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ET us observe and lament the pride and insolence that
and inferior persons, like these, not only think, but say, they are gods superior to all others, independent and absolute, safe as the throne of God; and look with contempt upon all below them. It is of great importance to show men that they are but men ; but nothing teaches this so surely and effectually as death. They die like men; and it is to be wished that survivors would learn wisdom and humility by the deaths of their predecessors, and reflect that they are weak, dying worms.
2. How common, yet how' absurd is it, for men to think themselves wise because they are rich. Because some men by their diligence and sagacity have acquired wealth, their hearts are lifted up, and they treat all those as fools who despise wealth, or do not acquire it. They reckon those the wisest men who get money, by whatever means it is gotten. Such is the wisdom of this world; but this their way is their folly; and, if reason and grace do not first discover it to them, death certainly will; then they must leave all their wealth behind. Happy is the man that getteth true wisdom; who is rich toward God; for of that wealth death will not deprive him.
3. There is much iniquity in traffic, v. 18, and all should guard against it. There is a great deal of it in this christian nation; and, it is to be feared, there are few, (especially of those who deal largely,) but are chargeable in some degree with invading the rights of others, undermining their fellow tradesmen, oppressing their workmen and the poor, or robbing God of that time, money, and service, which is his due. This was the guilt and ruin of Tyre and its king. They that will be rich fall into this snare. Let us all be cautious, deal conscientiously, as in the fear of God, and see that our merchandise and traffic be holiness to the Lord.
4. Observe the happiness of God's Israel. Tyre and Zidon, with all their, wealth, power, and magnificence, were destroyed: Israel was punished, but restored. Though God's people have not so much worldly wisdom, wealth, and honour, as others; yet Jehovah is their God: He is sanctified in them and by them; under his guardianship they are safe; and they will at length possess unmixed and everlasting felicity. Happy is the people who are in such a case; yea, thrice happy is the people whose God is the Lord.
This and the three following chapters refer to the conquest of Egypt by Nebuchadnezzar; it was delivered in the same year that Pharaoh came to help Zedekiah, by whose instigations he rebelled against the king of Babylon.
N the tenth year, in the tenth [month,] in the twelfth [day] of the month, the word of the LORD came unto me, 2 saying, Son of man, set thy face against Pharaoh king of Egypt, and prophesy against him, and against all Egypt: 3 Speak, and say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I [am] against thee, Pharaoh king of Egypt, the great dragon that lieth in the midst of his rivers, which hath said, My river [is] mine own, and I have made [it] for myself. In this beautiful figure he is compared to a crocodile, for which the Nile was famous; he used to say, That if the Nile continued in its usual state, he neither feared man nor God; boasting of his dominion 4 over the river, as if it was at his disposal. But I will put hooks
in thy jaws, and I will cause the fish of thy rivers to stick unto thy scales, and I will bring thee up out of the midst of thy rivers, I will manage thee as easily as a man does a fish when it is hooked, and all the fish of thy rivers, thy servants 5 and soldiers, shall stick unto thy scales. And I will leave thee [thrown] into the wilderness, thee and all the fish of thy rivers thou shalt fall upon the open fields; thou shalt not be brought together, nor gathered: I have given thee for meat to the beasts of the field and to the fowls of the heaven, and they shall all feed on thee and thy army, as they feed on a 6 dead crocodile.† And all the inhabitants of Egypt shall know that I [am] the LORD, because they have been a staff of reed 7 to the house of Israel. When they took hold of thee by thy hand, thou didst break and rend all their shoulder; and when they leaned upon thee, thou brakest, and madest all their loins to be at a stand, or to shake ; Israel made an alliance with Egypt, and depended much upon it, but they were sorely disappointed.
Therefore thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I will bring a sword upon thee, and cut off man and beast out of thee. 9 And the land of Egypt shall be desolate and waste and they shall know that I [am] the LORD: because he hath said, The 10 river [is] mine, and I have made [it.] Behold, therefore I
Called Pharaohhophra by Jeremiah, (Jer. xliv. 30.) and Apries by Herodotus, L. ii.
He went to help the king of Lybia against the Cyrenians who had revolted from him; but his army was destroyed in the wilderness: upon which his people rose in rebellion, and he was slain by Amasis, who succeeded him. The expression of bringing him out of the river has a peculiar beauty; as the crocodile is an amphibious animal; it sig. nifies, that he should suffer by a foreign expedition.
[am] against thee, and against thy rivers, that is, against thy people, a multitude of people, and I will make the land of Egypt utterly waste [and] desolate, from the tower of Syene even. 11 unto the border of Ethiopia. No foot of man shall pass
through it, nor foot of beast shall pass through it, neither shall 12 it be inhabited forty years. And I will make the land of Egypt desolate in the midst of the countries [that are] desolate, and her cities among the cities [that are] laid waste, shall be desolate forty years, that is, from its destruction by Nebuchadnezzar ; and I will scatter the Egyptians among the nations, and will disperse them through the coun13 tries. Yet thus saith the Lord GoD; At the end of forty
years, which was about the first year of Cyrus, will I gather the Egyptians from the people whither they were scattered: 14 And I will bring again the captivity of Egypt, and will cause them to return [into] the land of Pathros, into the land of their habitation; and they shall be there a base kingdom. 15 It shall be the basest of the kingdoms; neither shall it exalt itself any more above the nations: for I will diminish them, that they shall no more rule over the nations; a remarkable prophecy, which has been most astonishingly fulfilled in all the 16 ages that have passed since it was uttered.* And it shall be no more the confidence of the house of Israel, which bringeth [their] iniquity to remembrance, when they shall look after them; they shall have no more connection with them ; for by looking to them, and being dependent upon them, they learned their idolatrous ways: but they shall know that I [am] the Lord GOD.
