God’s Plans for Egypt
While Jerusalem is on the verge of falling, God speaks to Egypt. The Egyptians had tried to come to Jerusalem’s aid during the Babylonian siege—King Zedekiah had appealed to them for help (see Ezekiel 17:15), but they had failed. God had some words for the unreliable crutch that often wasn’t very supportive of his people.
Egypt is going to fall for a period of time. The Babylonians will eventually overtake Egypt—God even says that Egypt will be the Babylonians’ pay since they have been working for him for free.
God likens Egypt to a great crocodile. He is going to drag this beast out of the Nile into the desert to die and rot. Like a prideful, large cedar, towering over its neighbors, Egypt will be cut down. It will be a hard day for Egypt, but also for the nations who sought refuge under them.
The King’s Heart
Egypt was the first enemy of God’s people—the Israelites spent a couple of centuries as their slaves. In the ten plagues and the parting of the Red Sea, God showed some of his most powerful signs within Egypt. But he did not completely destroy the Egyptians when he rescued his people from them—as he very well could have.
Since then, Israel had relied on Egypt on and off as an ally. Egypt had been a long-standing world power, and the people of Israel often showed their lack of faith in God by trusting in the strength of Egypt’s horses and chariots. But God is sparing this great nation: Even when mighty Babylon comes against Egypt, God will not let Egypt be demolished.
Earlier, through Isaiah, God had revealed his great plans for Egypt: “In that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria. The Assyrians will go to Egypt and the Egyptians to Assyria. The Egyptians and Assyrians will worship together. In that day Israel will be the third, along with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing on the earth. The Lord Almighty will bless them, saying, ‘Blessed be Egypt my people, Assyria my handiwork, and Israel my inheritance’” (Isaiah 19:23-25).
God has preserved this ancient nation because one day he knows they will praise him.
Though Egypt was often an enemy and a snare to Israel, the nation also aided many of God’s people, including Abraham (see Genesis 12:10-20), Jacob and his family (see Genesis 46–50) and even Jesus (see Matthew 2:13-15)—each in their time of need.