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Ezekiel 28-31 Listen
1 The word of the LORD came again unto me, saying,
2 Son of man, say unto the prince of Tyrus, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Because thine heart is lifted up, and thou hast said, I am a God, I sit in the seat of God, in the midst of the seas; yet thou art a man, and not God, though thou set thine heart as the heart of God:
3 Behold, thou art wiser than Daniel; there is no secret that they can hide from thee:
4 With thy wisdom and with thine understanding thou hast gotten thee riches, and hast gotten gold and silver into thy treasures:
5 By thy great wisdom and by thy traffick hast thou increased thy riches, and thine heart is lifted up because of thy riches:
6 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Because thou hast set thine heart as the heart of God;
7 Behold, therefore I will bring strangers upon thee, the terrible of the nations: and they shall draw their swords against the beauty of thy wisdom, and they shall defile thy brightness.
8 They shall bring thee down to the pit, and thou shalt die the deaths of them that are slain in the midst of the seas.
9 Wilt thou yet say before him that slayeth thee, I am God? but thou shalt be a man, and no God, in the hand of him that slayeth thee.
10 Thou shalt die the deaths of the uncircumcised by the hand of strangers: for I have spoken it, saith the Lord GOD.
11 Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
12 Son of man, take up a lamentation upon the king of Tyrus, and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty.
13 Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created.
14 Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire.
15 Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.
16 By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire.
17 Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee.
18 Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries by the multitude of thine iniquities, by the iniquity of thy traffick; therefore will I bring forth a fire from the midst of thee, it shall devour thee, and I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold thee.
19 All they that know thee among the people shall be astonished at thee: thou shalt be a terror, and never shalt thou be any more.
This chapter is a continuation of a prophecy against the City of Tyre that began in Ezekiel 26 (see notes). There was a real city called Tyre just north of Israel with a real King fighting off the Babylonians like everyone else in the area. Tyre was a much-coveted target of Babylon in that region. It was a magnificent city built in two distinct sections, part on an island one-half mile off the mainland in the Mediterranean Sea and the other part on the mainland. Portions of the wall surrounding the city were as high as 150 feet. According to Josephus, the siege on Tyre by Babylon lasted for 13 years - until around 573 B.C. The result of this siege is not universally agreed upon; some maintain that Nebuchadnezzar was successful and that the King of Tyre was permitted to stay, but as a vassal King of the Babylonian Empire. Nebuchadnezzar himself, it is said, personally supervised the siege for the entire duration. Others have maintained that this particular campaign was not successful, but a later one was. The wording of Ezekiel 29:18 seems to indicate that Nebuchadnezzar defeated Tyre, but that the spoils of battle were less than expected - a disappointing end to a long siege.
The problem with this chapter is that verses 11-19 sound...well...like Ezekiel might be talking about Satan. Hello! Satan! Are you there? The big difficulty with that notion is that he's definitely prophesying about the King of Tyre, a real city with a real king. One possibility may be that Ezekiel is likening the King of Tyre to Satan in the garden with his pride, success, riches, etc. Satan simply cannot be found in this entire prophecy against Tyre and its king. However, verses 13-16, if taken literally and not figuratively, could not be a description, per se, of a human being. So, it is understandable that some have conjectured that Ezekiel may very well be describing Satan himself, comparing those superiority attitudes of Satan leading up to his fall from God's favor to those of the King of Tyre leading up to the fall of his literal kingdom on earth. On the other hand, as several commentators have pointed out, the language of verses 13-16 could have been meaningful, colorful figures of speech used in that day to describe that level of lavishness. The bottom line is this: At the end of the discussion, I don't feel comfortable, myself, concluding that Satan or a doctrine of Satan is included in this prophecy by Ezekiel.
A judgment against Sidon (Ezekiel 28:20-23)
20 Again the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
21 Son of man, set thy face against Zidon, and prophesy against it,
22 And say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against thee, O Zidon; and I will be glorified in the midst of thee: and they shall know that I am the LORD, when I shall have executed judgments in her, and shall be sanctified in her.
23 For I will send into her pestilence, and blood into her streets; and the wounded shall be judged in the midst of her by the sword upon her on every side; and they shall know that I am the LORD.
Then the prophet turns to Tyre's trading partner, Sidon (just 20 miles up the coast) with a prophecy concerning its demise.
Israel returns to its homeland (Ezekiel 28:24-26)
24 And there shall be no more a pricking brier unto the house of Israel, nor any grieving thorn of all that are round about them, that despised them; and they shall know that I am the Lord GOD.
25 Thus saith the Lord GOD; When I shall have gathered the house of Israel from the people among whom they are scattered, and shall be sanctified in them in the sight of the heathen, then shall they dwell in their land that I have given to my servant Jacob.
26 And they shall dwell safely therein, and shall build houses, and plant vineyards; yea, they shall dwell with confidence, when I have executed judgments upon all those that despise them round about them; and they shall know that I am the LORD their God.
