Ezekiel 29:4
But I will put hooks in your jaws, and I will cause the fish of your rivers to stick to your scales, and I will bring you up out of the middle of your rivers, and all the fish of your rivers shall stick to your scales.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(4) Hooks in thy jaws.—An allusion to the ancient way of taking and destroying the crocodile, otherwise invulnerable to their arms.

Fish of thy rivers shall stick unto thy scales.—As the crocodile, the lord of the Nile, represents the royal power of Egypt, so the fish represent the people dependent upon him. Pharaoh is not to fall alone, but shall drag his people with him into a common ruin.

Ezekiel 29:4-5. But I will put hooks in thy jaws — The king of Egypt being spoken of as a great fish, or a crocodile, God here, in pursuance of the same metaphor, tells him that he will put hooks in his jaws, or stop his vain-glorious designs and boastings, by raising up enemies that should gain the mastery over him, as the fisherman has the fish in his power, when he has struck the hook into its jaws. This hook to the king of Egypt was Amasis, one of his officers, who set up himself as king, by the favour of the people, and dethroned his master. I will cause the fish of thy rivers to stick unto thy scales — I will cause even thy own people to press thee hard, and to be a torment to thee. And I will bring thee up out of thy rivers — By this is metaphorically expressed his being induced to undertake a foreign expedition. The expression alludes to the nature of a crocodile, which is not confined to the water, but uses to come upon the land, where he is frequently taken. And I will leave thee thrown into the wilderness, and all the fish of thy rivers — Thy army shall be discomfited, and fall in the deserts of Lybia and Cyrene; for there seems to be here an allusion to the heavy loss which Apries and the Egyptian army sustained in his expedition against the Cyrenians, toward whom they must have marched over the desert. Herod. 2. § 161. Apries himself did not fall in battle, but was taken prisoner by Amasis, and strangled by the Egyptians. Herod. 2. § 169. See note on Jeremiah 44:30. Thou shalt fall upon the open fields — A king is said to be defeated, or victorious, when his armies are so. Thou shalt not be brought together, nor gathered — The bones, or carcasses, of thy army shall not be collected in order to their burial, nor gathered to the dead in the sepulchres allotted for them. I have given thee for meat to the beasts of the field, &c. — See Revelation 19:17-18. Some think the expression here is metaphorical, and signifies that the power of depriving him of his kingdom, power, liberty, riches, and at last life itself, should be given to cruel and rapacious men.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.Hooks in thy jaws - Compare Job 41:2. The crocodile is thus rendered an easy prey.

Fish of thy rivers - i. e., the allies of Egypt shall be involved in her ruin.

4. hooks in thy jaws—(Isa 37:29; compare Job 41:1, 2). Amasis was the "hook." In the Assyrian sculptures prisoners are represented with a hook in the underlip, and a cord from it held by the king.

cause … fish … stick unto … scales—Pharaoh, presuming on his power as if he were God (Eze 29:3, "I have made it"), wished to stand in the stead of God as defender of the covenant-people, his motive being, not love to them, but rivalry with Babylon. He raised the siege of Jerusalem, but it was only for a time (compare Eze 29:6; Jer 37:5, 7-10); ruin overtook not only them, but himself. As the fish that clung to the horny scales of the crocodile, the lord of the Nile, when he was caught, shared his fate, so the adherents of Pharaoh, lord of Egypt, when he was overthrown by Amasis, should share his fate.

Thou art secure against all, but God will draw thee out of thy river to thy ruin.

Hooks; the allegory is continued; fish are drawn out with hooks and lines, and God hath hooks for this proud dragon, first Areasis, and next the Babylonian king. The expedition of Areasis at the head of the Cyreneans and Grecians, and the event of it, is exactly represented in this hieroglyphic in the text. Amasis with those forces mastered Libya, the king thereof applies for help to this Pharaoh, he gathers all the power of Egypt out of Egypt with him into Cyrene, where he was defeated, lost all but a few that fled with him, and on this occasion the Egyptians rebelled against him: now this short history opens the parable. The first hook you see in the jaws of this dragon, this drew him out of his river, i.e. his kingdom.

The fish; these are the people of Egypt, the subjects of this kingdom.

To stick unto thy scales; to adhere to their king in this war.

