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Bible Commentaries

John Trapp Complete Commentary
Ezekiel 31

 

 

Verse 1

Ezekiel 31:1 And it came to pass in the eleventh year, in the third [month], in the first [day] of the month, [that] the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,

Ver. 1. In the third month.] Two months after the former prophecy, and a month before the city was taken.


Verse 2

Ezekiel 31:2 Son of man, speak unto Pharaoh king of Egypt, and to his multitude; Whom art thou like in thy greatness?

Ver. 2. Speak unto Pharaoh.] Unto Pharaohhophra. [Ezekiel 29:2] Say unto him (though it will be to small purpose), "Hear, and give ear, be not proud, for the Lord hath spoken it." [Jeremiah 13:15]

Whom art thou like in thy greatness?] q.d., Thou thinkest thyself the only one, and that there is none such; but what sayest thou to the Assyrian, whom yet the Babylonian hath now laid low enough?


Verse 3

Ezekiel 31:3 Behold, the Assyrian [was] a cedar in Lebanon with fair branches, and with a shadowing shroud, and of an high stature; and his top was among the thick boughs.

Ver. 3. Behold, the Assyrian was a cedar.] See Ezekiel 17:3; Ezekiel 17:22-23, Daniel 4:10-11. {See Trapp on "Ezekiel 17:3"} {See Trapp on "Ezekiel 17:22"} {See Trapp on "Ezekiel 17:23"} {See Trapp on "Daniel 4:10"} {See Trapp on "Daniel 4:11"} The cedar is a very tall, fair, shady, leafy, and lively tree. Such was Esarhaddon, King of Assyria, once a most potent monarch, now not the master of a mole hill. Now, therefore (by an argument from the greater to the less), if he so fell through his pride, shalt not thou much more?


Verse 4

Ezekiel 31:4 The waters made him great, the deep set him up on high with her rivers running round about his plants, and sent out her little rivers unto all the trees of the field.

Ver. 4. The waters made him great.] He had a confluence of all prosperities. Watered he was, non aquis sed abyssis; est autem abyssus, inexhausta felicitas et rerum affluentia. He overabounded with all outward happiness. In wealth, victories, and triumphs, he gave place to no man.


Verse 5

Ezekiel 31:5 Therefore his height was exalted above all the trees of the field, and his boughs were multiplied, and his branches became long because of the multitude of waters, when he shot forth.

Ver. 5. And his boughs were multiplied.] Amplissima ludit copia verborum. (a)


Verse 6

Ezekiel 31:6 All the fowls of heaven made their nests in his boughs, and under his branches did all the beasts of the field bring forth their young, and under his shadow dwelt all great nations.

Ver. 6. All the fowls.] See Daniel 4:12.


Verse 7

Ezekiel 31:7 Thus was he fair in his greatness, in the length of his branches: for his root was by great waters.

Ver. 7. Thus was he fair in his greatness] Once again he setteth forth with how great power and glory God had adorned this first monarchy.


Verse 8

Ezekiel 31:8 The cedars in the garden of God could not hide him: the fir trees were not like his boughs, and the chesnut trees were not like his branches; nor any tree in the garden of God was like unto him in his beauty.

Ver. 8. The cedars in the garden of God.] No kingdom in the world was comparable to the Assyrian for thirteen hundred years together.


Verse 9

Ezekiel 31:9 I have made him fair by the multitude of his branches: so that all the trees of Eden, that [were] in the garden of God, envied him.

Ver. 9. So that all the trees of Eden … envied him.] Summa petit livor. The tallest trees are weakest in the tops, and envy always aimeth at the highest.


Verse 10

Ezekiel 31:10 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD Because thou hast lifted up thyself in height, and he hath shot up his top among the thick boughs, and his heart is lifted up in his height;

Ver. 10. Because thou hast lifted up thyself.] Here he comes to describe casum et cladem, the downfall and destruction of this flourishing empire, beginning with a short apostrophe to Pharaoh: "Be not high minded, but fear." Believe not him who said, Decent secundas fortunas superbiae, (a) Pride well becometh prosperity; but rather believe what another saith, and experience confirmeth, Sequitur superbos ultora tergo Deus, (b) God punisheth the proud surely and severely. A better author than either of them telleth us that "pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. Better it is to be of a humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud." [Proverbs 16:18-19]


Verse 11

Ezekiel 31:11 I have therefore delivered him into the hand of the mighty one of the heathen; he shall surely deal with him: I have driven him out for his wickedness.

Ver. 11. I have therefore delivered him into the hand of the mighty one.] Of Merodach Baladan, who of governor had made himself King of Babylon; and in the twelfth year of his reign, having overcome Esarhaddon, son to Sennacherib, and last monarch of Assyria, he adjoined that whole empire to the Babylonians, and reigned after that forty years. (a)

He shall surely deal with him.] Heb., In doing he shall do unto him; i.e., he shall do what he list with him; (b) as Tamerlane since did with Bajazet, whom he carried about in an iron cage, using him on festival days for a footstool, and feeding him like a dog with crumbs fallen from his table. All which Tamerlane did, not so much for hatred to the man, saith the historian, (c) as to manifest the just judgment of God against the arrogant folly of the proud.


