yet shall thou be brought down with the trees of Eden unto the nether parts of the earth; the grave, and lie in the same depressed and humble state as the greatest monarchs that ever were on earth do:
thou shalt lie in the midst of the uncircumcised; the wicked, as the Targum; the uncircumcised in heart; who belong not to God, or his people, and have no communion with either, but are shut out of the kingdom of heaven, and have their portion with devils and damned spirits:
with them that be slain by the sword; in a way of judgment for their sins:
this is Pharaoh, and all his multitude, saith the Lord God; this account represents Pharaoh, his grandeur, his pride, and his ruin; this shows what will be the end of him, and of his numerous subjects. The Septuagint and Arabic versions render it, "so will be Pharaoh", &c. in like manner will he fall, and all his people with him; for the Lord God has said it, and it shall assuredly come to pass. The Targum is,
"to whom art thou like now in glory and greatness among the kings of the east? and thou shall be brought down with the kings of the east into the lower part of the earth; in the midst of sinners thou shalt sleep, with those that are slain by the sword; this is Pharaoh, and all his multitude, saith the Lord God.''
INTRODUCTION TO Ezekiel 32
This chapter contains two more prophecies concerning the destruction of Egypt. The date of the first is given, Ezekiel 22:1, in which the king of Egypt is compared to a large fish taken in a net, and brought to land, and left on it, to be the prey of the fowls of the air and beasts of the field, Ezekiel 32:2, and the ruin of that kingdom is further amplified by the casting of it on the mountains and valleys; by the land flowing with its blood; by the darkness of the heavens; by the vexation in the hearts of many people; and by the amazement of kings and nations, Ezekiel 32:5, the means and instruments of all which will be the king of Babylon and his army, Ezekiel 32:11, the devastation made by him, which would be such as would cause lamentation in other nations, is described, Ezekiel 32:13, then follows the other prophecy, whose date is given, Ezekiel 32:17, the prophet is bid to lament the fall of Egypt, which is represented under the funeral of a corpse, Ezekiel 32:18, saluted by those gone down to the grave before, or were become desolate; which are mentioned, to assure Egypt of its destruction, Ezekiel 32:21 as the Assyrian empire, and all its provinces, Ezekiel 32:22, the Persians and Medes, with all their dominions, Ezekiel 32:24, the posterity of Meshech and Tubal, or the Scythians, those warlike people, Ezekiel 32:26, the Edomites, the princes of the north, and all the Zidonians, Ezekiel 32:29 which would be a comfort, though a poor one to the king of Egypt and his subjects, to have such company with them, Ezekiel 32:31.
in the twelfth month, in the first day of the month; the month Adar, which answers to part of our February, and part of March; the Septuagint version reads it the tenth month: according to Bishop Usher (t), this was on the twenty second of March, on the fourth day of the week (Wednesday), 3417 A.M.or 587 years before Christ:
that the word of the Lord came unto me, saying; as follows:
(t) Annales Vet. Test. A. M. 3417.
and say unto him, thou art like a young lion of the nations; for strength and fierceness, for cruelty and tyranny, which he exercised, not in one nation only, but in many; a lively emblem of the beast of Rome, spiritually called Egypt and Sodom, compared to a leopard, bear, and lion, Revelation 11:8,
and thou art as a whale in the seas; or rather "like a crocodile" (u), which was common in the rivers of Egypt, but not the whale; which also has not scales, nor does it go upon land, nor is it taken in a net; all which is said of this creature here, and in Ezekiel 29:3 and to the crocodile there is an allusion in the name of Pharaoh, in the Arabic language, as Noldius from Camius observes (w); see Ezekiel 29:3,
and thou camest forth with thy rivers; or, "by thy rivers" (x); as the crocodile in the river Nile, by the arms of it, or canals made out of it, sometimes went out from thence to other parts: or, "out of thy rivers" (y) upon the land, as the crocodile does; so the king of Egypt went forth with his armies out of his own land, into other countries, to disturb them, as follows: or rather, "camest forth in thy rivers" (z); as the crocodile puts forth its head out of the water for respiration:
and thou troublest the waters with thy feet, and foulest their rivers; just as the feet of men or beasts, in shallow waters, raise up the mud or clay at the bottom, and so foul them; this best agrees with the crocodile, which has feet; Grotius thinks, for this reason, the sea horse is intended; the meaning is, that Pharaoh with his soldiers entered other nations, made war upon them, and disturbed their peace and tranquillity. The Targum is,
"thou hast been strong among the people, as a whale in the seas, thou hast fought with thine army; and thou hast moved the people with thine auxiliaries, and thou hast wasted their provinces.''
