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Clarke's Commentary on the Bible
This chapter describes, with great force and elegance, the ruin of Egypt and all her allies by the Chaldeans under Nebuchadnezzar, Ezekiel 30:1-11; with an amplification of the distress of the principal cities of Egypt on that occasion, Ezekiel 30:12-19. The remaining verses are a short prophecy relating to the same event, and therefore annexed to the longer one preceding, although this was predicted sooner, Ezekiel 30:20-26.
1The word of the LORD came again unto me, saying,
2Son of man, prophesy and say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Howl ye, Woe worth the day!
Howl ye, Wo worth the day! - My Old MS. Bible, - Soule gee, woo woo to the day! הילילו הה ליום heylilu, hah laiyom! "Howl ye, Alas for the day!" The reading in our present text is taken from Coverdale's Bible, 1536. The expressions signify that a most dreadful calamity was about to fall on Egypt and the neighboring countries, called here the "time of the heathen," or of the nations; the day of calamity to them. They are afterwards specified, Ethiopia, Libya, Lydia, and Chub, and the mingled people, probably persons from different nations, who had followed the ill fortune of Pharaoh-hophra or Pharaoh-apries, when he fled from Amasis, and settled in Upper Egypt.
3For the day is near, even the day of the LORD is near, a cloudy day; it shall be the time of the heathen.
4And 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.
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.
Lydia - This place is not well known. The Ludim were contiguous to Egypt, Genesis 11:13.
Chub - The Cubians, placed by Ptolemy in the Mareotis. But probably instead of וכוב vechub, "and Chub," we should read וכל vechol, "and All the men of the land," etc. The Septuagint adds "the Persians and the Cretans."
6Thus 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.
7And 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.
Shall be desolate - All these countries shall be desolated, and the places named shall be chief in these desolations.
8And they shall know that I am the LORD, when I have set a fire in Egypt, and when all her helpers shall be destroyed.
9In 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.
Messengers go forth from me in ships - Ships can ascend the Nile up to Syene or Essuan, by the cataracts; and when Nebuchadnezzar's vessels went up, they struck terror into the Ethiopians. They are represented here as the "messengers of God."
10Thus saith the Lord GOD; I will also make the multitude of Egypt to cease by the hand of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon.
11He 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.
12And 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 - As the overflowing of the Nile was the grand cause of fertility to Egypt, the drying it up, or preventing that annual inundation, must be the cause of dearth, famine, etc. By rivers, we may understand the various canals cut from the Nile to carry water into the different parts of the land. When the Nile did not rise to its usual height these canals were quite dry.
13Thus 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.
Their images to cease out of Noph - Afterwards Memphis, and now Cairo or Kahira. This was the seat of Egyptian idolatry; the place where Apis was particularly worshipped.
No more a prince of the land of Egypt - Not one, from that time to the present day. See the note on Ezekiel 29:14.
14And I will make Pathros desolate, and will set fire in Zoan, and will execute judgments in No.
I will make Pathros desolate - See Ezekiel 29:14.
Zoan - Tanis, the ancient capital of Egypt.
No - Diospolis, or Thebes, the city of Jupiter.
15And I will pour my fury upon Sin, the strength of Egypt; and I will cut off the multitude of No.
My fury upon Sin - Pelusium, a strong city of Egypt, on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea.
16And I will set fire in Egypt: Sin shall have great pain, and No shall be rent asunder, and Noph shall have distresses daily.
Noph - Cairo or Kahira; see Ezekiel 30:13.
17The young men of Aven and of Pibeseth shall fall by the sword: and these cities shall go into captivity.
Aven - Or On, the famous Heliopolis, or city of the sun.
Pibeseth - Bubastum or Bubaste, by a slight alteration of the letters. It is situated on the eastern branch of the Nile, towards Arabia.
18At 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.
Tehaphnehes - Called also Tahapanes, Jeremiah 2:16. This is the Pelusian Daphne.
Break there the yokes - The sceptres. Nebuchadnezzar broke the scepter of Egypt when he confirmed the kingdom to Amasis, who had rebelled against Apries.
19Thus will I execute judgments in Egypt: and they shall know that I am the LORD.
20And 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, in the first month, in the seventh day - This was the eleventh year of the captivity of Jeconiah, and the date here answers to April 26, A.M. 3416; a prophecy anterior by several years to that already delivered. In collecting the writings of Ezekiel, more care was taken to put all that related to one subject together, than to attend to chronological arrangement.
21Son 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 of Pharaoh - Perhaps this may refer to his defeat by Nebuchadnezzar, when he was coming with the Egyptian army to succor Jerusalem.
22Therefore 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.
I will cause the sword to fall out of his hand - When the arm is broken, the sword will naturally fall. But these expressions show that the Egyptians would be rendered wholly useless to Zedekiah, and should never more recover their political strength. This was the case from the time of the rebellion of Amasis.
23And I will scatter the Egyptians among the nations, and will disperse them through the countries.
24And 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.
25But 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.
26And I will scatter the Egyptians among the nations, and disperse them among the countries; and they shall know that I am the LORD.
I will scatter the Egyptians - Several fled with Apries to Upper Egypt; and when Nebuchadnezzar wasted the country, he carried many of them to Babylon. See on Ezekiel 29:12 (note).