Ezekiel 31


Egypt compared to the glory and fall of Assyria

The allegory of the great cedar Egypt is compared to Assyria a towering and mighty cedar. Ezekiel 31:1-9.

How that great cedar fell from power because of pride. Ezekiel 31:10-18.

‘In the eleventh year, in the third month on the first day, the word of the LORD came to me: ‘Son of man, say to Pharaoh king of Egypt and to his hordes: ‘Who can be compared with you in majesty? Consider Assyria, once a cedar in Lebanon, with beautiful branches overshadowing the forest; it towered on high, its top above the thick foliage. The waters nourished it, deep springs made it grow tall; their streams flowed all around its base and sent their channels to all the trees of the field. So, it towered higher than all the trees of the field; its boughs increased and its branches grew long, spreading because of abundant waters. All the birds of the sky nested in its boughs, all the animals of the wild gave birth under its branches; all the great nations lived in its shade. It was majestic in beauty, with its spreading boughs, for its roots went down to abundant waters. The cedars in the garden of God could not rival it, nor could the junipers equal its boughs, nor could the plane trees compare with its branches—no tree in the garden of God could match its beauty. I made it beautiful with abundant branches, the envy of all the trees of Eden in the garden of God.’ Ezekiel 31:1-9

This message is dated about two months after the previous message, Ezekiel 30:20. The prophecy here was directed to Pharaoh. However, Assyria is used to illustrate that no matter how great a kingdom might be, it can be brought down by God.

In order to exemplify the greatness of the Assyrian Empire, it was compared to a great cedar of Lebanon. The Assyrian Empire became extensive throughout the Near East. Other nations founded their security on its existence, trusting that it would never fall. Through its far-reaching governance of the Near East, nations could trade in peace.

The kings of the Empire were arrogant because of the greatness of the kingdom. God had raised up this empire for the purpose of using it to discipline His people of the northern kingdom of Israel.

‘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, 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, 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. All the birds settled on the fallen tree, and all the wild animals lived among its branches. 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.’ Ezekiel 31:10-14

Though the Assyrian Empire was so great, the Babylonian Empire overcame it. Assyria was brought down. And when it was brought down, all those who depended on her existence came down with her.

The Babylonian army was composed of a coalition of forces that were of a warrior culture. They existed off the plunder of other nations. Their survival, therefore, depended on their plunder of those cities they conquered. The Assyrians could not stand against such an army. They were thus brought down to the pit of death.

‘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. 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. 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. ‘Which of the trees of Eden can be compared with you in splendour 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.’ Ezekiel 31:15-18

Assyria was brought down. And when it fell, it fell as a great tree to the ground, causing a tremor throughout the nations that depended on her existence. Such would be the fate of Egypt. Egypt was never the extensive empire that Assyria was.

And since Assyria was brought down by the Babylonians, Ezekiel wanted the Egyptians to know that they did not have a chance. They too would come crumbling down in order to find their place among the uncircumcised.

Go To Ezekiel 32



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Colossians 3:23