ezekiel 30:9-12
Ezekiel 30:10-12Ezekiel 30:10-12Ezekiel 30:10-12Ezekiel 30:10-12
(vv. Ezekiel 30:10-12)(vv. Ezekiel 30:10-12)(vv. Ezekiel 30:10-12)
Ezekiel 30:13-19Ezekiel 30:13-19Ezekiel 30:13-19Ezekiel 30:13-19Ezekiel 30:13-19
(vv. Ezekiel 30:13-19)(vv. Ezekiel 30:13-19)(vv. Ezekiel 30:13-19)
Victory For BabylonProclamation Against Pharaoh The Broken Power of the King of Egypt
Ezekiel 30:20-26Ezekiel 30:20-26Ezekiel 30:20-26Ezekiel 30:20-26Ezekiel 30:20-26

READING CYCLE THREE (see “Guide to Good Bible Reading”)


This is a study guide commentary, which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

Read the chapter in one sitting. Identify the subjects (reading cycle #3). Compare your subject divisions with the five translations above. Paragraphing is not inspired, but it is the key to following the original author's intent, which is the heart of interpretation. Every paragraph has one and only one subject.

1. First paragraph

2. Second paragraph

3. Third paragraph

4. Etc.

Verses 1-5

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Ezekiel 30:1-5 1The word of the LORD came again to me saying, 2”Son of man, prophesy and say, 'Thus says the Lord GOD, “Wail, 'Alas for the day!' 3For the day is near, Even the day of the LORD is near; It will be a day of clouds, A time of doom for the nations. 4A sword will come upon Egypt, And anguish will be in Ethiopia; When the slain fall in Egypt, They take away her wealth, And her foundations are torn down. 5Ethiopia, Put, Lud all Arabia, Libya and the people of the land that is in league will fall with them by the sword.”

Ezekiel 30:1 See note at Ezekiel 29:1.

Ezekiel 30:2 “prophesy” This VERB (BDB 612, KB 659) is a Niphal IMPERATIVE. It is used thirty-seven times in Ezekiel. The book is a series of messages from YHWH to Judah through Ezekiel.

“Thus says the Lord GOD” YHWH is the source of the message, not Ezekiel (cf. Ezekiel 25:3; Amos 1:3; Amos 2:1). For the name Adonai YHWH see Special Topic: Names for Deity.

“Wail” This VERB (BDB 410, KB 413, Hiphil IMPERATIVE) is common in

1. Isaiah, Isaiah 13:6; Isaiah 14:31; Isaiah 15:2, Isaiah 15:3; Isaiah 16:7 (twice); Isaiah 23:1, Isaiah 23:6, Isaiah 23:14; Isaiah 52:5; Isaiah 65:14

2. Jeremiah, Jeremiah 4:8; Jeremiah 25:34; Jeremiah 47:2; Jeremiah 48:20, Jeremiah 48:31, Jeremiah 48:39; Jeremiah 49:3; Jeremiah 51:8

3. Ezekiel (only twice), Ezekiel 21:12; Ezekiel 30:2

4. Joel, Joel 1:5, Joel 1:11, Joel 1:13

It denotes those who cry out like wounded animals at the judgment of God which has come upon them (i.e., “Wail, also for the day!” Ezekiel 30:2-3).

Ezekiel 30:3 “the day of the LORD” See note at Ezekiel 7:19. This reference is to the immediate invasion of Babylon, not an eschatological one.

“It will be a day of clouds” The phrase is an idiom of gloom (i.e., sirocco east winds from the desert, cf. Ezekiel 30:18; Ezekiel 32:7; Ezekiel 34:12), but it denotes more. The clouds are often the transportation of deity (e.g., Jeremiah 4:13; Daniel 7:13; Nahum 1:3). See Special Topic following.


Ezekiel 30:4 “anguish” This term (BDB 298) comes from “birth pains” (BDB 296). It describes the terrible pain, emotionally and physically, of God's judgment

1. against Philistia, Exodus 15:14

2. against unspecified foreign kings, Psalms 48:6

3. against Babylon, Isaiah 13:8; Isaiah 21:3; Jeremiah 50:43

4. against Israel, Jeremiah 6:24; Jeremiah 22:23

5. against Lebanon, Jeremiah 22:23

6. against Moab, Jeremiah 48:41

7. against Edom, Jeremiah 49:22

8. against Egypt, Ezekiel 30:4, Ezekiel 30:9

9. against Assyria, Nahum 2:10

“Ethiopia” This is literally “Cush” (BDB 468). Cush controlled Egypt during the twenty-fifth dynasty (716-663 B.C.), but had since been overthrown. However, in Ezekiel 30:4 and 9 “Cush” seems to be a designation for Egypt (cf. Isaiah 20:4).

