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.
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(18) To whom art thou thus like.—In this closing verse the whole chapter is brought to a point. Egypt, like Assyria in glory, shall be like her in experience of the judgments of God. On “uncircumcised” comp. Note on Ezekiel 28:10.

Ezekiel 31:18. To whom art thou thus like in glory? &c. — To whom, among the great princes of the world, canst thou, O king of Egypt, be so fitly compared, with all thy glory and greatness, as to this king of Assyria, since, like him, thou shalt be thrown down from all thy pomp and grandeur to the lowest state of humiliation and ruin. Thou shalt lie in the midst of the uncircumcised — Thou shalt be put among those of whom God makes no account. “Nations that admitted circumcision, held the uncircumcised in the utmost contempt. The Egyptians, at least the priests and the learned among them, were circumcised; but now they shall lie among the uncircumcised.” — Michaelis. This is Pharaoh and all his multitude, saith the Lord God — In this verse the latter part of Ezekiel 31:2 is resumed, and the allegory, under which the Assyrian is represented, is applied to Pharaoh.

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.Application to Pharaoh.

The uncircumcised - The Egyptians, at least their nobles, were circumcised. Pharaoh should thus be dishonored with those whom the Egyptians themselves deemed unclean.

18. Application of the parabolic description of Assyria to the parallel case of Egypt. "All that has been said of the Assyrian consider as said to thyself. To whom art thou so like, as thou art to the Assyrian? To none." The lesson on a gigantic scale of Eden-like privileges abused to pride and sin by the Assyrian, as in the case of the first man in Eden, ending in ruin, was to be repeated in Egypt's case. For the unchangeable God governs the world on the same unchangeable principles.

thou shall lie in … uncircumcised—As circumcision was an object of mocking to thee, thou shall lie in the midst of the uncircumcised, slain by their sword [Grotius]. Retribution in kind (Eze 28:10).

This is Pharaoh—Pharaoh's end shall be the same humiliating one as I have depicted the Assyrian's to have been. "This" is demonstrative, as if he were pointing with the finger to Pharaoh lying prostrate, a spectacle to all, as on the shore of the Red Sea (Ex 14:30, 31).

The mightiest, richest, and longest-lived kingdom I have represented, saith God, overthrown and destroyed; a kingdom thou canst not pretend to equal; and if not like this, what king or kingdom art thou like, that thou shouldst be invincible? Whoever thou art like in height and power, thou shalt be like them in thy fall and ruin.

Shall lie in the midst of the uncirumcised; as unclean, despised, and loathsome in thy blood, like the slain with the sword, not to be known without an upbraiding inscription;

This is Pharaoh.

To whom art thou thus like in glory and in greatness among the trees of Eden?.... Among all the kings and potentates of the earth; pitch on whom you will, say which of them all, even the greatest of them for majesty and glory, for wealth and riches, power and authority, and extent of dominion, you are equal to; name the king of Assyria, if you please, before described, though you are not equal to him; and if you were, this would not secure you from ruin; since, as great as he was, he fell, and so will you: this is said to Pharaoh king of Egypt, and is an application of the preceding parable to him; suggesting, that let him be as high as any ever was, or he could imagine himself to be:

yet shall thou be brought down with the trees of Eden unto the nether parts of the earth; the grave, and lie in the same depressed and humble state as the greatest monarchs that ever were on earth do:

thou shalt lie in the midst of the uncircumcised; the wicked, as the Targum; the uncircumcised in heart; who belong not to God, or his people, and have no communion with either, but are shut out of the kingdom of heaven, and have their portion with devils and damned spirits:

with them that be slain by the sword; in a way of judgment for their sins:

this is Pharaoh, and all his multitude, saith the Lord God; this account represents Pharaoh, his grandeur, his pride, and his ruin; this shows what will be the end of him, and of his numerous subjects. The Septuagint and Arabic versions render it, "so will be Pharaoh", &c. in like manner will he fall, and all his people with him; for the Lord God has said it, and it shall assuredly come to pass. The Targum is,

"to whom art thou like now in glory and greatness among the kings of the east? and thou shall be brought down with the kings of the east into the lower part of the earth; in the midst of sinners thou shalt sleep, with those that are slain by the sword; this is Pharaoh, and all his multitude, saith the Lord God.''

To whom {i} 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 to the lower parts of the earth: thou shalt lie in the midst of the {k} uncircumcised with them that are slain by the sword. This is Pharaoh and all his multitude, saith the Lord GOD.

(i) Meaning that Pharaoh's power was nothing so great as his was.

(k) Read Eze 28:10.

18. The question implies that Pharaoh had no peers. Yet though incomparably greater than the other trees his fate shall be the same as theirs—he shall be brought down with them to the nether parts of the earth. LXX. reads the first half of the verse thus: To whom art thou like? Go down, and be brought down with the trees of Eden to the nether parts of the earth, cf. Ezekiel 32:19.

midst of the uncircumcised] The term is applied to those slain with the sword, and buried indiscriminately with no funeral rites, ch. Ezekiel 28:10; cf. Ezekiel 32:19; Ezekiel 32:21; Ezekiel 32:24, &c.

Verse 18. - To whom art thou thus like, etc.? As in Ver. 10, the prophet passes from the past to the present, from the third person to the second, and as it were says to Hophra, "Thou art the man! all that I have said of Assyria is true of thee." This is Pharaoh and all his multitude. In the midst of thin uncircumcised (see note on Ezekiel 28:10). As a matter of fact, the Egyptians practiced circumcision, and Ezekiel must be thought of as using the term as simply an epithet of scorn.

Ezekiel 31:18Impression 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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