Ezekiel 31 The Voice (VOICE)
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?
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.
Ezekiel 31 New International Version (NIV)
Pharaoh as a Felled Cedar of Lebanon
31 In the eleventh year, in the third month on the first day, the word of the Lord came to me: 2 “Son of man, say to Pharaoh king of Egypt and to his hordes:
“‘Who can be compared with you in majesty?
10 “‘Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says: Because the great cedar towered over the thick foliage, and because it was proud of its height, 11 I gave it into the hands of the ruler of the nations, for him to deal with according to its wickedness. I cast it aside, 12 and the most ruthless of foreign nations cut it down and left it. Its boughs fell on the mountains and in all the valleys; its branches lay broken in all the ravines of the land. All the nations of the earth came out from under its shade and left it. 13 All the birds settled on the fallen tree, and all the wild animals lived among its branches. 14 Therefore no other trees by the waters are ever to tower proudly on high, lifting their tops above the thick foliage. No other trees so well-watered are ever to reach such a height; they are all destined for death, for the earth below, among mortals who go down to the realm of the dead.
15 “‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: On the day it was brought down to the realm of the dead I covered the deep springs with mourning for it; I held back its streams, and its abundant waters were restrained. Because of it I clothed Lebanon with gloom, and all the trees of the field withered away. 16 I made the nations tremble at the sound of its fall when I brought it down to the realm of the dead to be with those who go down to the pit. Then all the trees of Eden, the choicest and best of Lebanon, the well-watered trees, were consoled in the earth below. 17 They too, like the great cedar, had gone down to the realm of the dead, to those killed by the sword, along with the armed men who lived in its shade among the nations.
18 “‘Which of the trees of Eden can be compared with you in splendor and majesty? Yet you, too, will be brought down with the trees of Eden to the earth below; you will lie among the uncircumcised, with those killed by the sword.
“‘This is Pharaoh and all his hordes, declares the Sovereign Lord.’”