According to Ezekiel 29:15; Egypt will be the basest of the nations never again to rise above the power of its neighbors.

Modern Egypt doesn't meet this criteria so I guess that this prophecy refers to the Native Egyptians becoming a base people and not the Arabs and Turks currently ruling the land.

Egypt has not been ruled by a Native Egyptian since the time of the Chaldeans/Persians. So the prophecy in Ezekiel 30:13 has been accurate.

Ezekiel 30:13 NKJV

Thus says the Lord GOD: "I will also destroy the idols, And cause the images to cease from Noph; There shall no longer be princes from the land of Egypt; I will put fear in the land of Egypt.

The above passage explains why the Persians, Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Mamluks and Turks took turns ruling Egypt. There has never again and will never again be a native Egyptian prince!

But we have another scripture where the Psalmist prophesies that "Princes will come out of Egypt".

Now this prophecy is worth noting because the pharaohs were still masters of the world at that time.

But that such a prophecy was necessary implies that the reign of the pharaohs was going to come to an end.

In Ezekiel, the Pharaohs finally came to an end. But a messianic prophecy predating Ezekiel 30:13 tells us that Princes of Egypt would return! So that's why this psalm looks like a contradiction of Ezekiel's future prophecy

Psalm 68:31 KJV

Princes shall come out of Egypt; Ethiopia shall soon stretch out her hands to God.


1) How do we reconcile both prophecies

2) Does this passage infer that the Native Egyptians will experience cultural restoration in order to produce a Pharaoh again! How could this happen?

3) Through out the Bible, prophecies about Egypt and Ethiopia were always written side by side either in the same verses or chapters. why?

  • You already accepted princes being in egypt as still conforming to the prophecy (bc not egyptian born...) - what makes you think they could not leave egypt, or would not then be described as being from egypt?
    – bukwyrm
    Commented Jun 25, 2018 at 15:19
  • @bukwyrm Our use of the word Egypt can be confusing. The Bible is actually referring to Mizraim the father of the Khemetic civilization. So the verse reads; "Princes shall come out of Mizraim, Cush soon shall stretch out her hands to God". So the princes come out from Mizraim could also be similar to the prophecy that Ishmael will be father of princes. If princes come out of Mizraim, they should be coming out of his loins or shouldn't they? The other passage in Ezekiel says "there shall no more be princes from Mizraim". This is where the question is derived
    – user20490
    Commented Jun 25, 2018 at 16:45
  • For the two passages to contradict one another, they would have to refer to the same time frame, but, so far, the question fails to provide a reason for why this might be the case.
    – Lucian
    Commented Jul 8, 2018 at 23:56
  • @Lucian I've edited the question. The psalmist tells us that Princes would come out from Egypt. That is not necessary since the Pharaohs were still ruling at that time. But the fact that the prophecy was given implies that God had already purposed to end the reign of Egyptian princes. Later, God revealed his purpose expressly in Ezekiel 30:13 saying: "there shall no longer be princes from Egypt". Mind you, a Turkish royal line was deposed in Nasser's coup which marked the end of the last monarchy and the beginning of the republic.
    – user20490
    Commented Jul 11, 2018 at 8:21
  • @Lucian So the princes of Ezekiel are the natives princes not the various foreign princes who ruled from the time of the Ptolemies. But the psalmist had prophesied even before Ezekiel that the native princes would return. So this seems like a psalm that contradicts a future prophecy. I hope I have explained the question better.
    – user20490
    Commented Jul 11, 2018 at 8:27

2 Answers 2


The usual word for 'prince' is "nshia" (Ezek. 30:13 is 'nshia'.) However, in Psa. 68:31, the word sometimes translated as 'princes' is "chashmanim" - of doubtful meaning. Also translated as: magnates, envoys, ambassadors. Occurs 1x.

“Israel also came into Egypt; and Jacob sojourned in the land of Ham.” – Psalms 105:23. Cush is associated with Ethiopia (tho some are skeptical). Ham>Cush>Nimrod.

The Psalms - Kirkpatrick (1951)

...Egypt and Ethiopia are often coupled together, and they are mentioned here as examples of the nations which come to pay homage, the one as the typical ancient enemy of Israel (cp. Isa. 19:19), the other as a remote nation of noble appearance and formidable reputation (Isa. 18:1,7). Cp. Isa. 45:14. Their submission signifies that the most inveterate foes of God and His people, and the most remote and the noblest of the peoples of the world, acknowledge His supremacy....

KJV verses and Hebrew from ISA2, Scripture4all.org:

Isa. 19:19 - In that day shall there be an altar to the LORD in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar at the border thereof to the LORD.

Isa. 45:14 - Thus saith the LORD, The labour of Egypt, and merchandise of Ethiopia and of the Sabeans, men of stature, shall come over unto thee, and they shall be thine: they shall come after thee; in chains they shall come over, and they shall fall down unto thee, they shall make supplication unto thee, saying, Surely God is in thee; and there is none else, there is no God.

