Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
DELIVERED ON THE
OTHER ON THE
DAY OF THE
TWELFTH OF THE
1. The twelfth year from the carrying away of Jehoiachin; Jerusalem
was by this time overthrown, and Amasis was beginning his revolt against
2. Pharaoh--"Phra" in Burmah, signifies the king, high priest, and
whale--rather, any monster of the waters; here, the crocodile of the
Nile. Pharaoh is as a lion on dry land, a crocodile in the waters; that
is, an object of terror everywhere.
camest forth with thy rivers--"breakest forth"
antithesis of "seas" and "rivers" favors
GROTIUS rendering, "Thou camest
forth from the sea into the rivers"; that is, from thy own empire
into other states. However, English Version is favored by the "thy":
thou camest forth with thy rivers (that is, with thy forces) and
with thy feet didst fall irrecoverably; so Israel, once desolate,
troubles the waters (that is, neighboring states).
3. with a company of many people--namely, the Chaldeans
(Eze 29:3, 4;
my net--for they are My instrument.
4. leave thee upon the land--as a fish drawn out of the water loses
all its strength, so Pharaoh
compared to a water monster) shall be
5. thy height--thy hugeness
[FAIRBAIRN]. The great heap of corpses
of thy forces, on which thou pridest thyself. "Height" may refer to
mental elevation, as well as bodily [VATABLUS].
6. land wherein thou swimmest--Egypt: the land watered by the Nile,
the the source of its fertility, wherein thou swimmest (carrying on the
image of the crocodile, that is, wherein thou dost exercise thy wanton
power at will). Irony. The land shall still afford seas to swim in, but
they shall be seas of blood. Alluding to the plague
HAVERNICK translates, "I will water the land with
what flows from thee, even thy blood, reaching to the
mountains": "with thy blood overflowing even to the mountains."
Perhaps this is better.
7. put thee out--extinguish thy light
Pharaoh is represented as a bright star, at the extinguishing of whose
light in the political sky the whole heavenly host is shrouded in
sympathetic darkness. Here, too, as in
there is an allusion to the supernatural darkness sent formerly
The heavenly bodies are often made images of earthly dynasties
9. thy destruction--that is, tidings of thy destruction
(literally, "thy breakage") carried by captive and dispersed Egyptians
"among the nations" [GROTIUS]; or, thy broken
people, resembling one great fracture, the ruins of what
they had been [FAIRBAIRN].
10. brandish my sword before them--literally, "in their faces," or
13. (See on
The picture is ideally true, not to be interpreted by the letter. The
political ascendency of Egypt was to cease with the Chaldean conquest
[FAIRBAIRN]. Henceforth Pharaoh must figuratively
no longer trouble the waters by man or beast, that is, no longer
was he to flood other peoples with his overwhelming forces.
14. make their waters deep--rather, "make . . . to subside";
literally, "sink" [FAIRBAIRN].
like oil--emblem of quietness. No longer shall they descend
violently on other countries as the overflowing Nile, but shall be still
and sluggish in political action.
16. As in
This is a prophetical lamentation; yet so it shall come to pass [GROTIUS].
17. The second lamentation for Pharaoh. This funeral dirge in
imagination accompanies him to the unseen world. Egypt personified in
its political head is ideally represented as undergoing the change by
death to which man is liable. Expressing that Egypt's supremacy is no
more, a thing of the past, never to be again.
the month--the twelfth month
fourteen days after the former vision.
18. cast them down--that is, predict that they shall be cast
The prophet's word was God's, and carried with it its own fulfilment.
daughters of . . . nations--that is, the nations with
their peoples. Egypt is to share the fate of other ancient nations
once famous, now consigned to oblivion: Elam
19. Whom dost thou pass in beauty?--Beautiful as thou art, thou art
not more so than other nations, which nevertheless have perished.
go down, &c.--to the nether world, where all "beauty" is speedily
20. she is delivered to the sword--namely, by God.
draw her--as if addressing her executioners: drag her forth to death.
Ezekiel has before his eyes
shall speak to him--with "him" join "with them that help him";
shall speak to him and his helpers with a taunting welcome, as now
one of themselves.
22. her . . . his--The abrupt change of gender is, because Ezekiel
has in view at one time the kingdom (feminine), at another the
monarch. "Asshur," or Assyria, is placed first in punishment, as
being first in guilt.
23. in the sides of the pit--Sepulchres in the East were caves
hollowed out of the rock, and the bodies were laid in niches formed at
the sides. MAURER needlessly departs from the
ordinary meaning, and translates, "extremities" (compare
Isa 14:13, 15).
which caused terror--They, who alive were a terror to others, are
now, in the nether world, themselves a terrible object to behold.
24. Elam--placed next, as having been an auxiliary to Assyria. Its
territory lay in Persia. In Abraham's time an independent kingdom
Famous for its bowmen
borne their shame--the just retribution of their lawless pride.
Destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar
25. a bed--a sepulchral niche.
all . . . slain by . . . sword, &c.--
(Eze 32:21, 23, 24).
The very monotony of the phraseology gives to the dirge an
26. Meshech, Tubal--northern nations: the Moschi and Tibareni, between
the Black and Caspian Seas. HERODOTUS
[3.94], mentions them as a
subjugated people, tributaries to Darius Hystaspes (see
27. they shall not lie with the mighty--that is, they shall not have
separate tombs such as mighty conquerors have: but shall all be heaped
together in one pit, as is the case with the vanquished
HAVERNICK reads it interrogatively, "Shall they not lie with the mighty
that are fallen?" But English Version is supported by the parallel
(Isa 14:18, 19),
to which Ezekiel refers, and which represents them as not lying
as mighty kings lie in a grave, but cast out of one, as a carcass
trodden under foot.
with . . . weapons of war--alluding to the custom of
burying warriors with their arms (1 Maccabees 13:29). Though honored by
the laying of "their swords under their heads," yet the punishment of
"their iniquities shall be upon their bones." Their swords shall thus
attest their shame, not their glory
being the instruments of their violence, the penalty of which they are
28. Yea, thou--Thou, too, Egypt, like them, shalt lie as one
29. princes--Edom was not only governed by kings, but by subordinate
"princes" or "dukes"
with their might--notwithstanding their might, they shall be brought
(Isa 34:5, 10-17;
Jer 49:7, 13-18).
lie with the uncircumcised--Though Edom was circumcised, being
descended from Isaac, he shall lie with the uncircumcised; much more
shall Egypt, who had no hereditary right to circumcision.
30. princes of the north--Syria, which is still called by the Arabs the
north; or the Tyrians, north of Palestine, conquered by Nebuchadnezzar
Zidonians--who shared the fate of Tyre
with their terror they are ashamed of their might--that is,
notwithstanding the terror which they inspired in their contemporaries.
"Might" is connected by MAURER thus, "Notwithstanding the terror which
resulted from their might."
31. comforted--with the melancholy satisfaction of not being alone,
but of having other kingdoms companions in his downfall. This shall be
his only comfort--a very poor one!
32. my terror--the Margin or Keri. The Hebrew text or
Chetib is "his terror," which gives good sense
(Eze 32:25, 30).
"My terror" implies that God puts His terror on Pharaoh's
multitude, as they put "their terror" on others, for example, under
Pharaoh-necho on Judea. As "the land of the living" was the scene of
"their terror," so it shall be God's; especially in Judea, He will
display His glory to the terror of Israel's foes
In Israel's case the judgment is temporary, ending in their future
restoration under Messiah. In the case of the world kingdoms which
flourished for a time, they fall to rise no more.