Egypt in Prophecy
29:1 In the tenth year, in the tenth month, in the twelfth day of the month, the word of the Lord came unto me, saying,
In the tenth year of Zedekiah; and tenth year of the captivity of Jeconiah (587 B.C.).
2 Son of man, set thy face against Pharaoh king of Egypt, and prophesy against him, and against all Egypt:
Predict the downfall of Pharaoh Hophra and the desolation of Egypt. Hophra continued to reign with vigour and success till 570, when he was dethroned by Amasis, one of his own generals. By Herodotus he is called Apries: (Euterpe, sive l. 2. c. 161), who tells us that he attacked Tyre and Zidon, failed in an enterprise against Cyrene, and was deposed by Amasis ( B.C. 570).
Hophra or Apries was on the throne at this time. His reign began prosperously. He took Gaza (Jer 47:1) and Zidon and made himself master of Phoenicia and Palestine, recovering much that was lost to Egypt by the victory of Nebuchadnezzar at Carchemish (2Ki 24:7; Jer 46:2), in the fourth year of Jehoiakim [Wilkinson, Ancient Egypt, 1.169]. So proudly secure because of his successes for twenty-five years did he feel, that he said not even a god could deprive him of his kingdom [Herodotus, 2.169]. Hence the appropriateness of the description of him in Eze 29:3. No mere human sagacity could have enabled Ezekiel to foresee Egypt's downfall in the height of its prosperity. There are four divisions of these prophecies; the first in the tenth year of Ezekiel's captivity; the last in the twelfth. Between the first and second comes one of much later date, not having been given till the twenty-seventh year (Eze 29:17; 30:19), but placed there as appropriate to the subject matter. Pharaoh-hophra, or Apries, was dethroned and strangled, and Amasis substituted as king, by Nebuchadnezzar (compare Jer 44:30). The Egyptian priests, from national vanity, made no mention to Herodotus of the Egyptian loss of territory in Syria through Nebuchadnezzar, of which Josephus tells us, but attributed the change in the succession from Apries to Amasis solely to the Egyptian soldiery. The civil war between the two rivals no doubt lasted several years, affording an opportunity to Nebuchadnezzar of interfering and of elevating the usurper Amasis, on condition of his becoming tributary to Babylon [Wilkinson]. Compare Jer 43:10-12, and see Jer 43:13, for another view of the grounds of interference of Nebuchadnezzar.
In its application to Pharaoh Hophra (Apries), the notice of Herodotus is characteristic, that he thought neither the power of men nor of gods could destroy his kingdom (2:100:169).
3 Speak, and say, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I am against thee, Pharaoh king of Egypt, the great dragon (Cetus) that lieth in the midst of his (Eridanus and Aquarius) rivers, which hath said, My river is mine own, and I have made it for myself.
Herodotus says of this king, that he was so lifted up with pride, and so secure of his happy state, that he said there was no God could deprive him of his kingdom (Herodot. Euterpe, sive l. 2. c. 169. & l. 11. c. 163).
The words of Herodotus (2. 169), in which he says that Apries believed himself so firmly established in his kingdom that there was no god that could cast him out of it, present a suggestive parallel.
4 But I will put (lunar) hooks in thy jaws, and I will cause the (Pisces) fish of thy (Eridanus and Aquarius) rivers to stick unto thy scales, and I will bring thee up out of the midst of thy rivers, and all the (Pisces) fish of thy (Eridanus and Aquarius) rivers shall stick unto thy (solar and lunar) scales.
But I will put hooks in thy jaws,.... The allusion is to fishhooks, which are taken by fishes with the bait into their mouths, and stick in their jaws, by which they are drawn out of the river, and taken. The king of Egypt being before compared to a fish, these hooks design some powerful princes and armies, which should be the ruin of Pharaoh; one of them, according to Junius and Grotius, was Amasis, at the head of the Cyreneans and Greeks; and another was Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon; see Job 41:1,
And I will bring thee up out of the midst of thy rivers: alluding to the crocodile, to which he is compared, which sometimes comes out of the river, and goes on dry land. The king of Egypt was brought out of his kingdom by the following means: Amasis, with the Cyreneans and Greeks, having seized upon Lybia, and drove the king of it from thence, he applied to Pharaoh for help, who gathered a large army of Egyptians, and led them out into the fields of Cyrene, where they were defeated by Amasis, and almost all perished, and the king saved himself by flight; upon which the Egyptians mutinied and rebelled against him, and Amasis became their king:
And all the fish of thy rivers shall stick unto thy scales; the common people of Egypt; for the above numerous army consisted only of Egyptians, whom he gathered from all parts, drained his rivers of them, and almost exhausted his country hereby; he had indeed in an army, after this battle with Amasis, thirty thousand auxiliaries, Carians and Ionians; but these were not the fish of his rivers. The Targum is, "I will make thy kingdom to cease from thee, and all the princes of thy strength with thy mighty ones shall be killed;'' with which the history agrees.
