Ezekiel 29

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Puritan Board Freshman
Eze 29:1 In the tenth year, in the tenth month, in the twelfth day of the month, the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
Eze 29:2 Son of man, set thy face against Pharaoh king of Egypt, and prophesy against him, and against all Egypt:
Eze 29:3 Speak, and say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against thee, Pharaoh king of Egypt, the great dragon that lieth in the midst of his rivers, which hath said, My river is mine own, and I have made it for myself.
Eze 29:4 But I will put hooks in thy jaws, and I will cause the fish of thy rivers to stick unto thy scales, and I will bring thee up out of the midst of thy rivers, and all the fish of thy rivers shall stick unto thy scales.
Eze 29:5 And I will leave thee thrown into the wilderness, thee and all the fish of thy rivers: thou shalt fall upon the open fields; thou shalt not be brought together, nor gathered: I have given thee for meat to the beasts of the field and to the fowls of the heaven.
Eze 29:6 And all the inhabitants of Egypt shall know that I am the LORD, because they have been a staff of reed to the house of Israel.
Eze 29:7 When they took hold of thee by thy hand, thou didst break, and rend all their shoulder: and when they leaned upon thee, thou didst broke, and madest all their loins to be at a stand.
Eze 29:8 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will bring a sword upon thee, and cut off man and beast out of thee.
Eze 29:9 And the land of Egypt shall be desolate and waste; and they shall know that I am the LORD: because he hath said, The river is mine, and I have made it.
Eze 29:10 Behold, therefore I am against thee, and against thy rivers, and I will make the land of Egypt utterly waste and desolate, from the tower of Syene even unto the border of Ethiopia.
Eze 29:11 No foot of man shall pass through it, nor foot of beast shall pass through it, neither shall it be inhabited forty years.
Eze 29:12 And I will make the land of Egypt desolate in the midst of the countries that are desolate, and her cities among the cities that are laid waste shall be desolate forty years: and I will scatter the Egyptians among the nations, and will disperse them through the countries.
Eze 29:13 Yet thus saith the Lord GOD; At the end of forty years will I gather the Egyptians from the people whither they were scattered:
Eze 29:14 And I will bring again the captivity of Egypt, and will cause them to return into the land of Pathros, into the land of their habitation; and they shall be there a base kingdom.
Eze 29:15 It shall be the basest of the kingdoms; neither shall it exalt itself any more above the nations: for I will diminish them, that they shall no more rule over the nations.
Eze 29:16 And it shall be no more the confidence of the house of Israel, which bringeth their iniquity to remembrance, when they shall look after them: but they shall know that I am the Lord GOD.
Eze 29:17 And it came to pass in the seven and twentieth year, in the first month, in the first day of the month, the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
Eze 29:18 Son of man, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon caused his army to serve a great service against Tyrus: every head was made bald, and every shoulder was peeled: yet had he no wages, nor his army, for Tyrus, for the service that he had served against it:
Eze 29:19 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will give the land of Egypt unto Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon; and he shall take her multitude, and take her spoil, and take her prey; and it shall be the wages for his army.
Eze 29:20 I have given him the land of Egypt for his labor wherewith he served against it, because they wrought for me, saith the Lord GOD.
Eze 29:21 In that day will I cause the horn of the house of Israel to bud forth, and I will give thee the opening of the mouth in the midst of them; and they shall know that I am the LORD.

I am being questioned now by someone about the historical "flaws" of the Bible, he calls this a false prophesy... any feedback?


Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
Ezekiel is a highly symbolic book. It has to interpreted on its own terms, not (perhaps) on the terms which your questioner seeks to impose on it. As an aside, part of the difficulty Reformed people have with talking to non-Christians about the content of the Bible, which we take so seriously, is that they assume we adopt the dispensational "literalistic" approach to the Bible. We certainly do take Bible history literally. But prophecy is not history. Sometimes the word is as clear as an historic account. Many times the prophecy is "clear" only in retrospect. And most of the time, there are elements of symbolism and expression that demand a thorough acquaintance with the literature as a whole to even begin understanding it. The prophet puts into words (as guided by theSpirit) the incredible visions he has seen when taken into the very presence of God. He is seeing things as God sees them, and tries to put them into language for the rest of us.

Egypt suffered a major defeat at the hands of Babylon. Never again did Egypt rise to prominence. Even her minor "resurgence" prior to Roman hegemony was the product of foreign rulers (Ptolemies). The "40 year" waste that Ezekiel speaks of is temporally symbological (see Keil & Delitzsch commentary) to speak of the whole period of her humiliation. Egypt's power was very high for centuries, even rising from the devastation of the 10 plagues to rival the Mesopotamian powers for a time. Thus it is in keeping with Ezekiel's style to describe her ruin in terms of absolute destruction, of apocaplyptic catastrophe. Even so, she experiences a continued, humbled existence, sort-of her own "regathering" from exile (language that would have meaning not to the Egyptians--the prophecy wasn't for them anyway--but for the Israelites).

This is the best I can do on short notice. It probably won't do you much good for talking to your skeptic friend, unless he's prepared to accept that Christians don't simply resort to symbolism to escape "tough" passages, but follow genre interpretation.
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