Dirge for Pharaoh and Egypt
In the twelfth year [after King Jehoiachin of Judah was taken into exile by the king of Babylon], in the twelfth month, on the first of the month, the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Son of man, take up a dirge (funeral poem to be sung) over Pharaoh king of Egypt and say to him,
‘You have compared yourself to a young lion among the nations,
But you are like a monster in the seas;
You burst into your rivers
And disturbed and muddied the waters with your feet
And fouled their rivers [the source of their prosperity].’”
Thus says the Lord God,
“I will spread out My net over you
With a company of many nations,
And they will bring you up in My net.
“Then I will leave you (Egypt) on the land;
I will hurl you on the open field.
And I will make all the birds of the sky dwell on you,
And I will satisfy the animals of all the earth with you.
“And I will scatter your flesh on the mountains
And fill the valleys with your debris [your corpses and their worms].
“I will also water the land with your flowing blood
As far as the mountains,
And the ravines will be full of you.
“And when I extinguish you,
I will cover the heavens [of Egypt] and darken their stars;
I will cover the sun with a cloud
And the moon will not give its light.
“All the bright lights in the heavens
I will darken over you
And I will place darkness on your land,”
Says the Lord God.
I will also put fear into the hearts of many peoples when I bring your destruction [and captivity] among the nations, into countries which you have not known. I will make many peoples appalled at you [at your judgment and your defeat], and their kings will be horribly afraid of you when I brandish My sword [of judgment] before them; they will tremble and shudder every moment, every man for his own life, on the day of your downfall.”
For thus says the Lord God, “The sword of the king of Babylon will come on you. I will make your horde [of people] fall by the swords of the mighty—all of them are tyrants among the nations,
And they will devastate the pride and presumption of Egypt,
And all its hordes will be destroyed.
“I will also destroy all its cattle from beside its great waters;
And the foot of man will not muddy them anymore
Nor will the hoofs of the animals muddy them.
“Then I will make their waters quiet and clear;
I will make their rivers run [slowly and smoothly] like oil,”
Says the Lord God.
“When I make the land of Egypt desolate,
And the country is stripped and deprived of all that which filled it,
When I strike all those who live in it,
Then they will know [without any doubt] that I am the Lord.
This is the dirge (funeral poem to be sung) and they shall sing it [for her]. The daughters of the nations shall sing it; for Egypt and for all her hordes they shall sing it,” says the Lord God.
In the twelfth year [after King Jehoiachin of Judah was taken into exile], on the fifteenth of the month, the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Son of man, wail over the hordes of Egypt and cast them down, both her and the daughters of the powerful and majestic nations, to the nether world (the place of the dead), with those who go down to the pit;
‘Whom [among them] do you surpass in beauty?
Go down and make your bed with the uncircumcised (the barbaric, the boorish, the crude).’
They will fall among those who are slain by the sword. She (Egypt) is handed over to the sword; they have drawn her and all her hordes away [to judgment]. The strong among the mighty rulers will say of him (Pharaoh) and his allies from the midst of Sheol, ‘They have gone down [defeated]; they lie still, the uncircumcised, slain by the sword.’
“Assyria is there with all her warriors; their graves are all around her. All of them are slain, fallen by the sword, whose graves are set in the remotest parts of the pit and her army is all around her grave. All of them are slain, fallen by the sword, who spread terror in the land of the living.
“[a]Elam [a conquest of Assyria] is there and all her hordes around her grave; all of them slain, fallen by the sword, who have gone down uncircumcised to the lower parts of the earth, who made their terror spread in the land of the living and bore their shame and defeat with those who went down to the pit. They have made a bed for her among the slain with all her hordes. Her graves are around it; they are all uncircumcised (barbaric, boorish, crude), slain by the sword (for their terror had been spread in the land of the living), and they bore their disgrace with those who go down to the pit; they were laid among the slain.
“Meshech, Tubal, and all their hordes are there; their graves [b]surround them. All of them uncircumcised, slain by the sword, for they spread their terror in the land of the living. Nor do they lie beside the fallen heroes of the uncircumcised, who went down to Sheol with their weapons of war, whose swords were laid [with honors] under their heads. The punishment for their sins rested on their bones, for the terror of these heroes was once in the land of the living. But you will be broken in the midst of the uncircumcised and you will lie [without honors] with those who are slain by the sword.
“Edom is there also, her kings and all her princes, who for all their power and strength are laid with those who were slain by the sword; they will lie [in shame and defeat] with the uncircumcised and with those who go down to the pit.
“The princes of the north are there also, all of them, and all the Sidonians, who in spite of the terror resulting from their power, have gone down in shame with the slain. So they lay down uncircumcised with those slain by the sword and bore their disgrace with those who go down to the pit.
