Ezekiel 32:2
Son of man, take up a lamentation for Pharaoh king of Egypt, and say to him, You are like a young lion of the nations, and you are as a whale in the seas: and you came forth with your rivers, and troubled the waters with your feet, and fouled their rivers.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(2) As a whale.—Rather, a crocodile. (See Note on Ezekiel 29:3, where the same word is used.) A striking contrast is brought out in this verse which is lost in our translation. “Thou wast compared to a young lion of the nations,” i.e., their leader and glory; “but thou wast (really) like a crocodile in the seas,” stirring up and fouling the rivers, the sources of their prosperity.

Thou carmest forth with.—Better, thou didst break forth in thy rivers, referring to the crocodile basking upon the bank, and suddenly plunging into the stream and stirring up its mud.

32:1-16 It becomes us to weep and tremble for those who will not weep and tremble for themselves. Great oppressors are, in God's account, no better than beasts of prey. Those who admire the pomp of this world, will wonder at the ruin of that pomp; which to those who know the vanity of all things here below, is no surprise. When others are ruined by sin, we have to fear, knowing ourselves guilty. The instruments of the desolation are formidable. And the instances of the desolation are frightful. The waters of Egypt shall run like oil, which signifies there should be universal sadness and heaviness upon the whole nation. God can soon empty those of this world's goods who have the greatest fulness of them. By enlarging the matters of our joy, we increase the occasions of our sorrow. How weak and helpless, as to God, are the most powerful of mankind! The destruction of Egypt was a type of the destruction of the enemies of Christ.Thou art like ... - Rather, Thou wouldest be like to (others, "wast likened unto") a young lion.

And thou art - In contrast to what thou wouldest be.

A whale - Rather, crocodile (marginal reference note). Pharaoh should have been like the king of beasts, but he is a mere sea-monster. There is strong irony here, because the Egyptian king was proud of the comparison between himself and the mighty crocodile.

Seas - The word is often used of the waters of a great river, like the Nile.

Thou camest forth with thy rivers - Rather, thou didst burst forth in "thy rivers" as the crocodile does from the water into which he has plunged.

2. Pharaoh—"Phra" in Burmah, signifies the king, high priest, and idol.

whale—rather, any monster of the waters; here, the crocodile of the Nile. Pharaoh is as a lion on dry land, a crocodile in the waters; that is, an object of terror everywhere.

camest forth with thy rivers—"breakest forth" [Fairbairn]. The antithesis of "seas" and "rivers" favors Grotius rendering, "Thou camest forth from the sea into the rivers"; that is, from thy own empire into other states. However, English Version is favored by the "thy": thou camest forth with thy rivers (that is, with thy forces) and with thy feet didst fall irrecoverably; so Israel, once desolate, troubles the waters (that is, neighboring states).

Take a lamentation: see Ezekiel 19:1 27:2.

Pharaoh; Hophra.

Like a young lion: of this hieroglyphic see Ezekiel 19:3,6.

Of the nations; among, or to, the nations round about thee, spoiling all thou canst, a cruel devourer abroad.

A whale; a crocodile, a devouring dragon in thy rivers at home, for there the crocodiles lay and did mischief, though sometimes they went down the river to the sea.

In the seas; that comes forth to seek prey and devour, so a lion at land, a whale, or crocodile rather, at sea, ravenous every where.

Camest forth with thy rivers; raisedst mighty armies, and didst lead them out against thy neighbours, as in particular, Ezekiel 29:3,4.

The waters; the people, kingdoms, and kings near thee.

With thy feet; with thy soldiers.

Fouledst their rivers; disturbed and muddied their pleasant clearness, and made them unfit to drink, i.e. did spoil all the pleasant and useful conveniences of thy neighbours. Son of man, take up a lamentation for Pharaoh king of Egypt,.... Pharaohhophra, or Apries; say a funeral dirge for him; this is ordered, not out of honour and respect to him, or in compassion for his misery and ruin, but to assure him of it:

and say unto him, thou art like a young lion of the nations; for strength and fierceness, for cruelty and tyranny, which he exercised, not in one nation only, but in many; a lively emblem of the beast of Rome, spiritually called Egypt and Sodom, compared to a leopard, bear, and lion, Revelation 11:8,

and thou art as a whale in the seas; or rather "like a crocodile" (u), which was common in the rivers of Egypt, but not the whale; which also has not scales, nor does it go upon land, nor is it taken in a net; all which is said of this creature here, and in Ezekiel 29:3 and to the crocodile there is an allusion in the name of Pharaoh, in the Arabic language, as Noldius from Camius observes (w); see Ezekiel 29:3,

and thou camest forth with thy rivers; or, "by thy rivers" (x); as the crocodile in the river Nile, by the arms of it, or canals made out of it, sometimes went out from thence to other parts: or, "out of thy rivers" (y) upon the land, as the crocodile does; so the king of Egypt went forth with his armies out of his own land, into other countries, to disturb them, as follows: or rather, "camest forth in thy rivers" (z); as the crocodile puts forth its head out of the water for respiration:

and thou troublest the waters with thy feet, and foulest their rivers; just as the feet of men or beasts, in shallow waters, raise up the mud or clay at the bottom, and so foul them; this best agrees with the crocodile, which has feet; Grotius thinks, for this reason, the sea horse is intended; the meaning is, that Pharaoh with his soldiers entered other nations, made war upon them, and disturbed their peace and tranquillity. The Targum is,

"thou hast been strong among the people, as a whale in the seas, thou hast fought with thine army; and thou hast moved the people with thine auxiliaries, and thou hast wasted their provinces.''