(u) "similis es crocodile", Noldius, Ebr. Concord. Part. p. 375. (w) Ibid. No. 1306. (x) "per flumina tua", Vatablus, Junius & Tremellius, Polanus. (y) "Ex fluminibus tuis", Starckius. (z) "In fluviis tuis", V. L. Piscator; "in fluminibus tuis", Cocceius.
I will therefore spread out my net over thee with a company of many people; meaning the Chaldean army, which the Lord would instigate, and by his providence bring against the king of Egypt, and surround him as fishes in a net, and take him and his people; see Ezekiel 12:13,
and they shall bring thee up in my net; out of his rivers, out of his fortresses, out of his own land, and carry him captive, or destroy him.
I will cast thee forth on the open field; the same in different words, signifying that his army should fall in battle by the sword of the Cyreneans, or Chaldeans, or both, and be left on the surface of the earth unburied:
and will cause all the fowls of the heavens to remain upon thee, and I will fill the beasts of the whole earth with thee; which may be understood either literally of the fowls of the air, that should light upon the slain carcasses, and rest on them till they had satisfied themselves with their flesh; and of the beasts of the field that should gather about them from all parts, and fill themselves with them; see Revelation 19:17 or figuratively of the soldiers of the enemy's army, that should plunder them, and enrich themselves with the spoil.
"and I will give the flesh of thy slain upon the mountains.''
And fill the valleys with thy height; his huge army, and with which he prided and lifted up himself, and thought himself safe in; which should fall in such great numbers as to cover the plains and valleys where the battle was fought. Jarchi observes, that the word for "height" has with some the signification of "worms"; and so the Syriac version renders it, "and the valleys shall be filled with thy worms"; bred in the carcasses of the slain: and so the Vulgate Latin version, "with corrupt matter"; such as issues out of putrefied wounds. The Targum very rightly paraphrases it,
"the valleys shall be filled with the carcasses of thine army.''
even to the mountains; an hyperbolical expression, signifying the vast quantity of blood that should be shed; see the like in Revelation 14:20,
and the rivers shall be full of them; of the carcasses of his army, and of the blood of them; they should lie about everywhere, on mountains and valleys, on the land and in the rivers; and which should now be turned into blood, as the rivers of Egypt of old were; and which figure is used to express the destruction of the antichristian states; see Exodus 7:20.
I will cover the heaven, and make the stars thereof dark; with the smoke that should arise at the extinguishing of this lamp; or they should be covered with mourning, or clad in black, at the destruction of this monarch and his monarchy:
I will cover the sun with a cloud, and the moon shall not give her light; all which figures are sometimes made use of to denote the dissolution of kingdoms and states: the "heaven" being an emblem of a kingdom itself; the "sun" of an emperor or king, or kingly power; the "moon" of the queen, or of the priesthood; the "stars" of nobles, princes, counsellors, and such like eminent persons, useful in government; who being destroyed or removed, the light and glory, the prosperity and happiness of a kingdom, are gone; see Isaiah 13:10. The Targum is,
"tribulation shall cover thee when I shall extinguish the splendour of the glory of thy kingdom from heaven; and the people of thine army shall be lessened, who are many as the stars; a king with his army shall cover thee as a cloud that ascends and covers the sun, and as the moon, whose light does not shine in the day.''
and set darkness upon thy land, saith the Lord God; as there must needs be, the sun, moon, and stars, and all the lights of heaven, being darkened above: there seems to be an allusion to the thick darkness that was formerly over the land of Egypt; and this is a figure and representation of that darkness that shall be in the kingdom of the beast, or spiritual Egypt, yet to come; see Exodus 10:21. The Targum is,
"tribulation as darkness shall cover thy land.''