And it came to pass in the seven and twentieth year, in the first [month,] in the first [day] of the month, that is, seventeen years after the former,† the word of the LORD came unto me, 18 saying, Son of man, Nebuchadrezzar, king of Babylon, caused his army to serve a great service, thirteen years siege, against Tyrus every head [was] made bald, by constantly wearing their helmets, and every shoulder [was] peeled, by carrying heavy burdens, being obliged to fill up a channel that ran between Tyre and the continent: yet had he no wages, nor his army
In all that time, considerably more than two thousand years, Egypt has produced nothing great or remarkable, either in learning, wisdom or exploit; but has continued a base, tributary kingdom, without ever having a prince of its own, being always subject to slaves or foreigners. It became first subject to the Babylonians, then to the Persians, afterwards to the Macedonians, then to the Romans; from them it passed to the Saracens, from the Saracens to the Mamalucs, or slave usurpers, and from the Mamalucs to the Ottoman empire; of which it now forms a province; governed by a Turkish Bashaw, and twenty four Beys, or chiefs, advanced from among the slaves to the administration of public affairs; (the Egyptians being possessed with the superstitious notion, that it is decreed by fate that slaves must always rule, and the natives be subject.) And who could foresee and foretell the events of such remote futurity, but that omniscient Spirit, who spoke by the prophets, and whose image and superscription all their writings bear? Dr. Smith.
This is the last prophecy of Ezekiel, delivered just when Nebuchadnezzar, having conquered Tyre, attacked Egypt.
for Tyrus, for the service that he had served against it; for when he had almost conquered it, the Tyrians fled away in ships with their most valuable effects, and threw what remained into 19 the sea; so that he had no advantage: Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD: Behold, I will give the land of Egypt unto Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon; and he shall take her multitude, and take her spoil, and take her prey; and it shall be 20 the wages for his army. I have given him the land of Egypt
[for] his labour wherewith he served against it, because they wrought for me, saith the Lord God; he was serving God, by executing his judgments upon the neighbouring nations, though he did not intend it.
In that day will I cause the horn of the house of Israel to bud forth, its glory and strength to return; and accordingly they had then some omen of their deliverance by Daniel's advancement; and I will give thee the opening of the mouth in the midst of them and they shall know that I [am] the LORD: probably meaning that Ezekiel should have a message to deliver to Israel which would give them comfortable views of approaching deliverance; though his prophecies after this are not recorded.
E may infer from hence the vanity of self love and applause. Something like Pharaoh's insolent language, v. 3. My river is mine own, and I have made it for myself, is very common among men ; they express great pride in what they call their property; this substance, trade, or estate, is mine, for I have raised it; this house is mine, for I have built it. They forget that God gave them power to acquire any one of these; that when they have gotten it, it is still his, and they are but stewards. He may do what he will with his own; and will judge them for all the wealth and honour they possess.
2. See how dangerous confidence in man, or in any earthly thing, is. Whatever we trust to, while God is forgotten or neglected, is a reed that will disappoint our expectations, and not only break under us, but pierce and wound us. It is kind in God to take away the grounds of our carnal confidence, v. 16. His design is to reform us, and there is often no other way to do it. Happy is he, whose trust is in God; who makes the Lord his confidence; for his foot shall not be shaken.
3. No work done for God shall go unrewarded. v. 20. When even wicked men answer his purpose, they shall have their reward; a worldly reward indeed it will be, for that is all they desire. This is one reason of the prosperity of the wicked. God
rewards them for some virtues they practise; some service they do him, and some use they are of in the world. No one shall have reason to complain of injustice from him. How well then will he reward those who, from a religious principle, intend and labour to serve him. God is not unrighteous to forget our works of faith and ur labours of love.
This chapter describes with great elegance and force the ruin of Egypt and all her allies by Nebuchadnezzar, and the distress of the principal cities of Egypt on that occasion.
HE word of the LORD came again unto me, saying, Son of man, prophesy and say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Howl ye, Wo worth the day! or, Alas for the day! 3 For the day [is] near, even the day of the LORD [is] near, a cloudy day; it shall be the time of the heathen, to punish E4 gypt and her allies. 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; many shall be carried cap5 tive, and her forts and government shall be overthrown. Ethiopia, and Lybia, and Lydia, and all the mingled people, and Chub, and the men of the land that is in league, shall fall with them by the sword; neighbouring countries, and the Israelites 6 that take shelter among them, shall suffer with them. Thus saith the LORD; They also that uphold Egypt, its governors, shall fall; and the pride of her power shall come down from the tower of Syene shall they fall in it by the 7 sword, saith the Lord GoD. And they shall be desolate in
the midst of the countries [that are] desolate, and her cities 8 shall be in the midst of the cities [that are] wasted. And
they shall know that I [am] the LORD, when I have set a fire 9 in Egypt, and [when] all her helpers shall be destroyed. In that day shall messengers go forth from me in ships to make the careless Ethiopians afraid; in the course of my providence I will send the news to them of the desolation of Egypt, which shall fill them with terror; and great pain shall come upon 10 them, as in the day of Egypt: for, lo, it cometh. Thus saith
the Lord GOD; I will also make the multitude of Egypt to 11 cease by the hand of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon. He
and his people with him, the terrible of the nations, shall be brought to destroy the land: and they shall draw their swords 12 against Egypt, and fill the land with the slain. And I will