Ezekiel 29: 1 – 21
The crocodile hunter
“1 In the tenth year, in the tenth month, on the twelfth day of the month, the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 2 “Son of man, set your face against Pharaoh king of Egypt, and prophesy against him, and against all Egypt. 3 Speak, and say, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “ Behold, I am against you, O Pharaoh king of Egypt, O great monster who lies in the midst of his rivers, who has said, ‘My River is my own; I have made it for myself.’ 4 But I will put hooks in your jaws, and cause the fish of your rivers to stick to your scales; I will bring you up out of the midst of your rivers, and all the fish in your rivers will stick to your scales. 5 I will leave you in the wilderness, you and all the fish of your rivers; You shall fall on the open field; You shall not be picked up or gathered. I have given you as food to the beasts of the field and to the birds of the heavens. 6 “ Then all the inhabitants of Egypt shall know that I am the LORD, because they have been a staff of reed to the house of Israel. 7 When they took hold of you with the hand, you broke and tore all their shoulders; When they leaned on you, you broke and made all their backs quiver.” 8 ‘Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: “Surely I will bring a sword upon you and cut off from you man and beast. 9 And the land of Egypt shall become desolate and waste; then they will know that I am the LORD, because he said, ‘The River is mine, and I have made it.’ 10 Indeed, therefore, I am against you and against your rivers, and I will make the land of Egypt utterly waste and desolate, from Migdol to Syene, as far as the border of Ethiopia. 11 Neither foot of man shall pass through it nor foot of beast pass through it, and it shall be uninhabited forty years. 12 I will make the land of Egypt desolate in the midst of the countries that are desolate; and among the cities that are laid waste, her cities shall be desolate forty years; and I will scatter the Egyptians among the nations and disperse them throughout the countries.” 13 ‘Yet, thus says the Lord GOD: “At the end of forty years I will gather the Egyptians from the peoples among whom they were scattered. 14 I will bring back the captives of Egypt and cause them to return to the land of Pathros, to the land of their origin, and there they shall be a lowly kingdom. 15 It shall be the lowliest of kingdoms; it shall never again exalt itself above the nations, for I will diminish them so that they will not rule over the nations anymore. 16 No longer shall it be the confidence of the house of Israel, but will remind them of their iniquity when they turned to follow them. Then they shall know that I am the Lord GOD.” 17 And it came to pass in the twenty-seventh year, in the first month, on the first day of the month, that the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 18 “Son of man, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon caused his army to labor strenuously against Tyre; every head was made bald, and every shoulder rubbed raw; yet neither he nor his army received wages from Tyre, for the labor which they expended on it. 19 Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: ‘Surely I will give the land of Egypt to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon; he shall take away her wealth, carry off her spoil, and remove her pillage; and that will be the wages for his army. 20 I have given him the land of Egypt for his labor, because they worked for Me,’ says the Lord GOD. 21 ‘In that day I will cause the horn of the house of Israel to spring forth, and I will open your mouth to speak in their midst. Then they shall know that I am the LORD.’”
Egypt was the huge nation south of Israel. She had looked upon the land of Canaan as being part of her own territory. Reluctantly she ceded the land to other nations temporarily until she could at some time re-claim it. The Israelites as you know were slaves in Egypt and lived there for over 400 years. Therefore, the Israelites were greatly influenced by the Egyptian culture.
Egypt never learned its lessons from the pain it received during the period of Exodus. Here in America we have a superstition about Friday the 13th, why? To the Egyptians on Friday the 13th the angel of death passed through the land and killed all the first born sons.
The sin of Egypt was pride and its actions of leading the Israelites away from the Ever Living Holy One. Egypt’s influence had never been acceptable to Jehovah Mekkaddishkem – The Lord Who Sanctifies. They had led the Hebrew people into much of the idol worship.
Like other nations the king of Egypt – Pharaoh – saw himself as a god. Over and over Egypt had not left the Israelites alone. She exacted tribute from God’s people. In order for His elect to finally be free from the shackles of Egypt, it was time for her God to enact retribution.
For the next four chapters we are going to read about God’s dealings with the Egyptians. He will give seven prophecys or oracles against them. In this chapter we will read about two of these accounts.
“1 In the tenth year, in the tenth month, on the twelfth day of the month, the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 2 “Son of man, set your face against Pharaoh king of Egypt, and prophesy against him, and against all Egypt. 3 Speak, and say, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “ Behold, I am against you, O Pharaoh king of Egypt, O great monster who lies in the midst of his rivers, who has said, ‘My River is my own; I have made it for myself.’
