In this chapter we have,
I. A continuation of the prophecy against Egypt, which we had in the
latter part of the foregoing chapter, just before the desolation of
that once flourishing kingdom was completed by Nebuchadnezzar, in which
is foretold the destruction of all her allies and confederates, all her
interests and concerns, and the several steps which the king of Babylon
should take in pushing on this destruction,
II. A repetition of a former prophecy against Egypt, just before the
desolation of it begun by their own bad conduct, which gradually
weakened them and prepared the way for the king of Babylon,
It is all much to the same purport with what we had before.
|Prophecy against Egypt; Destruction of Egypt Foretold.
||B. C. 572.|
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
5 Ethiopia, and Libya, and Lydia, and all the mingled people,
and Chub, and the 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 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
fire in Egypt, and when all her helpers shall be destroyed.
9 In that day shall messengers go forth from me in ships to
make the careless 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.
11 He and his people with him, the terrible of the nations,
shall be brought to destroy the land: and they shall draw their
swords against Egypt, and fill the land with the slain.
12 And I will make the 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 strangers: I the LORD have spoken
13 Thus saith the Lord GOD; I will also destroy the idols, and
I will cause their images to cease out of Noph; and there shall
be no more a prince of the land of Egypt: and I will put a fear
in the land of Egypt.
14 And I will make Pathros desolate, and will set 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 fire in Egypt: Sin shall have great pain, and
No shall be rent asunder, and Noph shall have distresses daily.
17 The young men of Aven and of Pi-beseth 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 yokes of Egypt: and the pomp of her strength
shall cease in her: as for her, a cloud shall cover her, and her
daughters shall go into captivity.
19 Thus will I execute judgments in Egypt: and they shall know
that I am the LORD.
The prophecy of the destruction of Egypt is here very full and
particular, as well as, in the general, very frightful. What can
protect a provoking people when the righteous God comes forth to
contend with them?
I. It shall be a very lamentable destruction, and such as shall
occasion great sorrow
"Howl you; you may justly shriek now that it is coming, for you
will be made to shriek and make hideous outcries when it comes. Cry
out, Woe worth the day! or, Ah the day! alas because of the
day! the terrible day! Woe and alas! For the day is
near; the day we have so long dreaded, so long deserved. It is the
day of the Lord, the day in which he will manifest himself as a
God of vengeance. You have your day now, when you carry all before you,
and trample on all about you, but God will have his day shortly, the
day of the revelation of his righteous judgment,"
It will be a cloudy day, that is, dark and dismal, without the
shining forth of any comfort; and it shall threaten a storm--fire,
and brimstone, and a horrible tempest. It shall be the time of the
heathen, of reckoning with the heathen for all their heathenish
practices, that time which David spoke of when God would pour out
his fury upon the heathen
when they should sink,
II. It shall be the destruction of Egypt, and of all the states and
countries in confederacy with her and in her neighbourhood.
1. Egypt herself shall fall
The sword shall come upon Egypt, the sword of the Chaldeans, and
it shall be a victorious sword, for the slain shall fall in
Egypt, fall by it, fall before it. Is the country populous? They
shall take away her multitude. Is it strong, and well-fixed?
Her foundations shall be broken down, and then the fabric,
though built ever so fine, ever so high, will fall of course.
2. Her neighbours and inmates shall fall with her. When the slain fall
so thickly in Egypt great pain shall be in Ethiopia, both that
in Africa, which is in the neighbourhood of Egypt on one side, and that
in Asia, which is near to it on the other side. When their neighbour's
house was on fire they could not but apprehend their own in danger; nor
were their fears groundless, for they shall all fall with them by
Ethiopia and Libya (Cush and Phut, so the Hebrew names are, two
of the sons of Ham who are mentioned, and Mizraim, that is, Egypt,
and the Lydians (who were famous archers, and are spoken of as
confederates with Egypt,
these shall fall with Egypt and Chub (the Chaldeans, the
inhabitants of the inner Libya); these and others were the mingled
people; there were those of all these and other countries who upon
some account or other resided in Egypt, as did also the men of the
land that is in league, some of the remains of the people of Israel
and Judah, the children of the covenant, or league, as they are
the children of the promise,
These sojourned in Egypt contrary to God's command, and these shall
fall with them. Note, Those that will take their lot with God's
enemies shall have their lot with them, yea, though they be in
profession the men of the land that is in league with God.
