The captive cities of Egypt (Ezek 30:17-30:19)

“The young men

Of On

Shall fall by the sword.

The young men

Of Pi-beseth

Shall fall by the sword.

The cities themselves

Shall go into captivity.

At Tehaphnehes,

The day shall be dark,

When I break

The dominion of Egypt.

Its proud might

Shall come to an end.

The city

Shall be covered

By a cloud.

Its daughters-towns

Shall go into captivity.

Thus I will execute

Acts of judgment

On Egypt.

Then they will know

That I am Yahweh.”

Not only would Yahweh destroy many Egyptian cities, he was also going to take their surviving citizens captive. The young men of On and Pi-beseth would die by the sword. On was Heliopolis and Pi-beseth was Bubastis. Anyone still remaining alive in these cities would be taken into captivity. At Tehaphnehes or Tahpanhes, the day would become dark. Yahweh was going to put an end to the great dominion of Egypt. This powerful city would be covered, as if there was a cloud over it. The daughters-towns or suburbs of Tehaphnehes would also be taken into captivity. Yahweh was going to execute his judgment on Egypt, so that they would know that he was Yahweh, God.

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King Nebuchadnezzar will come to Egypt (Jer 43:11-43:13)

“‘King Nebuchadnezzar

Shall come.

He shall ravage

The land of Egypt.

Giving those who are doomed

For pestilence,

To pestilence.

Giving those who are destined

For captivity.

To captivity.

Giving those who are doomed

For the sword

To the sword.

He shall kindle a fire

In the temples

Of the gods of Egypt.

He shall burn them.

He shall carry them away captive.

He shall pick clean

The land of Egypt,

As a shepherd picks

His cloaks clean of vermin.

He shall depart

From there safely.

He shall break

The obelisks of Heliopolis

That is in the land of Egypt.

He shall break the temples

Of the gods of Egypt.

He shall burn them with fire.’”

Jeremiah described what was going to happen when King Nebuchadnezzar would come to Egypt, which he did around 568 BCE. The Babylonian king was going to ravage the land of Egypt. Those who were destined for pestilence got pestilence. Those destined for the sword, got the sword. Those destined for famine, got a famine. This was real simple, but who decided who was destined for what? King Nebuchadnezzar was going to burn down the Egyptian temples and make the Judeans captives. He was going to pick the land clean in the same way that shepherds pluck bugs off their cloaks or coats. He would come and go safely. However, he would also break the ornate pillars or obelisks in the town of Heliopolis, the city of the sun worshipers, which was about 25 miles east of Memphis, 6 mile northeast of Cairo. He would also burn down the Egyptian temples and their gods, as well as tear down other pillars throughout the land of Egypt.

The Israelites in Egypt (Isa 19:18-19:18)

“On that day,

There will be five cities

In the land of Egypt

That speak the language of Canaan.

They swear allegiance

To Yahweh of hosts.

One of these will be called

The City of the Sun.”

This section seems to imply that Israelites had settled in 5 Egyptian cities. We know that they were in Alexandria after the 4th century BCE. Perhaps there were some settlements in the 6th century BCE during the time of the Exile. On other hand, some of these may have been Israelites who never left Egypt when Moses led the Exodus. 5 of these cities in Egypt were speaking Canaanite or a Semitic language, not the Egyptian language. They all swore allegiance to Yahweh. One of these cities was the City of Sun, probably a reference to Heliopolis, which is near present day Cairo.