Against Egypt, part 2

Posted: October 13, 2016 in Ezekiel, Uncategorized

Ezekiel 31-32, “Against Egypt, part 2”

Some lessons take longer to learn than others.  For me, learning to run was relatively easy: you put one foot in front of the other, and go.  There were some painful lessons along the way about gait, shoes, form, and more (which were accompanied by shin splints, strains, and other issues), but overall, one time was enough to learn what worked & what didn’t.  Other things take repetition.  No matter how many times I’ve cooked certain recipes, I always find myself pulling out the directions again & again.  The repetition makes it stick.

Would that all lessons be as relatively painless as a bread recipe!  The consequences for some mistakes are far worse than others, and the amount of attention we need to spend on knowing the instructions ought to be proportional to how serious the issue may be.

The Jews had quite a lesson in front of them.  The culmination of generations of idolatry and other sins against God had led them to the loss of their kingdom, and God sent the Babylonians to Jerusalem as His instrument of judgment.  Jerusalem was lost, and the Jews were carted off into captivity.  The lesson now facing the Jews was simple, but serious: would they finally trust the Lord and His direction for them – or would they continue to rebel against Him and do things their own way?

That all brings us to Egypt.  One of the ways the Jews tended to rebel was to look to Egypt as their hope, rather than the God they claimed to worship.  Egypt had been a snare and temptation in generations past (as Moses led the Hebrews out of slavery), and now that the Jews were facing a new form of slavery in Babylon, Egypt became a temptation once again.  Thus this is when God speaks up through Ezekiel.  For many reasons, Egypt should not have been a viable option for the Jews, but if for nothing else, Egypt should have been crossed off the list because God declared that Egypt would fall.  The worldly kingdom in which some of the Jews placed their hope would come crashing to the ground, and God wanted them to know it.  If their hope was in Egypt, their hope was misplaced.

That’s what God said through Ezekiel in chapters 29-30, and that’s what He continues to say in 31-32.  Egypt was on a countdown to destruction, and while the Jews waited out their captivity in Babylon, they ought not to be waiting on salvation to come from Egypt.  Their salvation would come only from the Lord.  So does ours!

Ezekiel 31

  • Egypt and the example of Assyria (1-9)

1 Now it came to pass in the eleventh year, in the third month, on the first day of the month, that the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 2 “Son of man, say to Pharaoh king of Egypt and to his multitude: ‘Whom are you like in your greatness?

  • Another oracle, another timestamp from the prophet.  The date is June 21, 587BC, roughly two months after the previous oracle to Egypt.  Time is marching along, and God is continuing to speak to His prophet.
  • Question: why does God give Ezekiel a word for Pharaoh, when it was unlikely Pharaoh would ever receive it?  Remember that Ezekiel was one of the Jews deep in the heart of the Babylonian Empire (by the River Chebar), and Pharaoh Hophra was a long way away.  Besides, what reason would a pagan Egyptian have to read the words of a Jewish prophet?  Obviously the majority of eyes that would read the words of Ezekiel would be Jewish (thus the warning to them not to trust Egypt), but God did have a word for Pharaoh.  Pharaoh may not listen, but he would be warned.  No doubt there would be some way for the word of God to travel, even if the Egyptian king didn’t want to pay attention to it.  God did not leave Himself without a witness.  He never does.
    • Likewise, the vast majority of people in the world (even in the United States) may never pick up a Bible and read it for themselves, but it’s there.  Especially here in the USA, people are without excuse.  God has left Himself a witness, even if people can’t be bothered to read it. 

3 Indeed Assyria was a cedar in Lebanon, With fine branches that shaded the forest, And of high stature; And its top was among the thick boughs.

  • If God gave a word to Ezekiel against “Pharaoh king of Egypt,” what is the purpose of mentioning “Assyria” here?  Some scholars believe that the word should read “cypress tree,” (due to the similarities between the two Hebrew terms), but the theory is without manuscript support.  (We can’t interpret the Bible according to what we imagine it might say; we have to interpret what it actually does say.)  Although this seems confusing at first, it actually makes quite a bit of sense.  Egypt thought a lot of itself, but it was about to meet its downfall.  The best way for Egypt to learn this was for them to look at another world-power that went through the same thing: Assyria.  To this point in history, Assyria was the only major world empire that invaded and defeated Egypt, so if there is any example to which Egypt ought to pay attention, it was Assyria.  If they could fall, so could Egypt.
    • Likewise, Assyria being an example to Egypt would mirror how Egypt would be an example to the rest of the nations.  ALL nations opposed to God will eventually fall.  The question isn’t “if,” but “when.”  (Which means our own nation ought to choose wisely whom we will serve!)
  • The picture God paints of Assyria is that of a mighty, beautiful tree.  This seems to be a relatively common image in Scripture of healthy, strong individuals or nations, and there’s no doubt that at one point both Assyria and Egypt were extremely strong.  God describes the Assyria-tree as being unsurpassable… 

