Ezekiel 29:14
And I will bring again the captivity of Egypt, and will cause them to return into the land of Pathros, into the land of their habitation; and they shall be there a base kingdom.
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(14) The land of Pathros.—Comp. Isaiah 11:11. Pathros is Upper Egypt, the Thebaid. In the following clause this is described as “the land of their birth” (Marg.). According to ancient testimony and the opinion of many moderns, this was the original seat of Egyptian power. It may, however, be put only as the part for the whole—Pathros for Egypt.

Shall be there a base kingdom.—Egypt should be restored, but not to its former power. Historically this has been eminently true. For a little while Egypt struggled against its oppressors, but its power was already broken, and from the time of its conquest by Cambyses it has never been for any length of time independent. There are few stronger contrasts in any inhabited country than between the ancient glory, dignity, power, and wealth of Egypt, and its later insignificance.

Ezekiel 29:14-15. And I will bring again the captivity of Egypt — This captivity of the Egyptians, though not taken notice of by Herodotus, is mentioned by Berosus, in one of the fragments of his history, quoted by Josephus, Antiq., 50. 10. chap. 11, and published with notes by Scaliger, at the end of his books, De Emendatione Temporum, whose remark upon the place is very observable, namely, “The calamities that befell the Egyptians are passed over by Herodotus, because the Egyptian priests would not inform him of any thing that tended to the disgrace of their nation.” And I will cause them to return into the land of Pathros — That part of Egypt which is called Thebais, as Bochart proves by several arguments. And they shall be there a base kingdom, the basest of kingdoms — “By base kingdom is meant, that it should be tributary and subject to strangers, for the much greatest part of the time. This is the purport and meaning of the prophecy; and the truth will appear by a short deduction of the history of Egypt from that time to this. It was first of all tributary to the Babylonians under Amasis; upon the ruin of the Babylonish empire, it was subject to the Persians; upon the failure of the Persian empire, it came into the hands of the Macedonians; after the Macedonians, it fell under the dominion of the Romans; after the division of the Roman empire, it was subdued by the Saracens, in the reign of Omar, their third emperor; about the year of Christ 1250, it was in the possession of the Mamelukes, a word which signifies a slave bought with money, but is appropriated to those Turkish or Circassian slaves, whom the sultans of Egypt bought young, and taught military exercises. These slaves usurped the royal authority, and by that means Egypt became their prey. But, A.D. 1517, Selim, the ninth emperor of the Turks, conquered the Mamelukes, and annexed Egypt to the Ottoman empire, of which it continues to be a province to this day. By this deduction it appears, that the truth of Ezekiel’s prediction is fully attested by the whole series of the history of Egypt, from that time to the present. And who could pretend to say, upon human conjecture, that so great a kingdom, so rich and fertile a country, should ever afterward become tributary and subject to strangers? It is now a great deal above two thousand years since this prophecy was first delivered; and what likelihood or appearance was there, that the Egyptians should, for so many ages, bow under a foreign yoke, and never, in all that time, be able to recover their liberties, and have a prince of their own to reign over them? But as is the prophecy, so is the event.” — Bishop Newton.

29:1-16 Worldly, carnal minds pride themselves in their property, forgetting that whatever we have, we received it from God, and should use it for God. Why, then, do we boast? Self is the great idol which all the world worships, in contempt of God and his sovereignty. God can force men out of that in which they are most secure and easy. Such a one, and all that cleave to him, shall perish together. Thus end men's pride, presumption, and carnal security. The Lord is against those who do harm to his people, and still more against those who lead them into sin. Egypt shall be a kingdom again, but it shall be the basest of the kingdoms; it shall have little wealth and power. History shows the complete fulfilment of this prophecy. God, not only in justice, but in wisdom and goodness to us, breaks the creature-stays on which we lean, that they may be no more our confidence.Pathros - The Thebaid or Upper Egypt, the original seat of the kingdom.

The land of their habitation - Rather, as margin, i. e., the home of the restored exiles.