I will bring thee up out of the midst of thy rivers; both the king and his subjects, which made up his army, go out of the rivers, leave Egypt, and march into Cyrene (which was part of that kingdom now called Bares) with their king, as if they had been little fishes on the back of a mighty one. Thus far the emblem; the rest follows. But I will put hooks in thy jaws,.... The allusion is to fishhooks, which are taken by fishes with the bait into their mouths, and stick in their jaws, by which they are drawn out of the river, and taken. The king of Egypt being before compared to a fish, these hooks design some powerful princes and armies, which should be the ruin of Pharaoh; one of them, according to Junius and Grotius, was Amasis, at the head of the Cyreneans and Greeks; and another was Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon; see Job 41:1,

and I will cause the fish of thy rivers to stick unto thy scales; the people of his kingdom, especially his soldiers, generals, princes, and great men, to cleave to him, follow him, and go out with him in his expedition against Amasis. The Targum is,

"I will kill the princes of thy strength with thy mighty ones:''

and I will bring thee up out of the midst of thy rivers: alluding to the crocodile, to which he is compared, which sometimes comes out of the river, and goes on dry land. The king of Egypt was brought out of his kingdom by the following means: Amasis, with the Cyreneans and Greeks, having seized upon Lybia, and drove the king of it from thence, he applied to Pharaoh for help, who gathered a large army of Egyptians, and led them out into the fields of Cyrene, where they were defeated by Amasis, and almost all perished, and the king saved himself by flight; upon which the Egyptians mutinied and rebelled against him, and Amasis became their king:

and all the fish of thy rivers shall stick unto thy scales; the common people of Egypt; for the above numerous army consisted only of Egyptians, whom he gathered from all parts, drained his rivers of them, and almost exhausted his country hereby; he had indeed in an army, after this battle with Amasis, thirty thousand auxiliaries, Carians and Ionians; but these were not the fish of his rivers. The Targum is,

"I will make thy kingdom to cease from thee, and all the princes of thy strength with thy mighty ones shall be killed;''

with which the history agrees. The allusion to the crocodile is here very just and pertinent, which is a fish full of scales. Monsieur Thevenot (a), who saw many of them, says, that

"the body of this fish is large, and all of a size; the back is covered with high scales, like the heads of nails in a court gate, of a greenish colour, and so hard that they are proof against a halberd; and it has a long tail covered with scales like the body;''

and another traveller says (b) they have scales on their back musket proof, and therefore must be wounded in the belly; but another traveller (c) says, this is a vulgar report that a musket shot will not pierce the skins of the crocodiles, for upon trial it is found false; yet all writers, ancient and modern, allow it to have very firm scales on its back, which render it capable of bearing the heaviest strokes, and to be in a measure impenetrable and invincible; so Herodotus (d) says, it has a skin full of scales, on the back infrangible; or, as Pliny (e) expresses it, invincible against all blows and strokes it may be stricken with; and so says Aristotle (f), with which Aelian (g) agrees, who says that the crocodile has by nature a back and tail impenetrable; for it is covered with scales, as if it was armed as one might say, not unlike to hard shells.

(a) Travels, par. 1. B. 2. c. 72. p. 245. (b) Mandelsloe in Harris's Voyages, &c. vol. 1. p. 759. (c) Tavernier in ib. p. 835. (d) Euterpe, sive l. 2. c. 63. (e) Nat. Hist. l. 8. c. 25. (f) Hist. Animal: l. 2. c. 10. (g) De Animal. l. 10. c. 24.

But I will put {c} hooks in thy jaws, and I will cause the fish of thy rivers to stick to thy scales, and I will bring thee out of the midst of thy rivers, and all the fish of thy rivers shall stick to thy scales.

(c) I will send enemies against you who will pluck you and your people which trust in you out of your sure places.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
4. with hooks. This is suggested by the monster inhabiting the waters. Possibly the crocodile was occasionally caught with hooks, as Herodotus affirms (cf. ch. Ezekiel 32:3), although Job 41:1 seems to doubt the practicability of it. On “hooks,” ch. Ezekiel 38:4; Isaiah 37:29.

