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 her little rivers to all the trees of the field.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(4) His plants.—Should rather be, his plantation.

Sent out her little rivers.—The thought is that the various surrounding and subordinate nations were nourished from the great stream of prosperity which swelled the power and wealth of Assyria.

31:1-9 The falls of others, both into sin and ruin, warn us not to be secure or high-minded. The prophet is to show an instance of one whom the king of Egypt resembled in greatness, the Assyrian, compared to a stately cedar. Those who excel others, make themselves the objects of envy; but the blessings of the heavenly paradise are not liable to such alloy. The utmost security that any creature can give, is but like the shadow of a tree, a scanty and slender protection. But let us flee to God for protection, there we shall be safe. His hand must be owned in the rising of the great men of the earth, and we must not envy them. Though worldly people may seem to have firm prosperity, yet it only seems so.His plants - Rather, her plantation. The water represents the riches and might which flowed into Assyria.4. waters … little rivers—the Tigris with its branches and "rivulets," or "conduits" for irrigation, the source of Assyria's fertility. "The deep" is the ever flowing water, never dry. Metaphorically, for Assyria's resources, as the "conduits" are her colonies. As cedars grow great by the watercourses, so did this kingdom by multitudes of people and convenience of trade; or by the plenty of the country, if no trade, for it was first planted in the fruitful fields among the sweet rivers, Euphrates, Tigris, Lycus, Diava, and others. The deep set him up on high; the sea sent out her waters, which gave being to the rivers that watered him and improved him; whereas, Egypt, thy rivers rise out of a lake, which, though great, is not to be compared with the deep. His plants; the provinces of this mighty kingdom, that are like plants about a great tree. Little rivers; beneficence, justice, protection, encouragements, that subjects need, and good princes disperse among them; so the deep filled this king, and he sent out his streams to all his subjects in his kingdom. The waters made him great,.... The waters of the river Tigris, near to which stood the city of Nineveh, the metropolis of the Assyrian monarchy; the traffic brought by which river made it rich and great, and the whole empire, and the king of it:

the deep set him up on high, with her rivers running round about his plants; the vast trade by sea, the profits and commodities of which were conveyed through various rivers, which ran about the provinces of the empire, which were as plants in a field; and by which they were enriched, and the whole empire, and the king of it, were raised to a prodigious pitch of wealth and power:

and sent out little rivers to all the trees of the field; so that the common people, comparable to the trees of the field for their number and usefulness, all received profit and advantage hereby: or else by waters and the deep may be meant the multitude of people, as in Revelation 17:15, which increased his kingdom, filled his provinces, supplied his colonies, and enlarged his power and riches. The Targum is,

"by the people he was multiplied; by his auxiliaries he became strong; he subjected kings under his government; and his governors he appointed over all the provinces of the earth.''

The waters made him great, the deep set him up on high with her rivers running round his plants, and sent out her {c} little rivers to all the trees of the field.

(c) Many other nations were under their dominion.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
4. set him up on high] i.e. made him grow lofty. There is probably, however, the figure of a parent nourishing his offspring. The words “made great” and “set on high” are rendered “nourished and brought up” children, Isaiah 1:2; cf. Isaiah 23:4. The waters rear the tree as their child. The waters are those of Egypt.

with her rivers running] The construction is anomalous, and with expresses accompaniment, not instrumentality. It is easiest to read (with LXX.): she (the deep) made her rivers to run round … and sent out. Or possibly: as for her rivers, they ran, &c.

his plants] Rather: her plantation, “her” referring to the “deep,” which nourished the plantation, though this is not quite natural.

her little rivers] Marg. conduits, the small canals for irrigation. The plenteous waters nourished the great tree and the other trees alike.Verse 4. - The waters made him great. The scenery is hardly that of Lebanon, but finds its counterpart in that of the Nile, perhaps also of the Tigris, with the waters of the river diverted into streams and channels by a careful system of irrigation. The cedar grew close to the river itself; the other trees of the field were watered only by the smaller channels, and so were inferior to it in the fullness of their growth. (For the general imagery, comp. Ezekiel 17:5; Psalm 1:3; Jeremiah 17:8; Numbers 24:6.) Restoration of Egypt

Ezekiel 29:13. For thus saith the Lord Jehovah, At the end of forty years I will gather the Egyptians out of the nations, whither they were scattered. Ezekiel 29:14. And I will turn the captivity of Egypt, and will bring them back into the land of Pathros, into the land of their origin, and they shall be a lowly kingdom there. Ezekiel 29:15. Lowlier than the kingdoms shall it be, and exalt itself no more over the nations; and I will make them small, so that they shall rule no more over the nations. Ezekiel 29:16. And it shall be no more the confidence of the house of Israel, bringing iniquity to remembrance when they incline towards it; and they shall learn that I am the Lord Jehovah. - The turning of the period of Egypt's punishment is connected by כּי, which refers to the time indicated, viz., "forty years." For forty years shall Egypt be utterly laid waste; for after the expiration of that period the Lord will gather the Egyptians again from their dispersion among the nations, turn their captivity, i.e., put an end to their suffering (see the comm. on Ezekiel 16:53), and lead them back into the land of their birth, i.e., of their origin (for מכוּרה, see Ezekiel 16:3), namely, to Pathros. פתרוס, the Egyptian Petorēs (Παθούρης, lxx Jeremiah 44:1), or south land, i.e., Upper Egypt, the Thebais of the Greeks and Romans. The designation of Upper Egypt as the mother country of the Egyptians, or the land of their nativity, is confirmed not only by the accounts given by Herodotus (ii. 4 and 15) and Diodorus Sic. (i. 50), but also by the Egyptian mythology, according to which the first king who reigned after the gods, viz., Menes or Mena, sprang from the city of Thinis (Thynis), Egypt. Tenj, in the neighbourhood of Abydos in Upper Egypt, and founded the city of Memphis in Lower Egypt, which became so celebrated in later times (vid., Brugsch, Histoire d'Egypte, 1 Peter 16). But Egypt shall not attain to its former power any more. It will be and continue a lowly kingdom, that it may not again become a ground of confidence to Israel, a power upon which Israel can rely, so as to fall into guilt and punishment. The subject to ולא יהיה is Egypt as a nation, notwithstanding the fact that it has previously been construed in the feminine as a land or kingdom, and in אחריהם the Egyptians are spoken of in the plural number. For it is out of the question to take מזכּיר עון as the subject to לא יהיה in the sense of "no more shall one who calls guilt to remembrance inspire the house of Israel with confidence," as Kliefoth proposes, not only because of the arrangement of the words, but because the more precise definition of מזכּיר עון as 'בּפנותם אח clearly shows that Egypt is the subject of the sentence; whereas, in order to connect this definition in any way, Kliefoth is compelled to resort to the interpolation of the words, "which it committed." מזכּיר עון is in apposition to מבטח; making Egypt the ground of confidence, brings into remembrance before God the guilt of Israel, which consists in the fact that the Israelites turn to the Egyptians and seek salvation from them, so that He is obliged to punish them (vid., Ezekiel 21:28-29). - The truth of the prediction in Ezekiel 29:13-16 has been confirmed by history, inasmuch as Egypt never recovered its former power after the Chaldean period. - Moreover, if we compare the Messianic promise for Egypt in Isaiah 19:18-25 with the prediction in Ezekiel 29:13-15, we are struck at once with the peculiarity of Ezekiel, already referred to in the introductory remarks on Ezekiel 25-32, namely, that he leaves entirely out of sight the Messianic future of the heathen nations.

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