“Pharaoh will see them, and he will be comforted for all his hordes slain by the sword—Pharaoh and all his army,” says the Lord God. “Though I instilled a terror of him in the land of the living, yet he will be made to lie down among the uncircumcised along with those slain by the sword, even Pharaoh and all his hordes,” says the Lord God.
The Watchman’s Duty
And the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Son of man, speak to the sons of your people [who are exiled in Babylon] and say to them, ‘If I bring a sword on a land, and the people of the land take one man from among them and make him their watchman, and he sees the sword coming on the land, and he blows the trumpet and warns the people, then whoever hears the sound of the trumpet and does not take warning, and a sword comes and takes him away, his blood will be on his [own] head. He heard the sound of the trumpet but did not take warning; his blood shall be on himself. But if he had taken warning, he would have saved his life. But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet and the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes any one of them, he is taken away because of his corruption and sin; but I will require his blood from the watchman’s hand.’
“Now as for you, son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; so you shall hear a message from My mouth and give them a warning from Me. When I say to the wicked, ‘O wicked man, you will certainly die,’ and you do not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man will die because of his sin; but I will require his blood from your hand. But if you on your part warn the wicked man to turn from his [evil] way and he does not turn from his [evil] way, he will die in his sin; but you have saved your life.
“Now as for you, son of man, say to the house of Israel, ‘Thus you have said, “Truly our transgressions and our sins are on us, and we are rotting away because of them; how then can we live?”’ Say to them, ‘As I live,’ says the Lord God, ‘I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn back (change your way of thinking), turn back [in repentance] from your evil ways! For why should you die, O house of Israel?’ And you, son of man, say to the sons of your people, ‘The righteousness of the righteous man will not save him in the day of his transgression; and as for the wickedness of the wicked, he will not stagger because of it in the day that he turns from his wickedness, whereas a righteous man will not be able to live because of his [previous acts of] righteousness on the day when he commits sin.’ When I say to the righteous that he will most certainly live, and he trusts in his [previous acts of] righteousness [to save him] and commits injustice, none of his righteous deeds will be remembered; but he will die for his injustice that he committed. But when I say to the wicked, ‘You will certainly die,’ and he turns from his sin and practices that which is just (fair) and right— if a wicked man returns [what he took as] a pledge, pays back what he had taken by robbery, walks in the statutes which ensure life, without committing injustice, he will certainly live; he will not die. None of his sins that he has committed will be remembered against him. He has practiced that which is just (fair) and right; he will most certainly live.
“Yet your people [who are in exile in Babylon] say, ‘The way of the Lord is not right;’ but as for them, it is their own way that is not right. When the righteous turns back from his righteousness and commits injustice, he will also die because of it. But when a wicked man turns back from his wickedness and practices what is just (fair) and right, he will live because of it. Yet you say, ‘The way of the Lord is not right.’ O house of Israel, I will judge you, every one [of you] in accordance with his own ways!”
Word of Jerusalem’s Capture
In the twelfth year of our exile [in Babylon], on the fifth of the tenth month, a survivor from Jerusalem came to me, saying, “The city has been captured.” Now the hand of the Lord had been upon me in the evening, before the survivor came. And He [a]opened my mouth at the time he came to me in the morning; so my mouth was opened [in readiness] and I was no longer mute.
Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Son of man, those [back in Palestine] who inhabit these ruins in the land of Israel are saying, ‘Abraham was [only] one man and he took possession of the land, but we are many; the land has [most certainly] been given to us [to possess] as property.’ Therefore say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “You eat meat with the blood in it and raise your eyes to your idols and shed blood. Should you take possession of the land? You rely on your sword [as your security]; you commit outrageous and disgraceful acts and each of you defiles his neighbor’s wife. Should you then take possession of the land?”’ You shall say this to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “As I live, those who are in the ruins certainly will fall by the sword, and I will give whoever is in the open field to the [predatory] animals to be devoured, and those who are in strongholds and in caves will die of virulent diseases. And I will make the land [of Israel] a desolation and a ruin, and her pride in her power will be brought to an end; and the mountains of Israel will be so deserted that no one will pass through. Then they will know [without any doubt] that I am the Lord, when I make the land a desolation and a ruin because of all the atrocities which they have committed.”’
“But as for you, son of man, your people who talk about you by the walls and in the doorways of the houses say one to another, every one to his brother, ‘Come now and hear what the message is that comes from the Lord.’ They come to you as people come, and they sit before you as My people, and they hear your words, but they do not practice them; for with their mouth they express loving devotion, but their heart goes after their (unlawful) gain. Behold, you are to them like a love song by one who has a pleasant voice and plays well on a stringed instrument [merely to entertain them]; for they hear your words but do not practice them.
- Ezekiel 33:22 See note 24:27.