Ezekiel 32 - Outline of Ezekiel (MENU page)
This is the last of four chapters which focus upon the judgment of Egypt. In the previous chapter, the allegory of a great tree, which was cut down and brought to nothing, presented the great glory and the great fall of Assyria. The purpose of this parable was to show proud Pharaoh that he would suffer a similar fate. The glory of human rulers is short-lived, for all are soon brought to nothing, in the lower parts of the earth.
     The previous chapter applied the lesson of the fall of Assyria to Egypt, with its closing words: "This is Pharaoh and all his multitude, saith the Lord GOD."
     The present chapter makes the fate of Egypt unmistakably clear, through two Lamentations, which the LORD dictated to Ezekiel. Lamentations, spoken by the LORD, indicate both the severity and the certainty of the sorrows which He has foretold. In these lamentations, we will again glimpse the hopelessness of ungodly men from every nation, when after death, they understand their lost condition.
 
- A Lamentation for Pharaoh - (32:1-16)
 
1. And it came to pass in the twelfth year, in the twelfth month, in the first [day] of the month,
[that] the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
2 Son of man, take up a lamentation for Pharaoh king of Egypt, and say unto him,
Thou art like a young lion of the nations,
and thou [art] as a whale
{HB=tanniyn, dragon, sea monster, crocodile} in the seas: {cp. Eze 29:3}
and thou camest forth with thy rivers,
and troubledst the waters with thy feet, and fouledst their rivers.
3 Thus saith the Lord GOD;
I will therefore spread out my net over thee with a company of many people;
and they shall bring thee up in my net.
4 Then will I leave thee upon the land, I will cast thee forth upon the open field,
and will cause all the fowls of the heaven to remain upon thee,
and I will fill the beasts of the whole earth with thee.
5 And I will lay thy flesh upon the mountains, and fill the valleys with thy height.
6 I will also water with thy blood the land wherein thou swimmest, [even] to the mountains;
and the rivers shall be full of thee.
7 And when I shall put thee out, I will cover the heaven, and make the stars thereof dark;
I will cover the sun with a cloud, and the moon shall not give her light.
8 All the bright lights of heaven will I make dark over thee,
and set darkness upon thy land, saith the Lord GOD.
...in the twelfth year, in the twelfth month, on the first day of the month...
This message is dated about a year and eight months after the fall of Jerusalem. Nebuchadnezzar had begun his siege of Tyre. Egypt was enjoying a period of prosperity. Pharaoh's power over his own land was unquestioned.
...thou art like a young lion of the nations, and... as a whale {ie., crocodile, sea monster} in the seas...
Pharaoh had been or was soon to be engaged in military expeditions to his east and to his west. He had gone east to defend Jerusalem against Babylon, but was turned back. He was preparing to go west against Cyrene, in Libya. Pharaoh desired to be 'a young lion' {an influential military power} among the nations. (cp. the term 'young lions' in Eze 19:2-6, regarding previous kings of Judah; Eze 38:13, regarding other powerful nations).
     But the LORD had placed him in his river {ie., in control of the land of the Nile River, which is sometimes referred to as Egypt's 'sea,' eg., Nah 3:8}. Egypt's river was its source of life, and also its defensive barrier against intruders. Pharaoh was out of place elsewhere.
...and thou camest forth... and troublest the waters with thy feet, and fouledst their rivers...
Pharaoh's excursions into other lands had disturbed the nations into which his armies marched.
...I will therefore spread out my net over thee with a company of many people...
The LORD was about to judge Pharaoh, by turning other nations (especially Babylon) against Egypt.
...I will lay thy flesh upon the mountains... I will also water with thy blood the land wherein thou swimmest... the rivers shall be full of thee...
As a 'sea monster' is helpless upon dry land, so Pharaoh's armies would be unable to stand when they went out to defend Egypt against the approaching Babylonians (Eze 29:4,5). Therefore, Nebuchadnezzar's armies would enter Egypt, causing much bloodshed, and coloring the Nile and its canals with Egyptian blood. The rivers would also be full of Egyptian flesh.