4 The waters made it grow; Underground waters gave it height, With their rivers running around the place where it was planted, And sent out rivulets to all the trees of the field. 5 ‘Therefore its height was exalted above all the trees of the field; Its boughs were multiplied, And its branches became long because of the abundance of water, As it sent them out. 6 All the birds of the heavens made their nests in its boughs; Under its branches all the beasts of the field brought forth their young; And in its shadow all great nations made their home. 7 ‘Thus it was beautiful in greatness and in the length of its branches, Because its roots reached to abundant waters. 8 The cedars in the garden of God could not hide it; The fir trees were not like its boughs, And the chestnut trees were not like its branches; No tree in the garden of God was like it in beauty.

  • This is a healthy tree!  It is beautiful in every respect.  The nation of Assyria was the very prototype of the famed cedars of Lebanon.  These are the types of tree every gardener would desire, unchallenged in beauty and strength – firmly rooted & well-nourished in water.  No tree in the world compared with the tree of Assyria – and indeed, for a time the kingdom of the Neo-Assyrians reigned supreme in the ancient near east.

9 I made it beautiful with a multitude of branches, So that all the trees of Eden envied it, That were in the garden of God.’

  • How good was it?  It was like it belonged in the Garden of Eden!  Not that Assyria was a nation that worshipped God (not by any stretch of the imagination), but it was so strong that it was like a tree untouched by the Fall.  It didn’t belong among the trees of the world – it belonged in the very garden of God.
  • Yet what do we know about Assyria?  It didn’t last.  Like every other empire of the world, it eventually fell, just as God knew that it would.  God remains sovereign over the nations, and He not only oversaw Assyria’s ascension and beauty, but also its downfall and defeat.   This is the lesson God wants to convey to Egypt.  What God did with Assyria is what God would do with Egypt.  Pharaoh might have been glorying in Egypt in the present day (and many of the Jews may have had idealized views of what life in Egypt may have been like), but God would soon change Egypt’s status.
    • As an aside – the way Assyria (and Egypt) saw itself is what so many people want for the world today.  They’re looking for a return to the Garden of Eden.  They want paradise in the here & now – some ultimate utopia in which all troubles and misery have passed away.  And it’s completely understandable!  Who wouldn’t like such a thing?  Yet we need to understand that while we do indeed look forward to such a day, it’s a day that won’t come in this world during this age.  That is the promise of eternity with Jesus, after His glorious return and kingdom.  Do we strive for the ideals of heaven today?  Certainly.  But we cannot expect to usher it in.  It simply is not yet time for it.  For now, our job is to walk with Jesus, glorify Him with our lives as we live out the ideals of the kingdom, and then help as many people as possible come into the kingdom for themselves.
  • The promise of the pit (10-18)

10 “Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: ‘Because you have increased in height, and it set its top among the thick boughs, and its heart was lifted up in its height, 11 therefore I will deliver it into the hand of the mighty one of the nations, and he shall surely deal with it; I have driven it out for its wickedness.

  • Notice the change in the person: “Because you have increased in height…”  No longer is God talking about Assyria (3rd person); He’s talking to Egypt (2nd person).  Egypt was originally likened to the Assyria tree – now God addresses Egypt as a tree of its own.
  • The problem?  Egypt was arrogant.  It got too big for itself.  The tree is personified as it looks out over the top of the forest.  It’s the only one that can look above the canopy of other trees, and thus thinks much of itself.  Like the arrogance of Tyre (Ch 27-28), Egypt was haughty & prideful.  It wouldn’t last.
  • The solution?  Like a lumberjack with any tall tree, God would cut it down, via the axe of the Babylonians.  Vs 12…

12 And aliens, the most terrible of the nations, have cut it down and left it; its branches have fallen on the mountains and in all the valleys; its boughs lie broken by all the rivers of the land; and all the peoples of the earth have gone from under its shadow and left it. 13 ‘On its ruin will remain all the birds of the heavens, And all the beasts of the field will come to its branches— 14 ‘So that no trees by the waters may ever again exalt themselves for their height, nor set their tops among the thick boughs, that no tree which drinks water may ever be high enough to reach up to them. ‘For they have all been delivered to death, To the depths of the earth, Among the children of men who go down to the Pit.’

