Bible Commentaries

Lange's Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal and HomileticalLange's Commentary

Ezekiel 32

Verses 1-32

CHAPTER 32

1And it came to pass in the twelfth year, in the twelfth month, on the first 2[day] of the month, the word of Jehovah came to me, saying: Son of man, take up a lamentation over Pharaoh the king of Egypt, and say to him: Young lion of the heathen peoples thou didst imagine thyself [thou didst compare thyself to such an one], and thou [wast] as the dragon in the sea [in the seas], and brakest forth in thy streams, and didst trouble the water with thy feet, and didst trample their streams! 3Thus saith the Lord Jehovah, And I spread forth My net over thee in the 4assembly of many peoples, and they pull thee up in My draw-net. And I set thee free into the land [push thee away thither], upon the plains of the field will I sling thee; and I make all the birds of heaven to sit down on thee, and let the 5living creatures of the whole earth satisfy themselves with thee. And I give thy 6flesh upon the mountains, and fill the valleys with thy high heap [thy height]. And I cause the land of thy overflowing to drink out of thy blood, even to the mountains: 7and the hollows shall be full of thee. And I cover [veil], while I extinguish thee, the heaven, and darken its stars; the sun will I cover with a cloud, and the 8moon will not make her light to shine. All luminaries of light in the heaven, I will make them dark over thee; and I give darkness upon thy land: sentence of 9the Lord Jehovah. And I vex the heart of many peoples, when I bring thy breach [destruction] among the heathen peoples, to lands which thou knowest not. 10And I make many peoples astonished over thee, and their kings shall shudder shudderings over thee, when I brandish My sword before their face; and they tremble every moment, each one for his soul [life], on the day of thy downfall. 11For thus saith the Lord Jehovah: The sword of the king of Babylon will come to thee. 12By the swords of heroes will I make thy tumult to fall; the violent of the heathen [are] they all, and they lay waste the pride of Egypt, and all 1 Thessalonians 1:0; 1 Thessalonians 1:03tumult is destroyed. And I extirpate all the beasts thereof from many [the great] waters, and foot of man shall not trouble them any more, nor shall the hoofs of beasts trouble them. 14Then will I make their waters to sink, and make their 15streams go as the oil: sentence of the Lord Jehovah. When I give [to] desolation the land of Egypt, and the land is wasted away from its fulness, when I 16smite all that dwell in it, then they know that I am Jehovah. This is lamentation, and as lamentation they intone it, the daughters of the heathen peoples will intone it as a lamentation; upon Egypt and upon all its tumult shall they intone it as a lamentation: sentence of the Lord Jehovah. And 17it came to pass in the twelfth year, on the fifteenth [day] of the month, the word of Jehovah came to me, saying: 18Son of man, wail for the tumult of Egypt, and cast it down, it and [as] the daughters of the glorious heathen peoples, to the land of the depths, with those that go down to the pit. 19Whom dost thou surpass in being lovely? Go 20down, and lie with the uncircumcised! In the midst of those pierced through with the sword shall they fall; sword is given; they drag it [Egypt] and all 1 Thessalonians 2:0; 1 Thessalonians 2:01tumults away. The strong of the heroes from the midst of hell [sheol] shall speak of [to] him with his helpers: they go down, they lie, the uncircumcised, pierced 22through with the sword! There is Asshur and his whole company; round about 23him his [their] graves; they all pierced through, fallen by the sword: Whose graves were [are] given in the innermost of the pit, and his company was [is] round about his grave; they all pierced through, fallen by the sword, who gave 24terror in the land of the living. There [is] Elam and all his tumult round about his grave: they all pierced through, fallen by the sword, who are gone down, uncircumcised, to the land of depths, who gave their terror in the land of the 25living, and henceforth bear their shame with them that go down to the pit. Amid the pierced through they gave him a couch with all his tumult; round about him his graves; they all uncircumcised, pierced through with the sword; for their terror was given [spread] in the land of the living, and they henceforth bear their shame with those that go down to the pit; among the pierced through is Hebrews 2:0; Hebrews 2:06given [laid]. There [is] Meshech, Tubal, and all his tumult; round about him his [their] graves; they all uncircumcised, pierced through with the sword; for they 27gave their terror in the land of the living. And they do not [they shall not] henceforth lie with the heroes, the fallen of the uncircumcised, who went down to hell in [with] their weapons of war; and they gave their swords under their heads, and their iniquities were upon their bones, for terror of heroes [were they] in the land of 28the living. And [also] thou among the uncircumcised, thou shalt be broken, and 29shalt lie with the pierced through by the sword. There [is] Edom, his kings and all his princes, who have been given in [with, in spite of] their strength with the pierced through by the sword; they lie henceforth with the uncircumcised, and 30with those that go down to the pit. There are the princes of the North, they all and all the Zidonians, who went down with the pierced through, in their terror [the terror before them] from their strength [proceeding from their strength] come to shame; and they lie henceforth uncircumcised with the pierced through by the sword, and bear from this time onwards their shame with those that go down to the 31pit. Them will Pharaoh see, and will comfort himself over all his tumult; pierced 32through are Pharaoh and all his host: sentence of the Lord Jehovah. For I gave his terror [that which is before him] in the land of the living, and Pharaoh and all his tumult is laid [now] among the uncircumcised with the pierced through by the sword: sentence of the Lord Jehovah.

Ezekiel 32:1. Sept.: ... μια τ. μηνος—(Anoth. read.: בעשתי עשרה, undecimo anno.)

Ezekiel 32:2. … Λεοντι … ὁμοιωθης … κ. ὲκερατιζες τοις ποταμοις … τ. ποταμους σου. Vulg.: Leoni assimilatus es et draconi … et ventilabas cornu in—(Other readings: ותרפמ and בנהרתַיִך.)

Ezekiel 32:3. ... και�.ἀγκιστρω̣ μου; so too the Vulg.

Ezekiel 32:4. ... Πεδια πλησθησεται σου—(Anoth. read.: כל חיה הארץ, Syr.)

Ezekiel 32:5. ... ἀπο τ.αἱματος σου τασαν γην Vulg.: … colles tuos sanie tua. Anoth. read.: רמותיךְ, excelsa tua; רמתיךּ, projectionibus tuis (Targ.), v. vermibus tuis (Syr.).

Ezekiel 32:6. ... ποτισθησετκι ἡ γη�. χωρηματον σου κ. ἀπο τ. πληθους σου … φκραγγας ἐμπλησω κ̓πο σου. Vulg.: fœtore sanguinis tui

Ezekiel 32:8. Vulg.: mœrere faciam super te

Ezekiel 32:9. Sept.: ... ἡνιχα� … αἰχμαλωσιαν σου … εἰς γην ἡν—Vlug.: irritabo contritionem tuam

Ezekiel 32:10. Sept.: ... προσδεχομενοι την πτωσιν αὐτων�ʼ ἡμερας πτωσεως σου.

Ezekiel 32:12. ἐν μαχαιραις γιγαντων, κ. καταβαλω τ.ἰσχυν σου Λοιμοι�—

Ezekiel 32:14. Οὑτως τοτε ἡσυχασει—Vulg.: Tunc púrissimas reddams … adducam

Ezekiel 32:15. cum dedero … deseretur autem—(Anoth. read.: ומשמה in Hophal.)

Ezekiel 32:17. Anoth. read.: בעשתי עשרה, Syr. and interlined Bible. Sept.: ... ἐν τ. πρωτω̣ μηνι—

Ezekiel 32:18. Sept.: ... κκι καταβιβασουσιν αὐτης τας θυγατερας τκ ἐθνς νεκρας εἰς το βαθος τ. γης προς τους … (Ezekiel 32:19 :Εν μεσω̣ τραυματιων μακαιρα πεσουνται μετʼ αὐτου,κ. κοιμηθησεται πασα ἡ ἰσκυς. κ. ἐρουσιν σοι οἱγιγαντες Ἐν βαθει βοθρου γινου τινος χρειττων εἱ; κ. καταβηθι κ. κοιμηθητι. Vulg.: gentium robustarum ad terram ultimam (Other read.: והורידו, and אל ארץ תחתית, and אל יורדי, Sept.)

Ezekiel 32:19. ʼΕξ ὑδατων εὑπρεπους χαταβηθι, κ. κοιμηθητι μετα

Ezekiel 32:20. πεσουνται μετʼαὐτου, κ. κοιμηθησεται πασα ἡ ἰσχυς αὐτου. (Other read.: המונה.)

Ezekiel 32:21. Sept.: ... σοι οἱ γιγαντες. ʼΕν βαθει βοθρον γινου,τινος χρειττων ει; Καταβηθι κ.κοιμηθητι μετα—Vlug.: qui cum auxiliatoribus ejus descenderunt et dormierunt

Ezekiel 32:22. … συναγωγη αὐτου, πχντες τραυματιαι ἐχει ἐδοθησαν ἡ ταφη αὐτων ἐν βαθει βαθρου χ ἐγενηθη ἡ συνχγωγη αὐτου περιχυχλω̣ τ. μνηατος αὐτου,παντες—

Ezekiel 32:23. οἱ ἐδωχαν τ. ταφχς αὐτης ἐν μηροις λαχχου—

Ezekiel 32:25. The words כי־נתן׳ are not represented in the Sept.

Ezekiel 32:26. Sept.: ʼΕχει ἐδοθησαν … κ. Θοβελ … περιχυχλω τ. μνηματος αὐτου, παντες τραυματιαι αὐτου, παντες�, οἱ δεδωχοτες—Vulg,; … interfectique et cadentes gladio

Ezekiel 32:27. Και ἐχοιμηθχσαν μετα τ. γιγαντων … ἀπ’ αἰονος, οι … ὁτι ἐξεφοβησαν γιγαντας—Vulg.: … et incircumcisis—(Anoth. read.: עונם, Syr.)

Ezekiel 32:29. Sept.: κ. οἱ βασιλεις αὐτης κ … οἱ ἁρχοντες Ἀσσουρ οἱ δοντες τ. ἰσχυν αὐτων εἰς τρκυμα μαχαιρας, κὐτοι ἐκοιμηθησαν μετα τραυματιων μαχαιρας, ἐκοιμηθησαν μετα—

Ezekiel 32:30. παντες στρατηγοι "Ασσουρ, οἱ … τραυματιαι σον τ. φοβω̣ χὑτων χ. τ. ἰσχυι αὐτων—Vulg.: … et universi venatores, qui … paventes et in … confusi—(Anoth. read.: וכל צדונים, Chald., Syr.; or they read סרנֵי, satraps. Instead of אשר, Sept. read אשור.)

Ezekiel 32:31. Vulg.: Vidit eos et consolatus est

Ezekiel 32:32. Quia dedi terrorem meum … et dormivit

EXEGETICAL REMARKS

Ezekiel 32:1-16. The Lamentation over Pharaoh.

Hitzig justly finds the date, as also the place of this section, quite correctly given. He likewise abides, for the more exact determination of the time, by the Hebrew text of Ezekiel 32:1; while the old translations read, some the tenth, others the eleventh year, some the tenth, others the twelfth month. It was twenty-one months after Ezekiel 31:1, almost two months after that the prophet had received intimation of the destruction of Jerusalem; and to this time also belongs the flight of the remnant of Judah to Egypt, which was prohibited through the mouth of Jeremiah. [Schmieder: “The first of these two death-songs (Ezekiel 32:1-32) is dated on the day of the new moon, the second on the day of the full moon.” Hengst.: “The occasion of this lamentation was probably the circulation of the Lamentations of Jeremiah among the exiles. Ezekiel delights generally to follow that prophet as his leader. The double lamentation-song of this chapter accompanies, by way of consolation, the lamentation-songs among the people of God.”]

