Ezekiel 30:18
At Tehaphnehes also the day shall be darkened, when I shall break there the yokes of Egypt: and the pomp of her strength shall cease in her: as for her, a cloud shall cover her, and her daughters shall go into captivity.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(18) Tehaphnehes.—(Jeremiah 2:16; Jeremiah 43:7-9; Jeremiah 44:1; Jeremiah 46:14.) Otherwise called Tahpanhes; the city Daphne, also a frontier town near Pelusium, strongly fortified. It may be especially mentioned, because the Jews who fled from Palestine through fear of Nebuchadnezzar had taken refuge there (Jeremiah 43, 44).

The day shall be darkened.—This is a common prophetic form of describing coming calamity. (See Ezekiel 30:3, Ezekiel 32:8; Isaiah 13:10; Joel 2:10; Joel 2:31; Joel 3:15; Amos 8:9; Matthew 24:29, &c.)

The yokes of Egypt.—Not the yokes placed upon Egypt, but the tyranny which she exercised over others. The fuller expression, “bands of a yoke,” occurs in Ezekiel 34:27, and also in Leviticus 26:13, the latter in reference to the deliverance of Israel from the bondage of Egypt. It appears from Jeremiah 43:9-10 that there was a royal palace at Tahpanhes, and it was foretold by the prophet that Nebuchadnezzar should there set up his pavilion, and thence smite Egypt. It is correspondingly foretold here that the power of Egypt should there be broken, because this and the neighbouring Pelusium were the frontier fortresses and keys of the land.

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.Tehaphnehes - See the marginal reference note. "break the yokes of Egypt" i. e., break the yokes imposed by Egypt, or break up the tyrannous dominion of Egypt over other lands. 18. Tehaphnehes—called from the queen of Egypt mentioned in 1Ki 11:19. The same as Daphne, near Pelusium, a royal residence of the Pharaohs (Jer 43:7, 9). Called Hanes (Isa 30:4).

break … the yokes of Egypt—that is, the tyrannical supremacy which she exercised over other nations. Compare "bands of their yoke" (Eze 34:7).

a cloud—namely, of calamity.

Tehaphnehes; a great and goodly city of Egypt. Tachapanes, Tachpanes, Tahapanes, Tahpanes, Chanes, and Hanes, Isaiah 30:4, are names given it, and this from a queen of Egypt of that name in Solomon’s time, 1 Kings 11:19,20. It stood not far from Sin or Pelusium, and by the Greeks, a little softening the name, called Daphne Pelusiaca. It was a royal city, in it Pharaoh had a house; to it many Jews fled, when forbidden of the Lord by the prophet Jeremiah, Ezekiel 44. It was one of the first cities you come to out of the desert of Sin, and was one of the keys of Egypt.

The day shall be darkened; a night shall come upon it, and such a night of sorrow as shall grow darker and darker till the day, i.e. their day, be

darkness; or else, word for word, darkness shall be the day, and may bear this sense, shall be more welcome, more useful, more desired, than the day, whose light would discover their flight, which the night concealed.

I shall break, as into shivers.

The yokes; the sceptres; for there was one of Pharaoh’s houses, and probably some sceptre and other regal ornaments: or, the bars, which kept enemies out, and secured the citizens and country; such was this frontier town. Or, when, by giving this strong place into Nebuchadnezzar’s hand, I shall break the kingdom of Egypt, that it no more oppress with yokes, i.e. burdens.

The pomp; the beauty and goodliness with which the strength of this city was set out in her buildings, towers, forts.

Shall cease in her; shall be buried in her own ruins.

A cloud; sorrow at the success of the Chaldeans against her, compared often to a cloud.

Her daughters; either metaphorically, i.e. the towns and villages about her, or literally, her children; her daughters only mentioned, because her sons were destroyed and slain. At Tehaphnehes also the day shall be darkened,.... The same with Hanes in Isaiah 30:4 and Tahapanes in Jeremiah 2:16 and Tahpanhes, Jeremiah 43:7, it was a royal seat of the kings of Egypt: there was in Solomon's time a queen of Egypt of this name, and perhaps it might be so called from her, 1 Kings 11:19. It is generally thought to be the Daphne of Pelusium, it being near that city; though Junius takes it to be a place in another part of Egypt, at a great distance, which Herodotus (i) calls Tahcompso, an island encompassed by the Nile; and by Ptolemy (k) called Metacompso: now at this place the day should be darkened; or should "restrain" (l), as it may be rendered; that is, its light; it should be a calamitous and mournful time with the inhabitants of it:

when I shall break there the yokes of Egypt; the yokes they put upon the necks of others, who now should be freed from them: or, "the sceptres of Egypt", as the Vulgate Latin version renders it; the regalia of their kings, which might lie in this place; it being a royal seat where Pharaoh had a house, as appears from Jeremiah 43:9,

and the pomp of her strength shall cease in her; all that grandeur and magnificence which appeared in the courts of the kings of Egypt in this place:

as for her, a cloud shall cover her; as for this city, a cloud of calamity shall cover it, so as its glory shall not be seen. The Targum is,

