Ezekiel 29:16
And it shall be no more the confidence of the house of Israel, which bringeth their iniquity to remembrance, when they shall look after them: but they shall know that I am the Lord GOD.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(16) The confidence of the house of Israel.—Here the result of this judgment in God’s providence concerning His people is brought out: they had hitherto continually transgressed by looking to Egypt for aid; now this temptation should be entirely removed. This trust of Israel in Egypt had continually brought “their iniquity to remembrance when they looked” to them for help, both by its being against the express command of God, and also by its involving treachery and rebellion against Chaldæa.

Ezekiel 29:16. It shall be no more the confidence of the house of Israel — At the same time that the Jews put confidence in Egypt they distrusted the promises and assistance of God, and forsook him to comply with the idolatries of their allies. Which bringeth — Or, as Newcome translates it, Calling their iniquity to remembrance — That is, as he interprets it, causing God to remember and punish the iniquity of his people. Or the sense of the verse may be, that the Israelites should no more look to Egypt for help; but, by the deplorable state it should be reduced to, be put in mind of the judgments which wickedness brings down from God; and of their own folly and iniquity in distrusting his assistance, and seeking to Egypt for help, contrary to his commands, and even complying with the Egyptian idolatries, in order to engage them in their favour.

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.The false confidence of the Israelites "brought to remembrance," i. e., discovered in the sight of God and man their "iniquity," i. e., their treachery and perjury to the Chaldaeans; their falsehood being made evident when they "look after" (turn to) the Egyptians and seek their aid in rebellion. The ruin of Egypt shall put an end to all this. 16. Egypt, when restored, shall be so circumscribed in power that it shall be no longer an object of confidence to Israel, as formerly; for example, as when, relying on it, Israel broke faith with Nebuchadnezzar (Eze 17:13, 15, 16).

which bringeth their iniquity to remembrance, when they shall look after them—rather, "while they (the Israelites) look to (or, turn after) them" [Henderson]. Israel's looking to Egypt, rather than to God, causes their iniquity (unfaithfulness to the covenant) to be remembered by God.

The confidence: on every occasion the Jews were wont, against express prohibition, to renew friendship with Egypt, and make leagues for defence by them, and here they sinfully rested, as Isaiah 30:2 31:1 36:6,9: see Ezekiel 29:7.

Which bringeth their iniquity to remembrance; which sinful reliance on the arm of flesh provoked God to call to mind other their iniquities which accompanied this, viz. their idolatry, and going a whoring with these their confederates. God never forgets, but when he visits, punisheth, and judgeth a nation for their sin, then their sin is come up into remembrance.

When they shall look after them; or, in their, i.e. the house of Israel’s, looking after, i.e. with a desire that the Egyptians would, with hope they will, and with confidence that they can, relieve, rescue, and save them; when they forgot God, and respected Egypt.

They shall know; the house of Israel shall know that I am the Lord, and whoso knows him will put their trust in him, Psalm 9:10.

And it shall be no more the confidence of the house of Israel,.... It having been treacherous to them, and moreover subdued by the Chaldeans, the Jews, even after their return from captivity, put no more confidence in them; it being now become as it is here prophesied it would, the basest of the kingdoms, more weak, and in a more abject state, than the rest, and so despised by its neighbours, as it was by the Jews:

which bringeth their iniquity to remembrance, when they shall look after them; as they had done in time past, when they looked after them for help, and expected it from them, and trusted in them, and served their idols; which brought to the Lord's remembrance former iniquities and idolatries, for which he punished them; but now they should do so no more:

but they shall know that I am the Lord God; not the Egyptians, but the Israelites; who being returned from captivity, shall acknowledge and serve the only true God, and no more worship the idols of the nations.

And it shall be no more the confidence of the house of Israel, which bringeth their {h} iniquity to remembrance, when they shall look after them: but they shall know that I am the Lord GOD.

(h) Lest I should by this means punish their sins.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
16. the confidence] Cf. Isaiah 30:2-3; Isaiah 36:4; Isaiah 36:6.

bringeth iniquity to remembrance] The phrase occurs again Numbers 5:15; 1 Kings 17:18; Ezekiel 21:23-24, and appears to mean to accuse before God. The phrase here is scarcely in apposition to “confidence,” but is rather parallel to that word and a further description of Egypt—no more a confidence and a reminder of iniquity. Egypt was a seduction to Israel, leading them to trust in it and distrust Jehovah; it was an accuser of Israel before Jehovah, calling Israel’s iniquity to his mind. The iniquity lay primarily in trusting in Egypt, but it might be wider and more general (1 Kings 17:18).

when they shall look] Rather: in their turning after them—in Israel’s turning to the Egyptians for help. Cf. Ezekiel 23:27, and on Ezekiel 10:11. In the happy time of Israel’s restoration not only shall attack and enmity on the part of the surrounding nations be removed, but all temptation also to look to any for salvation but their God alone.

they shall know] seems said of Israel. See last note.

That Ezekiel names a term of forty years as the period of Chaldean supremacy, and looks for the turn of the world’s affairs in Jehovah’s hand in so short a space of time is in conformity with the manner of representation in all the prophets. To all the day of the Lord is near (Joel 2:1; Zephaniah 1:1; Isaiah 7). In Isaiah 23 seventy years are named as the period of Tyre’s humiliation, at the end of which time she shall be remembered and dedicate her hire to the Lord. In Jeremiah this period is the duration of the captivity of Judah. Such numbers as forty, seventy are general. They imply however that the prophets conceived of the time as comparatively short. It is less easy to suggest an explanation of this mode of conception. What has been named “perspective” in prophecy offers no explanation, for this so-called perspective is but another name for the thing to be explained. The explanation is to be sought rather on these lines: 1. The prophets deal with principles, with what might be called absolute conceptions. Such conceptions are good and evil, Jehovah and the false gods, true religion and idolatry, the kingdom of Jehovah and the power of the heathen world. What the prophets depict is usually a conflict of these principles, and every conflict which they perceive seems to them the absolute and final one, because it is a conflict of principles. True religion comes out of the struggle victorious—the Kingdom is the Lord’s. 2. Moving thus among principles the mind of the prophets either took no note of time, or else as they deal in general with great movements of their own day, these present or imminent movements assume an absolute moral and religious meaning. They appear the embodiment of the principles which fill the prophetic mind. Consequently their issue is the final decision, which therefore appears at hand. When the prophets embody their general conception of the nearness of the final crisis in numbers, these numbers are usually round, and express merely a powerful religious presentiment.

Ezekiel 29:17-21. A later passage of date 570, sixteen years after the fall of Jerusalem, written probably after Nebuchadnezzar’s thirteen years’ siege of Tyre had come to an end, and inserted among the prophecies relating to Egypt already collected. Nebuchadnezzar had served a great service for Jehovah against Tyre, for which neither he nor his army had received wages. Jehovah will recompense him for his service against Tyre by giving him the land of Egypt.

Verse 16. - It shall be no more the confidence of the house of Israel. Throughout the history of the two kingdoms of Israel and Judah, as in the case of Hoshea (2 Kings 17:4), Hezekiah (Isaiah 30:2, 3; Isaiah 36:4, 6), and Jehoiakim (2 Kings 23:35), their temptation had been to place its "confidence" in the "chariots and horses" of Egypt as an ally. That temptation should not recur again. Egypt should not in that way bring the iniquity of Israel to the remembrance of the Judge, acting, as it were, as a Satan, first tempting and then accusing. There should be no more looking after Egypt instead of Jehovah, as their succor and defense. Ezekiel 29:16Restoration 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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