Ezekiel 29:19
Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will give the land of Egypt unto Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon; and he shall take her multitude, and take her spoil, and take her prey; and it shall be the wages for his army.
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(19) I will give.—In the original this is in the form of a participle; literally, I am giving. This form is often used of the future, but with especial appropriateness of the immediate future. The other tenses, according to the Hebrew usage, take the temporal meaning of the principal verb. This seems probably to have been spoken at the very time of Nebuchadnezzar’s campaign and conquest. On the evidence that he did actually conquer Egypt, see Excursus at the end of the book. He must have there found abundant booty, as the kings of the Twenty-sixth Dynasty were commercial, and greatly given to the accumulation of wealth.


The fact of this conquest having been called in question, it may be well to state very briefly the points of evidence in its favour. It is admitted by all that Pharaoh-Hophra was dethroned, and died a violent death, and was succeeded by Amasis, who was at first little regarded by the people, though he afterwards won their confidence. The account given of this revolution by the Egyptian priests to Herodotus makes no mention of any foreign interference, but represents it as wholly an internal affair, caused by a revolt of the troops of Hophra, He sent Amasis to them to bring them back to their allegiance, but they saluted him as king. This authority is suspicious, since the priests were prone to cover up whatever they considered against the honour of their country; and the two facts of the popularity of Amasis with the troops and his unpopularity with the people are scarcely consistent, since it is said that he spared Hophra for a time, but afterwards, yielding to the wishes of the people, strangled him. Now against this suspicious and interested story stands the much more probable supposition that Hophra was dethroned and Amasis put into his place by the power of Nebuchadnezzar. Megasthenes and Berosus, according to Josephus, expressly testify that “Nebuchadnezzar conquered a great part of Africa, and having invaded Egypt, took many captives, who were committed to the charge of persons appointed to conduct them after him to Babylon.” This conquest, according to the dates already given, must be placed just at the time of the fall of Hophra. Besides this, there is a very full prophecy of the conquest of Egypt by Nebuchadnezzar in Jeremiah (Jeremiah 46), uttered in the first year of his reign (comp. Jeremiah 46:1 with Jeremiah 25:1). But Jeremiah was himself afterwards carried into Egypt, and while there uttered other prophecies to the same effect (Jeremiah 43, 44). It is altogether probable that he was still living there at the time of Nebuchadnezzar’s expedition; and, on the lowest grounds, it is inconceivable that he should have allowed these various prophecies to remain on record if they had been proved false by the event. The same thing substantially may be said also of the present prophecy of Ezekiel, and of that in Ezekiel 30:10, although the prophet was not, like Jeremiah, living where he could be an eye-witness of the result of the attack. Other prophecies against Egypt (Isaiah 18, 19, 31; Joel 3:19) are more general, and may not have in view this particular conquest.

Again, Ezekiel represents Egypt as spoiled by Nebuchadnezzar, while both ancient history and the monuments describe the country as rich and prosperous under Amasis. There is really no inconsistency, but entire harmony between these accounts. The great drain upon the resources of Egypt for many generations had been her foreign wars with the powers of Mesopotamia. Relieved of this, and at peace with Nebuchadnezzar, under the government of his vassal, Egypt would soon have recovered her prosperity in wealth and art, while still politically desolated and no longer able to appear as a great power among the nations. From this time through all subsequent history Egypt was a base kingdom, and never again able to dispute, as in former days, the sovereignty of the world.

There is an apparent difficulty about the date of this conquest, alluded to under Ezekiel 29:17. The prophecy of Ezekiel is in the future, and yet was spoken in the thirty-fifth year of Nebuchadnezzar (the twenty-seventh from the accession of Zedekiah). Now, Jerusalem was taken in his nineteenth year (2Kings 25:8). and an interval of sixteen years seems, at first sight, inconsistent with the statement of Josephus. But if that statement be examined, it will be found to be entirely indefinite (see under Ezekiel 29:17), and it is hardly to be supposed that Nebuchadnezzar would have undertaken the conquest of Egypt while still engaged in the siege of Tyre; in fact, Ezekiel 29:18-19 distinctly imply that the one was subsequent to the other. Now, the siege of Tyre appears to have been begun about two years after the capture of Jerusalem, and lasted thirteen years. It closed then fifteen years after the destruction of Jerusalem, and supposing the campaign against Egypt to have followed immediately, in the next year, we get the exact date of this prophecy. (For the references to Josephus, see Antiqq., Bk. x., cap. ix., § 7; Cont. Ap., Bk. 1, § 19, 20.)