Ezekiel 32:2. Comp. Ezekiel 19:1.—As Ezekiel 27:2 upon Tyre, and Ezekiel 28:12 upon the prince of Tyre, so here it is first upon Pharaoh, and afterwards, Ezekiel 32:17 sq., upon Egypt.—The designation as young lion (Ezekiel 19:2) of the heathen nations (meaning of them not in the sense of being among them, but in that of showing himself to be such toward them), כְּפִיר גּוֹיִם, as in Ezekiel 31:11 אל גוים, an antithetical reference, very fitly applies to the personality of Hophra. The youthful, rapacious, conquest-loving spirit of this prince may have been characterized.—נִדְמֵיָת, Niph. (from דמה), “to make one’s self like” (the subjective of Pharaoh’s to the objective of Jehovah’s, Ezekiel 31:2; Ezekiel 31:18).—אֶל dropt, perhaps, on account of the immediately preceding אֵלָיו, or to be construed accusatively; anyhow, perfectly plain as to the meaning, since כַּתנים immediately follows. That Pharaoh could not be found “like a lion and also a dragon,” as Hitzig alleges, has this only as a ground of offence, that it overlooks the distinction, the contrast, between the two resemblances. As a young lion Pharaoh is conscious of what belonged to him out of himself, whereas the other image rather represents the customary, perhaps also the limits to be kept by the Pharaohs of Egypt. (“With the third Ramses,” says Duncker, “Egypt had ceased to be the first power of the old world. About the same time, when the warlike ambition of Assyria began to display itself, Egypt returned to a peaceful mode of life, and remained quiet within its old natural boundaries.”) Philippson: “Pharaoh, who belonged only to Egypt as crocodile, would also as a lion seize upon other lands.” So also Raschi. [Hitzig translates נדמית: “thou art a dead man” (Cocceius); Hengst.: “thou art undone; נדמה never means: to be made like, always: to be silent, undone.” According to him, Ezekiel 32:2 is a short outline which must be afterwards filled up.]—The representation generally is not that of the glory of the fallen king (Keil), and the image of the dragon in particular will not explain that of the lion (Hengst.); though it is right to say that the bearing of Pharaoh is meant to be set forth, only not so properly among the peoples as in his own relation. For in the sea is neither the sea of the peoples (Hengst.), nor to be taken along with what precedes = on land and in water (Rosenm.), but a reproduction of the Nile-situation (Ezekiel 29:3, “in the midst of his streams”) corresponding to the self-elation implied in the “young lion of the heathen,” as (comp. Isaiah 19:5) in Homer the Nile is called ὠκεανος, and the native designation speaks of the white, blue seas. The counter-position (וְאַתָּה) is this: To the heathen nations thou wouldst show thyself as a young lion, and thine own people thou didst destroy, didst ruin—as is presently brought out in the prophet’s delineation. To the יַמִּים correspond the נַהֲרוֹת ;וַתָּגַח. from גּוֹחַ (גִּיחַ?), is, according to Kimchi, the Kal; who, however, allows it also as Hiphil, which Fürst takes to be the form, wishing, however, to understand it transitively: “and broughtest forth thy waters through thy streams;” but of Hiphil, as of Kal, is only the intransitive signification known. [Hitzig, who holds that the breaking forth of the crocodile is not meant to be expressed, would fain make it: “thou causest thy streams, namely, out of thy nostrils, to break forth;” but the streams and בְּ are against him, and he hence reads with Ewald: נְחִרתיך, who translates: “since thou art as the crocodile in the waters, and with thy nostrils dost splutter (Job 41:20).” Hengst. cites, for the mischief which Pharaoh did among the nations, the North American crocodiles (“thou brakest forth with thy rivers”)—how, while breathing with the most frightful noise, they spurt forth streams of smoke and water, like a torrent in a hurricane, through their jaws and blowholes.] The sense, however, is much simpler: while in Ezekiel 29:3, Pharaoh, the great dragon, lies in the midst of his streams at his ease, he is now represented as breaking forth in the same (“thine,” as he there pretends); that is, not precisely with his hosts, but in this, his national-Egyptian pride of power, rising up, elevating himself—which elevation of Pharaoh (as indicated by Jerome, Vulg., and Sept.) troubled the waters of Egypt (דלח, comp. Ezekiel 32:13), while he with his feet trampled their streams or caused a muddy jumbling. [Schmieder: “With his restless ambition for war he stirred up the slumbering passions (the mire) among his peoples.”] Very good Philippson: “brought his people into agitation, guilt, and danger;” while the heterogeneous intermingling of the figure of the dragon with that of the lion, and in consequence thereof the explanation with reference to the nations, occasions misunderstanding and needless attempts at interpretation—as when Ewald, who is followed by Hävernick, speaks of the crocodile foully wallowing with mouth and feet in the fresh waters and life-sources of the nations—as troubling all that was pure.

Ezekiel 32:3. See Ezekiel 12:13; Ezekiel 17:20.—בִּקְהַל׳, on comparison with Ezekiel 23:24, can scarcely be understood of mere spectators, since they pull up, therefore, as helpers, associates, servants, carry the matter into effect. The peoples punish the sin of Pharaoh committed on his own people. Under the many we may think of the Chaldean army as composed of many races (Dereser), or also of the diverse peoples that followed the Chaldeans in making war upon Egypt.—Comp. Ezekiel 26:5; Ezekiel 26:14; Ezekiel 29:4. In Siam, people often spread nets upon the river to catch the crocodile. Comp. Ælian, Var. Hist. Ezekiel 10:21.

Ezekiel 32:4. Comp. Ezekiel 29:5.—בָאָרֶץ, land, in contrast to the water; while in Ezekiel 29:0 it is the “wilderness.”—טוּל, “to throw down,” Hiphil, strengthens נָטַשׁ, as בָאָרֶץ is pictured out by עַל פְּנֵי׳, “on the plains (face) of the field.”—Ezekiel 31:13. It is acutely remarked by Bunsen, that in the description, as it passes over into the monstrous, the prophet comes to do with the matter, touches less upon the image.

Ezekiel 32:5. As the guilt, so the punishment takes place within the land, which is represented by mountains and valleys (Ezekiel 31:12). Pharaoh is laid there as to his flesh, together with his warriors.—רָמוּת, Gesen. from רוּם, “a high heap of corpses.” Hengst.: “with thy height,” in contrast to the valleys as low ground, “with the proud corpse.” It were better to read רִמָּתֶךָ, from רִמָּה, collective, “worms.” Hitzig thinks of the blood which should flow down from the mountains into the valleys. Others take it, after the plural reading, of the hosts of which Pharaoh was proud, their corpses; Raschi, from רמה, “to throw away:” thy thrown away, that is: thy fallen.

Ezekiel 32:6. Here צָפָה (from צוּף, “to overflow,” “to inundate”) with אֶרֶץ is not “the land of thy swimming” (Gesen.), in which thou as crocodile hast swimmed, but Egypt—only not as Hengst.: “the land which thou formerly didst overflow with thy rivers.” At least Ezekiel 32:2 cannot be adduced for this sense, except in so far as the Nile, which Pharaoh in Ezekiel 29:0 had in a manner claimed for himself, overflows Egypt, and thereby provides the ground of prosperity and strength to Pharaoh. That God “causes the land to drink” (Genesis 2:10) is placed over against the boasted overflowing of it through Pharaoh’s Nile; besides, however, the closer determination of the meaning by “out of (with) thy blood” (Exodus 7:17 sq.), which Hitzig explains as a gloss of רָמוּתֶךָ in Ezekiel 32:5. (Keil takes צָפָה as the “outflowing,” and construes הִשְׁקֵּיתִי with two objects, so that מִדָּמְךָ announces whence the outflowing comes, and wherein it consists. Schmieder: “Pharaoh’s life-juice, which flows with his blood from his wounds, the most precious, most peculiar possessions of his home-power.” Häv.: “I saturate the earth with thy current, on occasion of thy blood covering the mountains.” Hitzig: “the soil of the earth with thy outflow.” Kimchi takes צפה as a fem. part.: “thy land over which the waters swam.” Others: the land which from thee was overflowed, namely, by thy blood. Attention has been called by Kimchi also to צָפָה, “to spy out”—the land of thy spying out—so that the high places thereof might be meant.)—Even to the mountains signifies: to as far as the overflowing of the Nile usually extends.

Ezekiel 32:7 (Ezekiel 30:18). The covering of the heaven, in its symbolic character, fitly enough regarded as analogous to the judgment-day of God (Ezekiel 30:3; Joel 2:4), need not, however, be conceived of from this point of view, but may remind us of Exodus 10:21 sq., while still it is expressly thought of in connection with Pharaoh’s extinction, who in his glory must not be contemplated merely as a bright shining light (Hengst.), but, according to the Egyptian style of thought, as the light of the world for his subjects, beaming forth upon the land and imparting prosperity and blessing (comp. at Ezekiel 29:6 a, Ezekiel 30:17; see also Duncker, i. p. 150). It is unnecessary, therefore, for Hitzig to fall back upon Dereser, who, under the expression: “when thou art extinguished,” makes the constellation of a dragon follow here upon the image of a sea-dragon, as then the zodiac might be of Egyptian origin. Keil regards Ezekiel as leaning upon Isaiah 14:12; but the discourse is not at all of Pharaoh as a star of the first magnitude (Dereser), but with his extinction the heaven (the heaven, namely, of Egypt), the higher, the governing supremacy and glory, one may say, is veiled, which in what follows is more nearly defined and expressed. Comp. Ezekiel 31:15. The heaven comes into consideration as to its stars, and as such are specified (in place of all) sun and moon, which, again, appear in Ezekiel 32:8 as מְאוֹרִים,—the sun, with כָּסָה pointing back to כִּסֵּיתִי; the moon, with negative reproduction of the הִקְדַּרְתִי. That with what is said, mourning, condolence should be expressed (as at Ezekiel 31:15), does not lie in the words; and just on that account Ezekiel 32:9-10 do not give, as Hitzig would have it, the import of the figurative speech here in Ezekiel 32:7-8. Finally, neither kingdoms, nor peoples, nor individual men of distinction are indicated by the stars.

Ezekiel 32:8. Genesis 1:14.—עָלֶיךָ, agreeably to Ezekiel 32:7 (בְכַבּוֹתְךָ): on account of thee, or as upon thy land.—All the luminaries resume the “stars” in Ezekiel 32:7; אַקְדִירֵם repeats הִקְדַּרְתִי there, and the darkness, sq., combines what is said of sun and moon together in the effect. Through “thy land” light falls upon the “land of thy overflowing,” in Ezekiel 32:6.

Ezekiel 32:9. The vexing of the heart is to be understood according to Ezekiel 32:10. Sorrow; not sympathy, but, in consideration of themselves, and of that which might still also be done to them, grief. It is not hard words only which vex us, but there are also hard fates which cause us vexation, especially the more we would live and would let live. שֵׁבֶר (and with Segol twice), probably: the report (but not necessarily to be read, as Ewald, with an Aramaic signification, שׂברך)of the destruction; that such a world-power was broken could not but cause many heart-breakings in the world. The addition: which thou knowest not, however, points to more than simple knowledge, namely, to persons who become acquainted with that of which they had hitherto been entirely ignorant, regions utterly unknown to them. (Targum of Jonathan: those broken through the war; Häv., with a reference to the Sept.: the prisoners, who, as ruins of the old glory of Egypt, are themselves the heralds of the misfortune among the nations.) Comp. Ezekiel 30:9.

Ezekiel 32:10. See Ezekiel 27:35; Ezekiel 28:19.—שָׂער, so that the hair stands on end.—עוֹפֵף, Pilel from עוּף, to make to fly. The sword, while they see how it flies to and fro over Pharaoh, is swung before their face, that they may with shuddering take a warning from it to themselves.—On וְחָרְדוּ לִרְגָעִים, comp. Ezekiel 26:16.—Ezekiel 31:16.

Ezekiel 32:11. Since Jehovah’s sword which is brandished is that of the king of Babylon, the coming of this king can now be fitly spoken of. תְּבוֹאֶךָ for תָּבוֹא לְךָ. Comp. also. Ezekiel 30:10. There is a similar break in the discourse.

Ezekiel 32:12. Comp. on Ezekiel 31:2; Ezekiel 31:12; Ezekiel 28:7.—כֻּלָּם, in their collective character; עָריצֵי, from עָרַץ, properly: spreading terror.—On אֶת־גְּאוֹן׳ Hitzig remarks: “not that of which Egypt is proud, but what is proud in Egypt, what raises itself up, pushes into the height.” Comp. Ezekiel 30:6; Ezekiel 30:18.