(a) "omnia luminaria lucis", Pagninus, Montanus, Cocceius.
when I shall bring thy destruction among the nations; or, "thy breach" (b); the news of it, the tidings of their destruction; which by one means or another should come to their ears, and fill them with concern and great anxiety of mind, so rich and powerful a kingdom being subdued, and the king of Babylon made so great thereby, and fearing they fall a prey unto him also. The Targum renders it,
"when I shall bring the broken of thy war;''
that is, the soldiers that should be wounded in battle, their limbs broke, and they taken captive, and brought among the nations, dismal spectacles to look at; and which should be brought
into countries, which thou hast not known; at a distance from Egypt, and which had no commerce nor communication with them, nor were their friends and allies; yet as their destruction would reach their ears, so it would affect their hearts, and fill them with vexation and grief; not so much on account of Egypt, as the growing power of Nebuchadnezzar, and the danger they were in of falling into his hands.
(b) "fractionem tuam", Piscator, Cocceius, Starckius.
when I shall brandish my sword before them; the sword of the king of Babylon after mentioned, called the Lord's, because it was by his appointment and permission, and came by the direction of his providence, and was succeeded by his power: this glittering sword being brandished over Egypt, in the sight of the nations round about, was terrible to them; dreading that it would not be put up until it was sheathed in them, or they felt the effects of it:, or, "when I shall cause it to fly before them" (c); in their sight, and upon the borders of their countries; expressive of the swiftness of its motion, the sudden destruction it brought on Egypt, and its nearness to them. The Targum is,
"when I shall bring upon thee those that kill with the sword.''
And they shall tremble at every moment; from moment to moment, or continually; they shall never be free from fear:
every man for his own life, in the day of thy fall; not kings for their subjects, or subjects for their kings, but every man for himself; expecting every moment that the sword which flew and ravaged through Egypt, and now hovered over them, would be instantly plunged in them.
(c) "cum volare fecero", Munster, Tigurine version. Abendaus mentions such a sense of the word.
"those that slay with the sword of the king of Babylon shall come upon or against thee;''
his army, sword in hand.
the terrible of the nations all of them; which army consisted of men of several nations, and those the most terrible, fierce, and cruel, by whose swords this slaughter should be made:
and they shall spoil the pomp of Egypt; cut off the king, the princes of the blood, the nobility and gentry, the prime of the nation; plunder the king's palace of all the wealth and riches in it, the treasury of the kingdom; destroy the metropolis of it; demolish its cities and fortified places, and take away all its strength and glory:
and all the multitude thereof shall be destroyed: all the people of the land, high and low, rich and poor; the destruction shall be general, all ranks and degrees of men shall share in it.
neither shall the foot of man trouble them any more, nor the hoofs of beasts trouble them; there should so few remain of men and beasts, that the waters of the rivers would not be disturbed, either by men passing over them, and doing any business upon them, or by beasts drinking at them.
and cause their, rivers to run like oil, saith the Lord God; very slowly, as if, they were mourning the unhappy condition of the land; or smoothly, clearly, undisturbed, as before. The Targum is,
"there will I cause the people to rest, and I will lead their kings quietly, saith the Lord God.''
and the country shall be destitute of that whereof it was full; men and cattle, corn and other fruits of the earth, wealth and riches, pomp and grandeur:
when I shall smite all them that dwell therein; with the sword of the Chaldeans:
then shall they know that I am the Lord for God is known in the perfections of his nature, omnipotence, omniscience, holiness, justice, &c. by the judgments he executes; for this is not to be understood of a spiritual knowledge of him, but of a terrible conviction of the truth of his being and attributes, by the awful dispensations of his providence.
"the prophet said, a lamentation is this prophecy, and it shall be for a lamentation;''
he was bid at the beginning of it to take up a lamentation, and now at the end of it he pronounces it to be one, and that it should be sung as such:
the daughters of the nations shall lament for her; either literally understood, it being the business and custom of women to say or sing the funeral dirge, or the lamentation at the interment of the deceased; or figuratively, the inhabitants of other nations. So Ben Melech and the Targum,
"the villages of the people shall lament her'';
that is, the inhabitants of them, who were in alliance with Egypt, and under its protection:
they shall lament for her, even for Egypt, and for all her multitude; for the desolation of the land, and for the vast numbers of people that should be slain with the sword, or carried captive:
saith the Lord God; which is added for the confirmation of it; for what he has spoken shall be done.
