Ezekiel 31


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,” In the eleventh year, etc. June, B.C. 586. Two months all but

six days had passed since the utterance of ch.30:20-26, when

Ezekiel was moved to expand his prediction of the downfall of Egypt into a

parable which is partly a replica of these in chapters 17 and 19:1-14, and

which also finds a parallel in Daniel 4:10-14.


2 “Son of man, speak unto Pharaoh king of Egypt, and to his multitude;

Whom art thou like in thy greatness?” The parable is addressed, not to Pharaoh

only, but to his multitude i.e., as in ch. 30:4, for his auxiliary forces. It opens with

one of the customary formulae of an Eastern apologue (Mark 4:30),

intended to sharpen the curiosity and win the attention of the prophet’s

hearers or readers. It is significant that the question is repeated at the close

of the parable, as if the prophet had left the interpretation to his readers, as

our Lord does in saying, “He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.” (Matthew



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.” Behold, the Assyrian was a cedar in Lebanon.

The Hebrew text, as rendered in all versions and interpreted by most

commentators, gives us, in the form of the parable of the cedar, the history of

the Assyrian empire in its glory and its fall. That had passed away in spite of its

greatness, and so should Egypt. The question in v. 18 takes the place of

“Thou art the man!” in Nathan’s interpretation of his parable (II Samuel 12:7),

or the mutato nominee de te fabula, narratur of the Roman satirist.

Some recent commentators, however, either like Ewald, taking the Hebrew

word for, Assyrian” as describing a particular kind of cedar or fir tree, or,

like Comill and amend, adopting a conjectural emendation of the text

which actually gives that meaning (Tasshur for Asshur), refer the whole

parable primarily to Egypt, and dwell on the fact that the words of vs.

10, 18 are addressed to the living representative of a great monarchy, and

not to a power that has already passed away into the Hades of departed

glory. The former view seems to me the more tenable of the two, and I

therefore adopt it throughout the chapter. It may be admitted, however,

that the inner meaning of the parable at times breaks through the outward

imagery, as was indeed to be expected, the prophet seeking to apply his

apologue even before he had completed it. The “cedar in Lebanon has

already met us as the symbol of s kingdom, in ch. 17:2. The

shadowing shroud may be noted as a specially vivid picture of the

peculiar foliage of the cedar rendered with singular felicity. His top was

among the thick boughs; better, clouds, as in the margin of the Revised

Version. (compare vs. 10, 14).


4  “The waters made him great, the deep set him up on high with her

rivers running round about his plants, and sent 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.”

The waters made him great. The scenery is hardly that of

Lebanon, but finds its counterpart in that of the Nile, perhaps also of the

Tigris, with the waters of the river diverted into streams and channels by a

careful system of irrigation. The cedar grew close to the river itself; the

other trees of the field were watered only by the smaller channels, and so

were inferior to it in the fullness of their growth. (For the general imagery,

compare 17:5; Psalm 1:3; Jeremiah 17:8; Numbers 24:6.)


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.”

All the fowls of heaven as in ch. 17:23; Matthew 13:32, was the natural symbol

of the fact that all the neighboring nations owned the sovereignty of Assyria

and were sheltered by her protection. In the great nation we have the

parable passing into its interpretation.




The Root and the Waters (v. 7)




Ø      The root supports the tree. It is the foundation. Unless the root is deep

and strong the tree will fall, blown over by the hurricane or swept away

by the flood. Our life needs a root, a foundation.


Ø      The root brings nourishment to the tree. It sucks in moisture from the

earth and draws the rich juices of the soil up into the plant. When the

roots are cut the tree must wither and die. The child’s Christmas-tree

looks green for the short season of festivities, but according to a

common custom, being cut off without a proper root, it cannot live.

There are souls that have no root in themselves (Matthew 13:21).

They can only endure for a while. We must find supplies of spiritual

nourishment if we are to persevere unto everlasting life.


Ø      The root lies low. The lordly branches of the cedar wave in the air and

toss themselves proudly against the sky, but they could not thus thrive

without the lowly root. Souls thrive on their humbler experiences. They

grow strong in humility and trust.


