In that day shall messengers go forth from me in ships to make the careless Ethiopians afraid, and great pain shall come on them, as in the day of Egypt: for, see, it comes.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Messengers go forth from me in ships.—Comp. Isaiah 18:1-2. This does not mean the army of Nebuchadnezzar, which did not penetrate into Ethiopia, but the flying Egyptians, who ascend the Nile to seek safety in Ethiopia, and alarm it with the tidings of Egypt’s fall. The “careless” are the secure Ethiopians. “As in the day of Egypt” is a reference to a past event, and can only mean, as in the day of judgment upon Egypt at the Exodus.Zephaniah 2:15, shall tremble at Egypt's ruin.
as in the day of Egypt—The day of Ethiopia's "pain" shall come shortly, as Egypt's day came.In that day; the day of God’s severe but just judgments, and Egypt’s fatal desolation.
Messengers; such as having seen and escaped the sword, shall tell the dismal news.
From me; by my permission and providence they shall go, as if sent by me.
In ships; ships that either carried them over into Pentapolis, crossing the river Nilus, or rather going down the river into the Mediterranean, and so to any part of those north parts of Africa, and others by ship through the Red Sea to Arabia Felix, which is that Ethiopia which is here meant; though it is possible in those days the African Ethiopia might, as once it did, extend quite to the mouth of the Red Sea. on whose shore their ancestors must needs first land out of Arabia, whence the Abyssinians, who are our present Ethiopians, do own their descent. So messengers by ships might carry the news to both the Ethiopian, Asian, and African, by the Red Sea.
The careless Ethiopians; in much security they had hitherto lived, the most potent and formidable neighbour having been their ancient ally, till the news of so mighty an enemy at their very doors.
Great pain; apprehensions of danger, that puzzles their wisdom, weakens their courage, makes them in perplexity, both sick and astonished.
As in the day of Egypt; either like that which, when their host was drowned in the Red Sea, seized all Egypt, or rather like this latter fear, which arose from the mighty havoc made by the Chaldean.
It cometh; a storm like that certainly cometh against you. Genesis 2:13, compare with this Isaiah 18:1, the messengers here were either such who under a divine impulse, or however by the providence of God, were directed to go to Ethiopia, and tell them the news of the destruction of Egypt; or these were messengers sent by the king of Babylon, to demand a surrender of their country to him; or it may design him himself, and his army, who marched thither to subdue that country also, after the conquest of Egypt. So the Targum,
"at that time messengers shall go forth from before me with legions;''
and because all this was by the appointment and providence of God, they are represented as messengers sent by him:
to make the careless Ethiopians afraid; with the news of the fall of Egypt their confederate, and of a mighty army coming against them; who had dwelt securely and confidently, at ease and unconcerned, without any sense of danger, or fear of any enemy:
and great pain shall come upon them, as in the day of Egypt; either as of old, when the plagues were on Egypt, and especially when they were drowning in the Red sea; or as of late, when the sword was in Egypt, and ravaging there:
for, lo, it cometh; the same day was coming on them as came on Egypt, the day of the Lord, a cloudy one, and the time of the Heathen; it was certain, just at hand, and there was no escaping it; see Ezekiel 30:3.In that day shall messengers go forth from me in ships to make the careless Ethiopians afraid, and great pain shall come upon them, as in the day of Egypt: for, lo, it cometh.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)9. messengers … in ships] Cf. Isaiah 18:2. The word “ships” again Numbers 24:24; Isaiah 33:21.
go forth from me] This means more than that messengers go in ships from Egypt, where Jehovah is present. He sends them; his intervention in Egypt is designed to alarm the world, and bring himself to its knowledge.
as in the day] in the day (om. as) Isaiah 23:5.Verse 9. - In that day shall messengers, etc. The whole passage seems an echo of Isaiah 18:2. The ships are those that bear the tidings of the conquest of Lower Egypt to the upper valley of the Nile. The careless Ethiopians are so named as confiding in their remoteness from the scene of action. They thought themselves safe, and were lulled into a false security (comp. Isaiah 32:9-11 and Zephaniah 2:15, for a like rendering of the verb). As in the day of Egypt. As Isaiah (Isaiah 9:4) refers to "the day of Midian," so Ezekiel points to the memorable time when like tidings of the judgments that fell on Egypt carried dismay into the hearts of the surrounding nations (Exodus 15:14, 15).