fish of thy rivers] A figure for the population of the country of rivers; hardly merely for the army of Pharaoh.Verses 4, 5. - I will put hooks in thy jaws. So Herodotus (2. 70) describes the way in which the Egyptians caught the crocodile by baiting a large hook with swine's flesh. Jomard ('Description de l'Egypt,' 1:27) gives a similar account (comp. also Job 41:1, 2, though there the capture seems represented as an almost impossible achievement; probably the process had become more familiar since the date of that book). The fish that stick to the scales of the crocodile are, of course, in the interpretation of the parable, either the Egyptian army itself or the nations that had thrown themselves into alliance with Egypt, and the destruction of the two together in the wilderness points to some great overthrow of the Egyptian army and its auxiliaries, probably to that of the expedition against Cyrene (Herod., 2:161) which led to the revolt of Amasis, and which would take the wilderness west of the Nile on its line of march. The beasts of the field and the fowls of the heaven (we note the recurrence of the old Homeric phrase, as in 'Iliad,' 1:4, 5) should devour the carcasses of the slain, the corpses of the fallen and prostrate nation. Fall of the Prince of Tyre

Ezekiel 28:1. And the word of Jehovah came to me, saying, Ezekiel 28:2. Son of man, say to the prince of Tyre, Thus saith the Lord Jehovah, Because thy heart has lifted itself up, and thou sayest, "I am a God, I sit upon a seat of Gods, in the heart of the seas," when thou art a man and not God, and cherishest a mind like a God's mind, Ezekiel 28:3. Behold, thou art wiser than Daniel; nothing secret is obscure to thee; Ezekiel 28:4. Through thy wisdom and thy understanding hast thou acquired might, and put gold and silver in thy treasuries; Ezekiel 28:5. Through the greatness of thy wisdom hast thou increased thy might by thy trade, and thy heart has lifted itself up on account of thy might, Ezekiel 28:6. Therefore thus saith the Lord Jehovah, Because thou cherishest a mind like a God's mind, Ezekiel 28:7. Therefore, behold, I will bring foreigners upon thee, violent men of the nations; they will draw their swords against the beauty of thy wisdom, and pollute thy splendour. Ezekiel 28:8. They will cast thee down into the pit, that thou mayest die the death of the slain in the heart of the seas. Ezekiel 28:9. Wilt thou indeed say, I am a God, in the face of him that slayeth thee, when thou art a man and not God in the hand of him that killeth thee? Ezekiel 28:10. Thou wilt die the death of the uncircumcised at the hand of foreigners; for I have spoken it, is the saying of the Lord Jehovah. - This threat of judgment follows in general the same course as those addressed to other nations (compare especially Ezekiel 25), namely, that the sin is mentioned first (Ezekiel 28:2-5), and then the punishment consequent upon the sin (Ezekiel 28:6-10). In Ezekiel 28:12 מלך is used instead of נגיד, dux. In the use of the term נגיד to designate the king, Kliefoth detects an indication of the peculiar position occupied by the prince in the commercial state of Tyre, which had been reared upon municipal foundations; inasmuch as he was not so much a monarch, comparable to the rulers of Bayblon or to the Pharaohs, as the head of the great mercantile aristocracy. This is in harmony with the use of the word נגיד for the prince of Israel, David for example, whom God chose and anointed to be the nâgīd over His people; in other words, to be the leader of the tribes, who also formed an independent commonwealth (vid., 1 Samuel 13:14; 2 Samuel 7:8, etc.). The pride of the prince of Tyre is described in Ezekiel 28:2 as consisting in the fact that he regarded himself as a God, and his seat in the island of Tyre as a God's seat. He calls his seat מושׁב , not "because his capital stood out from the sea, like the palace of God from the ocean of heaven" (Psalm 104:3), as Hitzig supposes; for, apart from any other ground, this does not suit the subsequent description of his seat as God's mountain (Ezekiel 28:16), and God's holy mountain (Ezekiel 28:14). The God's seat and God's mountain are not the palace of the king of Tyre, but Tyre as a state, and that not because of its firm position upon a rocky island, but as a holy island (ἁγία νῆσος, as Tyre is called in Sanchun. ed. Orelli, p. 36), the founding of which has been glorified by myths (vid., Movers, Phoenizier, I pp. 637ff.). The words which Ezekiel puts into the mouth of the king of Tyre may be explained, as Kliefoth has well expressed it, "from the notion lying at the foundation of all natural religions, according to which every state, as the production of its physical factors and bases personified as the native deities of house and state, is regarded as a work and sanctuary of the gods." In Tyre especially the national and political development went hand in hand with the spread and propagation of its religion. "The Tyrian state was the production and seat of its gods. He, the prince of Tyre, presided over this divine creation and divine seat; therefore he, the prince, was himself a god, a manifestation of the deity, having its work and home in the state of Tyre." All heathen rulers looked upon themselves in this light; so that the king of Babylon is addressed in a similar manner in Isaiah 14:13-14. This self-deification is shown to be a delusion in Ezekiel 28:2; He who is only a man makes his heart like a God's heart, i.e., cherishes the same thought as the Gods. לב, the heart, as the seat of the thoughts and imaginations, is named instead of the disposition.

