Egypt is the last in this series of oracles against the nations. The imagery is just as profound and poetically graphic as in the other oracles. The terror of Tyre and Sidon’s defeat is fresh on the minds of Jerusalem’s citizens, and they wonder, what else will Nebuchadnezzar do to the Egyptians and their forces? The prophet has the answer. Like a locust hopping from city to city, the Babylonian army will move from the northern capital, Memphis (in lower Egypt), to the southern capital, Thebes (in upper Egypt). God proclaims through His living example, Ezekiel, that He has put His sword in Nebuchadnezzar’s hand to punish Egypt. If Egypt with all its history and splendor will fall to Babylonia, what chance do other nations have?
31 During the eleventh year, on the first day of the third month, the word of the Eternal came to me with a message about the Pharaoh.
Eternal One: 2 Son of man, tell Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and all his subjects,
Who is comparable to your greatness, Pharaoh?
3 Think about Assyria—a land once broad and handsome.
Like a cedar in Lebanon offering shade and beauty,
it grew high enough to reach the clouds!
4 Heaven’s waters made it grow, kept it healthy;
the deep waters made it grow tall,
Causing the rivers to flow around where it was planted,
channeling water to all the thirsty trees of the field.
5 It towered high above all the other trees in that place.
Its boughs increased in number;
Its branches grew stronger, thicker, and longer—
nourished by the generous waters beneath it.
6 All the birds of the air built their nests in its strong limbs;
all the wild beasts of the earth gave birth beneath its mighty branches;
all the great nations flourished in its long shadow.
7 It was magnificent in its beauty,
grand in its form, and long in its branches;
For its roots grew deep and tapped the sources of many waters.
8 No cedar trees in God’s garden could rival it;
no junipers could grow as many boughs;
no oriental plane trees could match its many branches;
No trees in God’s garden could rival its magnificent beauty!
9 I made it mighty and beautiful;
I molded its limbs, leaves, and branches
To be the envy of every tree in Eden,
of each tree in God’s garden.
10 Therefore, this is what the Eternal Lord has to say:
Eternal One: Because it is a giant tree, towering high above the rest, because its upper branches reach the clouds and it boasts of its unrivaled, stately stature, 11 I will hand it over to the ruler of the nations for him to deal with it according to its wickedness. I have cast it aside. 12 Foreigners who strike terror in the heart of the nations chopped it down and left it to rot. Its mighty branches crashed to the ground upon mountains and valleys. Its limbs shattered in ravines and littered rivers and streams. The tree was no longer a giant and no longer provided cool shade, so all the nations of the earth abandoned it. 13 Birds of the air perched on the trunk of the fallen tree. Wild beasts made homes within its limbs. 14 Consequently, no trees should ever boast of their stately stature, nor have their branches reach the clouds, nor tower high above the rest. There will be no more giants nourished by the deep waters of the earth, for they’re all destined to die and be for the world below. They will go down to the pit with all the people of the earth.
15 So I, the Eternal Lord, say that on the day when Assyria, the giant cedar, went to the place of the dead, I filled the deep waters with mourning. I halted the flow of its rivers and streams and veiled Lebanon’s hills and mountains with black for mourning. All the trees in the woodland withered away because of its demise! 16-17 I caused the nations to shake at the sound of its fall when I sent the giant tree to the destiny of all mortal things—death. All the trees of Eden, the finest and most well-watered trees in all of Lebanon, were comforted in that place of death. They accompanied it to the pit along with all those slain in battle—those who once kept it strong and rested in the cool of its shade along with the rest of the nations. 18 Which of the trees in Eden could rival your magnificent beauty and stately glory? But even you will perish and be taken to the earth below, along with other trees of Eden. You will lie in the grave beside the uncircumcised who were slain in battle. This is the fate of Pharaoh and all his people.
So said the Eternal Lord.