Ezekiel 29:19-20. He shall take her multitude, and take her spoil — Nebuchadnezzar and his army shall have the captives and spoil of Egypt, which they shall utterly pillage and lay waste. Because they wrought for me, saith the Lord — The destruction of cities and countries is a work of God’s providence, for the effecting of which he makes use of kings and princes as his instruments. Upon this account he calls Nebuchadnezzar his servant, Jeremiah 25:9, because he wrought for him, as it is here expressed, that is, executed his judgments upon Tyre, and the other cities and countries which God had delivered into his hands. Though Nebuchadnezzar was actuated by his own ambition to make the conquest of Tyre, yet, because in doing it he had executed God’s purposes, and that which was pleasing to him, in humbling the Tyrians, therefore God here declares that he should not go without a reward; for that he would give him the spoil of Egypt, which nation was ripe for punishment. If God is so gracious as to reward those who do but execute his designs accidentally, not intentionally, how much reason have we to expect that he will most amply reward those who intentionally obey his will!

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.Yet had he no wages - It is not improbable that the Tyrians before they surrendered their island-citadel managed to remove much of their treasure; but others exlplain the verse; that the siege and capture of Tyre is to be regarded as the "work" appointed, and the possession of Egypt as the "reward or wages" for the work.19. multitude—not as Fairbairn, "store"; but, he shall take away a multitude of captives out of Egypt. The success of Nebuchadnezzar is implied in Tyre's receiving a king from Babylon, probably one of her captives there, Merbal.

take her spoil … prey—literally, "spoil her spoil, prey her prey," that is, as she spoiled other nations, so shall she herself be a spoil to Babylon.

I will give the land of Egypt: yet it is certain that the discontents of Egypt gave occasion, and the revolts of some of the subjects from Hophra, or Apries, and their inviting Nebuchadnezzar, gave him Egypt; but these were the irregularities of men, which God did wisely and justly manage to effect what he designed, and God gave, and men gave too; as the ten tribes gave, so God gave, the kingdom to Jeroboam; so the first cause and second causes produce the same effect. Her multitude; common people, who shall be made captives by the power of the conqueror, and servants or slaves next by the will of those that buy them of the soldier.

Her spoil: much of the Egyptian riches were the spoil of other nations, or the spoils of one another in the late civil wars between Pharaoh-hophra and Areasis; and now their dishonest gains shall be a prey to Babylonians.

Her prey; that which was once another’s possession, whilst right prevailed; but became a prey when Egypt’s power mastered the possessors.

The wages for his army: his army could not have plunder of Tyre, because it was surrendered on terms, but now they shall, and this shall be their prey.

Therefore thus saith the Lord God,.... Since this was the case, that the king of Babylon had been working for nothing, and had spent much blood and treasure, as well as time, to little purpose and advantage to himself;

behold, I will give the land of Egypt to Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon; which will make him a sufficient recompence for his loss of time, men, and money, before Tyre; and though the conquest of Egypt was made easy to him, by the internal divisions and wars which were among the Egyptians; yet these were suffered, and ordered by the providence of God, to bring about this his will, by way of righteous punishment of the Egyptians, for their treachery to his people, and other sins:

and he shall take her multitude, of soldiers, and of inhabitants, and carry them captive:

and take her spoil, and take her prey; that which the Egyptians had spoiled other nations of and made a prey of that should now become the spoil and prey of the Chaldeans:

and it shall be the wages for his army; with this the king of Babylon would be able to pay off the arrears of his army; which had lain so long against Tyre; or this would be a recompence to them for all the hardships they there sustained.

Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will give the land of Egypt unto Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon; and he shall take her multitude, and take her spoil, and take her prey; and it shall be the wages for his army.
19. take her multitude] i.e. carry away. Others: her wealth, or abundance, but wrongly, cf. Ezekiel 30:4; Ezekiel 30:10; Ezekiel 30:15, Ezekiel 31:2; Ezekiel 31:18. The words rather disturb the vigorous “spoil her spoil” (Ezekiel 38:12-13), and are wanting in LXX.

