Posted by: edhensley | June 16, 2012

Ezekiel’s False Prophecy Against Egypt

Ezekiel 29

New International Version (NIV)

A Prophecy Against Egypt

Judgment on Pharaoh

29 In the tenth year, in the tenth month on the twelfth day, the word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, set your face against Pharaoh king of Egypt and prophesy against him and against all Egypt. Speak to him and say: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says:

“‘I am against you, Pharaoh king of Egypt,
    you great monster lying among your streams.
You say, “The Nile belongs to me;
    I made it for myself.”
But I will put hooks in your jaws
    and make the fish of your streams stick to your scales.
I will pull you out from among your streams,
    with all the fish sticking to your scales.
I will leave you in the desert,
    you and all the fish of your streams.
You will fall on the open field
    and not be gathered or picked up.
I will give you as food
    to the beasts of the earth and the birds of the sky.

Then all who live in Egypt will know that I am the Lord.

“‘You have been a staff of reed for the people of Israel. When they grasped you with their hands, you splintered and you tore open their shoulders; when they leaned on you, you broke and their backs were wrenched.[a]

“‘Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I will bring a sword against you and kill both man and beast. Egypt will become a desolate wasteland. Then they will know that I am the Lord.

“‘Because you said, “The Nile is mine; I made it, ” 10 therefore I am against you and against your streams, and I will make the land of Egypt a ruin and a desolate waste from Migdol to Aswan, as far as the border of Cush.[b] 11 The foot of neither man nor beast will pass through it; no one will live there for forty years. 12 I will make the land of Egypt desolateamong devastated lands, and her cities will lie desolate forty years among ruined cities. And I will disperse the Egyptians among the nations and scatter them through the countries.

13 “‘Yet this is what the Sovereign Lord says: At the end of forty years I will gather the Egyptians from the nations where they were scattered. 14 I will bring them back from captivity and return them to Upper Egypt, the land of their ancestry. There they will be a lowly kingdom. 15 It will be the lowliest of kingdoms and will never again exalt itself above the other nations. I will make it so weak that it will never again rule over the nations. 16 Egypt will no longer be a source of confidencefor the people of Israel but will be a reminderof their sin in turning to her for help.Then they will know that I am the Sovereign Lord.’”

  1. Ezekiel 29:7 Syriac (see also Septuagint and Vulgate); Hebrew and you caused their backs to stand
  2. Ezekiel 29:10 That is, the upper Nile region


10 Behold, therefore I am against thee, and against thy rivers, and I will make the land of Egypt utterly waste and desolate, from the tower of Syene even unto the border of Ethiopia.

11 No foot of man shall pass through it, nor foot of beast shall pass through it, neither shall it be inhabited forty years.

This passage is interesting for a number of reasons. First of all, the prophecy has not come true. Egypt has never been uninhabited, especially not for 40 years. There are several ways apologists get around this. Some claim that the prophecy has yet to be fulfilled. Christians making this claim do not realize that this makes any prophecy that does not include an exact date as unfalsifiable.

Others claim that it was not all of Egypt, but only a certain portion of Egypt or other countries (Elephatine, Cush, Ethiopia, etc). They use confusion about verse 10. Notice the extreme differences in the NIV and KJV about the locations listed in verse 10. The NIV says “from Migdol to Aswan, as far as the border of Cush”.  The KJV says “from the tower of Syene even unto the border of Ethiopia”. There are 3 different locations in the NIV (Migdol, Aswan, and Cush) and two different locations in the KJV (Syene and Ethiopia). What is going on here?

Syene is the ancient name for Aswan. Cush and Ethiopia are essentially the same thing. But what about Migdol? Migdol is a term that can mean  tower (from its size or height), an elevated stage (a rostrum or pulpit), or a raised bed (within a river).  So is Migdol a town or a tower? Migdol has been translated both ways. According to the Jewish Encyclopedia, the text should read “from Magdolon [the northern frontier city of Egypt] to Syene [the southern boundary].”  So I will go with the Jewish Encyclopedia that this refers to the northern frontier to southern boundary of Egypt. Verse 2 also says that this prophecy is against all Egypt, not just part of it. But there has never been any part of Egypt that has been uninhabited by people and animals for 40 years.

