Ezekiel 30:1-26

Submitted by admin on Sun, 2018-06-10 16:23.

Posted in | printer-friendly version »

Again YHWH’s “word” or message (“word of prophecy” [Targum]) came to Ezekiel. (30:1) Addressed as “son of man,” a mortal in the service of the eternal God YHWH, Ezekiel was directed to prophesy and say, “Thus says the Lord YHWH, Wail, Alas for the day.” Apparently those called upon to wail over the calamity that would be coming upon them included the Egyptians, Ethiopians (Cushites), and various other peoples. (See verse 5.) The “day” would be a day of judgment. (30:2; see the Notes section.) This “day” was then near. The judgment was one that would come about through the instrument of YHWH’s choosing. Therefore, the day was identified as the “day of YHWH.” It was a day that would mean gloom for all whom it would affect and so it is described as a “day of clouds” or a day when any bright prospects would be eclipsed as with a covering of dark clouds. It would be the “time” YHWH had appointed for people of the nations to be punished for their wrongs. (30:3; see the Notes section.)

The “sword” of warfare would come into Egypt. Upon seeing the slain fall, the victorious military force carrying away Egypt’s wealth, and the country’s “foundations” torn down or the land left in ruins, the Ethiopians would come be in anguish. They would fear that they would likewise be attacked. (30:4) All those who would be fighting with the Egyptians would fall by the same sword of warfare. These are identified as Ethiopia (Cush), Put, Lud, “all the mixed company,” Chub, and “sons of the land of the covenant.” Put and Lud probably were located in northern Africa. Those designated as the “mixed company” may either have been foreign mercenaries or, more specifically, warriors from nomadic tribes in the Arabian Peninsula. The location of Chub is not known, but one conjectural identification is Libya. “Sons of the land of the covenant” may identify Judeans who were residing in Egypt and fought alongside the Egyptians. This is the apparent significance of the Septuagint rendering, for it refers to them as “sons of my [God’s] covenant.” (30:5; see the Notes section.)

YHWH declared that supporters of Egypt would fall and that the strength in which the Egyptians took pride would come down, ceasing to exist. The entire land of Egypt would be impacted, with the sword of warfare slaying people from Migdol to Syene. Migdol may have been a prominent frontier city in northern Egypt (Magdolos [LXX], possibly a site not far from Pelusium [Tel el Farame], a place about 20 miles [32 kilometers] southeast of Port Said). Syene was located at the southern extremity of the country. The ancient site has been linked to Aswan. (30:6)

“In the midst of desolated lands,” the Egyptians would find themselves in a state of ruin. Likewise, “in the midst of” other desolated cities, Egyptian cities would be devastated. (30:7)

The message YHWH conveyed through his prophet revealed that devastation would come upon Egypt. Therefore, he is the one quoted as setting a “fire in Egypt.” According to the Targum, this would be through the use of nations “as fierce as fire.” All “helpers” of Egypt, supporters or allies, would be broken or shattered. Subsequent to these developments the Egyptians would come to “know” or be forced to recognize YHWH as the God whose message against Egypt had been fulfilled. (30:8)

Possibly because the devastation of Egypt would be a fulfillment of his word, YHWH is represented as having messengers go forth from before his “face” or from his presence. These messengers would travel by ships from Egypt down the Nile to Ethiopia, probably to report the defeat the Egyptians had suffered. Likely because of their military strength, the Ethiopians had regarded themselves as secure, but the arrival of the messengers would cause anguish or panic. “On the day of Egypt,” or the time Egypt would suffer devastation, the Ethiopians would come to fear that they could likewise be conquered. It appears that the introductory “look” serves to announce that either Egypt or Ethiopia would face a day of calamity (“look, it comes”). (30:9; see the Notes section.)

“By the hand” or the military might of “Nebuchadrezzar [Nebuchadnezzar] the king of Babylon” as his instrument, YHWH would bring the “multitude of Egypt” to its end. This “multitude” may designate the large fighting force. (30:10) “He [Nebuchadnezzar] and his people [or warriors] with him, the most fear-inspiring or ruthless of nations (“pests being sent from the nations” [LXX]), would come into Egypt and devastate the land. They would “draw their swords against Egypt and fill the land” with those whom they would slay. (30:11)

YHWH declared that he would make the “streams,” either the irrigation canals of the Nile or the rivulets of the Nile Delta, dry land and “sell” or deliver Egypt “into the hand [or power] of evil men” (Nebuchadnezzar and his troops), desolating the land “and its fullness [or everything in it] by the hand of foreigners” (the military strength of foreign enemies). (30:12) The Lord YHWH would also “destroy the idols” (literally, “dungy things” [an expression of contempt]) and bring an end to the “worthless things” or images of Noph (Memphis [LXX], a capital of ancient Egypt that is linked to a site on the west side of the Nile and to the south of modern Cairo). No longer would there be a prince or ruler “in the land of Egypt.” YHWH would put “fear in the land of Egypt,” apparently the fear of the oppressive Babylonian power that would subjugate the country. (30:13; see the Notes section.)

YHWH is quoted as declaring that he would desolate Pathros [Pathoures (LXX)],” a region of Egypt that may have bordered on the northern boundary of ancient Cush or Ethiopia, “set fire in Zoan” (Tanis [LXX], a city situated in the northeastern part of the Nile Delta), and execute judgments against No (Thebes [Diospolis (LXX)], a one-time capital of ancient Egypt and the chief center for the veneration of the god Amon). (30:14) His wrath would be poured out on Sin (Sais [LXX], Pelusium [Tel el Farame], a place about 20 miles [32 kilometers] southeast of Port Said), the “fortress [strength (LXX)] of Egypt” (an important fortress city that functioned as a vital part in Egyptian defenses). YHWH would “cut off the multitude of No” (Thebes [Memphis (LXX)], Alexandria [Targum]). Possibly the “multitude of No” or Thebes consisted of the city’s defending warriors. (30:15; see the Notes section.)

