Ezekiel 32:27
And they shall not lie with the mighty that are fallen of the uncircumcised, which are gone down to hell with their weapons of war: and they have laid their swords under their heads, but their iniquities shall be on their bones, though they were the terror of the mighty in the land of the living.
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(27) And they shall not lie.—If this be the correct translation, then a distinction is implied between these nations and the others. The others have been honourably buried “with their weapons of war,” while these come to a more disgraceful end. It is better, however, to take it as a question (which the Hebrew fully admits): “Shall they not?” &c.

Their iniquities shall be upon their bones—i.e., they shall die in their iniquity. As we say in English, their sins shall be upon their heads.

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.And they shall not lie - Better, "Shall they not lie?" or, "Are they not laid?" The custom of burying warriors with their swords, shields, or helmets, raider their heads is well known, and common to most warlike nations.

But their iniquities ... - They, rested in all the glories of a warrior's sepulture, but their sins followed them to the grave.

27. they shall not lie with the mighty—that is, they shall not have separate tombs such as mighty conquerors have: but shall all be heaped together in one pit, as is the case with the vanquished [Grotius]. Havernick reads it interrogatively, "Shall they not lie with the mighty that are fallen?" But English Version is supported by the parallel (Isa 14:18, 19), to which Ezekiel refers, and which represents them as not lying as mighty kings lie in a grave, but cast out of one, as a carcass trodden under foot.

with … weapons of war—alluding to the custom of burying warriors with their arms (1 Maccabees 13:29). Though honored by the laying of "their swords under their heads," yet the punishment of "their iniquities shall be upon their bones." Their swords shall thus attest their shame, not their glory (Mt 26:52), being the instruments of their violence, the penalty of which they are paying.

They shall not lie with the mighty; the leaders of these Scythians were not buried with a pomp like that of Asshur or Elam, but, surprised by the fraud of Halyattes and Cyaxares, were cut off with all their multitude, and tumbled into pits with the rabble. With their weapons; a ceremony observed in pompous funerals of great captains, to have their weapons and their armour carried before the hearse.

Laid their swords under their heads; either when carried out to be buried, or laid under their head in their graves; or perhaps under the statues of them placed on the tops of their tombs: these barbarous Scythians were not so buried.

Their iniquity, the exemplary punishment of their iniquity,

shall be upon their bones; shall be seen upon their bones unburied, and cast out on the earth by the just judgment of God.

Though they were the terror; because they were Cruel, bloody, ravenous, and mischievously tyrannical while they lived.

The mighty; Cyaxares and the Persians, that durst not again attempt Nineveh, till the Scythians were fallen. And they shall not lie with the mighty that are fallen of the uncircumcised,.... That is, shall not lie in such state, or be buried with such pomp and magnificence, and have such sepulchral monuments erected to their memory, as other heroes among the Heathens have had; such as the mighty kings of Assyria and Persia before mentioned:

which are gone down to hell, or "the grave",

with their weapons of war; which were never taken from them, and which they held in their hands to the last, being never conquered, and died at last a natural death, and not by the sword; or which were carried in state before their hearse at the time of interment, as is the custom to this day so to do at the funeral of great warriors, generals, and officers:

and they have laid their swords under their heads; as a sign and token, as Jarchi says, that the sword did not rule over them, that they did not fall by it; either their statues and sepulchral monuments were adorned with these, and other instruments of war, as was the grave of Misenus by Aeneas (d); and as is still the custom where the heads of such mighty ones are laid, to engrave them on them: or, literally, their swords and other weapons of war were put in their graves under their heads; as it was usual, in former times, in some places to put swords, shields, and other armour, in the graves of military men, as were in the grave of Theseus, on the bier of Alexander the great, and others, as reported by Plutarch, Diodorus Siculus, and Sophocles (e): now the Scythians were not buried: after this grand and pompous manner:

but their iniquities shall be upon their bones; or the punishment of their sin should be, that their bones should lie unburied and scattered about, or be dug up and broke to pieces, and treated with inhumanity and contempt, as a just reward for their savageness, and cruelty:

though they were the terror of the mighty in the land of the living: not only the terror of the common people, but even of the most powerful kings and mighty warriors.