"a king with his army shall cover her as a cloud ascends and covers the earth:''

and her daughters shall go into captivity; which may be taken either in a literal sense for the daughters of the inhabitants of this place, which must be a great affliction to their tender parents, to have them forced away by rude soldiers, and carried captive into distant lands; or in a figurative sense, for the villages and the inhabitants of them round about this city; it being usual to represent a city as a mother, and its villages as daughters; and so the Targum, Jarchi, and Kimchi interpret it.

(i) Euterpe, sive l. 2. c. 29. (k) Geograph. l. 4. c. 5. (l) "prohibuit", Montanus; "vitavit", Munster; "cohibuit", Cocceius; "probibebit, arcebit", Vatablus; so Ben Melech.

At Tehaphnehes also the day {c} shall be darkened, when I shall break there the {d} yokes of Egypt: and the pomp of her strength shall cease in her: as for her, a cloud shall cover her, and her daughters shall go into captivity.

(c) Meaning that there will be great sorrow and affliction.

(d) That is, the strength and force.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
18. Tehaphnehes, spelled somewhat differently Jeremiah 2:16. Jeremiah 43:8 speaks of a royal palace there, and Ezekiel 46:14 it is named along with Memphis as a chief city in Egypt. Its site is probably the modern Tell Defenneh (Daphnae), near the Pelusiac arm of the Nile, south of lake Menzaleh, about 30 miles S.-W. of the ancient Pelusium.

the yokes of Egypt] must here be those imposed by Egypt, a sense not very suitable to the connexion. A different pointing would give sceptres (LXX.) or staves—but “staves” in the sense of supports is more than doubtful (cf. Isaiah 14:5).

her daughters] may be literal (cf. Ezekiel 30:17, young men of On), or said figuratively of her towns.Verse 18. - At Tehaphnehes; the Tabu-panes of Jeremiah 2:16; Jeremiah 42:7; Jeremiah 44:1; Jeremiah 46:14; (where it appears as having a royal palace); the Taphnae of the LXX.; the Daphne of Herod., 2:30. It was another frontier-fortress in the neighborhood of Pelusium, built by Psammetichus. It may, perhaps, be represented by the modern Tel-ed-Defenne, about twenty-seven miles southwest of Pelusium. The day shall be darkened. The normal image for the departure of the sunshine of prosperity, as in Ver. 3 and Ezekiel 32:7 (comp. Amos 5:20; Amos 8:9; Isaiah 5:30; Jeremiah 13:16, etc.). The yokes of Egypt. Commonly, as in Ezekiel 34:27; Leviticus 26:13; Jeremiah 27:2; Jeremiah 28:10, 12, the phrase would imply the deliverance of Egypt from the yoke of oppression suffered at the hand of others. Here that sense is clearly inappropriate. The LXX. and Vulgate give "the scepters" of Egypt, which implies a different reading, and this is adopted in substance by Ewald and Smend, the latter preferring rendering it by "supports" or "props," the "red" being used as a "staff" rather than as a "scepter" (comp. Ezekiel 19:14; Jeremiah 43:8; Jeremiah 48:17). The pomp of her strength. The phrase meets us again in Ezekiel 33:28, and includes what we speak of as the parade of power, here probably with a view to the foreign forces that garrisoned both Daphne and Pelusium. The daughters may be literally the women of the city, who were to share the usual fate of their sex on the capture of a city; or as in Ezekiel 26:6, 8; or probably as in Ezekiel 16:53, 55, for the villages and towns dependent on the strong city. On the whole, looking to the mention of the "young men" in Ver. 17, the literal meaning seems preferable. The Judgment upon Pharaoh and His People and Land