“They take away her wealth” The term translated “wealth” (BDB 242) has several meanings.

1. sound, murmur, roar of a crowd, Isaiah 13:4; Isaiah 17:12

2. tumult, confusion, Isaiah 33:3

3. crowd, multitude, Ezekiel 7:12, Ezekiel 7:13; Ezekiel 23:42; Ezekiel 30:4; Ezekiel 39:11

4. abundance, Isaiah 60:5

Context must determine which fits best. Because of Ezekiel 29:19 some choose #4, but Ezekiel 30:4 itself supports #3. Notice the same ambiguity in Ezekiel 30:10.

Ezekiel 30:5 This refers to (1) mercenary soldiers (cf. Ezekiel 30:8; Ezekiel 27:10) or (2) allies (i.e., “in league,” Ezekiel 30:5; and Ezekiel 30:6, Ezekiel 30:8).

1. Ethiopia/Cush (BDB 468), cf. Ezekiel 27:10; Ezekiel 38:5; Genesis 10:13

2. Put/Libia (BDB 806), cf. Genesis 10:6; Jeremiah 46:9

3. Lud/Lydia (BDB 530 [1] it is possible to link them with the northern Mediterranean, cf. Isaiah 66:19 or [2] it is grammatically possible that all three denote Egypt)

4. Arabia (Peshitta, BDB 787) or “mixed people” (LXX. NKJV, BDB 786), both have the same consonants

5. Libya/Lub (BDB 464, cf. Genesis 10:13, another descendant of Ham living in northeast Africa)

6. “the people of the land,” this phrase refers to another people group, but which one is uncertain. Some commentators speculate that because the term “covenant”/berith is used it refers to Jews living in north Africa.

Verses 6-9

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Ezekiel 30:6-9a 6'Thus says the LORD, “Indeed, those who support Egypt will fall And the pride of her power will come down; From Migdol to Syene They will fall within her by the sword,” Declares the Lord GOD. 7” They will be desolate In the midst of the desolated lands; And her cities will be In the midst of the devastated cities. 8And they will know that I am the LORD, When I set a fire in Egypt And all her helpers are broken. 9On that day messengers will go forth from Me in ships to frighten secure Ethiopia; and anguish will be on them as on the day of Egypt; for behold, it comes!”

Ezekiel 30:6 “the pride of her power will come down” This is the common thread between Tyre and Egypt (cf. Ezekiel 28:2; Ezekiel 29:9b).

“From Migdol to Syene” See note at Ezekiel 29:10.

“by the sword” YHWH sends the sword (cf. Ezekiel 7:15). In this context, the sword is Nebuchadnezzar's army (cf. Ezekiel 30:10-11).

Ezekiel 30:8 Fire is often the metaphor used to describe God's judgment (cf. Ezekiel 30:14, Ezekiel 30:16; Ezekiel 5:4; Ezekiel 10:2, Ezekiel 10:6-7; Ezekiel 15:4-7; Ezekiel 16:41; Ezekiel 19:12, Ezekiel 19:14; Ezekiel 20:45-49; Ezekiel 21:31-32; Ezekiel 23:25, Ezekiel 23:47; Ezekiel 24:10, Ezekiel 24:12; Ezekiel 39:6). See Special Topic: FIRE.

Verses 10-12

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Ezekiel 30:10-12 10'Thus says the Lord GOD, “I will also make the hordes of Egypt cease By the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon. 11He and his people with him, The most ruthless of the nations, Will be brought in to destroy the land; And they will draw their swords against Egypt And fill the land with the slain. 12Moreover, I will make the Nile canals dry And sell the land into the hands of evil men. And I will make the land desolate And all that is in it, By the hand of strangers; I the LORD have spoken.”

Ezekiel 30:11 “The most ruthless of the nations” This phrase describes the mercenary army of Nebuchadnezzar II, King of Babylon (cf. Ezekiel 28:7; Ezekiel 31:12; Ezekiel 32:12; Habakkuk 1:6-8).

