Ezekiel 31:17
They also went down into hell with him to them that be slain with the sword; and they that were his arm, that dwelled under his shadow in the middle of the heathen.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
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.His arm ... - The subject princes who were his strength and support in war. 17. his arm, that dwelt under his shadow—those who were the helpers or tool of his tyranny, and therefore enjoyed his protection (for example, Syria and her neighbors). These were sure to share her fate. Compare the same phrase as to the Jews living under the protection of their king (La 4:20); both alike "making flesh their arm, and in heart departing from the Lord" (Jer 17:5). They also; either his neighbour kings and princes, or those that were his own subjects, but rich and mighty.

Went down into hell; were broken and perished with him, and went to those God had slain for their pride and wickedness.

They that were his arm; his loyal and faithful subjects and friends abroad, who having been protected by him, remembered it, and adhered to him to support him; but all fell, are extinct, and gone down to the pit, where are many proud, but o pride; where all know themselves dust and ashes, and God glorious, holy, and just. They also went down to hell with him,.... To the grave with him; many of his nobles, princes, generals, soldiers, and subjects:

unto them that be slain with the sword; to be buried and lie with them who had fallen by the sword, as a just punishment for their iniquities:

and they that were his arm; either that leaned on his arm, were dependents upon him; or his ministers, his instruments, whom he employed under him as his deputies, to govern the several provinces that belonged to him; or rather his allies and auxiliaries, who helped and assisted him on occasion:

that dwelt under his shadow in the midst of the Heathen; in the midst of the nations subject to the Assyrian empire; such who put themselves under the protection of it, lived comfortably under it, and continued with it to the last; these shared the same fate as that did. The Targum is,

"his governors are broken, whom he strengthened in the midst of the kingdom.''

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.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
17. They also … into hell] These also are gone down into Sheòl, ref. being to the “trees of Eden,” Ezekiel 31:16.

were his arm, that dwelt] and his arm, that dwelt. His “arm” is his helpers (Ezekiel 17:9). The construction is difficult (read probably cons. plur. of part. for “that dwelt;” om. of rel. improbable); cf. Ezekiel 32:15. LXX. points “his seed” for “his arm,” but that “seed” could mean underwood (Corn.) has no probability.Verse 17. - They that were his arm. The words point to the allies, in the first instance of Assyria, and secondly of Egypt. The last words of the verse present a striking parallel to Lamentations 4:20. All the supports and helpers of Egypt will fall, and the whole land with its cities will be laid waste. - Ezekiel 30:6. Thus saith the Lord Jehovah, Those who support Egypt will fall, and its proud might will sink; from Migdol to Syene will they fall by the sword therein, is the saying of the Lord Jehovah. Ezekiel 30:7. And they will lie waste in the midst of waste lands, and its cities be in the midst of desolate cities. Ezekiel 30:8. They shall learn that I am Jehovah, when I bring fire into Egypt, and all its helpers are shattered. Ezekiel 30:9. In that day will messengers go forth from me in ships to terrify the confident Ethiopia, and there will be writing among them as in the day of Egypt; for, behold, it cometh. - "Those who support Egypt" are not the auxiliary tribes and allies, for they are included in the term עזריה in Ezekiel 30:8, but the idols and princes (Ezekiel 30:13), the fortified cities (Ezekiel 30:15), and the warriors (Ezekiel 30:17), who formed the foundation of the might of the kingdom. גּאון , "the pride of its might," which is an expression applied in Ezekiel 24:21 to the temple at Jerusalem, is to be taken here in a general sense, and understood not merely of the temples and idols of Egypt, but as the sum total of all the things on which the Egyptians rested the might of their kingdom, and on the ground of which they regarded it as indestructible. For 'ממּגדּל וגו, see the comm. on Ezekiel 29:10. The subject to יפּלוּ בהּ is the 'סמכי מצר. Ezekiel 30:7 is almost a literal repetition of Ezekiel 29:12; and the subject to נשׁמּוּ is מצרים regarded as a country, though the number and gender of the verb have both been regulated by the form of the noun. The fire which God will bring into Egypt (Ezekiel 30:8) is the fire of war. Ezekiel 30:9. The tidings of this judgment of God will be carried by messengers to Ethiopia, and there awaken the most terrible dread of a similar fate. In the first hemistich, the prophet has Isaiah 18:2 floating before his mind. The messengers, who carry the tidings thither, are not the warlike forces of Chaldea, who are sent thither by God; for they would not be content with performing the service of messengers alone. We have rather to think of Egyptians, who flee by ship to Ethiopia. The messengers go, מלפני, from before Jehovah, who is regarded as being present in Egypt, while executing judgment there (cf. Isaiah 19:1). צים, as in Numbers 24:24 equals ציּים (Daniel 11:30), ships, trieres, according to the Rabbins, in Hieron. Symm. on Isaiah 33:21, and the Targum on Num. (cf. Ges. Thes. p. 1156). בּטח is attached to כּוּשׁ, Cush secure or confident, equivalent to the confident Cush (Ewald, 287c). 'והיתה חלח, repeated from Ezekiel 30:4. בּהם, among the Ethiopians. 'כּיום מצר, as in the day of Egypt, i.e., not the present day of Egypt's punishment, for the Ethiopians have only just heard of this from the messengers; but the ancient, well-known day of judgment upon Egypt (Exodus 15:12.). Ewald and Hitzig follow the lxx in taking כּיום for בּיום; but this is both incorrect and unsuitable, and reduces 'בּיום מצר into a tame repetition of בּיּום החוּא. The subject to הנּה באה is to be taken from the context, viz., that which is predicted in the preceding verses (Ezekiel 30:6-8).
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