Ezekiel continues his prophecy that Nebuchadnezzar will conquer Egypt and her allies. It is likely that Nebuchadnezzar should be understood figuratively, and that he is actually describing the end-time conquest of Egypt by the Antichrist.
This chapter describes events during 'the day of the Lord' (verse 3). Similar language was used to describe Jerusalem's fall to Nebuchadnezzar in 586 BC (see Ezekiel 7:1-14 and Lamentations 2:22). However, 'the day of the Lord' most often refers to the time of Great Tribulation in the end-times when God intervenes in human affairs as warrior and judge (see Isaiah 13:6-16; 34:8, and Malachi 4). God's judgement can come either through divine acts of God, or through the use of human agents, such as invasion by human armies.

Ezekiel prophesies the judgment of Egypt, along with all her supporters from Cush (Sudan and northern Ethiopia), Put (Lybia), Lud (western Turkey), Cub (an unknown location), and the people of the covenant land (possibly Jews living in Egypt).

Verses 10, 24 and 25 identify Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon as the agent of God's judgment who destroys Egypt and her allies. This was at least partially fulfilled by Nebuchadnezzar's invasion of Egypt in 568 BC, but it seems that Nebuchadnezzar's historic invasion merely foreshadows the end-time invasion of Egypt by the Antichrist (Daniel 11:42). The vision will then see its ultimate fulfilment. 'Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon' may be understood figuratively as another name for the end-time Antichrist, as in Jeremiah 25 which begins with Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and ends with the king of Sheshach. Sheshach is a code word for Babylon, which Revelation 17-18 interprets as 'Mystery Babylon'. So the king of Sheshach is like the 'Mystery Nebuchadnezzar'. Even though the Antichrist will be evil and an enemy of God, God can still use him as his agent of judgment just as he used his 'servant' Nebuchadnezzar in the 6th Century BC (Jeremiah 25:9). Here in verse 24, God promises to strengthen the arms of the king of Babylon and place his sword in his hand, but to break the arms of Pharaoh. But as at the end of Jeremiah 25, God will end up judging this king of Sheshach. Isaiah 19 prophesies the subsequent conquest of Egypt by the Lord (Jesus) and the Jews. As discussed in relation to Ezekiel 29, it is likely that the 40 years of Egypt's desolation which he prophesied will occur at the start of the Millennium, which fits with the statement "Egypt will be desolate" in Joel 3:19.

Verses 23 and 26 prophesy that the Egyptians will be dispersed as refugees among the nations, and will then come to know Jehovah as Lord. Given Egypt's large population, the Egyptian refugee crisis is likely to be huge, and it results in a spiritual awakening. Jeremiah also prophesied Egypt's conquest by Nebuchadnezzar in Jeremiah 42 to 44. See my commentary on Jeremiah's oracle against Egypt in Jeremiah 46.

This chapter is part of a section in which Ezekiel pictures nations and their rulers being cast into the pit of hell. In chapter 28, the Antichrist as the Ruler of Tyre (Lebanon) is cast into the pit. In chapter 31, the historic Assyrian empire is pictured as a tall tree that was felled and cast into the pit. It is given as a warning to Egypt, of what will one day happen to her. In chapter 32, Egypt and her armies are pictured as being cast into the pit, along with Assyria (Syria and Iraq), Elam (Iran), Meshech and Tubal (Turkey), Edom (southern Jordan and western Saudi Arabia), and Sidon (Lebanon).
Places: Egypt, Cush, Sudan, Put, Lybia, Israel
Tags: Armageddon, Nations invaded by the Antichrist, Antichrist as Nebuchadnezzar, Egyptian refugee crisis, End-time revival
A Lament Over Egypt
1 The Lord’s message came to me:
2 “Son of man, prophesy and say, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: “‘Wail, “Alas, the day is here!”
3 For the day is near, the day of the Lord is near; it will be a day of storm clouds, it will be a time of judgment for the nations.
4 A sword will come against Egypt and panic will overtake Ethiopia when the slain fall in Egypt and they carry away her wealth and dismantle her foundations.
5 Ethiopia, Put, Lud, all the foreigners, Libya, and the people of the covenant land will die by the sword along with them.
6 “‘This is what the Lord says: Egypt’s supporters will fall; her confident pride will crumble. From Migdol to Syene they will die by the sword within her, declares the Sovereign Lord.
7 They will be desolate among desolate lands, and their cities will be among ruined cities.
8 They will know that I am the Lord when I ignite a fire in Egypt and all her allies are defeated.
9 On that day messengers will go out from me in ships to frighten overly confident Ethiopia; panic will overtake them on the day of Egypt’s doom; for beware – it is coming!
10 “‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I will put an end to the hordes of Egypt, by the hand of King Nebuchadrezzar of Babylon.
11 He and his people with him, the most terrifying of the nations, will be brought there to destroy the land. They will draw their swords against Egypt, and fill the land with corpses.
12 I will dry up the waterways and hand the land over to evil men. I will make the land and everything in it desolate by the hand of foreigners. I, the Lord, have spoken!
13 “‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I will destroy the idols, and put an end to the gods of Memphis. There will no longer be a prince from the land of Egypt; so I will make the land of Egypt fearful.
14 I will desolate Pathros, I will ignite a fire in Zoan, and I will execute judgments on Thebes.
15 I will pour out my anger upon Pelusium, the stronghold of Egypt; I will cut off the hordes of Thebes.
16 I will ignite a fire in Egypt; Syene will writhe in agony, Thebes will be broken down, and Memphis will face enemies every day.
17 The young men of On and of Pi-beseth will die by the sword; and the cities will go into captivity.
18 In Tahpanhes the day will be dark when I break the yoke of Egypt there. Her confident pride will cease within her; a cloud will cover her, and her daughters will go into captivity.
19 I will execute judgments on Egypt. Then they will know that I am the Lord.’”
20 In the eleventh year, in the first month, on the seventh day of the month, the Lord’s message came to me:
21 “Son of man, I have broken the arm of Pharaoh king of Egypt. Look, it has not been bandaged for healing or set with a dressing so that it might become strong enough to grasp a sword.
22 Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says: Look, I am against Pharaoh king of Egypt, and I will break his arms, the strong arm and the broken one, and I will make the sword drop from his hand.
23 I will scatter the Egyptians among the nations, and disperse them among foreign countries.
24 I will strengthen the arms of the king of Babylon, and I will place my sword in his hand, but I will break the arms of Pharaoh, and he will groan like the fatally wounded before the king of Babylon.
25 I will strengthen the arms of the king of Babylon, but the arms of Pharaoh will fall limp. Then they will know that I am the Lord when I place my sword in the hand of the king of Babylon and he extends it against the land of Egypt.
26 I will scatter the Egyptians among the nations and disperse them among foreign countries. Then they will know that I am the Lord.”