Reading Plan 
Daily Bible Reading (daily) September 13
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Ezekiel 31:1--33:33

Context
A Cedar in Lebanon

31:1 In the eleventh year, in the third month, on the first day of the month, 1  the word of the Lord came to me: 31:2 “Son of man, say to Pharaoh king of Egypt and his hordes:

“‘Who are you like in your greatness?

31:3 Consider Assyria, 2  a cedar in Lebanon, 3 

with beautiful branches, like a forest giving shade,

and extremely tall;

its top reached into the clouds.

31:4 The water made it grow;

underground springs made it grow tall.

Rivers flowed all around the place it was planted,

while smaller channels watered all the trees of the field. 4 

31:5 Therefore it grew taller than all the trees of the field;

its boughs grew large and its branches grew long,

because of the plentiful water in its shoots. 5 

31:6 All the birds of the sky nested in its boughs;

under its branches all the beasts of the field gave birth,

in its shade all the great 6  nations lived.

31:7 It was beautiful in its loftiness, in the length of its branches;

for its roots went down deep to plentiful waters.

31:8 The cedars in the garden of God could not eclipse it,

nor could the fir trees 7  match its boughs;

the plane trees were as nothing compared to its branches;

no tree in the garden of God could rival its beauty.

31:9 I made it beautiful with its many branches;

all the trees of Eden, in the garden of God, envied it.

31:10 “‘Therefore this is what the sovereign Lord says: Because it was tall in stature, and its top reached into the clouds, and it was proud of its height, 31:11 I gave it over to the leader of the nations. He has judged it thoroughly, 8  as its sinfulness deserves. I have thrown it out. 31:12 Foreigners from the most terrifying nations have cut it down and left it to lie there on the mountains. In all the valleys its branches have fallen, and its boughs lie broken in the ravines of the land. All the peoples of the land 9  have departed 10  from its shade and left it. 31:13 On its ruins all the birds of the sky will live, and all the wild animals 11  will walk 12  on its branches. 31:14 For this reason no watered trees will grow so tall; their tops will not reach into the clouds, nor will the well-watered ones grow that high. 13  For all of them have been appointed to die in the lower parts of the earth; 14  they will be among mere mortals, 15  with those who descend to the pit.

31:15 “‘This is what the sovereign Lord says: On the day it 16  went down to Sheol I caused observers to lament. 17  I covered it with the deep and held back its rivers; its plentiful water was restrained. I clothed Lebanon in black for it, and all the trees of the field wilted because of it. 31:16 I made the nations shake at the sound of its fall, when I threw it down to Sheol, along with those who descend to the pit. 18  Then all the trees of Eden, the choicest and the best of Lebanon, all that were well-watered, were comforted in the earth below. 31:17 Those who lived in its shade, its allies 19  among the nations, also went down with it to Sheol, to those killed by the sword. 31:18 Which of the trees of Eden was like you in majesty and loftiness? You will be brought down with the trees of Eden to the lower parts of the earth; you will lie among the uncircumcised, with those killed by the sword! This is what will happen to Pharaoh and all his hordes, declares the sovereign Lord.’”

Lamentation over Pharaoh and Egypt

32:1 In the twelfth year, in the twelfth month, on the first of the month, 20  the word of the Lord came to me: 32:2 “Son of man, sing a lament for Pharaoh king of Egypt, and say to him:

“‘You were like a lion 21  among the nations,

but you are a monster in the seas;

you thrash about in your streams,

stir up the water with your feet,

and muddy your 22  streams.

32:3 “‘This is what the sovereign Lord says:

“‘I will throw my net over you 23  in the assembly of many peoples;

and they will haul you up in my dragnet.

32:4 I will leave you on the ground,

I will fling you on the open field,

I will allow 24  all the birds of the sky to settle 25  on you,

and I will permit 26  all the wild animals 27  to gorge themselves on you.

32:5 I will put your flesh on the mountains,

and fill the valleys with your maggot-infested carcass. 28 

32:6 I will drench the land with the flow

of your blood up to the mountains,

and the ravines will be full of your blood. 29 

32:7 When I extinguish you, I will cover the sky;

I will darken its stars.

I will cover the sun with a cloud,

and the moon will not shine. 30 

32:8 I will darken all the lights in the sky over you,

and I will darken your land,

declares the sovereign Lord.

32:9 I will disturb 31  many peoples,

when I bring about your destruction among the nations,

among countries you do not know.

32:10 I will shock many peoples with you,

and their kings will shiver with horror because of you.

When I brandish my sword before them,

every moment each one will tremble for his life, on the day of your fall.

