Ezekiel 30

 

 

1 “The word of the LORD came again unto me, saying,”

The section that follows, ending with v. 18, is exceptional as standing without a date.

It may be either:

 

  • a continuation of the prophecy in ch.29:17-21, and so belong

to the latest years of Ezekiel’s work; or

 

  • that prophecy may be regarded as standing by itself — a parenthesis

inserted at a later date, so that we go back to the earlier word of the Lord

in Ibid. vs.1-16. 

 

Many are in favor of the former view, chiefly on the ground that v.3 speaks of the

nearness of the coming judgment. That the day of the Lord should be “near” is,

however, too vague and relative a term to be decisive.  On the whole, the question

must be left as one which we have no sufficient data for solving. The close

parallelism with ch.29. seems to me slightly in favor of the second view.

 

2 “Son of man, prophesy and say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Howl ye,

Woe worth the day!”  Howl ye. The words read like an echo of Isaiah 13:6, and

find a parallel also in Joel 1:11, 13; Zephaniah 1:7, 14. Woe worth

the day! It may be well to note that the familiar phrase is a survival of the

Anglo-Saxon verb weorthan (German werden), “to become,” so that its

exact meaning is “Woe be to the day”“

 

3 “For the day is near, even the day of the LORD is near, a cloudy

day; it shall be the time of the heathen.”  The day of the Lord. Here, as

everywhere (see note on ch.13:5), the words stand for any time in which the

Divine judgments manifest themselves in the world’s history. Of it Ezekiel says,

following in the footsteps of Joel (Joel 2:2), that it shall be a day of

cloud, i.e. of darkness and trouble; a day of the heathen, i.e. a time in

which the heathen who had exulted in the punishment of Israel should

know that the Lord was their Judge also, that He had His “day” appointed

for them.

 

 

The Day of the Lord (vs. 1-3)

 

There is in this expression, which occurs in various parts of this book of

prophecy, a certain vagueness which is consistent with grandeur and

sublimity. The prophet’s own mind was evidently impressed with the fact

that, whilst every day is an occasion for the manifestation of the Divine

presence among men, there are days which are peculiarly the Lord’s,

because connected in an especial manner with the purposes of the Eternal

with regard to the sons of time.

 

  • THE DAY OF THE REVELATION OF THE LORD’S POWER.

Memorable are such days as those which witness a great king’s accession

to the throne, a great battle deciding the fortunes of nations, the passing of

a great measure affecting the welfare of millions, the sending forth of a

religious mission to a heathen community. But, whilst every day upon

which some grand deed is wrought, or some noble institution founded, is in

a sense a day of the Lord, there are days in which Divine providence

signally asserts or vindicates itself, in which the might of the Omnipotent is

convincingly displayed; and such days are emphatically designated by the

term employed in the text.

 

  • THE DAY OF THE EXECUTION OF THE LORD’S

RECOMPENSE AND JUDGMENT. Judging by the language here

employed by the prophet, the day of the Lord he announces seems

especially of this character. “Howl ye! Woe worth the day!” are

expressions which surely betoken the coming of the Lord in vengeance —

a day of clouds,” “the time of the heathen.”

 

Ø      Long-deferred correction is now to be inflicted;

Ø      Threatenings often repeated are now to be fulfilled.

Ø      Forbearance is exhausted, and

 

the day of the Lord shall see Him arise to judgment.

 

  • THE DAY OF THE REDEMPTION OF THE LORD’S PEOPLE.

The defeat and confusion of the adversaries is accompanied by the

deliverance and exaltation of the friends of God. When the day comes

which shall see the destruction of Israel’s foes, Israel shall go free and shall

rejoice in her liberty, with the shout, “Now is the day of salvation!” “Lift

up your heads, for the day of redemption draweth nigh!”

 

  • THE DAY WHICH DISPELS THE NIGHT OF HUMAN

MISUNDERSTANDING AND DOUBT. The day of man is the day of

ignorance and of fear, and is little better than the night when compared

with the brightness which God’s presence brings. To Christians, the day of

the Lord is the day of their Savior’s birth and coming to this world of sin.

“The people which sat in darkness saw a great light.”  (Isaiah 9:2)  Then the

errors and hopelessness of long ages were rolled away, like mists before

the rising of the Sun of Righteousness, with healing in his wings. 

