Ezekiel 32


The prophet goes on to predict the fall of the king of Egypt,

under the figure of an animal of prey, such as a lion or

crocodile, caught, slain, and his carcass left a prey to the

fowls and wild beasts, 1-6.

The figure is then changed; and the greatness of his fall

(described by the darkening of the sun, moon, and stars)

strikes terror into all the surrounding nations, 7-10.

The prophet adds, that the overthrow of the then reigning

Egyptian dynasty was to be effected by the instrumentality of

the king of Babylon, who should leave Egypt so desolate, that

its waters, (alluding to the metaphor used in the second

verse,) should run as pure and smooth as oil, without the foot

of man or the hoof of a beast to disturb them, 11-16.

A beautiful, nervous, and concise description of a land ruined

and left utterly desolate. In the remaining part of the chapter

the same event is pourtrayed by one of the boldest figures ever

attempted in any composition, and which at the same time is

executed with astonishing perspicuity and force. God is

introduced ordering a place in the lower regions for the king

of Egypt and his host, 17, 18.

The prophet delivers his messsage, pronounces their fate, and

commands those who buried the slain to drag him and his

multitudes to the subterraneous mansions, 19, 20.

At the tumult and commotion which this mighty work occasions,

the infernal shades are represented as roused from their

couches to learn the cause. They see and congratulate the king

of Egypt, on his arrival among them, 21.

Pharaoh being now introduced into this immense subterraneous

cavern, (see the fourteenth chapter of Isaiah, where a similar

imagery is employed,) the prophet leads him all around the

sides of the pit; shows him the gloomy mansions of former

tyrants, tells their names as he goes along; beautifully

contrasts their former pomp and destructive ambition, when they

were a terror to the surrounding states, with their present

most abject and helpless condition; declares that all these

oppressors of mankind have not only been cut off out of the

land of the living, but have gone down into the grave

uncircumcised, that is, they have died in their sins, and

therefore shall have no resurrection to eternal life; and

concludes with showing Pharaoh the place destined for him in

the midst of the uncircumcised, and of them that have been

slain by the sword, 22-32.

This prophetic ode may be considered as a finished model in

that species of writing which is appropriated to the exciting

of terror. The imagery throughout is sublime and terrible; and

no reader of sensibility and taste can accompany the prophet in

this funeral procession, and visit the mansions of Hades,

without being impressed with a degree of awe nearly approaching

to horror.


Verse 1. In the twelfth year, in the twelfth month, in the first

day of the month] On Wednesday, March 22, the twelfth year of the

captivity of Jeconiah, A.M. 3417.

Instead of the twelfth year, five of Kennicott's MSS., and

eight of De Rossi's, read in the eleventh year.

This reading is supported by the Syriac; and is confirmed by an

excellent MS. of my own, about four hundred years old.

Verse 2. Thou art like a young lion-and thou art as a whale in

the seas] Thou mayest be likened to two of the fiercest animals in

the creation; to a lion, the fiercest on the land; to a crocodile,

tannin, (see Eze 29:3,) the fiercest in the

waters. It may, however, point out the hippopotamus, as there

seems to be a reference to his mode of feeding. He walks

deliberately into the water over head, and pursues his way in the

same manner; still keeping on his feet, and feeding on the plants,

&c., that grow at the bottom. Thus he fouls the water with his


Verse 5. And fill the valleys with thy height.] Some translate,

with the worms, which should proceed from the putrefaction of his


Verse 6. The land wherein thou swimmest] Egypt; so called,

because intersected with canals, and overflowed annually by the


Verse 7. I will cover the heaven] Destroy the empire.

Make the stars thereof dark] Overwhelm all the dependent states.

I will cover the sun] The king himself.

And the moon shall not give her light.] The queen may be meant,

or some state less than the kingdom.

Verse 8. And set darkness upon thy land] As I did when a former

king refused to let my people go to the wilderness to worship me.

I will involve thee, and thy house, and thy people, and the whole

land, in desolation and wo.

Verse 9. I will also vex the hearts] Even the remote nations,

who had no connexion with thee, shall be amazed at the judgments

which have fallen upon thee.

Verse 14. Cause their rivers to run like oil] Bring the whole

state into quietness, there being no longer a political

hippopotamus to foul the waters-to disturb the peace of the


Verse 15. Shall be destitute of that whereof it was full] Of

corn, and all other necessaries of life.

Verse 17. In the twelfth year] Two of Kennicott's MSS., one of

De Rossi's, and one of my own, (that mentioned Eze 32:1,) have,

in the ELEVENTH year; and so has the Syriac, as before. This

prophecy concerns the people of Egypt.

Verse 18. Cast them down] Show them that they shall be cast

down. Proclaim to them a casting down prophecy.

Verse 19. Whom dost thou pass in beauty?] How little does it

signify, whether a mummy be well embalmed, wrapped round with rich

stuff, and beautifully painted on the outside, or not. Go down

into the tombs, examine the niches, and see whether one dead

carcass be preferable to another.

Verse 21. Out of the midst of hell] sheol, the catacombs,

the place of burial. There is something here similar to Isa 14:9,

where the descent of the king of Babylon to the state of the dead

is described.

Verse 22. Asshur is there] The mightiest conquerors of the earth

have gone down to the grave before thee; there they and their

soldiers lie together, all slain by the sword.

Verse 23. Whose graves are set in the sides of the pit] Alluding

to the niches in the sides of the subterranean caves or

burying-places, where the bodies are laid. These are numerous in


Verse 24. There is Elam] The Elamites, not far from the

Assyrians; others think that Persia is meant. It was invaded by

the joint forces of Cyaxares and Nebuchadnezzar.

Verse 26. There is Meshech, Tubal] See on Eze 27:13.

Verse 27. Gone down to hell with their weapons of war] Are

buried in their armour and with their weapons lying by their

sides. It was a very ancient practice, in different nations, to

bury a warrior's weapons in the same grave with himself.

Verse 29. There is Edom] All the glory and pomp of the Idumean

kings, who also helped to oppress the Israelites, are gone down

into the grave. Their kings, princes, and all their mighty men lie

mingled with the uncircumcised, not distinguished from the common


"Where they an equal honour share,

Who buried or unburied are.

Where Agamemnon knows no more

Than Irus, he condemned before.

Where fair Achilles and Thersites lie,

Equally naked, poor, and dry."

Verse 30. There be the princes of the north] The kings of Media

and Assyria, and all the Zidonians-the kings of Tyre, Sidon, and

Damascus. See Calmet.

Verse 31. Pharaoh shall see them] Pharaoh also, who said he was

a god, shall be found among the vulgar dead.

And shalt be comforted] Shall console himself, on finding that

all other proud boasters are in the same circumstances with

himself. Here is a reference to a consciousness after death.

Verse 32. I have caused my terror in the land of the living] I

have spread dismay through Judea, the land of the living God,

where the living oracles were delivered, and where the upright

live by faith. When Pharaoh-necho came against Josiah, defeated,

and slew him at Megiddo, fear and terror were spread through all

the land of Judea; and the allusion here is probably to that

circumstance. But even he is now laid with the uncircumcised, and

is no more to be distinguished from the common dead.

Much of the phraseology of this chapter may be illustrated by

comparing it with Isa 14:1 &c., where see the notes, which the

intelligent reader will do well to consult.

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