And it came to pass in the eleventh year, in the third month
, in the first day
of the month, that
the word of the LORD
came unto me, saying,
This very beautiful chapter relates also to Egypt. The prophet
describes to Pharaoh the fall of the king of Nineveh, (see the
books of Nahum, Jonah, and Zephaniah,) under the image of a
fair cedar of Lebanon, once exceedingly tall, flourishing, and
majestic, but now cut down and withered, with its broken
branches strewed around, 1-17.
He then concludes with bringing the matter home to the king of
Egypt, by telling him that this was a picture of his
approaching fate, 18.
The beautiful cedar of Lebanon, remarkable for its loftiness,
and in the most flourishing condition, but afterwards cut down
and deserted, gives a very lately painting of the great glory
and dreadful catastrophe of both the Assyrian and Egyptian
monarchies. The manner in which the prophet has embellished his
subject is deeply interesting; the colouring is of that kind
which the mind will always contemplate with pleasure.
NOTES ON CHAP. XXXI
Verse 1. In the eleventh year
] On Sunday
, June 19, A.M. 3416,
according to Abp. Usher; a month
before Jerusalem was taken by the
Son of man, speak unto Pharaoh king of Egypt, and to his multitude; Whom art thou like in thy greatness?
¶ Behold, the Assyrian was
a cedar in Lebanon with fair branches, and with a shadowing shroud, and of an high stature; and his top was among the thick boughs.a
Verse 3. Behold, the Assyrian
was a cedar
] Why is the Assyrian
introduced here, when the whole chapter concerns Egypt
? Bp. Lowth
has shown that ashshur erez
should be translated the tall cedar, the very stately cedar
; hence there is reference to his lofty top
; and all the following description belongs to Egypt
not to Assyria
. But see on Eze 31:11
The waters made him great, the deep set him up on high with her rivers running round about his plants, and sent out her little rivers unto all the trees of the field.b, c, d
Verse 4. The waters made him great
] Alluding to the fertility of
Egypt by the overflowing of the Nile
. But waters
often mean peoples
. By means of the different nations under the Egyptians,
that government became very opulent. These nations are represented
, taking shelter under the protection of this
great political Egyptian tree, Eze 31:6
Therefore his height was exalted above all the trees of the field, and his boughs were multiplied, and his branches became long because of the multitude of waters, when he shot forth.e
All the fowls of heaven made their nests in his boughs, and under his branches did all the beasts of the field bring forth their young, and under his shadow dwelt all great nations.
Thus was he fair in his greatness, in the length of his branches: for his root was by great waters.
The cedars in the garden of God could not hide him: the fir trees were not like his boughs, and the chesnut trees were not like his branches; nor any tree in the garden of God was like unto him in his beauty.
Verse 8. The cedars in the garden of God
] Egypt was one of the
most eminent and affluent of all the neighbouring nations.
I have made him fair by the multitude of his branches: so that all the trees of Eden, that were
in the garden of God, envied him.
¶ Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD
; Because thou hast lifted up thyself in height, and he hath shot up his top among the thick boughs, and his heart is lifted up in his height;
I have therefore delivered him into the hand of the mighty one of the heathen; he shall surely deal with him: I have driven him out for his wickedness.f
Verse 11. The mighty one of the heathen
] Nebuchadnezzar. It is
worthy of notice, that Nebuchadnezzar, in the first
year of his
reign, rendered himself master of Nineveh
, the capital of the Assyrian
empire. See Sedar Olam
. This happened about twenty
years before Ezekiel delivered this prophecy; on this account, Ashshur
, Eze 31:3
, may relate to the Assyrians
, to whom it is possible the prophet here compares the
Egyptians. But see on Eze 31:3
And strangers, the terrible of the nations, have cut him off, and have left him: upon the mountains and in all the valleys his branches are fallen, and his boughs are broken by all the rivers of the land; and all the people of the earth are gone down from his shadow, and have left him.
Upon his ruin shall all the fowls of the heaven remain, and all the beasts of the field shall be upon his branches:
Verse 13. Upon his ruin shall all the fowls
] The fall of Egypt
is likened to the fall of a great tree; and as the fowls and
beasts sheltered under its branches before, Eze 31:6
, so they now
feed upon its ruins.
To the end that none of all the trees by the waters exalt themselves for their height, neither shoot up their top among the thick boughs, neither their trees stand up in their height, all that drink water: for they are all delivered unto death, to the nether parts of the earth, in the midst of the children of men, with them that go down to the pit.g
Verse 14. To the end that none of all the trees
] Let this ruin,
fallen upon Egypt, teach all the nations that shall hear of it to
, because, however elevated
, God can soon bring them
down; and pride
, either in states
have the peculiar abhorrence of God. Pride does not suit the sons
of men; it made devils of angels
, and makes fiends of men
Thus saith the Lord GOD
; In the day when he went down to the grave I caused a mourning: I covered the deep for him, and I restrained the floods thereof, and the great waters were stayed: and I caused Lebanon to mourn for him, and all the trees of the field fainted for him.h
Verse 15. I caused Lebanon to mourn for him
] All the
confederates of Pharaoh are represented as deploring his fall, Eze 31:16, 17
I made the nations to shake at the sound of his fall, when I cast him down to hell with them that descend into the pit: and all the trees of Eden, the choice and best of Lebanon, all that drink water, shall be comforted in the nether parts of the earth.
They also went down into hell with him unto them that be
slain with the sword; and they that were
his arm, that
dwelt under his shadow in the midst of the heathen.
Verse 17. They also went down into hell with him
] Into remediless destruction
¶ To whom art thou thus like in glory and in greatness among the trees of Eden? yet shalt thou be brought down with the trees of Eden unto the nether parts of the earth: thou shalt lie in the midst of the uncircumcised with them that be
slain by the sword. This is
Pharaoh and all his multitude, saith the Lord GOD
Verse 18. This
] All that I have spoken in this
allegory of the lofty cedar
refers to Pharaoh
, king of Egypt, his
princes, confederates, and people. Calmet
understands the whole
chapter of the king of Assyria
, under which he allows that Egypt
is adumbrated; and hence on this verse he quotes,-
Mutato nomine, de te fabula narratur.
What is said of Assyria belongs to thee, O Egypt.