Ø      The root is unseen. It lies in dark underground regions. He is but a

shallow being whose every experience lies on the surface. “The secret of

the Lord is with them that fear Him” (Psalm 25:14). The tree will die if

the root be laid bare to the sun. Spiritual experience should be decently

covered, not dragged to the light and made a matter of common talk. Let

the leaves and fruit be seen; keep the root in the dark.


Ø      The root must press down to deep sources of supply. If the water be far

from the surface, the root must go after it. “The well is deep” (John

4:11); then the water will be all the more cool and refreshing. It is

good to press down to the deeper experiences of the Christian life.




Ø      It needs water. Trees will not grow on the Sahara Desert. But a little

moisture will bring vegetation. On the rare occasion of rain falling in the

desert a sudden greenness appears on the sand; but the minute vegetable

growth disappears as quickly as it comes, for the moisture rapidly

evaporates in the heated air. SOULS NEED THE LIVING WATER! 

They need these waters because, like trees, they are alive. The statue does

not droop in the noonday sun, because it is of stone, dead stone. There

are statuesque souls that seem to thrive without any spiritual supplies,

but they have no vitality in them. They are too stolid to faint. Fiery

souls pine and wither when deprived of living water.


Ø      It must be within reach of water. It is nearly useless for the water to fall

on the leaves if the root is not reached, but when the root is in moisture,

though the leaves are covered with dust and sadly need cleansing showers,

the tree will still live. We can bear heat and drought in the world if the

soul’s hidden roots are SUPPLIED BY DIVINE GRACE!  But we do

not merely require superficial refreshment; we need such deep soul-


For this purpose the roots must be near the water. Cattle can go down

to the brooks and drink, but trees must be planted in moist soil. It is

customary in the East to cut channels for water deflected from larger

streams, that this may run among the roots of trees.  The best trees

grow by rivers of water (Psalm 1:3).  (This is God’s desire for us! –

CY – 2014)  Souls must be within reach of Divine supplies. It is not

sufficient that God is gracious and that Christ can give of the water

of life. We must be near the water ourselves. There must be personal

appropriation. This is only possible by means of that spiritual

neighborhood which is sympathy. The use of  means of grace”:


o       prayers,

o       Christian fellowship,

o       meditation on  Scripture, etc.


helps to rouse that sympathy, and so to bring the  roots near to

the great waters.


8 “The cedars in the garden of God could not hide him: the fir trees

were not like his boughs, and the chestnut 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.”

The cedars in the garden of God. As in ch.28:13, the thoughts of the prophet

dwell on the picture of Eden in Genesis 2:8.  Far above all other trees, the cedar

of Assyria rose high in majesty. All the trees that were in the garden of God

envied him. The trees specially chosen for comparison are:


  • the fir tress — probably, as in ch.27:5, the cypresses; and
  • the chestnut trees, for which the Revised Version, following the

Vulgate and the Septuagint of Genesis 30:37, gives the “plane,”

which held a high place in the admiration of Greek and Roman writers.


Of this we have a special instance in the story of Xerxes, who decorated a plane

tree near the Meander with ornaments of gold (Herod., 7:31; ‘AElicon,’ 5:14;

also comp. Ecclus. 24:14; Virg., ‘Georg.,’ 4:146; Cicero, ‘De Ont.,’ 1:7,




The Great Cedar (vs. 1-9)


Assyria is compared to a cedar of Lebanon, which is an emblem of earthly



  • THE CEDAR IS MAGNIFICENT. It is the favorite tree in biblical

imagery to express splendor. In this respect it could be taken as a symbol

of a great triumphant empire such as that of Assyria. Thus it is plainly

declared that there is a splendor of this world. We are not to be surprised

when we see the wicked flourishing like a green bay tree (Psalm 37:35).

He may even attain to the proportions of the cedar of Lebanon.

Note some of the characteristics of this magnificence.


Ø      Size. This is what first strikes one in viewing the cedar. Assyria was a

big empire. Worldly success may be large.

Ø      Altitude. The cedar is not only broad-spreading. It towers high. There is

an unchecked pride in worldly success.

Ø      Persistency. The cedar is green in winter. By clever devices

unscrupulous people may escape many of the troubles of the true

servants of God.

Ø      Fragrance. It cannot be denied that there is a certain fascination in

worldly splendor.



