Reading through the Bible together
Babylon was not the only power to which the Jerusalem of Ezekiel’s day had prostituted herself. Egypt was another. When you are the football of two nations you sometimes have to trade one oppressor against the other. Yet the Egyptians turned against Judah just as the Babylonians did. For Jerusalem, Egypt became like one of the reeds along the shores of the Nile. When you leaned on her she broke.
Egypt will pay the price. She is like one of the giant crocodiles for which she was famed. She is fearsome but she will be taken captive by the jaws and her body will be left as meat for the wild animals. She has ascribed to herself the powers of the Creator. However everyone will know that Yawheh is the creator of the Nile, not Egypt herself, when her cities will suffer for forty years, as the cities of Judah did for seventy.
However, God restored Egypt just as He restored Judah. How gracious He is! But never again will His people lean on that reed. They will be cured of their idolatrous ways.
This chapter consists of two oracles almost seventeen years apart. Verses 1-17 paint a general picture; verses 17-21 are more specific. Nebuchadnezzar’s siege of Tyre had to be lengthened which left little treasure for himself or his army. However, Egypt would constitute more than adequate recompense for that lack. But Israel would find power and know who Yahweh truly is!
In the rise and fall of nations we see the divine hand. His ways are mysterious but they are not arbitrary or impulsive. In the end all will know Yahweh for who He really is.
In our lives as every false ally is like a broken reed, what we will do? Will we learn to lean on the strong arm of the invisible God and not let the visibility of strong humans overwhelm us?
Avondale College, Australia