Assyria Is Like a Cedar Tree
On the first day of the third month in the eleventh year of exile, the word of the LORD came to me. He said, Son of man,* say this to Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and to his people:
“ ‘You are so great!
Who can I compare you to?
Assyria was a cedar tree in Lebanon with beautiful branches,
with forest shade, and very tall.
Its top was among the clouds!
The water made the tree grow.
The deep river made the tree tall.
Rivers flowed around the place
where the tree was planted.
Only small streams flowed from that tree
to all the other trees of the field.
So that tree was taller than all the other trees of the field,
and it grew many branches.
There was plenty of water,
so the tree branches spread out.
All the birds of the sky made their nests
in the branches of that tree,
and all the animals of the field gave birth
under the branches of that tree.
All the great nations lived
under the shade of that tree.
The tree was very beautiful.
It was so large!
It had such long branches.
Its roots had plenty of water.
Even the cedar trees in God’s garden
were not as big as this tree.
Cypress trees did not have as many branches.
Plane trees did not have such branches.
No tree in God’s garden
was as beautiful as this tree.
I gave it many branches
and made it beautiful.
And all the trees in Eden, God’s garden,
were jealous!’ ”
10 So this is what the Lord GOD says: “That tree grew tall. Its top reached up to the clouds. It grew so big that it became proud! 11 So I let a powerful king have that tree. That ruler punished the tree for the bad things it did. I took that tree out of my garden. 12 Strangersthe most terrible people in the worldcut it down and scattered its branches on the mountains and in the valleys. Its broken limbs drifted down the rivers flowing through that land. There was no more shadow under that tree, so all the people left. 13 Now birds live in that fallen tree. Wild animals walk over its fallen branches.
14 Now, none of the trees by that water will be proud. They will not try to reach the clouds. None of the strong trees that drink that water will brag about being tall, because all of them must die. They will all go down into the world below, to Sheol, the place of death. They will join the other people who died and went down into that deep hole.”
15 This is what the Lord GOD says: “I made the people cry on the day that tree went down to Sheol. I covered him with the deep ocean. I stopped its rivers and all the water stopped flowing. I made Lebanon mourn for it. All the trees of the field became sick with sadness for that big tree. 16 I made the tree falland the nations shook with fear at the sound of the falling tree. I sent the tree down to the place of death to join the other people who had gone down into that deep hole. In the past, all the trees of Eden, the best of Lebanon, drank that water. The trees were comforted in the world below. 17 Yes, those trees also went down with the big tree to the place of death. They joined the people who were killed in battle. That big tree made the other trees strong. Those trees had lived under the big tree’s shadow among the nations.
18 “Egypt, there were many big and powerful trees in Eden. Which of those trees should I compare you to? They all went down into the world below! And you, too, will join those foreigners in that place of death. You will lie there among the people killed in battle.
“Yes, that will happen to Pharaoh and to the crowds of people with him!” This is what the Lord GOD said.
* 31:2 Son of man This was usually just a way of saying “a person” or “a human being.” Here, it is a way of addressing Ezekiel. 31:18 foreigners Literally, “uncircumcised.” This means people who did not share in the agreement God made with Israel. See “circumcise, circumcision” in the Word List.