Hooks; the allegory is continued; fish are drawn out with hooks and lines, and God hath hooks for this proud dragon, first Areasis, and next the Babylonian king. The expedition of Areasis at the head of the Cyreneans and Grecians, and the event of it, is exactly represented in this hieroglyphic in the text. Amasis with those forces mastered Libya, the king thereof applies for help to this Pharaoh, he gathers all the power of Egypt out of Egypt with him into Cyrene, where he was defeated, lost all but a few that fled with him, and on this occasion the Egyptians rebelled against him: now this short history opens the parable. The first hook you see in the jaws of this dragon, this drew him out of his river, i.e. his kingdom. The fish; these are the people of Egypt, the subjects of this kingdom. To stick unto thy scales; to adhere to their king in this war. I will bring thee up out of the midst of thy rivers; both the king and his subjects, which made up his army, go out of the rivers, leave Egypt, and march into Cyrene (which was part of that kingdom now called Bares) with their king, as if they had been little fishes on the back of a mighty one.
5 And I will leave thee (Cetus) thrown into the wilderness, thee and all the (Pisces and Picis Australis) fish of thy rivers: thou shalt fall upon the open fields; thou shalt not be brought together, nor gathered: I have given thee for (solar) meat to the (Aries) beasts of the field and to the fowls of the heaven.
Herodotus related of this Pharaoh, who was now king of Egypt, that he had reigned in great prosperity for twenty-five years, and was so elevated with his successes that he said that God himself would not cast him out of his kingdom; but he shall soon be convinced of his mistake, and what he depended on shall be no defence. God can force men out of that in which they are most secure and easy. (2.) All his fish shall be drawn out with him, his servants, his soldiers, and all that had a dependence on him, as he thought, but really such as he had dependence upon. These shall stick to his scales, adhere to their king, resolving to live and die with him. But, (3.) The king and his army, the dragon and all the fish that stick to his scales, shall perish together, as fish cast upon dry ground, and shall be meat to the beasts and fowls, v. 5. Now this is supposed to have had its accomplishment soon after, when this Pharaoh, in defence of Aricius king of Libya, who had been expelled his kingdom by the Cyrenians, levied a great army, and went out against the Cyrenians, to re-establish his friend, but was defeated in battle, and all his forces were put to flight, which gave such disgust to his kingdom that they rose in rebellion against him. Thus was he left thrown into the wilderness, he and all the fish of the river with him. Thus issue men’s pride, and presumption, and carnal security. Thus men justly lose what they might call their own, under God, when they call it their own against him.
I will leave thee thrown into the wilderness - Referring to his being obliged to take refuge in Upper Egypt. But he was afterwards taken prisoner, and strangled by Amasis. Herod. lib. 2 .
Thy army shall be discomfited, and fall in the deserts of Lybia and Cyrene; for there seems to be here an allusion to the heavy loss which Apries and the Egyptian army sustained in his expedition against the Cyrenians, toward whom they must have marched over the desert. Herod. 2. § 161. Apries himself did not fall in battle, but was taken prisoner by Amasis, and strangled by the Egyptians. Herod. 2. § 169. See Jeremiah 44:30.
And I will leave thee thrown into the wilderness, thee, and all the fish of thy rivers,.... Where fish in common cannot live, but die as soon almost as out of the water, and on dry land, excepting those that are of the amphibious kind. This wilderness designs the deserts of Lybia and Cyrene, where the battle was fought between Hophra and Amasis; and where the Egyptian army perished, only their king, before compared to a crocodile, which lives on land, as well as in water, escaped. The Targum is, "I will cast thee into a wilderness, and all the princes of thy strength:''
thou shalt fall upon the open fields thou shalt not be brought together, nor gathered, this is to he understood of his army; for what is proper to an army is sometimes ascribed to the head or general of it; which fell by the sword in the fields of Lybia and Cyrene and was so discomfited, that the remains of it could not be brought and gathered together again: or the sense is, that those that were slain were left in the open fields, and had no burial; they were not gathered to the grave, as Kimchi interprets it; and so the Targum,
"upon the face of the field thy carcass shall be cast; it shall not be gathered, nor shall it be buried:''
this was only true of the carcasses of the soldiers slain in battle, not of the king, who fled, and afterwards in another battle was taken by Amasis, and strangled in the city of Sais, where he was buried among his ancestors, as Herodotus relates: Euterpe, sive l. 2. c. 169.
When thus brought out, as a fish out of the water, I will leave thee. God left this king.
The wilderness; the deserts of Libya and Cyrene.
All the fish; the whole army of Egyptians. Thou shalt fall upon the open fields; there was this king and his army ruined.
Thou shalt not be brought together, nor gathered, as usually the slain are to be buried; these were not buried, but left in the wilderness, where they fell to be a prey to wild beasts, and birds of prey which haunted the wilderness, and would soon gather to their prey.
Verses 4, 5. - I will put hooks in thy jaws. So Herodotus (2. 70) describes the way in which the Egyptians caught the crocodile by baiting a large hook with swine's flesh. Jomard ('Description de l'Egypt,' 1:27) gives a similar account (comp. also Job 41:1, 2, though there the capture seems represented as an almost impossible achievement; probably the process had become more familiar since the date of that book). The fish that stick to the scales of the crocodile are, of course, in the interpretation of the parable, either the Egyptian army itself or the nations that had thrown themselves into alliance with Egypt, and the destruction of the two together in the wilderness points to some great overthrow of the Egyptian army and its auxiliaries, probably to that of the expedition against Cyrene (Herod., 2:161) which led to the revolt of Amasis, and which would take the wilderness west of the Nile on its line of march.