32:11 “‘For this is what the sovereign Lord says:

“‘The sword of the king of Babylon 32  will attack 33  you.

32:12 By the swords of the mighty warriors I will cause your hordes to fall –

all of them are the most terrifying among the nations.

They will devastate the pride of Egypt,

and all its hordes will be destroyed.

32:13 I will destroy all its cattle beside the plentiful waters;

and no human foot will disturb 34  the waters 35  again,

nor will the hooves of cattle disturb them.

32:14 Then I will make their waters calm, 36 

and will make their streams flow like olive oil, declares the sovereign Lord.

32:15 When I turn the land of Egypt into desolation

and the land is destitute of everything that fills it,

when I strike all those who live in it,

then they will know that I am the Lord.’

32:16 This is a lament; they will chant it.

The daughters of the nations will chant it.

They will chant it over Egypt and over all her hordes,

declares the sovereign Lord.”

32:17 In the twelfth year, on the fifteenth day of the month, 37  the word of the Lord came to me: 32:18 “Son of man, wail 38  over the horde of Egypt. Bring it down; 39  bring 40  her 41  and the daughters of powerful nations down to the lower parts of the earth, along with those who descend to the pit. 32:19 Say to them, 42  ‘Whom do you surpass in beauty? 43  Go down and be laid to rest with the uncircumcised!’ 32:20 They will fall among those killed by the sword. The sword is drawn; they carry her and all her hordes away. 32:21 The bravest of the warriors will speak to him from the midst of Sheol along with his allies, saying: ‘The uncircumcised have come down; they lie still, killed by the sword.’

32:22 “Assyria is there with all her assembly around her grave, 44  all of them struck down by the sword. 45  32:23 Their 46  graves are located in the remote slopes of the pit. 47  Her assembly is around her grave, all of them struck down by the sword, those who spread terror in the land of the living.

32:24 “Elam is there with all her hordes around her grave; all of them struck down by the sword. They went down uncircumcised to the lower parts of the earth, those who spread terror in the land of the living. Now they will bear their shame with those who descend to the pit. 32:25 Among the dead they have made a bed for her, along with all her hordes around her grave. 48  All of them are uncircumcised, killed by the sword, for their terror had spread in the land of the living. They bear their shame along with those who descend to the pit; they are placed among the dead.

32:26 “Meshech-Tubal is there, along with all her hordes around her grave. 49  All of them are uncircumcised, killed by the sword, for they spread their terror in the land of the living. 32:27 They do not lie with the fallen warriors of ancient times, 50  who went down to Sheol with their weapons of war, having their swords placed under their heads and their shields on their bones, 51  when the terror of these warriors was in the land of the living.

32:28 “But as for you, in the midst of the uncircumcised you will be broken, and you will lie with those killed by the sword.

32:29 “Edom is there with her kings and all her princes. Despite their might they are laid with those killed by the sword; they lie with the uncircumcised and those who descend to the pit.

32:30 “All the leaders of the north are there, along with all the Sidonians; despite their might they have gone down in shameful terror with the dead. They lie uncircumcised with those killed by the sword, and bear their shame with those who descend to the pit.

32:31 “Pharaoh will see them and be consoled over all his hordes who were killed by the sword, Pharaoh and all his army, declares the sovereign Lord. 32:32 Indeed, I terrified him in the land of the living, yet he will lie in the midst of the uncircumcised with those killed by the sword, Pharaoh and all his hordes, declares the sovereign Lord.”

Ezekiel Israel’s Watchman

33:1 The word of the Lord came to me: 33:2 “Son of man, speak to your people, 52  and say to them, ‘Suppose I bring a sword against the land, and the people of the land take one man from their borders and make him their watchman. 33:3 He sees the sword coming against the land, blows the trumpet, 53  and warns the people, 54  33:4 but there is one who hears the sound of the trumpet yet does not heed the warning. Then the sword comes and sweeps him away. He will be responsible for his own death. 55  33:5 He heard the sound of the trumpet but did not heed the warning, so he is responsible for himself. 56  If he had heeded the warning, he would have saved his life. 33:6 But suppose the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet to warn the people. Then the sword comes and takes one of their lives. He is swept away for his iniquity, 57  but I will hold the watchman accountable for that person’s death.’ 58 

33:7 “As for you, son of man, I have made you a watchman 59  for the house of Israel. Whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you must warn them on my behalf. 33:8 When I say to the wicked, ‘O wicked man, you must certainly die,’ 60  and you do not warn 61  the wicked about his behavior, 62  the wicked man will die for his iniquity, but I will hold you accountable for his death. 63  33:9 But if you warn the wicked man to change his behavior, 64  and he refuses to change, 65  he will die for his iniquity, but you have saved your own life.

