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I have read in Ezechiel 29:12-15 that

"And I will make the land of Egypt desolate in the midst of the countries that are desolate, and her cities among the cities that are laid waste shall be desolate forty years; and I will scatter the Egyptians among the nations, and will disperse them through the countries. Yet thus saith the Lord GOD: At the end of forty years will I gather the Egyptians from the peoples whither they were scattered; and I will turn the captivity of Egypt, and will cause them to return into the land of Pathros, into the land of their origin; and they shall be there a lowly kingdom. It shall be the lowliest of the kingdoms; neither shall it any more lift itself up above the nations; and I will diminish them, that they shall no more rule over the nations."

Has this prophecy already been fulfilled? If yes, when and how?

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up vote 7 down vote accepted

According to Abarbanel, the several prophecies in Chapters 29-32 of Ezekiel are all concerning the future of Egypt (the future from Ezekiel's perspective), but they will not all happen at the same time. The first prophecies were realized during the reign of Nebuchadnezzar and his conquering Egypt, and the later prophecies will be realized before the coming of the Messiah.

The verses you quoted are from the first prophesy about Egypt, and thus Abarbanel interprets them as referring to when Nebuchadnezzar conquered Egypt, which is more clearly related in the subsequent (but connected) prophesy (29:19).

Nebuchadnezzar conquered Egypt and exiled its inhabitants such that they were "scattered among the nations" and Egypt "laid waste and was desolate" for 40 years. The calculation of 40 years is: 18 remaining years of Nebuchadnezzar's reign + 22 years of his son's reign.

After that began Belshazzar's reign, at the beginning of which Daniel's prophesy occurred, and then the Egyptians began to return to their homeland, fulfilling verse 13. However, the "new Egypt" was never again as powerful as it was originally, warranting a description as a "lowly kingdom" in verse 14, and even as "the lowliest of the kingdoms" in verse 15.

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thank you very much for this nice answer. –  jabal May 26 '11 at 7:56
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