in the fifteenth day of the month; of the twelfth month, the month Adar, which is not here expressed, because mentioned before, Ezekiel 32:1, it was about a fortnight after the other prophecy. The Septuagint and Arabic versions read it,
"it came to pass in the twelfth year, the first month, the fifteenth day of the month;''
according to which this prophecy was before the other, which is not to be supposed.
and cast them down, even her and the daughters of the famous nations; Egypt, and all those countries, and the inhabitants of them, that were in alliance and friendship with her; that is, declare by prophecy that they shall be cast down and destroyed, or be brought down from the height of grandeur and prosperity in which they now were:
unto the nether parts of the earth, with them that go down to the pit; not unto stately sepulchres built on high, such as were made for the kings of Egypt; but unto common pits or graves, dug in the lower parts of the earth, where the meaner and common sort of people were buried; there should be no distinction between them and others, they should have one common burial. The Targum is,
"son of man, prophesy concerning the multitude of Egypt, and break her, even her, and the villages of the mighty people; prophesy that they shall be delivered unto the lowest earth, with those that go down to the pit of the house of perdition.''
go down, and be thou laid with the uncircumcised; go down to the grave, and take thy place, and lie there among the wicked and most profligate of mankind, and such as might be most despised by the Egyptians, since they used circumcision. The Targum is,
"go down and sleep with sinners.''
she is delivered to the sword; Egypt is given to the sword, to perish by it, for her sins, according to the just appointment of God:
draw her and all her multitudes; to the place of burial; not in pomp and splendour, as great persons are drawn in hearses; but in great disgrace, as carcasses are dragged unto a common pit or grave, and cast into it: this is said to the Chaldeans, who had a commission from the Lord to slay Egypt, and to bury her, and all her people.
out of the midst of hell, or the grave, "Hades", the state of the dead:
with them that help him; the associates, allies, and friends of Pharaoh, his auxiliaries that fell with him, and were brought to the grave at the same time with him; these should be greeted, saluted, and welcomed in like manner:
they are gone down; to the grave; those mighty ones that are represented as speaking, and the Egyptians and their helpers who are spoken to:
they lie uncircumcised; among them that are so, Ezekiel 32:19,
slain by the sword; of their enemies, who got the victory over them.
his graves are about him; either the graves of Pharaoh and his multitude are round about the graves of the Assyrian monarch and his subjects, as Kimchi; or rather the graves of his subjects and soldiers are round about him: it seems to represent the king of Assyria as having a more stately monument, and the graves of his people as lesser ones round about him, but all in the same condition:
all of them slain, fallen by the sword of their enemies, the Medes and the Babylonians, by whom the Assyrian monarchy was destroyed.
and her company is round about her grave not Pharaoh's company round about the grave of the Assyrian monarch; but the company of the king of Assyria, or his army, as the Targum, round about grave; or lying about in the ruins of his kingdom:
all of them slain, fallen by the sword, which caused terror in the land of the living; even they who now are in the state of the dead, and can no more disturb and distress any, while they were alive, or in the world, struck terror in all neighbouring states and kingdoms; threatening destruction to them, and obliging them to submit to their tyranny and exactions. Jarchi interprets this of the land of Israel; and the Jewish writers commonly understand by the land of the living the land of Canaan wherever they meet with it; because here men worshipped the living God, and lived before him; and the inhabitants of this land were often terrified by the king of Assyria. So the Targum,
"because they ruled in the land of Israel.''
all of them slain, fallen by the sword; either of the Scythians in the reign of Cyaxares; or of Nebuchadnezzar a few years before this, in the reign of Zedekiah king of Judah; see Jeremiah 49:34,
which are gone down uncircumcised into the nether parts of the earth; unholy persons, profane sinners, destitute of the grace of God; who were gone down into the grave, and even into hell and everlasting destruction, as their sins deserved:
which caused their terror in the land of the living; made a great noise in the world, and struck a panic in neighbouring nations, invaded and conquered by them; this they did while living, but now, being in the state of the dead, nothing was to be feared from them: yet have they borne their shame with them that go down to the pit; were obliged to submit to death, and a shameful one, by the hands of their conquerors, and to be laid with ignominy in the grave with others, without any mark of distinction; all being upon a level, cast into the same pit of destruction, and into the lower parts of it; though their king might have a magnificent sepulchre erected for him, as follows:
her graves are round about him; the king of Persia and his grave, surrounded with the graves of his soldiers and officers:
all of them uncircumcised, slain by the sword: though their terror was caused in the land of the living, yet have they borne their shame with them that go down to the pit; which is repeated for the confirmation of it:
he is put in the midst of them that be slain; the king of Elam or Persia; he is laid among the slain, having fallen with them, and his grave is placed in the midst of them.
