Notes on Ezekiel 30

Ezekiel 30  •  7 min. read  •  grade level: 8
The first of the two prophetic strains of our chapter is a good example of that which characterizes the word of prophecy, the binding up of present or impending disasters with the great day when God will interfere in power and judge (not first the dead but) the quick. There was the direct government of God then in Israel, which dealt also with the nations that meddled with His people, as there will be by and by an incomparably better display of it when the Lord comes to reign over the earth. Meanwhile we have only the course of providence regulating sovereignly and unseen, while the Jews are for the time abandoned for their apostasy and also now their rejection of the Messiah.
“The word of Jehovah came again unto me, saying, Son of man, prophesy and say, Thus, saith the Lord 1Jehovah; Howl ye, Alas for the day! For the day is near, even the day of Jehovah is near, a cloudy day; it shall be the time of the heathen. 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. 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.” (Ver. l—5.) The intervention of Jehovah in the downfall of Egypt identifies itself in principle with the day of Jehovah which closes this age and expands over that which is to come. Not only should the African races fall, but the sons of the land of the covenant, which seems to point to such Jews as had gone to live there from the distresses of home.
“Thus saith Jehovah; 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 Jehovah. 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.
And they shall know that I am Jehovah, when I have set a fire in Egypt, and when all her helpers shall be destroyed. 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, 10, it cometh.” (Ver. 6-9.) Not only should the country renowned for its wisdom among the ancients but their allies or supports: from Migdol to Syene they shall fall in her, is the apparent force. Were other lands desolate? So should the Egyptians be in the midst of the general waste; no oasis in the desert, but desert all alike. Even remoter such, apt to think itself secure, should be terrified, and not without reason: great pain should be on them. It was coming!
“Thus saith the Lord Jehovah; I will also make the multitude of Egypt to cease by the hand of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon. 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. 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 Jehovah have spoken it.” (Ver. 10-12.) Here the instrument of divine vengeance is named distinctly: not as if God had the smallest sympathy with the terrible of the nations and their unsheathed swords, nor with the wicked into whose hand the country was sold, nor with the strangers that wasted it. But the hour to judge its proud wickedness was at hand; and the worst was the suited executioner to do the dread office.
“Thus saith the Lord Jehovah, 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. And I will make Pathros desolate, and will set fire in Zoan, and will execute judgments in No. And I will pour my fury upon Sin, the strength of Egypt; and I will cut off the multitude of No. And I will set fire in Egypt: Sin shall have great pain, and No shall be rent asunder, and Noph shall have distresses daily. The young men of Aven and of Pi-beseth shall fall by the sword: and these cities shall go into captivity. 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. Thus will I execute judgments in Egypt: and they shall know that I am Jehovah.” (Ver. 13-19.) It is with the god of Egypt, as at first so now at last God's main controversy lies. This was before Him when the destroyer went through the land and smote the firstborn on the night of passover; it is before Him here when He adds that there shall be no more a prince of the land of Egypt. Fear should be in Egypt, desolation in Pathros, fire in Zoan, judgments in No (Thebes or Diospolis), fury on Sin (Pelusium), Hamon No cut off, daily distresses in Noph (the ancient Memphis). They all should be laid low and put to shame and pain. Upper, and Middle, as well as Lower, Egypt. The youths of cities famous for idol temples, Aven or On (Heliopolis), and Pibeseth or Pasht (Bubastis), should perish by the sword, and the women go into captivity. Tehaphnehes (Daphnis), the seat of royal authority and strength, should be shrouded in darkness, and her daughters go into captivity. What a picture of utter overthrow, the word and work alike testifying to Jehovah!
As the former message bears on the land and people and cities of Egypt, so the latter which follows on the king. “And it came to pass in the eleventh year, in the first month, in the seventh day of the month, that the word of Jehovah came unto me, saying, Son of man, I have broken the arm of Pharaoh king of Egypt; and, 10, it shall not be bound up to be healed, to put a roller to bind it, to make it strong to hold the sword.” (Vers. 20, 21.) Had Pharaoh Necho pushed onward the power and conquests of Egypt? So much the more humiliating the reverses which should break the power of Egypt thenceforward. In vain did they hope for healing or recovery: Jehovah had put Pharaoh down beyond remedy. And this is pursued with greater detail in the next verses (22-26): “therefore thus saith the Lord Jehovah; 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. And I will scatter the Egyptians among the nations, and will disperse them through the countries. 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 man. 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 Jehovah, 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. And I will scatter the Egyptians among the nations, and disperse them among the countries; and they shall know that I am Jehovah. (Ver. 22-26.) It was not only foreign mercenaries that should be scattered among the nations, but the Egyptians themselves: so thorough the rent and complete the demoralization and overwhelming the ruin caused by the king of Babylon. If it was Nebuchadnezzar, no less was it Jehovah's sword stretched by him over the kingdom of the south. Painfully did the men of Egypt learn in their dispersion, and know that it was Jehovah's doing.