Egypt Falls to Babylon

I will put an end to the wealth of Egypt, by the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon. He and his people with him, the most ruthless of nations, shall be brought in to destroy the land, and they shall draw their swords against Egypt and fill the land with the slain” (vv. 10–11).

- Ezekiel 30

Yahweh’s deliverance of His people from Egyptian slavery and His crushing of Pharaoh’s army form the backdrop for the Bible’s understanding of salvation. The main purposes of the exodus were to release Israelites from slavery so that they could worship and serve their covenant Lord, and so that the Egyptians would see that Yahweh is the one true Creator and God of the universe (Ex. 5:1; 7:5). Likewise, God’s purpose in rescuing His exiled people from Babylon was to free them from enslavement to idols so that the nations would know Him as the Lord (Ezek. 36:22–30). Finally, all of our Father’s plans come to fruition in freeing His people from slavery to sin and death so that the nations would see that Yahweh, the covenant Lord of Israel, is the one true God and that Christ Jesus is His Son (Rom. 6:15–23).

Sin hardens hearts against God’s revelation of Himself, making it easy to forget how He has revealed Himself in the past. Egypt ran into this problem even after the nation had received a clear vision of the Lord’s power and might in the exodus event. The Egyptians continued to serve idols (Ezek. 30:13), and they continued to believe that they had sovereign rights in the Middle East that allowed them to oppose God’s purposes. According to commentators, Ezekiel 30:20 dates the oracle of judgment in today’s passage to April 29, 587 BC, during Nebuchadnezzar’s siege of Jerusalem leading up to his final conquest of the city. There is an apparent allusion here to Egypt’s involvement in the event as it took up arms against Babylon, coming to Jerusalem’s aid during the reign of King Zedekiah (Jer. 37:1–5). By this action, Egypt actually opposed the Lord, who had brought His “servant” Nebuchadnezzar against Jerusalem to destroy the city (25:9).

Egypt should have known that it was God’s will for Nebuchadnezzar to discipline His people and stay out of the mess. After all, Nebuchadnezzar’s evident success against those whom Egypt knew to be the Lord’s covenant people because of the exodus proved that the Creator had removed His protective hand from the land of Judah. Yet Egypt was too proud, too devoted to its own ways of doing things. Egypt did not remember the lessons it learned in the days of Moses. Thus, God would teach Egypt once more, using the might of Nebuchadnezzar to crush the Egyptians, thereby revealing Himself as the one true Lord to Egypt yet again (Ezek. 30:20–26).

Coram Deo

Idolatrous pride led to Egypt’s attempt to thwart God’s will in raising up Nebuchadnezzar to discipline Judah, and our own pride can lead to us making decisions that are against the Lord’s revealed will. When this happens, we show that we have forgotten what God has done for us and how He has revealed Himself to us. It may take a great fall for us to come back to our senses. Would it not be far better to strive for humility and seek to advance the Lord’s kingdom, not our own?

Passages for Further Study

2 Chronicles 26:16–23
Psalm 40:4
Proverbs 15:25
1 John 2:16

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