Ezekiel 32:26
There is Meshech, Tubal, and all her multitude: her graves are round about him: all of them uncircumcised, slain by the sword, though they caused their terror in the land of the living.
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(26) There is Meshech, Tubal.—See Note on Ezekiel 27:13. It is difficult to obtain historical data for the exact time of the fall of these more obscure kingdoms; but at this period of the world these smaller states were being rapidly swallowed up and absorbed by the greater Powers who were contending for the world’s empire. Meshech and Tubal, like Persia, do not appear at this time to have yet attained their greatest development.

Ezekiel 32:26-28. There is Meshech, Tubal, &c. — These are some other of the Assyrian allies; some think the Cappadocians, and other nations neighbouring to them, are here meant. The Scythians also, who anciently governed Asia, may be comprehended, and their expulsion from Media by Cyaxares may here be referred to: see Obs. on Books, 1:192. And they shall not lie with the mighty, &c. — They shall not lie among those heathen heroes, men of courage and fortitude, who were laid in distinct graves, with pomp and magnificence, but shall all be tumbled together into one common pit, as their actions have not made them worthy of any distinction. Which are gone down to hell — Or, the state of the dead, as the word which we translate hell ought often to be rendered. With their weapons of war — Brave men, who had gained signal victories, used, by way of honour, to have their arms buried with them, or hung upon their sepulchres. Thus was the grave of Misenus honoured by Æneas.

“ — — — Ingenti mole sepulchrum Imponit, suaque arma viro.” ÆN. 6:232.

“It was usual,” says Kirchman, De Funer. Roman., 50. 3. c. 18, “in former times, in some places, to put swords, shields, and other armour in the graves of military men, as they did in the grave of Theseus, and on the bier of Alexander the Great.” But the meaning of the prophet here is, that those, of whom he speaks, should be without these usual martial solemnities, with which people formerly often honoured their dead. Instead of which he says their iniquities shall be upon their bones — Their death shall carry in it plain tokens of their sins, and of God’s vengeance pursuing them on account of them. Yea, thou shalt be broken in the midst of the uncircumcised — Thou, O king of Egypt, shalt have no honorary distinctions paid thee at thy death, or be laid in a magnificent tomb, as those great conquerors have been, but shalt lie in a common pit, or grave, promiscuously with those who are overcome and slain in battle.32:17-32 Divers nations are mentioned as gone down to the grave before Egypt, who are ready to give her a scornful reception; these nations had been lately ruined and wasted. But though Judah and Jerusalem were about this time ruined and laid waste, yet they are not mentioned here. Though they suffered the same affliction, and by the same hand, yet the kind design for which they were afflicted, and the mercy God reserved for them, altered its nature. It was not to them a going down to the pit, as it was to the heathen. Pharaoh shall see, and be comforted; but the comfort wicked ones have after death, is poor comfort, not real, but only in fancy. The view this prophecy gives of ruined states shows something of this present world, and the empire of death in it. Come and see the calamitous state of human life. As if men did not die fast enough, they are ingenious at finding out ways to destroy one another. Also of the other world; though the destruction of nations as such, seems chiefly intended, here is plain allusion to the everlasting ruin of impenitent sinners. How are men deceived by Satan! What are the objects they pursue through scenes of bloodshed, and their many sins? Surely man disquiets himself in vain, whether he pursues wealth, fame, power, or pleasure. The hour cometh, when all that are in their graves shall hear the voice of Christ, and shall come forth; those that have done good to the resurrection of life, and those that have done evil to the resurrection of damnation.See the marginal referenc. Elam answers to the country known to the Greeks and Romans as Elymais, near Persia and Media. The Elamites were a fierce and warlike people. In the records of Assurbanipal his final triumph over Elam seems to have been one of his proudest boasts. Elam no doubt in the decline of Assyrian power again asserted its independence and was again crushed by the Chaldaean conqueror. 26. Meshech, Tubal—northern nations: the Moschi and Tibareni, between the Black and Caspian Seas. Herodotus [3.94], mentions them as a subjugated people, tributaries to Darius Hystaspes (see Eze 27:13). Meshech: see Ezekiel 27:13.