6 And all the (Gemini) inhabitants of Egypt shall know that I am the Lord, because they have been a (red radius line) staff of reed to the house of Israel.
7 When they took hold of thee by thy hand, thou didst break, and rend all their shoulder: and when they leaned upon thee, thou brakest, and madest all their loins to be at a stand.
8 Therefore thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I will bring a sword upon thee, and cut off (Gemini) man and (Aries and Cetus) beast out of thee.
A sword—Nebuchadnezzar's army (Eze 29:19). Also Amasis and the Egyptian revolters who after Pharaoh-hophra's discomfiture in Cyrene dethroned and strangled him, having defeated him in a battle fought at Memphis [Junius].
9 And the land of Egypt shall be desolate and waste; and they shall know that I am the Lord: because he hath said, The river is mine, and I have made it.
Again, as in Ezekiel 29:6, the division of the verses is very unfortunate. The expression “shall know that I am the Lord,” so common in Ezekiel, always closes a train of thought. The new sentence begins with the reason for the judgment upon Egypt—because of its pride.
10 Behold, therefore I am against thee (Cetus), and against thy (Eridanus and Aquarius) rivers, and I will make the land of Egypt utterly waste and desolate, from the tower of Syene even unto the border of Ethiopia.
11 No (solar) foot of man shall pass through it, nor (lunar) foot of beast shall pass through it, neither shall it be inhabited forty years (570-530).
Her cities shall be desolate forty years — “We cannot prove, indeed, from heathen authors, that this desolation of the country continued exactly forty years, though it is likely enough that this, as well as the other conquered countries, did not shake off the Babylonish yoke till the time of Cyrus, which was about forty years after the conquest of Egypt by Nebuchadnezzar: but we are assured by Berosus, that Nebuchadnezzar took several captives in Egypt, and carried them to Babylon; and from Megasthenes we learn, that he transplanted and settled others in Pontus. So true it is that they were scattered among the nations, and dispersed through the countries, and might, upon the dissolution of the Babylonian empire, return to their native country.” — Bishop Newton.
A prophecy is given out concerning the destruction of it by Nebuchadnezzar, which was in the twenty seventh year, that is, of Jeconiah's captivity; now allowing three years for the fulfilment of that prophecy, or forty years, a round number put for forty three years, they will end about the time that Cyrus conquered Babylon, at which time the seventy years' captivity of the Jews ended; and very likely the captivity of the Egyptians also.
Neither shall it be inhabited forty years: accounting these years from the first wastings of Egypt by their civil dissensions and wars, some nine or ten years before Nebuchadnezzar subdued and wasted it, which he did in the thirty-fifth, thirty-sixth, and thirty-seventh years of his reign (570-568 B.C.), or thereabout. So that these forty years will fall in about the thirtieth year of Jeconiah’s captivity, and end with the seventieth year of the captivity, which was the first of Cyrus.
12 And I will make the land of Egypt desolate in the midst of the countries that are desolate, and her cities among the cities that are laid waste shall be desolate forty years: and I will scatter the (Gemini) Egyptians among the nations, and will disperse them through the countries.
The country from Migdol or Magdolan, which was on the isthmus between the Mediterranean and the Red Sea, was so completely ruined, that it might well be called desert; and it is probable that this desolation continued during the whole of the reign of Amasis, which was just forty years. See Herod. lib. 3 c. 10; and see Calmet.
and her cities among the cities that are laid waste shall be desolate forty years; such as Thebes, Sais, Memphis, and others; which should share the same fate as Jerusalem and other principal cities in other countries, which fell into the hands of Nebuchadnezzar:
and I will scatter the Egyptians among the nations, and will disperse them through the countries; such as were not carried captive into Babylon fled into other countries, as Arabia, Ethiopia, and other places, Berosus makes mention of this captivity of the Egyptians under Nebuchadnezzar the son, which no other writer does. (Apud Joseph. Antiqu. l. 10. c. 11. sect. 1.)
13 Yet thus saith the Lord God; At the end of forty years will I gather the (Gemini) Egyptians from the people whither they were scattered:
Will I gather the Egyptians - It is probable that Cyrus gave permission to the Egyptians brought to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar, to return to their own country. And if we reckon from the commencement of the war against Pharaoh-hophra by Nebuchadnezzar, to the third or fourth year of Cyrus, the term will be about forty years.
Yet thus saith the Lord God, at the end of forty years,.... Reckoning from its devastation by Nebuchadnezzar to the taking of Babylon by Cyrus:
will I gather the Egyptians from the people whither they were scattered; from Babylon, and other places; Cyrus very probably being stirred up by the Lord to proclaim liberty to the Egyptians, as he did to the Jews, to return to their own land; and at the same time restored Amasis to the quiet possession of his kingdom, who must be still alive; since, according to Diodorus Siculus (Bibliothec. l. 1. p. 62. Ed. Rhodoman), he reigned fifty five years; though, according to Herodotus (Thalia, sive l. 3. c. 10.), he reigned but forty four years.
