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.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(16) Hell is here, as generally, Sheol, or Hades, the world of the departed.

Shall be comforted.—Comp. Isaiah 14:9-10, which was probably in Ezekiel’s mind.

Ezekiel 31:16-17. I made the nations to shake at the sound of his fall — Through fear and terror. When I cast him down to hell — Rather, to the grave; with them that descend into the pit — That die and are buried. All the trees of Eden, &c. — The greatest kings on earth. All that drink water — That partake of wealth and other worldly enjoyments; shall be comforted in the nether parts of the earth — The deceased princes, confederates to the Assyrians, described here as so many stately trees and cedars, shall feel some mitigation of their calamities, when they see thee brought down as low as themselves: compare Ezekiel 32:31, and see notes on Isaiah 14:8-16, a passage exactly parallel to this. They also went down into hell — Or, the grave; with him — His allies underwent the same fate with himself, and were cut off in the common destruction. And they that were his arm — His auxiliaries; that dwelt under his shadow — Who lived under his protection; in the midst of the heathen — Or, the nations: see on Ezekiel 31:11; namely, in several countries and provinces: see Lamentations 4:20. When the Assyrian power was overthrown, it was easy for the Chaldeans to subdue all its allies.

31:10-18 The king of Egypt resembled the king of Assyria in his greatness: here we see he resembles him in his pride. And he shall resemble him in his fall. His own sin brings his ruin. None of our comforts are ever lost, but what have been a thousand times forfeited. When great men fall, many fall with them, as many have fallen before them. The fall of proud men is for warning to others, to keep them humble. See how low Pharaoh lies; and see what all his pomp and pride are come to. It is best to be a lowly tree of righteousness, yielding fruit to the glory of God, and to the good of men. The wicked man is often seen flourishing like the cedar, and spreading like the green bay tree, but he soon passes away, and his place is no more found. Let us then mark the perfect man, and behold the upright, for the end of that man is peace.See the marginal references.16. hell—Sheol or Hades, the unseen world: equivalent to, "I cast him into oblivion" (compare Isa 14:9-11).

shall be comforted—because so great a king as the Assyrian is brought down to a level with them. It is a kind of consolation to the wretched to have companions in misery.

To shake; all that heard the noise of his fall trembled at it, it was as God intended it should be, an astonishment to them all.

Cast him down to hell; brought the king and kingdom, as a dead man, to the grave, among them that be. fore were dead and buried.

All the trees of Eden; all kings, and particularly the greatest and richest, called here

the choice and best of Lebanon. All that drink water; did enjoy great power, riches, and worldly glory.

Shall be comforted: it is a prosopopoeia, and he speaks of the dead with allusion to the manner of the living, who rejoice to see the proud brought as low as the lowest; thus the prophet, Isaiah 14:9,10.

I made the nations to shake at the sound of his fall,.... As, when a large cedar was cut down and fell in Lebanon, the noise of it was heard at a distance; so when this mighty monarch and monarchy fell, the nations of the world, and the kings of them, heard of it far and near, and shook through fear of what would be the consequence, lest they should fall also in like manner:

when I cast him down to hell, or "the grave",

with them that descend into the pit; in common with other men that die, and are buried: it may refer to his subjects and soldiers that perished with him, who were slain by the sword, and were buried with him, and he with them; no distinction being made between them:

and all the trees of Eden, the choice and best of Lebanon, all that drink water; the greatest kings and potentates of the world, the chief and principal of the Assyrian empire; all that ruled over multitudes of people, and partook of their wealth and riches, and were supported in grandeur and dignity; who had been in the state of the dead before this time:

shall be comforted in the nether parts of the earth; when they see so mighty a monarch depressed, and brought as low as they, into the same state of meanness and contempt; as it is some kind of solace for persons in distress to have partners with them: this is a poetic expression, representing the dead as rejoicing to see others in the same condition with themselves. The Targum is,

"all the kings of the east, the governors, and those that are rich in substance, all that hold a kingdom, are comforted in the lower part of the earth.''

I made the nations to shake at the sound of his fall, when I cast him down to the grave with them that descend into the pit: and all the trees of Eden, the choice and best of Lebanon, all that drink water, shall {h} be comforted in the lower parts of the earth.

