July 17, 2015.
Daily Reading: Ezekiel 25-30.
Background: Ezekiel 19-24.
Concepts and Connections.
Oracles against the nations: In this chapter, the Lord tells Ezekiel to speak oracles concerning several of the nations that were around Israel, each of the coming destruction that the Lord was about to send on thjum. The first nation to receive an oracle of desecration is Ammon, due to their mockery and taunting in the exile of Israel and Judah. Though the Lord had brought about this exile, this did not give the nations a right to mock the people of God and be happy in their turmoil. For their foolishness, He was going to hand them over to other nations as well. The next oracle is against Moab and Seir, seemingly placing some blame on them for Judah’s apostasy. Like the Ammonites, the Lord said He would give these nations into the hand of the people of the east for their plunder. Next, Edom is prophesied against because of their revengeful acts against the house of Judah. For this vengeance, the Lord would exact His own vengeance against them, laying them desolate via the children of Israel. The Philistines, too, acted vengefully against the children of God and they would suffer a similar fate as the Edomites. Though all of these oracles, there is a constant statement at the end, and that is that the people of these nations would know that the Lord is God after He pours out His wrath on them (having prophesied it beforehand). Note that the apostasy of God’s people did not excuse the other nations for going against them, as they were God’s children (see parallels in I Samuel 24:1-7, 26:6-12).
Prophecy against Tyre: Chapter 26 begins a three chapter series on the city of Tyre, prophesying its destruction as well as the reason for the Lord’s wrath that was to come against the city. Much like the accusation against Edom and Philistia in the previous chapter, Tyre looked to take advantage of the people of God in their exile. The people of Tyre saw the downfall of Israel as a means to their own gain, but the Lord made it clear that His wrath was against them. The very same Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, that brought Judah into exile would come against Tyre and the Lord would give them into his hand. He would set siege against the city of Tyre, which was a wealthy coastal city, and kill their people with the sword. The prophecy talks about the city’s ultimate destruction, and likely has a double fulfillment in Nebuchadnezzar’s siege and finally in Alexander the Great’s destruction of the city that would come later. The Lord said that the city would become a place for fishermen and would never be rebuilt (which the ancient city of Tyre has not been). Lamentation would be made of the city of Tyre, for it was once a great city, imposing terror, but had fallen. The Lord would bring the deep over her, to make her a complete end.
Lament for Tyre: The city of Tyre continues to be the subject of prophecy, as begun in the previous chapter. Here Ezekiel is told to take up a lament over the city of Tyre because of the destruction that the Lord was about to bring on them. The first part of the lament details the beauty and wealth of the city of Tyre. We can start to see the pride that the people of Tyre had as will become very evident in the next chapter. Note the greatness of this city, all the lavish beauty and possessions. Everyone wanted to do business with Tyre, as they were a port city. They had risen among the nations and made their name great, and there is much to be said about all the goods that Tyre had to offer. Much trade went through this city, and their economy benefited mightily. For this reason, it would be a shock to many when the Lord caused the city to fall. There would be a great lament over the once great city of Tyre that fallen into the hands of the Almighty God. Their riches and glory would not save them from the wrath of the Lord, and all would be lost in that day. They would meet their end, and be no more when the Lord poured out His full wrath on the city of Tyre.
Prophecy and lament over the rulers of Tyre: In this final chapter concerning Tyre, we see the main accusation against the city, specifically against her prince and king: pride. Her great wealth and position in the world had brought the ruler of the nation to a place where he said in his heart that he was a god. The oracle indeed gives credit to the wisdom of the prince, as his wisdom brought him great wealth through trade, but the pride in his heart would be his downfall. He set himself up as a god, but he was a man and no god at all, and thus the Lord was set against him so that he would know who God really is, and that he was not a god. A great and ruthless nation was about to be brought against them, and when they came the ruler would know that he was not a god. Verses 11-19 is a prophecy that is specifically directed at the king of Tyre, noting his great pride and fall because of this pride. Though this section is addressed to the king of Tyre, many believe this to be referring also to satan, his position in the garden of Eden and his fall because of his sin of pride. Reading the words of this section out of the context of an oracle against the king of Tyre would lend itself well to this conclusion, giving some insight to the fall of the accuser. This is speculation, though it certainly could be using the fall of satan as an analogy for the fall of the king of Tyre, for their sin was the same. The ending of the section raises some issues with this interpretation, however, as the prophecy states that the subject of the prophecy would be exposed before kings and seems to be more specific on the king of Tyre (v. 17-19). The chapter ends with a prophecy against Sidon, a city often paired with Tyre, and a prophecy of the regathering of Israel from the nations that they had been scattered to.
Prophecy against Egypt: Just as there was a series of chapters concerning Tyre previously, chapter 29 starts a four chapter series concerning the land of Egypt. Here we find Ezekiel set against Pharaoh, king of Egypt, due to his own pride and for mistreating the people of God. Pharaoh has exalted himself even to the point of claiming the Nile river as if he made it himself. In this statement, he sets himself up as a god, much like the king of Tyre had done in the previous chapter, due to his great success. Because of this pride, the Lord would bring him down, pouring out his wrath on the land of Egypt. He would show Pharaoh that he was not a god and that the Lord Almighty was in control, and thus all the inhabitants of Egypt would know that the Lord is God. Again the accusation of Pharaoh breaking shoulders of the children of Israel, and for this the Lord would bring the sword upon the land of Egypt. Egypt would be laid desolate for forty years before the Lord would again establish her, though not to the place of splendor and might that she once was. Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, would too be brought against the land of Egypt.
Lament over Egypt: Just as Ezekiel was told to take up a lament over Tyre in chapter 27, he is told to lament over Egypt here. The day of the Lord was near, bringing the wrath of God on Egypt and all who were in league with her: Cush, and Put, and Lud, all Arabia and Libya. Egypt would fall, and with her those who support her. The Lord would bring His wrath on the land of Egypt by the hand of Nebuchadnezzar as is described in the end of this prophecy. At the end of this chapter, another prophecy is set against Egypt, specifically addressing Pharaoh, and continues the assurance of the Lord’s destruction that He would bring on the land of Egypt by the hand of Nebuchadnezzar.
Tomorrow’s Reading: Luke 19-20.
The Lord guide you.