Ezekiel 32 Bible Commentary

Jamieson, Faussett, and Brown

(Read all of Ezekiel 32)


1. The twelfth year from the carrying away of Jehoiachin; Jerusalem was by this time overthrown, and Amasis was beginning his revolt against Pharaoh-hophra.

2. Pharaoh--"Phra" in Burmah, signifies the king, high priest, and idol.
whale--rather, any monster of the waters; here, the crocodile of the Nile. Pharaoh is as a lion on dry land, a crocodile in the waters; that is, an object of terror everywhere.
camest forth with thy rivers--"breakest forth" [FAIRBAIRN]. The antithesis of "seas" and "rivers" favors GROTIUS rendering, "Thou camest forth from the sea into the rivers"; that is, from thy own empire into other states. However, English Version is favored by the "thy": thou camest forth with thy rivers (that is, with thy forces) and with thy feet didst fall irrecoverably; so Israel, once desolate, troubles the waters (that is, neighboring states).

3. with a company of many people--namely, the Chaldeans (Eze 29:3, 4; Ho 7:12).
my net--for they are My instrument.

4. leave thee upon the land--as a fish drawn out of the water loses all its strength, so Pharaoh (in Eze 32:3, compared to a water monster) shall be (Eze 29:5).

5. thy height--thy hugeness [FAIRBAIRN]. The great heap of corpses of thy forces, on which thou pridest thyself. "Height" may refer to mental elevation, as well as bodily [VATABLUS].

6. land wherein thou swimmest--Egypt: the land watered by the Nile, the the source of its fertility, wherein thou swimmest (carrying on the image of the crocodile, that is, wherein thou dost exercise thy wanton power at will). Irony. The land shall still afford seas to swim in, but they shall be seas of blood. Alluding to the plague (Ex 7:19; Re 8:8). HAVERNICK translates, "I will water the land with what flows from thee, even thy blood, reaching to the mountains": "with thy blood overflowing even to the mountains." Perhaps this is better.

7. put thee out--extinguish thy light (Job 18:5). Pharaoh is represented as a bright star, at the extinguishing of whose light in the political sky the whole heavenly host is shrouded in sympathetic darkness. Here, too, as in Eze 32:6, there is an allusion to the supernatural darkness sent formerly (Ex 10:21-23). The heavenly bodies are often made images of earthly dynasties (Isa 13:10; Mt 24:29).

9. thy destruction--that is, tidings of thy destruction (literally, "thy breakage") carried by captive and dispersed Egyptians "among the nations" [GROTIUS]; or, thy broken people, resembling one great fracture, the ruins of what they had been [FAIRBAIRN].

10. brandish my sword before them--literally, "in their faces," or sight.

13. (See on Eze 29:11). The picture is ideally true, not to be interpreted by the letter. The political ascendency of Egypt was to cease with the Chaldean conquest [FAIRBAIRN]. Henceforth Pharaoh must figuratively no longer trouble the waters by man or beast, that is, no longer was he to flood other peoples with his overwhelming forces.

14. make their waters deep--rather, "make . . . to subside"; literally, "sink" [FAIRBAIRN].
like oil--emblem of quietness. No longer shall they descend violently on other countries as the overflowing Nile, but shall be still and sluggish in political action.

16. As in Eze 19:14. This is a prophetical lamentation; yet so it shall come to pass [GROTIUS].

17. The second lamentation for Pharaoh. This funeral dirge in imagination accompanies him to the unseen world. Egypt personified in its political head is ideally represented as undergoing the change by death to which man is liable. Expressing that Egypt's supremacy is no more, a thing of the past, never to be again.
the month--the twelfth month (Eze 32:1); fourteen days after the former vision.

18. cast them down--that is, predict that they shall be cast down (so Jer 1:10). The prophet's word was God's, and carried with it its own fulfilment.
daughters of . . . nations--that is, the nations with their peoples. Egypt is to share the fate of other ancient nations once famous, now consigned to oblivion: Elam (Eze 32:24), Meshech, &c. (Eze 32:26), Edom (Eze 32:29), Zidon (Eze 32:30).