(Malachi 4:2)

 

The day of the Lord will manifest His glory and fulfill His purpose!  The day of

the Lord has interest and significance for men; but the very term implies that its

central meaning is not human, but Divine. The fools who have said in the heart,

“There is no God!” the hypocrites and formalists, who have professed belief in

God, but to whom the meaning of such belief is limited to words; the defiant and

rebellious sinners, of whom it may justly be said, “God is not in all their

thoughts(Psalm 10:4); all these are addressed with power, and are aroused from

their infidelity, when the day of the Lord breaks upon the world, and when the

Lord Himself draws near.

 

4 “And the sword shall come upon Egypt, and great pain shall be in

Ethiopia, when the slain shall fall in Egypt, and they shall take

away her multitude, and her foundations shall be broken down.”

Great pain shall be in Ethiopia. The words point to the

extension of the invasion of Egypt — by Nebuchadnezzar in the first

instance, and afterwards by other conquerors — to the upper valley of the

Nile. They shall take away her multitude. The word is taken by Keil,

Smend, and others of things rather than persons, the multitude of

possessions. Hengstenberg renders “tumult” in the sense of the stir of a

crowded city. The foundations are probably to be taken figuratively of the

bases of the prosperity of Egypt, its allies and mercenaries, rather than of

actual buildings (compare Psalm 11:3; 82:5).

 

5Ethiopia, and Libya, and Lydia, and all the mingled people, and

Chub, and the men of the land that is in league, shall fall with them

by the sword.”  Libya. Here the Authorized Version gives (rightly enough,

though inconsistently) the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew Phut, which is

reproduced in the Revised Version. The Lydians, in like manner, stand for

Lud; but we have to remember, as before (ch.27:10), that they are

the African, and not the Asiatic, people of that name. In Jeremiah 46:9

the two nations are named among the auxiliaries of Egypt. Possibly the

similarity of name may have led to the term being used also for the Lydian

and Ionian forces enlisted by Psam-metichus I. (Herod., 3:4); but there

seems more reason for including these in the mingled people that are next

mentioned. Chub, or Cub (Revised Version), is found here only, and has

consequently given occasion to many guesses Havernick connects it with

the Kufa, a district of Media, often named in Egyptian monuments;

Michaelis, with Kobe on the Ethiopian coast of the Indian Ocean; Maurer,

with Cob, a city of Mauretania; Gesenius, Ewald, and Bunsen suggest the

reading Nub, and identify it with Nubia; Keil and Smend adopt the form

Lub, found in the Lubim of II Chronicles 16:8 and Nahum 3:9. On

the whole, there are no adequate data for the solution of the problem. The

men of the land that is in league. Here, again, we are in a region of many

conjectures.

 

  • Hitzig and Kliefoth (following Jerome and the Septuagint, which gives,

the land of my covenant”) take it of Canaan, as being the land in

covenant with Jehovah (Psalm 74:2, 20; Daniel 11:28; Acts 3:25).

  • Hengstenberg, for the Sabeans, as being members of the Judaeo-

Egyptian confederacy implied in ch.23:42.

  • Keil, Ewald, and Smend, of a people among .the allies of Egypt,

unknown to us, but sufficiently designated by Ezekiel for his readers.

 

6 “Thus saith the LORD; They also that uphold Egypt shall fall; and

the pride of her power shall come down: from the tower of Syene

shall they fall in it by the sword, saith the Lord GOD.”  7 And they shall be

desolate in the midst of the countries that are desolate, and her cities shall be

in the midst of the cities that are wasted.  8  And they shall know that I am the

LORD, when I have set a fire in Egypt, and when all her helpers shall be

destroyed.”  They that uphold Egypt. The words include the allies named

in v. 5; but also embrace the rulers, generals, perhaps the idols, of Egypt

itself. From the tower of Syene. As before, in ch. 29:10, “from

Migdol to Syene.”

 

 

Associated Calamities (vs. 4-6)

 

  • TROUBLE SPREADS.

 

Ø      In the individual. The first mischief in Egypt comes from the sword of

the invader; but this is quickly followed by other ills. After

Nebuchadnezzar’s invasion the “abundance” is taken away, and the

foundations are broken down.

 

Ø      Among communities of men. Cush follows the fate of Egypt, and other

nations also fall under the wide sweep of judgment. We are members one

of another, and when one member suffers all the members suffer. No

people can afford to ignore the ruin of their neighbors. Selfish indifference

is ultimately punished by a man’s being compelled to share the sad

consequences of the troubles of those whom he has neglected.

