Ezekiel 29

A Prophecy Against Egypt

In the tenth year, in the tenth month, on the twelfth day of the month,
January 7, 587 b.c.
the word of the Lord came to me:
“Son of man, turn toward
Heb “set your face against.”
Pharaoh king of Egypt, and prophesy against him and against all Egypt.
Tell them, ‘This is what the sovereign Lord says:

“‘Look, I am against
Or “I challenge you.” The phrase “I am against you” may be a formula for challenging someone to combat or a duel. See D. I. Block, Ezekiel (NICOT), 1:201–2, and P. Humbert, “Die Herausforderungsformel ‘hinnenî êlêkâ,’” ZAW 45 (1933): 101-8.
you, Pharaoh king of Egypt,
the great monster
Heb “jackals,” but many medieval Hebrew mss read correctly “the serpent.” The Hebrew term appears to refer to a serpent in Exod 7:9–10, 12; Deut 32:33; and Ps 91:13. It also refers to large creatures that inhabit the sea (Gen 1:21; Ps 148:7). In several passages it is associated with the sea or with the multiheaded sea monster Leviathan (Job 7:12; Ps 74:13; Isa 27:1; 51:9). Because of the Egyptian setting of this prophecy and the reference to the creature’s scales (v. 4), many understand a crocodile to be the referent here (e.g., NCV “a great crocodile”; TEV “you monster crocodile”; CEV “a giant crocodile”).
lying in the midst of its waterways,
who has said, “My Nile is my own, I made it for myself.”
In Egyptian theology Pharaoh owned and controlled the Nile. See J. D. Currid, Ancient Egypt and the Old Testament, 240–44.

I will put hooks in your jaws
and stick the fish of your waterways to your scales.
I will haul you up from the midst of your waterways,
and all the fish of your waterways will stick to your scales.
I will leave you in the wilderness,
you and all the fish of your waterways;
you will fall in the open field and will not be gathered up or collected.
Some Hebrew mss, the Targum, and the LXX read “buried.”

I have given you as food to the beasts of the earth and the birds of the skies.
Then all those living in Egypt will know that I am the Lord
because they were a reed staff
Compare Isa 36:6.
for the house of Israel;
when they grasped you with their hand,
The Hebrew consonantal text (Kethib) has “by your hand,” but the marginal reading (Qere) has simply “by the hand.” The LXX reads “with their hand.”
you broke and tore
Or perhaps “dislocated.”
their shoulders,
and when they leaned on you, you splintered and caused their legs to be unsteady.
Heb “you caused to stand for them all their hips.” An emendation which switches two letters but is supported by the LXX yields the reading “you caused all their hips to shake.” See L. C. Allen, Ezekiel (WBC), 2:103. In 2 Kgs 18:21 and Isa 36:6 trusting in the Pharaoh is compared to leaning on a staff. The oracle may reflect Hophra’s attempt to aid Jerusalem (Jer 37:5–8).

“‘Therefore, this is what the sovereign Lord says: Look, I am about to bring a sword against you, and I will kill
Heb “I will cut off from you.”
every person and every animal.
The land of Egypt will become a desolate ruin. Then they will know that I am the Lord.

Because he said, “The Nile is mine and I made it,”
10 I am against
Or “I challenge you.” The phrase “I am against you” may be a formula for challenging someone to combat or a duel. See D. I. Block, Ezekiel (NICOT), 1:201–2, and P. Humbert, “Die Herausforderungsformel ‘hinnenî êlêkâ,’” ZAW 45 (1933): 101-8.
you and your waterways. I will turn the land of Egypt into an utter desolate ruin from Migdol
This may refer to a site in the Egyptian Delta which served as a refuge for Jews (Jer 44:1; 46:14).
to Syene,
Syene is known today as Aswan.
as far as the border with Ethiopia.
11 No human foot will pass through it, and no animal’s foot will pass through it; it will be uninhabited for forty years. 12 I will turn the land of Egypt into a desolation in the midst of desolate lands; for forty years her cities will lie desolate in the midst of ruined cities. I will scatter Egypt among the nations and disperse them among foreign countries.

13  “‘For this is what the sovereign Lord says: At the end of forty years
In Ezek 4:4–8 it was said that the house of Judah would suffer forty years.
I will gather Egypt from the peoples where they were scattered.
14 I will restore the fortunes of Egypt, and will bring them back
Thus the Masoretic Text. The LXX, Syriac, and Vulgate translate as though the Hebrew read “cause to inhabit.”
to the land of Pathros, to the land of their origin; there they will be an insignificant kingdom.
15 It will be the most insignificant of the kingdoms; it will never again exalt itself over the nations. I will make them so small that they will not rule over the nations. 16 It will never again be Israel’s source of confidence, but a reminder of how they sinned by turning to Egypt for help.
Heb “reminding of iniquity when they turned after them.”
Then they will know that I am the sovereign Lord.’”

17  In the twenty-seventh year, in the first month, on the first day of the month,
April 26, 571 b.c.
the word of the Lord came to me:
18 “Son of man, King Nebuchadrezzar
Heb “Nebuchadrezzar” is a variant and more correct spelling of Nebuchadnezzar, as the Babylonian name Nabu-kudurri-usur has an “r” rather than an “n” (so also in v. 19).
of Babylon made his army labor hard against Tyre.
Nebuchadnezzar besieged Tyre from 585 to 571 b.c.
For location see Map1-A2; Map2-G2; Map4-A1; Journey of Paul map 3-F3; Journey of Paul map 4-F3.
Every head was rubbed bald and every shoulder rubbed bare; yet he and his army received no wages from Tyre for the work he carried out against it.
19 Therefore this is what the sovereign Lord says: Look, I am about to give the land of Egypt to King Nebuchadrezzar of Babylon. He will carry off her wealth, capture her loot, and seize her plunder; it will be his army’s wages. 20 I have given him the land of Egypt as his compensation for attacking Tyre
Heb “for which he worked,” referring to the assault on Tyre (v. 18).
, because they did it for me, declares the sovereign Lord.
21 On that day I will make Israel powerful,
Heb “I will cause a horn to sprout for the house of Israel.” The horn is used as a figure for military power in the OT (Ps 92:10). A similar expression is made about the Davidic dynasty in Ps 132:17.
and I will give you the right to be heard
Heb “I will grant you an open mouth.”
among them. Then they will know that I am the Lord.”

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