Pharaoh Warned of Assyria’s Fate
31 In the eleventh year [after King Jehoiachin was taken captive to Babylon], in the third month, on the first of the month, the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 2 “Son of man, say to Pharaoh king of Egypt and to his hordes,
‘Whom are you like in your greatness?
‘Behold (listen carefully), Assyria was a cedar in Lebanon
With beautiful branches and with forest shade,
And of high stature,
With its top among the clouds.
‘The waters nourished it, the deep [underground waters] made it grow tall.
Its rivers ran all around the place where it was planted,
Sending out its streams to all the trees (other nations) of the field.
‘Therefore it towered higher than all the trees of the forest
And its boughs multiplied and its branches grew long;
Because there was so much water they spread outward.
‘All the birds of the sky made their nests in its twigs,
And under its branches all the animals of the field gave birth [to their young],
And all of the great nations lived under its shadow.
‘So it was beautiful in its greatness, in the length of its branches;
For its roots extended [downward] to great waters.
‘The cedars in the garden of God could not hide or rival it;
The cypress trees did not have boughs like it,
And the [a]plane trees did not have branches like it.
No tree in the garden of God was like it in its beauty.
‘I made it beautiful with the great mass of its branches,
So that all the trees of [b]Eden which were in the garden of God were jealous of it (Assyria).
10 ‘Therefore thus says the Lord God, “Because it is high in stature and has set its top among the thick boughs and the clouds, and its heart is proud of its height,(A) 11 I will [c]hand it over to a mighty one and a mighty one of the nations; he will most certainly deal with it. I have driven it away in accordance with its wickedness. 12 Alien tyrants of the nations have cut it down and left it; its foliage has fallen on the mountains and in all the valleys and its branches have been broken in all the ravines of the land. And all the nations of the earth have come from under its shade and have left it. 13 All the birds of the sky will nest in its ruins, and all the animals of the field will rest on its fallen branches 14 so that none of the trees by the waters may exalt themselves because of their height, nor set their top among the clouds, nor their well-watered mighty ones stand [arrogantly] in their height. For they have all been handed over to death, to the earth beneath, among the sons of men, with those who go down to the pit (the grave).”
15 ‘Thus says the Lord God, “On the day when Assyria went down to Sheol (the place of the dead) I caused mourning; I closed the deep [subterranean waters] over it and restrained its rivers. And the many waters [that contributed to its prosperity] were held back; and I made [the heart of] Lebanon mourn for it, and all the trees of the field wilted away because of it. 16 I made the nations quake at the sound of its fall when I cast it down to Sheol with those who descend into the pit; and all the well-watered trees of Eden, the choicest and the best of Lebanon, will be comforted in the earth beneath [at Assyria’s downfall]. 17 They also went down to Sheol with it to those who were slain by the sword; those who were its strength lived under its shade among the nations.
18 “Which among the trees of Eden do you equal in glory and in greatness [O Egypt]? Yet you [also] will be brought down with the trees of Eden to the earth beneath (nether world). You will lie among the [d]uncircumcised (the barbaric, the boorish, the crude) with those who were slain by the sword. This is how it shall be with Pharaoh and all his hordes!”’ says the Lord God.”(B)
- Ezekiel 31:8 This enormous tree may grow to a height of a hundred feet. The diameter of its base may vary from six to ten feet.
- Ezekiel 31:9 The traditional site of Eden was within the general area of the Assyrian Empire. However, this does not imply that Assyria was in the garden of God described in Gen 2:8.
- Ezekiel 31:11 The significance of comparing Egypt and Assyria becomes clear when it is remembered that Assyria had conquered and held Egypt in servitude, and had then been conquered and destroyed about twenty-five years before the date of this prophecy by an alliance of Media and Babylon, which at that time was ruled by Nebuchadnezzar’s father Nabopolassar. Now Babylon, under Nebuchadnezzar, is predicted to bring judgment on Egypt. Egypt could not realistically expect victory over the conqueror of her conqueror.
- Ezekiel 31:18 There were other circumcised nations besides the Hebrews, notably the Egyptians (as early as 3000 b.c.), Thus here the term has a general pejorative sense, not the specific meaning that it would have had for an Israelite.