Ezekiel 32:13. The extirpation of the beasts is explained by Schmieder figuratively of the potentates of Egypt, beside the crocodile Pharaoh, who stir up the population. As to the reality, Hitzig thinks of the grassy banks of the Nile, whither large herds of cattle were driven to get drink and to pasture (Genesis 47:6; Genesis 41:2 sq.; Exodus 9:3). Rosenm. brings also to remembrance the Egyptian horse - training. The beasts, however, appear rather as embellishment, for the Nile with its waters forms the chief feature, as it also had led the inhabitants of the land of Egypt at an early period from shepherd life to agriculture, and had consequently given rise to the prosperity of the country. The desolation of the greatness and glory of Egypt, the annihilation of all its tumult (Ezekiel 32:12), is represented by the extirpation of the beasts; in which the not unintentionally repeated לֹא תִדְלָחֵם, in the transition to the רַבִּיס מַיִם, points back with a certain irony to מיס׳ וַתִּדְלַח־ in Ezekiel 32:2, while such a ruinous result for the land through the punishment of Pharaoh is rendered still more remarkable. The not any more does not import that it should no more at all happen, but only in comparison with the earlier—no more in such a sense, that the earlier ascendency of power should again have place. Foreign dominion, inflicting mischief, causing man and beast to disappear (Ezekiel 32:12), should bring to a stand the native pernicious rule of Pharaoh. [According to the interpretation of others, it is to be understood with respect to other nations—as Hengst.: “in part also of the seductive glitter of Egypt”—of the ambitious military expeditious of Pharaoh (Cocc., Grotius), or generally of the pushing character of Egypt as a worldly power (Keil).]

Ezekiel 32:14. אז, when this takes place. What follows is explained by Hitzig to mean, that the Nile’s fulness of water, which hitherto had overflowed the land and made it fruitful, should no longer have any aim (Ezekiel 30:12); Kliefoth: that God Himself would change the nature of these streams. But this would imply too much, while the words—though not to be understood as Hävernick thinks, who applies Ezekiel 32:13 improperly to troubling through hostile armies—would still express nothing more than the reference back to Ezekiel 32:2 already indicated in Ezekiel 32:13; namely thus: that instead of “the breaking forth in thy streams” there, now a depression takes place, their waters sink, that is, those waters which in the former state of prosperity man and beast troubled, but which in particular Pharaoh’s haughtiness rendered turbid; i.e., the well-being of Egypt, as this is represented by its Nile, is now gone, and shall no longer give occasion for abuse. The position of Egypt as to power must henceforth be of another description. וְנַהֲרוֹתָם (Ezekiel 32:2), “their,” of the “waters,” which through Pharaoh go in a confused manner—כַּשֶּׁמֶן, Hitzig: flowing softly and slowly, keeping within the prescribed path. The latter does not lie in the comparison, after the manner of oil; and that they do not as hitherto rush forth in impetuous volumes of water is not the contrast; although the citation in Hitzig from Isaiah 8:6 corresponds, for, as with Asshur there, so was the case here with Pharaoh. Hengst. rightly: that the comparison with oil has respect to the soft flowing. Comp. Ezekiel 29:14. There needs only the sentence of the Lord, and then the proud waves subside, and that which fancies itself so high becomes low. (Now, inasmuch as such a state can be taken as a contrast to the ruin of Ezekiel 32:13, some modern expositors, after the example of earlier ones, have found a promise here in relation to other peoples; Targum, Grotius: that they should be left in peace; Häv., Keil: that for Egypt a time of divine blessing shall follow, the Nile shall flow with oil; Ewald even: “then first might the Messianic times come also upon Egypt, where the waterfloods should no longer be desolating and troubled, by reason, namely, of the true knowledge to which the chastisement conducts.”)

Ezekiel 32:15. Here is combined together, through a double parallel, בְְּ the divine judgment and its result,—the giving up of the land of Egypt to desolation, and the realization of what this implied instead of its former fulness (Ezekiel 12:19).—Rosenm., Hengst., translate וּנְשַׁמָּה: “and the land wasted.” It might also mean: when I give, etc., then the land is wasted.—The killing of all the inhabitants, and the knowing of Jehovah. According to Hitzig, בְּהַכּוֹתִי must be subordinated to the declaration.

Ezekiel 32:16. Comp. Ezekiel 19:14. The lamentation (Ezekiel 32:2) comes here to a close. Its female singers, as this was laid upon women (Jeremiah 9:16 [17]), will be the heathen nations themselves represented as such (daughters), or the mourning women of those nations mentioned in Ezekiel 32:9. So certain is the matter.

Ezekiel 32:17-32. Dirge upon Egypt.

Ezekiel 32:17. The indication of the month is wanting here; according to Hitzig and others, from oversight. Comp. on Ezekiel 26:1. Hengst, and many derive it from Ezekiel 32:1, therefore the twelfth month, so that what here follows falls only fourteen days later. It is the last word upon Egypt, save one after the conquest of Jerusalem, for Ezekiel 29:17 sq. is absolutely the last; consequently a conclusion with respect to Egypt, and indeed in the manner of a d’outre tombe.

Ezekiel 32:18. Here we have a נְהִי, distinguished from the קִינָה going before, in particular, through its character (“gloomy, sorrowful grave-song,” Ewald), and its six windings, its strophe-form.—What is meant by the tumult has been already said in Ezekiel 32:15-16 : it is those who dwelt in Egypt, and are now slain. Besides, in what follows there is a leaning on Ezekiel 31:16 sq.—To wail over any one after the manner of our section is as much as to throw him down with the word. By such a juxtaposition, also, we prevent a false explanation of the נְהֵה, confounding the prophet with hired howling women, after the manner of Egyptian funerals, when as such even the daughters of mighty nations should figure. (Ewald: while the same are let down; as a grave-song, therefore, at the interment. Häv.: identity of the divine will with the prophetic announcement.)—The fem. אוֹתָהּ does not resume again the regular masc. הָמוֹן, nor is it shown from the question in Ezekiel 32:19 that we are to take it as אַתָּה (Hitzig, Ewald); but it is very simple, grammatically correct, and logical,—an impressive ranking of Egypt, as a land, beside the daughters, etc. What Hitzig says to the contrary is not worthy of consideration. Egypt, as the party referred to, is the more natural, as it also was what in the preceding context determined the המון.—The daughters of the glorious heathen peoples must, according to Dereser, Ewald, Hitzig, be those meant in Ezekiel 32:16—a view that will scarcely commend itself; according to Rosenm.: the populations subject to the Egyptians, or in league with them—of whom there has been no discourse here; according to most: those specified in Ezekiel 32:22 sq. If these last are already in Sheol, as in reality is the case, then is וּבְנוֹת׳ to be understood as if it stood thus: like those, etc., who have gone down conformably to the prophetic word. The process must in no way, as Hengst. expresses himself, be repeated anew; for, according to Ezekiel 32:21 sq., the parties concerned speak out of hell to the Egyptians, therefore are not sent down with these “as it were a second time.” The representation on occasion of the throwing down, which plainly has respect to Egypt, includes those already thrown down (“the daughters,” etc.) in order to render the certainty of the fate of Egypt the more indubitable by patent facts, with which also the immediately following question in Ezekiel 32:19 accords. The designation of the peoples as daughters is the more appropriate, as adornment and attractiveness, splendour and grace, would shine forth in them. For the rest, comp. at Ezekiel 26:20; Ezekiel 31:14.

Ezekiel 32:19. The question with which our dirge begins—to supply לֵאמֹר or נְהֵה is superfluous, the address is more energetic without such an addition—is spoken either to the tumult of Egypt (Ezekiel 32:18), or to Pharaoh and all his tumult (Ezekiel 32:32). The נָעַם, “to be lovely,” is indeed conceded, but it is held from the first to be a vain conceit that it was beyond any other, namely, the glorious heathen peoples, more lovely, therefore, than one of them. Ewald translates: “before whom wert thou more prosperous?” Which would not be so suitable as his allusion to the meaning of “uncircumcised” for Egyptians, and even also for Tyrians (Ezekiel 31:18; Ezekiel 28:10). (Hitzig declares himself in favour of the Sept. on the weakest grounds.)—Hence, as they, so also thou, “go down”—in which remembrance is made of the “cast down” of the prophet in Ezekiel 32:18, as also of those “going down” with whom Egypt must go down. Besides, comp. Ezekiel 28:10; Ezekiel 31:18.

Ezekiel 32:20. Of the sword it was already spoken, Ezekiel 32:11. They who should fall are the Egyptians, Pharaoh and his tumult. Targum Jon. takes נִתָּנָה as אוֹתָהּ of Egypt, but understands that it is given up to the sword.—מָשְׁכוּ, either 3 pret. or imperat. for מִשְׁכּוּ. Of whom it speaks or to whom it is addressed is clear from חֶרֶב נִתּ׳; they are those to whom the sword is already given. And since they must fall, must fall in the midst of the pierced through, the seizing and dragging away is not to be regarded as of evil-doers to the judgment-seat; but if the death-blow is to be considered, and if there is a carrying out of the falling among the pierced through, still, there remains as that to which they are to be dragged, indirectly as well as directly, if not precisely, Sheol, at least the grave.

Ezekiel 32:21. To the question above corresponds the speaking below. What they speak is not said, and confessedly with דָּבַר does not need to be said. If לוֹ is “to him,” as Hengst. thinks, then the speaking is as much as: they greet him (Häv., with malignant welcome) as a colleague (comp. Isaiah 14:10-11); and “his helpers” is to be viewed as connected with “to him”—together with his helpers. Rosenm. connects “his helpers” with “the strong of the heroes,” so that also his helpers address him. If לוֹ is to be translated “of him,” then the discourse takes place with the helpers, who, besides, are the parties that remained to the last with him—ch. Ezekiel 30:8; Ezekiel 30:5 sq.—גִבּוֹים אֵלֵי—comp. Ezekiel 31:11—which Gesen. renders: “the strongest of the heroes.” Ewald calls to remembrance in how high consideration a quiet natural death stood, with a correspondingly quiet burial, accompanied by the proper solemnities.—The words: “they go down,” etc., might serve less as a closer description of the strong heroes (Hengst.), than as a ground for their being in the midst of Sheol. But if they are taken as the address of the strong heroes, for which also the tone of the words speaks, treating scornfully the Egyptians like other heathens, then “the uncircumcised” must be applied to the Egyptians; and it will hence be understood that they fall in the midst of the uncircumcised (their helpers), appear like these. By Ezekiel 32:19 we are not obliged to take the speakers from hell as the uncircumcised. In Ezekiel 32:22 follows their mention by name. Asshur, primarily on account of the comparison in Ezekiel 31:0, but especially on account of its so great, still recent experience, which also gave occasion to the beginning of the Chaldean ascendency, ever in Ezekiel appearing as the foil of the other, and, finally, on this more general account, from its importance as compared with the other nations to be named, opens the dark muster-roll.—In respect to gender, the kingdom, which is feminine, interchanges with the king, masculine, because in point of fact the one runs into the other.—The ruler, or his grave, is surrounded by the graves which might be called his, because they are those of members of his people; or קִבְרֹתָיו refers to קָהֵל. This will import: Asshur is only a field of graves, and thereby indicate that the sword which threatens Egypt has already fallen upon it.

Ezekiel 32:23. In order, however, to bridge still more completely the contrast between this hereafter and the preceding here, the graves of Asshur (אֲשֶׁר, perhaps a play upon אַשּׁוּר; anyhow, not: because) are still more particularly characterized. רְַכָתַיִם, dual, the two divergent sides, therefore the extreme part, here by means of בּוֹר determined to be the innermost—the point, namely, to which the pit turns off with its two walls. (Gesen.: the hindermost, farthest.) As much as: buried in the deepest place.—The graves are in Sheol; the latter, therefore, comprehensive of the former. The distinction is a fluctuating one.—Again אֲשֶׁר, certainly a play of words.—נָתְנוּ, antithesis to נִתְּנוּ, for that which was given to them, that which they previously had given! The land of the living, as at Ezekiel 26:20, contrast to their deepest graves.

