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Eze 29:1 In the tenth year, in the tenth [month], in the twelfth [day] of the month, the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
Ver. 1. In the tenth year. ] The year before Jerusalem was taken. Eze 24:1
In the tenth month. ] Called "Tebeth," Est 2:16 and it answereth to our January, saith Bede. Chronology is the eye of prophecy, as well as of history.
Eze 29:2 Son of man, set thy face against Pharaoh king of Egypt, and prophesy against him, and against all Egypt:
Ver. 2. Set thy face against Pharaoh. ] This was Pharaohhophra, whom Herodotus a calleth Apries, and saith that he gave out that no god, how great soever, could deprive him of his kingdom. Dionysius, the tyrant of Sicily, also was wont to say that his kingdom was tied unto him with chains of adamant; but it proved otherwise. Noli gloriari. Do not brag!
And against all Egypt. ] Which held itself able to hold out against all the world, and is therefore here threatened at large in this and the three next chapters.
a In Euterp.
Eze 29:3 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.
Ver. 3. The great dragon. ] Or, Whale, or crocodile, the figure of Pharaoh; whose princes also and people are fitly compared to lesser fishes, and Egypt to waters, wherewith it aboundeth. These shall all suffer together, saith the prophet: Principis enim calamitas, populi clades est. a Compare Psalms 74:13-14 .
That lieth in the midst of his rivers. ] That lieth at ease in the swollen waters of his Nile, and battleth.
Which hath said, My river is mine own. ] The river Nile watereth Egypt, and maketh it fruitful beyond credulity. They do but cast in the seed, and have four rich harvests in less than four months, say travellers. Hence the Egyptians were generally proud, riotous, and superstitious above measure:
“ Nequitias tellus scit dare nulla magis. ”
- Plin., Paneg.
The most poisonous flies are bred in the sweetest fruit trees. See on 1 Timothy 6:17 .
And I have made it for myself, ] i.e., Useful and serviceable to my country with much pains and expense, by ditches, channels, water courses, &c. These were cleansed and repaired by the command of Augustus Caesar, when he had subdued Egypt, and reduced it into a province. b Some render it, Ego feci me ipsum, I have made myself; a most arrogant speech!
“ Sum felix; quis enim neget hoc? felixque manebo;
Hoc quoque quis dubitet? tutum me copia fecit.
Maior sum quam cui possit fortuna nocere. ” - Ovid.
Eze 29:4 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.
Ver. 4. But I will put hooks in thy jaws. ] Speaking to Tyre, a sea town, sea metaphors were made use of. Now he fetcheth them from waters and fishes, that he may frame himself to his hearers. A good precedent for preachers.
To stick unto thy scales. ] Thy subjects shall all follow thee into the field, that there you may all fall together. Had they kept themselves in Egypt, they might have been far safer; for that country could hardly be come at by an enemy. But they went forth to meet their bane, as if they had been ambitions of destruction. God had a holy hand in it.
Eze 29:5 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.
Ver. 5. And I will leave thee thrown into the wilderness. ] As fish when they are caught are cast upon the dry land, and there they die: for how should a fish live out of his own element? It may be the Chaldees fought Pharaoh and his forces in the wilderness, killed him and cast him out unburied, which the heathens held a great unhappiness: for they thought their ghosts could not pass the river Styx, but must wander through hell’s waste wildernesses, unless their dead bodies were buried.
I have given thee for meat. ] Whale’s flesh is no better worth.
Eze 29:6 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.
Ver. 6. And all the inhabitants, &c. ] Shall feel my power in their just destruction, though they think themselves insuperable.
Because they have been a staff of reed. ] See this fully expounded in the next words; see also on Isaiah 36:6 Jeremiah 37:7-8 . Egypt was a reedy country; as Pliny a telleth us, Arando autem ipsa per se fluctuat, et in necessitate eludit.
a Lib. xiii. cap. 11.
Eze 29:7 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.
Ver. 7. When they took hold of thee by thy hand, ] i.e., Made a covenant with thee, and hoped for help from thee. See Job 8:20 . The Holy Scripture is its own best interpreter.
Thou didst break. ] So unfaithful are many friends, so uncertain are all human helps.
And madest all their loins to be at a stand. ] Thou leftest them in the lurch, as we say, to shift for themselves as they could.
Eze 29:8 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will bring a sword upon thee, and cut off man and beast out of thee.
Ver. 8. And cut off man and beast. ] With both which thou aboundest exceedingly, as being a very fruitful country; populosa et pecorosa.
Eze 29:9 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].
Ver. 9. Because he hath said, The river is mine, and I have made it. ] With this proud speech he is twice twitted. see Eze 29:3 The Egyptians so trusted in their river Nile, as if they needed no help from heaven.
“ Aegyptus sine nube ferax, ”
saith Claudian. a And Lucan to like purpose:
“ Terra suis contenta bonis, non indiga mercis
Aut Iovis; in solo tanta est fiducia Nile. ”
How much better might God have said to these Egyptians, than Vespasian did, Haurite a me tanquam a Nile, Come ye to me, "the fountain of living waters," and "hew not out thus to yourselves broken cisterns that can hold no water!" But they used in mockery to tell the Grecians, that if God should forget to rain, they might chance to starve for it; they thought the rain was of God, but not the river:
“ Te propter nullos tellus tua postulat imbres:
Arida nee pluvio supplicat herba Iovi. ”
- Tibul. de Nilo.