her graves are round about him; not the king of Egypt, nor the king of Assyria, nor the king of Persia; but the chief commander of the Scythians, called the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, Ezekiel 38:2,
all of them slain by the sword; of Halyattes, king of Lydia, and Cyaxares, king of Media, who was assisted by the former in subduing the Scythians:
though they caused their terror in the land of the living; as they did in Media, and other countries, and especially in some parts of Asia.
which are gone down to hell, or "the grave",
with their weapons of war; which were never taken from them, and which they held in their hands to the last, being never conquered, and died at last a natural death, and not by the sword; or which were carried in state before their hearse at the time of interment, as is the custom to this day so to do at the funeral of great warriors, generals, and officers:
and they have laid their swords under their heads; as a sign and token, as Jarchi says, that the sword did not rule over them, that they did not fall by it; either their statues and sepulchral monuments were adorned with these, and other instruments of war, as was the grave of Misenus by Aeneas (d); and as is still the custom where the heads of such mighty ones are laid, to engrave them on them: or, literally, their swords and other weapons of war were put in their graves under their heads; as it was usual, in former times, in some places to put swords, shields, and other armour, in the graves of military men, as were in the grave of Theseus, on the bier of Alexander the great, and others, as reported by Plutarch, Diodorus Siculus, and Sophocles (e): now the Scythians were not buried: after this grand and pompous manner:
but their iniquities shall be upon their bones; or the punishment of their sin should be, that their bones should lie unburied and scattered about, or be dug up and broke to pieces, and treated with inhumanity and contempt, as a just reward for their savageness, and cruelty:
though they were the terror of the mighty in the land of the living: not only the terror of the common people, but even of the most powerful kings and mighty warriors.
(d) Vid. Virgil. Aeneid. l. 6. & Seneca, l. 4. controvers. 4. (e) Vid. Lydium de Re Militari, l. 6. c. 7. p. 250, 251. & Kirchman, de Funer. Roman. l. 3. c. 18.
and shalt lie with them that are slain with the sword; be buried with them, or in like manner as they are; and not as mighty warriors, who die a natural death in their own country, and are buried in a stately and magnificent manner; but like those that fall by the sword of the enemy, and are thrown into one common pit.
which with their might are laid by them that are slain with the sword; who, notwithstanding their powerful armies, and prowess and skill in war, yet are conquered, and destroyed, and laid in graves in like manner as all others slain by the, sword of the enemy are:
they shall lie with the uncircumcised; for though they themselves were circumcised, being the descendants of Esau the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham, on whose seed circumcision was enjoined; yet this did not secure them from a violent death, and an ignominious burial; they being uncircumcised in heart, wicked and ungodly men, and so should be joined in their death and burial with such:
and with them that go down to the pit; the common receptacle of the slain.
and all the Zidonians. The Vulgate Latin version renders it, "and all the hunters"; but wrongly; as also the Septuagint and Arabic versions, which read the princes or soldiers of Assyria. The Zidonians or inhabitants of Zidon are meant as the Targum; a famous maritime city, as Tyre also was, in Phoenicia:
which are gone down with the slain; into the grave, being conquered and destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar; see Ezekiel 28:21,
with their terror they are ashamed of their might, the number and strength of their armies, the valour and courage of their soldiers, and the fortifications of their cities, in which they trusted, and of which they boasted; but yet could not preserve them from ruin:
and they lie uncircumcised with them that be slain by the sword; in common with other profane and wicked persons that have fallen by the sword as they have done:
and bear their shame with them that go down to the pit; See Gill on Ezekiel 32:24.
even Pharaoh and all his army slain by the sword. Pharaohhophra and his numerous army slain by the sword of the king of Babylon. This explains who is meant by Pharaoh and his multitude: and that this would certainly be his case it is added,
saith the Lord God; he hath spoken it, and it shall be done; whose words are continued in the next verse.