Ezekiel 30:17
The young men of Aven and of Pibeseth shall fall by the sword: and these cities shall go into captivity.
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(17) Of Aven and of Pi-beseth.—Aven is the same as On of Genesis 41:45; Genesis 41:50, and as Bethshemesh (House of the Sun) of Jeremiah 43:13, the Heliopolis of the Greeks, so called because from the remotest times a chief seat of the worship of the sun. The vowel points are slightly changed from On to make Aven, nothingness, often used of idols. Pi-beseth, on the monuments Pi-Pasht—so called from the cat-headed goddess there worshipped—is Bubastis, situated on the canal leading from the Pelusiac branch of the Nile towards Suez.

Ezekiel 30:17-18. The young men of Aven, &c. — Aven is the same with On, mentioned Genesis 41:45, in aftertimes called Heliopolis, as the margin here explains it, because of a temple or image there dedicated to the sun: see notes on Isaiah 19:18; Jeremiah 43:13. The word is so translated both here and Genesis 41:45, by the LXX., who were very well acquainted with Egypt and all the principal places of it. And they translate Phibeseth, Bubastum. At Tehaphnehes — Elsewhere written Tahpanhes, supposed to be the same place which was afterward called Daphnæ Pelusiacæ; the day shall be darkened — By this expression is signified its being involved in great calamity; for the day, or light, in the Scripture language, is put for prosperity: therefore the day being darkened signifies a state of adversity.

30:1-19 The prophecy of the destruction of Egypt is very full. Those who take their lot with God's enemies, shall be with them in punishment. The king of Babylon and his army shall be instruments of this destruction. God often makes one wicked man a scourge to another. No place in the land of Egypt shall escape the fury of the Chaldeans. The Lord is known by the judgments he executes. Yet these are only present effects of the Divine displeasure, not worthy of our fear, compared with the wrath to come, from which Jesus delivers his people.Aven - The same as "On" Genesis 41:45, or "Heliopolis." The word "Aven" means also "transgression" (compare Hosea 10:8). Some have thought that here too Ezekiel substituted the word "Aven" for "On" to mark the "sin" of idolatry there in full vogue.

Pi-beseth - The Bubastis of Herodotus. The hieroglyphic name is "Pe-bast," the house of Bast (the Egyptian Artemis, the cat-headed goddess). Bubastis was situated on the easternmost, the Pelusian, branch of the Delta. The road from Pelusium to Memphis lay through Bubastis and On. In the days of Herodotus Bubastis was the seat of one of the chief annual festivals of the Egyptians. The Persians took the town and razed the walls. The ruins bear the modern name Tel-Basta.

17. Aven—meaning "vanity" or "iniquity": applied, by a slight change of the Hebrew name, to On or Heliopolis, in allusion to its idolatry. Here stood the temple of the sun, whence it was called in Hebrew, Beth-shemesh (Jer 43:13). The Egyptian hieroglyphics call it, Re Athom, the sun, the father of the gods, being impersonate in Athom or Adam, the father of mankind.

Pi-beseth—that is, Bubastis, in Lower Egypt, near the Pelusiac branch of the Nile: notorious for the worship of the goddess of the same name (Coptic, Pasht), the granite stones of whose temple still attest its former magnificence.

these cities—rather, as the Septuagint, "the women," namely, of Aven and Pi-beseth, in antithesis to "the young men." So in Eze 30:18, "daughters shall go into captivity" [Maurer].

The young men: it is probable these might be a select army of valiant youths in one body, collected out of these two cities, that resolved to break the Chaldean army, or fall in the enterprise; or else that they did to the utmost defend the walls, and were put to the sword when the city was taken by assault.

Aven; Bethshemesh and Heliopolis, an idolatrous city, that worshipped the sun, and in which was a stately temple built to the sun. Its size was one hundred and fifty furlongs, six miles and three quarters, in compass, a very vain and sinful city, as its name Aven intimates.

Pi-beseth; Bubastus, and sometimes called Haephestus, no inconsiderable place, and I believe not far from Avon. It should seem to be some convenient pass, as I conjecture.

These cities; the citizens, cities put for citizens.

Go into captivity; some of the first, it may be the very first; which put Memphis, at report of it, into a sick fit, with great pain; this being the first-fruits of the sad coming harvest.

