Ezekiel 30:4
And the sword shall come upon Egypt, and great pain shall be in Ethiopia, when the slain shall fall in Egypt, and they shall take away her multitude, and her foundations shall be broken down.
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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.The time of the pagan - The time when the pagan (Egyptians) shall be judged. 4. pain—literally, "pangs with trembling as of a woman in childbirth." The sword: see Ezekiel 29:8.

In Ethiopia; next neighbour and ally to Egypt; they shall tremble at so great danger, so near, and they uncertain whether it will come on them, but very certain to be ruined if it does come, and as certain that they have cause to suspect it will come on them.

When the slain shall fall in Egypt; when the Egyptians, under the eye of the Ethiopians, shall fall in battle, and at the taking of their towns.

They shall take away her multitude; in miserable captivity carry them to Babylon, by whole droves.

Her foundations, their government, laws, counsellors, strong holds, which are to a nation as foundations to a house, are destroyed.

And the sword shall come upon Egypt,.... The sword of the Chaldeans shall come upon the Egyptians, by which they should be cut off; it having a commission from the Lord for that purpose:

and great pain shall be in Ethiopia, when the slain shall fall in Egypt; Ethiopia being a neighbouring nation to Egypt, shall be in a panic when it shall hear of the sword of the Chaldeans being in Egypt, and of the ravages made by it, of the multitudes slain with it; fearing it will be their turn next to fall into the same hands, and in the same manner; and the rather, not only as they were neighbours, but allies:

and they shall take away her multitude; that is, the Chaldeans shall carry captive vast numbers of the Egyptians; such as fell not by the sword should not escape the hand of the enemy, but be taken and carried into other lands. Egypt was a very populous country; according to Agrippa's speech in Josephus (f), there were in it 7,500,000 persons from Ethiopia to Alexandria, besides the inhabitants of the latter, as might be gathered from the tribute each person paid; hence they are compared to the trees of a forest that cannot be searched, and to grasshoppers innumerable, Jeremiah 46:23, but now their numbers should be lesser:

and her foundations shall be broken down; either in a literal sense, the foundations of the cities, towers, and fortified places in Egypt, should be undermined and destroyed, and consequently the buildings on them must sink and fall; or in a figurative sense, her king, princes, magistrates, laws, and government, which are the support of a state, should be removed, and be of no more service.

(f) De Bello Jud. l. 2. c. 16. sect. 4.

And the sword shall come upon Egypt, and great pain shall be in Ethiopia, when the slain shall fall in Egypt, and they shall take away her multitude, and her foundations shall be broken down.
4. great pain] anguish, a late word, cf. Ezekiel 30:9.

her multitude] Ch. Ezekiel 29:19; cf. Ezekiel 29:10; cf. Ezekiel 29:15, ch. Ezekiel 31:2. Her “foundations” is suggested by the idea of a building overthrown. Reference is hardly to the allies and mercenaries on whom Egypt relied in war, rather to the classes and institutions in which the strength of the state lay.

Verse 4. - Great pain shall be in Ethiopia. The words point to the extension of the invasion of Egypt - by Nebuchadnezzar in the first instance, and afterwards by other conquerors - to the upper valley of the Nile. They shall take away her multitude. The word is taken by Keil, Smend, and others of things rather than persons, the multitude of possessions. Hengstenberg renders "tumult" in the sense of the stir of a crowded city. The foundations are probably to be taken figuratively of the bases of the prosperity of Egypt, its allies and mercenaries, rather than of actual buildings (comp. Psalm 11:3; Psalm 82:5). Ezekiel 30:4Announcement of the judgment upon Egypt and its allies. - Ezekiel 30:1. And the word of Jehovah came to me, saying, Ezekiel 30:2. Son of man, prophesy, and say, Thus saith the Lord Jehovah, Howl ye! Woe to the day! Ezekiel 30:3. For the day is near, the day of Jehovah near, a day of cloud, the time of the heathen will it be. Ezekiel 30:4. And the sword will come upon Egypt, and there will be pangs in Ethiopia, when the slain fall in Egypt, and they take her possessions, and her foundations are destroyed. Ezekiel 30:5. Ethiopians and Libyans and Lydians, and all the rabble, and Chub, and the sons of the covenant land, will fall by the sword with them. - In the announcement of the judgment in Ezekiel 30:2 and Ezekiel 30:3, Ezekiel rests upon Joel 1:13, Joel 1:15, and Joel 2:2, where the designation already applied to the judgment upon the heathen world by Obadiah, viz., "the day of Jehovah" (Obadiah 1:15), is followed by such a picture of the nearness and terrible nature of that day, that even Isaiah (Isaiah 13:6, Isaiah 13:9) and Zephaniah (Zephaniah 1:7, Zephaniah 1:14) appropriate the words of Joel. Ezekiel also does the same, with this exception, that he uses ההּ instead of אההּ, and adds to the force of the expression by the repetition of קרוב יום. In Ezekiel 30:3, the words from יום ענן to יהיה are not to be taken together as forming one sentence, "a day of cloud will the time of the nations be" (De Wette), because the idea of a "time of the nations" has not been mentioned before, so as to prepare the way for a description of its real nature here. יום ענן and עת גּוים contain two co-ordinate affirmations concerning the day of Jehovah. It will be a day of cloud, i.e., of great calamity (as in Joel 2:2), and a time of the heathen, i.e., when heathen (גּוים without the article) are judged, when their might is to be shattered (cf. Isaiah 13:22). This day is coming upon Egypt, which is to succumb to the sword. Ethiopia will be so terrified at this, that it will writhe convulsively with anguish (חלחלה, as in Nahum 2:11 and Isaiah 21:3). לקח המנהּ signifies the plundering and removal of the possessions of the land, like נשׂא המנהּ in Ezekiel 29:19. The subject to לקחוּ is indefinite, "they," i.e., the enemy. The foundations of Egypt, which are to be destroyed, are not the foundations of its buildings, but may be understood in a figurative sense as relating to persons, after the analogy of Isaiah 19:10; but the notion that Cush, Phut, etc. (Ezekiel 30:9), i.e., the mercenary troops obtained from those places, which are called the props of Egypt in Ezekiel 30:6, are intended, as Hitzig assumes, is not only extremely improbable, but decidedly erroneous. The announcement in Ezekiel 30:6, that Cush, Phut, etc., are to fall by the sword along with the Egyptians (אתּם), is sufficient of itself to show that these tribes, even if they were auxiliaries or mercenaries of Egypt, did not constitute the foundations of the Egyptian state and kingdom; but that, on the contrary, Egypt possessed a military force composed of native troops, which was simply strengthened by auxiliaries and allies. We there interpret יסדותיה, after the analogy of Psalm 11:3 and Psalm 82:5, as referring to the real foundations of the state, the regulations and institutions on which the stability and prosperity of the kingdom rest.

