Neither shall Pharaoh with his mighty army and great company make for him in the war, by casting up mounts, and building forts, to cut off many persons:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)By casting up mounts.—This translation implies that “the casting up mounts and building forts” were to be the act of Pharaoh; but such things are done not by the relieving, but by the besieging army. A better translation would be, “when they cast up mounts,” &c.—i.e., at the time of the siege. We learn from Jeremiah 44:30 that the particular Pharaoh here referred to was Hophra, the Apries of the Greeks. In Jeremiah 37:5-11, it is said that an Egyptian army did come up and temporarily raise the siege of Jerusalem; but it was of no avail. Pharaoh did him no good—did not “make for him in the war.” The Chaldæans speedily returned, drove away the Egyptians, and renewed the siege, finally capturing and burning the city.
Neither … make for him—literally, "effect (anything) with him," that is, be of any avail to Zedekiah. Pharaoh did not act in concert with him, for he was himself compelled to retire to Egypt.
by casting up mounts, &c.—So far from Pharaoh doing so for Jerusalem, this was what Nebuchadnezzar did against it (Jer 52:4). Calvin Maurer, &c., refer it to Nebuchadnezzar, "when Nebuchadnezzar shall cast up mounts."
Make for him: if Zedekiah be the person, as our version carrieth it, it foretells the unprofitableness of the Egyptian army, that shall not do him any kindness. If Nebuchadnezzar be intended, as the version which renders the Hebrew particle against, then it foretells the little hurt that the Egyptians shall do to Nebuchadnezzar.
By casting up mounts; when Nebuchadnezzar shall with so much speed and skill east up forts and build mounts, wooden castles, to annoy Jerusalem, secure his own forces, and terrify the Egyptian king from the difficulty of raising the siege, which could not be done without expense of much blood.
To cut off many persons, of the besieged in Jerusalem, and of the Egyptians, if they attempt to raise the siege; this sense it bears in the French version.
make for him in the war,.... The king of Egypt, to whom Zedekiah applied for horses and men to help him; though he should come with a great army, and a large multitude of people, yet should be of no use to Zedekiah, nor do any hurt to Nebuchadnezzar, or hinder him from taking Jerusalem:
by casting up mounts, and building forts, to cut off many persons; that is, when Nebuchadnezzar should besiege Jerusalem, and raise mounts, and build fortifications, in order to take the city, and destroy its inhabitants; as he did, Jeremiah 52:4; the Egyptian army should not be able to hinder him going on with the siege, and taking the city; for though the siege was broke up for a time, upon the approach of Pharaoh's army, yet Nebuchadnezzar, having conquered the Egyptians, returned again to the siege of Jerusalem, and took it; see Jeremiah 37:5.Neither shall Pharaoh with his mighty army and great company make for him in the war, by casting up mounts, and building forts, to cut off many persons:
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)17. The aid of Pharaoh shall be in vain; cf. Jeremiah 37:5, and the pathetic references to the hopes and disappointments of the besieged during the last days of Jerusalem in Lamentations 4:17.
On “mounts,” &c., cf. ch. Ezekiel 4:2.Verse 17. - By casting up mounts, etc.; better, with the Revised Version, when they cast up mounts. The words describe the strategical operations, not of the Egyptians against the Chaldeans, but of the Chaldeans, when they recovered from their first alarm, against Jerusalem (2 Kings 25:1; Jeremiah 39:1). The Egyptians, Ezekiel predicts, would be powerless to prevent that second and decisive siege. In vers. 18, 19 the prophet emphasizes the fact that this would be the just punishment of Zedekiah's perfidy.