14. Pathros—the Thebaid, or Upper Egypt, which had been especially harassed by Nebuchadnezzar (Na 3:8, 10). The oldest part of Egypt as to civilization and art. The Thebaid was anciently called "Egypt" [Aristotle]. Therefore it is called the "land of the Egyptians' birth" (Margin, for "habitation").

base kingdom—Under Amasis it was made dependent on Babylon; humbled still more under Cambyses; and though somewhat raised under the Ptolemies, never has it regained its ancient pre-eminence.

The captivity; which Nebuchadnezzar led away into Babylon.

The land of Pathros; one province or country of Egypt; it was a southern part of Egypt. in which was the famous city Thebae or Thebais, known for its hundred gates.

The land of their habitation; the ancient habitation of the fathers of the most of those that did return, forty years having eaten up almost all that had lived there before.

A base kingdom; a low, tributary, dependent kingdom, subject to the Persian kingdom as Areasis was to Cyrus; and though it did at length grow great, yet was it always dependent on Greeks or Romans.

And I will bring again the captivity of Egypt,.... For what is done by men, under the direction and influence of divine Providence, is said to be done by the Lord, as this was, though by the means of Cyrus:

and will cause them to return into the land of Pathros; which was a part of the land of Egypt; perhaps so called from Pathrusim, the son of Mizraim, from whom Egypt had its name, Genesis 10:14. Bochart takes it to be Thebais, a principal country in Egypt:

into the land of their habitation; or nativity, where they were born, and where they before dwelt:

and they shall be there a base kingdom; as it is at this day more especially, to which it has been gradually reduced, having passed into various hands, and come under the power and dominion of different states: whatever might be the case and circumstances of it under Cyrus, Cambyses his son entered into it, made sad devastation in it, and an entire conquest of it; and though it revolted under Darius Hystaspes, it was subdued again, and brought into a worse state than before by Xerxes: it revolted again in the reign of Darius Nothus, and was at last by Ochus totally subdued; and from that time the Egyptians never had a king of their own nation to reign over them. Along with the Persian empire it came into the hands of Alexander without any opposition; and, after his death, fell to the share of Ptolemy, one of his captains; and, though some of the first kings of that name were of considerable note and power, yet Egypt made a poor figure under the reigns of several of them. When the Roman empire obtained, it became a province of that, and continued so for six or seven hundred years; and then it fell into the hands of the Saracens, when it sunk into ignorance and superstition, the Mahometan religion being established in it, with whom it continued until about the year of Christ 1250; when the Mamalucks, or Turkish and Carcassian slaves, rose up against their sovereigns, the sultans of Egypt, and usurped the government, in whose hands it was until the year 1517; when Selim the ninth, emperor of the Turks, conquered the Mamalucks, and put an end to their government, and annexed it to the Ottoman empire; of which it is a province to this day (x), being governed by a Turkish basha, with twenty four begs or princes under him, who are raised, from being servants, to the administration of public affairs; and so it is become a base kingdom indeed, if to be called one (y).

(x) Written about 1730. Editor. (y) See all this at large, with the proofs of it, in Dr. Newton's Dissertations on Prophecies, from p. 382. to 394.

And I will bring again the captives of Egypt, and will cause them to return into the land of Pathros, into the land of their habitation; and they shall be there a {g} base kingdom.

(g) Meaning, that they would not have full dominion but be under the Persians, Greeks and Romans, and the reason is that the Israelites would no more put their trust in them, but learn to depend on God.

14. land of Pathros] i.e. Upper Egypt or the Thebaid, ch. Ezekiel 30:14, Isaiah 11:11; Jeremiah 44:15. The name is said to mean “south land.”

their habitation] their origin, or birth, cf. Ezekiel 16:3. For the phrase “bring again the captivity” i.e. probably turn the fortunes, cf. Ezekiel 16:53.

a base kingdom] i.e. a low or humble state, ch. Ezekiel 17:6; Ezekiel 17:14.