14 And I will bring again the captivity of Egypt, and will cause them to return into the land of Pathros, into the land of their habitation; and they shall be there a base kingdom (tributary).
It is upwards of two thousand years since this prophecy was delivered, and it has been uninterruptedly fulfilling to the present hour.
1. Egypt became tributary to the Babylonians under Amasis.
2. After the ruin of the Babylonish empire, it became subject to the Persians.
3. After the Persians, it came into the hands of the Macedonians.
4. After the Macedonians it fell into the hands of the Romans.
5. After the division of the Roman empire it was subdued by the Saracens.
6. About a.d. 1250, it came into the hands of the Mameluke slaves.
7. Selim, the ninth emperor of the Turks, conquered the Mamelukes, a.d. 1517, and annexed Egypt to the Ottoman empire, of which it still continues to be a province, governed by a pacha and twenty-four beys, who are always advanced from servitude to the administration of public affairs. So true is it that Egypt, once so glorious, is the basest of kingdoms. See Newton on the prophecies.
base kingdom—Under Amasis it was made dependent on Babylon;
15 It shall be the basest of the kingdoms; neither shall it exalt itself any more above the nations: for I will diminish them, that they shall no more rule over the nations.
The ravages of Nebuchadnezzar were the beginning of the end, and all the desolation which followed may be looked upon as a continuous fulfillment of God's decree. The savage fury with which Cambyses swept over Egypt amply realized all that Ezekiel foretold. Many places recovered some wealth and prosperity, but from the time of Herodotus the kingdom never again became really independent. Egyptian rulers gave place to Persian, Persian to the successors of Alexander the Great, who gave place in turn to Rome. So thoroughly was the prophecy of Ezekiel fulfilled Ezekiel 29:14-15.
Ezekiel 29:14-15. And I will bring again the captivity of Egypt — This captivity of the Egyptians, though not taken notice of by Herodotus, is mentioned by Berosus, in one of the fragments of his history, quoted by Josephus, Antiq., 50. 10. chap. 11, and published with notes by Scaliger, at the end of his books, De Emendatione Temporum, whose remark upon the place is very observable, namely, “The calamities that befell the Egyptians are passed over by Herodotus, because the Egyptian priests would not inform him of any thing that tended to the disgrace of their nation.” And I will cause them to return into the land of Pathros — That part of Egypt which is called Thebais, as Bochart proves by several arguments. And they shall be there a base kingdom, the basest of kingdoms — “By base kingdom is meant, that it should be tributary and subject to strangers, for the much greatest part of the time. This is the purport and meaning of the prophecy; and the truth will appear by a short deduction of the history of Egypt from that time to this. It was first of all tributary to the Babylonians under Amasis; upon the ruin of the Babylonish empire, it was subject to the Persians; upon the failure of the Persian empire, it came into the hands of the Macedonians; after the Macedonians, it fell under the dominion of the Romans; after the division of the Roman empire, it was subdued by the Saracens, in the reign of Omar, their third emperor; about the year of Christ 1250, it was in the possession of the Mamelukes, a word which signifies a slave bought with money, but is appropriated to those Turkish or Circassian slaves, whom the sultans of Egypt bought young, and taught military exercises. These slaves usurped the royal authority, and by that means Egypt became their prey. But, A.D. 1517, Selim, the ninth emperor of the Turks, conquered the Mamelukes, and annexed Egypt to the Ottoman empire, of which it continues to be a province to this day. By this deduction it appears, that the truth of Ezekiel’s prediction is fully attested by the whole series of the history of Egypt, from that time to the present. And who could pretend to say, upon human conjecture, that so great a kingdom, so rich and fertile a country, should ever afterward become tributary and subject to strangers? It is now a great deal above two thousand years since this prophecy was first delivered; and what likelihood or appearance was there, that the Egyptians should, for so many ages, bow under a foreign yoke, and never, in all that time, be able to recover their liberties, and have a prince of their own to reign over them? But as is the prophecy, so is the event.” — Bishop Newton.
Cyrus, Cambyses his son entered into it, made sad devastation in it, and an entire conquest of it; and though it revolted under Darius Hystaspes, it was subdued again, and brought into a worse state than before by Xerxes: it revolted again in the reign of Darius Nothus, and was at last by Ochus totally subdued; and from that time the Egyptians never had a king of their own nation to reign over them. Along with the Persian empire it came into the hands of Alexander without any opposition; and, after his death, fell to the share of Ptolemy, one of his captains; and, though some of the first kings of that name were of considerable note and power, yet Egypt made a poor figure under the reigns of several of them. When the Roman empire obtained, it became a province of that, and continued so for six or seven hundred years; and then it fell into the hands of the Saracens, when it sunk into ignorance and superstition, the Mahometan religion being established in it, with whom it continued until about the year of Christ 1250; when the Mamalucks, or Turkish and Carcassian slaves, rose up against their sovereigns, the sultans of Egypt, and usurped the government, in whose hands it was until the year 1517; when Selim the ninth, emperor of the Turks, conquered the Mamalucks, and put an end to their government, and annexed it to the Ottoman empire; of which it is a province to this day (x), being governed by a Turkish basha, with twenty four begs or princes under him, who are raised, from being servants, to the administration of public affairs; and so it is become a base kingdom indeed, if to be called one (y).