Ezekiel 32:24. Elam appears in the earliest times among the inhabited countries lying on the farther side of the Tigris, to the east of Babylonia—a Semitic people, nearly related to the Assyrians. On this account alone it might here be made to follow immediately after Asshur; comp. Genesis 10:22; Genesis 14:1 sq. From the commencement warlike, ambitious of conquest, the Elamites continued to the last true to this character. Strabo makes mention of their expeditions against Susiana and Babylonia. Originally settled in the valleys between the Zagrus range and the mountains which bound the Assyrian plains on the east, they are mentioned along with other marauding tribes. The Assyrians subdued Elam, so that its dreaded bowmen (Jeremiah 49:35) figure in the Assyrian army (Isaiah 22:6). This explains Elam’s position immediately after Asshur. And agreeably to such a relation to Asshur, the utterance concerning Elam is almost, entirely similar.—The designation “their terror” makes it more expressive: the terror before them. With such a past their future laden with shame contrasts quite as expressively, just as the description: “those that go down to the pit,” stands related to: “in the land of the depths.”

Ezekiel 32:25. The “couch in the midst of the pierced-through” is an ignominious one, because implying their conquest, their fall by the sword. And after all the tumult this idle lying now!—נָתְנוּ, the subject undetermined; or if any one is to be thought of, then Asshur lies not less near than Nebuchadnezzar, by whom Hengst. maintains that Elam was vanquished (comp. at Ezekiel 8:16; Ezekiel 30:5).—בְּבָל׳, in company with.—Round about the king (him) the graves of Elam (הָ as in לָהּ previously).—For, wild lovers of the sword, a terror to the living, their end consequently becomes associated with terror, their state in death takes the form of like to like.—נִתּן against נִתַּן. Elam himself now, not: his couch. He is laid by the sword with the dead, while formerly the terror before him and his would not be allayed among the living.

Ezekiel 32:26. For similar reasons, probably, as in the case of Elam, the Moschi and Tibareni now follow—comp. at Ezekiel 27:13—linked as by a hyphen into one power. According to Hitzig, these represent the Scythians, whose numbers had recently been much reduced. Ewald takes the Chaldeans to be meant by the Scythians (!); Keil, here as in Ezekiel 38:0, understands by them a northern power, that should succumb, and here prophetically represented as having already succumbed.—The description as formerly, only כִּי־נָתְנוּ׳ instead of previously כִּי־נִתַּן׳, which Hitzig refers to God. The ground of procedure here turns more expressly on the guilt of the parties.

Ezekiel 32:27. Corresponding to such a presentation of the matter is ולֹא׳, which by many expositors is taken for a question indicated merely by the tone, as often in lively discourse: “and should they not,” etc.; that is, they especially could expect no better fate, among whom the significant custom prevailed of burying their fallen warriors with their slaughter-weapons, so that guilt and punishment are still combined together in the grave! (Hengst.: to the dead is ascribed what took place by their order, since they, like the race of Cain, placed therein their honour, saw in the murder of their brother a piece of bravery.) Others take it differently, as indicating that they were not to participate in the honour of resting with those for whom, because they had fallen gloriously, their armour was deposited in the grave. With the interrogatory mode of explanation the affirmative rendering of the Sept. seems to agree; but the other mode has this decidedly in its favour, that manifestly there is meant to be expressed, only in a different way, what was expressed in Ezekiel 32:23 respecting Asshur by the humiliating words: “whose graves were given in the innermost of the pit,” and in Ezekiel 32:24-25 regarding Elam, through the repeated: “and they bear their shame ”—namely, that they are the conquered, pierced through by the sword, ignominiously fallen under the victor’s hand, as was always again declared. With this agrees the mention of the heroes (comp. Ezekiel 32:12; Ezekiel 32:21), in particular the latter passage, where these in a manner boast themselves over the Egyptians. The meaning therefore is: that their hereafter is not that of heroes, though these also have fallen from among the uncircumcised, and hence were likewise guilty.—אֲשֶׁר׳, therefore not the Moschi and Tibareni, as Hengst. thinks, “they who,” etc., but a description of the “heroes.”—בִּכְלֵי, in their weapons of war, in armour of defence, and offence, that is, as conquerors of whom one can win no triumph, such as is done by those who carry forth in triumph the equipments of the vanquished.—And they gave, etc., as much as: “and men gave”; the survivors honoured their heroes after such a manner.—And their iniquities were, etc., is undoubtedly a continuation of the immediately preceding context, since to the marks of honour and judgment given on the part of men, there is very fitly added the judgment of God,—that “their iniquities were upon their bones,” or “came upon their bones,” though their swords were no longer on but under them, as also is presently said. To suppose, with Keil, that there is here a continuation to יִשְׁכְּבוּ will scarcely do, as they were not to lie down with the heroes, nor could they be named “terror of heroes.” Hengst. translates: “heroes of terror.” Ewald, with a threatening reference to the Chaldeans: “because the terror of tyrants reigns in the land,” etc. (?). Häv. makes Genesis 6:4; Genesis 10:9 sq. swim before the eyes of the prophet. Hitzig accepts simpliciter the translation of the Sept. But it may be regarded as a question whether Ezekiel did not think of the mode of burial among the Scythian princes, which has been similarly described by Herodotus.

Ezekiel 32:28. An address to Egypt (Hitzig: the tumult of Egypt); but certainly without an underlying word of threatening to the Chaldean king, as Ewald supposes. (Hengst.: “thou art broken and liest down,” etc.)—תִשָּׁבַר for תִשָּׁבֵר Ezekiel 32:29. שָׁמָּה either = שָׁם, as a sort of variation, or “thither,” which Häv. takes prophetically (“in like manner belong”) of such as it stands before. Hengst. on the other hand, as he makes Meshech and Tubal to have been probably conquered with the Assyrians, supposes that the Chaldean storm had swept over Edom immediately after the downfall of Judah, certainly as to the beginning only.—The kings, who were elective, are distinguished from all his princes (comp. Genesis 36:15 sq., 40 sq., 31 sq.), the tribal heads or chiefs of the greater race-stems, who according to Keil probably chose the kings.—בִגְבוּרָתָם, “corporeal strength,” “bravery;” very suitable where “heroes” had just been spoken of. We might understand: in proof and trial of the same, or: notwithstanding it. Hitzig points to the olden time (Numbers 20:14 sq.; Genesis 36:35), and the wars with David.

Ezekiel 32:30. נָסִיךְ, from נָםךְ, to pour out, scarcely to be understood as = anoint, hence: “anointed,” as מָשִׁיחַ, but, according to a derived signification: to inaugurate, or to place forth, the former in the sacrificial libation (drink-offering), the latter through a casting of metal.—The princes of the north, who are conjoined with כָל־צִדֹנִי, a collective singular, are thereby, according to Hävernick, more exactly defined as the many rulers of the biblical Aram (Damascenes, Syrians). In Jeremiah 25:26 we have: “all the kings of the north, near and afar off.” Comp. Ezekiel 28:20 sq. The Zidonians, therefore, may have already fallen. Tyre is not mentioned, so (Hengst. thinks) it still stood, although the siege had commenced. The mention of the Zidonians appears obviously designed to suggest that by “the north” is meant not the high far north, but that in relation to Palestine, therefore distinguishing them from Meshech and Tubal, formerly noticed. Perhaps also the significant number of seven must be made out for the peoples.—In their terror, etc., merely as much as, notwithstanding the terror before them, which their strength produced.—בּוֹשִׁים, so that they bear their shame (Ezekiel 32:24-25).

Ezekiel 32:31. There is now the express application to Pharaoh. Hitzig gives וְנִחַם עַל׳: “and will make himself be sorry for all his host,” namely, that those in Ezekiel 32:27-30 still have on their clothing and equipment, as contrasted with those who had gone down with himself naked !! Hengst.: “he sighs.” It is here the case of Ezekiel 31:16. Hav. thinks it is spoken ironically.

Ezekiel 32:32. The reason assigned has respect to the overthrow of the military force of Pharaoh, in so far as he could inspire terror only after God’s will. He was not by reason of his own power an object of dread for a time on earth, but through the operation of God’s providence, which made use of him as its instrument. In conclusion Kliefoth remarks very well: “People are wont to visit the pyramids of Egypt or its catacombs for the purpose merely of seeing that the glory of the Pharaohs is one that has its abode in Sheol; even to the new Ptolemaic Egypt, the old Egyptian existence was a complete riddle, a thing forgotten and incapable of being understood.”

DOCTRINAL REFLECTIONS

1. Although the prophecy in Ezekiel 29:0 is of a general character, yet by the reference to Nebuchadnezzar, and especially from Ezekiel 29:17 onwards, it gets a more specific character. We have therefore to hold by a fulfilment through the Chaldeans, and, indeed, in connection with what is said respecting Tyre. Apart from the circumstance that we have here to do with a prophet of God, we could not judge otherwise simply on this account, that a little reflection upon the inevitable disgrace of such a self-deception as would have been the case in respect to Tyre must alone have kept Ezekiel—instead of merely suppressing the prophecy in question while the book was still in his own hand—from wishing now to compensate for the mistake by awakening like inconsiderate and rash expectations concerning Nebuchadnezzar in regard to Egypt. For one to whom the prophet is nothing but a writer must still at least credit him with this much of worldly prudence in respect to his literary honour. And if Ezekiel must needs prophesy ex eventu (as Hitzig, for example, conceives), then prophecies like those contained in Ezekiel 26:0 and some following ones are purely unthinkable, so far as they remained unfulfilled; since it cannot but be supposed, that when our prophet closed his book, matters must have stood before him widely different from what they are presented in his prophecy. The “dogmatic criticism,” however, cannot once admit now that a prophecy has been fulfilled,—a limitation of the standpoint which is not improved by the circumstance that the truth of the divine word (2 Peter 1:21) is made dependent on the statements or the silence of profane writers, and even of such as have given notoriously imperfect reports. The false prophet, he whose word did not come to pass, has by God’s word (Deuteronomy 18:22) been as clearly as possible excluded from the canon.