 

  • ASSOCIATION IN SIN WILL BE FOLLOWED BY ASSOCIATION

IN PUNISHMENT. Cush was joined to Egypt in wickedness; she will be

joined to the greater nation in suffering. He who walks in the way of

sinners will come to the end of sinners. There is no assurance against the

fatal consequences of wickedness that can be effected by means of

association. “Though hand join in hand, the wicked shall not be

unpunished (Proverbs 11:21).

 

  • THERE IS NO PROTECTION IN OBSCURITY. Poor Cush and

Phut and Lud are obscure, unimportant, and remote. Yet they share the

fate of better-known Egypt.  No one can hide his sin under the cloak of his

own insignificance. No ferret is so keen as a man’s own sin when the time

comes for it to find him out.

 

  • ALLIANCE WITH GREAT SINNERS WILL NOT AFFORD ANY

PROTECTION. These other nations were joined to great Egypt. But this

alliance did not save then. On the contrary, the grandeur of Egypt attracted

Nebuchadnezzar to their neighborhood. Had there been no rich and famous

Egypt, he would not have troubled himself to attack Cush and Phut and

Lud. We gain nothing by the power or prestige of influential connections

when we are called to judgment for our sins.

 

  • THEY ARE GUILTY OF SIN WHO AID AND ABET IT. These

neighboring nations uphold Egypt. They will share her fate. From Migdol

on the Delta to the granite-quarries of Syene far away to the south on the

borders of the Soudan — five hundred miles — the ruin of great Egypt will

extend; it will also spread to the people who support her policy and

contribute to her prosperity. He who makes others to sin is himself the

greatest of sinners. Fagin the trainer of child-thieves is himself a monstrous

thief, though he never steals a handkerchief with his own fingers. People

who encourage opium-eating, drunkenness, or profligacy, by supporting

the causes of those evils, are guilty of them. The mercenaries of Egypt

share the fate of their wealthy mistress. There are too many mercenaries of

sin in the present day. FOR THE SAKE OF GAIN men will carry on a

business which they know is directly ministering to the ruin of their

fellowmen.  They attempt to defend themselves with the excuse that they do

not force those whom they supply with the means of self-destruction to

avail themselves of it. This is true; but, on the other hand, they tempt the

miserable victims by affording facility for fatal indulgence. That is the sin

of Satan.

 

 

The Day of Desolation (vs. 1-3,7)

 

To what extent we are to take the prophet’s description of the “woe” that

was to overtake Egypt in a strictly external sense must (as said before on

ch.29:16) depend on our principle of biblical interpretation, together with our

reading of ancient history. For the purpose of religious edification it is enough

that we accept these words as a picture of the desolation to which a course of

guilt, whether national or individual, may be expected to lead.

 

  • NATIONAL DESOLATION. Of this Ezekiel furnishes, in the whole

chapter, a most graphic picture.

 

Ø      Prosperity departs, and there is no more boast of its great

population (v. 10).

Ø      Violent death lays numbers of its people low; the land is “filled with

the slain” (vs. 4, 11).

Ø      Its hope, in the person of its young men, is slain (v. 17).

Ø      Its beauty, its pride, in the person of its daughters, is removed (v. 18).

Ø      Its physical resources are dried up (v. 12).

Ø      Its natural leaders are lost to it (v. 13).

Ø      Its religious institutions are broken up (Ibid.).

Ø      Its allies and dependencies are dragged down with it to the ground

(vs. 5, 6); its yokes are broken” (v. 18).

Ø      Its people are stricken with dismay; instead of its ancient pride and

pomp (Ibid.), fearfulness fills the heart of its inhabitants (v. 13);

a cloud of dire misfortune throws the whole country into dark

shadow (vs. 3, 18). The final, comprehensive touch is in the language

of the text.

Ø      Desolation in the midst of desolation. It does not appear that Egypt

ever presented so desperate a scene as this; and we may understand

either:

o       that God, for some sufficient reason, forbore to visit the land with

the last extremity of woe (see Jonah 3:4, 10); or

o       that the language of the prophecy is to be taken as hyperbolical,

and thus interpreted. But we must also understand that:

o       the ultimate issue of collective (national) iniquity is destruction

and desolation; witness the cities of the plain, Nineveh, Babylon,

Jerusalem.

The “day” of sin and of defiance, of tyrannical power and guilty gratification may last

long, but its sun is sure to set in dark clouds, and when the morrow comes, as it will

come, there will be a day of dire and widespread desolation. “Woe worth the day!”

when it arrives.

 

  • THE DESOLATION OF THE SPIRIT.

 

Ø      In what it is found. Spiritual desolation is experienced when all that is

really precious to the human soul is broken up and has departed.

