Ezekiel 31:2
Son of man, speak to Pharaoh king of Egypt, and to his multitude; Whom are you like in your greatness?
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(2) His multitude.—The word means literally tumult, and applies to the multitude as influenced by whatever is the occasion of tumult: their wealth, their idols, their sources of pride of every kind.

31:1-9 The falls of others, both into sin and ruin, warn us not to be secure or high-minded. The prophet is to show an instance of one whom the king of Egypt resembled in greatness, the Assyrian, compared to a stately cedar. Those who excel others, make themselves the objects of envy; but the blessings of the heavenly paradise are not liable to such alloy. The utmost security that any creature can give, is but like the shadow of a tree, a scanty and slender protection. But let us flee to God for protection, there we shall be safe. His hand must be owned in the rising of the great men of the earth, and we must not envy them. Though worldly people may seem to have firm prosperity, yet it only seems so.In the third month - More than a month before Jerusalem was taken (compare Jeremiah 39:2). 2. Whom art thou like—The answer is, Thou art like the haughty king of Assyria; as he was overthrown by the Chaldeans, so shalt thou be by the same. Pharaoh; Apries or Hophra.

To his multitude; his numerous subjects, with the power and riches they glory in.

Whom art thou like in thy greatness? bethink thyself, what king of all before thee art thou equal with, or else greater? On what surer and more immovable foundation doth thy greatness stand, that thou dreamest of a perpetual quiet and flourishing state, in the midst of all thy sins and wickednesses? Son of man, speak unto Pharaoh king of Egypt,.... To Pharaohhophra, the then reigning king; not to him personally by word of mouth, for the prophet was now in Chaldea; but by delivering out a prophecy concerning him, and which he might have an opportunity of sending to him:

and to his multitude; the multitude of his subjects, of which he boasted, and in whom he trusted:

whom art thou like in thy greatness? look over all the records of time, and into all the empires, kingdoms, and states that have been; draw a comparison between thyself and the greatest potentate that ever was; fancy thyself to be equal to him; this will not secure thee from ruin and destruction; for as they have been humbled, and are fallen, so wilt thou be: pitch for instance on the Assyrian monarch, whose empire has been the most ancient, extensive, and flourishing, and yet now crushed; and as thou art like him in greatness, at least thou thinkest so, so thou art in pride, and wilt be in thine end; to assure of which is the drift of the following account of the king of Assyria.

Son of man, speak to Pharaoh king of Egypt, and to his multitude; Whom art thou {b} like in thy greatness?

(b) Meaning that he was not the same in strength to the king of the Assyrians whom the Babylonians overcame.

2. his multitude] The population of Egypt; hardly merely his army.

Whom art thou like] The question seems to imply that none can be compared to him; he is unapproached in his greatness; cf. Ezekiel 31:18.Verse 2. - The parable is addressed, not to Pharaoh only, but to his multitude i.e., as in Ezekiel 30:4, for his auxiliary forces. It opens with one of the customary formulae of an Eastern apologue (Mark 4:30), intended to sharpen the curiosity and win the attention of the prophet's hearers or readers. It is significant that the question is repeated at the close of the parable, as if the prophet had left the interpretation to his readers, as our Lord does in saying, "He that hath ears to hear, let him hear." Restoration of Egypt

Ezekiel 29:13. For thus saith the Lord Jehovah, At the end of forty years I will gather the Egyptians out of the nations, whither they were scattered. Ezekiel 29:14. And I will turn the captivity of Egypt, and will bring them back into the land of Pathros, into the land of their origin, and they shall be a lowly kingdom there. Ezekiel 29:15. Lowlier than the kingdoms shall it be, and exalt itself no more over the nations; and I will make them small, so that they shall rule no more over the nations. Ezekiel 29:16. And it shall be no more the confidence of the house of Israel, bringing iniquity to remembrance when they incline towards it; and they shall learn that I am the Lord Jehovah. - The turning of the period of Egypt's punishment is connected by כּי, which refers to the time indicated, viz., "forty years." For forty years shall Egypt be utterly laid waste; for after the expiration of that period the Lord will gather the Egyptians again from their dispersion among the nations, turn their captivity, i.e., put an end to their suffering (see the comm. on Ezekiel 16:53), and lead them back into the land of their birth, i.e., of their origin (for מכוּרה, see Ezekiel 16:3), namely, to Pathros. פתרוס, the Egyptian Petorēs (Παθούρης, lxx Jeremiah 44:1), or south land, i.e., Upper Egypt, the Thebais of the Greeks and Romans. The designation of Upper Egypt as the mother country of the Egyptians, or the land of their nativity, is confirmed not only by the accounts given by Herodotus (ii. 4 and 15) and Diodorus Sic. (i. 50), but also by the Egyptian mythology, according to which the first king who reigned after the gods, viz., Menes or Mena, sprang from the city of Thinis (Thynis), Egypt. Tenj, in the neighbourhood of Abydos in Upper Egypt, and founded the city of Memphis in Lower Egypt, which became so celebrated in later times (vid., Brugsch, Histoire d'Egypte, 1 Peter 16). But Egypt shall not attain to its former power any more. It will be and continue a lowly kingdom, that it may not again become a ground of confidence to Israel, a power upon which Israel can rely, so as to fall into guilt and punishment. The subject to ולא יהיה is Egypt as a nation, notwithstanding the fact that it has previously been construed in the feminine as a land or kingdom, and in אחריהם the Egyptians are spoken of in the plural number. For it is out of the question to take מזכּיר עון as the subject to לא יהיה in the sense of "no more shall one who calls guilt to remembrance inspire the house of Israel with confidence," as Kliefoth proposes, not only because of the arrangement of the words, but because the more precise definition of מזכּיר עון as 'בּפנותם אח clearly shows that Egypt is the subject of the sentence; whereas, in order to connect this definition in any way, Kliefoth is compelled to resort to the interpolation of the words, "which it committed." מזכּיר עון is in apposition to מבטח; making Egypt the ground of confidence, brings into remembrance before God the guilt of Israel, which consists in the fact that the Israelites turn to the Egyptians and seek salvation from them, so that He is obliged to punish them (vid., Ezekiel 21:28-29). - The truth of the prediction in Ezekiel 29:13-16 has been confirmed by history, inasmuch as Egypt never recovered its former power after the Chaldean period. - Moreover, if we compare the Messianic promise for Egypt in Isaiah 19:18-25 with the prediction in Ezekiel 29:13-15, we are struck at once with the peculiarity of Ezekiel, already referred to in the introductory remarks on Ezekiel 25-32, namely, that he leaves entirely out of sight the Messianic future of the heathen nations.

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