Ezekiel 29:6
And all the inhabitants of Egypt shall know that I am the LORD, because they have been a staff of reed to the house of Israel.
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(6) A staff of reed.—In Isaiah 36:6 the dependence of Judah upon Egypt is described as trust “in the staff of this broken reed;” but notwithstanding all warnings, they still trusted, especially at the time of this prophecy, and proved in their experience the truth of the Divine word. The figure is taken from the reeds, which grew abundantly on the banks of the Nile, and the statement is historically amplified in the following verse, where the reference is to be understood not of any single fact so much as of a continual, often repeated result. There should be a period in the middle of Ezekiel 29:6, the first half forming the conclusion of the previous denunciation, and the second half being closely connected with Ezekiel 29:7-9. Ezekiel 29:7 is parenthetical.

Ezekiel 29:6-7. Because they have been a staff of reed to the house of Israel — This expression, a staff of reed, is very emphatical, to signify a confidence which has failed those that depended upon it, or has done them more hurt than good; for if a reed is leaned upon as a staff, it most certainly bends under the weight and breaks, and the splinters sometimes run into the hand of him who leaned upon it. Though the Jews were greatly blamed by God for entering into alliance with the Egyptians, yet we find God here declaring that he would punish the Egyptians for not having performed their engagements to the Israelites; for though God forbade the Israelites to seek the alliance of the Egyptians, this nevertheless did not excuse the Egyptians in their breach of faith. When they took hold of thee by thy hand — When they relied on thee for help; thou didst break — Or, thou wast crushed, as Newcome renders it; and rend all their shoulder — Or, their arm. The sense is, that the Egyptians proved a destruction to the Jewish people, who expected to be helped by them: see Jeremiah 37:5; Jeremiah 37:7; 2 Kings 24:7. This king of Egypt came with a great army to raise the siege of Jerusalem, but would not venture a battle with the Chaldeans, and marched back again, leaving Jerusalem to be taken by them.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.Staff of reed - The "reed" was especially appropriate to Egypt as the natural product of its river. 6. staff of reed to … Israel—alluding to the reeds on the banks of the Nile, which broke if one leaned upon them (see on [1071]Eze 29:4; Isa 36:6). All Israel's dependence on Egypt proved hurtful instead of beneficial (Isa 30:1-5). This mighty overthrow shall be known through all Egypt, and as it shall fill them with fears and troubles, so it should be a convincing argument to them that God had done this, and punished them, and their proud king, who used to say, as Herodotus reports, that God could not turn him out of his kingdom. Because they, both king, princes, counsellors, and people of Egypt,

have been a staff of reed; treacherously, as next verse, dealt with the Jews, whom they seduced to trust and depend on them, and then perfidiously broke promise with them. It was the sin of the Jews to trust Egypt; it was Egypt’s great sin to falsify promise with the Jews, and for this God now punisheth Egypt. And all the inhabitants of Egypt shall know that I am the Lord,.... Who could eject their king from his kingdom, and deliver him into the hands of his enemy; though he thought no God could, as he boastingly said, before observed:

because they have been a staff of reed to the house of Israel; alluding to the country of Egypt, which abounded with reeds that grew upon the banks of the river Nile, and other rivers. This signifies that either the Egyptians were weak, and could not help the people of Israel when they applied to them; or rather that they were treacherous and deceitful, and would not assist them, according to agreement; and were even pernicious and hurtful to them, as a broken reed; see Isaiah 36:6. The Targum renders it,

"the staff of a reed broken.''

And all the inhabitants of Egypt shall know that I am the LORD, because they have been a staff of {d} reed to the house of Israel.

(d) Read 2Ki 18:21, Isa 36:6.

6. The people of Egypt shall learn as of old who it is that sends such judgments upon them.

staff of reed] A staff or stay which was but a reed, and broke when leant upon (Ezekiel 29:7). Cf. Isaiah 36:6; 2 Kings 18:21. The figure of the reed was natural when speaking of Egypt.Verse 6. - A staff of reed unto the house of Israel. Ezekiel reproduces the familiar image of 2 Kings 18:21; Isaiah 36:6. The proverb had not ceased to be true, though the rulers were different. Here, again, the imagery is strictly local. The reeds were as characteristic of the Nile as the crocodiles (Exodus 1:3; Job 40:21). The image of the reed is continued in Ver. 7, and the effect of trusting to its support is described in detail. 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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