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Ezekiel 29:10-11 (NLT - emphasis added):

I am now the enemy of both you and your river. I will make the land of Egypt a totally desolate wasteland, from Migdol to Aswan, as far south as the border of Ethiopia. For forty years not a soul will pass that way, neither people nor animals. It will be completely uninhabited.

When has this ever happened?

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There are 2 views of this prophecy: 1) Is that it occured in 588BCE, 2 years after Ezekiel made his prophecy(590BCE); which sets the Destruction of Jerusalem at 607BCE, instead of 587BCE. Egypt, being carried off in captivity, and so are those reminants of Jersalem who fled to Egypt in defiance of Jeremiah's prophecy(Jer. 42:15,16,19; 43:10,11) This date would allow for a 40 year captivity period, ending with an alliance of Nabonidus(Babylon) with King Amasis II of Egypt. Since Egypt had already been taken captive-it was reduced to a 'vassal state' by the later date-agreeing with the prophecy of Ezekiel.

However, all of this fails if the Babylonian captivity stated in 568BCE; then Egypt would have only been captive 21 years, and even if there were no alliance between Babylon and Egypt(from the Nebuchnezzar Inscription tablet in the British Museum) Cyrus would have freed ALL captives 8 years later, in 539BCE.

The 2nd view is that it is a future prophecy, waiting to be fulfilled. This answer was taken from Mi Yodeya here

Although Egypt had long ceased from the Age of the Pharoah's of being a world power, there's no conclusive source to prove(or disprove) that one would not be able to walk from one end to the other for 40 years. Given that assertion, it suggests the prophecy would have to wait until the end times to be fulfilled.

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It occurs to me that we have another unfulfilled prophecy in scripture, explained in the same scripture: Jonah. Jonah gave God's message, "Ninevah WILL BE destroyed in 40 days." The people repented and the judgment was forestalled. Could that not also be the case with Egypt?

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  • How does this answer the OP question? What is the reason why Ninveh was not in fact destroyed in the days of Jonah? Is this the same reason that Egypt was not destroyed in the days of Ezekiel? – Abu Munir Ibn Ibrahim Aug 26 '17 at 17:17
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The arguments I've seen for this being already fulfilled are 570-530 BC. Basically Herodotus account of Amasis is Egyptian propaganda denying they this happened. And when Amasis "conquered" Cyprus in 570 BC it was really him and Egypt being exiled there till Cyrus let them return.

If it's yet future. I think these are the first 40 years of the Millennium.

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  • Hi, JaredThaJa. Welcome to BH.SE You need to cite the source of your data. Without a source, the data cannot be checked for reliability. – enegue Nov 2 '16 at 4:33
  • It's a theory I heard but I'm not sure I agree with it. – JaredThaJa Apr 15 '19 at 13:01
  • I first saw a version of it in Compendium of World History, which definelty has a lot of fringe history stuff I don't agree with. – JaredThaJa Apr 15 '19 at 13:02
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Zachariah 14:18 If the Egyptian people do not go up and take part, they will have no rain. The Lord[b] will bring on them the plague he inflicts on the nations that do not go up to celebrate the Festival of Tabernacles. 19 This will be the punishment of Egypt and the punishment of all the nations that do not go up to celebrate the Festival of Tabernacles.

I believe it is a prophecy during the milliennium.

After all, Ezekiel gives a prophecy in chapter 38 and 39 that have not happened yet, could be very soon!

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What would cause Egypt to be desolate for 40 years (beside God telling them to get out)? Would radiation do that?

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In Ezekiel 29:11-15

No foot of man shall pass through it, nor foot of beast shall pass through it, neither shall it be inhabited forty years. And I will make the land of Egypt desolate in the midst of the countries that are desolate, and her cities among the cities that are laid waste shall be desolate forty years: and I will scatter the Egyptians among the nations, and will disperse them through the countries. Yet thus saith the Lord GOD; At the end of forty years will I gather the Egyptians from the people whither they were scattered: And I will bring again the captivity of Egypt, and will cause them to return into the land of Pathros, into the land of their habitation; and they shall be there a base kingdom. It shall be the basest of the kingdoms; neither shall it exalt itself any more above the nations: for I will diminish them, that they shall no more rule over the nations.

The first problem people have in understanding this passage in Ezekiel 29:17-21 is chronological. While we are given a period of forty years, we are not given a starting point. Babylon's rule over the Levant was a period of seventy years, from the fall of the Assyrian kingdom in October of 609 BC to the fall of Babylon on the night of October 13, 539 BC. This passage in Ezekiel was written on January 26, 586 BC, nearly six months prior to the fall of Jerusalem.

However, according to Ezekiel 29:17-21 Egypt will be given to Nebuchadnezzar for his service in the destruction of Tyre, whose judgments are described in the three preceding chapters.

In Ezekiel 29:17-21 (betweent [] is what I added)

And it came to pass in the seven and twentieth year, in the first month, in the first day of the month [April 16, 570 BC], the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Son of man, Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon caused his army to serve a great service against Tyrus: every head was made bald, and every shoulder was peeled: yet had he no wages, nor his army, for Tyrus, for the service that he had served against it: Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will give the land of Egypt unto Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon; and he shall take her multitude, and take her spoil, and take her prey; and it shall be the wages for his army. I have given him the land of Egypt for his labour wherewith he served against it, because they wrought for me, saith the Lord GOD. In that day will I cause the horn of the house of Israel to bud forth, and I will give thee the opening of the mouth in the midst of them; and they shall know that I am the LORD.

The siege of Tyre by Nebuchadnezzar occurred over a period of 13 years from 586 to 573 BC. Whenever this "gift" to Nebuchadnezzar would occur, it must begin after the siege of Tyre. Specifically, this occurred in 564 BC and ended with the arrival of Cambyses in 525 BC.

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