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Bible Commentaries

Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament

Ezekiel 29

Verse 1

Eze 29:1. The prophet drops back a year in his prophecies and writes this passage in the tenth year which means the tenth year after he was taken to Babylon. He resumes his predictions against the heathen nations because of their mistreatment of Israel.

Verse 2

Eze 29:2. The next nation to be predicted against is Egypt and the writing is directed against Pharaoh. That does not mean any particular man for all the kings of Egypt, took that name during a certain period, in the same manner as that of the Caesars of Rome or the Edwards and Henrys of England.

Verse 3

Eze 29:3. The lexicon defines dragon as a sea monster, and of course it is not applied literally to Pharaoh. The River Nile was virtually the life and support of the country by its deposit of silt on the land. This was caused by the annual overflow of the stream bringing the deposit down from the mountains, and also the moisture needed for vegetation was supplied by the flooding of this stream over the farm land. So important was the river to the life of the country that the Egyptians came to rank it among the most beloved of their gods. This called for the figurative phrase lieth in the midst of his rivers. The king even went so far as to claim the river as his own, and to make other vain and absurd statements.

Verse 4

Eze 29:4. We understand this language to be figurative, but all figures of speech are based on some literal facts or at least something that would be literally possible. The literal fact in the present case is the attachment of the king of Egypt and bis people to the Nile and the creatures living in it. even to the extent of regarding them as gods. Hence the imagery is that of a great monster (the king) living in the river and mingling with the fish of the stream. By the same token, also, the capture of the king is likened to the taking of a large water creature wihch would be done by putting hooks in his jaws. Fish , . . stick unto thy scales. If the fish of a stream should stick to the body of a monster living therein, they would have to share the same fate with him when he is drawn out of the water. Likewise, the people of Egypt who adhered to Pharaoh in his wicked plots, would have to share with him when lie is caught by an invader.

Verse 5

Eze 29:5. A fish cannot live long out of water, and. so maintaining the imagery of water and fish in the illustration of the king of Egypt, it is predicted that he will be drawn out of his beloved river and cast out into the open field Of course if a fish is left in the field it will become the prey of beasts and fowl, just as the king of Egypt was destined to become the victim of some other person.

Verse 6

Eze 29:6. Been a staff of reed to Israel. The Israelites turned their attention to Egypt when threatened with danger (Eze 17: 15) and that displeased the Lord.

Verse 7

Eze 29:7. It was not according to the will of God for his people to lean upon Egypt, for support. However, since that nation evidently encouraged them to do so, it was like breaking a promise for it to come short of the assistance intimated that it would give. This failure was one cause of the Lord's wrath against that nation and it called forth His predictions against it which are here being recorded,

Verse 8

Eze 29:8. I will bring a sword refers to the attacks that were to be made upon the country of Egypt, When God uses a certain man or nation or army to accomplish an end, or even when He only predicts that it is to occur, it is often spoken of as if He is the one who does it. In the present case we shall see that God will be the cause of the particular invasion into Egypt.

Verse 9

Eze 29:9. In a land where people "worship the creature (created thing) more than the Creator,’’ it is very necessary that they be taught to know the true Lord.

Verse 10

Eze 29:10. Rivers being in the plural form is not accidental for it is used in that sense a number of times in this chapter. The original word is defined by Strong as follows: "Of Egyptian origin; a channel, e. g, a fosse [ditch], canal, shaft; specifically the Nile, as the one river of Egypt, including its collateral [contributory] trenches.” When the Nile overflowed something had to be done to take care of the water or it would be wasted. Hence the people of the country made these artificial channels to carry the precious liquid to the various parts of the land, even to the providing of small ditches that would bring the water to the very plants. All of these channels are called rivers and hence the word is used in the plural. The reader should see the historical evidence on irrigation quoted at Deu 11:10-11, volume 1 of this Commentary. The prediction is that Egypt was to be made utterly waste, but we shall learn soon that a specified period was to be decreed for the desolation. The location of Syene and border of Ethiopia makes the prediction mean that Egypt would be laid waste from one end to the other.