2. The reward for work, which, as Hitzig rightly enough says, had still to be given to Nebuchadnezzar, raises no question as to the conquest and, as could not fail to happen after a thirteen years’ siege, the destruction of Tyre. If the booty might have been thought of for the army, for Nebuchadnezzar it is necessary to think of Egypt. The song of triumph demanded by Hitzig for the fulfilment of the prophecy against Tyre is the double lamentation which we find in Ezekiel 27:28. Every one has his peculiar manner. But as regards the so-called “historical witnesses,” who should speak the decisive word on the fulfilment or non-fulfilment particularly of the prophecy of Ezekiel in respect to Egypt, they are “the Greek historians, at the head of whom stands Herodotus, and they know absolutely nothing of a Chaldean invasion of Egypt—nay, their narration is opposed to anything of the kind” (Hitzig). This is imposing; let us reflect, however, that Herodotus had also learned nothing from his Egyptian informants of the defeat at Carchemish. We need only mention farther, that this Greek historian himself reproaches the priests of Egypt, and precisely in regard to this particular time, with embellishing the history of their country. Now, according to Herodotus, Pharaoh Hophra—in consequence of the defeat which his army sustained from the Cyrenians, against whom it was to have rendered help to the Libyans, and of the revolt which in consequence thereof, and of the foreign mercenary troops retained in Egypt, broke forth on the part of the Egyptian warrior-class against Amasis, who, instead of bringing back the rebels to obedience, suffered himself to be proclaimed king by them—lost freedom and his throne, and by the infuriated people was even murdered. Tholuck, who, “if the cattle with the ark of the Lord should once turn aside, would not obstinately drive forward,” remarks that as a witness Herodotus alone comes into consideration; before whom, however, the testimony of Ezekiel, himself a contemporary of the events, has no need to be abashed. “If Herodotus readily received intelligence of the prosperous battle fought by Necho at Megiddo, but none respecting the much more important defeat sustained by him on the Euphrates from the Chaldeans, should it be thought strange if the priests observed silence also regarding the irruption of the Chaldeans into their own land? yea, if the miserable end which Hophra suffered through the foreign conqueror should have been rather represented by them as the deed of his own people?” (So also Rawlinson’s Herod. B. ii. appen. c. 8.) With a fair appreciation of the historical representation of Herodotus, the cause there assigned, especially the revolution among the warrior-class of Egypt, might suffice for the overthrow of Hophra. Yet the hatred of the Egyptian people, not only expressed in Herodotus, but confirmed by monumental evidence (Rossellini points in this connection to a by-name of Hophra on the monuments: “Remesto”)—such a hatred as is described in Herodotus toward Hophra (ii. 161–169), manifested in respect to a native ruler, is scarcely to be explained from what is stated, if it did not come into some sort of connection with a Chaldean invasion of Egypt, whereby the haughtiness of Hophra might well appear all the more hateful to the Egyptian people, as the misery of the land and the inhabitants, occasioned by him, stood in sharpest contrast to the previous prosperity and splendour. The grudge of the Egyptian warrior-class against the foreign mercenaries could not be of such moment as some have supposed, since even Amasis, who thereafter held possession of the throne till his death (forty-four years), and was succeeded in it by his son, took lonians for his bodyguard, and generally granted to the Greeks still greater favour and privileges than his predecessor. Besides, as generally held, there is also the outline of the prophecy against Egypt in Ezekiel 29:0, which exhibits a distinction between Ezekiel 29:6 sq. and Ezekiel 29:4 sq.—in the one, the sword constitutes the figure (Ezekiel 29:8); in the other, overthrow with reference to the wilderness. Especially if Hitzig’s interpretation of “the fish” (Ezekiel 29:4) as denoting Pharaoh’s men of war is accepted, and under “the wilderness” there is couched an allusion to Libya, what is said in Ezekiel 29:4 sq. might be explained by the narration which is reproduced by Herodotus, and Ezekiel 29:6 sq. would, with the sword of Nebuchadnezzar, be such a supplementing as the conquest of Tyre to the siege of that city, also given elsewhere. Out of the miserable condition in which Hophra perished, Amasis would then have raised Egypt. Anyhow, as Tholuck brings out, the death of Hophra falls exactly into the time in which the occupation of Egypt by Nebuchadnezzar must have occurred; and thus the position of matters approaches to that which is wont to be extracted from Josephus in confirmation of our prophecy—contr. Ap. i. 19. It is there stated that Berosus reports of the Babylonian (Nebuchadnezzar) that he “conquered Egypt, Syria, Phœnicia,” etc. Again, in Ezekiel 20:0, he states that Megasthenes placed Nebuchadnezzar above Hercules, since he had subjected to himself a great part of Libya and Iberia (comp. Antiq. x. 11. 1, and Strabo xv. 1. 6; see also Häv. Comm. p. 435, against Hitzig’s remarks). In the 10th book of the Antiq. Ezekiel 9:7, Josephus expresses himself to this effect, that “in the fifth year after the destruction of Jerusalem, which was the twenty-third of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, he made an expedition against Cœlesyria; and when he had got possession of it, he made war against the Ammonites and Moabites; and when he had brought these nations into subjection, he fell upon Egypt in order to overthrow it, and did indeed slay the king who then reigned, but set up another; after which he took those Jews that were there captive, and brought them to Babylon,” etc. The ten years’ time, which Hitzig doubts as the period of the earlier warlike expeditions, is maintained by Tholuck. The fifth year after the taking of Jerusalem would be 581; the thirteen years’ siege of Tyre would fall into the period 586–572 or 573. For the different actions which were in part parallel as to time, we have only to suppose various divisions of the army employed, so that the whole might of Nebuchadnezzar did not at the same time lie before Tyre. The forty years of the Egyptian oppression, Tholuck, like Niebuhr, extends over the entire space that lies between the disaster at Carchemish and the overthrow of Hophra (thirty-six years), “during which Egypt, through the continued and in great part unfortunate warlike enterprises of Hophra, must have been much depopulated and extremely weakened, till at length the inroad of the Chaldeans consummated the oppression.” Tholuck thinks that, “as the prophets in the beginning of the fulfilment comprehended the future (Jeremiah 13:18; Ezekiel 30:24), in the last and completed fulfilment they also comprehended the earlier incomplete ones.” The symbolical explanation of the forty years is not thereby denied (see the exposition). The worth of the statements of Josephus may be questioned, as is done by Hitzig; but for the relation of profane history to our prophecy, it suffices that Hophra miserably perished (Ezekiel 29:4 sq.; Jeremiah 44:30 sq.), and that Egypt again revived, as took place under Amasis, although as a kingdom it was fit to be compared neither with its ancient glory nor with other great monarchies (Ezekiel 29:13 sq.). As regards the resuscitation of Egypt, Duncker mentions that, according to a return of the priests, it then reckoned 20,000 country towns and cities (Herzog’s Realencyc. 1 p. 150), though it was “the last period of Egypt’s glory;” and Lepsius says of the same, that Egypt succumbed to the first pressure of the Persian power, and remained from 525 to 504 a Persian province; that afterwards it became again for a short time independent, until in 340 it was reconquered by the Persians, and in 332 fell under Alexander the Great, etc.

3. Upon the importance of Egypt for the revenge of Nebuchadnezzar, see the exposition of Ezekiel 29:18. Also generally for the Chaldean policy the transition to Egypt is rendered plain to us from Ezekiel 29:17 sq. (Häv.: “if Nebuchadnezzar would make the possession of Phœnicia once for all sure, Egypt must be completely broken.”) Of the importance of Egypt by itself, its characteristic importance, some notice has already been taken, toward the close of the introductory remarks to Ezekiel 25:0; as also of the distinction, indicated with correct feeling by Keil, between Egypt and the other nations mentioned by Ezekiel. But what Egypt signifies in its connection here, this must be discerned from its relation to Israel. It is quite true that the charge laid against Ammon, Moab, etc., also against Tyre, for spiteful joy, hostility, envy toward Israel, is not mentioned in respect to Pharaoh and Egypt. It may be said that Egypt’s guilt in regard to Israel was that rather of a false, treacherous friendship. If, on the other hand, the excess of proud self-sufficiency must be regarded as the characteristic of Egypt, the same sort of self-elation meets us in the king of Tyre (Ezekiel 28:0); and in this respect Tyre formed a fitting transition-point to Egypt. The distinction between Tyre and Egypt might perhaps be found in this, that while in particular the kingdom of Tyre had had its time of sacred splendour and past greatness, as we have seen, in its former connection with the kingdom of David, Egypt on its part acquired importance on account of the sojournings of the pilgrim-fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and still more on account of the formation of their descendants into a people. Above all, the idea of redemption was associated with the land of Egypt. Here, therefore, the inverse relation holds good: Tyre has gone with Israel to school; Israel, on the other hand, was at school in Egypt, as was evidenced in manifold agreements and contrasts exhibited in their peculiarity as a people, without our needing on that account to ride off on the Spencerian principle [namely, of a servile borrowing from the institutions of Egypt]. More than from anything else, may be understood from Israel’s reminiscences as a people, and the impress of Egyptian style and manner even upon their sacred things, their abiding sympathetic turning back toward Egypt. That Israel could not let Egypt go out of sight had its root in human nature; we must learn even from the children of this world (Luke 2:6). But it had also its dangerous side. It was Israel’s worldliness, relapse, since Israel had been delivered by Jehovah from this world, and Jehovah had through Moses threatened them in connection with Egypt with the greatest evils (Deuteronomy 28:68). We have tribulation in the world, and we may have fear before the world; such fear, however, may be salutary in its operation. But dangerous is the stay that is sought in Egypt, trust and confidence therein. In this respect Egypt is designated a remembrancer of iniquity (Ezekiel 29:16), since for Israel it had, and not as of yesterday, but from of old (comp. also Ezekiel 16:26; Ezekiel 23:8; Ezekiel 23:19), the fatal significance of a pride which resists Jehovah and leads away from Him, of a consciousness of worldly power, which amid the characteristic Pharaonic arrogance expressed itself just as distinctly (Ezekiel 29:3; Ezekiel 29:9) as in Exodus 5:2, and had this the more seductively, as a self-conscious abiding worldly power is in fact fitted to impose on people. Friendship with Egypt is the most contemptuous relation in which Israel can be thought of, on account of the indifference which it necessarily implied on the part of the Israelitish people not only in regard to their former house of bondage, but also to the mighty deliverance obtained from it, and generally in what concerned their relation to Jehovah, on whom, as their own and their fathers’ God, they had been thrown from their state of childhood. To make account of this specific historical position in respect to each other, according to which the growth, bloom, and decay of Israel were closely interwoven with Egypt, the prophecy of Ezekiel “dwells at greater length on Egypt than on the other nations” (Häv.). Still more, however, it serves to explain the representation of the judgment upon Egypt as strikingly parallel with that on Israel, and to the last carried out (comp. Ezekiel 29:5; Ezekiel 29:9 sq., 12, 13, etc.). Not less remarkable, because singular, is the prospect and declaration in regard to the resuscitation of Egypt, and of it alone, which have been introduced into the prediction of our prophet; by this also is Egypt quite expressly kept parallel with Israel. The reminiscence which brings up Egypt so distinctly is not simply that of the house of bondage, or of iniquity, but it is Joseph’s post of honour, and the corn granaries of Jacob, together with his family. Comp. also Deuteronomy 23:7.

4. The interpretation of Neteler strikes out what is certainly a quite different path, strikingly reminding one of Cocceius, only with a specially Catholic tendency. According to him, the prophecies against the foreign nations constitute four groups, each of which contains four pieces: the first, Ezekiel 25:0; the second, the overthrow of the Canaanitish culture - development, standing in contrast to the higher calling of Jerusalem, and reaching its culmination in Tyre. The prophecy against Sidon he severs from Tyre, in the interest of this fourfold division; it belongs to the Egyptian group, inasmuch as “Sidon’s bloom falls into the time in which Egypt was the bearer of the Hamitic power and culture,” and “the Sidonian development was a shoot of the Hamitic-Egyptian.” The promises for Israel in this third section (Ezekiel 28:20 to Ezekiel 30:19) must stand parallel with those of the same kind in the first group, wherein punishment is threatened to the four nations with reference to Israel; as the first group, “through Ezekiel 21:0 (Ammon), is placed in connection with the first destruction of Jerusalem,” so “the third stands, through the opening of the mouth which occurs in it, in closer relation to the symbol of the second destruction of Jerusalem.” The four last prophecies against Egypt are “mere symbols,” according to Neteler. As Ammon “drove the surviving remnant, after the destruction of Jerusalem, out of Judea,” so had “Moab decoyed Israel into gross idolatry before their entrance into Canaan;” and so, in the prophecies against Ammon and Moab, the beginning and end of Israel in regard to Canaan are connected together. The punishment of Edom and the Philistines must point to the “re-establishment of the house of David.” In regard to Tyre Neteler expresses himself thus: “The command given to Israel to root out the Canaanites, but by them neglected to their destruction, God will execute on Tyre through Nebuchadnezzar;” and this command must stand in a noteworthy relation to the historical development of the last period of 800 years before Christ, in which “those to the west (Carthaginians, Greeks, Romans) brought a real advance, while those to the east (the Hamitic kingdoms of Ethiopia and Egypt, the Semitic kingdoms of Assyria and Chaldea, the Japhetic Medians and Persians) repeat the development of the two earlier periods in smaller measure, yet as if thereby the problem of the western circle should be solved.” He says: “If Israel, through the extirpation of the Canaanites, according to Numbers 36:6-9 (!), had entered into the place of the Phœnicians, it would have formed the first member in the development of this period, and would have shown the right path to the Greek culture which came forth in the second third of it.” To retrieve as much as possible that which was neglected (! ?), “Nebuchadnezzar must subject the Hamitic Tyre, even to the pillars of Hercules, and unite the eastern circle to the monstrous Chaldean kingdom, so that the externally insignificant Israel might be set in the centre of this gigantic Semitic power, which extended its sway even over the Turanian tribes in the high north.” This contrast between the Semitic and Hamitic races (already occurring in the prophecy of Noah) must be of great importance for the understanding of the symbolical representation of Ezekiel in the prophecies relating to Tyre and Egypt. Upon the third group which Neteler distributes, and which reaches to Ezekiel 30:19, we learn that, first of all, in the prophecy against Sidon, “the second possession of the land is associated with the first, as in Ezekiel 20:0 the first deliverance from Egypt is made parallel with a deliverance in a higher sense.” “As Israel did not fully carry out the extirpation of the Canaanites, whose place, according to Numbers 33:54, it was their part to occupy, these were turned for them into thorns and briers. With the second possession, on the other hand, the servitude of Canaan, which was announced even by Noah, was after a sort realized, since the Canaanitish history becomes extinct. The second piece in this section, namely Ezekiel 29:1-16, connects the end of the first Israelitish sojourn in Canaan, brought about by Egypt’s iniquity, with the end of Egypt; and the humiliation of Egypt is such an elevation of Israel, that Christianity will not be under temptation to lean upon a decaying heathenism.” The forty years occurring at Ezekiel 29:11 sq. must not be distinguished from the forty years of Judah, for which the prophet had to lie forty days upon his right side; that is, as Neteler remarks on Ezekiel 4:0, “a symbolical designation of the time, reaching from the destruction of the temple to the return from exile, derived from the sojourn in Kadesh.” “The two first pieces, Ezekiel 28:20 to Ezekiel 29:16, set forth the world-historical ideas, which were to be realized by the introduction of Christianity, but give, as to the way and manner in which the realization should be prepared for, begun, and carried forward, no information—this being first introduced by the prophet in the third piece (Ezekiel 29:17-21). The might of Shem, through which God conquered Canaan in the world’s history, must also carry forward the work in regard to Egypt. In the interest of Israel, whose service to God stands in contrast to Canaanitish industry, God will turn the Semitic world-power against Egypt, by which Israel was compelled to do Canaanitish work, and establish for them, on account of their labour in respect to Canaan, claims for compensation, which God would render valid because of the bondage laid by Egypt on the Israelites. The booty which God took from Egypt after the conflict, on occasion of the first deliverance, was only a type of a later plundering, which in a preparatory manner was begun by Nebuchadnezzar, and after the second deliverance from Egypt, that is, after the redemption achieved by the sufferings of the Servant of God was realized, when all power in heaven and on earth was committed to the episcopate of the Church (!!). The consequence of this victory over Egypt (Ezekiel 30:1-19) is given in the form of a judgment upon Egypt, in which is delineated its desolation and the annihilation of its idols and yokes; but the sons also of the covenant - land are smitten by the judgment, which points to a fall that should take place among them.” The continuation of this Catholic-theological-historical explanation and interpretation of Ezekiel will be given in No. 9.

