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Proud and Unreliable, Ezekiel 29-32

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Introduction: Are you reliable? If you are contracted to do a job and promise you will be there and that it will be done, are you true to your word? If your spouse asks you to do something or be somewhere, can he or she count on you? If you volunteer in church, can people trust you to be prepared, show up and do your very best? Hopefully so, but some people in their pride think they do not have to do that. In the days of the Babylonian siege against Jerusalem, she hired Egypt to come and help, instead of seeking the LORD, but Egypt was unreliable. Though it was a sin to seek her help, Egypt is culpable for failing to help Israel when she needed it the most.

Review. During the two year siege of Babylon, Jerusalem has a chance to repent but does not. As she was besieged and destroyed, how did the surrounding nations react? In Ezekiel 25-32 there are judgments against Israel's neighbors. In Ezekiel 25 there were judgments against Israel's eastern and western neighbors, the Ammonites, Moabites, Edomites, and the Philistines. They would be judged by God for rejoicing over Israel's calamity.

In our last Bible lesson, Ezekiel 26-28, we studied the judgment of her northern coastal neighbor, Tyre. Tyre was located in the southern area of Phoenicia (now Lebanon - use browser arrow to return to this Bible study).

The city of Tyre will be destroyed and is never to be rebuilt because it rejoiced at Jerusalem's fall and sought to profit from it. Her ruler, Ethbaal III (The Bible Knowledge Commentary of the O.T., by Walvoord and Zuck, © 1985, p. 1282), thought he was a god, because of his acumen and success in trade, and he was likened to Satan. His pride also caused the destruction of his nation. Babylon will be the conquering nation, trampling them with their strong calvary. Other nations will lament Tyre's destruction and be terrified. Tyre will be destroyed so that it will be just a bare rock to spread out fishnets (this is probably a hyperbole). According to the history of Tyre, the old city was never rebuilt after Babylon and other nations including Greece destroyed it. New cities on the island and mainland were later constructed adjacent to the old city ruins. Sidon would also be destroyed because she, too, was a malicious neighbor and, as other neighboring nations, she was like painful briers and sharp thorns to Israel. However, there is hope for Israel. Someday, after she repents (though this is not stated, in other Scriptures we know this is the requirement of God) she would return to her land, build houses, plant vineyards and live in safety.

Today, we observe the judgment upon Egypt in chapters 29-32. Unfortunately, these chapters are a unit so we cannot rightly put them into separate Bible studies. We will pull out major points from each chapter.

The prophecies given by God to Ezekiel were apparently written down and sent by a messenger(s) to give to the Egyptian Pharaoh (Hophra) because Ezekiel was in exile in Babylon. Pharaoh probably received the messages shortly before they were fulfilled. Read Ezekiel 29:1. When does this prophecy occur?

Answer 1


In Ezekiel 29-32 there are a few illustrations that point to the judgment upon Pharaoh and Egypt. Read Ezekiel 29:2-6a. To what is Pharaoh likened and what will happen to him? What is the point of this judgment?

Answer 2


What was the sin of Egypt for which they would be judged? Read Ezekiel 29:6b-7; 2Kings 18:21; Jeremiah 37:6-8

Answer 3


Read Ezekiel 29:8-16. How would God judge Egypt? How does this help us interpret the first illustration in Ezekiel 29:2-6a? How would God show his grace?

Answer 4


In Ezekiel 29:17 we observe that the date is not chronological. In fact, it is much later. However, Ezekiel 29:17-21 is chronological in thought; it answers the question, "who is it that will attack Egypt and bring this judgment and why this nation?" Read Ezekiel 29:17-21 and answer these two questions.

Answer 5


As in many sections of the Bible, after judgment God offers a word of hope to Israel. In Ezekiel 29:21 there appears to be such a word given. "Horn" implies strength in the Bible (1Samuel 2:1; 2Samuel 22:3; 1Kings 22:11; Psalms 18:2; 89:17; Jeremiah 48:25). "In that day" may refer to the Millennium (Isaiah 19:18-25), however, in this context it could also refer to Egypt's' return to the land when King Cyrus of Persia reigns. He would be the horn to allow Israel to return and grow. That he would open Ezekiel's mouth might mean that for awhile after his prophecies he would be silent, and then as an old man return to Israel (there is no record of this, however). An alternative view, and perhaps more likely, is that after their return to the land of Israel the former exiles would finally understand the prophecies of Ezekiel (The Bible Knowledge Commentary of the O.T, by Walvoord and Zuck, ©1985, p.1287).

Ezekiel 30:1-19 is undated and then in verse 20 Ezekiel returns back to his original chronology. Read Ezekiel 30. How would Babylon destroy Egypt? What would happen when she does? See this map for the cities of Egypt and the nations surrounding it.

Answer 6


Ezekiel 31 is an allegory. What is the allegory about and what is the basic message of it?

