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Bible Commentaries

Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible
Ezekiel 29

 

 

Introduction

Oracles against Ammon (Ezekiel 25:1-7), Moab (Ezekiel 25:8-11) Edom (Ezekiel 25:12-14), Philistia (Ezekiel 25:17).—All of these petty powers were ancient hereditary enemies of Israel. Their enmity dated back to the days before the monarchy, and in the recent disasters and sorrows of Israel had expressed itself in violent and malicious ways. The Ammonites had instigated the treacherous murder of Gedaliah, the Jew whom the Babylonians had appointed governor of Judah (Jeremiah 40:14). The Edomites had behaved with savage malice in the day of Jerusalem's distress (Psalms 137:7), as also had the Ammonites, who stamped and shouted for joy (Ezekiel 25:3; Ezekiel 25:6). The fate of them all is to be desolation and destruction—in the case of the Ammonites and Moabites at the hands of "the children of the east," i.e. the nomads of the Arabian desert; in the case of Edom, significantly enough at the hands of Israel herself: in the case of the Philistines the agent of the Divine vengeance is left vague. All these nations will thus be taught "that I am Yahweh," the mighty Yahweh, not the weak God they had taken Him to be, as they contemplated the fate of His people. The saying of Moab in Ezekiel 25:8 implies that Judah had claimed a certain pre-eminence (cf. Deuteronomy 4:32 ff.); in her noblest representatives she was beyond all question the spiritual superior of all her neighbours. (In Ezekiel 25:9 read "from the cities of its border to the glory of the land"; the three cities mentioned are all N. of the Amon. Ezekiel 25:13, Teman in north, Dedan in south of Edom. Ezekiel 25:16, Cherethites (p. 56), a Philistine tribe.)

Ezekiel 26-28. Oracle against Tyre.—From Israel's petty neighbours with their petty spite, Ezekiel turns to the great empires of Tyre (Ezekiel 26 ff.) and Egypt (Ezekiel 29 ff.). They too must go. In a passage of great literary power, which reveals the imaginative genius of Ezekiel, he describes the brilliance of Tyre, the range of her commerce, the pity and terror inspired by her (contemplated) fall.

Ezekiel 25-32. Oracles against the Foreign Nations. Ezekiel's denunciations (Ezekiel 1-24) are now over; with the news of the fall of Jerusalem his prophecies of restoration will begin (Ezekiel 33-48). But before Israel is restored, those who are opposed to her, and to the Divine purpose which is so mysteriously bound up with her, must be cleared out of the way. Appropriately therefore, at this point come the oracles against the foreign nations—first the near neighbours who had insulted and harassed her, then those more distant and powerful. These oracles, however, were not written between the beginning and the end of the siege; some of them clearly imply the fall of the city (cf. Ezekiel 25:3). But they are appropriately inserted here, as preliminary to the restoration.


Verses 1-16

Ezekiel 29-32. Oracle against Egypt.—Next and last to be denounced is Egypt, the great rival of Babylon, and consequently the opponent of Yahweh's purpose. The separate oracles were written either not long before (Ezekiel 29:1) or not long after (Ezekiel 32:1) the fall of Jerusalem. An Egyptian army marched to the relief of the city during the siege (Jeremiah 37:5); probably Ezekiel 29:6 is a warning of the futility of this attempt, while Ezekiel 30:21 may definitely refer to its repulse by the Babylonians.

Ezekiel 29:1-16. The Fall and Restoration of Egypt.—Pharaoh (who incarnates the genius of Egypt, cf. Ezekiel 28), Lord of the Nile, is compared to a crocodile (no unapt symbol of the clumsy strength of Egypt) caught and flung upon the wilderness (= the battlefield) to be devoured. This is the doom of his blasphemous pride (Ezekiel 29:3); Israel will have good reason to learn the folly of trusting Egypt (Ezekiel 29:1-7). (In Ezekiel 29:7 for "shoulder" read "hand" with LXX, and for "to be at a stand" read "to shake.") The real meaning of the allegory is at once made plain in Ezekiel 29:8-12. A sword (Nebuchadrezzar's: cf. Ezekiel 30:10) will work havoc and desolation throughout the length of the land, from Migdol (which should be read instead of "tower" in Ezekiel 29:10) in the north-east, to Seveneh (now Assouan) in the extreme south. Egypt's desolation and exile are to last, like Judah's (Ezekiel 4:6) forty years: then she will be restored, but to a position of no political importance, so that Israel will be no more tempted to commit the "sin" of trusting her (Ezekiel 29:13-16). (Pathros in Ezekiel 29:14 = Upper Egypt.)


Verses 17-20

Ezekiel 29:17-20. Egypt and Tyre.—This little oracle, the latest in the book (570 B.C.), is one of the most remarkable. It is a practical admission that Ezekiel's elaborate prophecy of the ruin of Tyre (Ezekiel 26 ff.) had not been fulfilled; and it announces that the Babylonian soldiers, whose shoulders had been galled by the navvy work involved in the erection of a mole between the mainland and the island, and, in general, by the hardship of the siege, which is said by Josephus to have lasted thirteen years, would not go unrewarded. They had failed to win the spoil of Tyre—either because the siege was unsuccessful or because Tyre capitulated on very favourable terms—but in its stead, Ezekiel here promises them the conquest of Egypt, with the spoil which conquest assured. This promise further shows that Ezekiel's forecast of the ruin of Egypt, uttered sixteen years before (Ezekiel 29 ff.), had not yet been fulfilled. But the passage also shows the splendid candour of the prophet, in allowing these unfulfilled oracles to stand in his book; and this may fairly be regarded as proof that, in the mind of Ezekiel, they either had been or would be essentially fulfilled. For essentially the prophecies mean that there can be no permanent place in the world for a godless commercialism or for a policy blended of conceit and shuffling insincerity.

Ezekiel 29:21. Possibly these unfulfilled oracles had discredited Ezekiel and again compelled him to silence. But in this, possibly his last utterance, he looks forward with joyful confidence both to his own future and that of Israel. (Horn = strength, prosperity.)

 


Copyright Statement
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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Ezekiel 29:4". "Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pfc/ezekiel-29.html. 1919.

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Monday, December 16th, 2019
the Third Week of Advent
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