5. Cocceius remarks on Ezekiel 29:21 : “Evil Merodach gave Jehoiachin freedom, and the first place of honour among the kings. Farther, Daniel was great in the kingdom of Nebuchadnezzar, and under the Persian dominion. Cyrus was called by God to give command to lead the people back, that they might rebuild the temple. Still higher grew the horn of Israel when they became free, and their priests assumed the diadem, as a sign of the freedom of the people, and the Israelites had become greater than their fathers, as announced in Deuteronomy 30:5. But most especially was it so, when out of David’s house the horn grew, which set the people free from all slavery, which subdued their enemies, and rendered the Gentiles subject to Israel, Psalms 132:13-18.”

6. The day of Jehovah, Kliefoth remarks, “is not judgment in one point of time and destruction over the whole heathen world;” and then he continues: “The day of Jehovah is a period of indefinite duration, in the course of which God will punish with judgment and destruction all heathen nations in succession, just as they have shown their hostility to the people of God, and He sees that their time has come. From this point of view, also, is the announcement always to be understood, that this day of Jehovah is at hand. The day continues so long, that it lasts till, in the final judgment, the whole world, in so far as hostile to God, shall be destroyed; but it constantly begins anew, when any particular people, on account of their malevolence manifested to the people of God, falls under the righteous doom of perdition. Hence the day of Jehovah upon the heathen nations has, in the several prophecies, a different terminus a quo, according as they refer to this or that kind of relations.” Only it must not be overlooked, that in Ezekiel 30:1 sq. not indeed Egypt alone is contemplated, but Egypt in its connection with heathen nations; and yet, that it is not the day of judgment upon all anti-theocratic powers that is to be understood, as already Hävernick makes the prophet see this general idea obtaining realization; but as the time of Jerusalem was come, the time when judgment had begun at the house of God, so the time must now be near when this judgment of God shall go forth upon the heathen. Hengstenberg finds here the fundamental passage for Luke 21:24, and points to the overthrow of the Roman Empire,—the “mountain” which was to be cast into the sea after the fig-tree of the Jewish people was withered (Matthew 21:0.), the “mulberry-tree” which was to be plucked up and removed into the sea (Luke 2:7.).

7. As in the kingdom of Tyre, Ezekiel 28:0, allusion was made to a time of sacredness upon the holy mount of God, so there was also found there, by way of similitude, a bringing to remembrance of Eden, and especially of the garden of God. This retrospect of paradise furnishes the beau-ideal, the standard for the Old Testament world generally; hence with Assyria, and in connection therewith in reference to Egypt, which had not the same historical position as Tyre, it appropriately comes back again in Ezekiel 31:0. As in the New Testament all is measured with heaven, so in the Old Testament what is or was glorious upon earth is made to hold of Eden and paradise.

8. On the derivation of the word “Sheol” there confessedly prevails a great diversity of opinion. For the biblical idea, especially the signification of the word in the Old Testament, this only is to be learned from this matter of etymological controversy, that as well the derivation from שָׁעַל, to be hollow (therefore for שְׁעֹל), since it points to “hollowing,” and in so far to the grave, as the derivation which Hupfeld adopts from: “to sink down,” and: “to go apart from one another,” therefore: sinking down, depth, abyss, and: cleft, hollow, empty space—since the burying and the being in the sepulchre can be thereby expressed—both alike avail for the affirmation, that Sheol and the grave more or less run together. The derivation, on the other hand, from שָׁאַל to demand, expresses as to Sheol only what constitutes generally the power and manner of death to demand for itself with insatiable desire all living beings (comp. Isaiah 5:14; Habakkuk 2:5; Proverbs 27:20; Proverbs 30:16). As to form an infinitive verbal substantive, the use of the word belongs predominantly to the poetic language of the Old Testament, whence also is to be explained the circumstance that it never stands with the article. Sheol appears as the aggregate of all graves. Who could venture to deny this aspect of the matter, at least for the 31st and 32d chapters of Ezekiel? It is the universal grave, which calls down to itself all earthly life, how high soever it may have reached, however magnificent it may have been, however valiantly it may have fought. But much, also, as Sheol and the grave (בור) sometimes appear to approach (comp. also Isaiah 14:11; Isaiah 14:15), to cover one another, it must still not be overlooked that the grave, more exactly considered, is only the entrance into Sheol (Psalms 16:10), which certainly, as it is commonly represented, keeps the hue of the grave, in generals as well as in particulars (ירכתי בור, Ezekiel 32:23); it is the carrying over of the grave to the future state (while the grave as such is still always something here). It is quite reconcilable with this representation when Sheol is conceived of as a locality, and indeed as a deep abyss, just as the standing form of speech: “to go down,” “to be thrown down,” is thence explained as equivalent to being consigned to the dead. The occasional poetic delineation of this future must only not be formally dogmatized into an actual under-world with gates, rivers, etc. (Job 38:17; Psalms 18:5 sq.) The going down of the company of Korah (Numbers 16:30) is often what is floating before the writer’s mind; and not so much the locality of Palestine, which was rich in grottoes and caverns, or the darkness of the Hebrew family tomb-vaults, the stillness of the Egyptian catacomb-world. The interior and inmost part of the earth (Ezekiel 26:20; Ezekiel 32:18), however, is not the earth’s inner region as such, but שְׁאוֹל תַּכְתִיָּה is the Sheol “beneath” (the underground, Ezekiel 31:14); that is, partly the contrast to heaven as the region of the divine life, partly the distinction from the surface turned toward heaven, the face of the earth. Out of that contrast, in which, however, the earth also and its life have their place, and still more in accordance with this distinction from the earthly life, must Sheol and what is connected therewith be understood. The death to which one is surrendered (Ezekiel 31:14) is not simply a going down, not annihilation, but as punishment for sin, the necessary consequence of the negation of God. Considered as a state, it is the contrast in respect to God, as curse, as judgment upon the sinner; hence the contrast in respect to life as divine, as salvation and blessedness, even to eternal perdition; and so Sheol posits a concrete, individual prolongation of life: the dead are represented in Ezekiel (Ezekiel 31:0.) as living on individually and in space. Passages such as Psalms 104:29; Psalms 146:4, and others, certainly have respect to the earthly life in the body, with its purposes and undertakings, doing and thinking, knowledge and wisdom together, Ecclesiastes 9:10 (so our Lord Himself in John 9:4 makes account of it for His diligence in working while in the flesh). As life on earth in a mortal body is for all men a troublesome, poor, and sorrowful thing, so certainly the advancing decay of the powers of life, with the dissolution of the union between soul and body, necessarily becomes quiescence, impotence, and withdrawal of their life-energy in regard to the appointed sphere of action. But passages like Job 26:5 sq., Ezekiel 38:17, Proverbs 15:11, Psalms 139:8, testify to the presence of the living God, through whom the subsisting and passing away of all beings is conditioned, as is said also in the אֲבַדּוֹן made parallel with Sheol (comp. Mark 12:27; Luke 20:38). The contrast, therefore, to the heavenly upper world as the proper region of the divine life is not that of not-being and being; and just as little is the continued existence in Sheol an unconscious shade-existence, at least not according to Ezekiel’s representation: the heroes in Sheol speak and know themselves as such over against others, feel, etc. As the designation of shades (דפאים) for the dead in the Old Testament times cannot be proved, so the appearance, for example, of Samuel (1 Samuel 28:0.), so entirely accordant with the spirit and address of Samuel as he actually lived, is not at all brought forward as an exception, somewhat after the manner of the Theban seer Tiresias (Odyss. x. 492 sq.). In the Old Testament, also, we read nothing of an instinctive repetition and continuation of the past life connected with the possession of blood. The representation of Sheol, into which there has often been greatly too much imported of heathen elements, is in no respect the localizing of the image, which, as Meier says, “remains like a blanched, bloodless, shadowy form, in the spirit of the living, of their dead and buried fellow-men.” Life in Sheol cannot, indeed, run counter to the conditions that prevail in respect to human life. Man is soul, but he has spirit, which for him constitutes the power wherein the life of the individual consists; while the soul is plainly the seat of that, as the body is its organ. If the life connected with the body appears as life in the flesh, when separated therefrom it will become an existence of the spirit, and departed men will necessarily have to be thought of as spirits, and can only in so far be termed “souls” as a retrospective sense of the earlier corporeal life has place. On this side the description of Sheol is certainly, and especially as contradistinguished from the earthly upperground life, kept in due regard to the state of things existing there. With the going down into the grave, the bright joyful sunlight vanishes for men; hence Sheol is the land of darkness and of the shadow of death (Job 10:21). While the world of light is an organized one, the midnight region of Sheol appears as a confused intermingling of substances, chaotic (Job 10:22). Busy life, so repeatedly designated “tumult” in this chapter of Ezekiel, becomes motionless in the grave; so in Psalms 115:17 the dead go down to silence, to stillness (comp. Psalms 104:17; Psalms 31:18). The expression, however, of “land of forgetfulness,” Psalms 88:12, must not be overstretched, though the reference is to be held fast in which it is said that, as God has given the earth to the children of men (Psalms 115:16), so the manifestation of His wonder-working power and righteousness is promised to them on the earth while they are in the flesh. Not in the heathen materialistic sense, but Christologically, however still on the temporal side, the thought as to its form was presented in the Old Covenant. And thence are such passages as Psalms 6:5; Psalms 30:10 [Psalms 30:9], Psalms 88:10-11, Psalms 115:17, Isaiah 38:18, to be understood. The dead, accordingly, are done (Psalms 88:5); their state, Sheol, is without a history (on the other hand, comp. 1 Corinthians 15:19). But to complete our knowledge of the Old Testament Sheol, the ethical side is not to be overlooked, that is, the idea of recompense comes therein likewise into consideration (comp. Ezekiel 32:23 sq.). The godly are there gathered to their fathers (Genesis 25:8; Genesis 35:29, etc.). It is a mode of representation which incidentally receives a very touching illustration in Luke 16:22 for the poor, who has no brother in the world, who is an abject, forlorn, when he is said to be received into Abraham’s bosom. The righteous snatched away enters into peace, and rests therein upon the foundation of the grave (Isaiah 57:1). How far with the soul, when unclothed of the body, there takes place “an ineffectual tormenting effort to consolidate itself corporeally” (Beck)—the spirit, however, being incapable of being contemplated apart from the soul, which conditions its individuality, therefore also not to be thought of “as sunk after death into the corruption of the flesh”—may be left undecided. It is enough that the rich man found himself “in torment.” With justice, however, Lange presses the thought that for the wicked Sheol is still not hell.