(h) To cause this destruction of the king of Assyria to seem more horrible, he sets forth other kings and princes who are dead, as though they rejoiced at the fall of such a tyrant.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
16. at the sound of his fall] See on Ezekiel 26:15; cf. Ezekiel 32:10.

to hell … into the pit] to Sheòl with them that are gone down to the pit, ch. Ezekiel 32:18; Isaiah 14:15. The nations living on the earth shake with terror (ch. Ezekiel 26:15) at the noise of his fall; while those already gone down to the pit are “comforted” that one so mighty has fallen as well as themselves, Ezekiel 32:19; Ezekiel 32:31; Isaiah 14:10. The language does not imply that those comforted were hostile to Pharaoh.

the trees of Eden] The figure of “trees” for states, or for the representatives of states like Pharaoh, is continued. The term Eden is used generally to suggest great trees or the place where trees are found, for the next words describe the trees as the “choice of Lebanon.”

choice and best] An anomalous construction, which is obviated in LXX. by the want of “best.”

drink water] i.e. trees nourished by water, Ezekiel 31:14.

Verse 16. - Shall be comforted, etc. The Dante-like imagination of the prophet points the contrasts between the impression made by the fall of Assyria on the nations that yet survived, and on those that had already perished. The former mourn and shako with fear, for it is a warning to them that their turn also may come. On the other hand, the tress of Eden - the great monarchies that are already in Sheol - shall he "comforted" with the thought that yet another kingdom mightier than they has fallen as they fell (comp. Isaiah 14:4-20; Ezekiel 32:17-32, where the thought is elaborately expanded). Ezekiel 31:16Impression Made upon the Nations by the Fall of Asshur; and Its Application to Pharaoh

Ezekiel 31:15. Thus saith the Lord Jehovah, In the day that he went down to hell I caused a mourning: covered the flood for his sake, and stopped its streams, and the great waters were held back: I caused Lebanon to blacken itself for him, and all the trees of the field pined for him. Ezekiel 31:16. I made the nations tremble at the noise of his fall, when I cast him down to hell to those who go into the grave: and they comforted themselves in the nether world, even all the trees of Eden, the choice and most beautiful of Lebanon, all the water-drinkers. Ezekiel 31:17. They also went with him into hell, to those pierced with the sword, who sat as his helpers in his shade among the nations. Ezekiel 31:18. Whom dost thou thus resemble in glory and greatness among the trees of Eden? So shalt thou be thrust down to the trees of Eden into the nether world, and lie among uncircumcised ones with those pierced with the sword. This is Pharaoh and all his tumult, is the saying of the Lord Jehovah. - In order that the overthrow of the Assyrian, i.e., the destruction of the Assyrian empire, may be placed in the clearest light, a picture is drawn of the impression which it made upon the whole creation. There is no necessity to understand כּה אמר in a past sense, as in Ezekiel 31:10. What God did on the overthrow of Asshur He may even now, for the first time, make known through the prophet, for a warning to Pharaoh and the people of Israel. That this is the way in which the words are to be interpreted, is evident from the use of the perfect האבלתּי, followed by the historical imperfects, which cannot be taken in a prophetical sense, as Kliefoth supposes, or turned into futures. It is contrary to Hebrew usage to connect האבלתּי and כּסּתי together as asyndeton, so as to form one idea, viz., "to veil in mourning" as Ewald and Hvernick propose. The circumstances under which two verbs are joined together to form one idea are of a totally different kind. In this instance האבלתּי is placed first as an absolute; and in the sentences which follow, it is more specifically defined by a detail of the objects which were turned into mourning. כּסּה עליו את־תּהום cannot mean her, "to cover the flood upon (over) him" (after Ezekiel 24:7 and Ezekiel 26:19); for this is altogether unsuitable to either the more remote or the more immediate context. The tree Asshur was not destroyed by a flood, but cut down by strangers. The following clauses, "I stopped its streams," etc., show very plainly that the connection between the flood (תּהום) and the tree which had been felled is to be understood in accordance with Ezekiel 31:4. A flood, which poured its נהרות round about its plantation, made the cedar-tree great; and now that the tree has been felled, God covers the flood on its account. כּסּה is to be explained from כּסּה שׂק, to veil or wrap in mourning, as Raschi, Kimchi, Vatablus, and many others have shown. The word שׂק is omitted, because it appeared inappropriate to תּהום. The mourning of the flood is to be taken as equivalent to drying up, so that the streams which issued from it were deprived of their water. Lebanon, i.e., the cedar-forest (Isaiah 10:34), and all the other trees, mourned over the fall of the cedar Asshur. הקדּיר, to clothe in black, i.e., to turn into mourning. עלפּה is regarded by Ewald as a Pual formed after the Aramean mode, that is to say, by attaching the syllable ae instead of doubling the middle radical; whilst Hitzig proposes to change the form into עלּפּה. In any case the word must be a perfect Pual, as a nomen verbale appears unsuitable; and it must also be a third person feminine, the termination ־ה being softened into ־ה, as in זוּרה (Isaiah 59:5), and the doubling of the ל being dropped on account of the Sheva; so that the plural is construed with the singular feminine (Ewald, 317a). עלּף, to faint with grief (cf. Isaiah 51:20). The thought is the following: all nature was so painfully affected by the fall of Asshur, that the whole of the resources from which its prosperity and might had been derived were dried up. To interpret the different figures as specially relating to princes and nations appears a doubtful procedure, for the simple reason that in Ezekiel 31:16 the trembling of the nations is expressly named.

