New Defender's Study Bible Notes
32:1 twelfth year. This prophecy, continuing the theme of the preceding one, was given almost two years later (see Ezekiel 31:1).
32:2 a whale in the seas. Egypt was also called “the great dragon that lieth in the midst of his rivers” (Ezekiel 29:3). “Whale” and “dragon” are essentially from the same Hebrew word. Modern translators and commentators commonly render the word as “crocodile,” but the descriptions of these animals in the many verses referring to them indicate rather that they were now-extinct animals, something comparable to the fierce plesiosaurs.
32:17 fifteenth day. The prophecy of Ezekiel 32:17-32 was given just two weeks after that of Ezekiel 32:1-16. It is the last and most awesome of the seven prophecies of Ezekiel against Egypt (see note on Ezekiel 29:1).
32:18 into the pit. The “pit,” as used six times in this chapter (and frequently elsewhere in the prophets) is clearly synonymous with “the nether parts of the earth” (also in Ezekiel 32:24) and with “hell” (Ezekiel 32:21,27). The latter word is from the Hebrew sheol, equivalent in the Greek to hades. In this context, all these words and phrases apply to the great bottomless pit at the center of the earth, where the souls of the lost are awaiting the final judgment.
32:21 the midst of hell. When he descended into hell, Pharaoh encountered multitudes of lost souls that had preceded him. As examples, this remarkable chapter lists a catalog of some of the “forefathers”—such men as Asshur, Elam, Meshech, Tubal, Edom and Zidon—representatives from all three branches of Noah’s descendants—with all their multitudes. All of these, including the Egyptians, had come from a godly ancestor, but had long ago become apostate. This passage is important in its confirmation that “broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat” (Matthew 7:13). It is a serious and dangerous thing to reject our Creator.
32:23 Whose graves. The bodies of the lost are in graves, whereas their souls are in “hell” (Hebrew sheol). These graves are “in the sides of the pit” or “round about” the pit (Ezekiel 32:25-26)—that is, in the crust of the earth which surrounds the great pit at its center. Bodies and souls will be reunited at the great judgment. See notes on Daniel 12:2 and Revelation 20:13.