9. Neteler (comp. 4) maintains concerning Ezekiel 30:21 to Ezekiel 32:32, that is, the fourth of the groups set off by him, that “through four symbols the overthrow of a power standing in antagonism to the Church is exhibited,” and that what is said is to be taken “eschatologically in a wider sense.” Egypt is considered by him as “a symbol of the power of Magog,” and under the Chaldeans is found “a combination of Romans and Germans.” And here Neteler’s book dwells on the “Russian Panslavism.” The two last symbols must be fulfilled in the overthrow of Magog “only provisionally,” so that “their complete fulfilment belongs to a still later future.”

HOMILETIC HINTS

On Ch. 29

Ezekiel 29:1-5. The close is made with Egypt, as Egypt was the beginning in respect to Israel.—“Egypt is with Ezekiel the oldest country of his people’s disgrace” (Umer.).—How clear is what God causes to be said to us! The address is plainly written, and can occasion no doubt to whom the word is directed; and not less clearly does it shine forth whose subscription stands under it, and who, therefore, will look after the punctual execution of the things spoken. It will not proceed according to man’s sayings and opinions, but as God the Lord has said.—The prophetic word so much the surer as the fulfilment of it now lies completely before us.—What still survives of the Pharaohs lies in the midst of the wilderness; they are ruins to which the sand has still refused burial!—“Where can a mortal say: This is mine, or: This remains to me? But prosperity, where it is not understood as God’s blessing, makes people stupidly proud. See there, too, the blessing of tribulations, which demonstrate before our eyes, that nothing is our right, and nothing our abiding property” (Stck.).—Those who do not seek after the things which are above regard the Nile, which flows on the earth, with precisely such eyes.—“But that there is also a spiritual Egypt may be seen from Revelation 11:8, and that is a people, kingdom, and dominion which holds in fetters the people of God and makes them slaves. Now, as under the great dragon in the sea Antichrist also comes to be considered, together with his scales and members that stick to him, and are in a manner innumerable, so shall this power also after the prince of Tyre receive his doom, with all his adherents, who by overbearing conscience have done so much wrong to the faithful. Then also will appear the vain help which the house of Israel has sometimes assumed as belonging to the reed of the fleshly arm” (B. B.).—“Satan says to Jesus: All this will I give thee, all the kingdoms of the world and their glory, though still there was not an atom thereof in reality his” (Luther).—“Oh how vain is man in prosperity!” (St.)

Ezekiel 29:4-5. Higher still than the highest is the Most High. He who comes from heaven is higher than all.—“It is bad when only amid loss people come wisely to learn that they had all of God, of which they were so proud and boasted themselves” (Stck.).—Pharaoh in the wilderness, and Jesus in the wilderness.—They who set themselves up above others may readily observe that they are thrown off and away before they are themselves aware of it!—The judgment of Jehovah upon the Pharaohs!—Jehovah at the Pyramids, a very different object from Napoleon before them.—The overthrow in the wilderness an image of a desolate ruin.

Ezekiel 29:6-7. God punishes not those only who rely upon flesh, but those also who are flesh and yet wish others to find comfort in them.—No knowledge of God and no knowledge of self—this is what gives false self-confidence, and false confidence in man.—The love of God in discovering the false and rotten props.—“A reed is everything that is in this world, as man’s favour, temporal prosperity, beauty, yea, the corporeal life itself; from without it appears like a staff, and as if many were walking with it, but within it is hollow and brittle” (Stck.).—But for none is such a reed more suspicious than for the people to whom God has pledged Himself, and therewith all His wisdom and His omnipotence.—It is certainly the same with the deceit and show of one’s own righteousness, good purposes, and pious works. One cannot keep hand and shoulder far enough from these.—How many a one has such like splinters in his conscience!—The false reed-splinters in our bones, which make our going so feeble and our holding so insecure.—“The soldiers give to Christ a reed in mockery, Matthew , 27.” (Luther).

Ezekiel 29:8-16. The judgment of God by the sword in its significance for enemy and friend, warrior and conqueror, land and people.—Desolation is always a mark of punishment. First men become waste, then their place is laid waste.—Where the people become waste as regards God, there God causes the land to be waste of its people.—Whosoever will have it that he has made himself to be what he says that he is, with him God must make an end, so that he may learn what he himself is, and how still God can do all.—The mine and thine, as the grand controversy which moves the world’s history.—So the sin of the people is their ruin; but though ancient history is full of examples, those who now live are not disposed to profit by them.—“Should one not be ashamed of such a speech, since it must so soon be changed into a past—it has been mine; and this often with much sorrow?” (B. B.)—The description of the earth is also a description of divine justice.—By means of fragments and arrow-heads in the yellow sands of the desert, and obelisks which still point heavenwards, people now read the names of men, of kings, and such like; but the feci of God is likewise to be read there.—The divine seasons of respite.—The years of humiliating in their significance for Egypt and for us all as punishments and deliverance from high-mindedness.—To stand low is to stand more secure than to go beyond bound and limit.—“All changes in the world have their bearing ultimately on the Church” (St. ).—God knows how to withdraw from the eyes of His own what dazzled their eyes and held them captive.—“Such is the aim of all the judgments that are inflicted, to withdraw the body of the faithful from confidence in what is human, and to supplant it by a firm trust in God” (B. B.).

Ezekiel 29:17-21. Warrior service hard service. He who serves God does not serve without pay.—The recompense of our works is never made on the ground of merit, but is always of grace.—“The downfall of the world is the deliverance of the chosen” (H. H.). Therefore lift up your heads, for your redemption draweth nigh (Luke 21:28).—When the world becomes poor, then the bones of the righteous flourish.—The new life out of ruins.—Upon silence to speak is better than to be silent upon speech.—It is God who must open the mouth for us, and He also can do it.—Immortality in the world and the eternal life in the sanctuary, Psalms 23:6.

On Ch. 30

Ezekiel 30:1-9. “The judgments of God pass from His own people to other peoples; hence the day of the heathen could not be far off” (Cocc.).—Despair howls, hope waits.—A day in clouds is also the day of death; the earth is shrouded from the eye, and especially when first the heaven has been covered to the spirit. Darkness then reigns below and above. How dark, then, is the grave!—Bad times are met by watchfulness; howling merely goes before them as the loud blast before the outburst of the thunderstorm.

Ezekiel 30:4-5. Many others are carried along with the fall of one. In every judgment that takes place in the world, behold a type and prelude of the judgment which is to be executed on the world.—If not with the sinner immediately, yet on the sinner, and therefore through the sinner his companions shall be punished.—Where God strikes the blow, there not only is the stir which a people makes, and with which it makes such a noise, its work and gain brought down, but also law and order and that whereon all rests are overthrown.

Ezekiel 30:6-7. How helpless with all his appliances may one that was helpful to us prove in a night! May God be our help, who has made heaven and earth.

Ezekiel 30:9. Everything does service as a messenger for God; in particular His word, which hence cannot be bound, but accomplishes that whereto it is sent.—God’s seat of judgment stands always among mankind, and the world’s history is God’s judgment.—The terrors in the history of the world.—As there is a false security in individual men, so is there also a bad security with whole peoples.—The national security a national loss.

Ezekiel 30:10-19. When men do not sanctify God on holidays, God makes their bustling activity to keep holiday.—When God wills, a man’s name can cause terror to the world. But only One Name is given under heaven to men wherein we can happily exult before all terrors.—Upon deeds of violence come still more violent ones, and tyrants are precipitated through tyrants.—“Whosoever sells himself to sin has already in doing so sold himself to his enemy” (Stck.).—God’s blessing fills, His curse impoverishes a land.

Ezekiel 30:13. The hand of God alights some time upon all idols.—From the overthrow of heathenism is seen the vanity of idols.—“Where are the famous cities of the olden times? Why do they lie buried in disorderly stone-heaps? Sinner, behold what sin may effect” (St.),—how it may build very high indeed, yet not for continuance, and still more may destroy.—Gods and princes combined the common delusion of idolatry, at first in splendour, so afterwards in ruin!—Terror is the opposite of courage, but not the fear of the Lord.—Where God kindles a fire, it is always for judgment; the old is consumed therein, but a new springs forth out of the ruins.—Without casting down, no progress in the life of humanity.

Ezekiel 30:16. Must not man always be engaged in conflict?

Ezekiel 30:17. With its youth the human future of a people goes down. Even the youth should be “the chosen” of God; instead of this, Satan at no period has so much of his nature in men as in the season of youth.

Ezekiel 30:18-19. Walk in the light while ye still have the light,—we, that is, who have the knowledge of God in the face of Jesus Christ.—The judgment of God may, through the dogmas of men and a false philosophy, veil to us also the sun of truth, and wrap in darkness to men’s view heaven and eternity.—When at length, with the authority of God, the authority also of the law over men gives way, then, where superstition gives place to unbelief, there falls upon them yoke for yoke, one in the room of another; there is only an exchange of tyrants.—How much old and high renown have the gravediggers of the world’s history already buried under the sod among other sweepings! What is gloria mundi?—a transit.—The new plagues of Egypt.—The spirit of Pharaoh continued to be the spirit of the Pharaohs.—Self heights are no heights—none, at least, that stand in the judgment of God, and remain above though all else should go down and disappear; but a height in the true sense is that simply whereof it is said, As high as heaven is above the earth, Psalms 103:11. This ought to be recognised, and that not merely at the last, amid howlings and gnashings of teeth, but betimes, when it may still serve for peace, with the calm open eye.—“The most wretched of all thoughts is that of having no part in God. How many an evil-doer has readily presented his head to the sword, in the conviction that through the punishment he should become a partaker of God!” (H.)

Ezekiel 30:20-26. How many the things are that men prize as an “arm,” and how easily these arms are broken!—The arm of the Lord (Isaiah 53:0.), and the arm of man, and the armies of princes.—“More easily is an arm broken than healed; but now first of all the conscience, how Gainfully does it sting, and how long is it in healing!” (Stck.)—What God has broken, God only can heal.

Ezekiel 30:22. But man never has enough by a fracture; so long as he can still move and stir otherwise, he must show himself. Therefore shall there come to be a destruction without mercy, if we will not submit to God on the footing of grace.—“Sickness breaks one arm, death both arms” (Stck.).—Every breakage which we must suffer is a call to repentance.

Ezekiel 30:23. “He who will not fear God in his fatherland has no injustice done him, if in a foreign land he is made to experience all sorts of misfortune” (St.).

Ezekiel 30:24-26. “Strength and weakness come both from God” (W.).—“Upon whose side Jehovah stands, that man prevails in the conflict; to him there is prosperity in life; he enjoys a blessing with his work. But this favour has the Lord promised to the righteous. Without God all ends unfortunately, mournfully, and in perdition” (Stck.).—What serves God, that serves also the kingdom and the power of the Spirit; just as at the last, all the kingdoms of this world shall become God’s and His Christ’s.

On Ch. 31

Ezekiel 31:1-2. “The greatness of Egypt was the presumption against the warnings of the prophet. But greatness is no security against destruction; no greatness upon earth can withstand the strokes of God” (H.).—“With justice are kingdoms compared in Scripture to trees, as well on account of their form, the protection and shadow they afford to men and beasts, as also on account of their fruits; and still farther in this respect, that kingdoms, like trees, flourish and again cease to exist, torn up by the wind, or cut down by the hatchet of man” (L.).—It is very well for people to compare themselves with others, though not for the purpose of thinking better of themselves than others, as the Pharisee in the temple over against the publican, or in order to envy others; but humbly to learn that we are a part of mankind, and that what is human may befall us, and shall at last take place without exception. Also to make each one more contented with his lot, a comparison with others is, as a rule, fitted to be serviceable.—“Both the one and the other inference is right: As God has elevated that humble one, so can He, in His own time, elevate me; as God has abased that proud one, so may it also be done with me” (Stck.).