(x) Written about 1730. Editor. (y) See all this at large, with the proofs of it, in Dr. Newton's Dissertations on Prophecies, from p. 382. to 394.
With the Ptolemies it rose again to something like eminence, but that, it must be remembered, was an alien dynasty. The nationality of Egypt was suppressed, and Alexandria, practically a Greek city, took the place of Memphis, Sais, and Thebes.
16 And it shall be no more the confidence of the house of Israel, which bringeth their iniquity to remembrance, when they shall look after them: but they shall know that I am the Lord God.
17 And it came to pass in the seven and twentieth year, in the first month, in the first day of the month, the word of the Lord came unto me, saying,
Ezekiel 29:17-18. And it came to pass, &c. — The new prophecy, which begins here, is connected with the foregoing, on account of its relating to the same subject, and not on account of its being the next revelation in time which Ezekiel had; for there is nearly seventeen years distance between the date of the foregoing prophecy and this; during which Egypt was torn to pieces by sedition and civil wars, which seems to be signified by the foregoing prophecy; and, the time then approaching that Nebuchadnezzar was to invade and conquer Egypt, God thought proper to declare it to the prophet more openly and expressly than he had done before. Nebuchadnezzar caused his army to serve a great service against Tyrus — The siege lasted thirteen years, till the heads of the soldiers became bald with continual wearing their helmets, and the skin was worn off their shoulders with carrying earth to raise mounts and fortifications against it: see note on Ezekiel 26:8. Yet had he no wages, nor his army, for Tyrus — Before the town came to be closely besieged, the inhabitants had removed their effects into an island, about half a mile distant from the shore, to which they afterward removed themselves, and where they built a new city; so that there was no inhabitant nor booty left there when Nebuchadnezzar’s army took the city. Thus St. Jerome, “When the Tyrians saw that the works for carrying on the siege were perfected, and the foundations of the walls were shaken, by the battering of the rams, whatsoever precious things in gold, silver, clothes, and various kinds of furniture, the nobility had, they put them on board their ships, and carried them to the islands; so that, the city being taken, Nebuchadnezzar found nothing worthy of his labour.”
And it came to pass in the seven and twentieth year,.... Of Jeconiah's captivity; or of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, as Jarchi, Kimchi, and Abendana, from Seder Olam Rabba, observe; though it was in the thirty fifth year of his reign that Tyre was taken by him; and after that Egypt was given him:
The seven and twentieth year of Jeconiah’s captivity, the year after the conquest of Tyre, and the thirty-fifth of Nebuchadnezzar.
The first month; part of our March and April.
18 Son of man, Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon caused his army to serve a great service against Tyrus: every head was made (solar) bald, and every shoulder was (lunar) peeled: yet had he no wages, nor his army, for Tyrus, for the service that he had served against it:
Arabic poets refer to the baldness caused by the headpieces.
Caused his army to serve a great service against Tyrus - He was thirteen years employed in the siege. See Joseph. Antiq. lib. 10 c. 11. In this siege his soldiers endured great hardships. Being continually on duty, their heads became bald by wearing their helmets; and their shoulders bruised and peeled by carrying baskets of earth to the fortifications, and wood, etc., to build towers, etc.
Yet had he no wages, nor his army - The Tyrians, finding it at last impossible to defend their city, put all their wealth aboard their vessels, sailed out of the port, and escaped for Carthage; and thus Nebuchadnezzar lost all the spoil of one of the richest cities in the world.
Jerome affirms simply, though he does not say on what grounds, that the nobles and rich men of Tyre made away from it in ships, carrying with them their treasures over the sea, and Nebuchadnezzar’s host could find no spoil. Ewald accepts this; and Häv. cites in support of it Isa. 23:6, and what happened at the siege of Tyre under Alexander (DIODOR. xvii. 41; CURT. 4:3)
the commencement of that siege to the fourteenth year of Jehoiachin's captivity, circ. B.C. 586, two years after the destruction of Jerusalem. This agrees with the report of the Tyrian Annals given by Josephus ('Contra Apion,' 1:21), who gives the names of the kings of Tyro from Ithobal to Hirom, in the fourteenth year of whose reign Cyrus became King of Persia. Josephus, however, gives the seventh, in. stead of the seventeenth, year of Nebuchadnezzar as the date of the beginning of the siege.
19 Therefore thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I will give the land of Egypt unto (Cepheus) Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon; and he shall take her multitude, and take her spoil, and take her prey; and it shall be the wages for his army.
the conquest of Egypt was made easy to him, by the internal divisions and wars which were among the Egyptians; yet these were suffered, and ordered by the providence of God, to bring about this his will, by way of righteous punishment of the Egyptians, for their treachery to his people, and other sins:
the shallowness of the sea-strait to the island of Tyre in Alexander’s time, mentioned by Arrian, may have been occasioned by the efforts of Nebuchadnezzar to construct this mound.
20 I have given him the land of Egypt for his labour wherewith he served against it, because they wrought for me, saith the Lord God.