The neighbouring, friendly, and allied peoples will also be smitten by the judgment together with the Egyptians. Cush, i.e., the Ethiopians, Phut and Lud, i.e., the Libyans and African Lydians (see the comm. on Ezekiel 27:10), are mentioned here primarily as auxiliaries of Egypt, because, according to Jeremiah 46:9, they served in Necho's army. By כּל־הערב, the whole of the mixed crowd (see the comm. on 1 Kings 10:15 - πάντες οἱ ἐπίμικτοι, lxx), we are then to understand the mercenary soldiers in the Egyptian army, which were obtained from different nations (chiefly Greeks, Ionians, and Carians, οἱ επίκουροι, as they are called by Herodotus, iii. 4, etc.). In addition to these, כּוּב ,eseht (ἁπ λεγ.) is also mentioned. Hvernick connects this name with the people of Kufa, so frequently met with on the Egyptian monuments. But, according to Wilkinson (Manners, etc., I 1, pp. 361ff.), they inhabited a portion of Asia farther north even than Palestine; and he ranks them (p. 379) among the enemies of Egypt. Hitzig therefore imagines that Kufa is probably to be found in Kohistan, a district of Media, from which, however, the Egyptians can hardly have obtained mercenary troops. And so long as nothing certain can be gathered from the advancing Egyptological researches with regard to the name Cub, the conjecture that כּוּב is a mis-spelling for לוּב is not to be absolutely set aside, the more especially as this conjecture is naturally suggested by the לוּבים of Nahum 3:9 and 2 Chronicles 16:8, and the form לוּב by the side of לוּבים is analogous to לוּד by the side of לוּדים in Jeremiah 46:9, whilst the Liby-Aegyptii of the ancients, who are to be understood by the term לוּבים (see the comm. on Genesis 10:13), would be quite in keeping here. On the other hand, the conjecture offered by Gesenius (Thes. p. 664), viz., נוּב, Nubia, has but a very weak support in the Arabic translator; and the supposition that לוּב may have been the earlier Hebrew form for Nubia (Hitzig), is destitute of any solid foundation. Maurer suggests Cob, a city (municipium) of Mauretania, in the Itiner. Anton. p. 17, ed. Wessel. - The following expression, "sons of the covenant land," is also obscure. Hitzig has correctly observed, that it cannot be synonymous with בּעלי , their allies. But we certainly cannot admit that the covenant land (made definite by the article) is Canaan, the Holy Land (Hitzig and Kliefoth); although Jerome writes without reserve, de filiis terrae foederis, i.e., de populo Judaeorum; and the lxx in their translation, καὶ τῶν υιῶν τῆς διαθήκης μου, undoubtedly thought of the Jews, who fled to Egypt, according to Theodoret's exposition, along with Jeremiah after the destruction of Jerusalem and the murder of the governor Gedaliah, for fear of the vengeance of the Chaldeans (Jeremiah 42-43, and 44). For the application of the expression "land of the covenant" to the Holy Land is never met with either in the Old or New Testament, and cannot be inferred, as Hitzig supposes, from Psalm 74:20 and Daniel 11:28, or supported in any way from either the epithet "the land of promise" in Hebrews 11:9, or from Acts 3:25, where Peter calls the Jews "the children of the prophets and of the covenant." We therefore agree with Schmieder in regarding ארץ as signifying a definite region, though one unknown to us, in the vicinity of Egypt, which was inhabited by a tribe that was independent of the Egyptians, yet bound to render help in time of war.

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