Egypt on Fire

30 1-5 God, the Master, spoke to me: “Son of man, preach. Give them the Message of God, the Master. Wail:

    Time’s up!
    God’s big day of judgment is near.
Thick clouds are rolling in.
    It’s doomsday for the nations.
Death will rain down on Egypt.
    Terror will paralyze Ethiopia
When they see the Egyptians killed,
    their wealth hauled off,
    their foundations demolished,
And Ethiopia, Put, Lud, Arabia, Libya
    —all of Egypt’s old allies—
    killed right along with them.

6-8 “‘God says:

“‘Egypt’s allies will fall
    and her proud strength will collapse—
From Migdol in the north to Syene in the south,
    a great slaughter in Egypt!
    Decree of God, the Master.
Egypt, most desolate of the desolate,
    her cities wasted beyond wasting,
Will realize that I am God
    when I burn her down
    and her helpers are knocked flat.

“‘When that happens, I’ll send out messengers by ship to sound the alarm among the easygoing Ethiopians. They’ll be terrorized. Egypt’s doomed! Judgment’s coming!

10-12 “‘God, the Master, says:

“‘I’ll put a stop to Egypt’s arrogance.
    I’ll use Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon to do it.
He and his army, the most brutal of nations,
    shall be used to destroy the country.
They’ll brandish their swords
    and fill Egypt with corpses.
I’ll dry up the Nile
    and sell off the land to a bunch of crooks.
I’ll hire outsiders to come in
    and waste the country, strip it clean.
    I, God, have said so.

13-19 “‘And now this is what God, the Master, says:

“‘I’ll smash all the no-god idols;
    I’ll topple all those huge statues in Memphis.
The prince of Egypt will be gone for good,
    and in his place I’ll put fear—fear throughout Egypt!
I’ll demolish Pathros,
    burn Zoan to the ground, and punish Thebes,
Pour my wrath on Pelusium, Egypt’s fort,
    and knock Thebes off its proud pedestal.
I’ll set Egypt on fire:
    Pelusium will writhe in pain,
Thebes blown away,
    Memphis raped.
The young warriors of On and Pi-beseth
    will be killed and the cities exiled.
A dark day for Tahpanhes
    when I shatter Egypt,
When I break Egyptian power
    and put an end to her arrogant oppression!
She’ll disappear in a cloud of dust,
    her cities hauled off as exiles.
That’s how I’ll punish Egypt,
    and that’s how she’ll realize that I am God.’”

* * *

20 In the eleventh year, on the seventh day of the first month, God’s Message came to me:

21 “Son of man, I’ve broken the arm of Pharaoh king of Egypt. And look! It hasn’t been set. No splint has been put on it so the bones can knit and heal, so he can use a sword again.

22-26 “Therefore, God, the Master, says, I am dead set against Pharaoh king of Egypt and will go ahead and break his other arm—both arms broken! There’s no way he’ll ever swing a sword again. I’ll scatter Egyptians all over the world. I’ll make the arms of the king of Babylon strong and put my sword in his hand, but I’ll break the arms of Pharaoh and he’ll groan like one who is mortally wounded. I’ll make the arms of the king of Babylon strong, but the arms of Pharaoh shall go limp. The Egyptians will realize that I am God when I place my sword in the hand of the king of Babylon. He’ll wield it against Egypt and I’ll scatter Egyptians all over the world. Then they’ll realize that I am God.”

The Funeral of the Big Tree

31 1-9 In the eleventh year, on the first day of the third month, God’s Message came to me: “Son of man, tell Pharaoh king of Egypt, that pompous old goat:

“‘Who do you, astride the world,
    think you really are?
Look! Assyria was a Big Tree, huge as a Lebanon cedar,
    beautiful limbs offering cool shade,
Skyscraper high,
    piercing the clouds.
The waters gave it drink,
    the primordial deep lifted it high,
Gushing out rivers around
    the place where it was planted,
And then branching out in streams
    to all the trees in the forest.
It was immense,
    dwarfing all the trees in the forest—
Thick boughs, long limbs,
    roots delving deep into earth’s waters.
All the birds of the air
    nested in its boughs.
All the wild animals
    gave birth under its branches.
All the mighty nations
    lived in its shade.
It was stunning in its majesty—
    the reach of its branches!
    the depth of its water-seeking roots!
Not a cedar in God’s garden came close to it.
    No pine tree was anything like it.
Mighty oaks looked like bushes
    growing alongside it.
Not a tree in God’s garden
    was in the same class of beauty.
I made it beautiful,
    a work of art in limbs and leaves,
The envy of every tree in Eden,
    every last tree in God’s garden.’”

10-13 Therefore, God, the Master, says, “‘Because it skyscrapered upward, piercing the clouds, swaggering and proud of its stature, I turned it over to a world-famous leader to call its evil to account. I’d had enough. Outsiders, unbelievably brutal, felled it across the mountain ranges. Its branches were strewn through all the valleys, its leafy boughs clogging all the streams and rivers. Because its shade was gone, everybody walked off. No longer a tree—just a log. On that dead log birds perch. Wild animals burrow under it.

14 “‘That marks the end of the “big tree” nations. No more trees nourished from the great deep, no more cloud-piercing trees, no more earthborn trees taking over. They’re all slated for death—back to earth, right along with men and women, for whom it’s “dust to dust.”

15-17 “‘The Message of God, the Master: On the day of the funeral of the Big Tree, I threw the great deep into mourning. I stopped the flow of its rivers, held back great seas, and wrapped the Lebanon mountains in black. All the trees of the forest fainted and fell. I made the whole world quake when it crashed, and threw it into the underworld to take its place with all else that gets buried. All the trees of Eden and the finest and best trees of Lebanon, well-watered, were relieved—they had descended to the underworld with it—along with everyone who had lived in its shade and all who had been killed.

18 “‘Which of the trees of Eden came anywhere close to you in splendor and size? But you’re slated to be cut down to take your place in the underworld with the trees of Eden, to be a dead log stacked with all the other dead logs, among the other uncircumcised who are dead and buried.

“‘This means Pharaoh, the pompous old goat.

“‘Decree of God, the Master.’”

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