Now, the siege of Tyre appears to have been begun about two years after the capture of Jerusalem, and lasted thirteen years. It closed then fifteen years after the destruction of Jerusalem, and supposing the campaign against Egypt to have followed immediately, in the next year, we get the exact date of this prophecy. (For the references to Josephus, see Antiqq., Bk. x., cap. ix., § 7; Cont. Ap., Bk. 1, § 19, 20.)
21 In that day will I cause the (lunar) horn of the house of Israel to bud forth, and I will give thee the (crescent) opening of the mouth in the midst of them; and they shall know that I am the Lord.
this respects the time of Egypt's restoration forty years after, when Cyrus came to the throne, and proclaimed liberty to the Jews to return to their own land, and build their city and temple, under the government of Zerubbabel their prince:
30:1 The word of the Lord came again unto me, saying,
2 Son of man, prophesy and say, Thus saith the Lord God; Howl ye, Woe worth the day!
3 For the day is near, even the day of the Lord is near, a cloudy day; it shall be the time of the heathen.
4 And the sword shall come upon Egypt, and great pain shall be in Ethiopia, when the slain shall fall in Egypt, and they shall take away her multitude, and her foundations shall be broken down.
In 570 B.C. the Egyptian (Pisces and Picis Australis) fish were drawn out of their river.
5 Ethiopia, and Libya, and Lydia, and all the mingled (black Gemini) people, and Chub, and the (Gemini) men of the land that is in league, shall fall with them by the sword.
6 Thus saith the Lord; They also that uphold Egypt shall fall; and the pride of her power shall come down: from the tower of Syene shall they fall in it by the (red radius and lunar) sword, saith the Lord God.
7 And they shall be desolate in the midst of the countries that are desolate, and her cities shall be in the midst of the cities that are wasted.
8 And they shall know that I am the Lord, when I have set a (solar) fire in Egypt, and when all her (Gemini) helpers shall be destroyed.
9 In that day shall (Gemini) messengers go forth from me in (Argo) ships to make the careless (Black gemini) Ethiopians afraid, and great pain shall come upon them, as in the day of Egypt: for, lo, it cometh.
10 Thus saith the Lord God; I will also make the multitude of Egypt to cease by the hand of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon (570 B.C.).
11 He and his (Gemini) people with him, the terrible of the nations, shall be brought to destroy the land: and they shall draw their (red radius) swords against Egypt, and fill the land with the slain.
12 And I will make the (Eridanus and Aquarius) rivers dry, and sell the land into the hand of the wicked: and I will make the land waste, and all that is therein, by the hand of (Gemini) strangers: I the Lord have spoken it.
13 Thus saith the Lord God; I will also destroy the (Gemini) idols, and I will cause their (Gemini) images to cease out of Noph; and there shall be no more a (Cepheus or Cassiopeia) prince of the land of Egypt: and I will put a fear in the land of Egypt.
Not one, from that time to the present day.
This undoubtedly refers to the future government of Egypt by foreigners, or to the general destruction of the Egyptian princes by Nebuchadnezzar and Amasis. All men know, says Josephus against Appion, 50. 2. sec. 11, Οτι Περσων και μετ’ εκεινους, ηγουμενων της Ασιας Μακεδονων, Αιγυπτοι μεν εδουλευον, ανδραποδων ουδεν διαφεροντες, “That the Egyptians were subject to the Persians, differing nothing from slaves, and after them to the Macedonians, who ruled over Asia.”
when Egypt was conquered by Nebuchadnezzar, it was under the Babylonians; and then under the Persians; and then under the Greeks; and afterwards under the Romans; since under the Saracens and Mamalucks; and now in the hands of the Turks; so that it never recovered its former glory; and indeed, after Nectanebus was driven out of it by Ochus, king of Persia, it never after had a king:
no more a prince—referring to the anarchy that prevailed in the civil wars between Apries and Amasis at the time of Nebuchadnezzar's invasion. There shall no more be a prince of the land of Egypt, ruling the whole country; or, no independent prince.
i.e., a native prince, to put fear upon (cf. Ezekiel 26:17).
There shall be no more a prince in the land of Egypt; the royal family shall be extirpated and extinguished, which had continued so long.
A prince; either an Egyptian horn, or independent, or over all Egypt, or that shall have the power, wealth, or honour like a former brave Egyptian king. A fear of consternation and cowardice, that should disable them for counsel and action in their most urgent affairs.
14 And I will make Pathros desolate, and will set (solar) fire in Zoan, and will execute judgments in No.
15 And I will pour my fury upon Sin, the strength of Egypt; and I will cut off the multitude of No.
16 And I will set (solar) fire in Egypt: Sin (Cetus) shall have great (red radius spear) pain, and No shall be rent asunder, and Noph shall have distresses daily.
17 The young (Gemini) men of Aven and of Pibeseth shall fall by the sword: and these cities shall go into captivity.
18 At Tehaphnehes also the day shall be darkened, when I shall break there the (crescent) yokes of Egypt: and the pomp of her strength shall cease in her: as for her, a cloud shall cover her, and her (Andromeda and Cassiopeia) daughters shall go into captivity.
