A lament over Pharaoh. It talks about him as a water monster flailing on land and being picked at by birds and bits of flesh carried out and around. It’s not literal or personal, it’s about the dissipation and weakening of the Pharaoh’s power.
The old testament prophesies are so often political, the grisly metaphors of death and destruction are not as deadly when they work out as they may sound. God’s bark as often not as bad as his bight.
It’s often tough love, about shattering pride and prosperity that has undermined people’s spirituality.
I continue to worry about our church on that score. We’ve got this property deal happening this year that will comfort us financially but take the pressure off relying on God as much.
The end of the passage talks about the pit, about Egyptian fallen warriors being cast down there and meeting all the other nations who were mighty: the Assyrians, Meshak,Tubal, Elam. Forgotten powers.
The pit is sheol, the dark shrouded nothing that the old testament describes as the afterlife. Souls still exist, but God has revealed nothing much of what will become of them, except hints in the Psalms and a few other places. In the earlier books, like job and genesis, god’s blessing is mainly seen in terms of earthly blessing.
I was struck though, that even the pit wasn’t oblivion. The souls are still eternal. The passage even has a weird word “consolation” in there as the fallen warriors realise they are there with many others, even though it’s an awful fate.
It’s not atheism, because of eternity perhaps. We don’t just happen and disappear without trace, we are intentionally created and once god has created something, it is a forever universe event.
We are a unique act of God, we bear his imprint. With hearts that can love and do evil, and spark our minds to imagine eternity.
There it is, even in this bleak passage, a hope so fundamental to my thinking.