Ezekiel 31:1–18

Read the passage.

Chapter 31 is a prophecy against Pharaoh, but it is a little strange in that it is mostly not about him. Instead, Egypt is compared to Assyria, a great empire that had fallen in the previous century to Babylon. There are apparently some scholars who think “Assyria” was a one-letter copy error, and it should be translated as “cypress” to make the whole passage about Egypt directly. I’m not conviced by that. The wording of the question in verse 2 still makes sense when “Assyria” is the answer.

Assyria stood tall and proud like a cedar of Lebanon. Such trese grew hundreds of feet tall and were prized for their lumber. Their boughs provided homes for birds and shade for the beasts of the field, which are compared to the smaller nations surrounding it. Not even the trees in the Garden of Eden were as beautiful and great as this tree.

But that made Assyria the tree proud. Its top rose higher than the clouds and its pride caused God to bring it low. A foreign nation cuts down the tree, and the birds and beasts dwell on the fallen trunk . No longer will a tree grow that tall, and all the other trees take notice and quake at the disaster that has befallen Assyria.

So then, the question is asked of Egypt again: “Whom are you like in glory and greatness?” And the answer is still “Assyria”, for the same fate will befall them.

Human pride always seeks to supplant Your deserved greatness. Show us the error of our ways.

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