The explanation of the allegory of the cedar tree (Ezek 31:18-31:18)

“Which among the trees

Of Eden

Was like you

In glory,

Or in greatness?

Now you shall be

Brought down

With the trees

Of Eden

To the world below.

You shall lie

Among the uncircumcised.

You shall lie

With those who were killed

By the sword.

‘This is Pharaoh

With his entire hoard.’

Says Yahweh God.”

Yahweh God revealed the meaning of the big cedar tree. There is very little suspense, since it is Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, and the multitude of his people with him. The other trees were those kings and people associated with Egypt that relied on him for their existence. Once again, there was a comparison of this great cedar tree with the trees from the Garden of Eden. Which was more glorious or great? The great cedar tree would be brought down with the trees from the Garden of Eden to the world below. Thus, they would lie down with the uncircumcised and those killed by the sword.

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The king of Babylon will scatter the Egyptians (Ezek 30:23-30:26)

“I will scatter the Egyptians

Among the nations.

I will disperse them

Throughout the lands.

I will strengthen

The arms

Of the king of Babylon.

I will put my sword

In his hand.

But I will break

The arms of Pharaoh.

He will groan

Before him

With the groans

Of one mortally wounded.

I will strengthen

The arms

Of the king of Babylon.

But the arms of Pharaoh

Shall fall.

They shall know

That I am Yahweh

When I put

My sword

Into the hand

Of the king of Babylon.

He shall stretch it out

Against the land of Egypt.

I will scatter

The Egyptians

Among the nations.

I will disperse them

Throughout the countries.

Then they will know

That I am Yahweh.”

Yahweh was going to scatter and disperse the Egyptians among the various nations. He was going to strengthen the arms of the king of Babylon with his own sword. At the same time, he was going to break the arms of the Pharaoh who would groan, as if he were mortally wounded. Then Yahweh repeated himself. He was going to strengthen the arms of the king of Babylon, but break the arms of Pharaoh, who would fall. Then everyone would know that Yahweh was God. The king of Babylon would stretch out his hand with the sword of Yahweh against Egypt. The king of Babylon would scatter and disperse these Egyptians among the various nations.

 

The desolation of Egypt (Ezek 29:8-29:10)

“Therefore,

Thus says Yahweh God!

I will bring

A sword

Upon you.

I will cut off

From you

Human beings

With animals.

The land of Egypt

Shall be

A desolation

It shall be

A waste.

Then they will know

That I am Yahweh.

Because you said.

‘The Nile is mine.

I made it.’

Therefore,

I am against you.

I am against your channels.

I will make the land

Of Egypt

An utter waste,

A desolation,

From Migdol

To Syene,

As far as the border

Of Ethiopia.”

Yahweh God said that he was going to bring a sword against Pharaoh and his allies. He was going to cut them off from all human beings and animals. The land of Egypt would be a desolation and a waste. Then they would know that Yahweh was God. Because they had said that the Nile River was his and he had made it, Yahweh was going to be against the Egyptian sea dragon Pharaoh of the Nile River with all its Delta channels. He was going to make the land of Egypt an utter waste, a desolation, from the northern town of Migdol to the southern town of Syene, near the Ethiopian border.

The sea dragon in the wilderness (Ezek 29:5-29:7)

“I will fling you

Into the wilderness.

You!

With all the fish

Of your channels!

You shall fall

In the open field!

You will not be gathered.

You will not be buried.

I have given you

As food

To the animals

Of the earth,

To the birds

Of the air.

Then all the inhabitants

Of Egypt

Shall know

That I am Yahweh.

Because they were

A staff of the reed

To the house of Israel.

When they grasped you

With the hand,

You broke down.

You tore

All their shoulders.

When they leaned

On you,

You broke down.

You made

All their legs

Unsteady.”

Yahweh was going to fling this sea dragon of Pharaoh, with all his fish in the Nile River channels, into the wilderness. They would then fall into an open field, where they would not be gathered or buried. The animals of the earth and the birds of the air would then eat them as food as they lay in the open fields. Then all the inhabitants of Egypt would know that Yahweh was God. They were like a reed to the house of Israel. When they grasped this dragon and his fish with their hands, they broke down. They tore all their shoulders when they leaned on these fish. Their legs became unsteady.

Against Egypt (Ezek 29:1-29:2)

“In the tenth year,

In the tenth month,

On the twelfth day

Of the month,

The word of Yahweh

Came to me.

‘Son of man!

Set your face

Against Pharaoh,

King of Egypt!

Prophesy

Against him!

Prophesy

Against all Egypt!’”

Once again there was a specific date for this oracle of Yahweh to Ezekiel, the son of man. It was the 10th year of King Zedekiah, the 12th day of the 10th month, probably early 587 BCE. Ezekiel continued to use the first-person singular, as he had throughout this work. This time Yahweh wanted him to look towards Egypt. He was to prophesize against Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, probably Pharaoh Hophra, as well as all of Egypt.

The coming exile of Egypt (Jer 46:17-46:19)

“Give Pharaoh,

The king of Egypt,

The name

‘Braggart

Who missed his chance.’

‘As I live!’

Says the King,

Whose name is

Yahweh of hosts.

‘One is coming

Like Tabor

Among the mountains,

Like Carmel

By the sea.

Pack your bags

For exile!

Sheltered daughter Egypt!

Memphis shall become

A waste,

A ruin,

Without inhabitants.’”

The Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, Neco, missed his chance since he was only a braggart who did not back up his words. Yahweh was going to send someone who would make a big impact on southern Egypt around Memphis. He would come like the great mountains of Tabor or the sea mountains of Carmel, both around the plains of Jezreel. They ought to pack their bags to get ready to leave for exile. The city of Memphis would become a waste and a ruin, without anyone living there. This was a clear warning.

The Egyptian intervention (Jer 37:5-37:5)

“Meanwhile the army of Pharaoh

Had come out of Egypt.

When the Chaldeans,

Who were besieging Jerusalem,

Heard news of them,

They withdrew from Jerusalem.”

The army of Pharaoh, King Hophra or Apries (590-571 BCE), had come out of Egypt to do battle with the Babylonians, probably around 588 BCE. When the Chaldean Babylonian soldiers heard this, they stopped their siege of Jerusalem. Did King Zedekiah have some sort of agreement with the Egyptian king? Did the Chaldeans fight against the Egyptians? Anyway, things looked good for Jerusalem at least for the time being.