19 Thus will I execute judgments in Egypt: and they shall know that I am the Lord.
20 And it came to pass in the eleventh year, in the first month, in the seventh day of the month, that the word of the Lord came unto me, saying,
21 Son of man, I have broken the arm of Pharaoh king of Egypt (red radius line through arm of Cepheus); and, lo, it shall not be bound up to be healed, to put a roller to bind it, to make it strong to hold the (Perseus red radius) sword.
22 Therefore thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I am against Pharaoh king of Egypt, and will (red radius) break his arms, the (Perseus) strong, and that which was (red radius) broken; and I will cause the sword to fall out of his (Perseus) hand.
23 And I will scatter the Egyptians among the nations, and will disperse them through the countries.
24 And I will strengthen the arms of the king of Babylon (Cepheus), and put my sword in his (Perseus) hand: but I will break (Cepheus) Pharaoh's arms, and he shall groan before him with the groanings of a deadly wounded man.
25 But I will strengthen the arms of the (Cepheus) king of Babylon, and the arms of (Cepheus) Pharaoh shall fall down; and they shall know that I am the Lord, when I shall put my sword into the hand of the (Cepheus) king of Babylon, and he shall stretch it out upon the land of Egypt.
26 And I will scatter the (Gemini) Egyptians among the nations, and disperse them among the countries; and they shall know that I am the Lord.
31:1 And it came to pass in the eleventh year, in the third month, in the first day of the month, that the word of the Lord came unto me, saying,
2 Son of man, speak unto (Cepheus) Pharaoh king of Egypt, and to his (Gemini) multitude; Whom art thou like in thy greatness?
3 Behold, the Assyrian was a (green Milky Way) cedar in Lebanon with fair (red radius) branches, and with a shadowing (black Zodiac) shroud, and of an high stature; and his top was among the thick boughs.
4 The (Eridanus and Aquarius) waters made him great, the deep set him up on high with her rivers running round about his plants, and sent her little rivers unto all the trees of the field (nations of the world).
5 Therefore his height was exalted above all the trees of the field (nations of the world), and his boughs were multiplied, and his branches became long because of the multitude of waters, when he shot forth.
6 All the (Zodiac) fowls of heaven (nations of the world) made their nests in his boughs, and under his (red radius) branches did all the (Zodiac) beasts of the field (nations of the world) bring forth their young, and under his shadow dwelt all great nations.
7 Thus was he fair in his greatness, in the length of his branches: for his root was by great waters.
8 The cedars in the garden of God could not hide him: the fir trees were not like his boughs, and the chestnut trees were not like his branches; nor any tree in the garden of God was like unto him in his beauty.
9 I have made him fair by the multitude of his branches: so that all the trees of Eden, that were in the garden of God, envied him.
10 Therefore thus saith the Lord God; Because thou hast lifted up thyself in height, and he hath shot up his top among the thick boughs, and his heart is lifted up in his height;
11 I have therefore delivered him into the hand of the mighty one of the heathen (Nebuchadrezzar); he shall surely deal with him: I have driven him out for his wickedness.
12 And strangers, the terrible of the nations, have cut him off, and have left him: upon the mountains and in all the valleys his branches are fallen, and his boughs are broken by all the (Eridanus and Aquarius) rivers of the land; and all the people of the earth are gone down from his shadow, and have left him.
13 Upon his ruin shall all the (Zodiac) fowls of the heaven (nations of the world) remain, and all the (Zodiac) beasts of the field (nations of the world) shall be upon his branches:
14 To the end that none of all the trees by the waters exalt themselves for their height, neither shoot up their top among the thick boughs, neither their trees stand up in their height, all that drink water: for they are all delivered unto death, to the nether parts of the earth, in the midst of the (Gemini) children of men, with them that go down to the (lunar) pit.
Don't exalt yourself.
15 Thus saith the Lord God; In the day when he went down to the grave I caused a mourning: I covered the deep for him, and I restrained the floods thereof, and the great waters were stayed: and I caused Lebanon to mourn for him, and all the trees of the field (nations of the world) fainted for him.
16 I made the nations to shake at the sound of his fall, when I cast him down to hell with them that descend into the (lunar) pit: and all the trees of Eden, the choice and best of Lebanon, all that drink water, shall be comforted in the nether parts of the earth.
17 They also went down into hell with him unto them that be slain with the sword; and they that were his arm, that dwelt under his shadow in the midst of the heathen.
18 To whom art thou thus like in glory and in greatness among the trees of Eden? yet shalt thou be brought down with the trees of Eden unto the nether parts of the earth: thou shalt lie in the midst of the uncircumcised with them that be slain by the sword (Cetus). This is Pharaoh and all his (Pisces and Picis Australis) multitude, saith the Lord God.
32:1 And it came to pass in the twelfth year, in the twelfth month, in the first day of the month, that the word of the Lord came unto me, saying,
2 Son of man, take up a lamentation for (Cetus) Pharaoh king of Egypt, and say unto him, Thou art like a young lion (Cetus) of the nations, and thou art as a (Cetus) whale in the seas: and thou camest forth with thy (Pisces and Picis Australis) rivers, and troubledst the waters with thy (Cetus) feet, and fouledst their (Eridanus and Aquarius) rivers.