III. All that pretend to support the sinking interests of Egypt shall
come down under her, shall come down with her
Those that uphold Egypt shall fall, and then Egypt must fall of
course. See the justice of God; Egypt pretended to uphold Jerusalem
when that was tottering, but proved a deceitful reed; and now those
that pretended to uphold Egypt shall prove no better. Those that
deceive others are commonly paid in their own coin; they are themselves
1. Does Egypt think herself upheld by the absolute authority and
dominion of her king? The pride of her power shall come
The power of the king of Egypt was his pride; but that shall be broken,
2. Is the multitude of her people her support? These shall fall by
the sword, even from the tower of Syene, which is in the
utmost corner of the land, from that side of it by which the enemy
shall enter. Both the countries and the cities, the
husbandmen and the merchants, shall be desolate,
Even the multitude of Egypt shall be made to cease,
That populous country shall be depopulated. The land shall be even
filled with the slain,
3. Is the river Nile her support, and are the several channels of it a
defence to her? "I will make the rivers dry
so that those natural fortifications which were thought impregnable,
because impassable, shall stand them in no stead."
4. Are her idols a support to her? They shall be destroyed; those
imaginary upholders shall appear more than ever to be imaginary, for so
images are when they pretend to be deliverers and strongholds
I will cause their images to cease out of Noph.
5. Is her royal family her support? 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.
6. Is her courage her support, and does she think to uphold herself by
the bravery of her men of war, who have now of late been inured to
service? That shall fail: I will put a fear in the land of
7. Is the rising generation her support? is she upheld by her children,
and does she think herself happy because she has her quiver full of
them? Alas! the young men shall fall by the sword
and the daughters shall go into captivity
and so she shall be robbed of all her hopes.
IV. God shall inflict these desolating judgments on Egypt
They shall know that I am the Lord, and greater than all gods,
than all their gods, when I have set a fire in Egypt. The
fire that consumes nations is of God's kindling; and, when he sets fire
to a people, all their helpers shall be destroyed. Those that go
about to quench the fire shall themselves be devoured by it; for who
can stand before him when he is angry? When he pours out his
fury upon a place, when he sets fire to it
neither its strength nor its multitude can stand it in any stead.
V. The king of Babylon and his army shall be employed as instruments of
this destruction: The multitude of Egypt shall be made to cease
and be quite cut off by the hand of the king of Babylon,
Those that undertook to protect Israel from the king of Babylon shall
not be able to protect themselves. It is said of the Chaldeans, who
should destroy Egypt,
1. That they are strangers
who therefore shall show no compassion for old acquaintance-sake, but
shall behave strangely towards them.
2. That they are the terrible of the nations
both in respect of force and in respect of fierceness; and, being
terrible, they shall make terrible work.
(3.) That they are the wicked, who will not be restrained by
reason and conscience, the laws of nature or the laws of nations, for
they are without law: I will sell the land into the hand of the
wicked. They do violence unjustly, as they are wicked; yet,
so far as they are instruments in God's hand of executing his
judgments, it is on his part justly done. Note, God often makes one
wicked man a scourge to another; and even wicked men acquire a title to
prey, jure belli--by the laws of war, for God sells it into
VI. No place in the land of Egypt shall be exempted from the fury of
the Chaldean army, not the strongest, not the remotest: The sword
shall go through the land. Various places are here named:
Pathros, Zoan, and No
Sin and Noph
Aven and Pi-beseth
These shall be made desolate, shall be fired, and God's judgments shall
be executed upon them, and his fury poured out upon them. Their
strength and multitude shall be cut off; they shall have
great pain, shall be rent asunder with fear, and shall
have distresses daily. Their day shall be darkened; their
honours, comforts, and hopes, shall be extinguished. Their yokes
shall be broken, so that they shall no more oppress and
tyrannize as they have done. The pomp of their strength shall
cease, and a cloud shall cover them, a cloud so thick that
through it they shall not see any hopes, nor shall their glory be
seen, or shine further. And, lastly, the Ethiopians,
who are at a distance from them, as well as those who are mingled with
them, shall share in their pain and terror. God will by his providence
spread the rumour, and the careless Ethiopians shall be made
Note, God can strike a terror upon those that are most secure;
fearfulness shall, when he pleases, surprise the most presumptuous
The close of this prediction leaves,
1. The land of Egypt mortified: Thus will I execute judgments on
The destruction of Egypt is the executing of judgments, which
intimates not only that it is done justly, for its sins, but that it is
done regularly and legally, by a judicial sentence. All the executions
God does are according to his judgments.
