7.17 Ezekiel -- Judgment on the Nations
Though Ezekiel's primary target was Jerusalem and the Jews, he had many prophetic judgments directed at the Gentile nations. 9 chapters (Eze 25-32, Eze 35), or roughly one-fourth of the book, take aim at Israel's neighbors and rivals. The sins of the nations echoed those of Israel: their joy at Judah’s downfall (Eze 25:3-8, Eze 35:15) and the desire to profit by it (Eze 26:2, Eze 35:10-12, Eze 36:2-5), pride (Eze 28:17, Eze 31:10, Eze 32:12) and, most fundamentally, the boast "I am a god" (Eze 29:9). Their fate would be similar, too. The Lord was against these nations and they will suffer the same forms of punishment coming upon Israel: sword , fire, plague, siege and exile.
a. Ammon, Edom, Moab, Philistia (Eze 25). No mercy will be shown to any of the peoples.
b.Tyre and Sidon (Eze 26-28). Three chapters of the detailed devastation of Tyre, including laments over the city and king.
"You say, O Tyre, 'I am perfect in beauty'....
"In the pride of your heart you say, 'I am a god. I sit on
the throne of a god in the heart of the seas.'"
"Because of your wealth your heart has grown proud" (Eze 27:3, Eze 28:2, Eze 28:5).
"I am going to bring foreigners against you, the most ruthless of nations; they will draw their swords against your beauty and wisdom and pierce your shining splendor (Eze 28:7).
The Lord declared that Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia would besiege the city (Eze 26:7-14, Eze 29:18), but Tyre’s promised destruction was accomplished later, in 332 BC, by Alexander the Great, and its partial submersion under water only in the thirteenth century AD. (Amplified 945).
c. Egypt (Eze 29-32). An even longer section speaks judgment on Egypt. This passage includes Ezekiel’s latest oracle (Eze 29:17-21), dated 571 BC, or about 15 years after the others. The occasion for judgment is that Egypt has been a staff of reed for the house of Israel (Eze 29:6), an unreliable ally. Secondarily, Egypt will be judged for godlike pride; "her proud strength will fail" (Eze 30:6). The Lord will destroy her idols and humiliate Pharaoh. In a lengthy funeral metaphor, God consigns Egypt to the graveyard of past empires, such as Assyria and Elam, and future ones (Eze 32:17-32). Yet Egypt is not to be destroyed: following a 40-year period of desolation and exile, the Lord promises to restore Egypt as a lowly nation, a weak object lesson to Israel of their sin in relying on her help (Eze 29:11-16).
d. Even Sodom will also be restored, as well as the Samaria of the post-Israelite Samaritans (Eze 16:53-57), because they endured the scorn of an Israel that outdid them in wickedness. Again, Gentile restoration here serves as an object lesson for Israel, "so that you may bear your disgrace and be ashamed" (Eze 16:54).
e. Gog and Magog (Eze 38-39). This is a prophecy about an end-time judgment on a coalition of nations that unite to destroy Israel. These invaders are led by the rulers of Magog, Meschech, and Tubal, names that in Genesis 10 are associated with descendants of Japheth. The territories traditionally assigned to Meshech and Tubal fall within the Babylonian Empire, and the army is said to come into Israel primarily from the north (Eze 38:15). God will execute violent judgment on this great army,
"and so I will show my greatness and my holiness, and I will make myself known in the sight of many nations. Then they will know that I am the Lord" (Eze 38:23).
There will be a tremendous slaughter, such that it will take Israel seven months to bury the dead (Eze 39:12).