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Bible Commentaries

Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible

Ezekiel 32

 

 

Introduction

Oracles against Ammon (Ezekiel 25:1-7), Moab (Ezekiel 25:8-11) Edom (Ezekiel 25:12-14), Philistia (Ezekiel 25:17).—All of these petty powers were ancient hereditary enemies of Israel. Their enmity dated back to the days before the monarchy, and in the recent disasters and sorrows of Israel had expressed itself in violent and malicious ways. The Ammonites had instigated the treacherous murder of Gedaliah, the Jew whom the Babylonians had appointed governor of Judah (Jeremiah 40:14). The Edomites had behaved with savage malice in the day of Jerusalem's distress (Psalms 137:7), as also had the Ammonites, who stamped and shouted for joy (Ezekiel 25:3; Ezekiel 25:6). The fate of them all is to be desolation and destruction—in the case of the Ammonites and Moabites at the hands of "the children of the east," i.e. the nomads of the Arabian desert; in the case of Edom, significantly enough at the hands of Israel herself: in the case of the Philistines the agent of the Divine vengeance is left vague. All these nations will thus be taught "that I am Yahweh," the mighty Yahweh, not the weak God they had taken Him to be, as they contemplated the fate of His people. The saying of Moab in Ezekiel 25:8 implies that Judah had claimed a certain pre-eminence (cf. Deuteronomy 4:32 ff.); in her noblest representatives she was beyond all question the spiritual superior of all her neighbours. (In Ezekiel 25:9 read "from the cities of its border to the glory of the land"; the three cities mentioned are all N. of the Amon. Ezekiel 25:13, Teman in north, Dedan in south of Edom. Ezekiel 25:16, Cherethites (p. 56), a Philistine tribe.)

Ezekiel 26-28. Oracle against Tyre.—From Israel's petty neighbours with their petty spite, Ezekiel turns to the great empires of Tyre (Ezekiel 26 ff.) and Egypt (Ezekiel 29 ff.). They too must go. In a passage of great literary power, which reveals the imaginative genius of Ezekiel, he describes the brilliance of Tyre, the range of her commerce, the pity and terror inspired by her (contemplated) fall.

Ezekiel 25-32. Oracles against the Foreign Nations. Ezekiel's denunciations (Ezekiel 1-24) are now over; with the news of the fall of Jerusalem his prophecies of restoration will begin (Ezekiel 33-48). But before Israel is restored, those who are opposed to her, and to the Divine purpose which is so mysteriously bound up with her, must be cleared out of the way. Appropriately therefore, at this point come the oracles against the foreign nations—first the near neighbours who had insulted and harassed her, then those more distant and powerful. These oracles, however, were not written between the beginning and the end of the siege; some of them clearly imply the fall of the city (cf. Ezekiel 25:3). But they are appropriately inserted here, as preliminary to the restoration.


Verses 1-16

Ezekiel 32:1-16. The Dirge over Pharaoh.—A dirge is now sung over Pharaoh, in which he is likened, as before (Ezekiel 29:3), to a crocodile—brutal and turbulent; but Yahweh will catch him in His net, and hurl his huge dripping carcase over mountain and valley, to be devoured by beasts and birds. Pharaoh, the brilliant luminary (the figure changes here), shall be extinguished; and other nations, when they behold Egypt's fate, shall tremble at the thought that the like may happen to themselves. All this means in plain terms (Ezekiel 32:11-15) that Egypt will be devastated by the king of Babylon. (Ezekiel 32:2. The opening words of the dirge are obscure: either "thou didst liken thyself to a young lion, etc., but art only a river monster"; or "a young lion . . . is come upon thee." "Rivers" should perhaps be nostrils, and the reference to blowing water. Ezekiel 32:6 should perhaps read, "I will water the land with thine outflow"—blood being a correct gloss. Ezekiel 32:9, for "destruction" read (LXX) "captives." Ezekiel 32:14 means that the land, being desolated (Ezekiel 32:15), will be absolutely still—it and its waters).


Verses 17-32

Ezekiel 32:17-32. The Descent of Egypt to the Lower World.—This, the last oracle against Egypt, is unusually fascinating, whether we consider its sombre imagination, its literary power, or its religious importance. It describes the descent of Pharaoh and his multitude to the underworld, and the ironical welcome (cf. Isaiah 14:9 f.) which they there receive from the heroes of the olden time. There appear to be two divisions in Sheol—one for those heroes who have been honourably buried, the other for such as the uncircumcised and those who have enjoyed no funeral rites. In that world the national distinctions of this live on. Significantly enough, seven nations are mentioned, four great and three small—Assyria, Elam (south of Assyria), Meshech and Tubal (cf. Ezekiel 27:13), Edom, the North (perhaps the Syrians), and Zidon—and each is in a place by itself, the graves of the people grouped round the grave of their king. The mighty warriors of old who went down to Sheol with their armour, and are still recognisable by their swords and shields (Ezekiel 32:27), greet the newcomers with the words, "Descend ye, lie ye down with the uncircumcised" (Ezekiel 32:21 : so LXX). But the power of them all is departed: so terrible as they were in this world, they are terrible no more (cf. Isaiah 14:10): and Pharaoh is "comforted" (cf. Ezekiel 31:16) to find that they too are in the pit. The weird effect of the passage is heightened by the repetitions. (The last half of Ezekiel 32:20 is obscure. In Ezekiel 32:27 for "uncircumcised" read "olden time" with LXX and for "iniquities" read "shields." In Ezekiel 32:32 for "I have put" read "he put.")

 


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Bibliography Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Ezekiel 32:4". "Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/pfc/ezekiel-32.html. 1919.

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