  • Quite the difference from the earlier description!  When God likened Egypt to the Assyria-tree, the tree was massively beautiful and healthy.  Now it is cut down, mangled, and overturned.  Branches are broken off, and the scavenger animals have made their home in the rubble.  People are gone, and only beasts remain.  The tree has fallen, never to rise again.
  • And it doesn’t stop there.  Beyond Egypt’s fall to the ground is a prophesied fall “to the Pit.”  The Egypt-tree will go down to Sheol (the grave), as God delivered it over to death.  Before, only its roots dug into the ground – now the entire tree will decay and be dragged down into the earth.  Notice that this is the direct opposite of before.  Earlier, the tree could look over the tops of all the rest – now it was on the very bottom floor of the forest, rotting & decayed.  Pride goes before a fall, and Egypt is proof!
    • So are we, if we’re not careful!  Obviously this is a word to another nation at another time, but the application could just as easily apply to us.  Often, we as American Christians tend to look at our nation as being paralleled with Israel.  Perhaps.  But perhaps another parallel might be with Egypt.  Like Egypt, our nation has been arrogant, thinking much of itself, believing it could never fall.  Like Egypt, our trust has been in ourselves, rather than the true God.  Like Egypt, we want the world to look to us to solve their problems.  But any nation can be brought down by God, be it Egypt, or the United States.
    • Even as born-again Christian individuals, pride is something to beware.  It is far too easy to get caught up in ourselves, our own beauty, our own supposed-wisdom, etc., and think that we stand head & shoulders above the rest.  We can very easily be cut down to size!  Be careful.  Stay humble, keeping your eyes upon Jesus.  The moment you think you’re too strong for the enemy or temptations of the world is the very moment you’ll find yourself proven wrong.

15 “Thus says the Lord GOD: ‘In the day when it went down to hell, I caused mourning. I covered the deep because of it. I restrained its rivers, and the great waters were held back. I caused Lebanon to mourn for it, and all the trees of the field wilted because of it. 16 I made the nations shake at the sound of its fall, when I cast it down to hell together with those who descend into the Pit; and all the trees of Eden, the choice and best of Lebanon, all that drink water, were comforted in the depths of the earth. 17 They also went down to hell with it, with those slain by the sword; and those who were its strong arm dwelt in its shadows among the nations.

  • Notice all the use of the 1st person “I” by God.  “I caused mourning. I covered the deep because of it. I restrained its rivers…  I caused Lebanon to mourn… I made the nations shake…  I cast it down to hell…”  Do you get the idea that God is personally involved?  Absolutely!  This is something we’ve seen over & over again throughout Ezekiel (and all of the prophets): God is absolutely sovereign over the nations.  God is at work in the rise and fall of empires.  God is at work with the rise and fall of kings & other government leaders.  God is at work, and God knows what He’s doing.
  • Here, God not only caused the downfall of Egypt, but God caused the nations to take notice.  The already-fallen Lebanon (Assyria) mourned for the fall of its once-former enemy & sometimes-ally, simply because they once more witnessed the judgment of God at work.  After all, it wasn’t just Egypt that went down – it was all kinds of nations that went down with them (some of which will be detailed in the next chapter).  Historically speaking, when the Neo-Babylonian empire rose, it rose over all the ancient near east.  No nation in the area was exempt from the feeling the might of the armies of Nebuchadnezzar.  Since Nebuchadnezzar was simply a tool of Almighty God, then it follows that no nation was exempt from feeling the might of the wrath of God.
    • And no nation will be exempt!  One day, all peoples everywhere will see God for who He is.  Every tribe and tongue will confess Jesus to be the Lord, whether they originally worshipped Him or not.  Some will confess Him out of scorn – others out of worship, but He will be confessed by all, no doubt about it!