Isa. 45:14 - Thus (ke 3541) he-says (amr 559) Yahweh (ieue 3069) labor-of (igio 3018) Egypt (mtzrim 4714) and~merchandise-of (u~schr 505)(-) Cush (kush 3568) and~Sabeans (u~sbaim 5436) mortals-of (anshi 582) measure (mde 4060) on~you (oli~k 5921) they-shall-pass-(over) (iobru 5674) and~to~you (u~l~k 9999) they-shall-become (ieiu 1961) behind~you (achri~k 310) they-shall-go (ilku 1980) in~(the)~manacles (b~zqim 2131) they-shall-pass (iobru 5674) and~to~you (u~ali~k 413) they-shall-(s)bow-down (ishthchuu 7812) to~you (ali~k 413) they-shall-(s)pray (ithphllu 6419) yea (ak 389) in~you (b~k 9999) El (al 410) and~(there)-is-no (u~ain 369) further (oud 5750) limit (aphs 657) Elohim (aleim 430):


Date of composition

Well the first thing I noticed is that your question is based on the assumption that this Psalm was written after Ezekiel's prophecy, but this is most probably not the case. A quick scan of K&D Commentary reveals that most scholars believe Psalm 68 was written during the kingdom Of Israel and Judah, and some even believe it was written during the period of the Judges, yet only Reuss believes that it was written during the Maccabean period, but K&D rejects his scholarship calling it a "violence done to the exegesis".

Hitzig believes it was written during the kingdom of Joram and Jehoshaphat in their campaign against Moab. While Buttcher asserts it is a festal hymn of triumph belonging to the time of Hezekiah, sung during Passover after the king of Assyria left Israel and returned home. Thenius on the other hand is convinced that it was composed to inspire the army of Josiah in his compaign against Pharaoh Necho. They all seem to agree that it is a battle hymn in the style of the Moses' song of the sea and Deborah's song of triumph.

This is how K&D summarize their study regarding the authorship and date of composition for Psalm 68,

But is David after all the author of this Psalm? The general character of the Psalm is more Asaphic than Davidic (vid., Habakkuk, S. 122). Its references to Zalmon, to Benjamin and the Northern tribes, to the song of Deborah, and in general to the Book of Judges (although not in its present form), give it an appearance of being Ephraimitish. Among the Davidic Psalms it stands entirely alone, so that criticism is quite unable to justify the לדוד. And if the words in Psalm 68:29 are addressed to the king, it points to some other poet than David. But is it to a contemporary poet? The mention of the sanctuary on Zion in Psalm 68:30, 36, does not exclude such an one. Only the threatening of the "wild beast of the sedge" (Psalm 68:31) seems to bring us down beyond the time of David; for the inflammable material of the hostility of Egypt, which broke out into a flame in the reign of Rehoboam, was first gathering towards the end of Solomon's reign. Still Egypt was never entirely lost sight of from the horizon of Israel; and the circumstance that it is mentioned in the first rank, where the submission of the kingdoms of this world to the God of Israel is lyrically set forth in the prophetic prospect of the future, need not astonish one even in a poet of the time of David. And does not Psalm 68:28 compel us to keep on this side of the division of the kingdom? It ought then to refer to the common expedition of Jehoram and Jehoshaphat against Moab (Hitzig), the indiscriminate celebration of which, however, was no suitable theme for the psalmist.

I think given the evidence, it is safe to conclude that it was composed before the Babylonian exile.

Proper interpretation of verse 31

Now we can move on to the exegesis. The original Hebrew is

יֶאֱתָ֣יוּ חַ֭שְׁמַנִּים מִנִּ֣י מִצְרָ֑יִם כּ֥וּשׁ תָּרִ֥יץ יָ֝דָ֗יו לֵאלֹהִֽים׃

The word חשמנים does not show up anywhere else in the bible (it is most probably a loan word), so its meaning is unclear at best. The KJV chooses to translate,

Princes shall come out of Egypt; Ethiopia shall soon stretch out her hands to God.

The NJPS however translates it differently,

Tribute-bearers shall come from Egypt; Cush shall hasten its gifts to God

In any case, whether you choose to go with KJV or NJPS or some other translation, the implication are clear. Cush and Egypt will pay their taxes and gifts to Israel and they will be Israel's vassal kingdom. So even if this Psalm is describing some Messianic future, Egypt's kingdom will not be independent but part of Israel's great empire. I do not think that Ezekiel's prophecy precludes any such future for Egypt in which the kingdom will have no more independence or autonomy.

Hope this is of any help to you. Just keep in mind Hitzig's words, regarding this Psalm, in the future when you continue studying this complex Psalm, "It is in reality no easy task to become master of this Titan." This succinct remark summarizes well the hardships of truly mastering the archaic language and meaning behind this ancient masterpiece.

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