EDEN. There are points in which worldly magnificence surpasses the

visible excellence of spiritual goodness. “Nor any tree in the garden of the

Lord was like unto him in his beauty.” The reasons for this should be

considered, lest we be disappointed and confounded.


Ø      The impressiveness of the external. The cedar bulks largely before the

eye of an observer, while the vine seems to creep feebly among the

rocks or round its much-needed support. Yet it is the vine that fields

refreshing fruit. There is a striking aspect in worldly success. Spiritual

achievements do not arrest attention in the same way, because they

are spiritual. Yet God looks not to worldly greatness, but to spiritual



Ø      Unscrupulousness. Men who trample on conscience take short cuts to

success. It is not surprising that they outbid the conscientious in the

market of the world’s wares.


Ø      Want of restraint. The cedar is unpruned. It grows in wild, rank

luxuriance on the unfrequented slopes of Lebanon. But the trees in the

garden of the Lord are carefully pruned, “Whom the Lord loveth He

chasteneth (Hebrews 12:6).



ITSELF. “The waters made him great,” If the waters were dried up, the

proud tree would droop and die. Proud men glory in their own resources.

But no one can be strong and continue in vigor without receiving supplies

from without. The mind must be fed with fresh knowledge, as the body

with fresh food. Moreover, the success that a man seems to create for

himself is largely due to favorable circumstances. If the water did not run

by the root of the tree, the tree would not flourish in its magnificent state.

Therefore the pride of self-sufficiency is FOUNDED ON AN ERROR,  and

he who ignores his dependence on help from without will one day find that

that help is cut off and he left to wither in despair. Men who will not

acknowledge God are yet daily recipients of his bounty. While they lift

their heads in worldly self-satisfaction, He is still mercifully watering their

roots and giving the good things on which they build their pride.


Ø      This fact should teach humility.

Ø      It should excite gratitude.

Ø      It should cause fear in negligent self-sufficiency.

Ø      It should lead to trust in God rather than in superficial worldly



A great nation enjoying prosperity and wielding influence IS ESPECIALLY


(something that the United States is bound and obligated to do also! CY –

2014) and to cultivate the conviction and sense of responsibility for the use made

of gifts and influence entrusted to it. FROM GOD ALL COMES,  and TO



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.”

Because thou hast lifted up thyself. The second and third persons are curiously

mixed; probably the former was in the nature of a warning addressed to the

King of Egypt, while the latter continues the parable of the history of Assyria.

For boughs read clouds, as in v. 3.  Ezekiel writes as with the feeling which led

Solon to note that the loftiest trees are those which are most exposed to the

strokes of the thunderbolts of Zeus (Herod., 7:10). The Assyrian’s heart was

“lifted up with pride” (Isaiah 10:5), and therefore he was delivered to the

mighty one of the nations; sc. to Nebuchadnezzar.


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, the terrible of the nations. We note

the recurrence of the phrase of ch 30:11, as pointing, here as there, to

the Chaldean invaders. The branches of the tree were broken, the people of

the earth no longer dwelt under its shadow (Daniel 4:11).


13 “Upon his ruin shall all the fowls of the heaven remain, and all the

beasts of the field shall be upon his branches:”  Upon his ruin. The prophet,

as it were, corrects his imagery.  The birds and beasts are still there, but instead

of dwelling in the boughs, they (vultures and owls, jackals and hyenas) hover

and creep as over the carcass of the dead, decaying trunk.


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 that none, etc. With a characteristic amplitude of

style, Ezekiel preaches the great lesson of the mutability of earthly

greatness. This was the lesson that the history of Assyria ought to have

taught the nations of the earth, and it was just that lesson that they refused

to learn. They are all delivered to death. The scenery of the parable

passes from Eden to Sheol, the Hades of the nations, and the prophet gives

the first stroke of the imagery afterwards more fully developed in

ch. 32:17-32.



The Lesson for All Nations (v. 14)


Doubtless the immediate aim of the downfall of such a nation as Assyria

has respect to the people and their rulers, upon whom the judgment comes.

But there is a universal lesson intended for the benefit of all peoples

throughout all time.



