17. Neither shall Pharaoh with his mighty army and great company make for him in the war, by casting up mounts, and building forts, to cut off many persons:
17. Et non in exercitu magno, et in multitudine multa faciet cum eo Pharao in praelio, fundendo aggerem, et extruendo turrem ad excidendum animas multas.
As Ezekiel has before pronounced that there was no need of great forces when God wished to punish Zedekiah by means of the king of Babylon; so he now teaches, on the other hand, how great and powerful an army Pharaoh would collect, and yet it would profit nothing, since Nebuchadnezzar would be victorious. Some interpreters explain the passage otherwise, namely, that Pharaoh would not perform his promise; for kings are accustomed to boast of their supplies when they enter into treaties: they promise 50,000, but only supply 10,000. They think, therefore, that these vain promises by which Zedekiah was deceived are here reproved, since Pharaoh boasted that he would come with very great forces, so as easily to repel the Babylonian army. But the sense which I propose is far more suitable, namely, that whatever Pharaoh should attempt, it would fail to assist him. Although he should come well attended, and oppose the Chaldaeans by immense forces, yet he should effect nothing in battle with him: although this may be true equally of Zedekiah as of the king of Babylon. For Pharaoh did nothing with King Nebuchadnezzar, since he was quickly compelled to retreat into his own territories, and could scarcely defend his own kingdom, for he did not succeed against Nebuchadnezzar: and he did Zedekiah no good, since he did not assist him in his misfortunes, as he had promised. But as far as concerns the general sense, we see that the Prophet means that Zedekiah would be deceived although Pharaoh should faithfully perform his promises, since he was undertaking an expedition against the will of God, which must turn out disastrous. He adds, when he shall throw up a mound and build a tower, (towers are meant, for there is a change of number,) as is customary in besieging cities. This thought to be referred to Nebuchadnezzar, for he began to cast up mounds and build towers against Jerusalem when Pharaoh led away his army. Since Nebuchadnezzar could not contend with both the Egyptians and Jews together, he raised the siege and set out to meet Pharaoh, who, when conquered, retreated with trembling within his own boundaries. Nebuchadnezzar afterwards returned, and after preparing all things, he did not desist till he had stormed the city. Now Ezekiel means this, that Pharaoh would come to his help in vain, when Nebuchadnezzar began to cast up his mounds and build towers against the city. It follows --