Answer 7


Ezekiel 32 is a lament. Only two good things are said about Egypt before dire words of judgment. What are they? Ezekiel 32:2

Answer 8


What will happen to Egypt? Who would bring about this judgment? How is it like other earlier predictions? Ezekiel 32:3-16

Answer 9


Ezekiel 32:17-32 prophesies Egypt's end. What is the point of this dire prediction?

Answer 10


Lessons to Live by: (ask for members' input first)

Today's Bible memory verse: Proverbs 16:18 "Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall." (NIV)

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A1: This prophecy occurs on tenth year, in the tenth month on the twelfth day (of King Jehoiachin, the last rightful king of Israel). In using this date he is backing up from his dated prophecy against Tyre, which is the eleventh year, on the first of the month (26:1). Chapters 29-32 are mostly chronological, but in chapter 29 they are chronological in thought, even if not in time. We will explore the significance of this later.

A2: Pharaoh (Hophra) proclaims that he is a god; he made the Nile for himself. But God proclaims that he is a sea monster, not a god; and God will pull him out of the river and the fish (i.e., his people) will be taken with him and be thrown out into the desert to be exposed or killed. We will discover the interpretation of this illustration and others later, but the point is that the Egyptians will know that God is the LORD, in other words, He is God, He is Sovereign (not Pharaoh).

A3: Egypt was as undependable as a broken cane. Egypt was hired to help Jerusalem but, though initially she came, she went back home and left Jerusalem to fall to Babylon. We need to be careful that we ask the LORD for help and choose dependable people to help us. Have we ever promised to help the needy and then failed, only to let them fall? That is not right!

A4: Like Judah, Egypt would be put to the sword and the survivors would be exiled for forty years. However, God would allow them to return as a nation (probably under the reign of Persia as Israel would be allowed to do). She would be a weak nation, never to be a major military power, but still God will allow her to return. By comparison, the first illustration of the sea monster and fish being taken from their streams and thrown out into the desert is like the people being removed from their land to die or be exiled. Though God punishes sin, God is often gracious.

A5: God would use Babylon to destroy Egypt and her neighboring nations because as God's arm Nebuchadnezzar had conquered Tyre (see our last Bible study) but was not rewarded for it. It is thought that Tyre shipped out her wealth before she surrendered to Babylon, leaving them nothing (The Bible Knowledge Commentary of the O.T. by Walvoord and Zuck, ©1985, p. 1286).

A6: The Day of the LORD, a day usually referring to end time events, is a day of doom which will come upon Egypt and her neighbors (see map) when Babylon comes to destroy and set fire to Egypt. The Nile river will be dried up and turned into a wasteland. Foreigners will occupy the land. The idols in Egypt will be destroyed. Her wealth will be carried away. Babylon will break the arms of Egypt's strength so that she can no longer fight. Surrounding nations will fear Egypt's destruction, but they, too, will be destroyed. Those Egyptians who survive the sword will be exiled into many nations.

A7: The allegory is about Assyria, comparing it to the tallest of Cedar trees in the Tigris area (perhaps close to the original Garden of Eden), well nourished and prosperous, and a kingdom where other nations found refuge under her shade of protection. She was prosperous until a powerful ruler cut her down. "Nineveh, the capital of Assyria, fell to Babylon [the most ruthless of foreign nations] under Nabopolassar, Nebuchadnezzar's father in 612 BC. The rest of the Assyrian army was crushed by Nebuchadnezzar in 609 BC" (The Moody Bible Commentary, Rydelnik and Vanlaningham, Moody Publishers, Chicago, ©2014, p.1249).

The basic message is: don't think you are so high and mighty - if Assyria and all the rest of the nations fell and were destroyed, you will be, too. Babylon had already destroyed Assyria, Tyre and Sidon, Judah, and now would destroy Egypt and surrounding nations - everyone in their path.

Proverbs 16:18 "Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall," (NIV). Are we in danger of destruction?

A8: "You are like a lion among the nations; you are like a monster in the seas thrashing about in your streams." This is a statement of strength and the ability to cause chaos.

A9: Egypt will be captured and destroyed by Babylon. God will bring about this judgment (note the prevalence of the word "I") and the instrument will be Babylon. This is the third time in this section of scripture that Ezekiel prophecies this, indicating the certainty of judgment. Some of the judgments resemble the plagues of Egypt in the days of Moses - blood and darkness.

A10: Egypt's end will be like all the other nations - they, too, will die amongst the uncircumcised (foreign nations). The point is that their destiny is no better, so they should not be proud.

The Bible says all people must die and face judgment. That is the bad news, but Christ was sacrificed in our place to bring us salvation (Heb 9:27, 28). Will you accept Christ today? He offers us forgiveness, peace, and spiritual life (more...). Don't wait too long. Today is the day of salvation. Take advantage of his offer before you lose it; you do not want to suffer his wrath.

Lessons to Live by:

  • God is the LORD; we are not.
  • Ask the LORD for help and choose dependable people.
  • Though God punishes sin, God is often gracious.
  • Proverbs 16:18 "Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall," (NIV)
  • The Bible says all people must die and face judgment, but Christ was sacrificed in our place to bring us salvation (Heb 9:27, 28).

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