Because Pharaoh looks upon himself as the creator of his kingdom and of his might, he is to be destroyed with his men of war (Ezekiel 29:2-5). In order that Israel may no longer put its trust in the fragile power of Egypt, the sword shall cut off from Egypt both man and beast, the land shall be turned into a barren wilderness, and the people shall be scattered over the lands (Ezekiel 29:5-12). But after the expiration of the time appointed for its punishment, both people and land shall be restored, though only to remain an insignificant kingdom (Ezekiel 29:13-16). - According to Ezekiel 29:1, this prophecy belongs to the tenth year of the captivity of Jehoiachin; and as we may see by comparing it with the other oracles against Egypt of which the dates are given, it was the first word of God uttered by Ezekiel concerning this imperial kingdom. The contents also harmonize with this, inasmuch as the threat which it contains merely announces in general terms the overthrow of the might of Egypt and its king, without naming the instrument employed to execute the judgment, and at the same time the future condition of Egypt is also disclosed.

Ezekiel 29:1-12

Destruction of the might of Pharaoh, and devastation of Egypt

Ezekiel 29:1. In the tenth year, in the tenth (month), on the twelfth of the month, the word of Jehovah came to me, saying, Ezekiel 29:2. Son of man, direct thy face against Pharaoh the king of Egypt, and prophesy against him and against all Egypt. Ezekiel 29:3. Speak and say, Thus saith the Lord Jehovah, Behold, I will deal with thee, Pharaoh, king of Egypt, thou great dragon which lieth in its rivers, which saith, "Mine is the river, and I have made it for myself." Ezekiel 29:4. I will put a ring into thy jaws, and cause the fishes of thy rivers to hang upon thy scales, and draw thee out of thy rivers, and all the fishes of thy rivers which hang upon thy scales; Ezekiel 29:5. And will cast thee into the desert, thee and all the fishes of thy rivers; upon the surface of the field wilt thou fall, thou wilt not be lifted up nor gathered together; I give thee for food to the beasts of the earth and the birds of the heaven. Ezekiel 29:6. And all the inhabitants of Egypt shall learn that I am Jehovah. Because it is a reed-staff to the house of Israel, - Ezekiel 29:7. When they grasp thee by thy branches, thou crackest and tearest open all their shoulder; and when they lean upon thee, thou breakest and causest all their loins to shake, - Ezekiel 29:8. Therefore thus saith the Lord Jehovah, Behold, I bring upon thee the sword, and will cut off from thee man and beast; Ezekiel 29:9. And the land of Egypt will become a waste and desolation, and they shall learn that I am Jehovah. Because he saith: "The river is mine, and I have made it," Ezekiel 29:10. Therefore, behold, I will deal with thee and thy rivers, and will make the land of Egypt into barren waste desolations from Migdol to Syene, even to the border of Cush. Ezekiel 29:11. The foot of man will not pass through it, and the foot of beast will not pass through it, and it will not be inhabited for forty years. Ezekiel 29:12. I make the land of Egypt a waste in the midst of devastated lands, and its cities shall be waste among desolate cities forty years; and I scatter the Egyptians among the nations, and disperse them in the lands. - The date given, viz., "in the tenth year," is defended even by Hitzig as more correct than the reading of the lxx, ἐν τῷ ἔτει τῷ δωδεκάτω; and he supposes the Alexandrian reading to have originated in the fact that the last date mentioned in Ezekiel 26:1 had already brought down the account to the eleventh year. - Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, against whom the threat is first directed, is called "the great dragon" in Ezekiel 29:3. תּנּים (here and Ezekiel 32:2) is equivalent to תּנּין, literally, the lengthened animal, the snake; here, the water-snake, the crocodile, the standing symbol of Egypt in the prophets (cf. Isaiah 51:9; Isaiah 27:1; Psalm 74:13), which is here transferred to Pharaoh, as the ruler of Egypt and representative of its power. By יארים we are to understand the arms and canals of the Nile (vid., Isaiah 7:18). The predicate, "lying in the midst of his rivers," points at once to the proud security in his own power to which Pharaoh gave himself up. As the crocodile lies quietly in the waters of the Nile, as though he were lord of the river; so did Pharaoh regard himself as the omnipotent lord of Egypt. His words affirm this: "the river is mine, I have made it for myself." The suffix attached to עשׂיתני stands in the place of לי, as Ezekiel 29:9, where the suffix is wanting, clearly shows. There is an incorrectness in this use of the suffix, which evidently passed into the language of literature from the popular phraseology (cf. Ewald, 315b). The rendering of the Vulgate, ego feci memetipsum, is false. יארי is the expression used by him as a king who regards the land and its rivers as his own property; in connection with which we must bear in mind that Egypt is indebted to the Nile not only for its greatness, but for its actual existence. In this respect Pharaoh says emphatically לי, it is mine, it belongs to me, because he regards himself as the creator. The words, "I have made it for myself," simply explain the reason for the expression לי, and affirm more than "I have put myself in possession of this through my own power, or have acquired its blessings for myself" (Hvernick); or, "I have put it into its present condition by constructing canals, dams, sluices, and buildings by the river-side" (Hitzig). Pharaoh calls himself the creator of the Nile, because he regards himself as the creator of the greatness of Egypt. This pride, in which he forgets God and attributes divine power to himself, is the cause of his sin, for which he will be overthrown by God. God will draw the crocodile Pharaoh out of his Nile with hooks, and cast him upon the dry land, where he and the fishes that have been drawn out along with him upon his scales will not be gathered up, but devoured by the wild beasts and birds of prey. The figure is derived from the manner in which even in ancient times the crocodile was caught with large hooks of a peculiar construction (compare Herod. ii. 70, and the testimonies of travellers in Oedmann's Vermischten Sammlungen, III pp. 6ff., and Jomard in the Dscription de l'Egypte, 1 Peter 27). The form חחיים with a double Yod is a copyist's error, probably occasioned by the double Yod occurring after ח in בּלחייך, which follows. A dual form for חחים is unsuitable, and is not used anywhere else even by Ezekiel (cf. Ezekiel 19:4, Ezekiel 19:9, and more especially Ezekiel 38:4).