The threatening word against Sidon is very brief, and couched in general terms, because as a matter of fact the prophecy against Tyre involved the announcement of the fall of Sidon, which was dependent upon it; and, as we have already observed, Sidon received a special word of God simply for the purpose of making up the number of the heathen nations mentioned to the significant number seven. The word of God against Sidon brings to a close the cycle of predictions of judgment directed against those heathen nations which had given expression to malicious pleasure at the overthrow of the kingdom of Judah. There is therefore appended a promise for Israel (Ezekiel 28:25, Ezekiel 28:26), which is really closely connected with the threatening words directed against the heathen nations, and for which the way is prepared by Ezekiel 28:24. The correspondence of נקדּשׁתּי בהּ (I shall be sanctified in her) in Ezekiel 28:22 to נקדּשׁתּי בם (I shall be sanctified in them) in Ezekiel 28:25, serves to place the future fate of Israel in antithesis not merely to the future fate of Sidon, but, as Ezekiel 28:24 and Ezekiel 28:26 clearly show, to that of all the heathen nations against which the previous threats have been directed.
And the word of Jehovah came to me, saying, Ezekiel 28:21. Son of man, direct thy face towards Sidon, and prophesy against it, Ezekiel 28:22. And say, Thus saith the Lord Jehovah, Behold, I will be against thee, O Sidon, and will glorify myself in the midst of thee; and they shall know that I am Jehovah, when I execute judgments upon it, and sanctify myself upon it. Ezekiel 28:23. I will send pestilence into it, and blood into its streets; slain will fall in the midst of it by the sword, which cometh upon it from every side; and they shall learn that I am Jehovah. Ezekiel 28:24. And there shall be no more to the house of Israel a malignant thorn and smarting sting from all round about them, who despise them; but they shall learn that I am the Lord Jehovah. - Jehovah will glorify Himself as the Lord upon Sidon, as He did before upon Pharaoh (compare Exodus 14:4, Exodus 14:16-17, to which the word נכבּדתּי in Ezekiel 28:22, an unusual expression for Ezekiel, evidently points). The glorification is effected by judgments, through which He proves Himself to be holy upon the enemies of His people. He executes the judgments through pestilence and blood (vid., Ezekiel 5:17; Ezekiel 38:22), i.e., through disease and bloodshed occasioned by war, so that men fall, slain by the sword (cf. Ezekiel 6:7). Instead of נפל we have the intensive form נפלל, which is regarded by Ewald and Hitzig as a copyist's error, because it is only met with here. Through these judgments the Lord will liberate His people Israel from all round about, who increase its suffering by their contempt. These thoughts sum up in Ezekiel 28:24 the design of God's judgments upon all the neighbouring nations which are threatened in Ezekiel 25-28, and thus prepare the way for the concluding promise in Ezekiel 28:25 and Ezekiel 28:26. The figure of the sting and thorn points back to Numbers 33:55, where it is said that the Canaanites whom Israel failed to exterminate would become thorns in its eyes and stings in its sides. As Israel did not keep itself free from the Canaanitish nature of the heathen nations, God caused it to fell these stings of heathenism. Having been deeply hurt by them, it was now lying utterly prostrate with its wounds. The sins of Canaan, to which Israel had given itself up, had occasioned the destruction of Jerusalem (Ezekiel 16). But Israel is not to succumb to its wounds. On the contrary, by destroying the heathen powers, the Lord will heal His people of the wounds which its heathen neighbours have inflicted upon it. סלּון, synonymous with סלּון in Ezekiel 2:6, a word only found in Ezekiel. ממאיר, on the contrary, is taken from Leviticus 13:51 and Leviticus 14:44, where it is applied to malignant leprosy (see the comm. on the former passage). - For השּׁאטים אותם, see Ezekiel 16:57 and Ezekiel 25:6.
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