Ezekiel chapter 31

Ezekiel shares an allegory of mighty Assyria as a cedar tree. He foresees its fall and descent into the grave.

 


 

AN ALLEGORY OF MIGHTY ASSYRIA AS A CEDAR TREE

 

VERSE 1. In the eleventh year, in the third month, in the first day of the month, The LORD’s word came to me, saying,

eleventh year … third month .. first day. That was June 21, 587 BC.

 

VERSE 2. “Son of man, tell Pharaoh king of Egypt, and his multitude: ‘Whom are you like in your greatness?

tell Pharaoh king of Egypt. This message is addressed to Pharaoh king of Egypt and to his hordes.

Whom are you like in your greatness? Ezekiel asks this rhetorically.

 

VERSE 3. Behold, the Assyrian was a cedar in Lebanon with beautiful branches, and with a forest-like shade, of high stature; and its top was among the thick boughs.

Behold, the Assyrian. Ezekiel compares Egypt with Assyria. This would have been meaningful to Egypt for two reasons:

First reason. In 633 BC Assyria had invaded Egypt and destroyed the capital city of Thebes.

Second reason. Assyria had been destroyed by Babylon, the same nation Ezekiel said would enter Egypt and destroy it.

 

VERSE 4. The waters nourished it. The deep made it to grow. Its rivers ran all around its plantation; and it sent out its channels to all the trees of the field.

 

VERSE 5. Therefore its stature was exalted above all the trees of the field; and its boughs were multiplied. Its branches became long by reason of many waters, when it spread them out.

 

VERSE 6. All the birds of the sky made their nests in its boughs. Under its branches, all the animals of the field gave birth to their young. All great nations lived under its shadow.

 

VERSE 7. Thus it was beautiful in its greatness, in the length of its branches; for its root was by many waters.

 

VERSE 8. The cedars in the garden of God could not hide it. The cypress trees were not like its boughs. The pine trees were not as its branches; nor was any tree in the garden of God like it in its beauty.

 

VERSE 9. I made it beautiful by the multitude of its branches, so that all the trees of Eden, that were in the garden of God, envied it.’

 

EZEKIEL FORESEES THE FALL OF ASSYRIA

 

VERSE 10. “Therefore thus said the Lord GOD: ‘Because you are exalted in stature, and he has set his top among the thick boughs, and his heart is lifted up in his height;

you are exalted in stature. Assyria fell because of its own pride.

 

VERSE 11. I will even deliver him into the hand of the mighty one of the nations. He will surely deal with him. I have driven him out for his wickedness.

I will even deliver him. The LORD God would hand Assyria over to the ruler of the nations. That person was Nebuchadnezzar.

 

VERSE 12. Strangers, the tyrants of the nations, have cut him off, and have left him. His branches have fallen on the mountains and in all the valleys and his boughs are broken by all the watercourses of the land. All the peoples of the earth have gone down from his shadow, and have left him.

tyrants of the nations. The most ruthless of all nations was Babylon.

 

VERSE 13. All the birds of the sky will dwell on his ruin, and all the animals of the field will be on his branches;

 

VERSE 14. to the end that none of all the trees by the waters exalt themselves in their stature, and don’t set their top among the thick boughs. Their mighty ones don’t stand up on their height, even all who drink water; for they are all delivered to death, to the lower parts of the earth, among the children of men, with those who go down to the pit.’

 

EZEKIEL FORESEES ASSYRIA DESCEND INTO THE GRAVE

 

VERSE 15. “The Lord GOD says: ‘In the day when he went down to Sheol I caused a mourning. I covered the deep for him, and I restrained its rivers. The great waters were stopped. I caused Lebanon to mourn for him, and all the trees of the field fainted for him.

I caused Lebanon to mourn for him. The nations mourned the fall of Assyria.

 

VERSE 16. I made the nations to shake at the sound of his fall, when I cast him down to Sheol with those who descend into the pit. All the trees of Eden, the choice and best of Lebanon, all that drink water, were comforted in the lower parts of the earth.

I cast him down to Sheol. In the Old Testament,  שְׁאוֹל‎ Šʾôl (“She’ol”) is a place of darkness to which all the dead go, both the righteous and the unrighteous, regardless of the moral choices they made in life. It was a place of stillness and darkness cut off from life and from the LORD God.

 

VERSE 17. They also went down into Sheol with him to those who are slain by the sword; yes, those who were his arm, who lived under his shadow in the middle of the nations.

 

VERSE 18. “ ‘To whom are you thus like in glory and in greatness among the trees of Eden? Yet you will be brought down with the trees of Eden to the lower parts of the earth. You will lie in the middle of the uncircumcised, with those who are slain by the sword. “ ‘This is Pharaoh and all his multitude,’ says the Lord GOD.”

 


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