Ezekiel 31 Bible Commentary

John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes

(Read all of Ezekiel 31)

Verse 2

[2] Son of man, speak unto Pharaoh king of Egypt, and to his multitude; Whom art thou like in thy greatness?

His multitude — His numerous subjects.

Verse 3

[3] Behold, the Assyrian was a cedar in Lebanon with fair branches, and with a shadowing shroud, and of an high stature; and his top was among the thick boughs.

A cedar — Like the most goodly cedar for strength and beauty.

Verse 4

[4] The waters made him great, the deep set him up on high with her rivers running round about his plants, and sent out her little rivers unto all the trees of the field.

The waters — Cedars grow great by the water-courses.

The deep — The sea sent out her waters, which gave being to the rivers, that watered him.

His plants — The provinces of this mighty kingdom, that were like plants about a great tree.

All the trees — To all his subjects.

Verse 5

[5] Therefore his height was exalted above all the trees of the field, and his boughs were multiplied, and his branches became long because of the multitude of waters, when he shot forth.

All the fowls — All kind of men, nobles, merchants, husbandmen.

Made their nests — Settled their habitations.

In his boughs — In his kingdom, in the cities and towns of it.

All great nations — No nation that was great at that time, but, sought the friendship of this kingdom.

Verse 8

[8] The cedars in the garden of God could not hide him: the fir trees were not like his boughs, and the chesnut trees were not like his branches; nor any tree in the garden of God was like unto him in his beauty.

The cedars — The greatest kings.

Garden of God — In the most fruitful gardens.

Hide — Could not ever top, and shade him.

The fir-trees — Lesser kings, and kingdoms, were not equal to his boughs.

Nor any tree — All summed up, none like him in all the kingdoms of the world.

Verse 11

[11] I have therefore delivered him into the hand of the mighty one of the heathen; he shall surely deal with him: I have driven him out for his wickedness.

Him — The proud king of Assyria, Sardanapalus.

The mighty one — Arbaces, who first struck at the root of this Cedar, might well be styled the mighty one of the heathen, since he could bring together four hundred thousand of Medes, Persians, Babylonians, and Arabians.

Verse 12

[12] And strangers, the terrible of the nations, have cut him off, and have left him: upon the mountains and in all the valleys his branches are fallen, and his boughs are broken by all the rivers of the land; and all the people of the earth are gone down from his shadow, and have left him.

Strangers — Foreigners.

Verse 14

[14] To the end that none of all the trees by the waters exalt themselves for their height, neither shoot up their top among the thick boughs, neither their trees stand up in their height, all that drink water: for they are all delivered unto death, to the nether parts of the earth, in the midst of the children of men, with them that go down to the pit.

To the end — All this is designed to be a warning to mortals.

All the trees — The emperors, kings, or flourishing states.

By the waters — Planted most commodiously, and furnished most abundantly with power and wealth.

The children of men — As common men, of no quality or distinction.

Verse 15

[15] Thus saith the Lord GOD; In the day when he went down to the grave I caused a mourning: I covered the deep for him, and I restrained the floods thereof, and the great waters were stayed: and I caused Lebanon to mourn for him, and all the trees of the field fainted for him.

He — The king of Assyria.

A mourning — There was much lamentation.

Fainted — Probably there were portentous signs in the sea, and great waters, and the rivers, and among the trees.

Verse 16

[16] I made the nations to shake at the sound of his fall, when I cast him down to hell with them that descend into the pit: and all the trees of Eden, the choice and best of Lebanon, all that drink water, shall be comforted in the nether parts of the earth.

Shake — All that heard the noise of his fall, trembled at it.

Cast him down — Brought the king and kingdom, as a dead man to the grave among them, that before were dead and buried.

All the trees — All kings, and particularly the greatest.

All that drink water — Enjoyed great power, riches, and glory.

Comforted — He speaks to the dead with allusion to the manner of the living, who rejoice to see the proud brought low.

Verse 17

[17] They also went down into hell with him unto them that be slain with the sword; and they that were his arm, that dwelt under his shadow in the midst of the heathen.

They also — His neighbouring kings.

Hell — Perished with him, and went to those whom God had slain for their pride and wickedness.

They that were his arm — His loyal and faithful subjects and friends, on whom he relied, and by whom he acted.

Verse 18

[18] To whom art thou thus like in glory and in greatness among the trees of Eden? yet shalt thou be brought down with the trees of Eden unto the nether parts of the earth: thou shalt lie in the midst of the uncircumcised with them that be slain by the sword. This is Pharaoh and all his multitude, saith the Lord GOD.

Yet — Thou shalt be like them in thy fall.

Thou shalt lie — As unclean, despised, loathsome and under a curse.

This is — This will be their end.