The fall of the tall cedar tree (Ezek 31:10-31:12)

“Therefore,

Thus says Yahweh God!

‘The cedar tree

Towered high.

It set its top

Among the clouds.

Its heart

Was proud

Of its height.

I will give it

Into the hand

Of the prince

Of the nations.

He has dealt

With it,

As its wickedness deserves.

I have cast it out.

Foreigners,

From the most terrible

Of the nations,

Have cut it down.

They have left it.

Its branches

Have fallen

On the mountains.

In all the valleys.

Its boughs

Lie broken

In all the watercourses

Of the land.

All the people

Of the earth

Went away

From its shade.

They left it.’”

Yahweh, via Ezekiel, said that this great cedar tree towered high, with its tree top in the clouds. This tree was proud in its heart of its height. Yahweh gave it to the prince of the nations, probably the king of Babylon, who dealt with it because of its wickedness. Yahweh was going to cast it out. Foreigners from the worst nations came and cut it down. They left it lying on the mountains and in the valleys. The fallen broken branches were on the ground and in small streams of water. Everybody went away from its shade, as they left this fallen tree alone.

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The powerful Babylonian horses (Ezek 26:10-26:11)

“King Nebuchadnezzar’s horses

Shall be so many

That their dust

Shall cover you.

Your very walls

Shall shake

At the noise

Of the cavalry,

At the noise

Of the wheels,

At the noise

Of the chariots.

He enters

Your gates

Like those entering

A breached city.

With the hoofs

Of his horses,

He shall trample

All your streets.

He shall put

Your people

To the sword.

Your strong pillars

Shall fall

To the ground.”

The king of Babylon had a lot of horses, so many that the dust from these galloping horses would cover them up. The cavalry would make such a loud noise that the walls would shake. The noisy wheels of the chariots, driven by horses, would enter their gates as if there were no gates there. The hoofs of their horses would trample all their streets. Their people would be killed. Their large pillars would be crushed to the ground. In very colorful language, there would be a lot of horses with cavalry and chariots attacking Tyre.

The marker at the fork in the road (Ezek 21:18-21:20)

“The word of Yahweh

Came to me again.

‘Son of man!

Mark out two roads

For the sword

Of the king

Of Babylon

To come!                                           

Both of them

Shall issue

From the same land.

Make a signpost!

Make it for a fork

In the road

Leading to a city.

Mark out the road

For the sword

To come

To Rabbah

Of the Ammonites

Or to Judah,

To the fortified Jerusalem.”

Once again, the word of Yahweh came to Ezekiel, the son of man. He had to put a maker at a fork in the road. There would be two roads for the sword of the king of Babylon to take. Both roads came from the same place, Babylon. However, at this fork in the road, one led to the city of Rabbah, the home of the Ammonites. The other road led to a fortified Jerusalem in Judah.

The second young lion was captured (Ezek 19:7-19:9)

“The second young lion

Ravaged

Their strongholds.

He laid waste

To their towns.

The land

Was appalled.

All who were in it

Were appalled

At the sound

Of his roaring.

The nations

Set upon him

From the provinces

All around.

They spread

Their net

Over him.

He was caught

In their pit.

With hooks,

They put him

In a cage.

They brought him

To the king of Babylon.

They brought him

Into custody.

Thus his voice

Would be heard

No more

On the mountains

Of Israel.”

This second young lion ravaged the strongholds and towns around there. The land and everybody in it were appalled at the sound of his roaring. Thus various countries from around the area set upon him. They spread out their nets over him. They caught him in a pit. They hooked him and put him into a cage. They brought him to the king of Babylon. He was now in custody so that his voice would no longer be heard on the mountains of Israel. This sounds a lot like a reference to King Zedekiah (598-587).

The king of Judah broke Yahweh’s oath (Ezek 17:19-17:21)

“Therefore thus says

Yahweh God!

‘As I live,

I will surely return

Upon his head

My oath

That he despised.

He broke

My covenant.

I will spread

My net

Over him.

He shall be caught

In my snare.

I will bring him

To Babylon.

I will enter

Into judgment

With him there

For the treason

That he has committed

Against me.

The entire pick

Of his troops

Shall fall

By the sword.

The survivors

Shall be scattered

To every wind.

You shall know

That I,

Yahweh,

Have spoken.’”

It is interesting to note that the covenant and oath that King Zedekiah had sworn to the King of Babylon was interpreted by Yahweh as an oath and alliance with Yahweh, himself. Yahweh was going to return the oath on the king’s head because he had despised this oath. He had broken Yahweh’s covenant when he broke his agreement with the king of Babylon. Yahweh was going to spread his net over him, so that he was going to be caught in his snare. Yahweh was going to bring the king to Babylon to enter judgment on him there for the treason that he had committed against Yahweh. All the king’s best troops would fall by the sword in battle. The survivors would be scattered to every wind. They would know that it was Yahweh who had delivered this judgment.

The useless Pharaoh cannot help (Ezek 17:17-17:18)

“Pharaoh,

With his mighty army,

With his great company,

Will not help him

In war.

When ramps are cast up

With siege walls built

To cut off many lives,

It is difficult.

Because he despised

The oath.

He broke the covenant.

Because he gave

His hand.

Yet he did

All these things.

He shall not escape.”

If the King of Judah, King Zedekiah, was expecting big things from the Egyptian Pharaoh, he was going to be disappointed. Even Pharaoh with his mighty army and great company would not be able to help him in a war, where there were so many ramps and siege walls. The king of Judah had despised his oath and broken his covenant with the King of Babylon. He had given his hand. Yet he did all these things. Thus he was not going to escape.

The second eagle was Egypt (Ezek 17:15-17:16)

“But the new king

Rebelled against him.

He sent ambassadors

To Egypt.

He hoped

That they might

Give him

Horses

With a large army.

Will he succeed?

Can one escape

Who does such things?

Can he break the covenant?

Can he yet escape?

As I live,

Says Yahweh God!

‘Surely in the place

Where the king resides,

Who made him king,

Whose oath he despised,

Whose covenant

With him

He broke,

He shall die

In Babylon.’”

The explanation of the riddle of the eagles continued with the assertion that the second eagle was Egypt. This new king, King Zedekiah, rebelled against the king of Babylon. King Zedekiah sent ambassadors to Egypt in order to get horses and a large army. Would he succeed? What happens to people who do things like this? Would he be able to break the covenant and escape? Yahweh had a different idea. The king of Judah had broken his agreement with the king of Babylon, the same one who put him on the throne. The result was that the king of Judah would die in Babylon.