Apologies for this passage are all over the place, and are evolving. The recent events in Egypt are supposedly fulfilling this prophecy now (,

 I will make a prophecy. 100 years from now there will be Christians claiming that world events are fulfilling biblical prophecies and that the return of Jesus is imminent. I believe that my prophecy has a better chance of coming true than the prophecy in Ezekiel 29.



  1. I’ve just discovered and have enjoyed browsing your page! So very level headed and full of common sense. And your broad knowledge of the subject matter is astounding. Wish I knew all that you knew so when getting into debates with believers I could put so eloquently and intelligently into words what my common sense tells me about the bible. Thanks for sharing!

  2. I think you should remember that the Egyptians often only left historical documentation that they wanted the world to know. For example, the son of Tutmoses 3 and co- regent of Egypt who was out of the country at the time of the exodus stated that “all was well In His realm” on his tomb even though it was a fact that Egypt was destroyed by the plagues sent by God to free the Israelites. Did you know they also found a mummy in the sarcophagus of Tutmoses 3 that was not that of an 80 year old man. Why? Because he was at the bottom of the Red Sea. If there was a forty year period of desolation not recorded in history for us, it would still be a fact. Prophecy is not meant for us to foretell the future but to look back and confirm our faith when it is fulfilled. And might I remind you of the unfulfilled 40 week prophecy given by Jonah? Yet he was not a false prophet but a testimony to the wonderful grace and mercy of our God. Do not lose your faith in the Bible because you cannot document every detail. There is enough fulfilled prophecy to make skeptics believers if they don’t harden their hearts.

    • There are enough errors, evil, nonsense and unfulfilled prophecy in the bible to turn all Christians into skeptics if they don’t close their minds.

      • The Exact opposite is true for Non-christians too. Don’t listen to other people, “Christians or Non-Christians.”; Instead, find out for yourself! Like Socrates said “follow the Truth where ever it may lead you!” Just make sure when you do find the TRUTH, you are ready to accept the truth, whether you “like it or not…”

      • Poke holes, find fault if you will, but please answer me this and tell others why the name of God, that being Jehovah as Recorded in Heb.42:8 Says,” my name is jehovah” which has been recorded in scriptures of old some 7,000 times and in the book of Ezekiel some 265 times, more than in any other book saying, “the nations will have to know that my name is Jehovah”
        His Holy name dishonored by being replaced with, “Lord, or God”, which everyone should know is a title.
        How can anyone know the mind of Jehovah, true some things spoken of when taken literally to some makes no sense.
        Faith is a virtue, that is if you truly believe a creator made all we see, if not then minds of those who doubt will endlessly search to find fault to suit their own way of reason
        Heb. 11:6 without faith it is impossible to please God.

      • Faith is a virtue, that is if you truly believe a creator made all we see,

        Those who flew planes into the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, agree with you completely!

  3. as espoused by common practice in the Christian world, the author is fully entitled to his views. Personally, I strongly believe in Ezekiel 29; (just as I do in the entire bible). today, does Egypt not say “…the nile belongs to me”? and does egypt not dare any upstream countries of military invasion were they to commercially use the waters of the nile? truely truely, going by Ezekiel, Egypt’s is nothing but empty “claims’, nothing but “threats”. If I were to re-frame Ezekiel 29; I would write ” …..Egypt will never win a war with any other nation”. I’m sure ethiopia knows that. Back to the author, I’ll expect the best way for him to discredit Ezekiel 29 would have been for him to tell us which country Egypt has ever ruled upon in the recent history, or which external war it has ever won? talk of the bible…. the only book known to literally germinate!

    • In Ezekiel 29, the prophet speaking for god clearly states about Egypt, “The foot of neither man nor beast will pass through it; no one will live there for forty years. ” This has never happened, therefore the prophecy is false. No amount of rewriting by you can make this prophecy true. You are exactly like fundamentalist Muslims who claim the Koran is prophetic.