The fishes which hang upon the scales of the monster, and are drawn along with it out of the Nile, are the inhabitants of Egypt, for the Nile represents the land. The casting of the beast into the wilderness, where it putrefies and is devoured by the beasts and birds of prey, must not be interpreted in the insipid manner proposed by Hitzig, namely, that Pharaoh would advance with his army into the desert of Arabia and be defeated there. The wilderness is the dry and barren land, in which animals that inhabit the water must perish; and the thought is simply that the monster will be cast upon the desert land, where it will finally become the food of the beasts of prey.

In Ezekiel 29:6 the construction is a subject of dispute, inasmuch as many of the commentators follow the Hebrew division of the verse, taking the second hemistich 'יען היותם וגו as dependent upon the first half of the verse, for which it assigns the reason, and then interpreting Ezekiel 29:7 as a further development of Ezekiel 29:6, and commencing a new period with Ezekiel 29:8 (Hitzig, Kliefoth, and others). But it is decidedly wrong to connect together the two halves of the sixth verse, if only for the simple reason that the formula וידעוּ כּי אני יהוה, which occurs so frequently elsewhere in Ezekiel, invariably closes a train of thought, and is never followed by the addition of a further reason. Moreover, a sentence commencing with יען is just as invariably followed by an apodosis introduced by לכן, of which we have an example just below in Ezekiel 29:9 and Ezekiel 29:10. For both these reasons it is absolutely necessary that we should regard 'יען ה as the beginning of a protasis, the apodosis to which commences with לכן in Ezekiel 29:8. The correctness of this construction is established beyond all doubt by the fact that from Ezekiel 29:6 onwards it is no longer Pharaoh who is spoken of, as in Ezekiel 29:3-5, but Egypt; so that יען introduces a new train of thought. But Ezekiel 29:7 is clearly shown, both by the contents and the form, to be an explanatory intermediate clause inserted as a parenthesis. And inasmuch as the protasis is removed in consequence to some distance from its apodosis, Ezekiel has introduced the formula "thus saith the Lord Jehovah" at the commencement of the apodosis, for the purpose of giving additional emphasis to the announcement of the punishment. Ezekiel 29:7 cannot in any case be regarded as the protasis, the apodosis to which commences with the לכן in Ezekiel 29:8, and Hvernick maintains. The suffix attached to היותם, to which Hitzig takes exception, because he has misunderstood the construction, and which he would conjecture away, refers to מצרים as a land or kingdom. Because the kingdom of Egypt was a reed-staff to the house of Israel (a figure drawn from the physical character of the banks of the Nile, with its thick growth of tall, thick rushes, and recalling to mind Isaiah 36:6), the Lord would bring the sword upon it and cut off from it both man and beast. But before this apodosis the figure of the reed-staff is more clearly defined: "when they (the Israelites) take thee by thy branches, thou breakest," etc. This explanation is not to be taken as referring to any particular facts either of the past or future, but indicates the deceptive nature of Egypt as the standing characteristic of that kingdom. At the same time, to give greater vivacity to the description, the words concerning Egypt are changed into a direct address to the Egyptians, i.e., not to Pharaoh, but to the Egyptian people regarded as a single individual. The expression בכפך causes some difficulty, since the ordinary meaning of כּף (hand) is apparently unsuitable, inasmuch as the verb תּרוץ, from רצץ, to break or crack (not to break in pieces, i.e., to break quite through), clearly shows that the figure if the reed is still continued. The Keri בּכּף is a bad emendation, based upon the rendering "to grasp with the hand," which is grammatically inadmissible. תּפשׂ with ב does not mean to grasp with something, but to seize upon something, to take hold of a person (Isaiah 3:6; Deuteronomy 9:17), so that בכפך can only be an explanatory apposition to בּך. The meaning grip, or grasp of the hand, is also unsuitable and cannot be sustained, as the plural כּפּות alone is used in this sense in Sol 5:5. The only meaning appropriate to the figure is that of branches, which is sustained, so far as the language is concerned, by the use of the plural כּפּות for palm-branches in Leviticus 23:40, and of the singular כּפּה for the collection of branches in Job 15:32, and Isaiah 9:13; Isaiah 19:15; and this is apparently in perfect harmony with natural facts, since the tall reed of the Nile, more especially the papyrus, is furnished with hollow, sword-shaped leaves at the lower part of the talk. When it cracks, the reed-staff pierces the shoulder of the man who has grasped it, and tears it; and if a man lean upon it, it breaks in pieces and causes all the loins to tremble. העמיד cannot mean to cause to stand, or to set upright, still less render stiff and rigid. The latter meaning cannot be established from the usage of the language, and would be unsuitable here. For if a stick on which a man leans should break and penetrate his loins, it would inflict such injury upon them as to cause him to fall, and not to remain stiff and rigid. העמד cannot have any other meaning than that of המעד, to cause to tremble or relax, as in Psalm 69:24, to shake the firmness of the loins, so that the power to stand is impaired.

