These chapters contain three more prophecies concerning Egypt. In chapter 31, Egypt is likened to a mighty cedar, whose fall causes the other trees to mourn. In 32:7, 8 Egypt is likened to a brighter star. The imagery is very vivid, depicting the utter destruction of Pharaoh and his armies into Sheol, and sees them there among others also slain by sword who bear the shame of their lack of proper burial.
- How does chapter 31 further enforce the lesson of chapter 30?
What is the reason given for the tree’s destruction, and what effect is this intended to have on other nations?
- Observe how often in these chapters the personal pronoun ‘I’ occurs. Do we realize enough that God is the chief actor in the developments of history?
Over what realms, i8n addition to that of Israel, is his dominion asserted here?
32:17-32. This is not to be regarded as a literal description of the state of men after death, but as an imaginative picture intended to show that all who use violence and lawless might, causing terror on the earth (cf. verses 23ff.), shall alike meet with retribution. Pharaoh’s only consolation will be in the multitude of his companions (verse 31).
The prophet’s gaze is now directed towards Egypt, pictured in 29:1-16 as a great dragon or crocodile, whose destruction is at hand. The remainder of today’s portion consists of three further prophecies of similar import, namely 29:17-20, 30:1-19 and 30:20-26.
- Compare the explanation of the allegory in 29:8-12 with the allegory itself in 29:3-7.
What are the two sins in particular that caused God’s judgment to fall on Egypt?
With 29:7, cf. verse 16 and Is. 30:5.
- 29:17-21. This is a prophecy dated sixteen years after that of verses 1-16, i.e., in 571 BC. It appears to indicate that Nebuchadnezzar had not gained the spoils of war at Tyre as he expected, and is now promised recompense from the conquest of Egypt.
What light does this passage throw on the way in which God treats heathen nations?
- ‘Her proud strength will fail’ (30:6; cf. 30:18). Why cannot anyone ultimately prosper who trusts, as Pharaoh did, in his own resources and achievements?
Cf. Job 9:4; Luke 1:51.
- 29:14, 15. Egypt is not to be finally destroyed, like Tyre (26:21; 27:36; 28:19), but reduced in status.
- 28:18. A reference to the chafing of helmets and the carrying of packs.
Further prophecies concerning Tyre: In chapter 27 the city is pictured as a stately ship. Verses 5-11 give a description of the ship; verses 12-25 of her cargo; and verses 26-36 of her shipwreck and total loss, with the widespread mourning that ensued. In chapter 28 the prince of Tyre is regarded as personifying the genius or spirit of the city, and as incarnating in his person the principle of evil which animated it. The terms used concerning him (especially in verses 11-19) are such that the figure of the human ruler seems to merge into Satan himself, the originator of the sins of which Tyre was guilty.
- Contrast men’s judgment of Tyre (27:4, 33) and Tyre’s view of herself (27:3) with God’s judgment of her (28:2-8). What was the per-eminent sin of Tyre?
- In what sense did Tyre become ‘a terror’ (AV 27:35, 36)?
See also 26:21; 28:19. To what kind of fear should such a catastrophe give rise in our own hearts?
Cf. Deut.17:12, 13; Rom. 11:20; 1 Tim. 5:20.
- 28:20-26 is a short prophecy against Sidon, which was closely linked with Tyre.
What is said in verses 20-26 to be the twofold purpose of God’s judgments:
(a) in relation to himself, and
(b) in relation to his people?
1.27:36. Hissing expressed astonishment, rather like whistling today.
Chapter 25 contains four prophecies directed against Ammon, Moab, Edom and the Philistines respectively. Chapter 26 is a prophecy of the approaching destruction of Tyre through the armies of Nebuchadnezzar, together with a vivid description of the far-reaching effects of her overthrow.
- In chapter 25, find four ways in which unbelievers and enemies of the truth act towards the people of God when the latter are brought low by calamity. How will such adversaries be dealt with, and why?
Cf. Pss. 94:1-5, 21-23; 46:8-10; Is. 26:9b.
- What, according to 26:2, was the ground of God’s judgment upon Tyre?
As we try to imagine the scenes described in 26:7-14, and measure the fame and worldly greatness of Tyre by the dismay caused by her fall (15-18), what lessons can we learn?
Cf. Jer. 9:23, 24; Luke 12:15-21.
- 25:10.’The people of the East’ are the tribes of the desert. Moab and Ammon were before long overturn by the Nabataeans.
- 26:2. Jerusalem had been as an open gate, by which commerce had been diverted from Tyre.
- 26:6. ‘Her settlements’: i.e., towns on the mainland dependent upon Tyre.
A last picture of Jerusalem before its destruction – a rusted pot set on fire, with flesh being boiled in it. The flesh is taken out and scattered, symbolizing the dispersion of the people of the city; and the pot is then left on the fire, a symbol of the city lying waste and burned.
- Verses 1-14. Compare what the chief men of Jerusalem said in 11:3 with what God says here concerning the city and its people. What can we learn from this?
Cf. 1 Thess. 5:3; 2 Pet. 3:4.
- Verses 15-27. How is Ezekiel’s wife described in verse 16?
Yet God makes this painful experience also a means of ministry.
What was it designed to demonstrate?
See verses 24 and 27. Can you think of other instances where the sufferings of a servant of God have been made to serve God’s design, no matter at what cost to the sufferer?
Cf. Col. 1:24
- Verse 23. The people would be too stunned by the evil tidings to take any action.
- Verse 27. Cf. 3:26, 27.
This chapter resembles chapter 16. Samaria and Jerusalem are condemned for their unfaithfulness in seeking alliances with foreign nations and their gods. Their conduct is represented unusually realistic figures to make it appear how loathsome and repulsive it has been.
- What is the main content of each of the four divisions of this chapter, namely verses 1-10, 11-21, 22-35 and 36-49?
- Trace how Jerusalem walked in the way of Samaria and even exceeded her in wickedness, and therefore must drain to the dregs the same cup of judgment. What were the origins of her idolatrous tendencies, both on the historical and on the religious level (verses 8, 19, 27, 35)? What warning does this contain for God’s people today?
This chapter falls into three divisions:
(a) a description of the sins committed within the city (verses 1-16);
(b) the certainty of judgment (verses 17-22); and
(c) an indictment of all classes of the community (verses 23-31).
- Group the sins enumerated in verses 1-12 under the following two heads:
(a) religious, and
(b) social. Notice how, with the loss of a true conception of far are the sins mentioned here prevalent among us today?
- What four classes are mentioned in verses 24-29, and what charges are made against them?
What is the saddest feature of the situation, as stated in verse 30?
Cf. verse 19 (‘all become dross’) and Jer. 5:1-5.
- Verse 4. ‘Your days to a close’: i.e., to the day of your judgment.
- Verse 13. Striking the hands was an expression of horror. Cf. 21:14, 17.
- Verse 30. ‘Build up the wall’ i.e., act as a bastion against the inroads of wickedness.