3 Thus saith the Lord God; I will therefore spread out my (red radius) net over thee with a company of many (Gemini) people; and they shall bring thee up in my (red radius) net.
4 Then will I leave thee upon the land, I will cast thee forth upon the open field, and will cause all the fowls of the heaven to remain upon thee, and I will fill the beasts of the whole earth with thee.
5 And I will lay thy flesh upon the (red radius line) mountains, and fill the (red radius line) valleys with thy height.
6 I will also water with thy (red radius line) blood the land wherein thou swimmest (Cetus, Pisces and Picis Australis), even to the mountains; and the rivers shall be full of thee.
7 And when I shall put thee out, I will cover the heaven, and make the stars thereof dark; I will cover the sun with a (Milky Way) cloud, and the moon shall not give her light.
8 All the bright lights of heaven will I make dark over thee, and set darkness upon thy land, saith the Lord God.
9 I will also vex the hearts of many (Gemini) people, when I shall bring thy destruction among the nations, into the countries which thou hast not known.
10 Yea, I will make many (Gemini) people amazed at thee, and their (Gemini) kings shall be horribly afraid for thee, when I shall brandish my (red radius) sword before them; and they shall tremble at every moment, every man for his own life, in the day of thy fall (570 B.C.).
11 For thus saith the Lord God; The (red radius) sword of the king of Babylon shall come upon thee.
12 By the swords of the mighty will I cause thy multitude to fall, the terrible of the nations, all of them: and they shall spoil the pomp of Egypt, and all the multitude thereof shall be destroyed.
13 I will destroy also all the (Zodiac) beasts thereof from beside the (Eridanus and Aquarius) great waters; neither shall the foot of man trouble them any more, nor the hoofs of beasts trouble them.
14 Then will I make their waters deep, and cause their rivers to run like oil, saith the Lord God.
15 When I shall make the land of Egypt desolate, and the country shall be destitute of that whereof it was full, when I shall smite all them that dwell therein, then shall they know that I am the Lord.
16 This is the lamentation wherewith they shall lament her: the (Gemini) daughters of the nations shall lament her: they shall lament for her, even for Egypt, and for all her multitude, saith the Lord God.
17 It came to pass also in the twelfth year, in the fifteenth day of the month, that the word of the Lord came unto me, saying,
18 Son of man, wail for the multitude of Egypt, and cast them down, even her, and the (Andromeda and Cassiopeia) daughters of the famous (Gemini) nations, unto the nether parts of the earth, with them that go down into the (lunar) pit.
19 Whom dost thou pass in beauty? go down, and be thou laid with the uncircumcised (no red radius line through sun) .
20 They shall fall in the midst of them that are slain by the sword: she is delivered to the sword: draw her and all her multitudes.
21 The strong among the mighty shall speak to him out of the midst of hell with them that help him: they are gone down, they lie uncircumcised, slain by the sword.
22 Asshur is there and all her company: his (black Zodiac) graves are about him: all of them slain, fallen by the (red radius) sword:
23 Whose graves are set in the sides of the (lunar) pit, and her company is round about her grave: all of them slain, fallen by the (red radius) sword, which caused terror in the land of the living.
24 There is Elam and all her multitude round about her grave, all of them slain, fallen by the sword, which are gone down uncircumcised (no red radius line through sun) into the nether parts of the earth, which caused their terror in the land of the living; yet have they borne their (red radius line) shame with them that go down to the (lunar) pit.
25 They have set her a bed in the midst of the slain with all her multitude: her graves are round about him: all of them uncircumcised, slain by the sword: though their terror was caused in the land of the living, yet have they borne their (red radius line) shame with them that go down to the (lunar) pit: he is put in the midst of them that be slain.
26 There is Meshech, Tubal, and all her multitude: her graves are round about him (black Zodiac): all of them uncircumcised (no red radius line through sun), slain by the (red radius) sword, though they caused their terror in the land of the living.
27 And they shall not lie with the mighty that are fallen of the uncircumcised, which are gone down to hell with their weapons of war: and they have laid their swords under their heads, but their iniquities shall be upon their bones, though they were the terror of the mighty in the land of the living.
28 Yea, thou shalt be broken in the midst of the uncircumcised, and shalt lie with them that are slain with the sword.
29 There is Edom, her (Gemini) kings, and all her (Gemini) princes, which with their might are laid by them that were slain by the (red radius) sword: they shall lie with the uncircumcised (no red radius line through sun), and with them that go down to the (lunar) pit.
30 There be the (Gemini) princes of the north, all of them, and all the (Gemini) Zidonians, which are gone down with the slain; with their terror they are (red radius line) ashamed of their might; and they lie uncircumcised with them that be slain by the sword, and bear their (red radius) shame with them that go down to the (lunar) pit.
31 Pharaoh (Cetus) shall see them, and shall be comforted over all his multitude, even Pharaoh (Cetus) and all his (Pisces and Picis Australis) army slain by the (red radius) sword, saith the Lord God.
32 For I have caused my terror in the land of the living: and he shall be laid in the midst of the uncircumcised with them that are slain with the sword, even Pharaoh and all his multitude, saith the Lord God.