When:

 

o       the good habits of devotion and of virtue, formed in childhood, have

become loosened and have given way;

o       the soul has lost its faith in the providence, the nearness, the notice,

and perhaps even the being of God;

o       the man has become separated, both in sympathy and in action,

from those with whom he once walked and worshipped;

o       hope of future blessedness has left the heart bare of all expectancy

beyond the grave, and the future is NOTHING BUT A BLANK!

o       life has lost all its sacredness, and therefore nearly all its worth. This

sad desolateness of sin culminates in:

§         the loss of all self-respect, and

§         the extension of the same spiritual waste to those who are

within range of its influence; when one is “desolate in the

midst of desolation.”

 

Ø      How it may be averted. “None of them that trust in Him shall be

desolate,” says the psalmist (Psalm 35:22). The fear of God, walking in

the light of His truth, communion with Jesus Christ and association

with His friends and followers, the daily prayer for the restraining and

the prompting influences of the Spirit of God, — this will secure the soul

from loss and from decline. He who lives thus will not enter even the

outer shadow of this calamity.

 

Ø      The way of deliverance. Men once thought that there was no way for a

human soul to ascend from the pit of spiritual ruin to the lofty levels of

holy service and sacred joy and immortal hope. We think thus no more

now that Jesus has spoken to us who has said, “I am the Way.”

(John 14:6)

 

9 “In that day shall messengers go forth from me in ships to make the

careless Ethiopians afraid, and great pain shall come upon them, as

in the day of Egypt: for, lo, it cometh.” In that day shall messengers, etc.

The whole passage seems an echo of Isaiah 18:2. The ships are those that bear

the tidings of the conquest of Lower Egypt to the upper valley of the Nile.

The careless Ethiopians are so named as confiding in their remoteness from the

scene of action. They thought themselves safe, and were lulled into a false

security (compare Isaiah 32:9-11 and Zephaniah 2:15, for a like rendering of the

verb). As in the day of Egypt. As Isaiah (Isaiah 9:4) refers to “the day of Midian,”

so Ezekiel points to the memorable time when like tidings of the judgments that

fell on Egypt carried dismay into the hearts of the surrounding nations (Exodus

15:14-15).

 

 

The Careless Ethiopians (v. 9)

 

These people who were heedless of the coming danger that threatened them in

common with great Egypt may serve as a type of the careless generally.

 

  • THE PREVALENCE OF CARELESSNESS. These “careless

Ethiopians” are not rare specimens of an obscure class. We have not to go

to Africa, nor to antiquity, for the like of them. The genus to which they

belong is far from extinct even in this age of anxiety and energy. Note the

various forms which carelessness takes.

 

Ø      In regard to danger. This was the condition of the easy-going

Ethiopians. They would not consider the approaching danger of the

Chaldean invasion. Men will not see risks to health till they suddenly

break down; then they discover them, perhaps, too late. Soul-danger

is ignored by thoughtless sinners.  (I recommend Isaiah 1 – Spurgeon

Sermon – To the Thoughtless – this website – CY – 2014)

 

Ø      In respect to guilt. The pilgrim felt the weight of his burden, but most of

the inhabitants of the City of Destruction seem to have had no thought of

their sins. Many men sin recklessly. They add up the score of guilt without

a thought.

 

Ø      In reference to duty. Multitudes live as though they were only to be

expected to please themselves. The sacred word “duty” has no meaning

for them. They may be very anxious about their business and what will be

profitable, but they are quite careless as to what they ought to do.

 

Ø      In connection with other men. Dives is careless as to the condition of

Lazarus. (Luke 16)  The Church is too negligent of the state of the heathen

world. In great cities people think little of their next-door neighbors. It is

possible to starve in a land of plenty, and for no one to give heed till too late.

 

Ø      In relation to God. He is our Father and Master, and it is our first duty

and our highest interest to regard His will. Yet many act as if He did not

exist. They care neither for His love nor for His wrath.

 

  • THE EVIL OF CARELESSNESS. The “careless Ethiopians” are to

share in the great deluge of general calamities that is about to sweep over

the nations. Their carelessness does not protect them. Carelessness is evil

on many accounts.

 

Ø      Because of its folly. This is more than childish. It is the stultification of

mind. Man is made in the image of God, a thinking being. To renounce

thought is to abdicate the throne of supremacy over the lower creation.

