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FRAMEWORKS: Ezekiel 31: Prophecy, Part 5, against Egypt


[Preliminary Comment: The single prophecy of this passage comes as a poem that follows an initial question asking Pharoah to compare his greatness with that of other great kingdoms [v.1,2]. The poem describes Assyria, that had been a great and powerful kingdom, to one of the mighty trees, the cedars, of Lebanon [v.3-9] yet because of her pride the Lord had allowed Assyria to be brought down [v.10-14] and even though others had watched, wondered, and understood [v.15-17] it nevertheless happened. Thus Egypt will also fall [v.19]. It is a warning to Pharaoh not to think he is so great that he is impregnable.]



v.1,2 The FIFTH word asks Pharaoh an interesting question


v.1  In the eleventh year, in the third month on the first day, [5] the word of the Lord came to me:

v.2  ‘Son of man, say to Pharaoh king of Egypt and to his hordes:

‘“Who can be compared with you in majesty?

[Notes: The word initially seems to extol Pharaoh but invites him to compare himself to the greatness of others. This is still 587BC]



v.3-9 Consider how great Assyria had once appeared


v.3  Consider Assyria, once a cedar in Lebanon,
    with beautiful branches overshadowing the forest;
it towered on high,
    its top above the thick foliage.
v.4  The waters nourished it,
    deep springs made it grow tall;
their streams flowed
    all around its base
and sent their channels
    to all the trees of the field.
v.So it towered higher
    than all the trees of the field;
its boughs increased
    and its branches grew long,
    spreading because of abundant waters.
v.6  All the birds of the sky
    nested in its boughs,
all the wild animals
    gave birth under its branches;
all the great nations
    lived in its shade.
v.It was majestic in beauty,
    with its spreading boughs,
for its roots went down
    to abundant waters.
v.8  The cedars in the garden of God
    could not rival it,
nor could the junipers
    equal its boughs,
nor could the plane trees
    compare with its branches –
no tree in the garden of God
    could match its beauty.
v.9  I made it beautiful
    with abundant branches,
the envy of all the trees of Eden
    in the garden of God.


[Notes: Assyria was compared to one of the great and famous cedars of Lebanon, standing out above all others in strength and beauty. Implied – is this how you are Egypt?]



v.10-14 Because of pride, the Lord had allowed Assyria to be brought down


v.10  ‘“Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says: because the great cedar towered over the thick foliage, and because it was proud of its height,

v.11  I gave it into the hands of the ruler of the nations, for him to deal with according to its wickedness. I cast it aside,

v.12  and the most ruthless of foreign nations cut it down and left it. Its boughs fell on the mountains and in all the valleys; its branches lay broken in all the ravines of the land. All the nations of the earth came out from under its shade and left it.

v.13  All the birds settled on the fallen tree, and all the wild animals lived among its branches.

v.14  Therefore no other trees by the waters are ever to tower proudly on high, lifting their tops above the thick foliage. No other trees so well-watered are ever to reach such a height; they are all destined for death, for the earth below, among mortals who go down to the realm of the dead.


[Notes: Nineveh had fallen at the hands of invading hordes in 609 BC roughly twenty years earlier. Because of its pride, the Lord had allowed it to be brought right down by other powerful nations.]



v.15-18 When Assyria fell, others understood, Egypt will fall


v.15  ‘“ This is what the Sovereign Lord says : on the day it was brought down to the realm of the dead I covered the deep springs with mourning for it; I held back its streams, and its abundant waters were restrained. Because of it I clothed Lebanon with gloom, and all the trees of the field withered away.

v.16  I made the nations tremble at the sound of its fall when I brought it down to the realm of the dead to be with those who go down to the pit. Then all the trees of Eden, the choicest and best of Lebanon, the well-watered trees, were consoled in the earth below.

v.17  They too, like the great cedar, had gone down to the realm of the dead, to those killed by the sword, along with the armed men who lived in its shade among the nations.

v.18  ‘“Which of the trees of Eden can be compared with you in splendour and majesty? Yet you, too, will be brought down with the trees of Eden to the earth below; you will lie among the uncircumcised, with those killed by the sword.

‘“This is Pharaoh and all his hordes, declares the Sovereign Lord.”'


[Notes: The surrounding lands who had similarly fallen, understood and felt for Assyria [but it didn't stop it happening] and so likewise Egypt you WILL fall.]



Continue to Chapter 32