Problem: Nebuchadnezzar didn't take Egypt
Verses: Ezekiel 29:17-19; Status: Minor

According to Ezekiel, God wanted to reward King Nebuchadnezzar for his efforts against Tyre. This is Ezekiel 29:17-19:

In the twenty-seventh year, in the first month, on the first day of the month, the word of the LORD came to me: "Son of man, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon made his army labor hard against Tyre. Every head was made bald, and every shoulder was rubbed bare, yet neither he nor his army got anything from Tyre to pay for the labor that he had performed against her. Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I will give the land of Egypt to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon; and he shall carry off its wealth and despoil it and plunder it; and it shall be the wages for his army. (ESV)

Problem: as far as we know, Nebuchadnezzar never did conquer Egypt.

The Grace Thru Faith website makes the extraordinary claim that this passage refers to the Battle of Carchemish of 605 B.C., in which Nebuchadnezzar defeated the Egyptian army. But this is absurd, since that battle was before, not after, the siege of Tyre - which concluded around 573 B.C.

According to the NIV Study Bible, the date Ezekiel received the prophecy was April 26, 571 B.C. Plainly then, this prophecy cannot apply to any event before that date. It's known that Nebuchadnezzar did attack Egypt around 568 B.C., but that attack was evidently not particularly successful.

Unfortunately, the history of these events is a bit hazy, so I suppose it's vaguely possible that Nebuchadnezzar achieved some great victory over Egypt that we don't know about.

Updated: Summer 2008

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