Ezekiel 31
Contemporary English Version

Egypt's King Will Be Chopped Down like a Cedar Tree

1Eleven years after King Jehoiachin and the rest of us had been led away as prisoners to Babylonia, the Lord spoke to me on the first day of the third month.+ He said:

2Ezekiel, son of man, tell the king of Egypt and his people that I am saying:

You are more powerful

than anyone on earth.

Now listen to this.

3There was once a cedar tree

in Lebanon

with large, strong branches

reaching to the sky.+

4This tree had plenty of water

to help it grow tall,

and nearby streams watered

the other trees

in the forest.

5But this tree towered over

those other trees,

and its branches

grew long and thick.

6Birds built nests

in its branches,

and animals were born

beneath it.

People from all nations

lived in the shade

of this strong tree.

7It had beautiful,

long branches,

and its roots found water

deep in the soil.

8 None of the cedar trees

in my garden of Eden

were as beautiful

as this tree;

no tree of any kind

had such long branches.

9I, the Lord, gave this tree

its beauty,

and I helped the branches

grow strong.

All other trees in Eden

wanted to be just like it.

10King of Egypt, now listen to what I, the Lord God, am saying about that tree:

The tree grew so tall that it reached the sky+ and became very proud and arrogant. 11So I, the Lord God, will reject the tree and hand it over to a foreign ruler, who will punish it for its wickedness. 12Cruel foreigners will chop it down and leave it wherever it falls. Branches and broken limbs will be scattered over the mountains and in the valleys. The people living in the shade of those branches will go somewhere else. 13Birds will then nest on the stump of the fallen tree, and wild animals will trample its branches.

14Never again will any tree dare to grow as tall as this tree, no matter how much water it has. Every tree must die, just as humans die and go down to the world of the dead.

15On the day this tree dies and goes to the world below, I, the Lord God, will command rivers and streams to mourn its death. Every underground spring of water and every river will stop flowing.+ The mountains in Lebanon will be covered with darkness as a sign of their sorrow, and all the trees in the forest will wither. 16This tree will crash to the ground, and I will send it to the world below. Then the nations of the earth will tremble.

The trees from Eden and the choice trees from Lebanon are now in the world of the dead, and they will be comforted when this tree falls. 17Those people who found protection in its shade will also be sent to the world below, where they will join the dead.+

18King of Egypt, all these things will happen to you and your people! You were like this tree at one time—taller and stronger than anyone on earth. But now you will be chopped down, just as every tree in the garden of Eden must die. You will be sent down to the world of the dead, where you will join the godless and the other victims of violent death. I, the Lord God, have spoken.


31.1 Eleven years … third month: Probably May of 587 b.c.
31.3 sky: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 3.
31.10 the sky: One ancient translation; Hebrew “over the thick branches.”
31.15 rivers and streams … stop flowing: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
31.17 dead: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 17.

Contemporary English Version, Second Edition (CEV®)

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