Bible Study: Ezekiel 30 – Egypt’s Fall

The book of Ezekiel is one of the major prophets in the Old Testament. It was authored by Ezekiel who was set as a watchman to the house of Israel.

Ezek 3:17 “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore hear a word from My mouth, and give them warning from Me:

The thirtieth chapter of Ezekiel is about prophecies mentioning Egypt’s fall.

Egypt’s Fall

Ezek 30:1-9 The word of the LORD came to me again, saying, “Son of man, prophesy and say, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “Wail, ‘Woe to the day!’ For the day is near, Even the day of the LORD is near; It will be a day of clouds, the time of the Gentiles. The sword shall come upon Egypt, And great anguish shall be in Ethiopia, When the slain fall in Egypt, And they take away her wealth, And her foundations are broken down. “Ethiopia, Libya, Lydia, all the mingled people, Chub, and the men of the lands who are allied, shall fall with them by the sword.” ‘Thus says the LORD: “Those who uphold Egypt shall fall, And the pride of her power shall come down. From Migdol to Syene Those within her shall fall by the sword,” Says the Lord GOD. “They shall be desolate in the midst of the desolate countries, And her cities shall be in the midst of the cities that are laid waste. Then they will know that I am the LORD, When I have set a fire in Egypt And all her helpers are destroyed. On that day messengers shall go forth from Me in ships To make the careless Ethiopians afraid, And great anguish shall come upon them, As on the day of Egypt; For indeed it is coming!”

cambyses_ii_capturing_psamtik_iii

Cambyses II of Persia capturing pharaoh Psamtik III after his conquest of Egypt (525 BC). The image on Persian seal, 6th century BC. (Source: Wikipedia)

The part of prophecy mentioned this section is a reference to the Battle of Pelusium (525 BC) which lead to the dismiss of the Pharoahs and the Persian kingCambyses II became Egypt’s ruler and their Pharoah.

Ezek 30:10-12 ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “I will also make a multitude of Egypt to cease By the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon. He and his people with him, the most terrible of the nations, Shall be brought to destroy the land; They shall draw their swords against Egypt, And fill the land with the slain. I will make the rivers dry, And sell the land into the hand of the wicked; I will make the land waste, and all that is in it, By the hand of aliens. I, the LORD, have spoken.”

Much of the details in this chapter were lost in time. Based on the Wikipedia article on Nebuchadnezzar_II, we read the following:

Following the pacification of the Phoenician state of Tyre, Nebuchadnezzar turned again to Egypt. A clay tablet, now in the British Museum, states: “In the 37th year of Nebuchadnezzar, king of the country of Babylon, he went to Mitzraim (Egypt) to wage war. Amasis, king of Egypt, collected [his army], and marched and spread abroad.” Having completed the subjugation of Phoenicia, and a campaign against Egypt, Nebuchadnezzar set himself to rebuild and adorn the city of Babylon, and constructed canals, aqueducts, temples and reservoirs.

We do not have much information on what happened apart from the prophecy mentioned in Ezekiel.

Ezek 30:13-19 ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “I will also destroy the idols, And cause the images to cease from Noph; There shall no longer be princes from the land of Egypt; I will put fear in the land of Egypt. I will make Pathros desolate, Set fire to Zoan, And execute judgments in No. I will pour My fury on Sin, the strength of Egypt; I will cut off the multitude of No, And set a fire in Egypt; Sin shall have great pain, No shall be split open, And Noph shall be in distress daily. The young men of Aven and Pi Beseth shall fall by the sword, And these cities shall go into captivity. At Tehaphnehes the day shall also be darkened, When I break the yokes of Egypt there. And her arrogant strength shall cease in her; As for her, a cloud shall cover her, And her daughters shall go into captivity. Thus I will execute judgments on Egypt, Then they shall know that I am the LORD.”

We do not know much from recorded history or the details of the Persian invasion. What we do know is, Egypt never had its own native King after 525 BC except for a rebellion by Amyrtaeus which lasted for 6 years from 404 BC to 398 BC.

Ezek 30:20-26 And it came to pass in the eleventh year, in the first month, on the seventh day of the month, that the word of the LORD came to me, saying, “Son of man, I have broken the arm of Pharaoh king of Egypt; and see, it has not been bandaged for healing, nor a splint put on to bind it, to make it strong enough to hold a sword. Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: ‘Surely I am against Pharaoh king of Egypt, and will break his arms, both the strong one and the one that was broken; and I will make the sword fall out of his hand. ‘I will scatter the Egyptians among the nations, and disperse them throughout the countries. 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 will groan before him with the groanings of a mortally wounded man. Thus I will strengthen the arms of the king of Babylon, but the arms of Pharaoh shall fall down; they shall know that I am the LORD, when I put My sword into the hand of the king of Babylon and he stretches it out against the land of Egypt. I will scatter the Egyptians among the nations and disperse them throughout the countries. Then they shall know that I am the LORD.’

As we saw in the previous chapter, the 10th year is 587 BC – the year of the destruction of Jerusalem with reference to the captivity of King Jehoiachin. Hence, the 11th year is 586 BC. The already broken arm of Pharaoh was a reference to the Battle of Carchemish in 605 BC. The sword falling out of the Pharaoh’s hand was a reference to Egypt losing in battle to Babylonians. Today,  no one can identify themselves as descendants of ancient Egyptians because God had scattered them among the nations.