Eze 31:1-18. The Overthrow
of Egypt Illustrated by That of Assyria.
Not that Egypt was, like Assyria, utterly to cease to
be, but it was, like Assyria, to lose its prominence in the empire of
1. third month—two months later than the
prophecy delivered in Eze 30:20.
2. Whom art thou like—The answer is,
Thou art like the haughty king of Assyria; as he was overthrown by the
Chaldeans, so shalt thou be by the same.
3. He illustrates the pride and the consequent
overthrow of the Assyrian, that Egypt may the better know what she must
cedar in Lebanon—often eighty feet
high, and the diameter of the space covered by its boughs still
greater: the symmetry perfect. Compare the similar image (Eze 17:3; Da
with a shadowing shroud—with an
top … among … thick
"among the clouds." But English Version agrees better with the
Hebrew. The top, or topmost shoot, represents the
king; the thick boughs, the large resources of the empire.
4. waters … little rivers—the
Tigris with its branches and "rivulets," or "conduits" for irrigation,
the source of Assyria's fertility. "The deep" is the ever flowing
water, never dry. Metaphorically, for Assyria's resources, as the
"conduits" are her colonies.
5. when he shot forth—because of the
abundant moisture which nourished him in shooting forth. But see
6. fowls … made … nests in …
boughs—so Eze 17:23; Da 4:12. The gospel kingdom shall gather all
under its covert, for their good and for the glory of God, which the
world kingdoms did for evil and for self-aggrandizement (Mt 13:32).
8. cedars … could not hide
him—could not outtop him. No other king eclipsed him.
were not like—were not comparable
garden of God—As in the case of Tyre
28:13), the imagery, that is
applied to the Assyrian king, is taken from Eden; peculiarly
appropriate, as Eden was watered by rivers that afterwards watered
Assyria (Ge 2:10-14). This cedar seemed to revive in itself
all the glories of paradise, so that no tree there outtopped it.
9. I … made him—It was all due to
My free grace.
10. thou … he—The change of
persons is because the language refers partly to the cedar, partly to
the person signified by the cedar.
11. Here the literal supersedes the
shall surely deal with him—according
to his own pleasure, and according to the Assyrian's (Sardanapalus)
desert. Nebuchadnezzar is called "the mighty one" (El, a name of
God), because he was God's representative and instrument of judgment
12. from his shadow—under which
they had formerly dwelt as their covert (Eze 31:6).
13. Birds and beasts shall insult over his
14. trees by the waters—that is, that
are plentifully supplied by the waters: nations abounding in
stand up in their height—that is,
trust in their height: stand upon it as their ground of
confidence. Fairbairn points the
Hebrew differently, so as for "their trees," to translate, "(And
that none that drink water may stand) on themselves, (because of
their greatness)." But the usual reading is better, as Assyria and the
confederate states throughout are compared to strong trees. The clause,
"All that drink water," marks the ground of the trees' confidence "in
their height," namely, that they have ample sources of supply. Maurer, retaining the same Hebrew,
translates, "that neither their terebinth trees may stand up in
their height, nor all (the other trees) that drink water."
to … nether … earth …
pit—(Eze 32:18; Ps 82:7).
15. covered the deep—as mourners cover
their heads in token of mourning, "I made the deep that watered the
cedar" to wrap itself in mourning for him. The waters of the deep are
the tributary peoples of Assyria (Re 17:15).
fainted—literally, were "faintness"
(itself); more forcible than the verb.
16. hell—Sheol or Hades, the unseen
world: equivalent to, "I cast him into oblivion" (compare Isa 14:9-11).
shall be comforted—because so great a
king as the Assyrian is brought down to a level with them. It is a kind
of consolation to the wretched to have companions in misery.
17. his arm, that dwelt under his
shadow—those who were the helpers or tool of his tyranny, and
therefore enjoyed his protection (for example, Syria and her
neighbors). These were sure to share her fate. Compare the same phrase
as to the Jews living under the protection of their king (La 4:20); both alike "making flesh their arm,
and in heart departing from the Lord" (Jer 17:5).
18. Application of the parabolic description
of Assyria to the parallel case of Egypt. "All that has been said of
the Assyrian consider as said to thyself. To whom art thou so like, as
thou art to the Assyrian? To none." The lesson on a gigantic scale of
Eden-like privileges abused to pride and sin by the Assyrian, as in the
case of the first man in Eden, ending in ruin, was to be repeated in
Egypt's case. For the unchangeable God governs the world on the same
thou shall lie in …
uncircumcised—As circumcision was an object of mocking to
thee, thou shall lie in the midst of the uncircumcised, slain by their
sword [Grotius]. Retribution in kind
This is Pharaoh—Pharaoh's end shall be
the same humiliating one as I have depicted the Assyrian's to have
been. "This" is demonstrative, as if he were pointing with the finger
to Pharaoh lying prostrate, a spectacle to all, as on the shore of the
Red Sea (Ex 14:30, 31).