Ezekiel 31

CHAPTER XXXI

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

Chaldeans.

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.

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

as fowls and beasts, taking shelter under the protection of this

great political Egyptian tree, Eze 31:6.

Verse 8. The cedars in the garden of God] Egypt was one of the

most eminent and affluent of all the neighbouring nations.

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.

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.

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

be humble, because, however elevated, God can soon bring them

down; and pride and arrogance, either in states or individuals,

have the peculiar abhorrence of God. Pride does not suit the sons

of men; it made devils of angels, and makes fiends of men.

Verse 15. I caused Lebanon to mourn for him] All the

confederates of Pharaoh are represented as deploring his fall,

Eze 31:16, 17.

Verse 17. They also went down into hell with him] Into

remediless destruction.

Verse 18. This is Pharaoh] 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.

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