Verse 11

Eze 29:11. The specified period of time referred to in the preceding verse is named in this one, and the prediction is that the desolation will last forty years.

Verse 12

Eze 29:12. Only an inspired prophet could make such a definite prediction as the present verse records. This prediction is corroborated by history and I shall give a quotation as follows: "The king of Babylon, taking advantage therefore of the intestine divisions which the rebellion of Amasis had occasioned in that kingdom, marched thither at the head of his army. He subdued Egypt from Migdol or Magdol, a town on the frontiers of the kingdom, as far as Syene, in the opposite extremity where it borders on Ethiopia. He made a horrible devastation wherever he came; killed a great number of the inhabitants, and made such dreadful havoc in the country, that the damage could not be repaired in forty years. Nebuchadnezzar, having loaded his army with spoils, and conquered the whole kingdom, came to on accommodation [settlement] with Ainasis; and leaving him as his viceroy [representative] there, returned to Babylon.” Rollin’s Ancient History, volume 1, page 232.

Verse 13

Eze 29:13. The desolation brought upon Egypt, like the captivity upon the Jews, was for the purpose of chastisement and not intended to be permanent. Thus the prediction is made of its restoration to national and industrial life after a time.

Verse 14

Eze 29:14. While Egypt was to return to national life it was not to come back to the height that it originally enjoyed but was to be a base or low kingdom. Verse 12 states that the Egyptians were to be dispersed among various countries, which occasions the prediction of the present verse about being brought back to Pathros, which was a part of Egypt.

Verse 15

Eze 29:15. The debasement of Egypt wras to be comparative, not that it would cease to have any greatness at ail. This verse expresses it by the phrase not exalt itself above the nations; it was to be subject to the influence of other countries.

Verse 16

Eze 29:16. No more the confidence of the house of Israel means that God's people will be convinced they cannot rely on Egypt for support. While they had at times in the past looked to it, the Lord was displeased and such iniquity was remembered by Him.

Verse 17

Eze 29:17. There is a .long jump in the chronology of the writing of Ezekiel just for a more specific date of certain explanations to the prophet. God had told him that Egypt was to be visited with invasion and desolation, but that prediction was in the future as regards its fulfillment. Now the Lord sees fit to explain some things at this date which was after the prophet lias been in Babylon 27 years.

Verse 18

Eze 29:18. When God uses one nation to chastise another He does not forget that agency If it renders faithful service. The Lord had directed Ezekiel to predict the successful invasion of Nebuchadnezzar into Egypt, but had not told him the reason for selecting that king as the instrument for the punishment of that country. That explanation is given in this verse, that it was to repay him for his faithful service against Tyrus, at which he did not reap any gain. It is necessary for the reader to see the long note quoted at Eze 26:4-5. noting especially the words found nothing in the place to requite them, which definitely agrees with the present statement. Serve a great service is further explained by the clause every head was made bald, and every shoulder was peeled. This refers to the labor and hardships suffered in preparing a siege and attacking the walls with the battering-ram. In carrying baskets of material for the forts (which were carried on the head) the hair would be worn off that part of the body. A battering-ram was a large piece of timber with some hard substance on the end. This piece of timber was often used by being borne on the shoulders of the men, and that would wear the skin from their shoulders.

Verse 19

Eze 29:19. As a reward for his hard and faithful service against Tyrus, the Lord predicts that Nebuchadnezzar will invade Egypt and reap much from the spoils of the country. Again let the reader see the note referred to in the preceding verse.

Verse 20

Eze 29:20. Have given him is in the sense of something already done though it is prophecy, or at least some features of it are. They wrought for me denotes that when the soldiers of Nebuchadnezzar were carrying on the siege against Tyrus, it was regarded as work being done for the Lord.

Verse 21

Eze 29:21. When horn is used figuratively it means power or influence. When the people of Israel see the fulfillment of the prophecies that were delivered by Ezekiel, they will respect his place as a prophet of God. That will cause them to listen to his words and in that sense he will be given the opening of his mouth. As a further result of the entire circumstance, they will be made to know that I am the Lord,
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Bibliographical Information
Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on Ezekiel 29". Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. 1952.