Ezekiel 29


Judgment against Egypt. Ezekiel 29:1-32:32. 587 B.C.

Sin: Pride.

Pharaoh’s pride is the cause of its downfall. Ezekiel 29:1-5.

God’s judgment of Egypt. Ezekiel 29:6-9.

Egypt will be destroyed but her restoration is foretold. Ezekiel 29:10-16.

Nebuchadnezzar will conquer and plunder Egypt. Ezekiel 29:17-21.

Lament for Egypt

Day of judgment speedy and complete. Ezekiel 30:1-19.

The Lord will have vengeance on Egypt and her allies. Ezekiel 30:1-5.

Egypt’s supporters will leave her. Ezekiel 30:6-9.

Nebuchadnezzar will be God’s method of vengeance. Ezekiel 30:10-12.

God describes how his vengeance will be inflicted. Ezekiel 30:13-19

‘In the tenth year, in the tenth month on the twelfth day, the word of the LORD came to me: ‘Son of man, set your face against Pharaoh king of Egypt and prophesy against him and against all Egypt. Speak to him and say: ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: ‘I am against you, Pharaoh king of Egypt, you great monster lying among your streams. You say, ‘The Nile belongs to me; I made it for myself.’ But I will put hooks in your jaws and make the fish of your streams stick to your scales. I will pull you out from among your streams, with all the fish sticking to your scales. I will leave you in the desert, you and all the fish of your streams. You will fall on the open field and not be gathered or picked up. I will give you as food to the beasts of the earth and the birds of the sky. Then all who live in Egypt will know that I am the LORD. ‘You have been a staff of reed for the people of Israel. When they grasped you with their hands, you splintered, and you tore open their shoulders; when they leaned on you, you broke, and their backs were wrenched.’ Ezekiel 29:1-7

This message of Ezekiel was delivered during Nebuchadnezzar’s siege of Jerusalem. It is specifically directed toward the Pharaoh of Egypt. Because the Pharaohs of Egypt thought that they were the descendants of the gods, they were arrogant and pompous. The Nile River was the source of food for Egypt, and thus the foundation of their existence. The crops of Egypt were planted along the silted banks of the Nile, which made it possible for Egypt to have food even in the worst of famines.

Pharaoh wallowed in the wealth of the Nile. But God would bring him up from the Nile as a fish caught on a hook. As scales are attached to the fish, the people would cling to the big fish Pharaoh, which would result in all of them being cast into the wilderness.

It was abhorrent to the Egyptians not to be buried, especially for the Pharaoh who would enjoy a great entombment at the time of his burial. Because they would not be buried, animals and birds would eat their discarded bodies. Israel had leaned on Egypt in the past for help, but Egypt crumbled as a staff that was made of flimsy reeds.

‘Therefore, this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will bring a sword against you and kill both man and beast. Egypt will become a desolate wasteland. Then they will know that I am the LORD. ‘Because you said, ‘The Nile is mine; I made it,’ therefore I am against you and against your streams, and I will make the land of Egypt a ruin and a desolate waste from Migdol to Aswan, as far as the border of Cush. The foot of neither man nor beast will pass through it; no one will live there for forty years. I will make the land of Egypt desolate among devastated lands, and her cities will lie desolate forty years among ruined cities. And I will disperse the Egyptians among the nations and scatter them through the countries.’ Ezekiel 29:8-12

Egypt would be laid waste by the Babylonians from the small town of Migdol in the north, Exodus 14:2 / Numbers 33:7, to Syene, modern-day Aswan, in the south. This was the totality of the heart of Egypt.

This time of 40 years may be symbolic, taken from Israel’s forty years of wandering in the wilderness, Numbers 14:33 / Psalm 95:10. It would refer to the time when the Medo-Persian Empire extended into Egypt from 525 to 487 B.C. As Israel was scattered among the nations, so would the Egyptians be scattered during their period in the wilderness.

‘Yet this is what the Sovereign LORD says: At the end of forty years I will gather the Egyptians from the nations where they were scattered. I will bring them back from captivity and return them to Upper Egypt, the land of their ancestry. There they will be a lowly kingdom. It will be the lowliest of kingdoms and will never again exalt itself above the other nations. I will make it so weak that it will never again rule over the nations. Egypt will no longer be a source of confidence for the people of Israel but will be a reminder of their sin in turning to her for help. Then they will know that I am the Sovereign LORD.’ Ezekiel 29:13-16

Only the Egyptians were promised to be restored to their land. All the other nations against whom prophecies were made, were destined to termination. God seems to make this promise to the Egyptians because they were the nation that housed His people during their years of development as a nation.

Though the Egyptians would emerge as a nation, they would not be the dominant and glorious nation that they were in their former years. In her apostasy, Israel turned to Egypt for help. But Egypt would never again be a strong nation to which Israel would be tempted to again turn for help.

‘In the twenty-seventh year, in the first month on the first day, the word of the LORD came to me: ‘Son of man, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon drove his army in a hard campaign against Tyre; every head was rubbed bare and every shoulder made raw. Yet he and his army got no reward from the campaign he led against Tyre. Therefore, this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am going to give Egypt to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and he will carry off its wealth. He will loot and plunder the land as pay for his army. I have given him Egypt as a reward for his efforts because he and his army did it for me, declares the Sovereign LORD. ‘On that day I will make a horn grow for the Israelites, and I will open your mouth among them. Then they will know that I am the LORD.’ Ezekiel 29:19-21

Nebuchadnezzar laid siege against Tyre for thirteen years. However, he took little spoil from the city. It was at this time in history that God was using the Babylonian Empire to bring judgment on Assyria for arrogantly striking against the people of God in the northern kingdom, and then against Judah.

In order that the Babylonian army to continue to be God’s proxy judgment against the apostate people of God, they needed to survive. For this reason, therefore, God allowed Nebuchadnezzar to conquer Egypt.

The reference to the horn of the house of Israel here could be to the time when God would open Ezekiel’s mouth once again to speak concerning Israel and her future.

At this time his mouth was closed, for he could speak only concerning the destiny of the nations around Israel. But when God once again allowed him to speak, he would speak of the restoration of Israel, as well as the coming of the Messiah.

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