UTTERED BY HIS SERVANTS. His law-givers, such as Moses; His

prophets, such as Ezekiel; His priests and scribes, such as Ezra, have

messages of instruction, encouragement, warning (as the case may be),

FOR ALL MANKIND IN EVERY AGE!  And God summons the

children of men to give heed to His servants when they utter their

messages, prefacing them with the assertion, “Thus saith the Lord.”




the downfall of Assyria, as the siege of Jerusalem, as the destruction of

Tyre, as the humiliation of Egypt, the eternal, righteous, and omnipotent

Ruler of mankind speaks to His subjects with an authoritative and

unmistakable voice. Facts embody principles. Historical incidents

elucidate moral laws. Judgments enforce commands.



LESSONS. It might be expected that those upon whom the message of the

herald produces no impression would be roused from their apathy by the

stirring incidents of political change and national disaster. But, as a matter

of fact, multitudes are unaffected even by the downfall of a city, the

revolution of a government, the displacement of a dynasty, the transference

of the balance of power among the nations. Is not this in accordance with

Christ’s own words, “If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will

they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead?”  (Luke 16:31)



LESSONS. They who give heed to Divine counsels, who profit by Divine

admonitions, deliver their soul in the day of trouble and temptation. But

they who hear unmoved, incredulous, unresponsive, the solemn and faithful

appeals of God, uttered as with a voice of thunder in the events that befall

the nations of mankind, by their conduct aggravate their guilt and pen their

own condemnation.




REPENTANCE AND OBEDIENCE. The parable was spoken, the

providential interposition was recounted, to the end that none of all the

trees by the waters exalt themselves. “He that hath an ear, let him hear.”

(Mark 4:232)



Pride Humiliated (vs. 10-14)


The proud cedar is laid low. Assyria falls. The fate of this great empire

gives warning for all ages. Magnificence does not secure protection.



Many things contribute to the excitement of this passion.


Ø      The perception of the success. No man can thrive in a worldly way

without perceiving the fact.

Ø      The consciousness of power. The greatest success is that to which a

person attains by his own efforts. When he puts forth energy and

finds it fruitful, he is naturally tempted to think much of himself.

Ø      The attraction of the superficial. This worldly success is but a shallow

growth. But lying all on the surface, it is very obvious to the eye and

appears to be much more important than it really is.

Ø      The flattery of others. Directly a man is successful a host of flatterers

arise about, him, some greedily expecting crumbs from his table, others

slavishly adoring his worldly greatness. Now, flattery accepted makes

for PRIDE!





Ø      It is false. The success is not so glorious a thing as the proud man

imagines it to be. Moreover, it is not purely created by the man

who attains to it. He takes many advantages that are given to him

by Providence, and claims them as of his own making.

Ø      It is ungrateful. The gifts of Heaven are held as though their owner

were under no obligation to Him who sent them.

Ø      It is impenitent. The proud man will not admit his faults. He attempts

to hide his sin under his success.

Ø      It is selfish. Proud Assyria crushed her subject-nations. All pride is a

glorification of self, too often at the expense of others. Pride

excludes love.

Ø      It is worldly. This pride is simply concerned with earthly success. It

shuts out all contemplation of the spiritual and the eternal.  Thus it

beclouds the view of heaven and destroys the reverence that should

be felt FOR GOD!  It lowers the soul while it exalts self-esteem.

(One of the main goals of godless education in America is the

promotion of self-esteem!  CY – 2014)



cedar has lifted himself up in height, God has delivered him into the

hands of the mighty one.


Ø      This is a Divine judgment. God is higher than the highest. He has

power over the greatest. No pride can assert itself successfully in

face of His wrath. At a touch from the hand of God the grandest

pretensions crumble to dust. Empires topple to the earth at a

glance from the Almighty.

Ø      This is brought about through the direct working of pride. It acts

inwardly on the proud man and compasses his ruin. The height and

breadth of the majestic cedar make it a prey to the whirlwind. The

tall tree attracts the lightning. The rich man is waylaid by thieves,

who neglect the poor man and so leave him in safety. The successful

man is an object of envy.  But pride increases the danger tenfold.