This message took place a year after the siege of Jerusalem had begun. Egypt was partly responsible for Israel’s king Zedekiah’s rebellion against Nebuchadnezzar. We read about this in the book of Jeremiah chapter 27, “6 And now I have given all these lands into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, My servant; and the beasts of the field I have also given him to serve him. 7 So all nations shall serve him and his son and his son’s son, until the time of his land comes; and then many nations and great kings shall make him serve them. 8 And it shall be, that the nation and kingdom which will not serve Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, and which will not put its neck under the yoke of the king of Babylon, that nation I will punish,’ says the LORD, ‘with the sword, the famine, and the pestilence, until I have consumed them by his hand. 9 Therefore do not listen to your prophets, your diviners, your dreamers, your soothsayers, or your sorcerers, who speak to you, saying, “You shall not serve the king of Babylon.” 10 For they prophesy a lie to you, to remove you far from your land; and I will drive you out, and you will perish. 11 But the nations that bring their necks under the yoke of the king of Babylon and serve him, I will let them remain in their own land,’ says the LORD, ‘and they shall till it and dwell in it.’” 12 I also spoke to Zedekiah king of Judah according to all these words, saying, “Bring your necks under the yoke of the king of Babylon, and serve him and his people, and live! 13 Why will you die, you and your people, by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence, as the LORD has spoken against the nation that will not serve the king of Babylon? 14 Therefore do not listen to the words of the prophets who speak to you, saying, ‘You shall not serve the king of Babylon,’ for they prophesy a lie to you; 15 for I have not sent them,” says the LORD, “yet they prophesy a lie in My name, that I may drive you out, and that you may perish, you and the prophets who prophesy to you.”
Egypt was instigating the surrounding countries to rebel against Babylon because on their own they were not strong enough to take on this northern powerhouse. Unfortunately, Zedekiah bit on this propaganda.
The king [Pharaoh] of Egypt at this time was Hophra. He was like the king of Tyre in that he thought more of himself then he should have. The Nile River was the lifeblood for the Egyptians. Access to water is necessary for any settlement. Hophra started bragging that he was the creator who formed the Nile. He played the role of a tough guy who like a crocodile dared anyone to approach him. Jehovah Elyon – The Lord Most High – announces that He will hunt down this monster dragon and dispose of him because of his pretensions to deity [My River is my own; I have made it for myself.]
Our Wonderful and Mighty Father Is the only One Who deserves praise and worship. He always Was, Is, and Ever shall be the only real and living God. He alone Is the only One Who should be given recognition and praise for creating the world and everything in it.
I believe that Satan of whom we just studied about in chapter 28 developed Evolution. This theory is a direct slap in our Lord’s face. As we read in this chapter we come to understand that our Supreme Master is very jealous of His role in being the Creator. I think somehow in his mind Satan believes that everything just evolved including God Himself. Satan thinks that God just got here ahead of him. Satan felt that he could be just like God. Look at what he said in the book of Isaiah chapter 14, 12 “ How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, you who weakened the nations! 13 For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north; 14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.’ 15 Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, to the lowest depths of the Pit.”
“4 But I will put hooks in your jaws, and cause the fish of your rivers to stick to your scales; I will bring you up out of the midst of your rivers, and all the fish in your rivers will stick to your scales.”
I use to like to watch the ‘Crocodile Hunter’ on TV. It amazes me that he was killed by a sting ray, especially after all the hair raising stunts he pulled. His specialty though was catching crocodiles. It was a special technique. He would place a lasso on the upper jaw of the reptile. This would cause a natural instinct of the beast to spin, which would wrap the rope around its deadly jaws. He would then pounce on it, secure the rope around the jaws, and tie up its legs. Then he would pull it along with a bunch of other men up on land.
We read here in Scripture how others would catch and kill a crocodile. They would cast a hook with a meat bait to the croc who would ultimately snag itself. It would then be dragged to shore and killed. I have never read of anything sticking to the scales of a crocodile. Our Holy Lord used this example to describe the Pharaoh as the crocodile and the fish that stuck to it as its helpers. These were mercenaries from other countries.
“ 5 I will leave you in the wilderness, you and all the fish of your rivers; You shall fall on the open field; You shall not be picked up or gathered. I have given you as food to the beasts of the field and to the birds of the heavens.”
