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Egypt is still relevant today contrary to what we should expect going by Ezekiel's prophecy.

Ezekiel 29:14

"I will bring back the captives of Egypt and cause them to return to the land of Pathros, to the land of their origin, and there they shall be a lowly kingdom. "It shall be the lowliest of kingdoms; it shall never again exalt itself above the nations, for I will diminish them so that they will not rule over the nations anymore.

Based on Dakes study Bible and other commentaries, they claim that this prophecy has been fulfilled because Egypt was colonized almost continuously from the time of the Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Mamluks and Turks.

But today Egypt has a President contrary to

Ezekiel:30.13 '

There shall no longer be princes from the land of Egypt; I will put fear in the land of Egypt.

Egypt today is also an important player in the middle East and in the Arab league.

QUESTION

1) Is there an issue with the way this prophecy has been interpreted historically. Is there more that we can bring out of the text hermeneutically?

2) Egypt is another name for Ham according to Psalm 105:23, 27 and Psalm 106:22; while pathros means "Land of the South".

i) Is Egypt being used as a symbol for the land of Ham (greater Africa + global south) in Ezekiel's prophecy?

Does the prophecy imply that the ancient Egyptians are still in existence today?

ii) Can this prophecy be used to explain the lowliness of Africa and the global south today?

NB: all scriptural quotations are taken from the NKJV Bible.

  • In Psalm 106:22, The area of the red sea and Egypt are both described as the land of Ham. The red sea runs across the eastern part of Africa, near Djibouti and Eritrea. These are black African nations. So I'm wondering if this prophecy extends to all of Africa in a symbolic way. – user20490 Nov 24 '17 at 21:23
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    Your quotation of Ezekiel 29:14 is lacking attribution. Which translation are you using? Did you read verse 13? It says "at the end of 40 years". That's part of the prophecy. So in whatever way it was fulfilled or not, that happened 40 years from the time Ezekiel related God's word. – Abu Munir Ibn Ibrahim Dec 30 '17 at 23:07
  • @AbuMunirIbnIbrahim I've scoured the whole chapter. The issue is that the Egyptians, Ludim, Lubim and the cushim. That is the Libyans and Ethiopians were all destroyed when pharaonic Egypt fell. And from that time till now, Africa as a whole has been more like a colony. – user20490 Dec 31 '17 at 13:06
  • I wonder how Kenyan's, Egyptians and Ethiopians, Nigerians or South Africans would react to be called "colonies" these days. Some of them are on their way to the OECD. The OT authors understood their prophecy to be conditional on repentance of present and future generations, so these prophesies cannot explain more than the immediate range (40 year in this case) stated in the prophecy. This is what Jonah is about. In pre-colonial times several African states had stunning cultural achievements while Europe was mired in the middle ages. There were ups and downs not well explained by OT prophecy. – Abu Munir Ibn Ibrahim Dec 31 '17 at 14:38
  • @AbuMunirIbnIbrahim why the down vote? I'll leave this site to you guys. – user20490 Dec 31 '17 at 18:41
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The OP questions are not about the text itself, they are questions in "practical prophesy" - how to apply Biblical verse to the events of our time in order to confirm a belief that we have imposed on Scripture - that it must foretell every event, and perhaps also to confirm that there is Scriptural support for various opinions that we believe. These questions only masquerade here as hermeneutic questions.

The OT prophets spoke to the people of their generation about events in their generation.1 It makes no sense to believe that the public whom these prophets led, in an age before books, would spend every free moment memorizing the words of the prophecy, their intonation, and in their public recitation, if they believed that the prophecies would only really have meaning to non-Israelite people twenty to forty generation in the future.

Though there are many prophecies in the OT that indicate specific dates for their fulfillment, such as a month, a year, forty years, the fourth generation, there are none that speak of a political situation or events in five-hundred or a thousand years. In fact, this view of the future as fixed is contrary to the Israelite belief that God is merciful, does not unduly burden children with the sins of their fathers, and provides opportunities for forgiveness and change through repentance.


1. Bernhard W. Anderson, Understanding the Old Testament, second edition, 1996, Prentice-Hall, page 190: "The purpose of God's speaking through his prophets was not to communicate information about a timetable of events for the distant future. To be sure, the prophets often made predictions, in the conviction that Yahweh was shaping the course of events according to his purpose. But these predictions, some of which came true and some of which did not, had reference to the immediate future, which impinged on the present. Just as a doctor's prediction that a patient has only a short time to live makes the patient's present moments more precious and serious, so the prophet's announcement of what God was about to do accented the urgency of the present. The prophet was primarily concerned with the present. His task was to communicate God's message for now, and to summon the people to respond today." (Bold mine, italics as in original.)

  • "if they believed that the prophecies would only really have meaning to non-Israelite people twenty to forty generation in the future." are you saying that when Ezekiel is prophesying "for I will diminish them so that they will not rule over the nations anymore" he is not talking about the future, only what will happen during his lifetime? I must say this is not very intuitive. – Bach Jan 31 '18 at 3:39
  • Yes, exactly. Ezekiel and all of the other OT prophecy is immediate prophecy intended for the Israelite audience of their time regarding events of the relatively near future. The idea that these prophets were speaking to a future unborn generation of non-Israelites about events in the long term future (like more than 50-100 years) is an extra-biblical imposition on the OT that has no scholarly basis in the texts themselves. That view is in fact an appropriation of the OT for an external use. – Abu Munir Ibn Ibrahim Jan 31 '18 at 9:00
  • very interesting. Maybe you should include some links and other sources to support your novel approach. – Bach Jan 31 '18 at 21:03
  • @Bach I added a citation from the most accessible source for this understanding of OT prophecy, from one of the most respected Christian OT scholars, Bernhard W. Anderson. – Abu Munir Ibn Ibrahim Feb 5 '18 at 17:47

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