The young men of Aven and of Phibeseth shall fall by the sword,.... Aven is the same with On, of which Potipherah was priest in Joseph's time and whose daughter he married, Genesis 41:45, the same with Heliopolis, or Bethshemesh, the city of the sun, see Jeremiah 43:13; see Gill on Jeremiah 43:13; where was the temple of the sun, and where it was worshipped; and so it is rendered by the Septuagint, Vulgate Latin, and Arabic versions. It is called here "Aven", or "vanity", because of the vain and idolatrous worship here performed. Phibeseth is the Bubastis of Herodotus, and called by other writers Bubastus; hence there was a nome or province in Egypt called the Bubastic nome, mentioned by Ptolemy (c), and others. In this was a temple built to the honour of Diana, where she was worshipped and Herodotus (d) says, that Bubastis, in the Greek tongue, is Diana; here she was worshipped in the form of a cat; and Stephanus (e) observes, that the Egyptians call a cat Bubastus; and it is also said that dead cats salted were buried in this city, as being sacred: according to Diodorus Siculus (f), it was built for the sake of Isis; and Hillerus (g) says, that in the Abyssine language it was called "Phy' mly' sith"; that is, the portion of the wife, namely of Isis married to Osiris, by whom this city was built to the honour of her; as appears by the pillar of Isis, on which these words are inscribed,

"for me the city of Bubastia is built; be glad, be glad, O Egypt, which brought me up.''

This place is now called Bishbesh, according to Dr. Shaw (h): now the young men of both these places, though they might exert themselves in the defence of them, yet should fail therein, and fall by the sword of the Chaldeans:

and these cities shall go into captivity; the rest of the inhabitants of the cities of Aven and Pibeseth, that shall not fall by the sword, shall be carried captive into other lands. Joseph Kimchi supplies "women" instead of "cities"; and thinks, that as the males are mentioned before, the females are understood here. The Targum is,

"they that served them shall go into captivity;''

that served the idols worshipped in these cities.

(c) Geograph. l. 4. c. 5. (d) Euterpe, sive l. 2. c. 59, 138, 156. (e) De Urbibus. (f) Bibliothec l. 1. p. 24. (g) Onomastic. Sacr. p. 672. (h) Travels, p. 306. Ed. 2.

The young men of Aven and of Pibeseth shall fall by the sword: and these cities shall go into captivity.
17. young men of Aven] i.e. On or Heliopolis, “city of the sun,” Jeremiah 43:13; cf. Genesis 41:45. The obelisk known as Cleopatra’s Needle belonged to the sun temple in On; and in the vicinity of the ruins near the village Matariyeh stands the sycamore under which tradition affirms that the Holy Family rested in their flight to Egypt. The modern name is Ain Shems (sun-fountain) a few miles N.-E. of Cairo.

Phi-beseth shall fall] i.e. Bubastos or Bubastis, Egyptian Pa Bast, house of Bast or Pasht, the goddess to whom the cat was sacred, and who herself was represented under the aspect of the cat. The cat mummies were here preserved. The place lay on the Pelusiac arm of the Nile; the ruins, bearing the name Tell Basta, are not far from the modern Zagazig. Herod. mentions that at a yearly festival held here as many as 700,000 people would assemble.

Verse 17. - The young men of Aven; the "On" of Genesis 12:45, the "house of the sun" of Jeremiah 43:13, the Heliopolis of the LXX. and Vulgate. The form Avert (Hebrews for "a vain thing!" as in Hosea 4:15; Hosea 10:5) was perhaps chosen as a word of scorn pointing to the idolatry of the city. Pibeseth; LXX., Bubastos. The city situated on the Suez Canal, begun by Necho and finished under Ptolemy II. (Herod., 2:59). It derived its name from the eat-headed goddess Pasht, and was the chief seat of the home which was named after it. It was destroyed by the Persians (Diod. Sic., 15:51), but the name lingers in Tebbastat, a heap of ruins about seven hours journey from the Nile. Ezekiel 30:17Further Description of the Judgment

