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Bible Commentaries
Ezekiel 32

Utley's You Can Understand the BibleUtley Commentary


Ezekiel 32:0


Oracles Against the Nations(Ezekiel 25:1-32)
Lament Over Pharaoh and EgyptLamentation for Pharaoh and EgyptLament Over PharaohThe King of Egypt Is Compared to a CrocodileThe Crocodile
Ezekiel 32:1-10Ezekiel 32:1-10Ezekiel 32:1-16Ezekiel 32:1-8Ezekiel 32:1-8
(vv. Ezekiel 32:2-8)(vv. Ezekiel 32:2b)(vv. Ezekiel 32:2-16) (vv. Ezekiel 32:2b)
(vv. Ezekiel 32:3-5) (vv. Ezekiel 32:3-8)
(vv. Ezekiel 32:6-8)
Ezekiel 32:9-10Ezekiel 32:9-14
Ezekiel 32:11-16Ezekiel 32:11-16 Ezekiel 32:11-16
(vv. Ezekiel 32:12-15)(vv. Ezekiel 32:12-15)
Ezekiel 32:15
(vv. Ezekiel 32:16) Ezekiel 32:16
Egypt and Others Consigned to the PitEgypt in the UnderworldThe World of the DeadPharaoh Goes Down to Sheol
Ezekiel 32:17-21Ezekiel 32:17-21Ezekiel 32:17-21Ezekiel 32:17-19Ezekiel 32:17-21
(vv. Ezekiel 32:18-19)(vv. Ezekiel 32:18-19)
(vv. Ezekiel 32:19) (vv. Ezekiel 32:19)
(vv. Ezekiel 32:20-21) Ezekiel 32:20-21
Ezekiel 32:22-23Ezekiel 32:22-23Ezekiel 32:22-23Ezekiel 32:22-23Ezekiel 32:22-23
Ezekiel 32:24-25Ezekiel 32:24-25Ezekiel 32:24-25Ezekiel 32:24-25Ezekiel 32:24-25
(vv. Ezekiel 32:24-25)
Ezekiel 32:26-28Ezekiel 32:26-28Ezekiel 32:26-28Ezekiel 32:26-27Ezekiel 32:26-28
(vv. Ezekiel 32:26-28)
Ezekiel 32:28
Ezekiel 32:29Ezekiel 32:29-30Ezekiel 32:29Ezekiel 32:29Ezekiel 32:29
(vv. Ezekiel 32:29-30)
Ezekiel 32:30 Ezekiel 32:30Ezekiel 32:30Ezekiel 32:30
Ezekiel 32:31-32Ezekiel 32:31-32Ezekiel 32:31-32Ezekiel 32:31Ezekiel 32:31-32
(vv. Ezekiel 32:31-32)
Ezekiel 32:32

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 1-2

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Ezekiel 32:1-2 1In the twelfth year, in the twelfth month, on the first of the month, the word of the LORD came to me saying, 2”Son of man, take up a lamentation over Pharaoh king of Egypt and say to him, 'You compared yourself to a young lion of the nations, Yet you are like the monster in the seas; And you burst forth in your rivers And muddied the waters with your feet And fouled their rivers.'“

Ezekiel 32:1 See note at Ezekiel 29:1. This date would be about one year after the fall of Jerusalem in 586 B.C.

Ezekiel 32:2 The four-chapter litany of judgment against Egypt continues (i.e., chapters 29-32).

“take up a lamentation” This was a well known form of poetic beat (3-2, BDB 884, cf. Ezekiel 2:10; Ezekiel 19:1, Ezekiel 19:14[twice]; Ezekiel 26:17; Ezekiel 27:2, Ezekiel 27:32; Ezekiel 28:12; Ezekiel 32:16; Jeremiah 9:10, Jeremiah 9:20). This chapter, like Ezekiel 19:1; Ezekiel 27:2; Ezekiel 28:12, starts with a command for a funeral dirge (“take up,” BDB 669, KB 724, Qal IMPERATIVE, cf. Jeremiah 7:29). Isaiah 14:4 has the same VERB in Qal PERFECT, but with “taunt” or “proverb” (BDB 605).

“You compared yourself to a young lion of the nations” Again this is a reference to Pharaoh's pride and arrogance (cf. Ezekiel 29:3; Ezekiel 30:6; Ezekiel 31:2-9, Ezekiel 31:10; Ezekiel 32:12). He was not a lion, but a water creature.

“Yet you are like the monster in the sea” See note at Ezekiel 29:3. This may be an allusion to Canaanite mythology where Ba'al defeats Yam, or Babylonian mythology where Marduk defeats Tiamat, see Special Topic: Ancient Near East Creation and Flood Myths. The OT alluded to these myths without acknowledging their reality (e.g., Isaiah 27:1).