Verse 14. - Into the land of Pathros. (For the land of their habitation, read, with the Revised Version, the land of their birth.) (For Pathres, see Genesis 10:13, 14; 1 Chronicles 1:12; Isaiah 11:1; Jeremiah 44:1.) Its position is somewhat doubtful, but the balance of evidence is in favor of placing it in the Thebaid of Upper Egypt, which Herodotus (2. 4, 15) describes as the original seat of the Egyptian monarchy. Its name may be connected with the Pathyrite name in which Thebes was situated (Pliny, 'Hist. Nat.,' 5:9). The LXX. gives the form Pathures, and is followed by the Vulgate, with a slight change, Phathures. Ezekiel 29:14Restoration of Egypt

Ezekiel 29:13. For thus saith the Lord Jehovah, At the end of forty years I will gather the Egyptians out of the nations, whither they were scattered. Ezekiel 29:14. And I will turn the captivity of Egypt, and will bring them back into the land of Pathros, into the land of their origin, and they shall be a lowly kingdom there. Ezekiel 29:15. Lowlier than the kingdoms shall it be, and exalt itself no more over the nations; and I will make them small, so that they shall rule no more over the nations. Ezekiel 29:16. And it shall be no more the confidence of the house of Israel, bringing iniquity to remembrance when they incline towards it; and they shall learn that I am the Lord Jehovah. - The turning of the period of Egypt's punishment is connected by כּי, which refers to the time indicated, viz., "forty years." For forty years shall Egypt be utterly laid waste; for after the expiration of that period the Lord will gather the Egyptians again from their dispersion among the nations, turn their captivity, i.e., put an end to their suffering (see the comm. on Ezekiel 16:53), and lead them back into the land of their birth, i.e., of their origin (for מכוּרה, see Ezekiel 16:3), namely, to Pathros. פתרוס, the Egyptian Petorēs (Παθούρης, lxx Jeremiah 44:1), or south land, i.e., Upper Egypt, the Thebais of the Greeks and Romans. The designation of Upper Egypt as the mother country of the Egyptians, or the land of their nativity, is confirmed not only by the accounts given by Herodotus (ii. 4 and 15) and Diodorus Sic. (i. 50), but also by the Egyptian mythology, according to which the first king who reigned after the gods, viz., Menes or Mena, sprang from the city of Thinis (Thynis), Egypt. Tenj, in the neighbourhood of Abydos in Upper Egypt, and founded the city of Memphis in Lower Egypt, which became so celebrated in later times (vid., Brugsch, Histoire d'Egypte, 1 Peter 16). But Egypt shall not attain to its former power any more. It will be and continue a lowly kingdom, that it may not again become a ground of confidence to Israel, a power upon which Israel can rely, so as to fall into guilt and punishment. The subject to ולא יהיה is Egypt as a nation, notwithstanding the fact that it has previously been construed in the feminine as a land or kingdom, and in אחריהם the Egyptians are spoken of in the plural number. For it is out of the question to take מזכּיר עון as the subject to לא יהיה in the sense of "no more shall one who calls guilt to remembrance inspire the house of Israel with confidence," as Kliefoth proposes, not only because of the arrangement of the words, but because the more precise definition of מזכּיר עון as 'בּפנותם אח clearly shows that Egypt is the subject of the sentence; whereas, in order to connect this definition in any way, Kliefoth is compelled to resort to the interpolation of the words, "which it committed." מזכּיר עון is in apposition to מבטח; making Egypt the ground of confidence, brings into remembrance before God the guilt of Israel, which consists in the fact that the Israelites turn to the Egyptians and seek salvation from them, so that He is obliged to punish them (vid., Ezekiel 21:28-29). - The truth of the prediction in Ezekiel 29:13-16 has been confirmed by history, inasmuch as Egypt never recovered its former power after the Chaldean period. - Moreover, if we compare the Messianic promise for Egypt in Isaiah 19:18-25 with the prediction in Ezekiel 29:13-15, we are struck at once with the peculiarity of Ezekiel, already referred to in the introductory remarks on Ezekiel 25-32, namely, that he leaves entirely out of sight the Messianic future of the heathen nations.

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