(d) Vid. Virgil. Aeneid. l. 6. & Seneca, l. 4. controvers. 4. (e) Vid. Lydium de Re Militari, l. 6. c. 7. p. 250, 251. & Kirchman, de Funer. Roman. l. 3. c. 18.

And they shall not lie with the mighty that are fallen {r} of the uncircumcised, who are gone down to the grave with their weapons of war: and they have laid their swords under their heads, but their iniquities shall be upon their bones, though they were the terror of the mighty in the land of the living.

(r) Who died not by cruel death but by the course of nature, and are honourably buried with their coat of armour and signs of honour.

27. they shall not lie] LXX. Syr. omit the neg.: and they are laid with the giants. Ew. would retain the neg., reading as an interrogation with an affirmative sense: and shall they not lie with …?, which is not very natural.

fallen of the uncircumcised] LXX. fallen of old. This reading has considerable probability, although the other reading might stand. Some scholars would also alter “fallen” (nophelim) into Nephilim (cf. R. V. Genesis 6:4); an unnecessary change. For “hell” read Sheòl.

they have laid their swords] they laid (indeterminate subj.)—equivalent to the passive: and their swords were laid.

but their … shall be] and their iniquities were. The reference is still to the “mighty;” to change the subject spoken of, making the clause refer to Meshech and Tubal, is most unnatural.

though they were the terror] because the terror of the mighty was in the land. The clause explains the preceding, as for ex. why their iniquities were upon their bones, and would certainly be easier if the reading had been: because the terror of their might was, as the Syr. reads, precisely as in Ezekiel 32:29-30. So Hitz. Corn. (Possibly geburam should be read; cf. Hosea 13:2, and often with fem. nouns.)

Ezekiel 32:27 is difficult. The reading “they shall not lie with the mighty” suggests the idea that the mighty who fell of old, and went down to Sheòl in full armour, and had their swords laid under their heads, occupy a more honourable place in Sheòl than such a rout as Meshech and Tubal, who are counted unworthy to lie beside them. This idea is not probable in itself, and cannot be reconciled with other parts of the verse. The last clause “because the terror of the mighty (or, of their might) was in the land of the living” ascribes the same sin to these mighty as is charged against Asshur and the rest (Ezekiel 32:23-24, &c.), and for which they bear their shame. Again, the phrase “their iniquities were upon their bones” can have no other meaning than that their evil and violence were interred with their bones, and continued to cleave to them—that they went down unhouselled, disappointed, unaneled, cut off in the blossom of their sin. The conjecture of Corn. “their shields were upon their bones” is altogether destitute of probability. LXX. renders “giants,” as it does Genesis 6:4, and possibly it thought of the antediluvian race. The prophet may have had this race in his mind, but more probably his reference is a wider one (cf. Ezekiel 32:12, Ezekiel 39:18; Ezekiel 39:20). Even if he referred to the giants before the Flood, it is anything but likely, with Genesis 6 before him and with his moral temper, that he would assign an honourable place in Sheòl to those violent desperadoes. The weird touch “went down to Sheòl in their weapons of war, and had their swords laid under their heads,” probably means that the manner of their death and burial was in keeping with the violence and bloodshed which was the occupation of their life. The usages and sentiments of chivalry were not yet known to Ezekiel. The clause should, therefore, probably be read positively.Verse 27. - And they shall not lie with the mighty. The words seem at first to contradict Ver. 26. The LXX. meets the difficulty by omitting the negative; Ewald and Havernick, by taking it as an interrogative, "Shall they not lie," etc.? Probably the explanation is laying stress on the word "mighty." Meshech and Tubal have a lower place in Hades; they are buried without the honors of war. Their swords are not placed beneath their heads (for the practice thus referred to, see Died. Sic., 18:26; Arrian, 1:5; Virg., 'AEn.,' 6:233). For the Scythians, who worshipped the sword (Herod., L 62), this would be the extremest ignominy. In this way their iniquities should be upon their bones as they lay dishonored. 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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