This chapter describes, with great force and elegance, the ruin of Egypt and all her allies by the Chaldeans under Nebuchadnezzar, 1-11; with an amplification of the distress of the principal cities of Egypt on that occasion, 12-19. The remaining verses are a short prophecy relating to the same event, and therefore annexed to the longer one preceding, although this was predicted sooner, 20-26.
2Son of man, prophesy and say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Howl ye, Woe worth the day!
2 Verse 2. Howl ye, Wo worth the day!] My Old MS. Bible,-Soule gee, woo woo to the day!heylilu, hah laiyom! "Howl ye, Alas for the day!" The reading in our present text is taken from Coverdale's Bible, 1535. The expressions signify that a most dreadful calamity was about to fall on Egypt and the neighbouring countries, called here the "time of the heathen," or of the nations; the day of calamity to them. They are afterwards specified, Ethiopia, Libya, Lydia, and Chub, and the mingled people, probably persons from different nations, who had followed the ill fortune of Pharaoh-hophra or Pharaoh-apries, when he fled from Amasis, and settled in Upper Egypt.
5Ethiopia, 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.b, c
5 Verse 5. Lydia] This place is not well known. The Ludim were contiguous to Egypt, .
Chub] The Cubians, placed by Ptolemy in the Mareotis. But probably instead of vechub, "and Chub," we should read vechol, "and ALL the men of the land," &c. The Septuagint adds "the Persians and the Cretans."
9In 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.
9 Verse 9. Messengers go forth from me in ships] Ships can ascend the Nile up to Syene or Essuan, by the cataracts; and when Nebuchadnezzar's vessels went up, they struck terror into the Ethiopians. They are represented here as the "messengers of God."
12And 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 it.f, g
12 Verse 12. I will make the rivers dry] As the overflowing of the Nile was the grand cause of fertility to Egypt, the drying it up, or preventing that annual inundation, must be the cause of dearth, famine, &c. By rivers, we may understand the various canals cut from the Nile to carry water into the different parts of the land. When the Nile did not rise to its usual height these canals were quite dry.
13Thus 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.
13 Verse 13. Their images to cease out of Noph] Afterwards Memphis, and now Cairo or Kahira. This was the seat of Egyptian idolatry; the place where Apis was particularly worshipped.
No more a prince of the land of Egypt] Not one, from that time to the present day. .
18At 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.l
18 Verse 18. Tehaphnehes] Called also Tahapanes, . This is the Pelusian Daphne.
Break there the yokes] The sceptres. Nebuchadnezzar broke the sceptre of Egypt when he confirmed the kingdom to Amasis, who had rebelled against Apries.
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,
20 Verse 20. In the eleventh year, in the first month, in the seventh day] This was the eleventh year of the captivity of Jeconiah, and the date here answers to April 26, A.M. 3416; a prophecy anterior by several years to that already delivered. In collecting the writings of Ezekiel, more care was taken to put all that related to one subject together, than to attend to chronological arrangement.
22Therefore 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 his hand.
22 Verse 22. I will cause the sword to fall out of his hand.] When the arm is broken, the sword will naturally fall. But these expressions show that the Egyptians would be rendered wholly useless to Zedekiah, and should never more recover their political strength. This was the case from the time of the rebellion of Amasis.
25But 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 Egypt.