19. Whom dost thou pass in beauty?--Beautiful as thou art, thou art not more so than other nations, which nevertheless have perished.
go down, &c.--to the nether world, where all "beauty" is speedily marred.

20. she is delivered to the sword--namely, by God.
draw her--as if addressing her executioners: drag her forth to death.

21. (Eze 31:16). Ezekiel has before his eyes Isa 14:9, &c.
shall speak to him--with "him" join "with them that help him"; shall speak to him and his helpers with a taunting welcome, as now one of themselves.

22. her . . . his--The abrupt change of gender is, because Ezekiel has in view at one time the kingdom (feminine), at another the monarch. "Asshur," or Assyria, is placed first in punishment, as being first in guilt.

23. in the sides of the pit--Sepulchres in the East were caves hollowed out of the rock, and the bodies were laid in niches formed at the sides. MAURER needlessly departs from the ordinary meaning, and translates, "extremities" (compare Isa 14:13, 15).
which caused terror--They, who alive were a terror to others, are now, in the nether world, themselves a terrible object to behold.

24. Elam--placed next, as having been an auxiliary to Assyria. Its territory lay in Persia. In Abraham's time an independent kingdom (Ge 14:1). Famous for its bowmen (Isa 22:6).
borne their shame--the just retribution of their lawless pride. Destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar (Jer 49:34-38).

25. a bed--a sepulchral niche.
all . . . slain by . . . sword, &c.-- (Eze 32:21, 23, 24). The very monotony of the phraseology gives to the dirge an awe-inspiring effect.

26. Meshech, Tubal--northern nations: the Moschi and Tibareni, between the Black and Caspian Seas. HERODOTUS [3.94], mentions them as a subjugated people, tributaries to Darius Hystaspes (see Eze 27:13).

27. they shall not lie with the mighty--that is, they shall not have separate tombs such as mighty conquerors have: but shall all be heaped together in one pit, as is the case with the vanquished [GROTIUS]. HAVERNICK reads it interrogatively, "Shall they not lie with the mighty that are fallen?" But English Version is supported by the parallel (Isa 14:18, 19), to which Ezekiel refers, and which represents them as not lying as mighty kings lie in a grave, but cast out of one, as a carcass trodden under foot.
with . . . weapons of war--alluding to the custom of burying warriors with their arms (1 Maccabees 13:29). Though honored by the laying of "their swords under their heads," yet the punishment of "their iniquities shall be upon their bones." Their swords shall thus attest their shame, not their glory (Mt 26:52), being the instruments of their violence, the penalty of which they are paying.

28. Yea, thou--Thou, too, Egypt, like them, shalt lie as one vanquished.

29. princes--Edom was not only governed by kings, but by subordinate "princes" or "dukes" (Ge 36:40).
with their might--notwithstanding their might, they shall be brought down (Isa 34:5, 10-17; Jer 49:7, 13-18).
lie with the uncircumcised--Though Edom was circumcised, being descended from Isaac, he shall lie with the uncircumcised; much more shall Egypt, who had no hereditary right to circumcision.

30. princes of the north--Syria, which is still called by the Arabs the north; or the Tyrians, north of Palestine, conquered by Nebuchadnezzar (Eze 26:1-28:26), [GROTIUS].
Zidonians--who shared the fate of Tyre (Eze 28:21).
with their terror they are ashamed of their might--that is, notwithstanding the terror which they inspired in their contemporaries. "Might" is connected by MAURER thus, "Notwithstanding the terror which resulted from their might."

31. comforted--with the melancholy satisfaction of not being alone, but of having other kingdoms companions in his downfall. This shall be his only comfort--a very poor one!

32. my terror--the Margin or Keri. The Hebrew text or Chetib is "his terror," which gives good sense (Eze 32:25, 30). "My terror" implies that God puts His terror on Pharaoh's multitude, as they put "their terror" on others, for example, under Pharaoh-necho on Judea. As "the land of the living" was the scene of "their terror," so it shall be God's; especially in Judea, He will display His glory to the terror of Israel's foes (Eze 26:20). In Israel's case the judgment is temporary, ending in their future restoration under Messiah. In the case of the world kingdoms which flourished for a time, they fall to rise no more.