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Ezekiel Twenty Nine

by Dr. Henry M. Morris

(taken from the Defender's Study Bible)

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Ezekiel 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,

the tenth year. See note on Ezekiel 20:1. Seven distinct prophecies against Egypt are noted in these next four chapters as follows: Ezekiel 29:1, 17; 30:1, 20; 31:1; 32:1, 17.

Ezekiel 29:2 Son of man, set thy face against Pharaoh king of Egypt, and prophesy against him, and against all Egypt:

Egypt. The last of Israel's neighbors to be the object of God's prophecies through Ezekiel was her ancient enemy, Egypt, once the world's greatest nation, but now in rapid decline. She is called a “great dragon that lieth in the midst of his rivers” (Ezekiel 29:3), comparing her to a monstrous dinosaur proud of her river kingdom, but soon to be devastated.

Ezekiel 29:3 Speak, and say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against thee, Pharaoh king of Egypt, the great dragon that lieth in the midst of his rivers, which hath said, My river is mine own, and I have made it for myself.

Ezekiel 29:4 But I will put hooks in thy jaws, and I will cause the fish of thy rivers to stick unto thy scales, and I will bring thee up out of the midst of thy rivers, and all the fish of thy rivers shall stick unto thy scales.

Ezekiel 29:5 And I will leave thee thrown into the wilderness, thee and all the fish of thy rivers: thou shalt fall upon the open fields; thou shalt not be brought together, nor gathered: I have given thee for meat to the beasts of the field and to the fowls of the heaven.

Ezekiel 29:6 And all the inhabitants of Egypt shall know that I am the LORD, because they have been a staff of reed to the house of Israel.

Ezekiel 29:7 When they took hold of thee by thy hand, thou didst break, and rend all their shoulder: and when they leaned upon thee, thou brakest, and madest all their loins to be at a stand.

Ezekiel 29:8 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will bring a sword upon thee, and cut off man and beast out of thee.

Ezekiel 29:9 And the land of Egypt shall be desolate and waste; and they shall know that I am the LORD: because he hath said, The river is mine, and I have made it.

Ezekiel 29:10 Behold, therefore I am against thee, and against thy rivers, and I will make the land of Egypt utterly waste and desolate, from the tower of Syene even unto the border of Ethiopia.

Ezekiel 29:11 No foot of man shall pass through it, nor foot of beast shall pass through it, neither shall it be inhabited forty years.

through it. By Ezekiel's time, Egypt had lost her ancient glory. Jeremiah had rebuked Judah's kings for trusting the Egyptians to save them from Nebuchadnezzar. Instead of defending Israel, they suffered a crushing defeat by the Babylonians. Many scattered into Arabia, many were carried as captives to Babylon, and mighty Egypt became almost desolate from Syene to Ethiopia (Ezekiel 29:10)—that is, from the northern reaches of the Nile to the southern.

forty years. No forty-year period of such complete desolation in Egypt has been confirmed, although this was the length of time between Nebuchadnezzar's defeat of Pharaoh and Egypt's later deliverance when Cyrus and the Persians conquered Babylon. Very little is known for certain about the Egyptian history of this period, but it is known that the Egyptian monarchs, like other monarchs of antiquity, commonly boasted inordinately of the victories and passed over their defeats as lightly as possible. That is, even if the prophecies in these verses were fulfilled literally, Egyptian historians may not have acknowledged it for reasons of national pride. We can be confident that, when and if Egypt's true and full history is ever discovered, these prophecies will be found to have been fulfilled as written.

One alternate possibility is that a forty-year period of complete desolation is still future, in the early years of the coming kingdom age. The desolations of the tribulation period may leave certain areas completely uninhabitable for a time, as the lands are gradually being healed and fruitful again.

Ezekiel 29:12 And I will make the land of Egypt desolate in the midst of the countries that are desolate, and her cities among the cities that are laid waste shall be desolate forty years: and I will scatter the Egyptians among the nations, and will disperse them through the countries.

Ezekiel 29:13 Yet thus saith the Lord GOD; At the end of forty years will I gather the Egyptians from the people whither they were scattered:

Ezekiel 29:14 And I will bring again the captivity of Egypt, and will cause them to return into the land of Pathros, into the land of their habitation; and they shall be there a base kingdom.

Ezekiel 29:15 It shall be the basest of the kingdoms; neither shall it exalt itself any more above the nations: for I will diminish them, that they shall no more rule over the nations.

basest of the kingdoms. Egypt was never doomed to extinction, as were such nations as Edom, Ammon, Phoenicia, and others. It was prophesied, however, to be “the basest of the kingdoms” from then on, never to rise again to its former greatness. After Babylonia, Egypt was under the heel of Persia, then Greece, then Rome. Later the Arabs spread the religion of Islam over Egypt and the native Egyptians eventually became an ethnic minority in their own country. In more recent times, Egypt was a part of the British Empire, receiving its independence only in 1922. As an Arab nation, it has occasionally tried to assume leadership over the Arab world, but has been unsuccessful. It has continued to be “the basest of the kingdoms,” just as Ezekiel predicted over twenty-five centuries ago.

Ezekiel 29:16 And it shall be no more the confidence of the house of Israel, which bringeth their iniquity to remembrance, when they shall look after them: but they shall know that I am the Lord GOD.

Ezekiel 29:17 And it came to pass in the seven and twentieth year, in the first month, in the first day of the month, the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,

seven and twentieth year. The prophecy of Ezekiel 29:17-21 was given seventeen years after the prophecy of Ezekiel 29:1-16. It was even given sixteen years after the prophecies of Ezekiel 30:20-31:17 and fifteen years after those of Ezekiel 32. Its interjection out of chronological order at this point was presumably made—possibly by Ezekiel himself—after all the prophecies against Egypt and her confederates had been given, possibly to show more effectively the divine connection between the prophecies against Tyre (Ezekiel 26-28) and those against Egypt (Ezekiel 29-32).

Ezekiel 29:18 Son of man, Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon caused his army to serve a great service against Tyrus: every head was made bald, and every shoulder was peeled: yet had he no wages, nor his army, for Tyrus, for the service that he had served against it:

Ezekiel 29:19 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will give the land of Egypt unto Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon; and he shall take her multitude, and take her spoil, and take her prey; and it shall be the wages for his army.

Ezekiel 29:20 I have given him the land of Egypt for his labour wherewith he served against it, because they wrought for me, saith the Lord GOD.

Ezekiel 29:21 In that day will I cause the horn of the house of Israel to bud forth, and I will give thee the opening of the mouth in the midst of them; and they shall know that I am the LORD.