The crocodile is an aquatic reptile that is at home on land or in the water. It depends more on being in the water. It use the water to hunt and the land to give birth but it must return to the water. On some scientific films I have viewed the effects of drought on this creature. Without a water source the crocodile will be stranded out of its natural environment. It will die and the results will have scavengers eat its remains.
Our wonderful Father prophesies that He Is going to do a similar fate to Pharaoh and his army. You notice today in Egypt the Spinks and Pyramids. They were really into the after life and a proper burial was a big deal. Historic records indicate that this Pharaoh [Hophra] was strangled by a rival and did not receive a proper burial but was just cast aside as our Scripture reveals.
6 “ Then all the inhabitants of Egypt shall know that I am the LORD, because they have been a staff of reed to the house of Israel. 7 When they took hold of you with the hand, you broke and tore all their shoulders; When they leaned on you, you broke and made all their backs quiver.”
Famous words that have come back to bite us is when we believe someone say to us, ‘You can count on me!”. Our Magnificent Lord and Savior Jesus Christ would not fall for these vain promises, let me show you in these passages.
Job 15, “15 If God puts no trust in His saints, and the heavens are not pure in His sight, 16 How much less man, who is abominable and filthy, who drinks iniquity like water!”
Psalm 146, “3 Do not put your trust in princes, nor in a son of man, in whom there is no help. 4 His spirit departs, he returns to his earth; In that very day his plans perish.”
Isaiah 30, 1 “Woe to the rebellious children,” says the LORD, “Who take counsel, but not of Me, and who devise plans, but not of My Spirit, that they may add sin to sin; 2 Who walk to go down to Egypt, and have not asked My advice, to strengthen themselves in the strength of Pharaoh, and to trust in the shadow of Egypt! 3 Therefore the strength of Pharaoh shall be your shame, and trust in the shadow of Egypt shall be your humiliation.”
Pharaoh had influenced the king of Israel to put his trust in him to be one of his allies. It was a worthless promise which costs thousands of Israelite lives.
Besides crocodiles Egypt was known for its reeds. They grew along the banks of the Nile River and its tributaries. Egypt told Israel that she could count on them for help if attacked by Nebuchadnezzar. Egypt is only a reed which has no strength in itself. She promised to Israel that they could count on her to be a strong staff. In which Israel could lean onto for support. The fullness of Egypt’s abuse to God’s people had finally reached its top. They had received in the past some serious rebuke from the Lord during the Exodus. They did not learn their lesson. Now it was time to receive the Mighty God’s Wrath.
8 ‘Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: “Surely I will bring a sword upon you and cut off from you man and beast. 9 And the land of Egypt shall become desolate and waste; then they will know that I am the LORD, because he said, ‘The River is mine, and I have made it.’
Have you ever done something or suggested a good idea and someone else took credit for it? If so, how did you feel? Our Sovereign Adoni Yahweh Is very jealous of His unique and only role in creating everything. To Him alone be all the praise and glory for His wondrous ability. How dare this nothing of dust claim he created the Nile. Our God does not make mistakes. Everything is arranged perfectly for His purposes. Mankind has tinkered with this though. For example, instead of expanding and moving to new locations, people clutter together. They build up their homes skyward. Just look at how congested the northeast is in the United States. Land to build on becomes a prime need. So what do we do? We play with adjusting the land or water tables in order to build more homes and businesses. When we receive some significant rain, the government now has to provide funds to rescue these flood victims.
For the sin of self-proclamation of being the Creator our Righteous Ruler will bring down the sword on Pharaoh. He will use the swords of the Babylonian army to achieve His Will.
“10 Indeed, therefore, I am against you and against your rivers, and I will make the land of Egypt utterly waste and desolate, from Migdol to Syene, as far as the border of Ethiopia. 11 Neither foot of man shall pass through it nor foot of beast pass through it, and it shall be uninhabited forty years. 12 I will make the land of Egypt desolate in the midst of the countries that are desolate; and among the cities that are laid waste, her cities shall be desolate forty years; and I will scatter the Egyptians among the nations and disperse them throughout the countries.”
Nebuchadnezzar went after and destroyed Egypt as he had done to Israel. The Holy Adoni Yahweh had first given His people a punishment as the book of 1 Peter informs us, “17 For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 Now “ If the righteous one is scarcely saved, where will the ungodly and the sinner appear?” 19 therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator.”