In the apodosis the thought of the land gives place to that of the people; hence the use of the feminine suffixes עליך and ממּך in the place of the masculine suffixes בּך and עליך in Ezekiel 29:7. Man and beast shall be cut off, and the land made into a desert waste by the sword, i.e., by war. This is carried out still further in Ezekiel 29:9-12; and once again in the protasis 9b (cf. Ezekiel 29:3) the inordinate pride of the king is placed in the foreground as the reason for the devastation of his land and kingdom. The Lord will make of Egypt the most desolate wilderness. חרבות is intensified into a superlative by the double genitive חרב שׁממה, desolation of the wilderness. Throughout its whole extent from Migdol, i.e., Magdolo, according to the Itiner. Anton. p. 171 (ed. Wessel), twelve Roman miles from Pelusium; in the Coptic Meshtol, Egyptian Màktr (Brugsch, Geogr. Inschr. I pp. 261f.), the most northerly place in Egypt. סונה, to Syene (for the construction see Ezekiel 30:6 and Ezekiel 21:3), Συήνη, Sun in the inscriptions, according to Brugsch (Geogr. Inschr. I. p. 155), probably the profane designation of the place (Coptic Souan), the most southerly border town of Egypt in the direction of Cush, i.e., Ethiopia, on the eastern bank of the Nile, some ruins of which are still to be seen in the modern Assvan (Assuan, Arab. aswa equals n), which is situated to the north-east of them (vid., Brugsch, Reiseber. aus. Aegypten, p. 247, and Leyrer in Herzog's Encyclopaedia). The additional clause, "and to the border of Cush," does not give a fresh terminal point, still further advanced, but simply defines with still greater clearness the boundary toward the south, viz., to Syene, where Egypt terminates and Ethiopia beings. In Ezekiel 29:11 the desolation is more fully depicted. לא תשׁב, it will not dwell, poetical for "be inhabited," as in Joel 4 (3):20, Isaiah 13:20, etc. This devastation shall last for forty years, and so long shall the people of Egypt be scattered among the nations. But after the expiration of that time they shall be gathered together again (Ezekiel 29:13). The number forty is neither a round number (Hitzig) nor a very long time (Ewald), but is a symbolical term denoting a period appointed by God for punishment and penitence (see the comm. on Ezekiel 4:6), which is not to be understood in a chronological sense, or capable of being calculated.

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