Ezekiel Chapter 29
Ezekiel 29:1 “In the tenth year, in the tenth [month], in the twelfth [day] of the month, the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,”
“The tenth year”: (597 B.C. is the 10th year), after Jehoiachin’s deportation. It is a year and two days after Nebuchadnezzar had come to Jerusalem (24:1-2; Kings 25:1), and 7 months before its destruction (2 Kings 35:3-8). This is the first of 7 oracles or prophecies against Egypt.
This prophecy is dated a year earlier than the prophecy against Tyrus.
Ezekiel 29:2 “Son of man, set thy face against Pharaoh king of Egypt, and prophesy against him, and against all Egypt:”
This prophecy is directed against Egypt. It is addressed to the Pharaoh, as well as the country.
“Against all Egypt”: Egypt was to fall, even though it could be pictured as a water monster (verses 3-5), a towering tree like Assyria (31:3), a young lion (32:2), and a sea monster (32: 2-8). The judgment looks ahead to (570 B.C.), when the Greeks of Cyrene defeated Pharaoh (Apries), Hophra and (568-67 B.C.), when Babylon conquered Egypt.
Ezekiel 29:3 “Speak, and say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I [am] against thee, Pharaoh king of Egypt, the great dragon that lieth in the midst of his rivers, which hath said, My river [is] mine own, and I have made [it] for myself.”
Egypt would also be judged because her Pharaoh had made himself a god, even claiming to have created the Nile River. God gives His opinion of Pharaoh when He calls him the great dragon, by using a word that Israel’s pagan neighbors utilized to refer to a mythical sea monster.
Ezekiel 29:4 “But I will put hooks in thy jaws, and I will cause the fish of thy rivers to stick unto thy scales, and I will bring thee up out of the midst of thy rivers, and all the fish of thy rivers shall stick unto thy scales.”
The fish sticking together could be speaking of the lesser nations that made alliance with Egypt representing the people who followed Pharaoh and who were a part of God’s judgment on Egypt as a whole.
We read in the book of Jeremiah of this very same thing. When God punishes Judah, then He begins to punish the countries like Egypt, which had been in alliance with Judah. Egypt and these lesser nations had all sinned the same sin, and would be punished the same, as well. No country, regardless of how large and powerful, can avoid the judgment of Almighty God.
Ezekiel 29:5 “And I will leave thee [thrown] into the wilderness, thee and all the fish of thy rivers: thou shalt fall upon the open fields; thou shalt not be brought together, nor gathered: I have given thee for meat to the beasts of the field and to the fowls of the heaven.”
This speaks of those who die in the field, and will not even be buried. Their bodies will be left to the vultures, and to the beasts of the field.
Ezekiel 29:6 “And all the inhabitants of Egypt shall know that I [am] the LORD, because they have been a staff of reed to the house of Israel.”
The Israelites had depended on Egyptians in military alliances as people lean on a staff that gives way, failing them. Egypt had betrayed the confidence of Israel as God said they would. Because Israel never should have trusted Egypt does not lessen Egypt’s judgment.
Ezekiel 29:7 “When they took hold of thee by thy hand, thou didst break, and rend all their shoulder: and when they leaned upon thee, thou brakest, and madest all their loins to be at a stand.”
Israel had reached out to Egypt for help, when they were attacked by Babylon. Egypt had not been able to help them. They had failed to help Israel, when the battle became strong. They had run home away from the trouble. Egypt is blamed here, for reaching out to Israel in alliance, and then, not helping them. Egypt did not hold up for Israel, they broke.
Ezekiel 29:8 “Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will bring a sword upon thee, and cut off man and beast out of thee.”
Their fear of Babylon had caused them not to help Israel. They should have feared God more. Now, they have been judged of God for not keeping the covenant they had made with Israel, and they are destroyed.
Ezekiel 29:9 “And the land of Egypt shall be desolate and waste; and they shall know that I [am] the LORD: because he hath said, The river [is] mine, and I have made [it].”
The Nile River was the water supply for all of Egypt’s crops.
There will be no doubt that this judgment is from God. Their pride of possession is one of their sins. They do not even believe the river belongs to God. They believe it belongs to them.
Ezekiel 29:10 “Behold, therefore I [am] against thee, and against thy rivers, and I will make the land of Egypt utterly waste [and] desolate, from the tower of Syene even unto the border of Ethiopia.”
This covered the entirety of Egypt, since Migdol was in the North and Syene in the southern border of “Ethiopia.”
Ezekiel 29:11 “No foot of man shall pass through it, nor foot of beast shall pass through it, neither shall it be inhabited forty years.”
Although difficult to pinpoint, one possibility is that this period was when Babylon, under Nebuchadnezzar, reigned supreme in Egypt from (586-67 B.C.), until Cyrus gained Persian control.
Ezekiel 29:12 “And I will make the land of Egypt desolate in the midst of the countries [that are] desolate, and her cities among the cities [that are] laid waste shall be desolate forty years: and I will scatter the Egyptians among the nations, and will disperse them through the countries.”
It seems, this desolation will be so great, that those of Egypt who want to live, will take refuge in other countries. It appears, this is like the Israelites being dispersed in other countries, and then brought home.
Ezekiel 29:13 “Yet thus saith the Lord GOD; At the end of forty years will I gather the Egyptians from the people whither they were scattered:”
This is also speaking of God saving them, while they are dispersed, and then He brings them home. We must remember that Egypt also symbolizes the world. This could be a physical disbursement, or it could be speaking of a time, when they will come alive to the Lord.
