Paul Kretzmann Commentary - Ezekiel 31:10 - 31:18

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Paul Kretzmann Commentary - Ezekiel 31:10 - 31:18

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This Chapter Verse Commentaries:

The Lesson of Assyria's Fall

v. 10. Therefore, thus saith the Lord God,
here addressing the king of Assyria directly, although the object, bringing home the lesson to Pharaoh by means of the message, is unmistakable, because thou hast lifted up thyself in height, in blasphemous high-mindedness on account of a prosperity which was nothing but a gift from above, and he, the address here turning to the third person, hath shot up his top among the thick boughs, up into the very clouds, and his heart is lifted up in his height, in sinful and insulting pride,

v. 11. I have therefore delivered him into the hand of the mighty one of the heathen,
namely, Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon; he shall surely deal with him, literally, "he will do, do to him," or, in modern form, he will surely do away with him; I have driven him out for his wickedness, the Lord rejecting Assyria from before His face.

v. 12. And strangers,
foreign invaders, the terrible of the nations, the Chaldean soldiers, known for their fierceness, have cut him off and have left him, the picture of a tree that is felled being retained here; upon the mountains and in all the valleys his branches are fallen, all the tributary nations and provinces being lopped off, and his boughs, all the colonies and dependent cities, are broken by all the rivers of the land, as when a mighty tree, in falling down the mountainside, is shattered into little pieces; and all the people of the earth, formerly in dependence upon Assyria, are gone down from his shadow and have left him.

v. 13. Upon his ruin,
as he has fallen headlong, thus presenting the picture of a carcass, shall all the fowls of the heaven remain, and all the beasts of the field shall be upon his branches, the very ones that had formerly been under his dominion now turning to birds and beasts of prey in tearing the carcass to pieces, that is, in deriving life from Assyria's downfall, in building themselves up on its ruins:

v. 14. to the end,
with this final object in mind, that none of all the trees by the waters exalt themselves for their height, all other nations profiting by the example of Assyria, neither shoot up their top among the thick boughs, between the very clouds of the sky, neither their trees stand up in their height, in the same sinful pride, all that drink water, while they are deriving their strength from the Lord alone; for they are all delivered unto death, to the nether parts of the earth, to the underground kingdom of death, in the midst of the children of men, with them that go down to the pit. How foolish for the mighty of the earth to lift themselves up in sinful pride, when, after all, they are all weak and mortal men, entirely dependent upon the goodness of the God whose providence alone upholds them!

v. 15. Thus saith the Lord God,
in describing the impression which the fall of Assyria made upon other nations and making the application to the case of Pharaoh, In the day when he went down to the grave, when the Assyrian world-power was destroyed, I caused a mourning, men stopping for a time to consider the calamity in horror and grief; I covered the deep for him, literally, "I veiled, on his account, the flood," that which had given him his life-giving power, and I restrained the floods thereof, holding back the various streams spoken of in verse 4, and the great waters were stayed; and I caused Lebanon to mourn for him, literally, "to become dark over him, in mourning over the fall of the mighty cedar Assyria," and all the trees of the field fainted for him. On account of the overthrow of Assyria the entire world was drawn into suffering, so that all sources of wealth and power were cut off.

v. 16. I made the nations to shake at the sound of his fall,
foreseeing in his overthrow a similar calamity for themselves, when I cast him down to hell with them that descend into the pit, to the kingdom of death; and all the trees of Eden, the choice and best of Lebanon, spoken of in verses 8 and 9, all that drink water, shall be comforted in the nether parts of the earth, since mighty Assyria was obliged to share their fate in the realm of those destroyed from off the face of the earth.

v. 17. They also went down into hell with him,
sharing the fate of Assyria, unto them that be slain with the sword; and they that were his arm, his auxiliaries, or allies, that dwelt under his shadow in the midst of the heathen, depending upon his military power. In concluding this paragraph and chapter, the application is made to Pharaoh, who is here once more directly addressed.

v. 18. To whom art thou thus like in glory and in greatness among the trees of Eden?
among the various nations of the world, blessed by God, as they are, with many and great gifts of his goodness. Yet shalt thou be brought down with the trees of Eden, just as Assyria had been, unto the nether parts of the earth; thou shalt lie in the midst of the uncircumcised, the godless heathen, with them that be slain by the sword. Thus would the fate of Egypt he like that of Assyria. This is Pharaoh and all his multitude, so would it happen to him and all his people with their proud wealth and their boastful behavior, saith the Lord God. It is an easy matter for God to make an example and a spectacle of all His enemies.