Tubal: see Ezekiel 27:13; to which interpretation I still adhere, adding that in the full extent of these Moschi and Tibareni, these Cappadocians and Albanians, the Scythians may be included, many of which were next neighbours to them. Junius is of opinion that the Scythians are here meant, and so am I. But it will be said they never had such a settled kingdom worth noting. It is true of that barbarous people, there is no account that ever they were lords of the world; yet they caused their terror in the land of the living, and were slain by the sword under the command and in the expeditions of their kings into Asia, who were accompanied with her multitudes. Velleius reports they wasted Asia 350 years before Rome was thought of, and that is about 1082 years before Christ’s birth. Again, we find them in arms, (no doubt in numbers much like what they appeared in when Tomvris their queen destroyed Cyrus, or when they have moved against their neighbours in later days,) and with those arms wasted the Cimmerii, a people seated near them on the Euxine Sea and the Maeotis Palus; and about that time they did under their chieftains waste Asia, they forced Cyaxares from the siege of Nineveh, such considerable strength they had then; this was 634 before Christ’s’ birth, were lords of Asia for twenty-eight years, and it seems that their power was such, Cyaxares was glad to decline plain dealing, and to overthrow them by a wile, as Calvisius tells us, ad A.M. 3344, and the help of Halyattes, king of the Lydians. These things were fresh in memory when Ezekiel prophesied thus against Egypt, for they fell out about the eighth or ninth year of Pharaoh-necho, some fourteen years before Pharaoh-hophra came to the crown; now about the sixth year of his reign came this word of the Lord to Ezekiel; so that the prophet might well mention these as instances of God’s power abating the pride and destroying the kingdoms of the mighty, and these are with reason brought in among the Persians and Assyrians. There is Meshech, Tubal, and all her multitude,.... The Scythians, a powerful and warlike people; and all their armies, as the Targum; with their leaders, generals, and commanders, as lying in their graves next to the Assyrians and Elamites, or

her graves are round about him; not the king of Egypt, nor the king of Assyria, nor the king of Persia; but the chief commander of the Scythians, called the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, Ezekiel 38:2,

all of them slain by the sword; of Halyattes, king of Lydia, and Cyaxares, king of Media, who was assisted by the former in subduing the Scythians:

though they caused their terror in the land of the living; as they did in Media, and other countries, and especially in some parts of Asia.

There is {q} Meshech, Tubal, and all her multitude: her graves are around him: all of them uncircumcised, slain by the sword, though they caused their terror in the land of the living.

(q) That is, the Capadocians and Italians or Spaniards, as Josephus writes.

26. Meshech and Tubal. See on Ezekiel 27:13; cf. Ezekiel 38:2.

her graves … him] On genders cf. Ezekiel 32:22.