Verses 3-10

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Ezekiel 32:3-10 3Thus says the Lord GOD, “Now I will spread My net over you With a company of many peoples, And they shall lift you up in My net. 4I will leave you on the land; I will cast you on the open field. And I will cause all the birds of the heavens to dwell on you, And I will satisfy the beasts of the whole earth with you. 5I will lay your flesh on the mountains And fill the valleys with your refuse. 6I will also make the land drink the discharge of your blood As far as the mountains, And the ravines will be full of you. 7And when I extinguish you, I will cover the heavens and darken their stars; I will cover the sun with a cloud And the moon will not give its light. 8All the shining lights in the heavens I will darken over you And will set darkness on your land,” Declares the Lord GOD. 9”I will also trouble the hearts of many peoples when I bring your destruction among the nations, into lands which you have not known. 10I will make many peoples appalled at you, and their kings will be horribly afraid of you when I brandish My sword before them; and they will tremble every moment, every man for his own life, on the day of your fall.”

Ezekiel 32:3 In Ezekiel 29:4 YHWH uses a hook, here a net (cf. Ezekiel 12:13; Ezekiel 17:20). This is also described in mythological terms in Psalms 74:13-14.

Ezekiel 32:4 This same ignominious fate (i.e., unburied and eaten by animals) is described in Ezekiel 29:5.

Ezekiel 32:5

NASB“refuse” NKJV“carcass” PESHITTA“dust” TEV, JPSOA“rotting corpse” NJB“corruption” REB“worms that fed on it”

The REB assumes the MT's מרומ (BDB 928) should be רממ (BDB 942, “be wormy,” cf. Exodus 16:20). Some see a parallel to Isaiah 14:11 to “maggots” רמה (BDB 942).

Ezekiel 32:6

NASB“flowing blood” LXX“dung” NEB“discharge” JPSOA“oozing blood”

This NOUN (BDB 847) is found only here in the OT. It is somehow linked to “blood” (BDB 196). NIDOTTE, vol. 3, p. 833, calls it “a sort of discharge. . .of sloughing tissue.”

Ezekiel 32:7-8 As the Genesis creation account (Genesis 1:0) depreciates the astral deities of Babylon, these verses depreciate the astral deities of Egypt. The darkness shows YHWH's power.

1. BDB 871, KB 1072 (Hiphil found only in Ezekiel, 3 times, cf. Ezekiel 31:15)

a. HIphil PERFECT, Ezekiel 32:7

b. HIphil IMPERFECT, Ezekiel 32:8

2. BDB 365 (cf. Genesis 1:2; Exodus 10:22; Amos 5:18, Amos 5:20)

Ezekiel 32:9-10 This is a common theme in these chapters (cf. Ezekiel 32:16, Ezekiel 32:19; Ezekiel 27:29-36; Ezekiel 28:19). YHWH's judgment on prideful Tyre and Egypt was meant to send a message to the nations (i.e., they will know that I am the Lord, e.g., Ezekiel 32:15; Ezekiel 29:9; Ezekiel 33:29; Ezekiel 35:3, Ezekiel 35:4, Ezekiel 35:9, Ezekiel 35:14).

Ezekiel 32:10 “shall be horribly afraid” This is the NOUN and VERB of the same root (BDB 972, KB 1343, cf. Ezekiel 27:35; Jeremiah 2:12), which denotes the hair standing up in fear.

“they shall tremble” This term (BDB 353, KB 350) denotes fear in YHWH”s coming and present judgment (cf. Ezekiel 26:16, Ezekiel 26:18; Ezekiel 30:9).

Verses 11-16

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Ezekiel 32:11-16 11For thus says the Lord GOD, “The sword of the king of Babylon will come upon you. 12By the swords of the mighty ones I will cause your hordes to fall; all of them are tyrants of the nations, And they will devastate the pride of Egypt, And all its hordes will be destroyed. 13I will also destroy all its cattle from beside many waters; And the foot of man will not muddy them anymore And the hoofs of beasts will not muddy them. 14Then I will make their waters settle And will cause their rivers to run like oil,” Declares the Lord GOD. 15”When I make the land of Egypt a desolation, And the land is destitute of that which filled it, When I smite all those who live in it, Then they shall know that I am the LORD. 16This is a lamentation and they shall chant it. The daughters of the nations shall chant it. Over Egypt and over all her hordes they shall chant it,” declares the Lord GOD.

Ezekiel 32:11 Nebuchadnezzar II was YHWH's instrument of judgment (cf. Ezekiel 21:19), as Assyria had been (cf. Isaiah 10:5).

Ezekiel 32:13 This could be another way of depreciating the gods of Egypt, as were the ten plagues in the Exodus.

Ezekiel 32:14 The waters of Egypt will be undisturbed (clear and settled) by any animal or human. No one will be left alive. This metaphor for total destruction is found only here.

Ezekiel 32:16 The professional wailers and mourners would be from all the nations.

