The Spaceships of Ezekiel
Are there Flying Saucers in the Bible?


Refs: CCoHS - Ezekiel p. 615


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Keywords: Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture, history, Middle East, religion, Ezekiel, Roman Catholicism, prophecy, Christianity, Old Testament, Judaism, Protestantism, biblical prophets, Tanakh, Hebrew  Scriptures





Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture

Ezekiel article page 615 


Chub is unknown, probably a scribal error. Omit (LXX) 'of the land' and 'with them'. 'Children of the covenant': allies. 6. 'from Migdol to Syene'; cf. 29:10. 7. 'they': 'she' (LXX). 9. 'go forth from me in all haste to trouble the Ethiopians in their security'. The day of Egypt is the day of her downfall. 11. 'strongest': 'most ferocious'.13. 'I will destroy the mighty from Memphis and the princes from the land of Egypt' (LXX). 14. Patros is Upper Egypt; Tanis (so MT; DV Taphnis) is in the northern Delta and Thebes in Upper Egypt. 15. Pelusium was on the north-eastern boundary, Memphis (LXX) south of Cairo. 16. (After ' Egypt'): 'Syene [LXX] shall tremble in anguish, Thebes shall be conquered'. The text which follows is corrupt. 17. 'they themselves': 'the women'.Heliopolis (LXX) is south, Bubastes north, of Cairo. 18. Taphnes was in the northern Delta.


20-26 Fourth Prophecy against Egypt: Pharaoh's Arm is Broken— This prophecy is dated 7th Nisan 587. Egypt will diminish, Babylonia will increase, in might. 21b. 'And behold it has not been bound for healing by the application of bandages'.22. (After 'pieces'): 'his arms'. Omit 'which is already broken'. 24. (After 'Pharaoh'): 'so that he shall groan, as mortally wounded groan, before him' (Nabuchodonosor).


XXXI 1-18 Fifth Prophecy against Egypt: The Cedar is Felled— The prophecy is dated May 587. Egypt is compared to a magnificent cedar now laid low.


1-9 Beauty of the Cedar—2b-3. 'To whom wert thou like in thy greatness? Behold a cedar in Lebanon, Fair in its branches, Lofty in stature, And among the clouds Was its summit'. Cedar, not Assyria, is the answer to 2b. Omit 'with thick leaves' (LXX); 'thick boughs': 'clouds'.4. 'Waters (from above) made him grow, The abyss (beneath) made him increase in height, Making his rivers flow Around the place where he was planted And sending his rivulets To all the trees of the country'. The ancients thought that springs came from the waters beneath the earth. The trees are symbolical of the neighbouring nations. 5. Omit 'And his branches were multiplied' (LXX). 'elevated': 'lengthened'.6. Omit 'when he had spread forth his shadow'. 8. There is an element of hyperbole in the comparison. Babylonia and Assyria (at an earlier date) were more powerful than Egypt. 'fir-trees': 'cypresses'. 9. 'beautiful by the multitude of his branches'. 'pleasure': ' Eden'.

  (part of h)

10-14 The Felling of the Cedar—10. 'green and thick': 'into the cloud'. Pride is punished. 11b is corrupt. 12. Insert 'on the mountains and' after 'fall'. 'rocks': 'ravines'. 13-14. His fall brings ruin to the nations who depended on him and perish with him. 'among the thick branches and leaves to the clouds'.


15-18 Effects of the Fall— Nature mourns and men tremble. 15. Omit 'I covered' (LXX). The sense is: I made the abyss mourn over him by keeping back its streams. I darkened Lebanon for him and all the trees of the field languished over him.16. While the nations on earth tremble at his fall those already in Sheol are consoled by his arrival. 'pleasure': ' Eden'.17. 'They too had to go down with him to Sheol, to those slain by the sword, as well as their descendants who dwelt under his shade in the midst of the nations'. The Pharaoh's association with those slain by the sword implies privation of burial rites.


XXXII 1-16 Sixth Prophecy against Egypt: Lament for Pharaoh— The date is uncertain, probably spring 586. The Pharaoh, compared to a crocodile, represents all Egypt. The first part of the lament is in verse.