18 ‘To which of the trees in Eden will you then be likened in glory and greatness? Yet you shall be brought down with the trees of Eden to the depths of the earth; you shall lie in the midst of the uncircumcised, with those slain by the sword. This is Pharaoh and all his multitude,’ says the Lord GOD.”

  • If Assyria was likened to a tree in Eden, so was Egypt.  At one point, it was glorious, seemingly more beautiful than any other tree in the field (i.e. nation in the world).  But there’s a problem: Eden once was wonderful, but Eden is gone.  Likewise, so would Egypt pass from the face of the earth.  They would be brought down to a point of death and disgrace – they would be brought down “to the depths of the earth” – i.e. the grave, the Pit, to death.  Egypt had a heyday once, but it was over.  Those days were dead as the nation fell into the grave.
  • This is what happens to all of those who reject God.  To those who continue to rebel, they will be dragged down to the grave. 

Ezekiel 32

  • Egypt’s funeral song (1-16)

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, 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.’

  • The date: March 3, 585BC.  This marks the 5th out of 6 dates that Ezekiel marks concerning Egyptian prophecies (the final one will be found in vs. 17).  This is a little less than two years after the previous oracle.  Time is marching along, and God is continuing His countdown to Egyptian destruction.
  • Why a “lamentation”?  Is God sorrowful over Egypt?  Not really.  Remember God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked (Eze 33:11).  He certainly isn’t rejoicing over all of this!  At the same time, the word for “lamentation” doesn’t always speak of sorrow or grief.  More properly, it refers to a funeral dirge (song).  Although Egypt still lived at the moment, it was a bygone conclusion that they would die, per God’s repeated declaration.  Thus God told Ezekiel to sing an appropriate funeral song.  It would be as if Pharaoh could read his eulogy while he still lived.  (And unlike other eulogies, it wouldn’t necessarily be complimentary!)
  • In Ch. 31, Egypt was likened to a tree – this time, it is compared to a “young lion” and “monster.”  This is the same word used in 29:3 speaking of a serpent, dragon, sea creature, or (most likely) a crocodile.  IOW, Egypt was a dangerous creature!  The fact God calls Pharaoh a “young lion” doesn’t mean he’s a cub – it means he’s a fresh lion of hunting age ready to pounce.  Likewise, Pharaoh was a crocodile thrashing around in the rivers.  Egypt may have long passed the peak of its powers, but the current Pharaoh was dangerous in his own right.
  • He may have been dangerous to other nations, but he was no problem for God.  Vs. 3…

3 “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. 4 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. 5 I will lay your flesh on the mountains, And fill the valleys with your carcass.

  • Similarly to Ch. 29, God promised to fish out the monstrous crocodile, defeat it, and leave it for dead.  It would become food for the nations as scavengers would come and pick apart its carcass.  Thus the belly of the beasts would be filled.  The idea is that Egypt wouldn’t just fall – it would be completely decimated to the point of total defeat.
  • Can God defeat any power?  Without question!  No nation in the world can stand against Him.  No power in the universe holds a candle to the all-powerful God.  Can God defeat the ultimate Dragon, known as Satan?  Without a doubt!  Though the devil may struggle to the contrary, there is no question as to his outcome.  The Serpent will be taken, defeated, imprisoned, and eventually cast into the eternal lake of fire.  And likewise with Egypt, the nations will witness Satan’s defeat, and he will be humiliated in the sight of all.  Total defeat – compete decimation.

6 ‘I will also water the land with the flow of your blood, Even to the mountains; And the riverbeds will be full of you. 7 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. 8 All the bright lights of the heavens I will make dark over you, And bring darkness upon your land,’ Says the Lord GOD.

  • More description God’s defeat of Egypt, but the language is striking – especially in light of the events of Exodus many centuries earlier.  One of the first plagues brought by Moses was turning the water to blood (Exo 7).  Later, there was darkness that covered the land (Exo 10).  The very thing that Moses had done generations earlier to help bring the Egyptians to a knowledge of the true God would be done again, and once more they would know it was the Lord God of Israel at work.
  • Question: did this happen literally?  We have no record of it, and when interpreted in light of Egypt’s eventual historical fall to Babylon, this would seem to be symbolic, figurative language.  Yet if we see this as prophecy with a near & future fulfillment, then this would seem literally true.  After all, what is it that will be seen during the signs of the Great Tribulation?  Among other things, water turning to blood, and darkness covering the land (Rev 8, 16).  Obviously it will happen to more than only Egypt, but Egypt will certainly be included in the judgments!  (Is God’s word true?  Always!)

