Freedom had been hunted round the globe; reason was considered as rebellion; and the slavery of fear had made men afraid to think. But such is the irresistible nature of truth, that all it asks, and all it wants, is the liberty of appearing.
~ Thomas Paine, Rights of Man, 1791 ~

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Another Failed Prophecy: The scattering of Egypt?

I recently came across this passage in Ezekiel 30:
"Therefore this is what the sovereign Lord says: Look, I am against Pharaoh king of Egypt, and I will break his arms, the strong arm and the broken one, and I will make the sword drop from his hand. I will scatter the Egyptians among the nations, and disperse them among foreign countries."
Ezekiel 30:22-23 NET (Emphasis mine)
So...when did that happen?

The prophecy is given a fairly precise date in verse 20:
"In the eleventh year, in the first month, on the seventh day of the month"
This is 587BCE, the same year that Jerusalem was taken by Nebuchadnezzar. See also Ezekiel 26:1 and 2 Kings 25:2 for reference on the date.

The prophecy is repeated in verse 26, also with reference to the king of Babylon:
"I will strengthen the arms of the king of Babylon, but the arms of Pharaoh will fall limp. Then they will know that I am the Lord when I place my sword in the hand of the king of Babylon and he extends it against the land of Egypt. I will scatter the Egyptians among the nations and disperse them among foreign countries."
Ezekiel 30:26 NET

If such an event really did happen, history appears to be pretty silent on it.
But history tells us something else instead. Egypt continued to be inhabited, by Egyptians.

Verse 26 continues...
"Then they will know that I am the Lord"
Er... still future?


  1. (I posted as "anonymous" because I don't have a Google account or an url to give you, but I only have an email account.)

    I, Charles81, posted about this problem on the Christadelphian Forum in 2013.

    Mark Taunton opined that there was no problem here, and that the "the prophecy was perfectly accurate," This led to a discussion of his theory about Tyre, which he had written a couple of papers on. So then Mr. Taunton and I had an extended debate that ended with his leaving without his responding to my final objections. (These are to be found near the end of page 3.)


    1. I've posted about the Ezekiel 29 prophecy in another article, several years ago.

      I also followed it up with a second article last year, after reading a suggested answer by a Christadelphian.

      I remember having a quick skim over that forum discussion back in 2014 after you commented on this article on Tyre. I saw nothing in that discussion that would call any aspect of my article into question, and indeed even though my article was linked on that forum, no one responded to it. That's disappointing because I am pretty certain they disagree with my article. If there's some information I missed, I'd like to check it out.

      I'm primarily concerned with what really happened and about how much we can know about what really happened. Any claim that a prophecy was fulfilled needs to meet a burden of proof before anyone should take it seriously. Prophecies are not automatically true until proven false. They need to be demonstrated to be true, otherwise they're worthless. I don't think that has happened with any Bible prophecy. I've written articles for cases where it seems we actually have enough information to conclude that the prophecies failed. That carries a burden of proof too, and I think I have achieved that.

      It seems that believers need to deny some chunk of accepted history in order to maintain a belief in the accuracy of their text. I can only imagine what they would say about non-believers if we did the same...

    2. Steve, you should know that the Bible is the best attested historical document around (by number of copies), so you are already condemned for rejecting even the smallest historical detail from it.
      (my favourite response that I've read to this is "If a cheap thriller is popular and more copies survive, does that mean future generations should believe it and continue to copy it?")

  2. Just to be clear about my position, I agree with Steve Pryde's above comments. By citing that forum discussion I was not challenging them. I cited that forum discussion because it’s possible that Mark Taunton might someday show up somewhere online and again comment on these issues. If he ever does I want to insure that people are aware of and that he addresses the objections I raised. I don’t want people to have to reinvent the wheel. In that forum discussion he left at the end by saying he was ill-disposed in some ill-defined sort of way. He also implied that he could answer my objections, but that I was simply being obstinate, and also that I had misquoted him to manufacture evidence. I invited him to explain how I had misquoted him, but to no avail. It appears, given the length of time involved, that he simply couldn’t answer my objections and was unwilling to admit this. So it seems that his interpretation of Tyre, and by similar reasoning, Hophra, must be wrong.

    Charles 81


Comments will be moderated. Please keep comments on topic.

Please do not comment as "Anonymous" (use "Name/URL" instead - the URL is optional). If you wish to remain anonymous, just use a fake name. That way it makes it easier to track who is replying to whom.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.