2. The God of Israel herein glorified: They shall know that I am the
Lord. The Egyptians shall be made to know it and the people of God
shall be made to know it better. The Lord is known by the judgments
which he executes.
|Destruction of Egypt Foretold.
||B. C. 572.|
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;
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 sword.
22 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against
Pharaoh king of Egypt, and will break his arms, the strong, and
that which was broken; and I will cause the sword to fall out of
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, and
put my sword in his hand: but I will break Pharaoh's arms, and he
shall groan before him with the groanings of a deadly wounded
25 But I will strengthen the arms of the king of Babylon, and
the arms of Pharaoh shall fall down; and they shall know that I
am the LORD, when I shall put my sword into the hand of the
king of Babylon, and he shall stretch it out upon the land of
26 And I will scatter the Egyptians among the nations, and
disperse them among the countries; and they shall know that I
am the LORD.
This short prophecy of the weakening of the power of Egypt was
delivered about the time that the army of the Egyptians, which
attempted to raise the siege of Jerusalem, was frustrated in its
enterprises, and returned re infectâ--without accomplishing
their purpose; whereupon the king of Babylon renewed the siege and
carried his point. The kingdom of Egypt was very ancient, and had been
for many ages considerable. That of Babylon had but lately arrived at
its great pomp and power, being built upon the ruins of the kingdom of
Assyria. Now it is with them as it is with families and states, some
are growing up, others are declining and going back; one must increase
and the others must of course decrease.
I. It is here foretold that the king of Egypt shall grow weaker and
weaker. The extent of his territories shall be abridged, his wealth and
power shall be diminished, and he shall become less able than ever to
help either himself or his friend.
1. This was in part done already
I have broken the arm of Pharaoh, some time ago. One arm of that
kingdom might well be reckoned broken when the king of Babylon routed
the forces of Pharaoh-Necho at Carchemish
and made himself master of all that pertained to Egypt from the
river of Egypt to Euphrates,
2 Kings 24:7.
Egypt had been long in gathering strength and extending its dominions,
and therefore, that there may be a proportion observed in providence,
it loses its strength slowly and by degrees. It was soon after the king
of Egypt slew good king Josiah, and in the same reign, that its arm was
thus broken, and it received that fatal blow which it never recovered.
Before Egypt's heart and neck were broken its arm was. God's judgments
come upon a people by steps, that they may meet him repenting. When the
arm of Egypt is broken it shall not be bound up to be healed,
for none can heal the wounds that God gives but he himself. Those whom
he disarms, whom he disables, cannot again hold the sword.
2. This was to be done again. One arm was broken before, and something
was done towards the setting of it, towards the healing of the deadly
wound that was given to the beast. But now
I am against Pharaoh, and will break both his arms, both the
strong and that which was broken and set again. Note, If
less judgments do not prevail to humble and reform sinners, God will
send greater. Now God will cause the sword to fall out of his
hand, which he caught hold of as thinking himself strong enough to
hold it. It is repeated
I will break Pharaoh's arms. He had been a cruel oppressor to
the people of God formerly, and of late the staff of a broken
rod to them; and now God by breaking his arms reckons with him for
both. God justly breaks that power which is abused either to put wrongs
upon people or to put cheats upon them. But this is not all;
(1.) The king of Egypt shall be dispirited when he finds himself in
danger of the king of Babylon's forces: he shall groan before him
with the groaning of a deadly wounded man. Note, It is common for
those that are most elated in their prosperity to be most dejected and
disheartened in their adversity. Pharaoh, even before the sword touches
him, shall groan as if he had received his death's wound.
(2.) The people of Egypt shall be dispersed
I will scatter them among the nations. Other nations had mingled
now they shall be mingled with other nations, and seek shelter in them,
and so be made to know that the Lord is righteous.
II. It is here foretold that the king of Babylon shall grow stronger
Put strength into the king of Babylon's arms, that he may be
able to go through the service he is designed for.
2. That he will put a sword, his sword, into the king of
Babylon's hand, which signified his giving him a commission and
furnishing him with arms for carrying on a war, particularly against
Egypt. Note, As judges on the bench, like Pilate
so generals in the field, like Nebuchadnezzar, have no power but what
is given them from above.