Prev Next

Egypt to Fall Like Other Defeated Nations (Ezekiel 32) February 7-8

The next chapter of Ezekiel in time order is not the next one in numerical order. As mentioned before, Ezekiel's arrangement is thematic. The lamentations for Pharaoh and Egypt in chapter 32 have been placed at the end of a whole section of prophecies dealing with Egypt (29-32), part of which we have yet to read.

"The exiles in Babylon had recently learned of Jerusalem's fall when Ezekiel chanted this dirge [in the first half of Ezekiel 32] in March of 585 B.C. Egypt had witnessed the fall of Judah and may have felt proud of her own survival. Ezekiel, however, pictures that great southern land as already dead. God has condemned her, and none of her many gods will be able to help" (Bible Reader's Companion, note on Ezekiel 32:1-16).

The Expositor's Bible Commentary notes: "The lament over Egypt was principally a recapitulation of the judgment messages [already given against Egypt], emphasizing Egypt's false pride and bewailing the fate of judgment. Once again the double imagery portrayed the Pharaoh's energetic pride but ineffective strength. Hophra was likened to a young lion and a thrashing crocodile that only muddied the streams of the Nile (v. 2; cf. 29:3). The crocodile (Pharaoh) would be captured with a net ([32] v. 3) and hurled on the open field as food for the birds and animals (v. 4). The carnage would be so great that it would fill every ravine and mountain (vv. 5-6). It would be as if a great darkness covered the land (vv. 7-8), demonstrating that Egypt's great sun gods were impotent to help. Cosmic collapse is a common image with earth-shaking events (cf. Joel 2:28; Acts 2). The nations who sang this funeral dirge would be stunned and horrified that Egypt had fallen in their midst ([Ezekiel 32] vv. 9-10)" (note on verses 1-10). Verse 11 shows that the agent of destruction will be the king of Babylon.

Of course, the heavenly signs could be an indication that this prophecy has some application to the future Day of the Lord, especially as Daniel 11:40-43 shows that the end-time Babylonian ruler of the north will invade and plunder Egypt. Nevertheless, as pointed out in the Bible Reading Program comments on Ezekiel 29:1-16, massive calamity was going to come on Egypt around 568 B.C., 17 years after the lamentation of Ezekiel 32. At that time Nebuchadnezzar invaded the country and laid waste to the entire Nile Valley, evidently deporting most of the survivors for a period of 40 years.

In the latter half of Ezekiel 32, given two weeks after the lamentation of the first half, Ezekiel is told to bewail the fact that Egypt will follow other fallen nations to the grave. "This final prophecy, uttered in April of 585 B.C., sums up God's word concerning contemporary Egypt and concludes Ezekiel's messages concerning foreign nations" (Bible Reader's Companion, note on verses 17-32). These other nations have apparently all fallen to Babylon—and so too will Egypt.

It should be noted that though this concludes the prophecies against Egypt in arrangement order, there are two more prophecies regarding Egypt in chronological progression (29:17-30:19). In fact, those two prophecies are the latest dated sections in Ezekiel's book.

Prev Next