This is carried out still further in Ezekiel 28:3-5 by a description of the various sources from which this imagination sprang. He cherishes a God's mind, because he attributes to himself superhuman wisdom, through which he has created the greatness, and might, and wealth of Tyre. The words, "behold, thou art wiser," etc. (Ezekiel 28:3), are not to be taken as a question, "art thou indeed wiser?" as they have been by the lxx, Syriac, and others; nor are they ironical, as Hvernick supposes; but they are to be taken literally, namely, inasmuch as the prince of Tyre was serious in attributing to himself supernatural and divine wisdom. Thou art, i.e., thou regardest thyself as being, wiser than Daniel. No hidden thing is obscure to thee (עמם, a later word akin to the Aramaean, "to be obscure"). The comparison with Daniel refers to the fact that Daniel surpassed all the magi and wise men of Babylon in wisdom through his ability to interpret dreams, since God gave him an insight into the nature and development of the power of the world, such as no human sagacity could have secured. The wisdom of the prince of Tyre, on the other hand, consisted in the cleverness of the children of this world, which knows how to get possession of all the good things of the earth. Through such wisdom as this had the Tyrian prince acquired power and riches. חיל, might, possessions in the broader sense; not merely riches, but the whole of the might of the commercial state of Tyre, which was founded upon riches and treasures got by trade. In Ezekiel 28:5 בּרכלּתך is in apposition to בּרב הכמתך, and is introduced as explanatory. The fulness of its wisdom showed itself in its commerce and the manner in which it conducted it, whereby Tyre had become rich and powerful. It is not till we reach Ezekiel 28:6 that we meet with the apodosis answering to 'יען גּבהּ וגו in Ezekiel 28:2, which has been pushed so far back by the intervening parenthetical sentences in Ezekiel 28:2-5. For this reason the sin of the prince of Tyre in deifying himself is briefly reiterated in the clause 'יען תּתּך וגו (Ezekiel 28:6, compare Ezekiel 28:2), after which the announcement of the punishment is introduced with a repetition of לכן in Ezekiel 28:7. Wild foes approaching with barbarous violence will destroy all the king's resplendent glory, slay the king himself with the sword, and hurl him down into the pit as a godless man. The enemies are called עריצי גּוים, violent ones of the peoples - that is to say, the wild hordes composing the Chaldean army (cf. Ezekiel 30:11; Ezekiel 31:12). They drew the sword "against the beauty (יפי, the construct state of יפי) of thy wisdom," i.e., the beauty produced by thy wisdom, and the beautiful Tyre itself, with all that it contains (Ezekiel 26:3-4). יפעה, splendour; it is only here and in Ezekiel 28:17 that we meet with it as a noun. The king himself they hurl down into the pit, i.e., the grave, or the nether world. ממותי חלל, the death of a pierced one, substantially the same as מותי ערלים. The plural ממותי and מותי here and Jeremiah 16:4 (mortes) is a pluralis exaggerativus, a death so painful as to be equivalent to dying many times (see the comm. on Isaiah 53:9). In Ezekiel 28:9 Ezekiel uses the Piel מחלּל in the place of the Poel מחולל, as חלל in the Piel occurs elsewhere only in the sense of profanare, and in Isaiah 51:9 and Poel is used for piercing. But there is no necessity to alter the pointing in consequence, as we also find the Pual used by Ezekiel in Ezekiel 32:26 in the place of the Poal of Isaiah 53:5. The death of the uncircumcised is such a death as godless men die - a violent death. The king of Tyre, who looks upon himself as a god, shall perish by the sword like a godless man. At the same time, the whole of this threat applies, not to the one king, Ithobal, who was reigning at the time of the siege of Tyre by the Chaldeans, but to the king as the founder and creator of the might of Tyre (Ezekiel 28:3-5), i.e., to the supporter of that royalty which was to perish along with Tyre itself. - It is to the king, as the representative of the might and glory of Tyre, and not merely to the existing possessor of the regal dignity, that the following lamentation over his fall refers.

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