It destroys sympathy and excites animosity. It also throws a man off

his guard, making him think himself safe from attack or strong to

defend himself. The false sense of security which it induces lays a

snare for the man who harbors it. Our safety lies in the opposite


o       in humility,

o       confession of sin, and

o       trust in the pardoning, protecting grace of God.


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.”  I covered the deep for him. The face of the whole world of

nature is painted by the prophet as sharing in the awe and terror of that

tremendous fall.  Lebanon was made to mourn (literally, to be black), the

waters failed in their channels, the trees (all that drink water) shuddered.

They formed part, as it were, of THE PAGEANTRY OF WOE  at the

funeral of the fallen kingdom. It is as if the prophet felt, in all its intensity,

what we have learned to call the sympathy of nature with the sorrows of

humanity. It would, perhaps, be over-literal to press details; but the picture,

in one of itsfeatures at least, suggests a failure of the inundation of the Nile,

like that indicated in ch.30:12.


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.”  Shall be comforted, etc.

The Dante-like imagination of the prophet points the contrasts between the

impression made by the fall of Assyria on the nations that yet survived,

and on those that had already perished. The former mourn and shake with

fear, for it is a warning to them that THEIR TURN MAY ALSO COME!

On the other hand, the trees of Eden — the great monarchies that are already

in Sheol — shall be “comforted” with the thought that yet another kingdom

mightier than they has fallen as they fell (compare ch. 32:17-32; Isaiah 14:4-20,

where the thought is elaborately expanded).


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 that were his arm. The words

point to the allies, in the first instance of Assyria, and secondly of Egypt.

The last words of the verse present a striking parallel to Lamentations 4:20.


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.”

To whom art thou thus like, etc.? As in v. 10, the prophet

passes from the past to the present, from the third person to the second,

and as it were says to Hophra, “Thou art the man! all that I have said of

Assyria is true of thee.” This is Pharaoh and all his multitude. In the

midst of thin uncircumcised (see note on ch. 28:10). As a matter of fact,

the Egyptians practiced circumcision, and Ezekiel must be thought

of as using the term as simply an epithet of scorn.




The Disappearance of Eden (v. 18)


The downfall of Assyria is compared to the falling of a great cedar, and the

shock that this event produces among the nations is likened to the shaking

of neighboring trees when the cedar is laid low. The cedar disappears, as

Eden has disappeared. The poetic image suggests more than that the tree

lies prone on the ground. It pictures it sinking into the earth and passing

out of sight, as it supposes the trees of Eden to have done before. This

striking idea of the old Paradise going down into the depths of the earth —

like an enchanted garden that sinks at the magician’s wand, and leaves only

a desolate wilderness on its site — seems to be referred to by Ezekiel as a

prevalent popular notion.


  • EDEN HIS DISAPPEARED. According to the account in Genesis, man

was expelled from the garden, but the garden itself was not laid waste or

removed. On the contrary, flaming swords kept man from reentering its

coveted precincts. But we see no garden of Eden. Geographers search in

vain for its situation on the map. The old Eden has vanished.  (Probably

destroyed by the Flood! – CY – 2014).  This is not the only charm of the

world’s childhood that has passed away. Primitive innocence has disappeared.

The unfading flowers and unblighted fruit of the Eden of soul-purity have

vanished from off the earth. The fresh strong imagination of the world’s

childhood has passed away. Our later age produces no ‘Iliad.’


  • EDEN CANNOT BE RECOVERED. The fair garden that has

descended into the earth will never rise again. Beneath the ground the

miner finds vast remains of primeval forests. These Edens of the past

HAVE BECOME COALFIELDS!   (Below is a tree trunk dug up

in a coal mine in Stearns, McCreary County, Kentucky – CY – 2014)

Never again can they be green and fruitful gardens.  Primitive innocence

can never be restored.  The child-mind, once lost, cannot be had back again.

There are irreparable losses.




OF EDEN. The original Paradise cannot be regained. But a better Paradise

is created by Christ. (“…we according to His promise, look for new

heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness!”  II Peter

3:13).  The earthly Paradise had its serpent lurking in the

grass. The heavenly is more safe, more fruitful, more beautiful. Yet, though

it is heavenly, i.e. in its origin and in its character, it is for the earth — it is

planted in this world, and it is to be enjoyed in the present life. “The

kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:21).



