Wail: “Alas the day!”
3Yes, a day approaches,
a day of the Lord approaches:
A day of dark cloud,
a time appointed for the nations.a
4A sword will come against Egypt,
there will be anguish in Ethiopia,
When the slain fall in Egypt
when its hordes are seized,
its foundations razed.b
5Ethiopia, Put, and Lud,
all the mixed rabble* and Kub,
and the people of allied lands
shall fall by the sword with them.
6Thus says the LORD:
The pillars of Egypt shall fall,
and its proud strength sink;
From Migdol to Syene,
its people will fall by the sword—
oracle of the Lord GOD.c
7It shall be the most desolate
among desolate lands,
Its cities the most ruined
among ruined cities.
8They shall know that I am the LORD,
when I set fire to Egypt,
and all its allies are shattered.d
9On that day, messengers from me
will go forth in ships
to terrorize confident Ethiopia.
Anguish will be among them
on Egypt’s day—it is certainly coming!*
10Thus says the Lord GOD:
I will put an end to Egypt’s hordes
by the hand of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon:
11He and his army with him,
the most ruthless of nations,
will be brought in to devastate the land.
They will draw their swords against Egypt
and fill the land with the slain.
12Then I will dry up the streams of the Nile,
and sell the land into evil hands;
By the hand of foreigners I will devastate
the land and everything in it.
I, the LORD, have spoken.e
13* Thus says the Lord GOD:
I will destroy idols,
and put an end to images in Memphis.
There will never again be a prince
over the land of Egypt.
Instead, I will spread fear
throughout the land of Egypt.f
14I will devastate Pathros,
set fire to Zoan,
and execute judgment against Thebes.g
15I will pour out my wrath on Pelusium,
the fortress of Egypt,
and cut off the troops of Thebes.
16I will set fire to Egypt;
Pelusium will writhe in anguish,
Thebes will be breached,
and Memphis besieged in daylight.
17The warriors of On and Pi-beseth
will fall by the sword,
the cities taken captive.
18In Tahpanhes, the day will turn dark
when I break the scepter of Egypt there
and put an end to its proud strength.
Dark clouds will cover it,
and its women will go into captivity.h
19I will execute judgment against Egypt
that they may know that I am the LORD.
Pharaoh’s Broken Arm. 20On the seventh day of the first month in the eleventh year,* the word of the LORD came to me: 21* Son of man, I have broken the arm of Pharaoh, king of Egypt. See! It has not been immobilized for healing, nor set with a splint to make it strong enough to grasp a sword.i 22Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: See! I am coming against Pharaoh, king of Egypt. I will break both his arms, the strong one and the broken one, making the sword fall from his hand. 23I will scatter the Egyptians among the nations and disperse them throughout other lands. 24I will, however, strengthen the arms of the king of Babylon and put my sword in his hand so he can bring it against Egypt for plunder and pillage.j 25When I strengthen the arms of the king of Babylon, and the arms of Pharaoh collapse, they shall know that I am the LORD, because I put my sword into the hand of the king of Babylon to wield against the land of Egypt. 26When I scatter the Egyptians among the nations and disperse them throughout other lands, they shall know that I am the LORD.
* [30:5] Mixed rabble: mercenaries.
* [30:9] God spreads panic throughout Ethiopia, ancient Cush, by sending messengers with news of Egypt’s fall. Rivers at its borders insulated Ethiopia and made it inaccessible except by boat.
* [30:20] The seventh day of the first month in the eleventh year: April 29, 587 B.C.
* [30:21–26] This oracle was delivered more than a year into the siege of Jerusalem (24:1). When Pharaoh Hophra came to help Jerusalem, the Babylonians temporarily lifted the siege; cf. Jer 34:21; 37:6–7. In Ezekiel’s eyes, Hophra was interfering with the punishment God intended the Babylonians to inflict on Judah. The Babylonians routed the Egyptians, who could not offer Jerusalem any more help; cf. chap. 31.