33:10 “And you, son of man, say to the house of Israel, ‘This is what you have said: “Our rebellious acts and our sins have caught up with us, 66  and we are wasting away because of them. How then can we live?”’ 33:11 Say to them, ‘As surely as I live, declares the sovereign Lord, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but prefer that the wicked change his behavior 67  and live. Turn back, turn back from your evil deeds! 68  Why should you die, O house of Israel?’

33:12 “And you, son of man, say to your people, 69  ‘The righteousness of the righteous will not deliver him if he rebels. 70  As for the wicked, his wickedness will not make him stumble if he turns from it. 71  The righteous will not be able to live by his righteousness 72  if he sins.’ 73  33:13 Suppose I tell the righteous that he will certainly live, but he becomes confident in his righteousness and commits iniquity. None of his righteous deeds will be remembered; because of the iniquity he has committed he will die. 33:14 Suppose I say to the wicked, ‘You must certainly die,’ but he turns from his sin and does what is just and right. 33:15 He 74  returns what was taken in pledge, pays back what he has stolen, and follows the statutes that give life, 75  committing no iniquity. He will certainly live – he will not die. 33:16 None of the sins he has committed will be counted 76  against him. He has done what is just and right; he will certainly live.

33:17 “Yet your people 77  say, ‘The behavior 78  of the Lord is not right,’ 79  when it is their behavior that is not right. 33:18 When a righteous man turns from his godliness and commits iniquity, he will die for it. 33:19 When the wicked turns from his sin and does what is just and right, he will live because of it. 33:20 Yet you say, ‘The behavior of the Lord is not right.’ House of Israel, I will judge each of you according to his behavior.” 80 

The Fall of Jerusalem

33:21 In the twelfth year of our exile, in the tenth month, on the fifth of the month, 81  a refugee came to me from Jerusalem 82  saying, “The city has been defeated!” 83  33:22 Now the hand of the Lord had been on me 84  the evening before the refugee reached me, but the Lord 85  opened my mouth by the time the refugee arrived 86  in the morning; he opened my mouth and I was no longer unable to speak. 87  33:23 The word of the Lord came to me: 33:24 “Son of man, the ones living in these ruins in the land of Israel are saying, ‘Abraham was only one man, yet he possessed the land, but we are many; surely the land has been given to us for a possession.’ 88  33:25 Therefore say to them, ‘This is what the sovereign Lord says: You eat the meat with the blood still in it, 89  pray to 90  your idols, and shed blood. Do you really think you will possess 91  the land? 33:26 You rely 92  on your swords and commit abominable deeds; each of you defiles his neighbor’s wife. Will you possess the land?’

33:27 “This is what you must say to them, ‘This is what the sovereign Lord says: As surely as I live, those living in the ruins will die 93  by the sword, those in the open field I will give to the wild beasts for food, and those who are in the strongholds and caves will die of disease. 33:28 I will turn the land into a desolate ruin; her confident pride will come to an end. The mountains of Israel will be so desolate no one will pass through them. 33:29 Then they will know that I am the Lord when I turn the land into a desolate ruin because of all the abominable deeds they have committed.’ 94 

33:30 “But as for you, son of man, your people 95  (who are talking about you by the walls and at the doors of the houses) say to one another, 96  ‘Come hear the word that comes 97  from the Lord.’ 33:31 They come to you in crowds, 98  and they sit in front of you as 99  my people. They hear your words, but do not obey 100  them. For they talk lustfully, 101  and their heart is set on 102  their own advantage. 103  33:32 Realize 104  that to them you are like a sensual song, a beautiful voice and skilled musician. 105  They hear your words, but they do not obey them. 106  33:33 When all this comes true – and it certainly will 107  – then they will know that a prophet was among them.”

1 sn June 21, 587 b.c.

2 sn Either Egypt, or the Lord compares Egypt to Assyria, which is described in vv. 3-17 through the metaphor of a majestic tree. See D. I. Block, Ezekiel (NICOT), 2:185. Like Egypt, Assyria had been a great world power, but in time God brought the Assyrians down. Egypt should learn from history the lesson that no nation, no matter how powerful, can withstand the judgment of God. Rather than following the text here, some prefer to emend the proper name Assyria to a similar sounding common noun meaning “boxwood” (see Ezek 27:6), which would make a fitting parallel to “cedar of Lebanon” in the following line. In this case vv. 3-18 in their entirety refer to Egypt, not Assyria. See L. C. Allen, Ezekiel (WBC), 2:121-27.

