Ezekiel 29–32. Pharoah, Crocodile of the Nile

Key Notes:The Crocodile of the Nile will be conquered. Hobbes' Leviathan. Multitudes of dead soldiers in the grave. Satan and the hree kings, of Tyre, Babylon and Egypt.

After a long lament for Tyre, Ezekiel now turns to Egypt. Egypt's king did not command the same respect that Tyre did with its brilliant king and fabulous wealth, but he too is singled out for judgment.

Ezek.29:1–5 The dragon of the Nile says he made the Nile and it is his. [The Nile comes from the water-shed of Lake Victoria.] He will be hooked and dragged out, to dry up in the desert, food for scavengers.

29:6–16 Pharaoh was an undependable help to Israel, hurting them and leaving them weak and in pain. Therefore Egypt would be desolated for forty years, the Egyptians scattered among the nations. But then she will be restored as a small nation, not to be a world power again. There are no Egyptian records of Babylon’s capture of Egypt, perhaps because most countries do not like to chronicle their defeats. Egypt's pivotal defeat by Babylon at Carchemish was not mentioned by the Egyptians either.
29:17–20 Nebuchadnezzar got little for his labors in conquering Tyre except worn-out troops. God will give him Egypt and its treasure as a reward.

Comment: That is a stunning statement and shows God’s sovereign rule over nations,like a commander moving armies around, curbing some, rewarding others. He is the King of Kings.

30:1–9 The Day of the Lord is God's day of judgment on Egypt and will include north Africa as well. The Ethiopians will hear about it at the last moment.

30:10–19 Individual cities of Egypt are warned of judgment—Memphis, Thebes, and On. Their idols will be destroyed in the process.

30:20–26 The arms of Pharaoh would be broken. Pharaohs were often pictured with an extended arm holding a club or spear. Jeremiah adds the detail that Pharaoh Hophra would be assassinated by his own people. (Jer.44:30). The arms of Nebuchadnezzar would be strengthened.

31:1–18 Egypt was like Assyria, a great cedar in Eden, the Garden of God, a refuge for birds and beasts. Like Assyria, it will be cut down and cast into the Pit. All of the small nations around will go down with it.

32:1–16 Ezekiel raised a lament for Egypt describing its utter desolation.

32:17–32 This is a strange description of the grave which contains the warriors of Assyria (Mesopotamia), Elam (Syria), Meshech and Tubal (the north ?Russia), Edom, Sidon (Phoenicia) and Egypt. The words “sword”, “terror”, “slain”, “grave”, “uncircumcised”, “pit” and “shame” are used over and over in a monotonous lament. It describes piles of the bodies of mutilated young men, lost souls (uncircumcised), bearing their shame because they spread terror in the land of the living.

Is it only a lament for the tragedy of war? The point of Ezekiel's message is to show that when Egypt's people go into the grave, they will be consoled by all the others that are there also. It is a strange message and I do not know what to make of it.

Egypt and Pharaoh have symbolic meaning in Scripture. For example:
•Egypt was called "the house of bondage" (Deut 5:6) because of the slavery and genocide practiced against Israel before the Exodus.
•Pharaoh, personifying Egypt, is called the great dragon 29:3, understood to be a crocodile because it is in the Nile and has scales.
•In Job 41, the crocodile is described in anatomical detail and called Leviathan (41:1), "King over all the sons of pride." (41:34)
•Psa. 74:13b,14 links Leviathan and the dragon; "you broke the heads of the dragons on the waters, you did crush the heads of Leviathan."

•The serpent, the dragon and Leviathan are linked:

"In that day the Lord with his hard and great and strong sword will punish Leviathan the fleeing serpent, Leviathan the twisting serpent and he will slay the dragon that is in the sea."( Isa. 27:1) The implication is that these are three names for the same being.
•The serpent, the dragon and Satan are also linked in Revelation 12:9 "And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan".

In summary, Egypt is a symbol of the world, the house of bondage. The symbol of Pharaoh's Egypt is the crocodile. The crocodile / serpent / dragon / Leviathan is a symbol of world power in rebellion against God.

Thomas Hobbes, 1650, wrote a treatise on politics called "Leviathan". In the introduction, he wrote,
"For by art is created that great Leviathan called a commonwealth, or state, which is but an artificial man, though of greater stature and strength than the natural, for whose protection and defense it was intended, and in which the sovereignty is an artificial soul, as giving life and motion to the whole body...."

The Serpent is also shown to be Satan operating in the sphere of world powers. Satan energizes world powers, keeping humans in bondage, persecutes the saints and is in rebellion against God. We can now see three kings who give us images of what Satan is like-- proxies or surrogates of Satan,, exalting themselves against God. [A proxie or stand-in takes the part of the principal actor so that the rest of the players can get the big picture.] The King of Tyre controls a vast commercial empire, the King of Babylon (Isa.14) is the enemy of Israel, and the people of God, and the King of Egypt, the crocodile, lurks in the deep, ready to strike the unwary. In these evil men, we see images of what Satan is like.

But the good news of this passage and the others listed is that God will be victorious over the world's superpowers, liberating his people from sin, and establishing His kingdom. 
*(Other countries use animal symbols; Babylon was a lion with eagle's wings; Medo-Persia was a ram, Greece a he-goat.{Daniel 7,8} Animal symbols are used today: the Russian bear, English bulldog, Chinese dragon, American eagle.)