God prophesies the lamentation that the world will express over Egypt’s defeat by Babylon.
Ezekiel Chapter 32
Lessons from the text
Partying in Hell
A member of a local church once shared that her brother believes that he is going to hell and plans on taking others with him. Movies like “Little Nicky” do not help in this regard, as they portray hell as a place where demons and people get to wander around and do what they please because there are varying degrees of punishment in hell; if you are only a little bad, you don’t get to go to heaven but hell isn’t so bad for you. This line of thinking is, to be blunt, completely inaccurate.
This chapter contains the contrast in humans’ belief about hell and the reality of hell; Pharaoh is comforted knowing that his people are following him in death, but God describes hell as a place of shame and brokenness (v. 31, 30, 28). Jesus repeatedly refers to it as a furnace of fire where people are weeping and gnashing (grinding) their teeth because they are in so much pain (Mt. 8:12, 13:42, 13:50, 24:51, 25:30, Lk. 13:28). In the story of the rich man and Lazarus, the rich man is so hot in hell that he begs for just a drop of water to cool his tongue (Lk. 16:24). People in hell are tormented by the lives they have lived on the earth, so hot that they are desperate for anything to cool them down, and in so much physical pain that they are grinding their teeth together. There will be no comfort, and certainly no partying, in hell.
Verse by Verse Commentary
1 This message comes a year and half after the previous message to Egypt and one year after the destruction of Jerusalem. 2 A young lion has not yet taken its place in the hierarchy; he is still hunting and fighting to find his spot in the animal kingdom. A whale, while less of a threat to others, makes a tremendous splash. This troubling of the waters disturbs everything that is in the water with the whale. God is saying that Egypt is seeing how far it can expand and therefore rise to the top of other nations, a course of action that has troubled the other nations.
3-8 It takes many boats and many hands to capture a whale. Even so, God will bring many nations against Egypt to capture it. Then, Egypt will be made to serve the other nations and be greatly diminished. God will accomplish this not only through humans but also by withholding physical blessings; God will turn the land and weather against Egypt so that none of its crops may prosper.
Egypt is like a giant whale disturbing the waters.
9-11 As with Tyrus, many nations have put their trust in Egypt as a provider and stabilizer in the region (Eze. 26:16). When God defeats Egypt by the hand of Nebuchadnezzar, many nations will be afraid for themselves; if even Egypt fell to Nebuchadnezzar, how can their nation expect to stand?
12 God is not merely destroying Egypt; He is destroying the pomp of Egypt. While God’s judgements manifest themselves physically, God’s main purpose is to judge the spiritual sin that lead to a person’s or nations’ wickedness. Compare with Exodus 12:12.
13-14 God will bless the land (make its rivers run deep) when man quits troubling it. If one abuses what God has given, God often removes the abused thing from one.
15 God repeats that the purpose of judgment is to make people aware of Himself. See Ezekiel 30:26.
16 In closing, God repeats that the above verses are the thoughts that the nations will have of Egypt; it was a great, powerful nation that was brought to destruction for its sins. See verse 2.
17 The following message comes two weeks after the above message.
18 Like with Tyrus, God mourns that He has to cast down Egypt (Eze.27:1-2). See also Ezekiel 26:20 and 31:14.
19-21 Beauty does not spare one from judgment; no matter how brilliant one shines, if one is tarnished with sin, one will be cast into hell with those outside of the divine covenant (the uncircumcised).
22-30 God describes some of the nations in hell. The point of interest is that even those who are mighty enough in life to rule over others are broken and worthless in hell. No one is above judgment, and hell testifies that it does not pay to live a life of wickedness.
31 Pharaoh will be comforted when he sees that he is not alone in death. This reveals how twisted Pharaoh is; knowing that he is about to die, he is comforted in knowing that his army and citizens are dying with him. This is based from the false belief that the afterlife is similar to this life; there will be rulers, citizens, and gods there. Because of the religious beliefs of the Egyptians, Pharaoh could easily have believed that he would rule in the afterlife. Such a belief is undoubtably false. The truth is that in hell, people are ashamed of their lives on earth and any might or pride they had is broken as they know clearly their own wickedness (v. 28, 30).
32 Even though people fear the power of Egypt, God declares that He is the One to be feared; His terror is among the living who see His judgments and realize that He is God. Compare with Matthew 10:26-28 and Luke 12:4-5.
Thank you for your faithfulness in studying God’s word.
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