THE FUTURE. The New Testament promises a millennium. In our weary

disappointments we are tempted to quench the hope of that glorious future.

But if the rule and truth of Christ is to spread among all men, the blessed

time must come. Then, indeed, the dead Eden itself will be forgotten and

despised in the splendor of the reign of Christ.



promised it for the crucified robber. “Today shalt thou be with me in

Paradise (Luke 23:43). Old Eden goes down. The beauty and pomp

of earth descend. But the spirits of Christ’s people ascend. They do not go

down to the grave with their bodies, and their Paradise is not beneath,

BUT ABOVE!  Heaven is the eternal Eden of souls.


“There everlasting spring abides,

And never-withering flowers.”



The Spectacle of Fallen Greatness (vs. 10-18)


This very beautiful parable is suggestive of many things. The latter verses

of the chapter bring the Divine meaning into full view. By the fact of the

prophecy itself, we are reminded of:



of imagining that it is invulnerable and irremovable. The strong kingdom

says, “What power will touch me to hurt me? ‘ The strong man says,

“What misfortune will overtake, what enemy will prevail against me?”

(“Their inward thought is, that their houses shall continue for ever,

and their dwelling places to all generations; - Psalm 49:11). It is in

the very nature of human exaltation to become foolishly assured of

its own security, and to defy the assaults of time and change.


  • THE PREGNANT LESSON OF HISTORY. Egypt was now to learn

of Assyria; to consider how surpassingly great she had been in her prime

(vs. 1-9), and to reflect upon the utter humiliation to which she had been

condemned in the retributive providence of God. We may now learn of

Egypt herself, to whom this lesson was addressed, and also of Macedonia,

of Greece, of Rome, of Spain, etc., that a nation may tower high and far

above the others, like this parabolic cedar (v. 5) above the trees of the

garden, and yet be uncrowned, be leveled to the very dust. And not only

the lofty nation, but the ancient family, the proud dynasty, the titled and

wealthy individual.  (It is alarming how much America has declined in

my lifetime, especially the last twenty years.  – CY – 2014)


  • THE PENALTY OF UNRIGHTEOUSNESS. It is certain that no

kingdom or “power” of any kind will very long outlive its purity, its

virtue, its simplicity. Two things determine its doom.


Ø      God will punish its pride (see vs. 10-11, 18).


Ø      Iniquity begets strife, folly, inward corruption, weakness; and

THIS MUST END, in time, in DISASTER and RUIN!   The

seeds of death are already sown when power, either in the

aggregate or in the individual man, gives way to

iniquity. Without any extraordinary means, by God letting His

righteous laws do their constant work, such a one is “driven

 away for his wickedness” (v. 11). And the end of evil is

nakedness and desertion, emptiness and misery (v. 12).

Incidental truths are here portrayed, viz.



people of the land have gone from his shade, and have left him.” There are

noble souls that will cleave to the sinking cause or to the failing man just

because it is sinking, because he is failing. But their name is not legion;

these are not the rule, but the exception. When the day of decadence

comes, and the hour when the house is likely to fall, then expect those who

have lived in the shadow of it to leave it to its fate. Nay, there will be found

many of those who in the day of its strength enjoyed its hospitality that on

the night of its adversity will find themselves comfortable seats upon its

ruins (v. 13). (Something to contemplate – CY – 2014).  We have another

trace of:




Once it was the province of the great power to pity the necessitous and to

stretch forth its strong hand of help and healing; now it lies prostrate and is

itself the object of universal commiseration. “And none so poor to do it



Ø      Let human greatness beware. It is high and uplifted in the sight

of men; but beware lest its heart be lifted up in arrogance and in

self-confidence; for, if that be so, or if it be allowing evil to creep

into any cracks of its walls, it will call down the condemnation

of Heaven, and, in time, IT WILL MEET ITS DOOM!   Where

other prostrate powers lie, where the humblest and

commonest are stretched, “in the midst of the children of men,”

delivered to death” (v. 14), there shall it also be found, down

and dishonored.


Ø      Let the holy humble-hearted be filled with a wise contentment. How

much better than the greatness which is humiliated is the lowliness

which is BLESSED AND CROWNED blessed with the benediction

of God and man, crowned with the glory to which righteousness




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