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32 During the twelfth year, on the first day of the twelfth month, the word of the Eternal came to me with a lament over Pharaoh and his people.

Eternal One: Son of man, sing a lament over Pharaoh, king of Egypt. Tell him,

    You imagine yourself a lion moving mightily through the nations,
        but you’re really like the great sea monster
    Rampaging through the waterways—muddying up the streams
        and fouling the rivers with your feet.

    So I, the Eternal One, say:
        I will use a company of many people to cover you with My net
    Using the nations to make the trap.
        Once you are caught, they will haul you up in My net.
    I will leave you on dry land
        and cast you in an open field.
    I will summon the birds of the sky to land on you and feast on your flesh.
        I will bring the wild beasts of the earth to satisfy their hunger with you.
    I will scatter bits and pieces of you on the hills
        and fill the valleys with your remains.
    I will see that the land drinks your flowing blood
        as it streams to the mountains and fills the dry riverbeds.
    When I blot you out, I will cover the heavens and dim the stars;
        I will hide the sun behind a cloud, and the moon will not shine.
    I will darken the lights that shine in the heavens
        and shroud your land in darkness.

I will disturb the hearts of many people across the world with accounts of your destruction. The news will travel to places you have never heard of or knew existed. 10 I will shock many peoples with your story; kings will be terrified to remember your fate when I wave My sword at them. On the day of your destruction, they will tremble constantly, fearing your tragic destiny might also be theirs.

11 I, the Eternal Lord, say that the sword of the Babylonian king will strike against you, Egypt. 12 I will use the swords of mighty warriors—all from the most ruthless nation on earth—to strike down your vast population.

    They will hack the pride of Egypt to pieces
        and slaughter her vast population.
13     I will destroy all her livestock that drink from the abundant rivers and streams
        so they will no longer be muddied by the feet of man or beast.
14     Once they are gone, I will settle the waters of Egypt
        and let them flow as smoothly as olive oil.
15     After I make the land of Egypt a wasteland,
        strip the land bare, and crush all of her inhabitants,
    Then they will know that I am the Eternal One.

16     This is the lament they will sing over her. The daughters of the nations will mourn
        and sing for Egypt and for all her people.

So says the Eternal Lord.

17 In the twelfth year, on the fifteenth day of the first month, the word of the Eternal came to me regarding Egypt.

Eternal One: 18 Son of man, grieve for the vast population of Egypt. Deliver Egypt and her foreign allies to the lowest regions of the earth, to the pit where they may join the rest of the dead.

In Ezekiel’s day the Israelites believe that after death, all people go down to the pit, often called “Sheol.” The Hebrew word comes from a root that means “to ask a question” because no one knows exactly what happens on the other side. The afterlife remains an open question for Ezekiel’s contemporaries. The Bible describes it as a dark, shadowy place, located perhaps in the lowest regions of the earth. It stands in sharp contrast to the descriptions Jesus’ apostles will give of heaven and hell later in the New Testament. The Scriptures do not reveal everything at once. They invite the reader to keep digging and keep seeking to find answers.

Eternal One: 19 Ask Egypt, “Who compares to your beauty now?

Go down into the pit and rest among the uncircumcised pagans.”

20 They will fall and be buried with those who died in battle. The sword is drawn and at her throat! They have dragged her and all her vast population away. 21 The mighty rulers in the place of the dead will hail them: “Welcome to the world of the dead! Come on down and take your place among the uncircumcised pagans and those killed in battle.”

The Egyptians practice circumcision and are careful in burying their dead. They consider it an insult to be laid to rest with the uncircumcised and those never properly buried.

22 Assyria is in the pit—she and her entire company. She is encircled by the graves of her people—all of them slain, fallen by the sword. 23 Their graves are in the lowest regions of the pit; a vast company encircles her grave; all of them are slain, fallen by the sword. Their reign of terror among the living has ended in an eternity of dishonor.

24 Elam is there, too, with all her population around her grave. They all died in battle, slaughtered by the sword. They descended to the lowest regions of the pit uncircumcised. 25 Their reign of terror among the living has ended in an eternity among the disgraced in the pit. They have made her a bed among those killed in battle. The graves of her people surround her. They were slaughtered by the sword and descended into death without being circumcised. Their reign of terror among the living has ended in an eternity among the disgraced in the pit. They have taken their place among the slain.

26 Meshech and Tubal take residence in the lowest parts of the pit as well. The graves of their people surround them. Although they terrorized the living, they have all died in battle without being circumcised. 27 But they won’t share a space with the other uncircumcised pagan warriors (who also reigned down terror on earth) inhabiting the place of death honorably, buried with their weapons. Meshech and Tubal won’t rest on their swords in valor; instead, the punishment for their wickedness will rest on their bones. 28 Pharaoh, you, too, will lie with the other residents of the underworld. Your place is set beside the uncircumcised and those who died in battle.

29 Edom is there, too, with all her royalty and leadership. Even though they possessed great power while on earth, they dwell with others in the pit. They lie beside the uncircumcised and those who died in battle.

30 All the northern princes and all the Sidonians will end up in the pit too. They used their power to terrorize others in the land of the living. But now they dwell in shame with others in the pit. They lie beside the uncircumcised and those who died in battle.

31 I, the Eternal One, declare that Pharaoh will see and take comfort in the company of all his people—especially his army—slaughtered by the sword. 32 Even though I used him to terrorize the living, I am consigning him and all his people to lie in the deepest parts of the pit beside the uncircumcised and all those who died in battle.

So says the Eternal Lord.

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