 

Ø      Because of its negligence. This carelessness is willful. It springs from an

idle refusal to take the trouble of thinking, or from an insane infatuation

with superficial interests. It is our duty to consider our ways, to consider

the poor, and to remember our Creator. Negligence is sin.  “To him

that knoweth to do good and doeth it not, to him it is sin.”  (James 4:17)

 

Ø      Because of its danger. The danger is not in any degree lessened because

we decline to consider it. The recklessness of an engine-driver about red

lights does not annihilate obstructions on the line. The wages of sin will be

paid punctually and to the full, whether we expect the day of recompense

or never anticipate it.

 

Observe, in conclusion, that there is a way of being saved from care. This

is not to be found in carelessness, however. We can quench worldly care

with trust. Other anxieties may be softened and ultimately abolished when

we seriously set ourselves to seeking God’s favor and doing His will.

 

10 “Thus saith the Lord GOD; I will also make the multitude of Egypt

to cease by the hand of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon.

11 He and his people with him, the terrible of the nations, shall be

brought to destroy the land: and they shall draw their swords

against Egypt, and fill the land with the slain.”

By the hand of Nebuchadnezzar. Hitherto (on the assumption that ch. 29:17-21

stands by itself, and that we are still in the prophetic message of Ibid. vs.1-16)

the predictions have been general. Now Ezekiel, following in the footsteps of

Jeremiah (Jeremiah 46.), specifies the Chaldean king and his people, the terrible

of the nations (as in ch.28:7; 31:12, et al.), as those who were to execute the

Divine judgments.

 

12 “And I will make the rivers dry, and sell the land into the hand of

the wicked: and I will make the land waste, and all that is therein,

by the hand of strangers: I the LORD have spoken it.”

I will make the rivers dry. The rivers are the Nile-branches of

the Delta, and their being dried up points, perhaps, literally to a failure in

the inundation of the Nile on which its fertility depended; figuratively to a

like failure of all its sources of prosperity.

 

13 “Thus saith the Lord GOD; I will also destroy the idols, and I will

cause their images to cease out of Noph; and there shall be no

more a prince of the land of Egypt: and I will put a fear in the land

of Egypt.”   Noph, or, as in Hosea 9:6, Moph, is a form of the Egyptian

Mnoph, the reek Memphis (so in the Septuagint), the capital of Lower Egypt,

the chief center of the worship of Phthah, whom the Greeks identified with

Hephaestos. Hence the special mention of the idols and images.

 

14 “And I will make Pathros desolate, and will set fire in Zoan, and

will execute judgments in No.”  (For Pathros, see note on ch.29:14.)

Zoan — joined with Noph in Isaiah 19:11, mentioned in Numbers 13:22

as older than Hebron* — is the Tanis of the Greeks, situated on the Tanitic branch

of the Delta of the Nile. No; or, as in Nahum 3:8, No Amon (equivalent

to “the abode of Ammen”), the sacred name of the Egyptian Thebes. The

Septuagint gives Diospolis; the Vulgate, by a curious anachronism, Alexandria.

 

*Commentary on Numbers 13:22 – Now Hebron was built seven years before

Zoan in Egypt. Hebron was in existence at the time of Abraham. Zoan was Tanis,

near the mouth of the eastern branch of the Nile (see on Psalm 78:12, 43). If it be

true that the Pharaoh of the exodus had his royal residence at Zoan, Moses may

have had access to the archives of the city, or he may have learned the date

of its foundation from the priests who gave him his Egyptian education.

That there was any real connection between the two places is extremely

problematical, nor is it possible to give any reason for the abrupt insertion

here of a fragment of history so minute and in itself so unimportant. There

is, however, no one but Moses to whom the statement can with any sort of

likelihood be traced.

 

15 “And I will pour my fury upon Sin, the strength of Egypt; and I will

cut off the multitude of No.  16 And I will set fire in Egypt: Sin shall have

great pain, and No shall be rent asunder, and Noph shall have distresses daily.”

Sin. The name signifies “mire,” like the Greek Pelusium (so the Vulgate), from

πήλος - paelosclay - (Strabo, 17. p. 802). The modern name

Pheromi has the same meaning. The remains of an old fortress near the

town are still known as Tineh, the “clay” of Daniel 2:41. The fortress

stood on the eastern branch of the Nile, surrounded by swamps, and its

position made it, in modern phrase, the “key” of Egypt. Suidas and Strabo

(ut supra) describe it as an obstacle to invaders from the East. Ezekiel, in

describing it as “the strength of Egypt,” must have known its local

characteristics. The multitude of No; in the Hebrew, as in Jeremiah 46:25,

Hamon-No. Did the prophet, after the manner of Micah 1:10-14,

 indulge in a play on the full name of the city as given in Nahum 3:8?