(u) "similis es crocodile", Noldius, Ebr. Concord. Part. p. 375. (w) Ibid. No. 1306. (x) "per flumina tua", Vatablus, Junius & Tremellius, Polanus. (y) "Ex fluminibus tuis", Starckius. (z) "In fluviis tuis", V. L. Piscator; "in fluminibus tuis", Cocceius.

Son of man, take up a lamentation for Pharaoh king of Egypt, and say to him, Thou art like a young {b} lion of the nations, and thou art as a whale in the seas: and thou didst come forth with thy rivers, and didst {c} trouble the waters with thy feet, and didst foul their rivers.

(b) Thus the scriptures compare tyrants to cruel and huge beasts which devour all that are weaker than they and such as they may overcome.

(c) You prepared great armies.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
2. art like a young lion] Perhaps: wast likened to, though the construction is exceedingly hard (cf. Ezekiel 31:18). So far as the form of words goes the meaning might rather be: O lion of the nations thou art undone (Isaiah 6:5; Hosea 10:15), the root being another. The prophet has a fondness, however, for using the Niph. (Cf. Ezekiel 14:4; Ezekiel 14:7, Ezekiel 19:5, Ezekiel 33:30, Ezekiel 36:3.) The words can hardly mean: thou thoughtest thyself a young lion. Cf. Ezekiel 38:13.

and thou art] whereas thou wast as a dragon (monster) in the rivers, lit. seas; cf. Isaiah 19:5; Isaiah 27:1; Job 41:23. The construction seems to imply an antithesis between this clause and the previous one.

camest forth with] didst break forth in thy rivers. The term “break forth” is used of coming forth out of the womb (Psalm 22:9; cf. Job 38:8), and also of those in ambush breaking out of their hiding-place (Jdg 20:33). The term describes not the origin of the monster but his activity; cf. “didst foul.” Ew. conjectured for “in thy rivers,” with thy nostrils—thou didst spout (cause spray) with thy nostrils; cf. Job 41:18-20. The object of the verb is wanting here, however, and the verb though used of Jordan (Job 40:23) is employed intransitively. Cf. however, Micah 4:10.

their rivers] Or, streams—those of the waters. The vitality of the monster and his violent activity are suggested by his troubling the waters and fouling the streams. Cf. the opposite idea, Ezekiel 32:13-14.Verse 2. - Thou art like a young lion; rather, with the Revised Version, thou wast likened unto a young lion. The two clauses of the verse stand in direct contrast to each other. Flatterers, orators, courtiers, had used the usual symbolism of the animal world. The King of Egypt was as the king of beasts. Ezekiel rejects that comparison, and likens him rather to the whale, the dragon (Revised Version), in the seas, i.e. to the crocodile of his own river (compare the use of the "dragon" for the King of Egypt, in Ezekiel 29:3; Isaiah 51:9). Ewald and Smend, however, translate, "young lion of the nations, thou art brought to naught;" but there is no adequate reason for abandoning the Revised translation. Troubledst the waters. As in Ezekiel 34:18, the act is used as the symbol of all selfish and aggressive rule, defiling the streams of righteousness and judgment. Thou camest forth with thy rivers. Ewald and Smend translate, "Thou didst spurt out the water," as describing the act of the crocodile when it raises its head out of the water as in the "neesings," or "sneezings" of Job 41:12, Hebrew [English version, 18]. The executors of the judgment. - Ezekiel 30:10. Thus saith the Lord Jehovah, And I will put an end to the tumult of Egypt through Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon. Ezekiel 30:11. He and his people with him, violent of the nations, will be brought to destroy the land; they will draw their swords against Egypt, and fill the land with slain. Ezekiel 30:12. And I will make the rivers dry, and sell the land into the hand of wicked men, and lay waste the land and its fulness by the hand of foreigners; I Jehovah have spoken it. - המון cannot be understood as signifying either the multitude of people only, or the abundance of possessions alone; for השׁבּית is not really applicable to either of these meanings. They are evidently both included in the המון, which signifies the tumult of the people in the possession and enjoyment of their property (cf. Ezekiel 26:13). The expression is thus specifically explained in Ezekiel 30:11 and Ezekiel 30:12. Nebuchadnezzar will destroy the land with his men of war, slaying the people with its possessions. עריצי, as in Ezekiel 28:7. מוּבאים, as in Ezekiel 23:42. 'הריק וגו, cf. Ezekiel 12:14, Ezekiel 12:28; 7. חלל...מלאוּ, as in Ezekiel 11:6. יארים, the arms and canals of the Nile, by which the land was watered, and on which the fertility and prosperity of Egypt depended. The drying up of the arms of the Nile must not be restricted, therefore, to the fact that God would clear away the hindrances to the entrance of the Chaldeans into the land, but embraces also the removal of the natural resources on which the country depended. מכר, to sell a land or people into the hand of any one, i.e., to deliver it into his power (cf. Deuteronomy 32:30; Judges 2:14, etc.). For the fact itself, see Isaiah 19:4-6. For 'השׁמּתי וגו, see Ezekiel 19:7.
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