Ezekiel 17:1. And the word of Jehovah came to me, saying, Ezekiel 17:2. Son of man, give a riddle, and relate a parable to the house of Israel; Ezekiel 17:3. And say, Thus saith the Lord Jehovah, A great eagle, with great wings and long pinions, full of feathers of variegated colours, came to Lebanon and took the top of the cedar: Ezekiel 17:4. He plucked off the topmost of its shoots, and brought it into Canaan's land; in a merchant-city he set it. Ezekiel 17:5. And he took of the seed of the land, and put it into seed-land; took it away to many waters, set it as a willow. Ezekiel 17:6. And it grew, and became an overhanging vine of low stature, that its branches might turn towards him, and its roots might be under him; and it became a vine, and produced shoots, and sent out foliage. Ezekiel 17:7. There was another great eagle with great wings and many feathers; and, behold, this vine stretched its roots languishingly towards him, and extended its branches towards him, that he might water it from the beds of its planting. Ezekiel 17:8. It was planted in a good field by many waters, to send out roots and bear fruit, to become a glorious vine. Ezekiel 17:9. Say, Thus saith the Lord Jehovah, Will it thrive? will they not pull up its roots, and cut off its fruit, so that it withereth? all the fresh leaves of its sprouting will wither, and not with strong arm and with much people will it be possible to raise it up from its roots. Ezekiel 17:10. And, behold, although it is planted, will it thrive? will it not wither when the east wind touches it? upon the beds in which it grew it will wither.
The parable (mâshâl, corresponding exactly to the New Testament παραβολή) is called chīdhâh, a riddle, because of the deeper meaning lying beneath the parabolic shell. The symbolism of this parable has been traced by many commentators to Babylonian influences working upon the prophet's mind; but without any tenable ground. The figure of the eagle, or bird of prey, applied to a conqueror making a rapid descent upon a country, has as little in it of a specifically Babylonian character as the comparison of the royal family to a cedar or a vine. Not only is Nebuchadnezzar compared to an eagle in Jeremiah 48:40; Jeremiah 49:22, as Cyrus is to a bird of prey in Isaiah 46:11; but even Moses has described the paternal watchfulness of God over His own people as bearing them upon eagle's wings (Exodus 19:4; Deuteronomy 32:11). The cedar of Lebanon and the vine are genuine Israelitish figures. The great eagle in Ezekiel 17:3 is the great King Nebuchadnezzar (compare Ezekiel 17:12). The article is simply used to indicate the species, for which we should use the indefinite article. In Ezekiel 17:7, instead of the article, we have אחד in the sense of "another." This first eagle has large wings and long pinions; he has already flown victoriously over wide-spread countries. אשׁר־לו , literally, which is to him the variegated ornament, i.e., which he has as such an ornament. The feathers of variegated ornamental colours point to the many peoples, differing in language, manners, and customs, which were united under the sceptre of Nebuchadnezzar (Hitzig, etc.); not to the wealth and splendour of the conqueror, as such an allusion is altogether remote from the tendency of the parable. He came to Lebanon. This is not a symbol of the Israelitish land, or of the kingdom of Judah; but, as in Jeremiah 22:23, of Jerusalem, or Mount Zion, with its royal palace so rich in cedar wood (see the comm. on Habakkuk 2:17 and Zechariah 11:1), as being the place where the cedar was planted (compare the remarks on Ezekiel 17:12). The cedar is the royal house of David, and the top of it is King Jehoiachin. The word tzammereth is only met with in Ezekiel, and there only for the top of a cedar (compare Ezekiel 31:3.). The primary meaning is doubtful. Some derive it from the curly, or, as it were, woolly top of the older cedars, in which the small twigs that constitute their foliage are only found at the top of the tree. Others suppose it to be connected with the Arabic dmr, to conceal, and understand it as an epithet applied to the foliage, as the veil or covering of the tree. In v. 4, tzammereth is explained to be ראשׁ רניקותיו, the topmost of its shoots. This the eagle plucked off and carried אל־ארץ כּנען, an epithet applied to Babylonia here and in Ezekiel 16:29, as being a land whose trading spirit had turned it into a Canaan. This is evident from the parallel עיר רכלים, city of traders, i.e., Babylon (compare Ezekiel 17:12). The seed of the land, according to Ezekiel 16:13, is King Zedekiah, because he was of the land, the native king, in contrast to a foreign, Babylonian governor.
