Ezekiel 32 – Lamentation for Pharaoh and Egypt

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:

egypt

Giza Pyramids, Egypt

The thirty-second chapter of Ezekiel is about mourning for Pharoah and Egypt.

Young Lion and Monster

Ezek 32:1 And it came to pass in the twelfth year, in the twelfth month, on the first day of the month, that the word of the LORD came to me, saying,

As we saw in chapter 30, the 11th year is 586 BC with reference to the captivity of King Jehoiachin. Hence, the day is, 1st day of the 12th month, and 12th year is 585 BC.

Ezek 32:2 “Son of man, take up a lamentation for Pharaoh king of Egypt, and say to him: ‘

  • You are like a young lion among the nations,
  • And you are like a monster in the seas,
    • Bursting forth in your rivers,
    • Troubling the waters with your feet,
    • And fouling their rivers.’

God calls Egypt as a young lion and a monster. What does it mean when God calls Egypt a young lion?

Job 38:39 … satisfy the appetite of the young lions,

Ps 17:12 … like a young lion lurking in secret places.

Ezek 19:6 …And became a young lion; He learned to catch prey; He devoured men.

As we read, a young lion has a huge appetite, lurking in secret places, learns to catch prey and devours men.

Jer 51:34 … He has swallowed me up like a monster; …

A monster swallows up.  What does bursting forth in its rivers, Troubling the waters with your feet, and fouling their rivers mean? As we saw in Chapter 29, God calls Pharaoh a great monster who is in pride of the river Nile.

Lamentation for Pharaoh king of Egypt

Ezek 32:3-8 “Thus says the Lord GOD:

  • I will therefore spread My net over you with a company of many people, And they will draw you up in My net. Then I will leave you on the land;
  • I will cast you out on the open fields, And cause to settle on you all the birds of the heavens. And with you I will fill the beasts of the whole earth.
  • I will lay your flesh on the mountains, And fill the valleys with your carcass.
  • I will also water the land with the flow of your blood, Even to the mountains; And the riverbeds will be full of you.
  • When I put out your light, I will cover the heavens, and make its stars dark; I will cover the sun with a cloud, And the moon shall not give her light. All the bright lights of the heavens I will make dark over you, And bring darkness upon your land,’ Says the Lord GOD. 

The lamentation for Pharoah, king of Egypt is divided into two parts.

In the first part, God is spreading a net to take the Pharoah from his rivers and fall into the trap of the company of many people who will kill him. The king of Egypt spoken here is referring to Pharoah Apries who reigned from 589–570 BC.

When the defeated army returned home, a civil war broke out in the Egyptian army between the indigenous troops and the foreign mercenaries. The Egyptians threw their support to Amasis II, a general who had led Egyptian forces in a highly successful invasion of Nubia in 592 BC under Pharaoh Psamtik II, Apries’ father. Amasis quickly declared himself pharaoh in 570 BC, and Apries fled Egypt and sought refuge in a foreign country. When Apries marched back to Egypt in 567 BC with the aid of a Babylonian army to reclaim the throne of Egypt, he was likely killed in battle with Amasis’ forces. Amasis thus secured his kingship over Egypt and was then its unchallenged ruler. – Wiki (Apries)

As you can clearly see, the prophecy for the king of Egypt was fulfilled in 567 BC when the Apries died on the battlefield.

Psamtik had hoped that Egypt would be able to withstand the threat of the Persian attack by an alliance with the Greeks, but this hope failed, as the Cypriot towns and the tyrant Polycrates of Samos, who possessed a large fleet, now preferred to join the Persians. That one of Egypt’s most prominent tactical advisers, Phanes of Halicarnassus, had already gone over to the Persian side meant that Psamtik was entirely dependent on his own limited military experience. Polycrates sent 40 triremes (Hellenistic warships) to the Persians. Psamtik, in a violent act of revenge prior to the confrontation with the Persian army, arrested all the sons of Phanes and stood them between two bowls. He then cut them one by one, draining their blood and mixing it with wine. Psamtik then drank of it and made every other councilman drink their blood before the battles. Wiki – Battle_of_Pelusium_(525_BC)

It is also possible that the prophecy is talking about Psamtik III in 525 BC when the Egyptian empire was conquered by Persian empire. Psamtik III each hope was lost and his revenge on Phanes proved him a true monster.

The second part of the prophecy is very interesting and exactly identical to what Jesus spoke of last days, what Isaiah prophesied about the destruction of Babylon and what Joel prophesied about God defending Israel and judging the nations.

Isa 13:10 For the stars of heaven and their constellations Will not give their light; The sun will be darkened in its going forth, And the moon will not cause its light to shine.

Matt 24:29 “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.

Joel 2:10 The earth quakes before them, The heavens tremble; The sun and moon grow dark, And the stars diminish their brightness.

Previously, I had mentioned that theses events are a representation of unrighteousness based on Christ’s words and other Scripture references. But now, based on the prophecies of Isaiah to Babylon and Ezekiel to  Egypt, here, that the sun growing dark, moon not giving light and/or darkness is a symbolic representation of not knowing the path to walk on and stumbling in dark. The symbolism is very similar to unrighteousness where Christ is the light of the world and without His light, we cannot walk in the path of righteousness and the world will be filled with evil. However, here in Ezekiel, Pharoah will not know the path where he is walking and will stumble as in dark.

Ezek 32:9-10 I will also trouble the hearts of many peoples, when I bring your destruction among the nations, into the countries which you have not known. ‘Yes, I will make many peoples astonished at you, and their kings shall be horribly afraid of you when I brandish My sword before them; and they shall tremble every moment, every man for his own life, in the day of your fall.’

