New English Translation
A Prophecy Against Egypt
29 In the tenth year, in the tenth month, on the twelfth day of the month,[a] the Lord’s message came to me: 2 “Son of man, turn toward[b] Pharaoh king of Egypt and prophesy against him and against all Egypt. 3 Tell them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says:
“‘Look, I am against[c] you, Pharaoh king of Egypt,
the great monster[d] lying in the midst of its waterways,
who has said, “My Nile is my own, I made it for myself.”[e]
4 I will put hooks in your jaws
and stick the fish of your waterways to your scales.
I will haul you up from the midst of your waterways,
and all the fish of your waterways will stick to your scales.
5 I will leave you in the wilderness,
you and all the fish of your waterways;
you will fall in the open field and will not be gathered up or collected.[f]
I have given you as food to the beasts of the earth and the birds of the skies.
6 Then all those living in Egypt will know that I am the Lord
because they were a reed staff[g] for the house of Israel;
7 when they grasped you with their hand,[h] you broke and tore[i] their shoulders,
and when they leaned on you, you splintered and caused their legs to be unsteady.[j]
8 “‘Therefore, this is what the Sovereign Lord says: Look, I am about to bring a sword against you, and I will kill[k] every person and every animal. 9 The land of Egypt will become a desolate ruin. Then they will know that I am the Lord.
“‘Because he said, “The Nile is mine and I made it,” 10 I am against[l] you and your waterways. I will turn the land of Egypt into an utter desolate ruin from Migdol[m] to Syene,[n] as far as the border with Ethiopia. 11 No human foot will pass through it, and no animal’s foot will pass through it; it will be uninhabited for forty years. 12 I will turn the land of Egypt into a desolation in the midst of desolate lands; for forty years her cities will lie desolate in the midst of ruined cities. I will scatter Egypt among the nations and disperse them among foreign countries.
13 “‘For this is what the Sovereign Lord says: At the end of forty years[o] I will gather Egypt from the peoples where they were scattered. 14 I will restore the fortunes of Egypt and will bring them back[p] to the land of Pathros, to the land of their origin; there they will be an insignificant kingdom. 15 It will be the most insignificant of the kingdoms; it will never again exalt itself over the nations. I will make them so small that they will not rule over the nations. 16 It will never again be Israel’s source of confidence, but a reminder of how they sinned by turning to Egypt for help.[q] Then they will know that I am the Sovereign Lord.’”
17 In the twenty-seventh year, in the first month, on the first day of the month,[r] the Lord’s message came to me: 18 “Son of man, King Nebuchadrezzar[s] of Babylon made his army labor hard against Tyre.[t] Every head was rubbed bald and every shoulder rubbed bare; yet he and his army received no wages from Tyre for the work he carried out against it. 19 Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says: Look, I am about to give the land of Egypt to King Nebuchadrezzar of Babylon. He will carry off her wealth, capture her loot, and seize her plunder; it will be his army’s wages. 20 I have given him the land of Egypt as his compensation for attacking Tyre,[u] because they did it for me, declares the Sovereign Lord. 21 On that day I will make Israel powerful,[v] and I will give you the right to be heard[w] among them. Then they will know that I am the Lord.”
- Ezekiel 29:1 tn January 7, 587 b.c.
- Ezekiel 29:2 tn Heb “set your face against.”
- Ezekiel 29:3 tn Or “I challenge you.” The phrase “I am against you” may be a formula for challenging someone to combat or a duel. See D. I. Block, Ezekiel (NICOT), 1:201-2, and P. Humbert, “Die Herausforderungsformel ‘hinnenî ’êlékâ’” ZAW 45 (1933): 101-8.
- Ezekiel 29:3 tn Heb “jackals,” but many medieval Hebrew mss read correctly “the serpent.” The Hebrew term appears to refer to a serpent in Exod 7:9-10, 12; Deut 32:33; Ps 91:13. It also refers to large creatures that inhabit the sea (Gen 1:21; Ps 148:7). In several passages it is associated with the sea or with the multiheaded sea monster Leviathan (Job 7:12; Ps 74:13; Isa 27:1; 51:9). Because of the Egyptian setting of this prophecy and the reference to the creature’s scales (v. 4), many understand a crocodile to be the referent here (e.g., NCV “a great crocodile”; TEV “you monster crocodile”; CEV “a giant crocodile”).
- Ezekiel 29:3 sn In Egyptian theology Pharaoh owned and controlled the Nile. See J. D. Currid, Ancient Egypt and the Old Testament, 240-44.
- Ezekiel 29:5 tc Some Hebrew mss, the Targum, and the LXX read “buried.”
- Ezekiel 29:6 sn Cf. Isa 36:6.
- Ezekiel 29:7 tc The Hebrew consonantal text (Kethib) implies בְכַפְּךָ (vekappeka, “by your hand”) but the marginal reading (Qere) has simply בַכַּף (vakkaf, “by the hand”). The LXX reads: “with their hand,” implying בְכַפָּם (vekappam).
- Ezekiel 29:7 tn Or perhaps “dislocated.”
- Ezekiel 29:7 tn Heb “you caused to stand for them all their hips.” An emendation that switches two letters but is supported by the LXX yields the reading: “you caused all their hips to shake.” See L. C. Allen, Ezekiel (WBC), 2:103. In 2 Kgs 18:21 and Isa 36:6 trusting in the Pharaoh is compared to leaning on a staff. The oracle may reflect Hophra’s attempt to aid Jerusalem (Jer 37:5-8).
- Ezekiel 29:8 tn Heb “I will cut off from you.”
- Ezekiel 29:10 tn Or “I challenge you.” The phrase “I am against you” may be a formula for challenging someone to combat or a duel. See D. I. Block, Ezekiel (NICOT), 1:201-2, and P. Humbert, “Die Herausforderungsformel ‘hinnenî ’êlékâ’” ZAW 45 (1933): 101-8.
- Ezekiel 29:10 sn This may refer to a site in the Egyptian Delta that served as a refuge for Jews (Jer 44:1; 46:14).
- Ezekiel 29:10 sn Syene is known today as Aswan.
- Ezekiel 29:13 sn In Ezek 4:4-8 it was said that the house of Judah would suffer forty years.
- Ezekiel 29:14 tc Thus the MT, which reads וַהֲשִׁבֹתִי (vahashivoti, “I will cause to return”), a Hiphil of the verb שׁוּב (shuv, “to return”). The LXX, Syriac, and Vulgate translate as though the Hebrew had the vocalization וְהֹשַׁבְתִּי (vehoshavti, “I will cause to inhabit”), a Hiphil from יָשַׁב (yashav “to dwell”).
- Ezekiel 29:16 tn Heb “reminding of iniquity when they turned after them.”
- Ezekiel 29:17 sn April 26, 571 b.c.
- Ezekiel 29:18 tn Heb “Nebuchadrezzar” is a variant and more exact spelling of Nebuchadnezzar, as the Babylonian name Nabu-kudurri-uṣur has an “r” rather than an “n” (so also in v. 19).
- Ezekiel 29:18 sn Nebuchadnezzar besieged Tyre from 585 to 571 b.c.
- Ezekiel 29:20 tn Heb “for which he worked,” referring to the assault on Tyre (v. 18).
- Ezekiel 29:21 tn Heb “I will cause a horn to sprout for the house of Israel.” The horn is used as a figure for military power in the OT (Ps 92:10). A similar expression is made about the Davidic dynasty in Ps 132:17.
- Ezekiel 29:21 tn Heb “I will grant you an open mouth.”