God’s people would be banishment from the land for seventy years. Egypt would receive a similar judgment. Her land would be desolate from North [Migdol] to the South [Sevench] for forty years. If you look on a map you could find Migdol on the northern delta. Waydown on the bottom by the Ethiopian border you will find Syene.
Migdol means ‘watchtower’ and Syene means ‘marketplace’. All of Egypt would be affected by this war. The Babylonian army coming out of the North would sweep by the northern watchtower fortification to destroy everything in its path until it reached the most southern portion of the country.
13 ‘Yet, thus says the Lord GOD: “At the end of forty years I will gather the Egyptians from the peoples among whom they were scattered. 14 I will bring back the captives of Egypt and cause them to return to the land of Pathros, to the land of their origin, and there they shall be a lowly kingdom. 15 It shall be the lowliest of kingdoms; it shall never again exalt itself above the nations, for I will diminish them so that they will not rule over the nations anymore.”
The punishment would last for 40 years. It was a standard period for trials and testing as our Lord did to the Israelites which is described to us in the book of Numbers chapter 13 and 14, “25 And they returned from spying out the land after forty days. 26 Now they departed and came back to Moses and Aaron and all the congregation of the children of Israel in the Wilderness of Paran, at Kadesh; they brought back word to them and to all the congregation, and showed them the fruit of the land. 27 Then they told him, and said: “We went to the land where you sent us. It truly flows with milk and honey, and this is its fruit. 28 Nevertheless the people who dwell in the land are strong; the cities are fortified and very large; moreover we saw the descendants of Anak there. 29 The Amalekites dwell in the land of the South; the Hittites, the Jebusites, and the Amorites dwell in the mountains; and the Canaanites dwell by the sea and along the banks of the Jordan.” 30 Then Caleb quieted the people before Moses, and said, “Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it.” 31 But the men who had gone up with him said, “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we.” 32 And they gave the children of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out, saying, “The land through which we have gone as spies is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great stature. 33 There we saw the giant] (the descendants of Anak came from the giants); and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.”
“1 So all the congregation lifted up their voices and cried, and the people wept that night. 2 And all the children of Israel complained against Moses and Aaron, and the whole congregation said to them, “If only we had died in the land of Egypt! Or if only we had died in this wilderness! 3 Why has the LORD brought us to this land to fall by the sword, that our wives and children should become victims? Would it not be better for us to return to Egypt?” 4 So they said to one another, “Let us select a leader and return to Egypt.”5 Then Moses and Aaron fell on their faces before all the assembly of the congregation of the children of Israel. 6 But Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had spied out the land, tore their clothes; 7 and they spoke to all the congregation of the children of Israel, saying: “The land we passed through to spy out is an exceedingly good land. 8 If the LORD delights in us, then He will bring us into this land and give it to us, ‘a land which flows with milk and honey.’ 9 Only do not rebel against the LORD, nor fear the people of the land, for they are our bread; their protection has departed from them, and the LORD is with us. Do not fear them.” 10 And all the congregation said to stone them with stones. Now the glory of the LORD appeared in the tabernacle of meeting before all the children of Israel. 11 Then the LORD said to Moses: “How long will these people reject Me? And how long will they not believe Me, with all the signs which I have performed among them? 12 I will strike them with the pestilence and disinherit them, and I will make of you a nation greater and mightier than they.” 13 And Moses said to the LORD: “Then the Egyptians will hear it, for by Your might You brought these people up from among them, 14 and they will tell it to the inhabitants of this land. They have heard that You, LORD, are among these people; that You, LORD, are seen face to face and Your cloud stands above them, and You go before them in a pillar of cloud by day and in a pillar of fire by night. 15 Now if You kill these people as one man, then the nations which have heard of Your fame will speak, saying, 16 ‘Because the LORD was not able to bring this people to the land which He swore to give them, therefore He killed them in the wilderness.’ 17 And now, I pray, let the power of my Lord be great, just as You have spoken, saying, 18 ‘The LORD is longsuffering and abundant in mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression; but He by no means clears the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation.’ 