קח, for לקח, after the analogy of קחם in Hosea 11:3, and pointed with Kametz to distinguish it from the imperative. לקח אל is used as in Numbers 23:27. The ἁπ. λεγ.צפצפה signifies, in Arabic and the Talmud, the willow, probably so called because it grows in well-watered places; according to Gesenius, it is derived from צוּף, to overflow, literally, the inundated tree. This meaning is perfectly appropriate here. "He set it as a willow" means he treated it as one, inasmuch as he took it to many waters, set it in a well-watered soil, i.e., in a suitable place. The cutting grew into an overhanging vine, i.e., to a vine spreading out its branches in all directions, though not growing very high, as the following expression שׁפלת קומה more clearly shows. The object of this growth was, that its branches might turn to him (the eagle), and its roots might be under him (the eagle). The suffixes attached to אליו and תּחתּיו refer to נשׁר. This allusion is required not only by the explanation in Ezekiel 17:14 (? Ezekiel 17:14, Ezekiel 17:15), but also by Ezekiel 17:7, where the roots and branches of the vine stretch to the (other) eagle. In Ezekiel 17:6, what has already been affirmed concerning the growth is briefly summed up again. The form פּארה is peculiar to Ezekiel. Isaiah has פּארה sah h equals פּארה in Ezekiel 10:33. The word signifies branch and foliage, or a branch covered with foliage, as the ornament of a tree. - The other eagle mentioned in Ezekiel 17:7 is the king of Egypt, according to Ezekiel 17:15. He had also large wings and many feathers, i.e., a widely spread and powerful kingdom; but there is nothing said about pinions and variegated colours, for Pharaoh had not spread out his kingdom over many countries and peoples, or subjugated a variegated medley of peoples and tribes. כּפן, as a verb ἁπ. λεγ.., signifies to yearn or pine after a thing; in Chaldee, to hunger. להשׁקות, that he (the eagle-Pharaoh) might give it to drink, or water it. The words מערגות מטּעהּ are not connected with להשׁקות, but with שׁלחה and כּנפה, form the beds of its planting, i.e., in which it was planted; it stretched out roots and branches to the other eagle, that he might give it to drink. The interpretation is given in Ezekiel 17:15. The words להשׁקות אותהּ, which are added by way of explanation, do not interrupt the train of thought; nor are they superfluous, as Hitzig supposes, because the vine had water enough already (Ezekiel 17:5 and Ezekiel 17:8). For this is precisely what the passage is intended to show, namely, that there was no occasion for this pining and stretching out of the branches towards the other eagle, inasmuch as it could thrive very well in the place where it was planted. The latter is expressly stated once more in Ezekiel 17:8, the meaning of which is perfectly clear, - namely, that if Zedekiah had remained quiet under Nebuchadnezzar, as a hanging vine, his government might have continued and prospered. But, asks Ezekiel in the name of the Lord, will it prosper? תּצלח is a question, and the third person, neuter gender. This question is answered in the negative by the following question, which is introduced with an affirmative הלוא. The subject to ינתּק and יקוסס dna is not the first eagle (Nebuchadnezzar), but the indefinite "one" (man, they). In the last clause of v. 9 משׂאות is a substantive formation, used instead of the simple form of the infinitive, after the form משּׂא in 2 Chronicles 19:7, with the termination ות, borrowed from the verb ה'ל (compare Ewald, 160b and 239a), and the construction is the same as in Amos 6:10 : it will not be to raise up equals it will not be possible to raise it up (compare Ges. 132, 3, Anm. 1). To raise it up from its root does not mean to tear it up by the root (Hvernick), but to rear the withered vine from its roots again, to cause it to sprout again. This rendering of the words corresponds to the interpretation given in Ezekiel 17:17. - In Ezekiel 17:10 the leading thought is repeated with emphasis, and rounded off. The east wind is peculiarly dangerous to plants on account of its dryness (compare Genesis 41:6, and Wetstein on Job 27:21 in Delitzsch's Commentary); and it is used very appropriately here, as the Chaldeans came from the east.
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