...when I put thee out {ie., extinguish thee}...
...all the bright lights of heaven will I make dark over thee... and set darkness {ie., obscurity, death} upon thy land...
The judgments described (in v.6-8) are reminiscent of the judgments upon Egypt during the Exodus...
  • rivers turned to blood (eg., Ex 7:17)
  • rivers filled with rotting flesh (eg., Ex 7:21)
  • the land covered with darkness (eg., Ex 10:21)
    In v.7,8, the word 'dark' (occurs 2x) may refer to lack of natural light and also to the presence of mournful morbidity. The word 'darkness' {ie., obscurity} may refer to spiritual blindness or to a sense of doom which cannot see any hope through the gloom.
Similar judgments will fall upon the realm of the antichrist during the great Tribulation (eg., Rev 16:1-11, note the second, third and fifth 'vials' of wrath). The pride, power, and punishment of Pharaoh foreshadows that of the future antichrist.
9 I will also vex {ie., anger, grieve} the hearts of many people,
when I shall bring thy destruction among the nations,
into the countries which thou hast not known.
10 Yea, I will make many people amazed
{ie., astonished} at thee,
and their kings shall be horribly afraid for thee,
when I shall brandish my sword before them;
and they shall tremble at [every] moment, every man for his own life, in the day of thy fall.
11 For thus saith the Lord GOD;
The sword of the king of Babylon shall come upon thee.
12 By the swords of the mighty will I cause thy multitude to fall, the terrible of the nations, all of them:
and they shall spoil the pomp of Egypt, and all the multitude thereof shall be destroyed.
13 I will destroy also all the beasts thereof from beside the great waters;
neither shall the foot of man trouble them any more,
nor the hoofs of beasts trouble them.
{cp. Eze 29:8; 30:10-12}
14 Then will I make their waters deep, and cause their rivers to run like oil, saith the Lord GOD.
15 When I shall make the land of Egypt desolate,
and the country shall be destitute of that whereof it was full,
when I shall smite all them that dwell therein,
{Eze 29:12}
then shall they know that I [am] the LORD.
16 This [is] the lamentation wherewith they shall lament her:
the daughters of the nations shall lament her:
they shall lament for her, [even] for Egypt, and for all her multitude, saith the Lord GOD.
...I will make many people amazed {ie., astonished} at thee... their kings horribly afraid... when I... brandish my sword...
The sword which the LORD would brandish, was the sword of the king of Babylon and his army.
The fall of Egypt would grieve and trouble the nations which were allied with her, and which relied upon her. Eze 30:4-10
     The watching nations would be grieved, as they were by the fall of Tyre (Eze 26:16), and as they will be by the fall of the antichrist's kingdom (Rev 18:10-14).
...then will I make their waters deep {ie., calm, clear}, and cause their rivers to run like oil {ie., smoothly}...
Pharaoh's fall would desolate his land and dry his own rivers (see v.13,15 and references above), and cause him to cease muddying the waters of neighboring nations, which would, therefore, enjoy a period of tranquility (v.14). Meanwhile, Egypt, which had previously been prosperous, would lie in ruins. Her desolation would be the cause of lamentation.
 
- A Lamentation for the Multitude of Egypt - (32:17-32)
17. It came to pass also in the twelfth year, in the fifteenth [day] of the month,
[that] the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
18 Son of man, wail for the multitude of Egypt, and cast them down,
[even] her, and the daughters of the famous nations,
unto the nether parts of the earth, with them that go down into the pit.
19 Whom dost thou pass in beauty?
go down, and be thou laid with the uncircumcised.
20 They shall fall in the midst of [them that are] slain by the sword:
she is delivered to the sword: draw her and all her multitudes.
21 The strong among the mighty shall speak to him out of the midst of hell with them that help him:
they are gone down, they lie uncircumcised, slain by the sword.
