Ezekiel 32 Bible Commentary

John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes

(Read all of Ezekiel 32)

Verse 1

[1] And it came to pass in the twelfth year, in the twelfth month, in the first day of the month, that the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,

Twelfth year — Of the captivity of Jeconiah.

Verse 2

[2] Son of man, take up a lamentation for Pharaoh king of Egypt, and say unto him, Thou art like a young lion of the nations, and thou art as a whale in the seas: and thou camest forth with thy rivers, and troubledst the waters with thy feet, and fouledst their rivers.

Like a young lion — Spoiling all thou canst.

Crocodile — The crocodiles lay in the rivers, though sometimes they went down the river to the sea.

With thy rivers — Raisedst mighty armies, and didst lead them out against thy neighbours.

The waters — The people, and kings near thee.

Thy feet — With thy soldiers.

Fouledst — Didst spoil all the conveniences of thy neighbours.

Verse 3

[3] Thus saith the Lord GOD; I will therefore spread out my net over thee with a company of many people; and they shall bring thee up in my net.

With a company — In the countries, where these creatures were hunted, they went in mighty companies.

Verse 4

[4] Then will I leave thee upon the land, I will cast thee forth upon the open field, and will cause all the fowls of the heaven to remain upon thee, and I will fill the beasts of the whole earth with thee.

Leave thee — This was literally fulfilled in the deserts of Lybia, where the slain of Hophra's army, were left to be devoured by fowls and beasts.

Verse 5

[5] And I will lay thy flesh upon the mountains, and fill the valleys with thy height.

With thy height — With the carcasses of thy princes.

Verse 6

[6] I will also water with thy blood the land wherein thou swimmest, even to the mountains; and the rivers shall be full of thee.

Even to the mountains — Blood shall be poured forth, as if it were to rise to the very mountains.

Full of thee — O thy blood, and of thy carcasses cast into them.

Verse 7

[7] And when I shall put thee out, I will cover the heaven, and make the stars thereof dark; I will cover the sun with a cloud, and the moon shall not give her light.

Put thee out — As a torch is extinguished.

Cover the sun — Probably some unusual darkness was seen in the heavens, and on the earth, about that time.

Verse 9

[9] I will also vex the hearts of many people, when I shall bring thy destruction among the nations, into the countries which thou hast not known.

Thy destruction — The fame of it.

Not known — Such as were strangers to Egypt, shall be troubled with apprehension of what mischief may come upon the world from so mighty a conqueror.

Verse 10

[10] Yea, I will make many people amazed at thee, and their kings shall be horribly afraid for thee, when I shall brandish my sword before them; and they shall tremble at every moment, every man for his own life, in the day of thy fall.

Shall tremble — Be greatly afraid, lest Nebuchadnezzar, who is God's sword, should smite them.

Every man — Every one of the kings, whose kingdoms are near to Egypt.

Verse 13

[13] I will destroy also all the beasts thereof from beside the great waters; neither shall the foot of man trouble them any more, nor the hoofs of beasts trouble them.

All the beasts — The sheep, and oxen devoured, or driven away: the horses taken up to mount the horsemen, whose own horses were tired, or spoiled.

Great waters — The pasture lying along the river side.

Trouble them — There shall be so few men left in Egypt, that they shall not as formerly, disturb the waters by digging, swimming, or rowing on them.

Nor the hoofs — So few horses or cows, that they shall not at watering-times, or in the heat of the day, foul the waters.

Verse 14

[14] Then will I make their waters deep, and cause their rivers to run like oil, saith the Lord GOD.

Like oil — A figurative expression, signifying, there shall be such an universal sadness and heaviness upon the whole nation, that the very rivers which used to flow briskly, shall grow deep, and slow, and heavy.

Verse 15

[15] When I shall make the land of Egypt desolate, and the country shall be destitute of that whereof it was full, when I shall smite all them that dwell therein, then shall they know that I am the LORD.

Of that — Men and women, cattle, wealth, and peace.

Verse 16

[16] This is the lamentation wherewith they shall lament her: the daughters of the nations shall lament her: they shall lament for her, even for Egypt, and for all her multitude, saith the Lord GOD.

This is the lamentation — This mournful account, which the prophet has given of Egypt.

Verse 18

[18] Son of man, wail for the multitude of Egypt, and cast them down, even her, and the daughters of the famous nations, unto the nether parts of the earth, with them that go down into the pit.

Wail — Prepare the funeral ceremonies at the burial of Egypt.

The daughters — And celebrate the funerals of other cities and kingdoms that lie buried in their own ruins.

The nether parts of the earth — A well known description of the state of the dead.

The pit — The Egyptians affected to be buried in the Pyramids, and their kings, and great ones, would be laid by themselves; but Ezekiel provides them their grave among common people, being buried just where they fall.

Verse 19

[19] Whom dost thou pass in beauty? go down, and be thou laid with the uncircumcised.

Whom — Art thou better than others that thou shouldest not die, and be laid in the dust, as well as they.

Go — Go down like others.

With the uncircumcised — Among profane and loathed carcasses, such the uncircumcised were in the opinion of the circumcised, as were the Egyptians.

Verse 20

[20] They shall fall in the midst of them that are slain by the sword: she is delivered to the sword: draw her and all her multitudes.