God therefore threateneth here to dry it up, and so he did; ingratitude forfeiteth all. In the reign of Cleopatra, Nile overflowed not the banks for two years together, saith Seneca. He brings in Callimachus, telling of a time wherein it had not done so for nine years’ time. Hence Ovid: b
“ Creditur Aegyptus caruisse iuvantibus arva
Imbribus, atque annis sicca fuisse novem. ”
Thus their gold flowing c and fruit giving d river failed them, because they attributed too much to it. In Joseph’s time they had seven years’ famine.
a Epigram. 6.
b Art., lib. i.
c χρυσοροας . - Athenaeus.
d καρπ ωδοτης . - Nazianz.
Eze 29:10 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.
Ver. 10. And against thy rivers. ] The jealous God will down with the earthly idol, whatever it be. See on Ezekiel 29:9 .
And I will make the land of Egypt utterly waste. ] Heb., Waste of wastes.
From the tower of Syene, ] i.e., From south to north.
Eze 29:11 No foot of man shall pass through it, nor foot of beast shall pass through it, neither shall it be inhabited forty years.
Ver. 11. No foot of man or beast shall pass through it. ] This was solitudo solitudinis indeed, a dreadful desolation. When it happened no history mentioneth, but that it was so is most sure. Oh the dismal effects of sin in all ages, as now in various parts of Turkey, utterly unpeopled, though once flourishing!
Eze 29:12 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.
Ver. 12. In the midst of the countries. ] Palestine, Moab, Edom, Judea, &c. See Jeremiah 46:18-20
And her cities. ] Which are said to have been twenty thousand in the reign of Amasis, the chief whereof were Alexandria, Thebes, Babylon, Memphis, &c.
Eze 29:13 Yet thus saith the Lord GOD; At the end of forty years will I gather the Egyptians from the people whither they were scattered:
Ver. 13. Will I gather the Egyptians. ] God loveth to help men that are forsaken of their hopes. Cyrus sent them home likely about that time that he took Babylon; and his son Cambyses had somewhat to do to subdue them, so high they were soon grown and headstrong. Humbled they were, but not humble; low, but not lowly.
Eze 29:14 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.
Ver. 14. Into the land of Pathros. ] A part of the lower Egypt; a corner of the country, say some, but big enough to hold the remnant that returned.
And they shall be there a base kingdom. ] Reditum et regnum illis promittit, sed humile. A kingdom God promiseth them, but base and abject, because subject and tributary to the Persian, so that the Israelites shall no more lean upon it. God often removeth occasions of sin from his people, taketh away their stumblingblocks, that they may not fall under his heavy displeasure.
Eze 29:15 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.
Ver. 15. It shall be the basest of the kingdoms. ] And worthily, for their worshipping the basest creatures, see Rom 1:23-24 but especiailly for their faithlessness to God’s Israel.
For I will diminish them. ] As God hath likewise done the Persians at this day - who have undone their confederates, the Egyptians and Georgians a - and the Grecians no less, who have now lost their liberty, and are so degenerate, by means of the Turkish oppression, that in all Graecia is hardly to be found any small remembrance of the glory thereof. b
a Turkish History.
b Ibid., 260.
Eze 29:16 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.
Ver. 16. And it shall be no more the confidence. ] For I will cut them and keep them short enough; I will pull their plumes, so that they shall not stretch their wings beyond the nest; they shall have nothing so many clients and adherents.
Which bringeth their iniquity to remembrance. ] Creature confidence is so hated of God, that it inmindeth him of former miscarriages also, and causeth him to plague men for the new and the old together.
Eze 29:17 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,
Ver. 17. In the seven and twentieth year. ] Of Jeconiah’s captivity, as Ezekiel ordinarily counteth, or of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign, say the Jewish doctors; a whereas Tyre was overthrown, some part of Egypt wasted, Jeremiah and Baruch taken into his protection.
The word of the Lord came. ] This was Ezekiel’s last sermon, his swan song, showing wherefore and whereby Egypt should be so laid waste.
a Sedar Olam.
Eze 29:18 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:
Ver. 18. To serve a great service. ] For thirteen years together, as saith Josephus.
Every head was made bald, ] sc., By continual carrying, upon their heads and shoulders, earth, wood, and stones - for which they were much laughed at by the Tyrian soldiers - to fill up that strait of the sea which separated Tyre from the continent, before it could be taken.
Yet had he no wages. ] The Tyrians, when they saw they could hold out no longer, had sent much of their wealth away to Carthage and other places; much of it also they cast into the seat saith Lyra; so that Nebuchadnezzar, at his entrance, found nothing but a bare rock, - saith Jerome, out of an old Assyrian chronicle.
Eze 29:19 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.
Ver. 19. Behold, I will give the land of Egypt. ] As pay for his pains at Tyre. God is a liberal paymaster, and his retributions are more than bountiful; serve him, therefore, with cheerfulness.
Eze 29:20 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.
Ver. 20. I have given him the land of Egypt. ] As the great Turk gave his soldiers the rich spoil of Constantinople; a and as Tamerlane never forgot the good service of his servants, nor left the same long unrewarded, often saying that day to be lost wherein he had not given them something. b
Because they wrought for me. ] By mine instinct, though beside their own intent.
a Turkish History, 345.
b Ibid., 227.
Eze 29:21 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.
Ver. 21. The horn, ] i.e., The strength, power, and authority, in the kingdom of Christ especially. Luk 1:69
The opening. ] Occasion to bless my name.
They shall know. ] Nebuchadnezzar also, and his Babylonians.
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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Ezekiel 29". Trapp's Complete Commentary. https://studylight.org/
the Fourth Week after Epiphany