Ezekiel 30:13. Thus saith the Lord Jehovah, I will exterminate the idols and cut off the deities from Noph, and there shall be no more a prince from the land of Egypt; and I put terror upon the land of Egypt. Ezekiel 30:14. And I lay Pathros waste, and bring fire into Zoan, and execute judgments upon No; Ezekiel 30:15. And I pour out my fury upon Sin, the stronghold of Egypt, and cut off the multitude of No; Ezekiel 30:16. And I put fire in Egypt; Sin will writhe in pain, and No will be broken open, and Noph - enemies by day. Ezekiel 30:17. The men of On and Bubastus will fall by the sword, and they themselves will go into captivity. Ezekiel 30:18. At Tachpanches the day will be darkened when I shatter the yokes of Egypt there, and an end will be put to its proud haughtiness; cloud will cover it, and its daughters till go into captivity. Ezekiel 30:19. And thus I execute judgments upon Egypt, that they may know that I am Jehovah. - Egypt will lose its idols and its princes (cf. Jeremiah 46:25). גּלּוּלים and אלילים are synonymous, signifying not the images, but the deities; the former being the ordinary epithet applied to false deities by Ezekiel (see the comm. on Ezekiel 6:4), the latter traceable to the reading of Isaiah 19:1. נף, contracted from מנף, Manoph or Menoph equals מף in Hosea 9:6, is Memphis, the ancient capital of Lower Egypt, with the celebrated temple of Ptah, one of the principal seats of Egyptian idolatry (see the comm. on Hosea 9:6 and Isaiah 19:13). In Ezekiel 30:13 מארץ מצר' belongs to נשׂיא, there shall be no more a prince from the land of Egypt, i.e., a native prince. נתן יראה, to put fear upon (cf. Ezekiel 26:17). From Lower Egypt Ezekiel passes in Ezekiel 30:14 to Upper Egypt (Pathros, see the comm. on Ezekiel 29:14), which is also to be laid waste, and then names several more of the principal cities of Lower Egypt along with the chief city of Upper Egypt. צען, Egypt. Zane, Copt. Jane, is the Τανίς, Tanis, of the Greeks and Romans, on the Tanitic arm of the Nile, an ancient city of Lower Egypt; see the comm. on Numbers 13:22 and Isaiah 19:11. נא equals נא אמון in Nahum 3:8, probably "abode of Amon," Egypt. P-amen, i.e., house of Amon, the sacred name of Thebes, the celebrated royal city of Upper Egypt, the Διὸς πόλις ἡ μεγάλη of the Greeks (see the comm. on Nahum 3:8). סין (literally, mire; compare the Aram. סין) is Πηλούσιον, Pelusium, which derives its name from πηλός (ὠνόμασται ἀπὸ τοῦ πηλοῦ πηλός, Strab. xvii. p. 802), because there were swamps all round. It was situated on the eastern arm of the Nile, to which it gave its name, at a distance of twenty stadia from the sea. The Egyptian name Pehromi also signifies dirty, or muddy. From this the Arabs have made Elfarama; and in the vicinity of the few ruins of the ancient Pelusium there is still a castle called Arab. t, Tineh (compare the Chaldee טינא, clay, in Daniel 2:41). Ezekiel calls it the "fortress or bulwark of Egypt," because, as Strabo (l.c.) observes, "Egypt is difficult of access here from places in the East;" for which reason Hirtius (de bell. Al. c. 27) calls it "the key of Egypt," and Suidas (s.v.) "the key both of the entrance and exit of Egypt." On the history of this city, see Leyrer in Herzog's Encyclopaedia. In המון נא many of the commentators find a play upon the name of the god אמון (Jeremiah 46:25), the chief deity of Thebes, which is possible, but not very probable, as we should not expect to find a god mentioned again here after Ezekiel 30:13; and הכרתּי would be inappropriate. - In Ezekiel 30:16 Sin ( equals Pelusium) is mentioned again as the border fortress, No ( equals Memphis) as the capital of Upper Egypt, as all falling within the range of the judgment. The expression נף צרי יומם has caused some difficulty and given occasion to various conjectures, none of which, however, commend themselves as either simple or natural explanations.

(Note: Ewald proposes to alter צרי into צדי (after the Aramaean), "rust," and renders it: "Memphis will be eternal rust." But to this Hitzig has very properly objected that in Ezekiel 24:6, Ezekiel 24:11, rust is called חלאה; and that even in Psalm 6:3 יומם does not mean perpetual or eternal. Hvernick proposes to explain צרים, from the Aramaean zer', to rend or tear in pieces, "Memphis shall become perpetual rents." To this also it may be objected, that צרים in Hebrew has the standing meaning of oppressors; and that יומם, interdiu, is not equivalent to perpetual; and still further, that the preposition ל could not be omitted before צרי.)