Ezekiel 31:3-9. “The histories of the world might teach great lords much, that they should not rely upon their own powers” (Lg.).—Rulers and princes should be shady trees to the righteous.—“God has done good also to the heathen, that they might seek Him, if haply they might find Him, Acts 17:26-27” (Stck.).—“Oh, what streams of grace flow upon the unthankful, if they would only perceive them! The waters are indeed not of one sort—one portion swims in pure felicity, another in tribulation and adversity; but the aim is uniform, and the divine loving-kindnesses which are concealed under the latter are certainly greater than the former, in the eyes of those who know to estimate things aright” (B. B.).—But their favourable condition and the friendliness of God only serve with many to puff them up, and render them proud and arrogant,—an end for which certainly all this was not given.—He with whom it overflows should make it trickle over upon others.

Ezekiel 31:7. To be radical in the proper sense is a good thing, namely, that one should know that his root is in God.—“The true comeliness of a prince stands in comely virtues, which adorn every man, especially a prince,—clemency and justice above all; to afford protection and solace to the persecuted; to spread forth as it were his branches to the miserable; to have about him servants resplendent with his own virtues, so that, as in every branch the nature of the tree, so in every servant the character of the prince, may appear reflected. He and they must not be terrible to the good, nor oppressive to his subjects. The love of the people is a good root for a race of princes” (Cocc.).

Ezekiel 31:8. Better to be envied than commiserated. God makes man beautiful, as He alone also makes him good; the latter is the divine nature, the former the divine form, of a man.

Ezekiel 31:10-13. I have given thee into the hand of such and such an one—this explains much darkness.—The haughty spirit going before, the key to the fall afterwards.—“Now, however, we are all in Adam inclined to pride of soul; and the perishing things of this world, riches, honour, splendour, beauty, knowledge, etc., nourish our natural inclination, being all things which we overestimate. However, even a plain smockfrock often covers a repulsive arrogance. But kings are through their flatterers nourished in this vice, which is the root of all others” (L.).—One must grow in order to be able to lift the top so high; this is not so quickly reached;—on the other hand, to arrive at the lowest depth there needs only one overthrow, which may take place in a single moment.—One falls more quickly down a stair than one mounts up again.—God cannot suffer pride; I am meek and lowly in heart, it was said by Him who was God manifest in the flesh, Matthew 11:29.—Out of the heart of man proceed also all high things that are offensive to God, which need not always wear a crown, but may have merely a pen behind the ear, or a pair of spectacles on the nose.

Ezekiel 31:12-13. From the foreign land comes much suffering—first foreign sins, then punishment through foreigners.—A shameful fall into sin, and a frightful fall into misfortune—both invite to study.—There must also fall into the valleys branches that have been broken off, that poor people may not think the great ones of the earth are freed from death and judgment.—When the punishments of God break forth, then such as can flee gladly make off, while they were not to be enticed out of the shadow of sin, in which they delighted themselves.—God shakes the luxurious tree from top to bottom, and then all that stuck to its branches fall off; and so they are struck off, since they did not allow themselves to be warned off.—“How does the shadow of the rich vanish with the sun of prosperity, and with the shadow depart also the flatterers and panegyrists ! ” (Stck.)—He who chooses to be forsaken must become poor.—Fate can keep up the interest, but a rich man who has become poor is a woe-begone phenomenon for the world.—“How often do the goods of a rich man become scattered over the world after his death!” (Stck.)—Discern false friends in adversity!—To cut, and peck, and aid in plundering the very person in whose prosperity men formerly basked, and whom they hardly knew how to laud highly enough!—“So deeply is the friendship of the world rooted, and its caresses. So long as all goes well, friends and worshippers are readily found. But when that changes, all goes otherwise”(B. B.).

Ver.14. Precautions must be taken that the trees do not grow into the heavens.—All are born naked—no one comes in purple into the world; but that is far from working so powerfully as the thought that the king must die as the beggar.—Death the moral of the human fable.—“A mighty lesson for our time” (Richt.).—Somewhat for People who would see clearly upon the death of Napoleon.—That there is to be a general judgment after this life is evident alone from death, which strikes all, even great men.—“The consideration of the inevitable exit of all who live should beget moderation in pretensions. We take nothing with us of that which so many desire with such eagerness” (L.).

Ezekiel 31:15-18. Great fates cast forth also great shadows.—If our terrors did but lead us to the knowledge of our misery, as well as of the glory of God!—The grave unites all at the last.—“The glory of the earth must become dust and ashes,” etc.—But who believes our report may be said also here: he who exalts himself shall be abased, and he who humbles himself shall be exalted.—“Thus God throws the loftinesses of men into one heap ” (B. B.).—“And so circumcision makes a distinction in death—not, of course, that which is done in the flesh, but the circumcised heart; so that a circumcised person may have his place also among the uncircumcised, as, on the other side, uncircumcised persons, who are not so in heart, may be counted as circumcised. At the close, however, the prophet writes the name ‘Pharaoh’ on the lid of the coffin” (Cocc.).

On Ch. 32

Ezekiel 32:1-2. How far otherwise have the court-poets ever and anon elegized !—The comparison with lions and dragons withdraws much that is human in respect to Pharaoh.—“This robberfish (?) and dragon, which with his feet troubles the streams, is like the beast that should ascend out of the sea (Revelation 13:0.). Pharaoh is hence the enemy of the chosen, a roaring lion, which troubles the waters of heavenly wisdom with the slime of human additions, so that they provide no proper drink for those who thirst for salvation” (H. H.).—“Should Christian kings be like lions and dragons? They ought to be the fathers of their country, caring day and night for the welfare of their subjects” (St.).—“Tyrants and the covetous are insatiable, and cannot be at rest” (Stck.).—“Ah! how much misfortune can be brought about by a restless ruler! Therefore pray for a peaceful government of the kingdom” (St.).

Ezekiel 32:3-10. “The godless hasten to meet their destruction, without being afraid of it, but often secretly driven thereto by God ” (H. H.).—“God is the supreme hunter and fisher; He can throw upon the lions His toils, and upon the whales His net, to catch and destroy them” (W.).—“God knows how to tame the untamed, to humble the proud, and to curb the fierce; who can resist His power?” (Stck.)—To be rejected, if not thrown entirely away, is the end of the mighty after the flesh.—Corruption the last strophe also in heroic poetry.—“How mournful is it to be cast away by God!” (Stck.)—Even the ass will plant his footstep on the wounded dying lion.—What the rich boast themselves so much of is but a carcase, which those who live after them will divide among themselves.—“After death, shame and reproach overtake the wicked and shameless” (H. H.).

Ezekiel 32:5-6. Overflowing for overflowing; for the waters of Egypt, now the blood of the hosts of Pharaoh.—“They who formerly swam in pleasures, shall by and by swim in their own blood” (Stck.).

Ezekiel 32:7. “The greatness of the calamity is described by the prophet from the sense of those whom the tribulation affects, to whom it seems as if the whole world were enveloped in darkness” (H. H.).—“The lights of heaven truly shine only for the happy; the sun exists not but for the sunlit eye” (H.).—“The godly sustain themselves in such circumstances by the thought that the Lord is their light, and therefore will not suffer the light of their heart to go out” (L.).—“But he who despises the light of grace, for him the light of glory also shall not shine” (Stck.).—It is also dark, and the stars even fall from the heaven, when great, noble, important, eminent men, heroes, sages, lawgivers, governors, teachers, are carried off by death—or worse, when they fall away into superstition or unbelief, ungodliness, injustice, and violence.

Ezekiel 32:9. “Many a fall leads to the elevation of others” (St.).—To be frightened is still not to be awakened, and awakening without enlightenment is spiritual tumult without spiritual life.—The grave, too, is an unknown land, and thither we are all journeying. Yet for faith there is a sun which rises upon it, that never goes down.—“So the Lord loves to inspire terror, that He may break fleshly confidence” (H. H.).—Happy for him whom a sincere conversion has made secure against the terrors which seize upon the whole earth!—He who still has to fear for his soul, let him consider that the whole world can profit him nothing!—Every moment are we in danger of death, and consequently in sight of eternity.

Ezekiel 32:11-16. If no other cure proves effectual, then God betakes Himself to the sword.—The method of salvation through blood and iron; but what is the state of society presupposed in connection with it!—The guillotine and the sword both do their work quickly, and bring what is before as it were under them.

Ezekiel 32:13. “It touches a miserly man much more nearly if his beast dies, than if his children are taken from him by death” (St.).—A stock of cattle a state of peace.

Ezekiel 32:14-15. The stillness of the desert is indeed stillness, but it is not peace, any more than to flow “like” oil is the soft nature of the spirit.—There is rest in the grave, but much unrest thereafter, yea, more unrest, and of a worse kind than existed before.—“There go the waters softly, as in mourning” (Umbr.).—But God knows how to set at rest a land and its creatures which have been plagued and misused by men. Where have the oppressors gone? They also lie still.—Lamentation does not take away the pain, but in the lamentation it lives on.

Ezekiel 32:17-32. Whoever would gain a thorough insight into the dominions and powers of the earth, he must look down into hell.—The instructive glance into hell.—The song of hell.—La divina comœdia of Ezekiel.—The doctrine of Sheol as the doctrine of the state after death.—What does the Sheol of the Old Testament signify? (1) According to its name, the demand of death on all persons and things, therefore the power of death over every individual person and thing; therefore that death is the wages of sin, the judgment of God’s wrath which takes effect on the flesh. (2) As to the thing, it is the state after death as existence in a spacious grave; that is, notwithstanding the dissolution of the body and the separation of soul and body, a continuous life of the spirit, and that with consciousness and recollection—hence, according to the character of this, in peace or disquiet.—Woe to him whom the doom of death precipitates into condemnation in death!—One can strike up no song to the living more unacceptable, yet at the same time none more profitable, than one about dying; should any one refuse to accompany it, it will still be sung upon him.—He to whom the earth was all, when he sinks into the grave, all sinks with him. It is thus easily comprehensible how death stretches into the future, even into the grave, and how all appears as grave and graves.—People and princes, Sheol demands both.—“Only to the pious is the tomb a chamber where they softly sleep, a resting-place without pain and commotion, a mother’s bosom (as we are from the earth), a place of repose to lie down in” (Stck.).

Ezekiel 32:19. It will be so much the worse if one has been nothing but fleshly, for death seizes in a rough and frightful manner.

Ezekiel 32:20. The sword cuts into the life, severs from life, sadly if also from God. For to die is what still goes on, to corrupt also; but to become lost for ever, that is the death without end, to die for evermore.

Ezekiel 32:21. The salutation of the dead toward the living when they die.

Ezekiel 32:22 sq. “What is received into the human heart, finds its grave also there; so round about the prince of death are his grave-places, wherein after a spiritual manner he is buried” (Gregory).—The grave for the unconverted, the condemned, the perspective of the future world.—“The grave is very deep, even though in a material point of view it may be but a few feet down: it is deep enough to shroud all glory” (H.).—“Powerfully seizes the mind and humbles the pride the ever-recurring There, when the subject of discourse has respect to a fallen king and his hosts. … We look upon a limitless field of graves, and it is remarkable and peculiar to our prophet, that he transfers the graves also to the lower world” (Umbr. ).—“As the elect come from the east and the west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of God, so the cast off find their way to the uncircumcised, to the pierced by the sword, in the depths below” (H. H)—Here many graves, in the house of the Father many mansions.—The counterpart of the fellowship of believers upon earth, of the elect in heaven.—The lowest Sheol and the heavenly Jerusalem.—The earth is everywhere indeed the Lord’s, but not all the dead die in the Lord.

Ezekiel 32:27. Men take with them into the state of the dead their knowledge, and along therewith the judicial sentence due to their manner of life.—Nothing is forgotten before God which is not forgiven.—The wrath of God remains on them, it is said in John.

Ezekiel 32:31. “It is a wretched consolation which is derived from the circumstance that people see in others the same torments which themselves experience. And yet misguided mortals do really comfort themselves with it. It is a common necessity, they say; others have experienced the same, and are experiencing it daily,” etc. (H. H.)—The word of God, however, brings home to every man at last the application: this is such and such an one; as we find written on the tombstones: Here lies N. N.—“The Pharaohs prepare to swallow up without mercy: Jacob’s Shepherd laughs at them,” etc. (Hiller.)

Bibliographical Information
Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on Ezekiel 32". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/lcc/ezekiel-32.html. 1857-84.