Ezekiel 32

DateVersionReading Plan
@September 22, 2023ESV (2016)ESV Prophets Plan 2023


  • A Lement over Pharaoh and Egypt


The chapter opens with God telling Ezekiel to lament over Pharaoh and Egypt. Pharaoh had considered himself a “lion of the nations”, but God says that he is “like a dragon in the seas”. Many scholars see this as a portrayal of Pharaoh’s defeat by God (like a monster in the seas), much like passages that figuratively speak of God defeating the sea dragon Leviathan (Jb 38:8–11; Ps 74:12–17; 104:7–9; Is 27:1). God can lay any foe low, no matter his powers.

Ezekiel 32:3-8 represent God’s acts of judgment against Pharaoh/Egypt. The Lord said to Pharaoh that he would “throw my net over you”, a method by which hunters captured crocodiles and lions (Ezek. 19:8). God will blot out Pharaoh and Egypt, covering the sun with a cloud and “the moon shall not give its light.” (Ezek. 32:7).

Ezek. 32:9-10 is the reaction among the other nations in response to Egypt’s destruction. Their hearts will be troubled, appalled, the hair of their kings will bristle and will tremble every moment for their own lives.

Ezek. 32:11-15 is of Pharaoh/Egypt’s fall by Babylon and other “most ruthless of nations” (Ezek. 32:12). God specifically mentions Egypt’s pride and that these nations will “bring ruin to the pride of Egypt”. God will make Egypt desolate, striking down all who dwell in it, and they will come to know Him as LORD (Ezek. 32:15).

In Ezek. 32:16, God says that this lamentation “shall be chanted” and that the “daughters of the nations shall chant it”. Women by custom served as mourners in the ancient Near East (Jer. 9:17-18)

In Ezek. 32:17-21, two weeks from the previous oracle, Ezekiel is to “wail over the multitude of Egypt” (Ezek. 32:18), that they are to go down and “be laid to rest with the uncircumcised” (Ezek. 32:19. The reference to circumcision is a metaphor for uncleanness and vileness. It is a theological rather than a literal evaluation. The phrase “the uncircumcised” is used ten times in Ezek. 32 (Ezek. 32:19, Ezek. 32:21, Ezek. 32:24–30, Ezek. 32:32), to emphasize that the death of the pharaoh will be a death of shame and defeat. In this oracle, Egypt was the climactic seventh nation that occupied the underworld (v. 18).

Ezek. 32:22-30 is a macabre roll call of the other uncircumcised nations and peoples in the Pit, felled by the sword: Assyria, Elam, Meshech and Tubal, Edom, and all the leaders of the north and all the Sidonians. Some common, repeated elements among the nations are that they are 1) slain, 2), fallen by sword and 3) went down to the pit.

The final two verses (Ezek. 32:31) are of how Pharaoh “will be comforted for all his multitude” when he “sees them” (the other nations). Odd is it may seem, Pharaoh is consoled by the knowledge that Egypt’s fate is the same as all the other nations and that he, like them, will be “laid to rest among the uncircumcised” (Ezek. 32:32).


Ezekiel is to lament over the judgment of Pharaoh and Egypt and their ally nations. The effects of judgment will be so great that it reverberates among onlooking neighbors, causing them to tremble for their own lives. The target of God’s judgment is Egypt’s pride which the sword of Babylon and ruthless nations will bring to ruin.

It was the specific mention of Egypt’s pride that seemed to stick out today. God saw fit to deal directly with Egypt’s pride, a sin that harkens all the way back the Garden itself. Autonomy and self-exaltation runs deep within all of us. Ironically, to deny our battle with pride is to confirm its very presence. So much a snare for us is pride (and so blind we are to it), that it often must be drawn out by intense struggle or adversity. This we are to greet with heartfelt gratitude, that our Father’s love is made manifest in fostering awareness of our own sin, that we may come to Him in confession and repentance, all to yield the fruit of humility and reliance upon Him.

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