This chapter is made up of two distinct prophecies: Ezekiel 30:1-19, and Ezekiel 30:20-26. The latter is distinctly dated, and comes in regular chronological order between Ezekiel 29:1-16 and Ezekiel 31; but whether the former belongs to this series, or is connected with Ezekiel 29:17-21, has been questioned. There are no sufficient data for a positive determination of the point; but the general presumption is that an undated prophecy belongs in the interval between the dates which precede and which follow. With this presumption the mention of the nearness of the event (Ezekiel 30:3) and of the name of Nebuchadnezzar (Ezekiel 30:10) agree, though not in themselves determinative.
This prophecy is divided into four parts, not strongly distinguished, but each marked by the formula, “Thus saith the Lord” (Ezekiel 30:2; Ezekiel 30:6; Ezekiel 30:10; Ezekiel 30:13).
All the mingled people, and Chub.—There is the same expression, “mingled people,” in reference to Egypt, in Jeremiah 25:20. In the connection here it may be understood especially of the foreign mercenaries from various quarters in the Egyptian armies. Chub is a name entirely unknown. Various conjectures have been hazarded, and various changes in the text proposed, but none are supported by sufficient evidence. It evidently denotes some ally of Egypt, possibly Nubia.
Men of the land that is in league.—Literally, sons of the land of the covenant. The ancient interpreters, St. Jerome and Theodoret, understood this expression of the Jews who had sought refuge from Nebuchadnezzar in Egypt after the murder of Gedaliah (Jeremiah 42, 43, 44), to whom Jeremiah had expressly prophesied that the sword and famine of which they were afraid should overtake them there (Jeremiah 42:16-18). This interpretation is supported by the translation of the Septuagint, made in Egypt, “land of my covenant.” The objection made to this view, that Palestine is never called “the land of the covenant,” and that this must therefore signify some unknown country in alliance with Egypt at the time, seems rather specious than real. If it happens that this expression is never used of Palestine, yet that was unquestionably the land of the people of the covenant, and a particular expression may very well be used once without occurring again.
There shall be no more a prince is to be understood, in accordance with the rest of the prophecy, not absolutely, but relatively: there shall be no more a native prince possessing the power of former kings.
The day shall be darkened.—This is a common prophetic form of describing coming calamity. (See Ezekiel 30:3, Ezekiel 32:8; Isaiah 13:10; Joel 2:10; Joel 2:31; Joel 3:15; Amos 8:9; Matthew 24:29, &c.)
The yokes of Egypt.—Not the yokes placed upon Egypt, but the tyranny which she exercised over others. The fuller expression, “bands of a yoke,” occurs in Ezekiel 34:27, and also in Leviticus 26:13, the latter in reference to the deliverance of Israel from the bondage of Egypt. It appears from Jeremiah 43:9-10 that there was a royal palace at Tahpanhes, and it was foretold by the prophet that Nebuchadnezzar should there set up his pavilion, and thence smite Egypt. It is correspondingly foretold here that the power of Egypt should there be broken, because this and the neighbouring Pelusium were the frontier fortresses and keys of the land.