We see in verse 24 that the nations surrounding Israel will no longer have a basis for joy over Israel's demise, inasmuch as they will have fallen to the Babylonians as well. Finally, verses 25-26 make reference to the return of Israel to their homeland. It's difficult to put this prophecy of the return to the land into an absolute context. Does this prophecy point to the return to the land under Cyrus beginning in 535 B.C. or to the yet-future millennium? The judgment mentioned here could be a reference to the fall of Tyre, Sidon and other surrounding nations at the hand of the Babylonians rather than the judgment of Christ at the second coming. There's simply no way to know which of the two possible periods of time is referenced here.
1 In the tenth year, in the tenth month, in the twelfth day of the month, the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
2 Son of man, set thy face against Pharaoh king of Egypt, and prophesy against him, and against all Egypt:
3 Speak, and say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against thee, Pharaoh king of Egypt, the great dragon that lieth in the midst of his rivers, which hath said, My river is mine own, and I have made it for myself.
4 But I will put hooks in thy jaws, and I will cause the fish of thy rivers to stick unto thy scales, and I will bring thee up out of the midst of thy rivers, and all the fish of thy rivers shall stick unto thy scales.
5 And I will leave thee thrown into the wilderness, thee and all the fish of thy rivers: thou shalt fall upon the open fields; thou shalt not be brought together, nor gathered: I have given thee for meat to the beasts of the field and to the fowls of the heaven.
6 And all the inhabitants of Egypt shall know that I am the LORD, because they have been a staff of reed to the house of Israel.
7 When they took hold of thee by thy hand, thou didst break, and rend all their shoulder: and when they leaned upon thee, thou brakest, and madest all their loins to be at a stand.
8 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will bring a sword upon thee, and cut off man and beast out of thee.
9 And the land of Egypt shall be desolate and waste; and they shall know that I am the LORD: because he hath said, The river is mine, and I have made it.
10 Behold, therefore I am against thee, and against thy rivers, and I will make the land of Egypt utterly waste and desolate, from the tower of Syene even unto the border of Ethiopia.
11 No foot of man shall pass through it, nor foot of beast shall pass through it, neither shall it be inhabited forty years.
12 And I will make the land of Egypt desolate in the midst of the countries that are desolate, and her cities among the cities that are laid waste shall be desolate forty years: and I will scatter the Egyptians among the nations, and will disperse them through the countries.
13 Yet thus saith the Lord GOD; At the end of forty years will I gather the Egyptians from the people whither they were scattered:
14 And I will bring again the captivity of Egypt, and will cause them to return into the land of Pathros, into the land of their habitation; and they shall be there a base kingdom.
15 It shall be the basest of the kingdoms; neither shall it exalt itself any more above the nations: for I will diminish them, that they shall no more rule over the nations.
16 And it shall be no more the confidence of the house of Israel, which bringeth their iniquity to remembrance, when they shall look after them: but they shall know that I am the Lord GOD.
This particular oracle against Egypt was given in January, 587 B.C. according to the data given in verse 1.
Concerning the fall of Egypt to Babylon, the Expositor's Bible Commentary says the following:
Since Nebuchadnezzar died in 562 B.C., this predicted desolation of Egypt by Nebuchadnezzars army would had to have occurred before then. One fragmentary Babylonian text from the chronicles of the Chaldean king (B.M. 33041) implies that Babylonia invaded Egypt about 568/567 B.C. This is corroborated by Josephus (Antiq. X, 180-82 [ix.7]).
With Egypt falling to the Babylonians around 568 B.C., that would put their return to their land at around 528 B.C. given the 40 years of verses 11-13. No Egyptian records exist to confirm when they were able to return to their land. It is significant to note that Ezekiel prophesied that Egypt would never be a world power again as they had been in the past and that their kingdom will be a "base" (i.e. humble) kingdom (verses 14-15).
Another prophecy against Egypt (Ezekiel 29:17-30:19)
17 And it came to pass in the seven and twentieth year, in the first month, in the first day of the month, the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
18 Son of man, Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon caused his army to serve a great service against Tyrus: every head was made bald, and every shoulder was peeled: yet had he no wages, nor his army, for Tyrus, for the service that he had served against it:
19 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will give the land of Egypt unto Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon; and he shall take her multitude, and take her spoil, and take her prey; and it shall be the wages for his army.
20 I have given him the land of Egypt for his labour wherewith he served against it, because they wrought for me, saith the Lord GOD.
21 In that day will I cause the horn of the house of Israel to bud forth, and I will give thee the opening of the mouth in the midst of them; and they shall know that I am the LORD.
30:1 The word of the LORD came again unto me, saying,
2 Son of man, prophesy and say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Howl ye, Woe worth 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.
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.
5 Ethiopia, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
14 And I will make Pathros desolate, and will set fire in Zoan, and will execute judgments in No.
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.
17 The young men of Aven and of Pibeseth shall fall by the sword: and these cities shall go into captivity.
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.
Verse 17 gives us a time stamp of April, 571 B.C., about two years after the siege of Tyre was completed. Verses 18-19 seem to indicate that Nebuchadnezzar didn't take enough booty from Tyre to adequately pay his troops. What happened to the riches of Tyre? Could it be that the mention of Tyre and Egypt together here indicates that Tyre was able to ship off their riches to Egypt before their demise? Possibly. Whatever - this prophecy turns on Egypt and verse 20 indicates Egypt's fall to Babylon.
