1. What question was asked of Pharaoh and his multitude?
Whom art thou like in thy greatness: “(1) And it came to pass in the eleventh year, in the third month, in the first day of the month, that the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, (2) Son of man, speak unto Pharaoh king of Egypt, and to his multitude; Whom art thou like in thy greatness” (Ezekiel 31:1-2)?
- This chapter is about God telling Pharaoh and his multitude to consider how the Assyrians were great, but the Lord destroyed them (II Kings 19:20-37 and Isaiah 37:21-38). There was a likeness in the two.
- It should be obvious that Ezekiel wasn’t just talking to Judah. Remember, the prophets of these days did not just speak to Judah (Jeremiah 1:5).
- What happens to those who find themselves exalted beyond their true measure (II Chronicles 36:11-17, Proverbs 29:23, Isaiah 5:8-16, Jeremiah 50:24-32, Matthew 23:12, and Luke 18:9-14)?
2. Who was likened to a great cedar in Lebanon even greater than the trees of Eden?
The Assyrian: “(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. (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. (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. (6) All the fowls of heaven made their nests in his boughs, and under his branches did all the beasts of the field bring forth their young, and under his shadow dwelt all great nations. (7) Thus was he fair in his greatness, in the length of his branches: for his root was by great waters. (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. (9) I have made him fair by the multitude of his branches: so that all the trees of Eden, that were in the garden of God, envied him” (Ezekiel 31:3-9).
- The question: “Whom art thou like in thy greatness?” Is being answered here. Compare yourselves, Egypt, to the Assyrian.
- The imagery of the high cedars of Lebanon and what that has to do with this context (Isaiah 2:6-22).
- Portrayed as a people grown as a tree which the waters made strong, great, etc. This imagery would mean something to those whom were/are the people of God in understanding (Psalms 1:1-6).
- Eden, the garden of God, was lesser than what the Assyrians had become. That is a statement (Genesis 2:8-17)!
3. How did the Lord deal with the lifted up heart of the Assyrian?
Delivered him into the hand of the mighty one of the heathen for their ruin: “(10) Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Because thou hast lifted up thyself in height, and he hath shot up his top among the thick boughs, and his heart is lifted up in his height; (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. (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. (13) Upon his ruin shall all the fowls of the heaven remain, and all the beasts of the field shall be upon his branches: (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” (Ezekiel 31:10-14).
- God made them something great, but that wasn’t good enough. They lifted up themselves and paid for that (Isaiah 10:5-19).
- They went down to the “pit” [h0953. בּוֹר bôr; from 952 (in the sense of 877); a pit hole (especially one used as a cistern or a prison): — cistern, dungeon, fountain, pit, well. AV (69) - pit 42, cistern 4, dungeon 11, well 9, dungeon + h1004 2, fountain 1;] (cf. Psalms 88:3-7). *We will continue reading and seeing this was a “pit” they did not come up from.
4. What did the Lord cause in the day the Assyrian went down to the grave?
A mourning, shaking: “(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. (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. (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” (Ezekiel 31:15-17).
- When a great nation falls, there is lamenting of all those whom benefited from that nation (Revelation 18:8-19).
- They went down to “hell” (more on that in the next question) with them that were slain by the sword, etc. (Psalms 9:17; Psalms 55:15).
5. What do the words translated “grave” and “hell” (verses 15-17) mean?
- The word translated “grave” in verse 15 and “hell” in verses 16-17 are both the same Hebrew word. That word means: “Hades or the world of the dead (as if a subterranean retreat), including its accessories and inmates” (Strong’s # 7585).
- In the New Testament, we find a description of this place (Luke 16:19-31).
- They are both the same (Psalms 16:8-11; cf. Acts 2:22-32).
6. After talking of the Assyrian, what did God tell Pharaoh and all his multitude about their future?
They’d be buried with those whom died by the sword: “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” (Ezekiel 31:18).
- The conclusion is, you’re going to die with those who died by the sword (Jeremiah 9:20-26).
- Being proud is no way to escape the judgment of the Lord (Luke 1:52 and James 4:6-10).