Ezekiel 29:3 MEANING

Ezekiel 29:3
(3) The great dragon.--This word is usually translated dragon in the English version, but sometimes whale (Ezekiel 32:2), and (in a slightly modified form) serpent (Exodus 7:9-10; Exodus 7:12). It unquestionably means crocodile, the characteristic animal of Egypt, in some parts hated and destroyed, in some worshipped as a deity, but in all alike feared, and regarded as the most powerful and destructive creature of their country.

Lieth in the midst of his rivers.--Egypt, a creation of the Nile, and dependent entirely upon it for its productiveness, is personified by the crocodile, its characteristic animal, basking upon the sand-banks of its waters. The expression "his rivers," used of the branches of the Nile near its mouth, is peculiarly appropriate to the Twenty-sixth Dynasty, to which Pharaoh-Hophra belonged, whose capital was Sais, in the midst of the Delta.

My river is mine own.--This is characteristic of the pride of Hophra, who, according to Herodotus, was accustomed to say that "not even a god could dispossess him of power." The whole dynasty to which he belonged, beginning with Psammeticus, improved the river and encouraged commerce with foreign nations, thereby acquiring great wealth.

Verse 3. - The great dragon. The word is cognate with that used in Genesis 1:21 for the great "whales," monsters of the deep. The "dragon," probably the crocodile of the Nile (compare the description of "leviathan" in Job 41.) had come to be the received prophetic symbol of Egypt (Psalm 74:13; Isaiah 27:1; Isaiah 51:9). The rivers are the Nile-branches of the Delta. My river is mine own. The words probably imply that Hophra, like his grandfather Necho, in his plan of a canal from the Nile to the Red Sea, had given much time and labor to irrigation works in Lower Egypt. The boast which rose to his lips reminds us of that of Nebuchadnezzar as he looked on Babylon (Daniel 4:30). He, like the kings of Tyre and Babylon, was tempted to a self-apotheosis, and thought of himself as the Creator of his own power. The words of Herodotus (2. 169), in which he says that Apries believed himself so firmly established in his kingdom that there was no god that could cast him out of it, present a suggestive parallel.

29:1-16 Worldly, carnal minds pride themselves in their property, forgetting that whatever we have, we received it from God, and should use it for God. Why, then, do we boast? Self is the great idol which all the world worships, in contempt of God and his sovereignty. God can force men out of that in which they are most secure and easy. Such a one, and all that cleave to him, shall perish together. Thus end men's pride, presumption, and carnal security. The Lord is against those who do harm to his people, and still more against those who lead them into sin. Egypt shall be a kingdom again, but it shall be the basest of the kingdoms; it shall have little wealth and power. History shows the complete fulfilment of this prophecy. God, not only in justice, but in wisdom and goodness to us, breaks the creature-stays on which we lean, that they may be no more our confidence.Speak, and say, thus saith the Lord God,.... The one only, living, and true God, the almighty, eternal, and unchangeable Jehovah, which the gods of Egypt were not:

behold, I am against thee, Pharaoh king of Egypt; who, though so great a king, was not a match for God, yea, nothing in his hands; nor could he stand before him, or contend with him; or,

I am above thee (y); though the king of Egypt was so high above others, and thought so highly of himself, as if he was a god; yet the Lord was higher than he:

the great dragon that lieth in the midst of his rivers; the chief river of Egypt was the Nile, which opened in seven mouths or gates into the sea, and out of which canals were made to water the whole land; and which abounding with rivers and watery places, hence the king of it is compared to a great fish, a dragon or whale, or rather a crocodile, which was a fish very common, and almost peculiar to Egypt; and with which the description here agrees, as Bochart observes; and who also remarks that Pharaoh in the Arabic language signifies a crocodile; and to which he may be compared for his cruel, voracious, and mischievous nature; and is here represented as lying at ease, and rolling himself in the enjoyment of his power, riches, and pleasures:

which hath said, my river is mine own, and I have made it for myself; alluding to the river Nile, which his predecessors had by their wisdom cut out into canals, for the better watering of the land; and which he might have improved, so that it stood in no need of rain, nor of the supplies of other countries, having a sufficiency from its own product; though he chiefly designs his kingdom, which was his own, and he had established it, and made himself great in it; for the last clause may be rendered, either, "I have made it", as the Syriac version, the river Nile, ascribing that to himself which belonged to God; or, "I have made them", the rivers among whom he lay, as the Septuagint and Arabic versions; or, "I have made myself", as the Vulgate Latin version; that is, a great king. So the Targum,

"the kingdom is mine, and I have subdued it.''

Herodotus says of this king, that he was so lifted up with pride, and so secure of his happy state, that he said there was no God could deprive him of his kingdom (z). This proud tyrannical monarch was an emblem of that beast that received his power from the dragon, and who himself spake like one; of the whore of Babylon that sits upon many waters, and boasts of her sovereignty and power, of her wealth and riches, of her ease, peace, pleasure, prosperity, and settled estate, Revelation 13:2.

(y) "super te", Montanus. (z) Herodot. Euterpe, sive l. 2. c. 169. & l. 11. c. 163.

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