YHWH is quoted as setting a “fire in Egypt.” Sin (Pelusium [Tel el Farame]; Syene [LXX], a place at the southern extremity of Egypt) would then be in great agony. No (Thebes [Diospolis (LXX)], Alexandria [Targum]) would be breached. The Hebrew text may to understood to mean that Noph (Memphis) would face “adversaries of the day”or at daytime. According to the Targum, enemies would encompass Memphis “day in and day out.” Instead of referring to “adversaries of the day,” many modern translations follow the Septuagint rendering, indicating that water would pour through the breached city. (30:16)

Young men of On (“trouble” or “wickedness” [according to the vowel points of the Masoretic Text]; Heliopolis [LXX]) and Pibeseth (Bubastos [LXX]) would fall by the sword, and the “women” (LXX) of the conquered cities (“they” [Hebrew text and P967], the cities) would go into captivity. On or Heliopolis was a city situated on the east bank of the Nile and not far to the northeast of modern Cairo. Pibeseth or Bubastos (Bubastis) was a city in the Nile Delta. (30:17)

At the time YHWH would break the “bars,” “scepters” (LXX), or the dominion of Egypt, the “day” would be darkened for Tehaphnehes (Tahpanes [Taphnas (LXX)]), a city in the Delta region of Egypt. All hope would be eclipsed for the surviving inhabitants of the city. The military strength in which the people of Tehaphnehes took pride would cease. It would then be as if dark clouds had covered the city. According to the Targum, a “king” would “cover her with his armies” as would a “cloud that rises and covers the land.” “Daughters” of Tehaphnehes or the people of nearby towns and villages would go into captivity. (30:18) Upon YHWH’s use of his agency to execute judgments against Egypt, the Egyptians would know or be forced to recognize that YHWH was the God who had acted against them. (30:19)

Again YHWH’s “word” or message (a “word of prophecy” [Targum]) came to Ezekiel. It was then the seventh day of the first month (mid-March to mid-April) of the eleventh year of King Jehoiachin’s exile. This is commonly considered to have been the year 587 BCE. (30:20; see the Notes section.)

Addressed as “son of man,” a mortal in the service of the eternal God YHWH, Ezekiel heard the message revealing to him that YHWH would break the “arm” (“arms” [LXX]) or strength of “Pharaoh the king of Egypt.” The word for “look” served to focus on what would cease to be possible for Pharaoh. His “arm” or the military strength that was at his disposal would remain broken. It would not be bound up, bandaged, or be healed. It would never regain the strength to seize the sword of warfare to wield it effectively. (30:21) The Lord YHWH declared that he was “against Pharaoh the king of Egypt” and would “break his arms,” the “strong one” (the one that had not been broken) and the arm that previously had been broken, and would cause the sword to fall “from his hand.” This indicated that the military force available to Pharaoh would not be able to launch an effective defense against the enemy warriors. (30:22) The surviving defeated Egyptians would be scattered “among the nations” and dispersed throughout various lands. (30:23) The agency YHWH would use to defeat the Egyptians would be Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar and his troops. Therefore, YHWH is quoted as saying that he would “strengthen the arms [or power] of the king of Babylon” and give him his sword “into his hand,” granting him permission to wield this sword against the Egyptians. At the same time, YHWH would “break the arms of Pharaoh,” letting him be deprived of all defensive power. Pharaoh would then “groan groans” or do much groaning as a defeated ruler before the triumphant king of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar. The Septuagint rendering indicates that the king of Babylon would direct the sword against Egypt, take plunder, and seize spoils. (30:24)

Apparently to emphasize that the king of Babylon would be victorious, YHWH is quoted as repeating what he would do. “I will strengthen the arms [the military might] of the king of Babylon, and the arms [the military strength] of Pharaoh will fall.” And they [the Egyptians] will know [or be forced to recognize] that I am YHWH when I place my sword into the hand [the power] of the king of Babylon. He [Nebuchadnezzar] will extend it [the sword] against the land of Egypt.” (30:25) “And I will scatter the Egyptians [survivors of the military conquest] among the nations and disperse them among [various] lands. And they will know [or be forced to recognize] that I am YHWH,” the God who had used King Nebuchadnezzar to carry out his punitive judgments against them. (30:26)


In verse 2, the Septuagint does not include a verb for “wail.” It represents God as saying, “Oh, oh, the day!”

The Septuagint wording of verse 3 is shorter than the extant Hebrew text. “For near is the day of the Lord, a day for an end of the nations it will be.”

Instead of Ethiopia, the Septuagint in verse 5 says “Persians.” Put, Lud, and Chub appear to be rendered as Cretans, Lydians, and Libyans.

According to the Septuagint rendering of verse 9, the messengers are represented as hurrying to destroy Ethiopia, and there is no reference to ships. The oldest extant Greek manuscript (P967) indicates that “great disturbance,” upheaval, or tumult would occur among the Ethiopians, but other manuscripts do not include the word meaning “great.”

The wording of verse 13 in the Septuagint differs from that of the extant Hebrew text. It quotes the Lord as saying, “I will destroy nobles from Memphis and rulers from the land of Egypt, and they will not still be” or continue to exist.

The oldest extant Greek manuscript (P967) does not refer to Sin or Sais in verse 15. It indicates that God would pour out his wrath “upon all the strength of Egypt.”

P967, the oldest extant Greek manuscript, says “tenth year” in verse 20, not “eleventh year.”