though they caused] for they caused.Verse 26. - There is Meshech, Tubal. (On the ethnological relations of the two tribes, see note on Ezekiel 27:13, and later on in Ezekiel 38, and 39.) Ezekiel obviously speaks of them as one of the powers that bad been conspicuous in his own time, and had been, in part at least, overthrown by the Chaldean monarchy. We may probably connect his words with the great irruption of the Scythians mentioned by Herodotus (1. 103; 4:11) as having swept over Asia even to Palestine and Egypt, in the time of Josiah, and which, after compelling Cyaxares to raise the siege of Nineveh, left traces of itself in the name of the city of Scythe-polls. Many commentators find a reference to that invasion in the "evil from the north" of Jeremiah 1:14; Jeremiah 4:6; and in Zephaniah 1:13-16. They also, once the terror of the nations, are now represented by the prophet as in the shadow-world of Sheol. The might of Pharaoh resembles the greatness and glory of Asshur. - Ezekiel 31:1. In the eleventh year, in the third (month), on the first of the month, the word of Jehovah came to me, saying, Ezekiel 31:2. Son of man, say to Pharaoh the king of Egypt, and to his tumult, Whom art thou like in thy greatness? Ezekiel 31:3. Behold, Asshur was a cedar-tree upon Lebanon, beautiful in branches, a shadowing thicket, and its top was high in growth, and among the clouds. Ezekiel 31:4. Water brought him up, the flood made him high, its streams went round about its plantation, and it sent its channels to all the trees of the field. Ezekiel 31:5. Therefore its growth became higher than all the trees of the field, and its branches became great, and its boughs long from many waters in its shooting out. Ezekiel 31:6. In its branches all the birds of the heaven made their nests, and under its boughs all the beasts of the field brought forth, and in its shadow sat great nations of all kinds. Ezekiel 31:7. And he was beautiful in his greatness, in the length of his shoots; for his root was by many waters. Ezekiel 31:8. Cedars did not obscure him in the garden of God, cypresses did not resemble his branches, and plane-trees were not like his boughs; no tree in the garden of God resembled him in his beauty. Ezekiel 31:9. I had made him beautiful in the multitude of his shoots, and all the trees of Eden which were in the garden of God envied him. - The word of God is addressed to King Pharaoh and to המונו, his tumult, i.e., whoever and whatever occasions noise and tumult in the land. We must not interpret this, however, as Hitzig has done, as signifying the ruling classes and estates in contrast with the quiet in the land, for no such use of המון is anywhere to be found. Nor must we regard the word as applying to the multitude of people only, but to the people with their possessions, their riches, which gave rise to luxury and tumult, as in Ezekiel 30:10. The inquiry, whom does Pharaoh with his tumult resemble in his greatness, is followed in the place of a reply by a description of Asshur as a glorious cedar (Ezekiel 31:3-9). It is true that Ewald has followed the example of Meibom (vanarum in Cod. Hebr. interprett. spec. III p. 70) and J. D. Michaelis, and endeavours to set aside the allusion to Asshur, by taking the word אשּׁוּר in an appellative sense, and understanding אשּׁוּר ארז as signifying a particular kind of cedar, namely, the tallest species of all. But apart altogether from there being no foundation whatever for such an explanation in the usage of the language, there is nothing in the fact to justify it. For it is not anywhere affirmed that Pharaoh resembled this cedar; on the contrary, the question, whom does he resemble? is asked again in Ezekiel 31:18 (Hitzig). Moreover, Michaelis is wrong in the supposition that "from Ezekiel 31:10 onwards it becomes perfectly obvious that it is not Assyria but Egypt itself which is meant by the cedar-tree previously described." Under the figure of the felling of a cedar there is depicted the overthrow of a king or monarchy, which has already taken place. Compare Ezekiel 31:12 and Ezekiel 31:16, where the past is indicated quite as certainly as the future in Ezekiel 31:18. And as Ezekiel 31:18 plainly designates the overthrow of Pharaoh and his power as still in the future, the cedar, whose destruction is not only threatened in Ezekiel 31:10-17, but declared to have already taken place, can only be Asshur, and not Egypt at all.

The picture of the glory of this cedar recalls in several respects the similar figurative description in Ezekiel 17. Asshur is called a cedar upon Lebanon, because it was there that the most stately cedars grew. חרשׁ מצל, a shade-giving thicket (מצל is a Hiphil participle of צלל), belongs to יפה ענף as a further expansion of ענף, corresponding to the further expansion of גּבהּ קמה by "its top was among the clouds." If we bear this in mind, the reasons assigned by Hitzig for altering חרשׁ into an adjective הרשׁ, and taking מצל as a substantive formation after the analogy of מסב, lose all their force. Analogy would only require an adjective in the construct state in the event of the three statements 'יפה ע, 'הרשׁ מ, and 'גּבהּ גּבהּ ק being co-ordinate with one another. But what is decisive against the proposed conjecture is the fact that neither the noun מצל nor the adjective הרשׁ is ever met with, and that, in any case, מצל cannot signify foliage. The rendering of the Vulgate, "frondibus nemorosus," is merely guessed at, whilst the Seventy have omitted the word as unintelligible to them. For עבתים, thicket of clouds, see the comm. on Ezekiel 19:11; and for צמּרת, that on Ezekiel 17:3. The cedar grew to so large a size because it was richly watered (Ezekiel 31:4). A flood poured its streams round about the place where the cedar was planted, and sent out brooks to all the trees of the field. The difficult words את־נהרתיה וגו' are to be taken literally thus: as for its (the flood's) streams, it (the flood) was going round about its plantation, i.e., round about the plantation belonging to the flood or the place situated near it, where the cedar was planted. את is not to be taken as a preposition, but as a sign of the accusative, and את־נהרתיה dna , as an accusative used for the more precise definition of the manner in which the flood surrounded the plantation. It is true that there still remains something striking in the masculine הלך, since תּהום, although of common gender, is construed throughout as a feminine, even in this very verse. But the difficulty remains even if we follow Ewald, and take הלך to be a defectively written or irregular form of the Hiphil הוליך; a conjecture which is precluded by the use of הוליך, to cause to run equals to cause to flow away, in Ezekiel 32:14. מטּעהּ, its (the flood's) plantation, i.e., the plantation for which the flood existed. תּהום is used here to signify the source of starting-point of a flood, as in Deuteronomy 8:7, where תּהמות are co-ordinate with עינות. - While the place where the cedar was planted was surrounded by the streams of the flood, only the brooks and channels of this flood reached to the trees of the field. The cedar therefore surpassed all the trees of the field in height and luxuriance of growth (Ezekiel 31:5). fגּבהאheb>, an Aramean mode of spelling for גּבהה heb>; and asרעפּתheb>, ἁπ. λεγ.., an Aramean formation with ר inserted, for סעפת, branches. For פּארת, see the comm. on Ezekiel 17:6. בּשׁלּחו cannot mean "since it (the stream) sent out the water" (Ewald); for although תּהום in Ezekiel 31:4 is also construed as a masculine, the suffix cannot be taken as referring to תּהום, for this is much too far off. And the explanation proposed by Rosenmller, Hvernick, Kliefoth, and others, "as it (the tree) sent them (the branches) out," is open to this objection, that בּשׁלּחו would then contain a spiritless tautology; since the stretching out of the branches is already contained in the fact of their becoming numerous and long. the tautology has no existence if the object is left indefinite, "in its spreading out," i.e., the spreading not only of the branches, but also of the roots, to which שׁלּח is sometimes applied (cf. Jeremiah 17:8). By the many waters which made the cedar great, we must not understand, either solely or especially, the numerous peoples which rendered Assyria great and mighty, as the Chaldee and many of the older commentators have done. It must rather be taken as embracing everything which contributed to the growth and greatness of Assyria. It is questionable whether the prophet, when describing the flood which watered the cedar plantation, had the description of the rivers of Paradise in Genesis 2:10. floating before his mind. Ewald and Hvernick think that he had; but Hitzig and Kliefoth take a decidedly opposite view. There is certainly no distinct indication of any such allusion. We meet with this for the first time from Ezekiel 31:8 onwards.

