The Word Made Fresh
1The LORD’s word came to me:
2“Son of man, prophesy: announce that this is what the LORD God says:
3The day of the LORD is drawing near.
It will be a day of clouds, a terrible day for all the nations.
A sword will fall upon Egypt.
Cush will be filled with anguish
when the dead fall in Egypt and its wealth is carried off
and its foundations are in ruins.
5Cush, Put, Lud, and all of Arabia and Libya,
and the people of nearby lands,
will fall by the sword along with them.
6The LORD says that Egypt’s allies will all be defeated.
Their pride will be shattered from Migdol to Syene;
all of them will be defeated,” says the LORD God.
7“They will be wiped out along with other countries the LORD designates.
Their cites will lie in waste along with the other cities.
8They will surely know that I am the LORD
when I have set fire to Egypt and all their allies.
9“When that takes place, I will send messengers out in ships to terrify Cush, taking them by surprise, and they will be filled with anguish when the day of Egypt’s doom arrives. It is indeed coming!
10“The LORD God says, I will destroy the armies of Egypt
at the hand of Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon.
11He and his people, a terrible nation, will be brought in to destroy the land.
They will draw their swords against Egypt
and fill the land with those who are slain.
12I will dry up the rivers and give the land to evil men.
By the hand of foreigners
I will bring destruction on the land and everything in it.
I, the LORD, have spoken.
13The LORD God says, I will destroy their idols
and do away with the images in Memphis.
There will no longer be a prince in the land of Egypt,
and I will put fear in the hearts of the Egyptians.
14I will destroy Upper Egypt and set Zoan ablaze.
I will judge Thebes and punish them.
15My rage will wash Pelusium, Egypt’s stronghold, away,
and annihilate the throngs of Thebes.
16I will set fire to Egypt. Pelusium will be in agony.
Thebes will be overrun. Memphis will face new enemies every day.
17The young men from On and Pibeseth will fall to the sword
and the people will be taken into captivity.
18The day will be darkened in Tehaphnehes when I destroy Egypt’s power.
And Egypt’s pride will be brought to an end.
Covered by a cloud, its daughters will go into captivity.
19This is how I will judge Egypt,
and they will know that I am the LORD.”
20On the seventh day of the first month in the eleventh year the word of the LORD came to me: 21“Son of man, I have broken Pharaoh’s arm, and have left it unbandaged for healing, so that it will never again become strong enough to wield a sword. 22I am against Pharaoh, king of Egypt,” says the LORD God, “and I will break his arms, the strong one and the one that was already broken. His sword will fall from his hand. 23I will disperse the Egyptians among the nations and through all the lands. 24I 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 as one who is mortally wounded. 25I will empower the arms of the king of Babylon, but Pharaoh’s arms will be weak, and they will know that I am the LORD when I place the sword of the king of Babylon into his hand. Then he will reach out with the sword against Egypt, 26and I will scatter the Egyptians among the nations and the peoples. Then they will know that I am the LORD.”
The same sequence is evident again: first the judgment against Egypt, then a lamentation for Egypt, followed by a judgment against Egypt’s king.
1-5: Here begins the lamentation, wailing for the familiar “sword” that is now to fall on Egypt. Other nations are mentioned in verse 5; many scholars think these are the places which supplied Egypt with mercenary soldiers. Arabia is out of place and the Hebrew word used may be intended rather as a reference to groups of “mixed people.”
6-9: By now the reader is desensitized to the carnage described. We’ve read about such horrors before – more than once. Ethiopia is looked upon as an extension of Egypt, occupying as it does the upper regions of the Nile.
10-12: God has spoken. Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, will be God’s instrument of punishment for Egypt.
13-19: God’s judgment is described sweeping through Egypt. The place names don’t seem to be in any particular order, but do represent a pretty thorough random sampling of Egypt’s cities and fortresses. Destruction and exile are the orders of the day; all of this so that “they will know that I am the LORD.”
20-26: Suddenly we are back in the 11th year. The siege of Jerusalem is in full swing. Egypt has made an attempt to stop Babylon, planning no doubt to have Jerusalem themselves. The attempt will utterly fail, says Ezekiel. God is against them. Babylon’s star is rising; Egypt’s is falling.
No nation, no matter how powerful, can stand without God’s blessing. God is patient, but sooner or later the nation that worships other “gods” will be overturned. Ezekiel was a scary fellow, wasn’t he?