Ezekiel 29:17
And it came to pass in the seven and twentieth year, in the first month, in the first day of the month, the word of the LORD came to me, saying,
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(17) In the seven and twentieth year.—This is the latest date among all Ezekiel’s prophecies, and is more than sixteen years after the prophecy of the former part of the chapter. This date corresponds with the thirty-fifth year of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign (see 2Kings 25:2; 2Kings 25:8), and, from Ezekiel 29:18, was evidently uttered after the close of the siege of Tyre. As that siege lasted thirteen years, it must have been begun at least as early as Nebuchadnezzar’s twenty-second year, or within three years after the destruction of Jerusalem. Josephus, however, states (Antt. x. 9, § 7) that in the twenty-third year of his reign Nebuchadnezzar made a successful expedition against Cælosyria, after which he brought the Ammonites and Moabites into subjection, and then conquered Egypt. The two former campaigns are consistent enough with the still progressing siege of Tyre; but hardly the latter. We must, therefore, suppose a considerable interval between these conquests, of which Josephus takes no notice.

The present utterance may have been either simultaneous with or only just before the conquest of Egypt. Its most probable time is during the early part of the campaign against Egypt.

This passage is placed with the other prophecies against Egypt in order to bring them all together, and is assigned to this particular place, after the analogy of Ezekiel 26:7, in order to bring the mention of the agent by whom the conquest is to be effected immediately after the general prophecy of judgment.

Ezekiel 29:17-18. And it came to pass, &c. — The new prophecy, which begins here, is connected with the foregoing, on account of its relating to the same subject, and not on account of its being the next revelation in time which Ezekiel had; for there is nearly seventeen years distance between the date of the foregoing prophecy and this; during which Egypt was torn to pieces by sedition and civil wars, which seems to be signified by the foregoing prophecy; and, the time then approaching that Nebuchadnezzar was to invade and conquer Egypt, God thought proper to declare it to the prophet more openly and expressly than he had done before. Nebuchadnezzar caused his army to serve a great service against Tyrus — The siege lasted thirteen years, till the heads of the soldiers became bald with continual wearing their helmets, and the skin was worn off their shoulders with carrying earth to raise mounts and fortifications against it: see note on Ezekiel 26:8. Yet had he no wages, nor his army, for Tyrus — Before the town came to be closely besieged, the inhabitants had removed their effects into an island, about half a mile distant from the shore, to which they afterward removed themselves, and where they built a new city; so that there was no inhabitant nor booty left there when Nebuchadnezzar’s army took the city. Thus St. Jerome, “When the Tyrians saw that the works for carrying on the siege were perfected, and the foundations of the walls were shaken, by the battering of the rams, whatsoever precious things in gold, silver, clothes, and various kinds of furniture, the nobility had, they put them on board their ships, and carried them to the islands; so that, the city being taken, Nebuchadnezzar found nothing worthy of his labour.”29:17-21 The besiegers of Tyre obtained little plunder. But when God employs ambitious or covetous men, he will recompense them according to the desires of their hearts; for every man shall have his reward. God had mercy in store for the house of Israel soon after. The history of nations best explains ancient prophecies. All events fulfil the Scriptures. Thus, in the deepest scenes of adversity, the Lord sows the seed of our future prosperity. Happy are those who desire his favour, grace, and image; they will delight in his service, and not covet any earthly recompence; and the blessings they have chosen shall be sure to them for ever.The prophet places this prediction out of chronological order, that he may point out what had not been stated in the foregoing prophecy, namely, that the agent who should strike the first blow on Egypt should be the Chaldaean king, Nebuchadnezzar.17. The departure from the chronological order occurs here only, among the prophecies as to foreign nations, in order to secure greater unity of subject. The seven and twentieth year of Jeconiah’s captivity, the year after the conquest of Tyre, and the thirty-fifth of Nebuchadnezzar.

The first month; part of our March and April. And it came to pass in the seven and twentieth year,.... Of Jeconiah's captivity; or of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, as Jarchi, Kimchi, and Abendana, from Seder Olam Rabba (z), observe; though it was in the thirty fifth year of his reign that Tyre was taken by him; and after that Egypt was given him:

in the first month, in the first day of the month: the month Nisan, which answers to part of March, and part of April. According to Bishop Usher (a), it was on the twentieth of April, on the third day of the week (Tuesday), in 3432 A.M.or before Christ 572. Mr. Whiston (b) makes it to be a year sooner. This prophecy is not put in its proper place, as to order of time, since it was sixteen or seventeen years after the preceding, and the last of Ezekiel's prophecies; but is here placed, because it relates to the same subject as the former, the destruction of Egypt.

The word of the Lord came unto me, saying; as follows:

(z) C. 26. p. 77. (a) Annales Vet. Test. A. M. 3432. (b) Chronological Tables, cent. 10.

And it came to pass in the {i} seven and twentieth year, in the first month, in the first day of the month, the word of the LORD came to me, saying,

(i) Counting from the captivity of Jeconiah.

Verse 17. - In the seven and twentieth, etc. The section that follows has the interest of being, as far as the dates recorded enable us to determine, the latest of Ezekiel's prophecies, and brings us to B.C. 572. It was manifestly inserted at a later date, seventeen years after those which precede and follow it, either by the prophet, as he collected and revised his writings, or by some later editor, as a proof that his earlier predictions had already received, or were on the point of receiving, their fulfillment. The fact that the special word of the Lord came on the first day of the year is not without significance. Then, as now, the beginning of a new year was a time for men generally to look before and after, for a prophet to ask himself what new stage in the order of the Divine government the year was likely to produce.
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