Verse 21 is curious. What does it mean when it says, "In that day will I cause the horn of the house of Israel to bud forth, and I will give thee the opening of the mouth in the midst of them; and they shall know that I am the LORD." Well, it's definitely not messianic, and Israel did not return to the land until 535 B.C. However, the defeat of Egypt would have been a great encouragement to the exiles as they witnessed the prophecy of 587 B.C. (Ezekiel 29:1-16, see above) by Ezekiel coming to fruition. It was a vindication of God's prophecies concerning Egypt and Israel.
Into chapter 30 we see that Egypt will fall despite the assistance of its allies. Babylon will be on a roll. Verse 13 declares, "...there shall be no more a prince of the land of Egypt..." Egypt's demise will be devastating and thorough according to the stipulations of the prophecy of this chapter.
Another prophecy devoted to Egypt's total collapse (Ezekiel 30:20-26)
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,
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.
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.
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.
Just so there's no mistake, here's yet another prophecy given by Ezekiel in April, 587 B.C., a few months after the one in chapter 29 (see above) concerning Egypt (Compare 29:1 to 30:20). No improvement in their prospects are seen here; Egypt is still going to fall. It is interesting that the prophecy of Ezekiel 29:17-30:19 was given much later, but is included in between the other two. The deportation and exile of Egyptians is clearly prophesied after their fall. This technique was used by the Babylonians and Assyrians before them to destroy national pride by mixing different nationalities within regions that had been conquered.
Egypt is compared to Assyria (Ezekiel 31)
1 And it came to pass in the eleventh year, in the third month, in the first day of the month, that the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
2 Son of man, speak unto Pharaoh king of Egypt, and to his multitude; Whom art thou like in thy greatness?
3 Behold, the Assyrian was a cedar in Lebanon with fair branches, and with a shadowing shroud, and of an high stature; and his top was among the thick boughs.
4 The waters made him great, the deep set him up on high with her rivers running round about his plants, and sent out her little rivers unto all the trees of the field.
5 Therefore his height was exalted above all the trees of the field, and his boughs were multiplied, and his branches became long because of the multitude of waters, when he shot forth.
6 All the fowls of heaven made their nests in his boughs, and under his branches did all the beasts of the field bring forth their young, and under his shadow dwelt all great nations.
7 Thus was he fair in his greatness, in the length of his branches: for his root was by great waters.
8 The cedars in the garden of God could not hide him: the fir trees were not like his boughs, and the chesnut trees were not like his branches; nor any tree in the garden of God was like unto him in his beauty.
9 I have made him fair by the multitude of his branches: so that all the trees of Eden, that were in the garden of God, envied him.
10 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Because thou hast lifted up thyself in height, and he hath shot up his top among the thick boughs, and his heart is lifted up in his height;
11 I have therefore delivered him into the hand of the mighty one of the heathen; he shall surely deal with him: I have driven him out for his wickedness.
12 And strangers, the terrible of the nations, have cut him off, and have left him: upon the mountains and in all the valleys his branches are fallen, and his boughs are broken by all the rivers of the land; and all the people of the earth are gone down from his shadow, and have left him.
13 Upon his ruin shall all the fowls of the heaven remain, and all the beasts of the field shall be upon his branches:
14 To the end that none of all the trees by the waters exalt themselves for their height, neither shoot up their top among the thick boughs, neither their trees stand up in their height, all that drink water: for they are all delivered unto death, to the nether parts of the earth, in the midst of the children of men, with them that go down to the pit.
15 Thus saith the Lord GOD; In the day when he went down to the grave I caused a mourning: I covered the deep for him, and I restrained the floods thereof, and the great waters were stayed: and I caused Lebanon to mourn for him, and all the trees of the field fainted for him.
16 I made the nations to shake at the sound of his fall, when I cast him down to hell with them that descend into the pit: and all the trees of Eden, the choice and best of Lebanon, all that drink water, shall be comforted in the nether parts of the earth.
17 They also went down into hell with him unto them that be slain with the sword; and they that were his arm, that dwelt under his shadow in the midst of the heathen.
18 To whom art thou thus like in glory and in greatness among the trees of Eden? yet shalt thou be brought down with the trees of Eden unto the nether parts of the earth: thou shalt lie in the midst of the uncircumcised with them that be slain by the sword. This is Pharaoh and all his multitude, saith the Lord GOD.
This prophecy was issued in June, 587 B.C. just a couple of months after the prophecy beginning in 30:20, Ezekiel gives another concerning Egypt. The Assyrians (verse 3) are compared to the tall, strong trees of Lebanon, but yet they fell to the Babylonians. If an empire as great as the Assyrians could fall to Babylon, why would Egypt think they are immune? Nineveh, the seat of the Assyrian Empire, fell to the Babylonians in 609 B.C. This followed the fall of Assyria's hold as an empire 17 years earlier in 626 B.C.
Here's the story line to this chapter: So also will the Egyptians fall and the Pharaoh will be slain (verses 17-18).