Verse 12

Ezekiel 31:12 And strangers, the terrible of the nations, have cut him off, and have left him: upon the mountains and in all the valleys his branches are fallen, and his boughs are broken by all the rivers of the land; and all the people of the earth are gone down from his shadow, and have left him.

Ver. 12. And strangers have cut him off.] The greater wealth the greater spoil awaiteth a man; as each one desireth to lop the tree that hath thick and large boughs and branches.

And his boughs are broken,] i.e., His vassals, homagers, and auxiliaries.

And all the people of the earth.] Who once sheltered under his shadow. But the rule is,

Arbor honoretur cuius nos umbra tuetur.

And have left him.] And joined themselves to the Babylonian.

Sic cum fortuna statque caditque fides. ” - Ovid.


Verse 13

Ezekiel 31:13 Upon his ruin shall all the fowls of the heaven remain, and all the beasts of the field shall be upon his branches:

Ver. 13. Upon his ruin shall all the fowls.] His dead body shall want decent burial, as afterward did great Alexander’s, great Pompey’s, our William the Conqueror’s, Richard III’s, &c.


Verse 14

Ezekiel 31:14 To the end that none of all the trees by the waters exalt themselves for their height, neither shoot up their top among the thick boughs, neither their trees stand up in their height, all that drink water: for they are all delivered unto death, to the nether parts of the earth, in the midst of the children of men, with them that go down to the pit.

Ver. 14. To the end that none of all the trees.] This is the use men should make of God’s heavy judgments upon others. This man’s father Sennacherib had a statue set up in Egypt, saith Herodotus, (a) with this inscription, Let him that looketh upon my misery learn to be modest and to fear God.

Neither their trees stand up in their height.] Neque stent in seipsis; neither stand in themselves, because of their height. Magna repente ruunt: in te stas et non stets, said the oracle to Augustine, Thou standest on thine own bottom, thou wilt surely down.

For they are all delivered uuto death.] Without difference, pell mell, lords and lowlies together; as the poet also singeth,

Sub tua purpurei veniunt vestigia reges,

Deposito luxu, turba cum paupere mixti;

Omnia mors aequat. ” - Claudian.


Verse 15

Ezekiel 31:15 Thus saith the Lord GOD In the day when he went down to the grave I caused a mourning: I covered the deep for him, and I restrained the floods thereof, and the great waters were stayed: and I caused Lebanon to mourn for him, and all the trees of the field fainted for him.

Ver. 15. I restrained the floods thereof.] I made them keep home, as mourners use to do.

And I caused Lebanon to mourn for him.] Heb., To be black; i.e., in mourning habit. Athenienses non nisi atrati sapiunt, said one.


Verse 16

Ezekiel 31:16 I made the nations to shake at the sound of his fall, when I cast him down to hell with them that descend into the pit: and all the trees of Eden, the choice and best of Lebanon, all that drink water, shall be comforted in the nether parts of the earth.

Ver. 16. I made the nations shake at the sound of his fall.] As the earth seems to shake at the fall of some mighty cedar.

Sic subito casu, quae valuere, ruunt.

Shall be comforted.] In so noble a companion and partaker of their misery. Compare Isaiah 14:1-3


Verse 17

Ezekiel 31:17 They also went down into hell with him unto [them that be] slain with the sword; and [they that were] his arm, [that] dwelt under his shadow in the midst of the heathen.

Ver. 17. They also went down into hell with him.] It was wont to be said that hell was paved with kings’ crests and shavelings’ bald pates. Henry VIII was told on his deathbed that he was now going to the place of kings. See Isaiah 30:33. What a coil kept this Esarhaddon in his time, as being superstitibus terror, praemortuis laeitia, complicibus exitium, sui ipsius ruina! (a)


Verse 18

Ezekiel 31:18 To whom art thou thus like in glory and in greatness among the trees of Eden? yet shalt thou be brought down with the trees of Eden unto the nether parts of the earth: thou shalt lie in the midst of the uncircumcised with [them that be] slain by the sword. This [is] Pharaoh and all his multitude, saith the Lord GOD.

Ver. 18. To whom art thou like?] He fitly returneth to Pharaoh, applying all this discourse to him.

In the midst of the uncircumcised.] Ezekiel 28:10.

This is Pharaoh.] This is like that of the poet,

Hic finis Priami fatorum: hic exitus ilium

Sorte tulit. ” - Virg., Aeneid., lib. ii.

 


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Bibliography Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Ezekiel 31:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/ezekiel-31.html. 1865-1868.

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