22 Asshur
{ie., Assyria} [is] there and all her company:
his graves [are] about him: all of them slain, fallen by the sword:
23 Whose graves are set in the sides of the pit,
and her company is round about her grave:
all of them slain, fallen by the sword,
which caused terror in the land of the living.
24 There [is] Elam and all her multitude round about her grave,
{Elam, once a mighty power, had been absorbed by Persia.}
all of them slain, fallen by the sword,
which are gone down uncircumcised into the nether parts of the earth,
which caused their terror in the land of the living;
yet have they borne their shame with them that go down to the pit.
25 They have set her a bed in the midst of the slain with all her multitude:
her graves [are] round about him:
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:
he is put in the midst of [them that be] slain.
26 There [is] Meshech, Tubal, and all her multitude:
her graves [are] round about him:
all of them uncircumcised, slain by the sword,
though they caused their terror in the land of the living.
27 And they shall not lie with the mighty [that are] fallen of the uncircumcised,
which are gone down to hell with their weapons of war:
and they have laid their swords under their heads,
but their iniquities shall be upon their bones,
though [they were] the terror of the mighty in the land of the living.
28 Yea, thou shalt be broken in the midst of the uncircumcised,
and shalt lie with [them that are] slain with the sword.
29 There [is] Edom, her kings, and all her princes,
which with their might are laid by [them that were] slain by the sword:
they shall lie with the uncircumcised, and with them that go down to the pit.
30 There [be] the princes of the north, all of them, and all the Zidonians,
which are gone down with the slain;
with their terror they are ashamed of their might;
and they lie uncircumcised with [them that be] slain by the sword,
and bear their shame with them that go down to the pit.
31 Pharaoh shall see them, and shall be comforted over all his multitude,
[even] Pharaoh and all his army slain by the sword, saith the Lord GOD.
32 For I have caused my terror in the land of the living:
and he shall be laid in the midst of the uncircumcised with [them that are] slain with the sword,
[even] Pharaoh and all his multitude, saith the Lord GOD.
...in the twelfth year, in the fifteenth day of the month...
This message was given two weeks following the Lamentation for Pharaoh, above (v.1-16).
(The month, being unstated, can be assumed to be the same as previously mentioned, in v.1.)
...wail for the multitude of Egypt, and cast them down... unto the nether parts of the earth, with them that go down into the pit.
The Word of God, which Ezekiel spoke, would "cast them (ie., Egypt and the nations) down," for His Word cannot be broken.
This lamentation is for the armies of Egypt, and of all nations, as one by one, they take their places in the realm of the dead.
  • Some, like Assyria, had descended into this place before Pharaoh and his multitude.
    (Babylon conquered Assyria soon after the fall of the northern kingdom of Israel.)
  • Others, like Meshech and Tubal, will descend in the future, following the terror that they will cause in the latter days (eg., Eze 38:2,3,8).
  • The judgments, of several of the nations listed here, were foretold in Ezekiel ch. 25-28. The judgment of other nations will be addressed in future chapters.
...the strong among the mighty shall speak to him out of the midst of hell {HB=sheol} with them that help him...
When Pharaoh and his multitudes would descend into the pit, they would be greeted by formerly powerful entities, enemies and allies alike, who were already there.
     This passage is one of very few, which provide insight into the miseries of the spirits of unsaved men as they await the final judgment, in sheol (the holding place of the spirits of ungodly dead men). Other passages include Isa 14:9-15f; Eze 31:1-18; Luk 16:19-31.
     As the account in Luke 16 (cited above) shows, prior to the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, sheol was divided into two sections, one for the unjust (referred to as 'torments'), the other for the just (referred to as 'Abraham's bosum' or 'paradise'). In Christ's victory over sin and death, He emptied 'paradise,' by taking 'the spirits of just men made perfect' with Him when He arose (eg., Eph 4:8-10; Heb 12:23). The spirits of the lost will remain in sheol until their final disposition is determined at the Great White Throne judgment (Rev 20:11-15).