The Septuagint as before, gives Diospolis, and the Vulgate Alexandria. Noph

shall have distresses daily. So the Vulgate, angustiae quotidianae.

Hitizig and Keil, however, take the words as “troubles in the day-time.”

The city should be attacked, not by night (Obadiah 1:5), but in open

day (compare “the spoiler at noonday” of Jeremiah 15:8). The Septuagint

omits the name of the city, and renders, “waters shall be poured out.” For

Sin the Septuagint here gives, following a different reading, “Syene.”

 

17 “The young men of Aven and of Pibeseth shall fall by the sword:

and these cities shall go into captivity.” The young men of Aven; the

“On” of Genesis 41:45, the “house of the sun” of Jeremiah 43:13, the

Heliopolis of the Septuagint and Vulgate. The form Avert (Hebrews for

a vain thing!” as in Hosea 4:15; 10:5) was perhaps chosen as a word of

scorn pointing to the idolatry of the city. Pibeseth; Septuagint; Bubastos.

The city situated on the Suez Canal, begun by Necho and finished under

Ptolemy II. (Herod., 2:59). It derived its name from the cat-headed goddess

Pasht, and was the chief seat of the home which was named after it. It was

destroyed by the Persians (Diod. Sic., 15:51), but the name lingers in

Tebbastat, a heap of ruins about seven hours journey from the Nile.

 

18 “At Tehaphnehes also the day shall be darkened, when I shall break

there the yokes of Egypt: and the pomp of her strength shall cease

in her: as for her, a cloud shall cover her, and her daughters shall

go into captivity.  19 Thus will I execute judgments in Egypt: and they

shall know that I am the LORD.” At Tehaphnehes; the Tabu-panes of

Jeremiah 2:16; 44:1; 46:14; (where it appears as having a royal palace);

the Taphnae of the Septuagint; the Daphne of Herod., 2:30. It was another

frontier-fortress in the neighborhood of Pelusium, built by Psammetichus.

It may, perhaps, be represented by the modern Tel-ed-Defenne, about

twenty-seven miles southwest of Pelusium. The day shall be darkened.

The normal image for the departure of the sunshine of prosperity, as in v. 3

And ch.32:7 (compare Amos 5:20; 8:9; Isaiah 5:30; Jeremiah 13:16, etc.).

The yokes of Egypt. Commonly, as in ch.34:27; Leviticus 26:13; Jeremiah

27:2; 28:10, 12, the phrase would imply the deliverance of Egypt from the

yoke of oppression suffered at the hand of others. Here that sense is clearly

inappropriate. The Septuagint and Vulgate give “the scepters” of Egypt,

which implies a different reading, and this is adopted in substance by

Ewald and Smend, the latter preferring rendering it by “supports” or “props,”

the “red” being used as a “staff” rather than as a “scepter” (compare ch.19:14;

Jeremiah 43:8; 48:17). The pomp of her strength. The phrase meets us again

in ch.33:28, and includes what we speak of as the parade of power, here

probably with a view to the foreign forces that garrisoned both Daphne and

Pelusium.  The daughters may be literally the women of the city, who were to

Share the usual fate of their sex on the capture of a city; or as in ch.26:6, 8;

or probably as in ch.16:53, 55, for the villages and towns dependent on the

strong city. On the whole, looking to the mention of the “young men” in

v. 17, the literal meaning seems preferable.

 

 

The Lord’s Day in Egypt (vs. 1-19)

 

The Lord’s day is the day in which God comes nearest to men and

manifests Himself. Whether He will come as our Friend or as our Foe

depends on our state of mind towards Him. He has not abandoned the race

of men. They are on trial, undergoing discipline. Now and again He comes

near, either in His radiant robes of grace or in solemn aspect as an impartial

Judge. Even when He approaches nations in the latter character, He gives

premonitions of His coming, and this is an act of grace. In all His doings

righteousness and love are sweetly blended.

 

  • THE CAUSE OF DIVINE JUDGMENTS IN EGYPT. This is explicitly

stated, “I will also destroy the idols, and I will cause their images to cease”

(v. 13).  Idolatry is not merely a system of error; it is a fount of immorality,

it is a seed-bed of moral corruption. In the realm of religion you cannot

separate theory from practice. Theories of atheism today become habits of

sensuality tomorrow. Where God is ignored, every vice will speedily

appear. (This is happening in America today as I type this! – CY – 2014)

The depravities of Egypt had tainted all the nations round about.