3 sn Lebanon was know for its cedar trees (Judg 9:15; 1 Kgs 4:33; 5:6; 2 Kgs 14:9; Ezra 3:7; Pss 29:5; 92:12; 104:16).

4 tn Heb “Waters made it grow; the deep made it grow tall. It (the deep) was flowing with its rivers around the place it (the tree) was planted, it (the deep) sent out its channels to all the trees of the field.”

5 tn Heb “when it sends forth.” Repointing the consonants of the Masoretic text would render the proposed reading “shoots” (cf. NRSV).

6 tn Or “many.”

7 tn Or “cypress trees” (cf. NASB, NLT); NIV “pine trees.”

8 tn Heb “acting he has acted with regard to it.” The infinitive absolute precedes the main verb to emphasize the certainty and decisiveness of the action depicted.

9 tn Or “earth” (KJV, ASV, NASB, NIV, NRSV).

10 tn Heb “gone down.”

11 tn Heb “the beasts of the field,” referring to wild as opposed to domesticated animals.

12 tn Heb “be.”

13 tn Heb “and they will not stand to them in their height, all the drinkers of water.”

14 tn Heb “for death, to the lower earth.”

15 tn Heb “the sons of men.”

16 tn Or “he.”

17 tn Heb “I caused lamentation.” D. I. Block (Ezekiel [NICOT], 2:194-95) proposes an alternative root which would give the meaning “I gated back the waters,” i.e., shut off the water supply.

18 sn For the expression “going down to the pit,” see Ezek 26:20; 32:18, 24, 29.

19 tn Heb “its arm.”

20 sn This would be March 3, 585 b.c.

21 tn The lion was a figure of royalty (Ezek 19:1-9).

22 tc The Hebrew reads “their streams”; the LXX reads “your streams.”

23 tn The expression “throw my net” is common in Ezekiel (12:13; 17:20; 19:8).

24 tn Or “cause.”

25 tn Heb “live.”

26 tn Or “cause.”

27 tn Heb “the beasts of the field,” referring to wild as opposed to domesticated animals.

28 tc The Hebrew text is difficult here, apparently meaning “your height.” Following Symmachus and the Syriac, it is preferable to emend the text to read “your maggots.” See D. I. Block, Ezekiel (NICOT), 2:203.

29 tn Heb “from you.”

30 tn Heb “will not shine its light.” For similar features of cosmic eschatology, see Joel 2:10; 4:15; Amos 5:18-20; Zeph 1:5.

31 tn Heb “I will provoke the heart of.”

32 sn The king of Babylon referred to here was Nebuchadnezzar (Ezek 21:19).

33 tn Heb “approach.”

34 tn Heb “muddy.”

35 tn Heb “them,” that is, the waters mentioned in the previous line. The translation clarifies the referent.

36 tn Heb “sink,” that is, to settle and become clear, not muddied.

37 tn March 17, 585 b.c. The LXX adds “first month.”

38 tn The Hebrew verb is used as a response to death (Jer 9:17-19; Amos 5:16).

39 sn Through this prophetic lament given by God himself, the prophet activates the judgment described therein. See D. I. Block, Ezekiel (NICOT), 2:217, and L. C. Allen, Ezekiel (WBC), 2:136-37.

40 tn Heb “Bring him down, her and the daughters of the powerful nations, to the earth below.” The verb “bring down” appears in the Hebrew text only once. Because the verb takes several objects here, the repetition of the verb in the translation improves the English style.

41 tn This apparently refers to personified Egypt.

42 tc The LXX places this verse after v. 21.

tn The words “say to them” are added in the translation for clarity to indicate the shift in addressee from the prophet to Egypt.

43 tn Heb “pleasantness.”

44 tn Heb “around him his graves.” The masculine pronominal suffixes are problematic; the expression is best emended to correspond to the phrase “around her grave” in v. 23. See D. I. Block, Ezekiel (NICOT), 2:219.

45 tn Heb “all of them slain, the ones felled by the sword.” See as well vv. 23-24.

46 tn Heb “whose.”

47 tn The only other occurrence of the phrase “remote slopes of the pit” is in Isa 14:15.

48 tn Heb “around him her graves,” but the expression is best emended to read “around her grave” (see vv. 23-24).

49 tn Heb “around him her graves,” but the expression is best emended to read “around her grave” (see vv. 23-24).

50 tc Heb “of the uncircumcised.” The LXX reads, probably correctly, “from of old” rather than “of the uncircumcised.” The phrases are very similar in spelling. The warriors of Meshech-Tubal are described as uncircumcised, so it would be odd for them to not be buried with the uncircumcised. Verse 28 specifically says that they would lie with the uncircumcised.