As Hitzig has correctly observed, צרי יומם is the same as שׁדד בּצּהרים in Jeremiah 15:8, and is the opposite of שׁדדי לילה in Obadiah 1:5. The enemy who comes by day, not in the night, is the enemy who does not shun open attack. The connection with נף is to be explained by the same rule as Jeremiah 24:2, "the one basket - very good figs." Memphis will have enemies in broad daylight, i.e., will be filled with them. און equals און, אן, in Genesis 41:45, Genesis 41:50 (Egyptian An, or Anu), is the popular name of Heliopolis in Lower Egypt (see the comm. on Genesis 41:45); and the form און (a vain thing, or idol) is probably selected intentionally in the sense of an idol-city (see the comm. on Hosea 4:15), because On-Heliopolis (בּית־שׁמשׁ in Jeremiah 43:13) was from time immemorial one of the principal seats of the Egyptian worship of the sun, and possessed a celebrated temple of the sun, with a numerous and learned priesthood (see the comm. on Genesis 41:45, ed. 2). פּי־בסת, i.e., βουβαστός (lxx), or βουβαστίν (Herod. ii. 59), Egyptian Pi-Pasht, i.e., the place of Pasht, so called from the cat-headed Bubastis or Pasht, the Egyptian Diana, which was worshipped there in a splendid temple. It was situated on the royal canal leading to Suez, which was begun by Necho and finished under Ptolemy II, not far from its junction with the Pelusiac arm of the Nile. It was the chief seat of the Nomos Bubastites, was destroyed by the Persians, who demolished its walls (Diod. Sic. xvi. 51), and has entirely disappeared, with the exception of some heaps of ruins which still bear the name of Tel Bastah, about seven hours' journey from the Nile (compare Ges. Thes. pp. 1101ff., and Leyrer in Herzog's Encyclopaedia, s.v.). The Nomos of Bubastis, according to Herod. ii. 166, was assigned to the warrior-caste of Calasirians. The בּחוּרים, the young military men, will fall by the sword; and הנּה, not αἱ γυναῖκες (lxx and others), but the cities themselves, i.e., their civil population as distinguished from the military garrison, shall go into exile. This explanation of הנּה is commended by בּנותיה in Ezekiel 30:18. תּחפנחס or תּחפּנחס (Jeremiah 43:7., Ezekiel 44:1; Ezekiel 46:14), and תּחפנס in Jeremiah 2:16 (Chetib), is Τάφναι, Τάφνη (lxx), or Δάφναι (Herod. ii. 30. 107), a frontier city of Egypt in the vicinity of Pelusium, after the time of Psammetichus a fortification with a strong garrison, where a palace of Pharaoh was also to be found, according to Jeremiah 43:9. After the destruction of Jerusalem, a portion of the Jews took refuge there, and to them Jeremiah predicted the punishment of God on the conquest of Egypt by Nebuchadnezzar (Jeremiah 43:7., Ezekiel 44:1.). In the case of השך the reading varies; the printed Masora at Genesis 39:3 giving חשׂך as the reading to be found in all the codices examined by the author of the Masora; whereas many of the codices and printed editions have חשׁך, and this is adopted in all the ancient versions. This is evidently the correct reading, as חשׂך does not furnish an appropriate meaning, and the parallel passages, Ezekiel 32:8; Isaiah 13:10; Joel 3:4; Amos 8:9, all favour חשׁך. The darkening of the day is the phenomenal prognostic of the dawning of the great day of judgment upon the nations (cf. Joel 2:10; Joel 3:4, Joel 3:15; Isaiah 13:10, etc.). This day is to dawn upon Egypt at Tachpanches, the border fortress of the land towards Syria and Palestine, when the Lord will break the yokes of Egypt. These words point back to Leviticus 26:13, where the deliverance of Israel from the bondage of Egypt is called the breaking in pieces of its yokes (see also Ezekiel 34:27). That which took place then is to be repeated here. The yokes which Egypt put upon the nations are to be broken; and all the proud might of that kingdom is to be brought to an end (גּאון עזּהּ, as in Ezekiel 30:6). In Ezekiel 30:18, היא, which stands at the head in an absolute form, points back to בּתּחפנחס. The city (Daphne) will be covered with cloud, i.e., will be overthrown by the judgment; and her daughters, i.e., the smaller cities and hamlets dependent upon her (cf. Ezekiel 16:46 and Ezekiel 26:6), will go into captivity in the persons of their inhabitants. It follows from this that Daphne was the chief city of a Nomos in Lower Egypt; and this is confirmed by the circumstance that there was a royal palace there. If we compare the threat in this verse, that in Tachpanches an end is to be put to the proud might of Pharaoh, with the threatening words of Jeremiah 43:9., to the effect that Nebuchadnezzar would set up his throne at Tachpanches and smite Egypt, it is evident that the situation of Daphne must at that time have been such that the war between Egypt and Babylonia would necessarily be decided in or near this city. These prophetic utterances cannot be explained, as Kliefoth supposes, from the fact that many Jews had settled in Daphne; nor do the contents of this verse furnish any proof that Ezekiel did not utter this prophecy of his till after the Jews had settled there (Jeremiah 43:1-13 and 44). Ezekiel 30:19 serves to round off the prophecy.

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