Ezekiel 29:14 “And I will bring again the captivity of Egypt, and will cause them to return [into] the land of Pathros, into the land of their habitation; and they shall be there a base kingdom.”
This Pathros was an area, where many Jews had settled. The fact that they are a “base kingdom” just means, they will not be the powerful nation they had been in the days of the Pharaohs.
Egypt regained normalcy as is currently true, but never again reached the pinnacle of international prominence she once enjoyed.
Ezekiel 29:15 “It shall be the basest of the kingdoms; neither shall it exalt itself any more above the nations: for I will diminish them, that they shall no more rule over the nations.”
We see from this, that their stature as a powerful nation will be no more. They will be as the smaller nations around them. They will not be feared by their neighbors, as they had been in the past.
Ezekiel 29:16 “And it shall be no more the confidence of the house of Israel, which bringeth [their] iniquity to remembrance, when they shall look after them: but they shall know that I [am] the Lord GOD.”
This is just saying that Israel will not look to them for protection anymore. They will hardly be able to protect themselves. The Israelites will remember the anger God felt toward them, because they had put their faith in Egypt. Israel will put their faith in God, not in Egypt.
Ezekiel 29:17 “And it came to pass in the seven and twentieth year, in the first [month], in the first [day] of the month, the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,”
This is 17 years after this prophecy began. This is (571/570 B.C.), as counted from the captivity of Jehoiachin (in 597 B.C.).
Ezekiel 29:18 “Son of man, Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon caused his army to serve a great service against Tyrus: every head [was] made bald, and every shoulder [was] peeled: yet had he no wages, nor his army, for Tyrus, for the service that he had served against it:”
It appears it had taken 13 years to overcome Tyre, or Tyrus. The expense of the campaign was so great, that Nebuchadnezzar did not profit from the destruction of Tyrus. He had come against them under orders from God.
This was the confusion that I had in the last chapter when Nebuchadnezzar had come up against and defeated Tyre which they did, but didn’t do.
(In 585-573), Nebuchadnezzar besieged Tyre for 13 years before subduing the city (Ezekiel 26:1-28:19). The Tyrians then retreated to the island bastion out in the sea and survived, not giving Babylon full satisfaction in spoils (Wages), equal to such a long struggle. So the Babylonians took the city on shore, but not the stronghold which was built on the isle which was located out in the sea for their ships and storage (that was the one which Alexander took in 7 months).
Ezekiel 29:19 “Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will give the land of Egypt unto Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon; and he shall take her multitude, and take her spoil, and take her prey; and it shall be the wages for his army.”
We do know that Nebuchadnezzar came against Egypt in a limited campaign, and did spoil them. This was not a long war, so he benefited financially from it.
To make up for Babylon’s lack of sufficient reward from Tyre, God allowed a Babylonian conquest of Egypt (in 568-567 B.C.). Babylon’s army had worked as an instrument which God used to bring down Egypt.
Ezekiel 29:20 “I have given him the land of Egypt [for] his labor wherewith he served against it, because they wrought for me, saith the Lord GOD.”
Nebuchadnezzar’s army attacked Tyrus and Egypt, but it was really a judgment of God against them. The king of Babylon did not even know he was carrying out the will of God. God uses whomever He wills to carry out His wishes. Even Satan, himself, is subject to the wishes of God.
Ezekiel 29:21 “In that day will I cause the horn of the house of Israel to bud forth, and I will give thee the opening of the mouth in the midst of them; and they shall know that I [am] the LORD.”
God caused Israel’s power to return and restored her authority as the power in an animal’s horn. Though other nations subdued her, her latter end in messianic times will be blessed. “Opening of the mouth” most likely refers to the day when Ezekiel’s writings would be understood by looking back at their fulfillment. His muteness had already ceased (in 586-85 B.C.), when Jerusalem fell.
Ezekiel Chapter 29 Questions
1. When is this prophecy dated?
2. Who is this prophecy addressed to?
3. What is Pharaoh called in verse 3?
4. A prophet speaks to _________ nations.
5. Egypt symbolizes what?
6. If nothing else, the message in this lesson tells of what necessity to the ministers today?
7. The dragon is symbolically speaking of __________.
8. The ____________ was caught by putting hooks in his jaws.
9. What are the fish and the crocodile sticking together symbolizing?
10. What is verse 5 speaking of?
11. What had Egypt been to the house of Israel?
12. The ________ ________ had been worshipped by Egypt.
13. Who had Israel gone to for help, rather than to God?
14. What happened to Egypt, when Babylon attacked Israel?
15. What is Egypt judged of God for?
16. What was one great sin of Egypt, mentioned in verse 9?
17. In verse 10, what happens to Egypt?
18. How long will this land be uninhabitable?
19. What does the number 40 show us?
20. How long had God sent Judah into captivity?
21. What will happen to the Egyptians for this forty years?
22. What happens at the end of the 40 years?
23. What 2 ways could you look at the disagreement?
24. What part of Egypt will they return to?
25. What does base kingdom mean?
26. They will never be the __________ of Israel again.
27. Where will Israel put their faith now?
28. Verse 17 is speaking of _______ years after the beginning of this prophecy.
29. In verse 18, what happened in Tyrus.
30. How many years was Tyrus under attack?
31. Why did Nebuchadnezzar not profit from Tyre?
32. Did he ever come against Egypt?
33. What does the “horn” symbolize?