9 ‘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. 10 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.’ 11 “For thus says the Lord GOD: ‘The sword of the king of Babylon shall come upon you. 12 ‘By the swords of the mighty warriors, all of them the most terrible of the nations, I will cause your multitude to fall. …

  • As a result of all of this, it wouldn’t be only Egypt who would be troubled – it would be the rest of the nations of the world.  They would witness Egypt’s fall & tremble.  Again, they will see it as an example against themselves.  If God could do these things to Egypt, surely God could do it to any other nation of the world.  (And He can!)
  • Again, this is the personal act of God, but He personally acts through the tool of Babylon.  God’s own sword is “the sword of the king of Babylon.”  God would use one pagan king to bring down the pompous kingdom of another pagan king.

… “They shall plunder the pomp of Egypt, And all its multitude shall be destroyed. 13 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. 14 Then I will make their waters clear, And make their rivers run like oil,’ Says the Lord GOD. 15 ‘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.

  • The idea is total destruction.  Everything is decimated, and the people desert the land.  God promised that Egypt would be so barren, that neither humans nor animals would even disturb the waters of the rivers.  When He says He will “make their rivers run like oil,” the idea is that of pure olive oil, being clear & smooth & undisturbed.  (Not petroleum!)  Everything will be made “desolate,” and people will have no other option other than to recognize the hand of YHWH God at work.
  • This might be one more indication that God has both near & future fulfillments in mind with this prophecy.  Although Egypt certainly did lose its influence & power, and dwindled into a third-world nation – it never became quite as desolate as God describes here.  Yet at some point during the Great Tribulation, who knows what will be the result?  It’s quite possible some of these prophecies will find their literal fulfillment at that time.  As an alternate interpretation (again one with future fulfillment during the Millennial Kingdom), it’s possible that this is a reference to the era of peace Egypt will experience once the evil of Pharaoh is dealt with in a final judgment.  Thus the rivers run smooth as oil, because the crocodile monster of Pharaoh no longer stirs is up.  Either way, it is a future work of God, and we can be sure that He will make His word come true to the letter.

16 ‘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.”

  • There’s a lot of lamenting going on!  Again, this isn’t necessarily sorrowful grieving; it’s a description of a funeral.  The point is that Egypt’s future is certain.  There is no escape from her death.  It has been declared by God, and it will come to pass.
  • Egypt not alone in destruction (17-32)

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: 18 “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:

  • This is the final date in the Egyptian oracles, and interestingly it is a bit more uncertain than it initially seems.  Notice that the prophecy came on the 15th day of the month, but Ezekiel never says what month it is.  The LXX translators believed it to be a reference to the 1st month, so that would make the date April 27, 585BC, or just a few weeks past the last date given in 32:1.  Historically speaking, the Babylonian conquest of Egypt is still several years out (571BC, re: 29:17), but it was approaching a lot faster than what the Egyptians may have believed.
  • God gave this last oracle underscoring Egypt’s fall.  By this point, there ought to be no doubt as to God’s plan for Egypt: it was being “cast…down to the depths of the earth.”  It was going down to the grave, and it wouldn’t be alone.  Later, God will list some specific nations that would join Egypt in its fall to Babylon.  But first, God reiterates some of the prophecies He has already given regarding them.  Vs. 19…

19 ‘Whom do you surpass in beauty? Go down, be placed with the uncircumcised.’ 20 “They shall fall in the midst of those slain by the sword; She is delivered to the sword, Drawing her and all her multitudes. 21 The strong among the mighty Shall speak to him out of the midst of hell With those who help him: ‘They have gone down, They lie with the uncircumcised, slain by the sword.’

  • Earlier, Egypt had been like a beautiful tree that God promised to cut down.  He basically says the same thing here.  Egypt seemed to be unsurpassed “in beauty,” but it would be disgraced & delivered over to violent enemy warriors.
  • Again, they wouldn’t be the only nation to lie in death with the uncircumcised masses.  Others would join them.  Vs. 22…

22 “Assyria is there, and all her company, With their graves all around her, All of them slain, fallen by the sword. 23 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.