Verse 19. - Behold I give the land of Egypt, etc. For this disappointment, Ezekiel, writing, so to speak, the postscript which he incorporates with his earlier oracles, promises compensation. Egypt, as he had said seventeen years before, should be conquered, and its cities plundered, and so there should be wages enough for the whole thirteen years of fruitless labor in the siege of Tyre. In that labor, the prophet adds (Ver. 20), they, though they knew it not, had been working out the will of the Supreme. They also had been servants of Jehovah, as Jeremiah (Jeremiah 25:9) had described Nebuchadnezzar himself. Ezekiel 29:19Conquest and Plundering of Egypt by Nebuchadnezzar

Ezekiel 29:17. In the seven and twentieth year, in the first (moon), on the first of the moon, the word of Jehovah came to me, saying, Ezekiel 29:18. Son of man, Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, has made his army perform hard work at Tyre: every head is bald, and every shoulder grazed, and no wages have been given to him and to his army from Tyre for the work which he performed against it. Ezekiel 29:19. Therefore thus saith the Lord Jehovah, Behold, I give Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, the land of Egypt, that he may carry away its possessions, and plunder its plunder, and make booty of its booty, and this may be the wages of his army. Ezekiel 29:20. As the pay for which he worked, I give him the land of Egypt, because they did it for me, is the saying of the Lord Jehovah. Ezekiel 29:21. In that day will I cause a horn to sprout to the house of Israel, and I will open the mouth for thee in the midst of them; and they shall know that I am Jehovah. - This brief prophecy concerning Egypt was uttered about seventeen years after the preceding word of God, and was the latest of all the predictions of Ezekiel that are supplied with dates. But notwithstanding its brevity, it is not to be taken in connection with the utterance which follows in Ezekiel 30:1-19 so as to form one prophecy, as Hitzig supposes. This is at variance not only with the formula in Ezekiel 30:1, which is the usual introduction to a new word of God, but also with Ezekiel 29:21 of the present chapter, which is obviously intended to bring the previous word of God to a close. This termination, which is analogous to the closing words of the prophecies against Tyre and Sidon in Ezekiel 28:25-26, also shows that the present word of God contains the last of Ezekiel's prophecies against the Egyptian world-power, and that the only reason why the prophet did not place it at the end when collecting his prophecies - that is to say, after Ezekiel 32 - was, that the promise in v. 30, that the Lord would cause a horn to bud to the house of Israel, contained the correlate to the declaration that Egypt was henceforth to be but a lowly kingdom. Moreover, this threat of judgment, which is as brief as it is definite, was well fitted to prepare the way and to serve as an introduction for the more elaborate threats which follow. The contents of the prophecy, namely, the assurance that God would give Egypt to Nebuchadnezzar as spoil in return for the hard labour which he and his army had performed at Tyre, point to the time immediately following the termination of the thirteen years' siege of Tyre by Nebuchadnezzar. If we compare with this the date given in Ezekiel 29:17, the siege was brought to a close in the twenty-seventh year of the captivity of Jehoiachin, i.e., b.c. 572, and must therefore have commenced in the year b.c. 586, or about two years after the destruction of Jerusalem, and with this the extract given by Josephus (c. Ap. i. 21) from the Tyrian annals agrees.

(Note: For the purpose of furnishing the proof that the temple at Jerusalem lay in ruins for fifty years, from the time of its destruction till the commencement of its rebuilding, Josephus gives in the passage referred to above the years of the several reigns of the kings and judges of Tyre from Ithobal to Hirom, in whose reign Cyrus took the kingdom; from which it is apparent that fifty years elapsed from the commencement of the siege of Tyre to the fourteenth year of Hirom, in which Cyrus began to reign. At the same time, the seventh year of Nebuchadnezzar is given by mistake instead of the seventeenth or nineteenth as the date of the beginning of the siege. (Compare on this point Movers, Phnizier, II 1, pp. 437ff.; M. v. Niebuhr, Gesch. Assurs u. Bab. pp. 106ff.; and M. Duncker, Gesch. des Altert. I p. ))

העביד עבדה, to cause a work to be executed, or service to be rendered. This labour was so severe, that every head was bald and every shoulder grazed. These words have been correctly interpreted by the commentators, even by Ewald, as referring to the heavy burdens that had to be carried in order to fill up the strait which separated Insular Tyre from the mainland. They confirm what we have said above, in the remarks on Ezekiel 26:10 and elsewhere, concerning the capture of Tyre.