Ezekiel 30:12 Notice the number of FIRST PERSON SINGULAR VERBS referring to YHWH's sovereignty.

1. I will make, BDB 678, KB 733,Qal PERFECT

2. I will sell, BDB 569, KB 581, Qal PERFECT

3. I will make (lit. “I will bring desolation”), BDB 1030, KB 1563, Hiphil PERFECT

4. I, the Lord, have spoken, BDB 180, KB 210, Piel PERFECT

Number 2 is especially interesting because it uses a term normally reserved for YHWH's actions toward unfaithful Israel (cf. Deuteronomy 32:30; Judges 2:14; Judges 3:8; Judges 4:2, Judges 4:9; Judges 10:7; 1 Samuel 12:9). The usage here implies YHWH's ownership of all lands and all peoples (cf. Deuteronomy 32:8).

“Sell” is a metaphor for giving a people group into the hand of another group. A nation loses its autonomy.

Verses 13-19

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Ezekiel 30:13-19 13”'Thus says the Lord GOD, “I will also destroy the idols And make the images cease from Memphis. And there will no longer be a prince in the land of Egypt; And I will put fear in the land of Egypt. 14I will make Pathros desolate, Set a fire in Zoan And execute judgments on Thebes. 15I will pour out My wrath on Sin, The stronghold of Egypt; I will also cut off the hordes of Thebes. 16I will set a fire in Egypt; Sin will writhe in anguish, Thebes will be breached And Memphis will have distresses daily. 17The young men of On and of Pi-beseth Will fall by the sword, And the women will go into captivity. 18In Tehaphnehes the day will be dark When I break there the yoke bars of Egypt. Then the pride of her power will cease in her; A cloud will cover her, And her daughters will go into captivity. 19Thus I will execute judgments on Egypt, And they will know that I am the LORD.”'“

Ezekiel 30:13-19 Notice the list of Egyptian allies.

1. Memphis, Ezekiel 30:13; Ezekiel 30:13, Ezekiel 30:16, first known capital of Egypt named Menes after the first powerful king. Its chief deity was Ptah, the creator-god. The later name, Memphis, came from its association with the pyramid of Pepi I.

2. Pathros, Ezekiel 30:14, see note at Ezekiel 29:14

3. Zoan, Ezekiel 30:14, also called Tanis and probably the Hyksos Avaris, later called Ramesses, the delta capital of Egypt in 21st and 22nd dynasties

4. Thebes, Ezekiel 30:14, Ezekiel 30:16, is the location of the valleys of the kings and temples of Amun. Today it is called Luxor, about 400 miles south of Cairo.

5. Sin, Ezekiel 30:15, Ezekiel 30:16, a city is located in the delta. In Greek it is called Pelusiom (i.e., city of mud). It guarded the highway to the north.

6. On, Ezekiel 30:17, this city is close to Cairo in the delta region. In Greek it is called Heliopolis (i.e., city of the sun). It was one of the cities built by Hebrew slaves (cf. Exodus 1:11).

7. Pi-beseth, Ezekiel 30:17, later the capital of Egypt (22nd dynasty). It was named after the goddess Bastet (woman with cat head). It was made famous by Pharaoh Shishak.

8. Tehaphnehes, Ezekiel 30:18, in Jeremiah 43:7 it is spelled Tahpanhes. It is located on the highway going to Arabia in the eastern delta region.

Ezekiel 30:13 “the idols” There were several categories of idols (BDB 156) in Egypt.

1. royal rulers (Pharaohs)

2. animals

3. half human, half animals

4. fertility gods

Each city had their own chief god and/or goddess.

“images” This (BDB 47) is parallel to “idols.” Its basic meaning is uncertain, but the same root in Syriac means “weak,” “feeble,” “poor.” It has the connotation of that which is insufficient or worthless. It is translated “idols” in Leviticus 19:4; Leviticus 26:1; Psalms 96:5; Psalms 97:7; Isaiah 2:8, Isaiah 2:18, Isaiah 2:20(twice); Ezekiel 10:10; Ezekiel 19:1, Ezekiel 19:3; Ezekiel 31:7(twice); Habakkuk 2:18.