1-10 Destruction of the Sea-monster—1. The date varies in MT and LXX, 11th or 12th month, 586 or 585. 2. 'The lion of the nations is come against thee, How gatt thou disappeared! Thou wert like a crocodile in the Nile And didst snort with thy nostrils, Thou troubledst the waters with thy feet And fouledst their streams'. The rendering of 2a is a correction of MT: To the lion of the nations thou wert likened. But Pharaoh is likened to the crocodile, not to the lion Nabuchodonosor; cf. 11. 3. Omit 'multitude of many peoples', a gloss excluded by the metre. 4. The crocodile, removed from its natural element, becomes the prey of birds and beasts. 5. 'hills': 'valleys'. Ezechiel passes easily from the figure, the crocodile, to the reality, the Egyptians. 6. The text is confused and unmetrical. 'I will water the earth with what flows from thee And the watercourses shall be filled with thy blood'.7b. The cosmic disturbances associated with the day of judgement emphasize the greatness of the catastrophe. 8. 'on thy land (MT): 'on the earth' (LXX). Omit' when they wounded', etc., a Vg addition. 9. 'destruction': prisoners (LXX). 10. 'When I shall brandish my sword before them and they shall tremble at every moment'.


11-16 Completeness of Egypt's Destruction—11. The  m  lion of the nations mentioned above is here identified. 12. (After 'multitude'): 'the most ferocious of all nations' (in apposition with 'mighty'). 13. 'that were beside'; 'out of'.15. The sense is: I will make the land, etc. that they may know. 16. Daughters are here women, the customary mourners.


17-32 Seventh Prophecy against Egypt: Pharaoh in  n  the Underworld—The last prophecy against Egypt may be dated six weeks after the preceding one. LXX supplies in the first month. Pharaoh's descent to the Underworld and his condition there are described. The most noteworthy point is the distinction of two classes in Sheol. The heroes have a privileged position in the upper part of the underworld; cf.Ps 48:15. The uncircumcised and those slain in battle are at a lower level in the bōr or pit. With these are associated the Egyptians and other war-like nations, oppressors of weaker peoples. Israel is not mentioned.


17-21 Pharaoh descends to Sheol—18. 'I have cast her down'. 19 should follow 21a (LXX). 20b is probably corrupt, lit. 'The sword is given. They have drawn her and all her multitudes' (to Sheol). 21a-19a. The most powerful of the heroes in Sheol shall say to him: 'Whom didst thou surpass in beauty? Go down and make thy bed with the uncircumcised'. 21b. 'With his helpers he has gone down, he has made his bed amid the uncircumcised and those slain by the sword'.Cf.Is 14:19.


22-32 Pharaoh's Associates in the Pit—22-23. Assur and his multitude represent king and people. As oppressors they also are in the bottom of the pit. 24-25. Elam's fate is similar. 26-27. The Moschians and Tibarenians, always mentioned together, represent the northern nations of whom the Scythians had recently invaded the Near East. 27. 'And they lie not with the heroes that fell of old . . . but they have their guilt in their bones for they spread terror by their mighty deeds in their life time'. 28. Pharaoh is addressed. 29-30. Edom, the princes of the north (Syrians ?) and the Sidonians (DV 'hunters') complete the list. Pharaoh finds some consolation in his associates, oppressors like himself.


XXXIII-XLVIII Promises: Purification and Restoration of Israel. XXXIII 1-33 Conditions of Salvation—Ch 33 is an introduction to the third part of the book. It repeats and develops four instructions already given. The first and second treat of the prophet's functions and personal responsibility. The third and fourth are admonitions addressed respectively to the undeported Israelites in Palestine and to Ezechiel's companions in exile. The occasion of the prophecy was the arrival of a fugitive with the news of the capture of Jerusalem narrated in the third section.


1-9 The Prophet's Functions—The prophet is compared to a watchman obliged to be on the lookout and to give warning of the enemy's approach; cf. 3:16-21; 14:9-11. 2. 'the nearest of them': 'from among them'. 3-5. If the prophet gives due warning, the sinner is alone responsible. 6. If the prophet fails to warn he also is responsible. 7. 'when thou hearest . . . thou shall warn them'. 8-9. The conse-