(Whoever thought that America would be “THE TAINTER? – CY –

2014)

 

  • THE SEVERITY OF DIVINE JUDGMENTS. It is impossible for the

wisest man to estimate the demerit of sin. No human jurist can place a

competent penalty against transgression of the Law of God. He alone who

created man and imposed law can determine adequate punishments. We

can leave God to do what is wise and right. Usually, the sky over Egypt is

transcendently bright; now that clear sky shall be covered with a cloud.

 

Ø      A foreign sword shall invade the land. “It shall be the time of the

heathen(v. 3).  A sharp sword wielded by a fierce enemy was

ordained to mow down the people.

 

Ø      Desolation was decreed. So great was the decimation to be, that

populous cities would be silent, and death-like desolation would prevail

throughout that once prosperous land. Like the deserts which envelop

Egypt round — barren and dreary — so was Egypt itself to become!

 

Ø      Fire was to complete the overthrow. “I will set fire in Egypt (v. 8). Her

mansions and cottages, built of most combustible material, would be ready

food for flames; and, for lack of water, towns and villages would speedily

disappear. How vulnerable on every side was this renowned empire!

(Apparently, the United States is too!  We just don’t know it yet! – CY –

2014)

 

Ø      Her very foundations would be rooted up. Under this language there is

portrayed, not the removal of material substructions of cities, but the

demolition of imperial and. national foundations. The throne should be

completely undermined; the government should pass into other hands.

 

Ø      The overthrow should be coextensive with Egypt. No part was to be

excepted. Beginning at the first stronghold — the tower of Syene — the

devastation should sweep throughout the land. Flourishing cities are

mentioned by name as devoted to doom. One calamity shall befall one;

some other calamity is prepared for another. God calls to His service ten

thousand agents.

 

  • THE INSTRUMENT OF THE DIVINE JUDGMENT. In this case

God has announced beforehand what instrument He will employ. The main

leader in this great tragedy was Nebuchadnezzar King of Babylon. Some

good reason prevailed with God why He should be selected. To be the tool

of a bad man is a great dishonor, but to do any service for our righteous

King is a substantial honor. Sometimes God has seen fit to employ material

forces to execute His vengeance, as in the cases of Lisbon and Pompeii.

Sometimes He has employed an angel, as when He discomfited Sennacherib

(II Kings 19:35-37), as when He smote the inhabitants of Jerusalem. Yet, if

the human instrument be not himself righteous, he shall also in his turn be

chastised.  God gives to men rewards on earth to whom He is bound to deny

the possession of heaven.

 

  • THE CERTAINTY OF DIVINE JUDGMENTS. It is made sure by

the testimony of Jehovah. “Thus saith the Lord;” “I the Lord have spoken

it(v. 12).  Not even the actual overthrow of Egypt made the event more

certain than it was made by the word of Jehovah. His declarations are as

good as His performances. His words are deeds. As soon as He speaks the

event begins to evolve, although we only perceive the final stroke. Our

business, therefore, is simply to ascertain whether God has spoken; if He has,

we may conclude that the word will become fact. Between His word and its

fulfillment there is an iron link of necessity.  IT MUST BE DONE!

 

  • THE COLLATERAL EFFECTS OF DIVINE JUDGMENTS. “The

men of the land that is in league, shall fall with them by the sword.”  (v. 5)

Allies shall suffer along with the principal offenders. To prop up a rotten throne

is a crime. Judicious care is needed in the choice of friends, whether public or

private. By thoughtlessly identifying ourselves with bad men, we become

partakers of their sins.” Such overwhelming judgment as this in Egypt

would strike terror into the hearts of neighbors. “In that day shall

messengers from me make the careless Ethiopians afraid.” (v. 9)

All who dwell in the vicinity shall be awed by the great catastrophe. If such

disaster overtook the Egyptians, might it not also overtake them? Had they

no sin to be chastised? If the Egyptians were unable to buy off, or resist, the

foe, what could they do in the day of visitation? Well may all wrongdoers

tremble! “When thy judgments are abroad in the earth, the inhabitants of

the world will learn righteousness.”  (Isaiah 26:9)

 

  • THE FINAL PURPOSE OF DIVINE JUDGMENT. “They shall

know that I am the Lord.” In their death they shall be convinced of a truth

which they refused to acknowledge during life. In the crisis of the conflict

between Jehovah and the idols men shall learn on which side the real

strength lies. So is it still — when too late to reverse the course of life, too

late to change character — men discover that there is a God in the earth,

and that they must pass through the crucial process of judgment. Yet how

slow are the nations still to recognize and revere Jehovah! What patience

and forbearance doth our God show! Nevertheless, it is true — men shall

confess that Jehovah is Lord. Is it not wiser to learn the lesson forthwith?