  4. Why not find out for yourself, the Truth by yourself, instead of listening to other ppl? Like Socrates said: “follow the Truth where ever it may lead you.” Don’t just accept writings from either “Christians or Non-Christians.” Find out the TRUTH, by yourself. Just make sure, when you do find out the truth, be READY TO ACCEPT THE TRUTH, whether you like it or not. Cheers!

  5. What do you folks think about this interpretation. Do you really think a 40 year period during this time frame would be so well-recorded? I don’t believe actual evidence could totally prove or disprove this prophecy. As a matter of Faith I do believe in all the bible, and if I’m wrong, I will rot ever so quietly and unknowingly until global warming, scarce resourses and nuclear war bring all humanity to the atheistic empty ending of life and existence. 😆

    • If there were a period of total desolation where “The foot of neither man nor beast will pass through it; no one will live there for forty years”, then yes, this would be expected to be found in the historical record. Unfortunately for biblical literalists, no such record exists. In fact, history records activities in Egypt during the periods referenced by your link.

      Most telling about your link is its extreme reliance and demand on an argument from authority.

      “What will you accept? The chronology of secular historians who mould the Bible to fit their chronology, making inspired prophecies fail? Or will you accept the complete and harmonious Biblical chronology, which gives us a time-line without contradictions, showing the total fulfillment of every prophecy Jehovah gave us? Will you judge the accuracy of secular chronology against the occasions where it agrees with the Bible, or will you only judge the Bible correct if the secular evidence happens to agree with it?”

      When then Koran states that coins were used during ancient Egypt, secular scholars note that this is an error and Christians agree. The term shekel in the Old Testament refers to a weight, not a coin, while the Koran specifically mentions coins. Muslim apologists go to great lengths to explain this, and some have even claimed in 2009 that scarab shells with engravings on them are actually coins with Joseph ‘s picture on them. Despite numerous problems with these claims fundamentalist Christians were publishing this Muslim propaganda in 2009 (see After realizing that many Christians were swallowing this Muslim propaganda hook, line, and sinker, more responsible Christian organizations started publishing warnings about the scarab-shell-coin claims (see

      In summary, Muslims should not accept a claim just because it validates an apparent problem with the Koran. Likewise, Christians should not accept a claim just because it validates an apparent problem with the Bible. The evidence should be permitted to speak for itself without spin from apologists of any religion.


    • This battle in no way fulfills this false biblical prophecy. There is no record of Egypt being completely uninhabited for 40 years. The link you sight says that Jeremiah and 2 Chronicles reference the battle, and even these sources do not record 40 years of Egypt being uninhabited. I might add that these books occur in the bible before Ezekiel (I recognize the bible is not always in chronological order). So your reference clearly does not support a 40 year period of Egypt being uninhabited.

  7. who are you edhensley..God???

    • No, and I never claimed to be.

  8. One day everyone will know the Truth, and I pray I make it to Eternity with Jesus. I can’t see how anyone would want to spend Eternity with anyone else but our Lord and King. No matter what anyone does to try and prove that God’s Word is not the Truth In my heart it is the truth. I am just thankful I am not being forced to believe in Jesus. Robots not allowed.

  9. Well they did got it from Yahweh the troublemaker and lier. What? A troublemaker and a lier? No way. Yes way. That what Yahweh means.

  10. But Egypt was uninhabited after king Nebuchadrezzar sacked it in 526 BC. There was a fourty year time span when the Egyptians were dispersed among the existing nations just as Ezekiel prophesied. Many unscholarly people believe that Ezekiel 39:6 was falsely prophesied because the tower of Syene never fell. However, the prophecy was pertaining to the people, not the tower.

    It is dangerous when people error in truth. Not one Bible prophecy has ever been wrong. But God Almighty will send a strong delusion to those who love the pleasures of unrighteousnes more than the truth of God’s Word. They will reap the fruits of their evil deeds when they die and go to hell.

    • You are dead wrong. No historian or archaeologist has ever documented a 40 year period when “The foot of neither man nor beast will pass through it; no one will live there for forty years. ” Apologists are so divided on this that they about half have multiple periods where this supposedly occurs (contradicting each other) and the other half admits it has not happened yet but believe it will happen in the future. When all bible scholars come to an agreement on this prophecy, then they could possibly defend it.

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