They — The Egyptians.

She — The whole Egyptian kingdom.

Draw — And throw them together into the pit.

Verse 21

[21] The strong among the mighty shall speak to him out of the midst of hell with them that help him: they are gone down, they lie uncircumcised, slain by the sword.

Him — The king of Egypt.

The grave — Where they lie without strength, as dead mortals, tho' while they lived, they bore themselves, as gods.

That help — His helpers, dead before him, shall speak to him.

Gone down — To the grave.

They lie — Neglected, and forgotten.

Verse 22

[22] Asshur is there and all her company: his graves are about him: all of them slain, fallen by the sword:

Ashur — The famous, warlike, king of Assyria.

Is there — In the state of the dead, in the land of darkness and oblivion.

Her company — Princes, soldiers, subjects, and confederates.

Are about him — They are about him, who were slain with him.

Verse 23

[23] Whose graves are set in the sides of the pit, and her company is round about her grave: all of them slain, fallen by the sword, which caused terror in the land of the living.

Whose graves — Here is supposed a spacious vault, in the midst whereof the king of Ashur lies, and round the vault, his familiar captains and commanders.

Her company — The common subjects of the Assyrian empire, all buried undistinguished about her.

Her grave — The ruins of an empire are its grave.

In the land — While they were in the land of the living.

Verse 24

[24] There is Elam and all her multitude round about her grave, all of them slain, fallen by the sword, which are gone down uncircumcised into the nether parts of the earth, which caused their terror in the land of the living; yet have they borne their shame with them that go down to the pit.

Elam — The Persians, and their famous kings, who lived in former days.

Their shame — God, and man poured contempt upon them, and turned their glory into shame.

Verse 25

[25] They have set her a bed in the midst of the slain with all her multitude: her graves are round about him: all of them uncircumcised, slain by the sword: though their terror was caused in the land of the living, yet have they borne their shame with them that go down to the pit: he is put in the midst of them that be slain.

A bed — The Persians had their coffins, in which with balms and spices, the dead were kept, in the midst of places provided for them; in such is the king of Elam here placed with his slaughtered captains about him. All the honour he can now pretend to, is to be buried in the chief sepulchre.

Verse 26

[26] There is Meshech, Tubal, and all her multitude: her graves are round about him: all of them uncircumcised, slain by the sword, though they caused their terror in the land of the living.

Her multitude — With the Cappadocians and Albanians, the Scythians may be included, many of whom were next neighbors to them.

Verse 27

[27] And they shall not lie with the mighty that are fallen of the uncircumcised, which are gone down to hell with their weapons of war: and they have laid their swords under their heads, but their iniquities shall be upon their bones, though they were the terror of the mighty in the land of the living.

They — The leaders of these Scythians were not buried with a pomp like that of Ashur, or Elan, but surprised by Halyattes and Cyaxares, were cut off with all their multitude, and tumbled into pits with the rabble.

With their weapons — A ceremony observed in pompous funerals of great captains, to have their weapons, and their armour carried before the hearse.

Laid their swords — In their graves, as if they could sleep the sweeter there, when they laid their heads on such a pillow: These barbarous Scythians were not so buried.

Their iniquity — The exemplary punishment of their iniquity shall be seen upon their bones unburied.

Verse 28

[28] Yea, thou shalt be broken in the midst of the uncircumcised, and shalt lie with them that are slain with the sword.

Thou — Chief of Mesech, and Tubal.

Shalt be broken — Shalt be killed with the rest of thy wicked followers.

Shalt lie — Without regard, hurled into the pit with common soldiers.

Verse 29

[29] There is Edom, her kings, and all her princes, which with their might are laid by them that were slain by the sword: they shall lie with the uncircumcised, and with them that go down to the pit.

With the uncircumcised — The Edomites retained circumcision, being of the seed of Abraham. But that shall stand them in no stead: they shall lie with the uncircumcised.

Verse 30

[30] There be the princes of the north, all of them, and all the Zidonians, which are gone down with the slain; with their terror they are ashamed of their might; and they lie uncircumcised with them that be slain by the sword, and bear their shame with them that go down to the pit.

Of the north — Tyrians, Assyrians, and Syrians, who lay northward from Judea, now swallowed up by the Babylonian.

Of their might — When it appeared too weak to resist the enemy.

Uncircumcised — Scorned, and cast out as profane and loathsome.

Verse 31

[31] Pharaoh shall see them, and shall be comforted over all his multitude, even Pharaoh and all his army slain by the sword, saith the Lord GOD.

Comforted — Poor comfort! Yet all that he will find!

Verse 32

[32] For I have caused my terror in the land of the living: and he shall be laid in the midst of the uncircumcised with them that are slain with the sword, even Pharaoh and all his multitude, saith the Lord GOD.

My terror — These tyrants were a terror to the world by their cruelty; and God hath made them a terror by his just punishments; and so, saith God, will I do with Pharaoh. Come and see the calamitous state of human life! See what a dying world this is! The strong die, the mighty die; Pharaoh and all his multitude! But here is likewise an allusion to the final and everlasting death of impenitent sinners. Those that are uncircumcised in heart, are slain by the sword of Divine Justice. Their iniquity is upon them, and they bear their shame for ever.