“there will no longer be a prince in the land of Egypt” Apparently Babylon's conquest and exile completely removed all the royal family to Babylon. Pharoah Hophra was assassinated and a new dynasty started.

Ezekiel 30:14 “Zoan” This is a Hebrew form of the name of a famous ancient city (cf. Numbers 13:22) in the delta region that is known by several names.

1. Avaris (Hyksos name)

2. Pi-Ramesses (moved to a new location to the north which became Zoan, ABD, vol. 6, p. 1106)

3. Tanis (later Greek name)

It was the northern capital of several Egyptian dynasties (i.e., Hyksos and Ramses II). It became the site of a revival temple to Amon (original temple was at Thebes).

It is mentioned in the OT in Numbers 13:22; Isaiah 19:11, Isaiah 19:13; Isaiah 30:4; Ezekiel 30:14, as well as Psalms 78:12, Psalms 78:43.

Ezekiel 30:16 “writhe in anguish” This phrase could be an INFINITIVE ABSOLUTE and an IMPERFECT VERB of the same root (BDB 296). If so, it denotes intensity.

“will be breached” This VERB (BDB 131, KB 149) is a Niphal INFINITIVE CONSTRUCT. The TEV and NJB follow the Septuagint, which sees the breach as referring to the city's (i.e., Thebes) walls breaking and letting the Nile flood the city. The Septuagint (LXX) does not mention Memphis in the closing line of Ezekiel 30:16.

Ezekiel 30:17-18 The NASB translates “they” (A FEMININE PLURAL) of Ezekiel 30:17b as “the women,” while NKJV translates “they” as “these cities,” as do NRSV and NJB. The TEV identified “they” as other people.

The NASB probably bases its understanding on the parallelism of Ezekiel 30:18e.

Ezekiel 30:18 “the day will be dark” Most English translations change the MT's “shall be withheld” (BDB 362, חשׂך) to “will be darkened” (BDB 364, חשׁך).

“the pride of her power will cease” Pride is a major spiritual problem for humans, angels, and nations. It is the essence of the self-centeredness of Genesis 3:0. It is always followed by divine judgment (e.g., Ezekiel 28:2; Ezekiel 29:3; Ezekiel 32:12; Ezekiel 33:28; Isaiah 14:13-14; Isaiah 16:6; Isaiah 25:11).

Verses 20-26

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Ezekiel 30:20-26 20In the eleventh year, in the first month, on the seventh of the month, the word of the LORD came to me saying, 21”Son of man, I have broken the arm of Pharaoh king of Egypt; and, behold, it has not been bound up for healing or wrapped with a bandage, that it may be strong to hold the sword. 22Therefore thus says the Lord GOD, 'Behold, I am against Pharaoh king of Egypt and will break his arms, both the strong and the broken; and I will make the sword fall from his hand. 23I will scatter the Egyptians among the nations and disperse them among the lands. 24For I will strengthen the arms of the king of Babylon and put My sword in his hand; and I will break the arms of Pharaoh, so that he will groan before him with the groanings of a wounded man. 25Thus I will strengthen the arms of the king of Babylon, but the arms of Pharaoh will fall. Then they will know that I am the LORD, when I put My sword into the hand of the king of Babylon and he stretches it out against the land of Egypt. 26When I scatter the Egyptians among the nations and disperse them among the lands, then they will know that I am the LORD.'“

Ezekiel 30:20-26 This is a new revelation about YHWH's judgment on Egypt, which uses the idiom of “arm” in several ways. Arm is a metaphor for ability.

1. I have broken the arm of Pharaoh, Ezekiel 30:21, Ezekiel 30:22. Pharaoh Hophra gave himself the title of “The Strong-Armed One.” This is, therefore, powerful irony.

2. It has not been bound up for healing, Ezekiel 30:21

3. Or wrapped with a bandage that it may be strong to hold the sword, Ezekiel 30:21

4. “I will make the sword fall from his hands,” Ezekiel 30:22

5. I will strengthen the arms of the king of Babylon, Ezekiel 30:24, Ezekiel 30:25

6. I will put My sword in his hand, Ezekiel 30:24, Ezekiel 30:25

7. I will break the arms of Pharaoh

8. The arms of Pharaoh will fall

Bibliographical Information
Utley. Dr. Robert. "Commentary on Ezekiel 30". "Utley's You Can Understand the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ubc/ezekiel-30.html. 2021.
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