Whilst all the nations on the surface of the earth tremble at the fall of Assyria, because they are thereby warned of the perishable nature of all earthly greatness and of their own destruction, the inhabitants of the nether world console themselves with the thought that the Assyrian is now sharing their fate (for this thought, compare Ezekiel 32:31 and Isaiah 14:9-10). "All the trees of Eden" are all the powerful and noble princes. The idea itself, "trees of Eden," is explained by the apposition, "the choice and beautiful ones of Lebanon," i.e., the picked and finest cedars, and still further strengthened by the expression כּל־שׁתי (cf. Ezekiel 31:14). מבחר are connected, as in 1 Samuel 9:2; and both words are placed side by side in the construct state, as in Daniel 1:4 (cf. Ewald, 339b). They comfort themselves because they have gone down with him into Sheol, so that he has no advantage over them. They come thither to those pierced with the sword, i.e., to the princes and peoples whom Asshur slew in wars to establish his imperial power. וּזרעו might also belong to ירדוּ as a second subject. In that case ישׁבוּ בצלּו should be taken in a relative sense: "and his arm," i.e., his resources, "which sat in his shadow among the nations." With this explanation זרעו would be different from הם, and could only denote the army of the Assyrian. But this does not harmonize with the sitting in his shadow among the nations, for these words obviously point back to Ezekiel 31:6; so that זרעו is evidently meant to correspond to כּּל־גוים רבּים (Ezekiel 31:6), and is actually identical with הם, i.e., with all the trees of Eden. We therefore agree with Osiander, Grotius, and others, in regarding the whole of the second hemistich as more precisely determining the subject, - in other words, as a declaration of the reason for their descending into hell along with the Assyrians, - and render the passage thus: "for as his arm (as his might) they sat in his shadow among the nations;" so that the cop. w is used in place of a causal particle. In any case, the conjecture which Ewald has adopted from the lxx and the Syriac, viz., וזרעו, and his seed, in support of which appeal might be made to Isaiah 14:21, is unsuitable, for the simple reason that the statement, that it sat in his shadow among the nations, does not apply. - After this description of the greatness and the destruction of the imperial power of Assyria, Ezekiel repeats in Ezekiel 31:18 the question already asked in Ezekiel 31:3 : to whom is Pharaoh like? כּכה, so, i.e., under such circumstances, when the glorious cedar Asshur has been smitten by such a fate (Hitzig). The reply to this question is really contained in the description given already; so that it is immediately followed by the announcement, "and thou wilt be thrust down," etc. ערלים, uncircumcised, equivalent to ungodly heathen 'הוּא פ, not "he is," as that would require פּרעה הוּא; but הוּא is the predicate: this is (i.e., so does it happen to) Pharaoh. המונו, as in Ezekiel 31:2.

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