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Chapter 31

Allegory of the Cedar. On the first day of the third month in the eleventh year,[a] the word of the Lord came to me: Son of man, say to Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, and to his hordes: In your greatness, whom do you resemble?

Assyria! It is Assyria![b]
    A cedar of Lebanon—
Beautiful branches,
    thick shade,
Towering heights,
    its crown in the clouds!(A)
The waters made it grow,
    the deep made it tall,
Letting its currents flow
    around the place it was planted,
Then sending its channels
    to all the other trees of the field.(B)
Thereupon it towered in height
    above all the trees in the field;
Its branches were numerous
    and its boughs long,
Because of the many waters
    sent to its shoots.
In its branches nested
    all the birds of the sky;
Under its boughs all the wild animals
    gave birth,
And in its shade[c] dwelt
    all the mighty nations.(C)
It was magnificent in size
    and in the length of its branches,
For its roots reached down
    to the many waters.
In the garden of God,
    no cedars could rival it,
No juniper could equal its branches,
    no plane tree match its boughs.
No tree in the garden of God
    could match its beauty.(D)
I made it beautiful
    with abundant foliage,
So that all the trees in Eden
    were envious of it.[d]
10 Therefore, thus says the Lord God:
Because it was arrogant about its height,
    lifting its crown among the clouds
    and exalting itself because of its size,(E)
11 I handed it over to a ruler of nations
    to deal with it according to its evil.
I have cast it off,
12     and foreigners have cut it down,
The most ruthless nations,
    have hurled it on the mountains.
Its boughs fell into every valley
    and its branches lay broken
    in every ravine in the land.
All the peoples of the earth
    departed from its shade
    when it was hurled down.(F)
13 On its fallen trunk
    sit all the birds of the sky;
Beside its fallen branches,
    are found all the beasts of the field.
14 This has happened so no well-watered tree
    will gain such lofty height,
    or lift its crown to the clouds.
Not one of those fed by water
    will tower in height over the rest.
For all of them are destined for death,
    for the underworld, among mere mortals,
    with those who go down to the pit.
15 Thus says the Lord God:
On the day it went down to Sheol,
    I made the deep close up
    in mourning for it.
I restrained the currents of the deep,
    and held back the many waters.
I darkened Lebanon because of it,
    and all the trees of the field
    languished because of it.
16 At the sound of its fall,
    I made nations shudder,
When I cast it down to Sheol
    with those who go down to the pit.
In the underworld
    all the trees of Eden took comfort:
Lebanon’s choicest and best,
    all that were fed by the waters.(G)
17 They too will go down to Sheol,
    to those slain by the sword,
Its allies[e] who dwelt
    in its shade among the nations.
18 To whom among the trees of Eden
    do you compare in glory and greatness?
You will be brought down
    with the trees of Eden to the underworld,
And lie among the uncircumcised,
    with those slain by the sword.
Such is Pharaoh and all his hordes—
    oracle of the Lord God.


  1. 31:1 The first day of the third month in the eleventh year: June 21, 587 B.C.
  2. 31:3 Assyria: this translates te’ashshur, which some interpret as “cypress tree.” The oracle, however, compares the fate of Pharaoh to the terrible demise of Assyria because of its arrogant pride (cf. Na 1–3). Ezekiel may have drawn on an ancient myth of a cosmic tree of life to emphasize the greatness of Egypt’s fall.
  3. 31:6 Shade: a metaphor for protection (cf. Lam 4:20).
  4. 31:9 Here Israel’s God is responsible for Assyria’s splendor, whereas in Is 10:13 Assyria claims to have created its own might.
  5. 31:17 Allies: lit., “arm.”

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