We don’t know much about the historical fall of Apries. What we do know is that Apries was overthrown and when he came back to claim the throne, he was killed in battle.

Lamentation for Egypt

Ezek 32:11-16 “For thus says the Lord GOD: ‘The sword of the king of Babylon shall come upon you. By the swords of the mighty warriors, all of them the most terrible of the nations, I will cause your multitude to fall. ‘They shall plunder the pomp of Egypt, And all its multitude shall be destroyed. Also I will destroy all its animals From beside its great waters; The foot of man shall muddy them no more, Nor shall the hooves of animals muddy them. Then I will make their waters clear, And make their rivers run like oil,’ Says the Lord GOD. When I make the land of Egypt desolate, And the country is destitute of all that once filled it, When I strike all who dwell in it, Then they shall know that I am the LORD. This is the lamentation With which they shall lament her; The daughters of the nations shall lament her; They shall lament for her, for Egypt, And for all her multitude,’ Says the Lord GOD.”

The above prophecy was fulfilled in 525 BC (Battle of Pelusium) where the  Achaemenid Empire conquered the Egyptian empire. The accounts we have about this battle were from Herodotus and Polyaenus. Details regareding the effect on Egypt itself is not explained. The outcome of the battle is, Persians won and the Egypt got annexed to the Achaemenid Empire.

Down to the Pit

Ezek 32:17 It came to pass also in the twelfth year, on the fifteenth day of the month, that the word of the LORD came to me, saying:

The day is 15th day of the 12th month in 585 BC.

Ezek 32:18-21 “Son of man, wail over the multitude of Egypt, And cast them down to the depths of the earth, Her and the daughters of the famous nations, With those who go down to the Pit: ‘Whom do you surpass in beauty? Go down, be placed with the uncircumcised.’ They shall fall in the midst of those slain by the sword; She is delivered to the sword, Drawing her and all her multitudes. The strong among the mighty Shall speak to him out of the midst of hell [Sheol] With those who help him: ‘They have gone down, They lie with the uncircumcised, slain by the sword.’

Who are the daughters of the famous nations? Based on further reading, it’s Assyria, Elam, Meshech and Tubal, Edom, princes of the North and Sidonians. What does it mean when the verse says, “lie with the uncircumcised”? Are Egyptian circumcised?

Jer 9:26 “Egypt, Judah, Edom, the people of Ammon, Moab, and all who are in the farthest corners, who dwell in the wilderness. For all these nations are uncircumcised, and all the house of Israel are uncircumcised in the heart.”

Egypt is certainly uncircumcised.

Gen 34:14 And they said to them, “We cannot do this thing, to give our sister to one who is uncircumcised, for that would be a reproach to us.

Isa 52:1 Awake, awake! Put on your strength, O Zion; Put on your beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city! For the uncircumcised and the unclean Shall no longer come to you.

Hence, when God is saying that Egypt will lie with the uncircumcised, He is referring to them as a reproach and similar to something unclean.

Egypt’s Company in the Pit

Ezek 32:22-23 “Assyria is there, and all her company, With their graves all around her, All of them slain, fallen by the sword. Her graves are set in the recesses of the Pit, And her company is all around her grave, All of them slain, fallen by the sword, Who caused terror in the land of the living.

Assyria who caused terror in the land of the living will give company to Egypt. Just as Assyria was destroyed in  605 BC, so does Egypt will also be destroyed.

Ezek 32:24-25 “There is Elam and all her multitude, All around her grave, All of them slain, fallen by the sword, Who have gone down uncircumcised to the lower parts of the earth, Who caused their terror in the land of the living; Now they bear their shame with those who go down to the Pit. They have set her bed in the midst of the slain, With all her multitude, With her graves all around it, All of them uncircumcised, slain by the sword; Though their terror was caused In the land of the living, Yet they bear their shame With those who go down to the Pit; It was put in the midst of the slain.

Elam who caused terror in the land of the living will give company to Egypt. Just as Elam was destroyed 539 BC, so does Egypt will also be destroyed.

Ezek 32:26-28 “There are Meshech and Tubal and all their multitudes, With all their graves around it, All of them uncircumcised, slain by the sword, Though they caused their terror in the land of the living. They do not lie with the mighty Who are fallen of the uncircumcised, Who have gone down to hell [Sheol] with their weapons of war; They have laid their swords under their heads, But their iniquities will be on their bones, Because of the terror of the mighty in the land of the living. Yes, you shall be broken in the midst of the uncircumcised, And lie with those slain by the sword.

Meshech and Tubal caused terror in the land of the living will give company to Egypt. Not much is known about the identification of Meshech and Tubal.

Ezek 32:29 “There is Edom, Her kings and all her princes, Who despite their might Are laid beside those slain by the sword; They shall lie with the uncircumcised, And with those who go down to the Pit.

Edom is a descendant of Abraham yet the verse identify them with the uncircumcised. Edom was eventually destroyed in 125 BC.

Ezek 32:30-32 There are the princes of the north, All of them, and all the Sidonians, Who have gone down with the slain In shame at the terror which they caused by their might; They lie uncircumcised with those slain by the sword, And bear their shame with those who go down to the Pit. Pharaoh will see them And be comforted over all his multitude, Pharaoh and all his army, Slain by the sword,” Says the Lord GOD. For I have caused My terror in the land of the living; And he shall be placed in the midst of the uncircumcised With those slain by the sword, Pharaoh and all his multitude,” Says the Lord GOD.

Sidonians were from Lebanon. Pharoah and all his army will go down to the Pit. Finally God says, that He caused His terror in the land of the living.