  • First up: Assyria. The Neo-Assyrian empire was the most prominent nation to be cut down by Babylon, as Babylon basically took over the empire from them.  This was God’s justice upon Assyria, as they had been known as a brutal people.  As God declared of them, they “caused terror in the land of the living.”  There are carved reliefs & other images of the Assyrians literally putting fishhooks in the mouths or noses of their captives & carting them away.  This was not a gentle nation, by any stretch of the imagination!  They had earned their judgment from God, and it came via the Babylonians.

24 “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. 25 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.

  • Next: Elam.  The Elamites had an ancient empire in the southwestern area of Iran, and their kingdom tended to rise & fall with however much the Assyrians & others came to power at particular points in history.  But they were resilient!  There are archaeological records of Elamites as far back as 2700BC, and they survived in some form all the way till 539BC.  Who brought them down?  Things began unravelling during the Neo-Babylonian empire, but eventually they fell to the Medes and Persians.  Again – all of this was due to the sovereign working of God over the nations.  And like the Assyrians, the Elamites who had brought “terror to the land of the living,” experienced their own terror as God brought in His judgment against them.

26 “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. 27 They do not lie with the mighty Who are fallen of the uncircumcised, Who have gone down to hell 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. 28 Yes, you shall be broken in the midst of the uncircumcised, And lie with those slain by the sword.

  • Meshech & Tubal are general terms for areas of modern-day Turkey.  They had routine conflicts with Assyria for the control of the northern reaches of the Assyrian empire, and God condemns them as well for their own acts of “terror in the land of the living.”  Like the other nations, they would fall as well, their dead soldiers strewn across the battle fields.

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. 30 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.

  • Edom & Sidon are taken together, and they basically lay on opposite borders of Israel.  Edom to the southeast; Sidon to the north (right next to Tyre).  Once more they are condemned for their acts of terror, and they are consigned to go down in defeat to Babylon.  They would “bear their shame” to the grave as they were conquered.

31 “Pharaoh will see them And be comforted over all his multitude, Pharaoh and all his army, Slain by the sword,” Says the Lord GOD. 32 “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.

  • Misery loves company, and such was the case with Pharaoh.  Egypt could take at least some small comfort in the fact that they were not the only nation defeated by Babylon & the succeeding empires.  All kinds of nations would fall in the wake of these rising powers, of which God was behind them all.
  • And with that said, did you notice God’s response to them?  Each one of these nations had brought “terror in the land of the living”…now that terror would be brought on by God.  How so?  Is God promising to be as atrocious as the other nations He condemned?  Of course not.  Certainly the Babylonians would commit war crimes of their own (for which they would answer), but the terror of God is unlike the terror of men.  Yes, men still quake in fear of the Living God, but that is a fear that brings men face-to-face with holiness.  The terror of God leads to the reverence of God.  The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Prov 9:10).  When people see God rightly, we are forced to come to grips with His holiness.  That either causes men & women to double-down in their rebellion, or to fall to our knees asking for mercy.  The same thing will take place during the days of the Great Tribulation.  Those days will be awful – painful, frightening, and horrendous for anyone living through them.  And it will be absolutely clear that God is at the root of it all.  For some, it will cause them to further harden their hearts against Him – for others, it will bring them to faith.  Same fear/terror; different results.  The choice is up to us.

God had much to say against Egypt, but in the process, He was saying a lot to Israel.  To Pharaoh, God made it clear that the prideful kingdom of Egypt would be cast down.  The mighty tree would be felled – the dangerous crocodile fished out and devoured.  It would join the rest of the nations of the ancient near east in being swallowed up by the Babylonian empire, which was under the sovereign direction of Almighty God.  Pride would do them no favors during this judgment; it would only hasten their fall.

To Israel, God was pointing out that hope in Egypt was futile.  They ought not to have been looking to Egypt for their rescue; they ought to have been waiting upon the Lord.  Yes, God had allowed them to go to Babylon, but if they remembered many other prophecies given them by God, they could rest assured that God would bring them out from Babylon.  To trust in world powers such as Egypt was useless.  God was sovereign over the nations of the world anyway.  His will was going to be accomplished, no matter what.

Christian, our hope needs to be in God!  We cannot look to political saviors, or national trends to get us out of our mess – we can only look to Jesus.  Hope that is placed in anything besides Him is misplaced & futile.  Obviously we do not withdraw from our culture – we do what we can in this day & age to glorify God in all of our works.  But we dare not put our trust in the things of this “day and age.”  Our trust must only & always be in Christ Jesus!


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