51 tn Heb “and their iniquities were over their bones.” The meaning of this statement is unclear; in light of the parallelism (see “swords”) it is preferable to emend “their iniquities” to “their swords.” See L. C. Allen, Ezekiel (WBC), 2:135.

52 tn Heb “sons of your people.”

53 tn Heb “shofar,” a ram’s horn rather than a brass instrument (so throughout the chapter).

54 tn Sounding the trumpet was a warning of imminent danger (Neh 4:18-20; Jer 4:19; Amos 3:6).

55 tn Heb “his blood will be on his own head.”

56 tn Heb “his blood will be on him.”

57 tn Or “in his punishment.” The phrase “in/for [a person’s] iniquity/punishment” occurs fourteen times in Ezekiel: here and in vv. 8 and 9; 3:18, 19; 4:17; 7:13, 16; 18: 17, 18, 19, 20; 24:23; 39:23. The Hebrew word for “iniquity” may also mean the “punishment” for iniquity or “guilt” of iniquity.

58 tn Heb “his blood from the hand of the watchman I will seek.”

59 sn Jeremiah (Jer 6:17) and Habakkuk (Hab 2:1) also served in the role of a watchman.

60 tn The same expression occurs in Gen 2:17.

61 tn Heb “and you do not speak to warn.”

62 tn Heb “way.”

63 tn Heb “and his blood from your hand I will seek.”

64 tn Heb “from his way to turn from it.”

65 tn Heb “and he does not turn from his way.”

66 tn Heb “(are) upon us.”

67 tn Heb “turn from his way.”

68 tn Heb “ways.” This same word is translated “behavior” earlier in the verse.

69 tn Heb “the sons of your people.”

70 tn Heb “in the day of his rebellion.” The statement envisions a godly person rejecting what is good and becoming sinful. See D. I. Block, Ezekiel (NICOT), 2:247-48.

71 tn Heb “and the wickedness of the wicked, he will not stumble in it in the day of his turning from his wickedness.”

72 tn Heb “by it.”

73 tn Heb “in the day of his sin.”

74 tn Heb “the wicked one.”

75 tn Heb “and in the statutes of life he walks.”

76 tn Heb “remembered.”

77 tn Heb “the sons of your people.”

78 tn Heb “way.”

79 tn The Hebrew verb translated “is (not) right” has the basic meaning of “to measure.” For a similar concept, see Ezek 18:25, 29.

80 tn Heb “ways.”

81 tn January 19, 585 b.c.

82 map For location see Map5 B1; Map6 F3; Map7 E2; Map8 F2; Map10 B3; JP1 F4; JP2 F4; JP3 F4; JP4 F4.

83 tn Heb “smitten.”

84 tn The other occurrences of the phrase “the hand of the Lord” in Ezekiel are in the context of prophetic visions.

85 tn Heb “he”; the referent has been specified in the translation for clarity.

86 tn Heb “by the time of the arrival to me.” For clarity the translation specifies the refugee as the one who arrived.

87 sn Ezekiel’s God-imposed muteness was lifted (see 3:26).

88 sn Outside of its seven occurrences in Ezekiel the term translated “possession” appears only in Exod 6:8 and Deut 33:4.

89 sn This practice was a violation of Levitical law (see Lev 19:26).

90 tn Heb “lift up your eyes.”

91 tn Heb “Will you possess?”

92 tn Heb “stand.”

93 tn Heb “fall.”

94 sn The judgments of vv. 27-29 echo the judgments of Lev 26:22, 25.

95 tn Heb “sons of your people.”

96 tn Heb “one to one, a man to his brother.”

97 tn Heb “comes out.”

98 tn Heb “as people come.” Apparently this is an idiom indicating that they come in crowds. See D. I. Block, Ezekiel (NICOT), 2:264.

99 tn The word “as” is supplied in the translation.

100 tn Heb “do.”

101 tn Heb “They do lust with their mouths.”

102 tn Heb “goes after.”

103 tn The present translation understands the term often used for “unjust gain” in a wider sense, following M. Greenberg, who also notes that the LXX uses a term which can describe either sexual or ritual pollution. See M. Greenberg, Ezekiel (AB), 2:687.

104 tn The word הִנֵּה (hinneh, traditionally “behold”) indicates becoming aware of something and has been translated here as a verb.

105 tn Heb “one who makes playing music well.”

106 sn Similar responses are found in Isa 29:13; Matt 21:28-32; James 1:22-25.

107 tn Heb “behold it is coming.”



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