According to, The IVP Bible Background COMMENTARY Old Testament. P.716

Ezekiel 29:3. identity of pharaoh. The reigning monarch in Egypt at this time was Apries (Ho- phra), who ruled 589-570 B . C . However,Ezekiel is most likely addressing the office of pharaoh in general, rather than any particular monarch.

Any clue why would the writer think that Ezekiel was addressing the the office of pharaoh in general, rather than any particular monarch?

1 Answer 1


The IVP's position on this issue is challenged by other commentaries that indeed see this prophecy as being directly personally toward Apries (Hophra). However, the term "Pharaoh King of Egypt" is used throughout the OT to refer to the many Egyptian kings. In addition, the prophets of several periods opposed Judah's allying with the pharaohs. Even as far back as 1 Kings 11, "Pharaoh King of Egypt" was seen in the biblical narrative to be an unreliable ally, giving aid and succor to Solomon's adversary, Hadad the Edomite:

9 Hadad won great favor with Pharaoh... 21 When Hadad in Egypt heard that David rested with his ancestors and that Joab, the commander of the army, was dead, he said to Pharaoh, “Give me leave to return to my own land.”

The the pharaoh's help, Hadad proceeded to become a serious problem for Solomon, together with Rezon of Damascus. Later, Isaiah 30-31 contains several prophecies against allying with Egypt:

They go down to Egypt, without asking my counsel, To seek strength in Pharaoh’s protection and take refuge in Egypt’s shadow. 3 Pharaoh’s protection shall become your shame, refuge in Egypt’s shadow your disgrace.

Jeremiah too prophesied against turning to Egypt. He saw Babylon as God's agent and urged Judah to submit the Nebuchadnezzar's authority rather than to look to Egypt for protection. Jeremiah also urged the citizens of Judah who did not go into exile to resist the temptation to flee to Egypt. (42:19)

Conclusion: While the Pharaoh in both Jeremiah and Ezekiel's time was Hophra, it is also the case that the prophets generally urged Judah not to ally with Egypt. This is the probably explanation for the IVP's assertion that the prophet addressed the office of the pharaoh generally.

  • .Thanx. I think St. Jerome suggested the same meaning, in la.wikisource.org/wiki/Commentaria_in_Ezechielem_(Hieronymus)/9 ." Ergo in praesentiarum adversum unumquemlibet regem Aegypti sermo fit Domini, qui interpretatur διασκεδαστὴς, interfector videlicet et lacerator, et gladio cuncta concidens et dividens. Quod juxta mysticos intellectus referendum est ad eam potestatem, cui subjecta est Aegyptus. " he said that the mystic understanding is a reference to office of the pharaoh generally. did I get the words of Jerome right?
    – Saul57
    Commented May 15 at 17:12

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