But neither he nor his army had received any recompense for their severe toil. This does not imply that Nebuchadnezzar had been unable to accomplish the work which he had undertaken, i.e., to execute his design and conquer the city, but simply that he had not received the recompense which he expected after this severe labour; in other words, had not found the booty he hoped for when the city was taken (see the introductory remarks on Ezekiel 26-28). To compensate him for this, the Lord will give him the land of Egypt with its possessions as booty, ונשׂא המנהּ, that he may carry off the abundance of its possessions, its wealth; not that he may lead away the multitude of its people (De Wette, Kliefoth, etc.), for "נשׂא is not the appropriate expression for this" (Hitzig). המון, abundance of possessions, as in Isaiah 60:5; Psalm 37:16, etc. פּעלּה, the doing of a thing; then that which is gained by working, the recompense for labour, as in Leviticus 19:13 and other passages. אשׁר עשׂוּ is taken by Hitzig as referring to the Egyptians, and rendered, "in consequence of that which they have done to me." But although אשׁר may be taken in this sense (vid., Isaiah 65:18), the arguments employed by Hitzig in opposition to the ordinary rendering - "for they (Nebuchadnezzar and his army) have done it for me," i.e., have performed their hard work at Tyre for me and by my commission - have no force whatever. This use of עשׂה is thoroughly established by Genesis 30:30; and the objection which he raises, namely, that "the assertion that Nebuchadnezzar besieged Tyre in the service of Jehovah could only have been properly made by Ezekiel in the event of the city having been really conquered," is out of place, for this simple reason, that the assumption that the city was not taken is a mere conjecture; and even if the conjecture could be sustained, the siege itself might still be a work undertaken in the service of Jehovah. And the principal argument, namely, "that we should necessarily expect עשׂה (instead of עשׂוּ), inasmuch as with עשׂוּ every Hebrew reader would inevitably take אשׁר as referring to מצרים," is altogether wide of the mark; for מצרים does not signify the Egyptians in this passage, but the land of Egypt alone is spoken of both in the verse before us and throughout the oracle, and for this עשׂוּ is quite unsuitable, whereas the context suggests in the most natural way the allusion to Nebuchadnezzar and his army. But what is absolutely decisive is the circumstance that the thought itself, "in consequence of what the Egyptians have done to me," i.e., what evil they have done, is foreign to, if not at variance with, all the prophecies of Ezekiel concerning Egypt. For the guilt of Egypt and its Pharaoh mentioned by Ezekiel is not any crime against Jehovah, but simply Pharaoh's deification of himself, and the treacherous nature of the help which Egypt afforded to Israel. ליהוה equals עשׂה לי is not the appropriate expression for this, in support of which assertion we might point to עשׂוּ לי in Ezekiel 23:38. - Ezekiel 29:21. On that day, namely, when the judgment upon Egypt is executed by Nebuchadnezzar, the Lord will cause a horn to sprout or grow to the house (people) of Israel. The horn is a symbol of might and strength, by which the attacks of foreigners are warded off. By the overthrow of Judah the horn of Israel was cut off (Lamentations 2:3; compare also Jeremiah 48:25). In עצמיח קרן the promise coincides, so far as the words are concerned, with Psalm 132:17; but it also points back to the prophetic words of the godly Hannah in 1 Samuel 2:1, "My horn is exalted in Jehovah, my mouth hath opened itself wide over my enemies," and is Messianic in the broader sense of the word. The horn which the Lord will cause to sprout to the people of Israel is neither Zerubbabel nor the Messiah, but the Messianic salvation. The reason for connecting this promise of salvation for Israel with the overthrow of the power of Egypt, as Hvernick has observed, is that "Egypt presented itself to the prophet as the power in which the idea of heathenism was embodied and circumscribed." In the might of Egypt the world-power is shattered, and the overthrow of the world-power is the dawn of the unfolding of the might of the kingdom of God. Then also will the Lord give to His prophet an opening of the mouth in the midst of Israel. These words are unquestionably connected with the promise of God in Ezekiel 24:26-27, that after the fall of Jerusalem the mouth of Ezekiel should be opened, and also with the fulfilment of that promise in Ezekiel 33:22; but they have a much more comprehensive meaning, namely, that with the dawn of salvation in Israel, i.e., in the church of the Lord, the word of prophecy would sound forth in the richest measure, inasmuch as, according to Joel (Ezekiel 2:1-10), a universal outpouring of the Spirit of God would then take place. In this light Theodoret is correct in his remark, that "through Ezekiel He signified the whole band of prophets." But Kliefoth has quite mistaken the meaning of the words when he discovers in them the thought that "God would then give the prophet a new word of God concerning both Egypt and Israel, and that this is contained in the oracle in Ezekiel 30:1-19." Such a view as this is proved at once to be false, apart from other grounds, by the expression בּתוכם (in the midst of them), which cannot be taken as applying to Egypt and Israel, but can only refer to בּית ישׂראל, the house of Israel.

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