19 Pardon the iniquity of this people, I pray, according to the greatness of Your mercy, just as You have forgiven this people, from Egypt even until now.” 20 Then the LORD said: “I have pardoned, according to your word; 21 but truly, as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the LORD— 22 because all these men who have seen My glory and the signs which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have put Me to the test now these ten times, and have not heeded My voice, 23 they certainly shall not see the land of which I swore to their fathers, nor shall any of those who rejected Me see it. 24 But My servant Caleb, because he has a different spirit in him and has followed Me fully, I will bring into the land where he went, and his descendants shall inherit it. 25 Now the Amalekites and the Canaanites dwell in the valley; tomorrow turn and move out into the wilderness by the Way of the Red Sea.” 26 And the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying, 27 “How long shall I bear with this evil congregation who complain against Me? I have heard the complaints which the children of Israel make against Me. 28 Say to them, ‘As I live,’ says the LORD, ‘just as you have spoken in My hearing, so I will do to you: 29 The carcasses of you who have complained against Me shall fall in this wilderness, all of you who were numbered, according to your entire number, from twenty years old and above. 30 Except for Caleb the son of Jephunneh and Joshua the son of Nun, you shall by no means enter the land which I swore I would make you dwell in. 31 But your little ones, whom you said would be victims, I will bring in, and they shall know the land which you have despised. 32 But as for you, your carcasses shall fall in this wilderness. 33 And your sons shall be shepherds in the wilderness forty years, and bear the brunt of your infidelity, until your carcasses are consumed in the wilderness. 34 According to the number of the days in which you spied out the land, forty days, for each day you shall bear your guilt one year, namely forty years, and you shall know My rejection. 35 I the LORD have spoken this. I will surely do so to all this evil congregation who are gathered together against Me. In this wilderness they shall be consumed, and there they shall die.’”
“ 16 No longer shall it be the confidence of the house of Israel, but will remind them of their iniquity when they turned to follow them. Then they shall know that I am the Lord GOD.”
This would be the last time the Egyptian dynasty would ever be a strong nation. They will only be a lowly [base] nation from now on. Our Holy Lord in using 40 years as punishment would remind the Israelites of their own hard hearts and how they too were disciplined for 40 years of wandering.
“17 And it came to pass in the twenty-seventh year, in the first month, on the first day of the month, that the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 18 “Son of man, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon caused his army to labor strenuously against Tyre; every head was made bald, and every shoulder rubbed raw; yet neither he nor his army received wages from Tyre, for the labor which they expended on it.”
The Awesome and Great Jehovah Shammah Is always there to make things right. The king of Babylon was God’s agent in dealing with Tyre. It took over 13 years for Nebuchadnezzar to ultimately defeat ‘Old Tyre’ which was on the mainland. There was an island off the mainland called ‘new Tyre’ that was untouched. They say ‘Never wear hats because it will make you bald’ seems true as the verse reads, ‘Every head was made bald’. Wearing helmets during this thirteen-year siege caused baldness on many of the soldiers of the Babylonian army.
‘Every shoulder was peeled.’ Indicated how the rubbing from carrying logs, ropes, and stones on one’s shoulders for these thirteen years affected their clothing and skin of the troops.
Although, technically Nebuchadnezzar won the battle he never was compensated for all those years, nor did his army who depended on the spoils to thrive back home in Iraq. All the valuable materials and gold was transported to New Tyre which, the Babylonian army never conquered.
“19 Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: ‘Surely I will give the land of Egypt to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon; he shall take away her wealth, carry off her spoil, and remove her pillage; and that will be the wages for his army. 20 I have given him the land of Egypt for his labor, because they worked for Me,’ says the Lord GOD.”
Since Nebuchadnezzar was unknowingly acting as Jehovah Sabbaoth’s The Lord of angelic hosts, servant, the Holy one would give him Egypt as his payment for waging war against Tyre. The Babylonians would have the spoil, livestock, and slaves for their recompense.
21 ‘In that day I will cause the horn of the house of Israel to spring forth, and I will open your mouth to speak in their midst. Then they shall know that I am the LORD.’”
Throughout Scripture a ‘horn’ is a symbol of strength and power of a leader as these passages point out to us,
1 Samuel 2: “ 1 And Hannah prayed and said: “My heart rejoices in the LORD; my horn is exalted in the LORD. I smile at my enemies, because I rejoice in Your salvation.”
Psalm 92: “10 But my horn You have exalted like a wild ox; I have been anointed with fresh oil.”
Jeremiah 48: “25 The horn of Moab is cut off, and his arm is broken,” says the LORD.”
Our Lord is giving strength and hope to His people, Israel by promising them that He will bring forth a new king and son of David to lead His people