King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

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Ezekiel 29

The desolation of Egypt. (1-16) Also a promise of mercy to Israel. (17-21)

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The desolation of Egypt

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,

2 Son of man, set thy face against Pharaoh king of Egypt, and prophesy against him, and against all Egypt:

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 brakest, and madest all their loins to be at a stand.

8 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will bring a sword upon thee, and cut off man and beast out of thee.

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.

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.

11 No foot of man shall pass through it, nor foot of beast shall pass through it, neither shall it be inhabited forty years.

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.

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:

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.

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.

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.

Also a promise of mercy to Israel

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,

18 Son of man, Nebuchadrezzar 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:

19 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will give the land of Egypt unto Nebuchadrezzar 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.

20 I have given him the land of Egypt for his labour wherewith he served against it, because they wrought for me, saith the Lord GOD.

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.

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G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 1. Eleventh. Heb. “twelfth.” Sept. “first of the twelfth month of the twelfth year.” There are other variations in the versions. S. Jerom reads the first in Heb. as Theodoret does, who says that it and the Syr. have the twelfth year: which is true, if we neglect the points. C. — The prophets do not observe the order of times. What is here delivered, was sooner fulfilled; or Tyre and Sodom lay nearer than Egypt. W. — The three next chapters regard that country.

Ver. 2. Pharao, Ephree. Jer. xliv 30. He came to assist Sedecias; but the Chaldeans raised the siege, went to meet him, an defeated his army. After they had subdued the neighbouring nations, Tyre, &c. they fell upon Egypt. A. 3433. C.

Ver. 3. Dragon. Heb. tannin, (H.) whence thunnus may be derived, means any water monster, and seems here put for the crocodile, (C.) which Pharao signifies. Grot. — It was the symbol of Egypt, (C.) and adored by the people. Juv. xv. 2. — Rivers; the different branches of the Nile, and the canals. — Myself. I owe my power to no other. C. — “Apries is said to think that no god could deprive him of the kingdom, so well he seemed to have established it.” Herod. ii. 169. — So the ancient Pharao said; I know not the Lord. Ex. v. 2. He boasts of having conducted the waters of the Nile through the land. v. 9. M. — This river was honoured as the greatest of the gods. Heliod. 9. —

Terra suis contenta bonis non indiga mercis

Aut Jovis; in solo tanta est fiducia Nilo. Lucan viii.

Ver. 4. Bridle. The Tentyrians jump upon the crocodile’s back, give it a club to bite at, which they seize with both hands, and bring it to the shore. Pliny viii. 25. — Others throw a hook baited with swine’s flesh, and holding the rope on the shore, make a little pig squeak, with draws the attention of the crocodile; and, as it comes for its prey, it swallows the hook, and its eyes being filled with dust is easily slain. Herod. ii. 70. — Apries sent an army against Cyrene, which being defeated as it was thought by the king’s fault, many of the Egyptians revolted. He sent Amasis to reduce them, but they gave him the crown. Herod. ii. 161. and iv. 159. — Nabuchodonsor taking advantage of these disturbances, and perhaps invited by Amasis, entered Egypt, drove Apries into Higher Egypt, slew many of the inhabitants, and Jews, &c. and left Amasis to govern the wretched remains of the kingdom. Usher, A. 3430. The Scripture, however, seems to say that Pharao was slain; (Jer. xliii. &c. C.) which Ctesias assures us was done by Amasis, though Herodotus (ii. 169.) says he was killed by the people, and buried with his fathers. This latter circumstance is not very probable: but the historian followed the account of the priests, who would mention what was most honourable for the nation. He seems to have been left unburied. v. 5. Scales. The people depended on the king and share his fate. C.

Ver. 6. Israel, tempting them to rebel. S. Jer. — He promised more than he was able or strove to perform, though he made a show of giving aid.

Ver. 7. Loins. They fell upon thee, and thou didst wound (C.) or “dissolve” their loins. H.

Ver. 10. Tower; or rather (C.) Heb. and Sept. “from Magdol to Syene.” H. — This was on the frontiers of Ethiopia, below the cataracts. Pliny v. 9.

Ver. 11. Years, till the third of Cyrus, who gave liberty to all the captives at the beginning of his reign. v. 13. C. — Amasis reigned forty-four years in Lower Egypt, (Herod. iii. 10.) over the few whom Nabuchodonosor spared.

Ver. 14. Low. The Jews were not more tempted to apply to them for aid. C. — Amasis strove to shake off the yoke: but Cambyses came and slew many. Psammenites killed himself; (Herod. iii. 9.) or was taken to Susa, and the country laid waste. Ctesias — Egypt has almost ever since been subject to foreign princes, (H.) Persians, Greeks, Romans, Saracens, Mamelukes, and Turks. The trade of Egypt, by caravans, was in a manner destroyed for forty years by Nabuchodonosor, whose victories Megesthenes and Berosus attest 300 years before Christ. Watson.

Ver. 17. Year: fifteen (C.) or seventeen years after the preceding prophecy, (v. 1. W.) but on the same subject.

Ver. 18. Peeled, with carrying machines of war and burdens for thirteen years. — No reward worth the labour. The new city surrendered upon terms, (C.) or the citizens shipped off their most valuable goods, and retired to Carthage, &c. God gives a temporal reward for moral virtues, (S. Jer.) even to infidels. W. — Thus he rewarded the ancient Romans, and the midwives. S. Aug. de Civ. Dei. v. 12. and S. Tho. i. 2. q. 114. a. 10. — They had no intention of pleasing God, (C.) or of directing their labours for his service. H.

Ver. 21. Horn: Zorobabel; (S. Jer.) Jechonias, who was honoured by Evil-merodac; (T.) or Daniel and Mardochai, with all the nation. — Month. Thou shalt speak boldly, and they will give credit to thee henceforward. C.