...whom dost thou pass in beauty? go down, and be thou laid with the uncircumcised...
Men may worship their own beauty (v.19), greatness (Eze 31:2), and glory (Eze 31:18). But in death, their vanity is revealed (Ecc 2:14; 3:19; 9:11).
     The dead from various nations are identified as 'uncircumcised' ten times in this passage. This is a terrifying refrain, for the sense is that all of these are 'unconverted' and unprepared to stand before the LORD. [For more concerning the meaning of the phrase "in the midst of the uncircumcised" (and similar phrases), see the Note at Eze 28:10.]
...they are gone down, they lie uncircumcised, slain by the sword. (v.21)
The phrase "slain by the sword" occurs 12x in this passage. It implies judgment, defeat and shame. Regardless of victories won while they were causing "terror in the land of the living," all lie defeated by death.
...they have borne their shame {ie., disgrace, confusion, dishonor}, with them that go down to the pit...
In their day, these kings and nations held themselves in honor. But in sheol, they bear a burden of great shame.
...they have set her a bed in the midst of the slain... her graves are round about him...
A place was already prepared for the multitude of Egypt to lie among the slain. Their graves would be arranged around 'him' {ie., Pharaoh}.
...they shall not lie with the mighty... but their iniquity {or, punishment for iniquity} shall be upon their bones.
Though buried with pomp, in their armor and with their weapons, there are no mighty men in graves.
Rather, they all lie in weakness and shame, aware of the judgment due for their sins, and awaiting its execution.
     Yet, in sheol, there may be some differentiation in levels of dishonor, based on the degree of depravity in their crimes (eg., Satan, Isa 14:18,19).
...with the weapons of war {lit., with the weapons of their warfare}...
In death, the devices and purposes, of the powerful, perish with them.
cp. Isa 54:17; Luk 12:4,5; 2Cor 10:4
...Pharaoh shall see them, and be comforted for all his multitude...
Pharaoh, who like the prince of Tyre, said he was a god, and worshipped his own beauty, greatness and glory, would see his error (cp. Eze 28:2,9; 29:3). How slight is the consolation of comprehending that many others are in the company of the condemned? cp. Eze 31:16
...for I have caused my terror in the land of the living: and he shall be laid in the midst of the uncircumcised...
"I" may refer to the LORD, or to the king of Babylon, by whom the LORD exercised judgment upon Pharaoh (the "he" who was about to find himself in sheol, unprepared to stand in the judgment).
     Pharaoh's fate is recorded, as an example and warning, to all who are still in the land of the living. cp. Zeph 3:6-8; 2Cor 5:11,14-21; Heb 10:31; Rev 6:15-17
The following outline is offered as a summary and review of this section (ch. 25-32), regarding the judgment of the Gentile nations. The historic judgment of the seven named nations illustrates the future judgment in the Day of the LORD. The characteristics of Gentile world dominion are the same at the beginning and at the end of the age. But the names and locations, of the final characters, may change with the passage of time. (Compare with same section of the book outline.)
Elements of the future judgment of Gentile World Dominion
  1. The Perpetual Hatred, of near neighbors, against Israel. ch. 25
  2. The Precise Fulfillment of Prophecy. ch. 26
  3. The Political & Economic World System. ch. 27
  4. Two Powerful Persons: anti-Christ, anti-God (Satan), ch. 28
  5. The Prevailing Purpose of God, 28:20-26.
    To reveal His glory ("I am the LORD") by means of:
    • the destruction of His enemies.
    • His restoration of Israel.
  6. The 'Protective' Empire, in the Day of the LORD:
    1. Its blasphemous Pride, ch. 29
    2. Its false Friendship toward Israel, ch. 29:6,7,16
    3. Its Fall Predicted, ch. 30
    4. Its Fall Precedented, ch. 31
    5. The Fall of its ungodly Ruler lamented, 32:1-16
    6. The Fall of the ungodly World System lamented, 32:17-32

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