The Lord sets himself against Pharaoh, against Egypt, but not for the reasons we might think. In Ezekiel 29:6-7 “because of their being a staff of reed for the house of Israel 7 When they took hold of you with the hand, you snapped, and you split their every shoulder”. There is a blessing in Genesis 12:3 “And I will bless those who bless you, and those who curse you I will curse. And all families of the earth will be blessed in you.” and Egypt has fallen short, they did not stand with “the house of Israel”. There is here also, in Ezekiel 31:11 “the leader of nations” and in Ezekiel 31:12 “the most ruthless of nations”, Babylon. And Babylon is rising to power and in Ezekiel 32 :9-10 “will disturb the hearts of many peoples … their kings will shudder over you in horror”. But this is the same spirit that in Revelation 18:23–24 “deceived all the nations. 24 And in her was found the blood of prophets and saints and all those who had been slaughtered on the earth”, the one whose demise will also come as described in Isaiah 14.
I Am Against You, Pharaoh, King of Egypt
There could be many reasons that the Lord sets himself against Egypt in Ezekiel 29:2-3. They worshipped idols that are mentioned in Ezekiel 30:13. They trusted in their great wealth as mentioned in Ezekiel 30:4. But that is not the reason the Lord give. The Lord says he is against Pharaoh, against Egypt because they did not stand with “the house of Israel” in
Ezekiel 29:6–7 And all of the inhabitants of Egypt will know that I am Yahweh, because of their being a staff of reed for the house of Israel. 7 When they took hold of you with the hand, you snapped, and you split their every shoulder. And when they leaned on you, you broke, and you caused all of their loins to wobble.”
When Israel needed help and reached out to Egypt, Egypt responded, but not with strength to hold them up. As Egypt pulled back, it caused the complete demise of Israel.
Egypt Will Become a Desolation
Egypt has taken credit for God’s handiwork when they said in Ezekiel 29:9 “The Nile is mine! And I, I made it!’ So, the Lord says in Ezekiel 29:10 “I will make the land of Egypt into ruins” and in Ezekiel 29:11 “it will not be inhabited for forty years”
But the Lord also says, in Ezekiel 29:13 “At the end of forty years I will gather Egypt” and in Ezekiel 29:14 “I will restore the fortunes of Egypt” yet they will forever be a lowly nation in Ezekiel 29:15 “it will not exalt itself again over the nations, and I will make them small so as not to rule over the nations”. And, it is at this point, that Israel no longer looks to Egypt in Ezekiel 29:16, but will in the future take their own place as leader of nations.
I Will Scatter Egypt Among the Nations
Assyria Was a Cedar in Lebanon
The Lord had said in Ezekiel 30:6 “And the supporters of Egypt will fall, and the majesty of its strength will go down”. But Pharaoh and those around him, “his crowd” in Ezekiel 31:1 are basking in their history and thinking their majesty will go on forever. So the Lord reminds them of the greatness of the Assyrians in
Ezekiel 31:3 Look! Assyria was a cedar in Lebanon, with beautiful branches and a forest giving shade, and very high, and its treetop was between the clouds.
It was described in Ezekiel 31:7 “beautiful in its greatness” and in Ezekiel 31:8 “Cedars in the garden of God could not be equal to it”. but its size and beauty were not enough for it to stand forever.
I Gave It Into the Hand of the Leader of Nations
Assyria, in Ezekiel 31:10 “took pride in its tallness” and the Lord in Ezekiel 31:11 “gave it into the hand of the leader of nations; he dealt thoroughly with it according to its wickedness. I drove it out”. It was in Ezekiel 31:12 “strangers cut it off, the most ruthless of nations”, this is “A reference to Babylon (see Ezek 28:7)”.1
Babylon is even more ruthless than the Assyrians and is called “the leader of nations”. While this is certainly a reference to Nebuchadnezzar, It also seems to be a reference the the spirit of anti-christ, the devil that has ruled the nations in Isaiah 14. But he is cut down in
Isaiah 14:12 How you have fallen from heaven, morning star, son of dawn! You are cut down to the ground, conqueror of nations!
and the one that has deceived the nations in
Revelation 18:23–24 “For your merchants were the most important people of the earth, because with your sorcery they deceived all the nations. 24 And in her was found the blood of prophets and saints and all those who had been slaughtered on the earth.
Kings Will Shudder Over You in Horror
Pharaoh thinks of himself in Ezekiel 32:2 “With a fierce, strong lion among nations you compared yourself, and you are like the sea monster in the seas”. But the Lord says “I will” sixteen time describing what he will do to Egypt in Ezekiel 32:3-8 “I will spread my net over you … I will throw you on the ground … I will put darkness on your land”.
Then the Lord says “I will” two times describing the reaction of people and nations in Ezekiel 32 :9-10 “I will disturb the hearts of many peoples … I will cause many peoples to be awestruck over you”. And because of this, “their kings will shudder over you in horror … and they will tremble continually, each person for his life”.
If this happens in Egypt, how can anyone be safe as “The sword is brandished before their face when it falls time after time upon their brother the king of Egypt, whereby they are thrown into alarm for their own lives”.2
They Will Devastate the Majesty of Egypt
- Ezekiel 29:1–7 I Am Against You, Pharaoh, King of Egypt
- Ezekiel 31:10–18 I Gave It Into the Hand of the Leader of Nations
- Ezekiel 32:1-10 Kings Will Shudder Over You in Horror
- Ezekiel 29:1-16
- Ezekiel 30:20-26
- Ezekiel 31:1-18
- Ezekiel 32:1-21
- 1. Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Eze 31:12). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
- 2. Keil, C. F., & Delitzsch, F. (1996). Commentary on the Old Testament (Vol. 9, p. 268). Peabody, MA: Hendrickson.