Ezekiel – Chapter 32

Misery Loves Company

By Rabbi Jack Abramowitz

G-d spoke to Ezekiel and told him to lament over Pharaoh, saying that he made himself out like a young lion, lording it over the land, but really he is like a crocodile, unable to thrive out of the water. He left his river and ended up polluting his own waters. G-d will spread out His net and pull him up. The Egyptians will be scattered across the fields and the birds and animals will come upon them. Their dead will litter the mountains and the valleys. Their blood will water the land and fill the streams. The smoke of their destruction will blot out the sky; the sun, moon and stars will be invisible. G-d will darken the bright lights of Heaven (referring to Egypt’s “guardian angels” according to Rashi).

The hearts of the other nations will sink when they hear what happened to Egypt, from fear that it could happen to them. People will be amazed when G-d lets loose His sword, in the form of the Babylonian army. Everyone will tremble when they imagine themselves in Egypt’s place. G-d says that the Babylonians will loot Egypt and decimate the populace. The cattle will be obliterated so that neither they nor humans will stride along the Nile for a long time. Because no people or animals will be found there to stir up the mud, the waters will become clear, like pure oil. Fruitful Egypt will become a wasteland, so mourn over it.

Once again, G-d addressed Ezekiel, telling him to mourn for Egypt and all the people descending to the grave. (According to Rashi, this refers to Hell-bound idolators.) Do they think they’re any better than the other nations, that they should escape this fate? They, too, will fall to the invaders. The mightiest in the grave will say this of them. Who is there (in the grave)? Mighty Assyria, who caused much destruction, are in the lowest depths. The warriors of Elam also caused much destruction; they’re there, too, slain by their enemies. Other once-mighty nations, who created much havoc in their heyday, are also there, dead from their conquerors. In the end, these slain warriors have it worse than those who died natural deaths, since they were buried with the sins of their violence. So, too, Pharaoh will die in warfare and bloodshed and be buried with his sins.

Edom will also fall, with all their kings and officers, despite their great power. They are also destined for the pit. The Babylonian kings will ultimately be humbled and defeated; they, too, shall join them. When this happens, Pharaoh will be comforted over the downfall of Egypt. (Because, Metzudas Dovid says, misery loves company.) G-d will place the fear of Him throughout the land of the living, Pharaoh and his army will join the ranks of the slain.

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