Ezekiel 29:3 Speak these words: Thus said the Sovereign GOD: I am going to deal with you, O Pharaoh king of Egypt, Mighty monster, sprawling in your channels, Who said, My Nile is my own; I made it [for] myself.

*Bereshit Rabbah 100:1 “Know that the Lord is God” (Psalms 100:3) – Rabbi Yehuda bar Simon and Rabbi Aḥa, Rabbi Yehuda bar Simon said: “Know that the Lord is God, He made us, and we did not [velo]” (Psalms 100:3) create ourselves, unlike Pharaoh, who said: “My river is mine and I made myself” (Ezekiel 29:3). Rabbi Aḥa said: “Know that the Lord is God, He made us and to Him [velo]” we devote ourselves.

Midrash Tanchuma Buber, Vaera 8:1 Another interpretation (of Exod. 7:1) SEE, I HAVE SET YOU AS A GOD TO PHARAOH. The Holy One said: Because he made himself into a god, they informed him that he was nothing in the world. See, I have made you a god over him. And where is it shown that Pharaoh made himself into a god? Where it is stated (of Pharaoh in Ezek. 29:3): {BECAUSE HE} [WHO] SAID {THE} [MY] NILE IS MY OWN, AND I MADE MYSELF. I am the one who created myself.*

Why did the midrash interpret the words of the pharaoh in the verse as "I made myself - created myself" instead of " I made it (the river) myself." ?

  • 1
    Basic Hebrew. "I made it" would be asitiv. The word here is quite literally "I made myself", asitini.
    – Shalom
    Commented May 2 at 16:24
  • @shalom. Do you believe that "I made myself" to be a reference to the river, or the pharaoh himself ( creating himself without a need for G-d)?
    – Saul57
    Commented May 2 at 17:54

1 Answer 1


The wording is וַאֲנִי עֲשִׂיתִנִי which means "I formed myself" (it is a poetic contraction of עשיתי אותי, I made myself).

Translations (Koren, JPS, Kaplan), in order to fit with the rest of the verse, infer a hidden "it". I made [it] myself. Some imagine that ואני is really ולי - for me, as in "I made [it] for me". This is not a simple reading though. Artscroll translates it as "I made myself [powerful]" after Rashi.

The commentators split up the pasuk into two parts. Firstly, "My River is my own", and secondly, separately, "I made myself" (which could also mean, via simple meaning, that I am a self-made man, rather than I created myself, without God's help).

The only way that would have been the simple meaning would have been if it had said ולי, or עשיתיו (or עשיתיהו) instead of עשיתני.

  • Thank you. so by a simple reading of the verse, one may understand it both ways : ( I formed the river by myself) or ( I formed my own body by myself) ?
    – Saul57
    Commented May 2 at 17:38
  • @Saul57 see my edit
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Commented May 2 at 18:12
  • thanx for the helpful answer. so the midrash, inferred the divinity of pharaoh, only by the word "I made myself"or also by the word "My River is my own" ? owning the river might be a hint for divinity as well?
    – Saul57
    Commented May 2 at 18:29
  • 2
    @Saul57 it certainly reeks of self-deification. See Rashi on the pasuk
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Commented May 2 at 18:49

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .