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Bible Commentaries

Nisbet's Church Pulpit Commentary

Ezekiel 31

Verse 18


‘This is Pharaoh.’

Ezekiel 31:18

I. Two months later than the prophecy of Ezekiel 30:20 , Ezekiel spoke again the doom of Egypt.—He tells the story of Assyria, comparing that mighty nation to a cedar of Lebanon, whose towering heights seemed to hold commerce with the clouds. Watered by the Tigris, it grew and spread, and all the nations seemed to dwell under the shadow of its branches ( Ezekiel 17:23; Daniel 4:12). But all the glory of Assyria passed away under the assault of Babylon. The final destruction of Nineveh by the Medo-Babylonian army is one of the great events of history (b.c. 877). How graphic is the picture of the overthrow of the great forest-tree in Daniel 4:13-2 Chronicles :. The waters of the rivers that watered the mighty city are depicted as mourning ( Daniel 4:15: see also Revelation 17:15). From the overthrow of Nineveh, Ezekiel turns to Egypt, saying in effect: ‘All that has been done to Assyria shall be done to thee; though thou, too, art pre-eminent among the trees of Eden, thou shalt not escape, and men shall say of thee, lying prone and desolate, “This is Pharaoh!” ’

II. Both these great kingdoms forgot that God had made them fair.—They became proud and haughty, tyrannous and oppressive. They were meant to represent God’s purposes among the nations, but they sought only their own glory, and vaunted their independence. Hence their ruin! How different the Tree of the Gospel, in the boughs of which the nations gather (St. Matthew 13:32). Happy the souls that have fled to Christ for refuge! There is no fear that we shall ever be ashamed!


‘The prophecy of this chapter is directed against Egypt, the last of the great world-kingdoms. Hophra was on the throne at this time. His reign for the first twenty-five years was very successful, and he recovered much that had been lost to Egypt in the great battle at Carchemish. He felt, therefore, so proudly secure, that he said (so Herodotus tells us) that not even a god could deprive him of his kingdom. Ezekiel also depicts him as saying, “My river is mine own, and I have made it for myself.” ’

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Bibliographical Information
Nisbet, James. "Commentary on Ezekiel 31". Nisbet's Church Pulpit Commentary. 1876.