 

  • SENTIMENTS PROPER TO THE NEAR APPROACH OF

JUDGMENT. “Howl ye! Woe worth the day!”  (v. 2)  It is an impressive

proof of the tender love of God that He employs all suitable means to warn

us of the gradual approach of doom. Of Him it is not true that the “gods

have feet of wool.” The noise of His chariot-wheels is heard in the distance.

He sends messengers of various kinds in advance, to prevent, if possible, the

threatened disaster. What gratitude ought to break forth from our hearts!

And with what awe should we hear the thunderous tread of His footsteps!

Verily, men are as the small dust of the balance compared with the majesty

of God. (Psalm 62:9)  For the creature to contend with his Creator is folly

inexpressible!  While yet the day of opportunity lingers, let counsels of

wisdom prevail!

 

20 “And it came to pass in the eleventh year, in the first month, in the

seventh day of the month, that the word of the LORD came unto

me, saying,” In the eleventh year, etc. Assuming that the whole section,

ch. 29:17-30:19, were a later insertion, that which follows was

written in April, B.C. 586. Its contents show that it was written at or about

the time of the abortive attempt of Pharaoh-Hophra to come to the relief of

Jerusalem (Jeremiah 34:21; 37:5-7). This was the breaking of the arm

of Egypt, of which the next verse speaks.

 

21 “Son of man, I have broken the arm of Pharaoh king of Egypt; and,

lo, it shall not be bound up to be healed, to put a roller to bind it, to

make it strong to hold the sword.” I have broken the arm. The metaphor

was in itself one of the most familiar (ch.17:9; 22:6; I Samuel 2:31; Jeremiah

48:25). What is characteristic in Ezekiel is the way in which he follows the

figure, so to speak, into its surgical details. A man with a broken arm might

be cured and fight again; but it was not to be so with Pharaoh. His arm was

not to be bound with a roller (the equivalent of the modern process of

putting it in “splints”). The Hebrew word for “roller” is not found

elsewhere, and Ezekiel’s use of it is one of the instances of his knowledge

of surgery. The corresponding verb is used by him of the bandages or

swaddling-clothes of infancy (ch.16:4).

 

22 “Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against Pharaoh

king of Egypt, and will break his arms, the strong, and that which

was broken; and I will cause the sword to fall out of his hand.

23 And I will scatter the Egyptians among the nations, and will

disperse them through the countries.  24 And I will strengthen the arms

of the king of Babylon, and put my sword in his hand: but I will break

Pharaoh’s arms, and he shall groan before him with the groanings of a

deadly wounded man.” The strong, and that which was broken. The image is

pressed yet further. A warrior whose sword-arm was broken might go on

fighting with his left. Hophra might continue to struggle, though with

diminished strength. Ezekiel’s words shut out the hope of any such

struggle. The left arm also should be broken as the right had been. The

Chaldean king should wax stronger and stronger. The sword of

Nebuchadnezzar should be as truly “the sword of Jehovah,” as that of

Gideon had been (Judges 7:18). Figuratively, he should stand before

him groaning as a man wounded to the death. So in Jeremiah 43:9;

44:30; 46:26, we have allusions to an invasion of Egypt by

Nebuchadnezzar, which was to end in his sitting on his throne in the

stronghold of Tahapanes.

 

25 “But I will strengthen the arms of the king of Babylon, and the arms

of Pharaoh shall fall down; and they shall know that I am the

LORD, when I shall put my sword into the hand of the king of

Babylon, and he shall stretch it out upon the land of Egypt.

26 And I will scatter the Egyptians among the nations, and disperse

them among the countries; and they shall know that I am the

LORD.”  The imagery is slightly varied. The arms of the Egyptian

king are described, not as broken, but as feeble. They hang down by his

side instead of wielding the sword. I will scatter, etc. The prophet dwells

once more, repeating the very words of v. 23 and ch.29:12 with

all the emphasis of iteration, on the dispersion which was the almost

inevitable sequel of an Oriental conquest. There in the land of exile they

should see that they had been fighting against God; and so the prophet

ends the chapter with his ever-recurring formula, They shall know that I

am Jehovah (ch.28:26; 29:21).

 

 

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