1. those who were helped and protected by Egypt (Ezekiel 32:18)

2. those who were cruelly treated by Egypt

Verses 17-21

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Ezekiel 32:17-21 17In the twelfth year, on the fifteenth of the month, the word of the LORD came to me saying, 18”Son of man, wail for the hordes of Egypt and bring it down, her and the daughters of the powerful nations, to the nether world, with those who go down to the pit; 19 'Whom do you surpass in beauty? Go down and make your bed with the uncircumcised.' 20They shall fall in the midst of those who are slain by the sword. She is given over to the sword; they have drawn her and all her hordes away. 21The strong among the mighty ones shall speak of him and his helpers from the midst of Sheol, 'They have gone down, they lie still, the uncircumcised, slain by the sword.'“

Ezekiel 32:18-19 These verses contain four commands, two to Ezekiel, two to Egypt.

1. wail, BDB 624, KB 675, Qal IMPERATIVE, Ezekiel 32:18

2. bring it down, BDB 432, KB 434, Hiphil IMPERATIVE, Ezekiel 32:18

3. go down, BDB 432, KB 434, Qal IMPERATIVE, Ezekiel 32:19

4. make your bed, BDB 1011, KB 1486, Hophal IMPERATIVE, Ezekiel 32:19

Ezekiel 32:19 “with the uncircumcised” See note at Ezekiel 28:10. This is a recurrent curse (cf. Ezekiel 28:10; Ezekiel 31:18; Ezekiel 32:19, Ezekiel 32:21, Ezekiel 32:24, Ezekiel 32:29, Ezekiel 32:30; Jeremiah 9:25-26).

Verses 22-23

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Ezekiel 32:22-23 22”Assyria is there and all her company; her graves are round about her. All of them are slain, fallen by the sword, 23whose graves are set in the remotest parts of the pit and her company is round about her grave. All of them are slain, fallen by the sword, who spread terror in the land of the living.

Ezekiel 32:23 “whose graves are set in the remotest parts of the pit” This is an idiom for the worst (cf. Isaiah 14:15) or lowest places in the netherworld. They were slain in this world and humiliated in the next (cf. Ezekiel 32:27, Ezekiel 32:32)!

Note the list of humiliated nations.

1. Egypt, Ezekiel 32:17-21, Ezekiel 32:31

2. Assyria, Ezekiel 32:22-23

3. Elam, Ezekiel 32:24-25

4. Meshech, Tubal (Anatolia), Ezekiel 32:26-28

5. Edom, Ezekiel 32:29

6. Princes of the north (i.e., Syrians or Armenians) and Sidon, Ezekiel 32:30

Verses 24-25

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Ezekiel 32:24-25 24”Elam is there and all her hordes around her grave; all of them slain, fallen by the sword, who went down uncircumcised to the lower parts of the earth, who instilled their terror in the land of the living and bore their disgrace with those who went down to the pit. 25They have made a bed for her among the slain with all her hordes. Her graves are around it, they are all uncircumcised, slain by the sword (although their terror was instilled in the land of the living), and they bore their disgrace with those who go down to the pit; they were put in the midst of the slain.”

Verses 26-28

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Ezekiel 32:26-28 26”Meshech, Tubal and all their hordes are there; their graves surround them. All of them were slain by the sword uncircumcised, though they instilled their terror in the land of the living. 27Nor do they lie beside the fallen heroes of the uncircumcised, who went down to Sheol with their weapons of war and whose swords were laid under their heads; but the punishment for their iniquity rested on their bones, though the terror of these heroes was once in the land of the living. 28But in the midst of the uncircumcised you will be broken and lie with those slain by the sword.”

Ezekiel 32:27

NASB, NKJV“uncircumcised” (םערלימ) LXX, NRSV, TEV, NJB“long ago” (םעולמ)

The phrases are spelled similarly in Hebrew. The second fits the context best because these people were part of the uncircumcised and the term is repeated in Ezekiel 32:28.

NASB, NKJV, LXX“their iniquity rested on their bones” NRSV, TEV“whose shields are upon their bones” NJB“their shields put under their bones” REB“their shields over their bones”

These men of Meshech, Tubal are honored even in death, but not so for the Egyptians!

Verse 29

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Ezekiel 32:29 29”There also is Edom, its kings and all its princes, who for all their might are laid with those slain by the sword; they will lie with the uncircumcised and with those who go down to the pit.

Verse 30

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Ezekiel 32:30 30”There also are the chiefs of the north, all of them, and all the Sidonians, who in spite of the terror resulting from their might, in shame went down with the slain. So they lay down uncircumcised with those slain by the sword and bore their disgrace with those who go down to the pit.

Verses 31-32

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Ezekiel 32:31-32 31”These Pharaoh will see, and he will be comforted for all his hordes slain by the sword, even Pharaoh and all his army,” declares the Lord GOD. 32”Though I instilled a terror of him in the land of the living, yet he will be made to lie down among the uncircumcised along with those slain by the sword, even Pharaoh and all his hordes,” declares the Lord GOD.

Bibliographical Information
Utley. Dr. Robert. "Commentary on Ezekiel 32". "Utley's You Can Understand the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ubc/ezekiel-32.html. 2021.
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