In Ezekiel 31:6-9 the greatness and glory of Asshur are still further depicted. Upon and under the branches of the stately tree, all creatures, birds, beasts, and men, found shelter and protection for life and increase (Ezekiel 31:6; cf. Ezekiel 17:23 and Daniel 4:9). In כּּל־גּוים רבּים, all kinds of great nations, the fact glimmers through the figure. The tree was so beautiful (ויּיף from יפה) in its greatness, that of all the trees in the garden of God not one was to be compared with it, and all envied it on that account; that is to say, all the other nations and kingdoms in God's creation were far inferior to Asshur in greatness and glory. גּן אלהים is the garden of Paradise; and consequently עדן in Ezekiel 31:9, Ezekiel 31:16, and Ezekiel 31:18 is also Paradise, as in Ezekiel 28:13. There is no ground for Kliefoth's objection, that if עדן be taken in this sense, the words "which are in the garden of God" will contain a superfluous pleonasm, a mere tautology. In Genesis 2:8 a distinction is also made between עדן and the garden in Eden. It was not all Eden, but the garden planted by Jehovah in Eden, which formed the real paradisaical creation; so that the words "which are in the garden of God" give intensity to the idea of the "trees of Eden." Moreover, as Hvernick has correctly pointed out, there is a peculiar emphasis in the separation of בּגן אלהים from ארזים in Ezekiel 31:8 : "cedars...even such as were found in the garden of God." Not one even of the other and most glorious trees, viz., cypresses and planes, resembled the cedar Asshur, planted by God by many waters, in its boughs and branches. It is not stated in so many words in Ezekiel 31:8 and Ezekiel 31:9 that the cedar Asshur stood in the garden of God; but it by no means follows from this, that by the garden of God we are to understand simply the world and the earth as the creation of God, as Kliefoth imagines, and in support of which he argues that "as all the nations and kingdoms of the world are regarded as trees planted by God, the world itself is quite consistently called a garden or plantation of God." The very fact that a distinction is made between trees of the field (Ezekiel 31:4 and Ezekiel 31:5) and trees of Eden in the garden of God (Ezekiel 31:8 and Ezekiel 31:9), shows that the trees are not all regarded here as being in the same sense planted by God. If the garden of God stood for the world, where should we then have to look for the field (השּׂדה)? The thought of Ezekiel 31:8 and Ezekiel 31:9 is not that "not a single tree in all God's broad earth was to be compared to the cedar Asshur," but that even of the trees of Paradise, the garden in Eden, there was not one so beautiful and glorious as the cedar Asshur, planted by God by many waters.

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