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This chapter describes, with great force and elegance, the ruin of Egypt and all her allies by the Chaldeans under Nebuchadnezzar, Ezekiel 30:1-11; with an amplification of the distress of the principal cities of Egypt on that occasion, Ezekiel 30:12-19. The remaining verses are a short prophecy relating to the same event, and therefore annexed to the longer one preceding, although this was predicted sooner, Ezekiel 30:20-26.
Howl ye, Wo worth the day! - My Old MS. Bible, - Soule gee, woo woo to the day! הילילו הה ליום (heylilu), (hah laiyom)! “Howl ye, Alas for the day!” The reading in our present text is taken from Coverdale‘s Bible, 1536. The expressions signify that a most dreadful calamity was about to fall on Egypt and the neighboring countries, called here the “time of the heathen,” or of the nations; the day of calamity to them. They are afterwards specified, Ethiopia, Libya, Lydia, and Chub, and the mingled people, probably persons from different nations, who had followed the ill fortune of Pharaoh-hophra or Pharaoh-apries, when he fled from Amasis, and settled in Upper Egypt.
Lydia - This place is not well known. The Ludim were contiguous to Egypt, Genesis 11:13.
Chub - The Cubians, placed by Ptolemy in the Mareotis. But probably instead of וכוב (vechub), “and Chub,” we should read וכל (vechol), “and All the men of the land,” etc. The Septuagint adds “the Persians and the Cretans.”
Shall be desolate - All these countries shall be desolated, and the places named shall be chief in these desolations.
Messengers go forth from me in ships - Ships can ascend the Nile up to Syene or Essuan, by the cataracts; and when Nebuchadnezzar‘s vessels went up, they struck terror into the Ethiopians. They are represented here as the “messengers of God.”
I will make the rivers dry - As the overflowing of the Nile was the grand cause of fertility to Egypt, the drying it up, or preventing that annual inundation, must be the cause of dearth, famine, etc. By rivers, we may understand the various canals cut from the Nile to carry water into the different parts of the land. When the Nile did not rise to its usual height these canals were quite dry.
Their images to cease out of Noph - Afterwards Memphis, and now Cairo or Kahira. This was the seat of Egyptian idolatry; the place where Apis was particularly worshipped.
No more a prince of the land of Egypt - Not one, from that time to the present day. See the note on Ezekiel 29:14.
I will make Pathros desolate - See Ezekiel 29:14.
Zoan - Tanis, the ancient capital of Egypt.
No - Diospolis, or Thebes, the city of Jupiter.
My fury upon Sin - Pelusium, a strong city of Egypt, on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea.
Noph - Cairo or Kahira; see Ezekiel 30:13.
Aven - Or On, the famous Heliopolis, or city of the sun.
Pibeseth - Bubastum or Bubaste, by a slight alteration of the letters. It is situated on the eastern branch of the Nile, towards Arabia.
Tehaphnehes - Called also Tahapanes, Jeremiah 2:16. This is the Pelusian Daphne.
Break there the yokes - The sceptres. Nebuchadnezzar broke the scepter of Egypt when he confirmed the kingdom to Amasis, who had rebelled against Apries.
In the eleventh year, in the first month, in the seventh day - This was the eleventh year of the captivity of Jeconiah, and the date here answers to April 26, A.M. 3416; a prophecy anterior by several years to that already delivered. In collecting the writings of Ezekiel, more care was taken to put all that related to one subject together, than to attend to chronological arrangement.
I have broken the arm of Pharaoh - Perhaps this may refer to his defeat by Nebuchadnezzar, when he was coming with the Egyptian army to succor Jerusalem.
I will cause the sword to fall out of his hand - When the arm is broken, the sword will naturally fall. But these expressions show that the Egyptians would be rendered wholly useless to Zedekiah, and should never more recover their political strength. This was the case from the time of the rebellion of Amasis.
I will scatter the Egyptians - Several fled with Apries to Upper Egypt; and when Nebuchadnezzar wasted the country, he carried many of them to Babylon. See on Ezekiel 29:12 (note).