Ezekiel 32:24
There is Elam and all her multitude round about her grave, all of them slain, fallen by the sword, which are gone down uncircumcised into the nether parts of the earth, which caused their terror in the land of the living; yet have they borne their shame with them that go down to the pit.
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(24) There is Elam.—Jeremiah had already prophesied against Elam twelve years before (Jeremiah 49:34). Elam is substantially equivalent to Persia, and had been repeatedly conquered by Assyria and Chaldæa. It was a fierce and warlike nation, and its soldiers had long served in Nebuchadnezzar’s army. It was by the aid of Persia that he had succeeded in overthrowing Assyria. It was by a subsequent union of the same Power with the Medes that the Babylonian power was overthrown. Not until after that union did Persia become a very prominent nation. It continued a great Power until its conquest by Alexander. The prophet is therefore anticipating the events of the future when he represents Elam as already in the pit. But, as before said, his thought looks on to the ultimate result, without making prominent the comparative dates of the future. It is possible, however, so far to separate Elam from Persia as to look upon the former as one of those nations out of whose ruins the latter arose, and in this case Elam was already past. The former interpretation seems preferable.

Ezekiel 32:24-25. There is Elam and all her multitude — Which was conquered by Nebuchadnezzar: see note on Jeremiah 49:36. The nations mentioned in this and the following verse were probably confederates with the Assyrians, and fell when they did. Which caused terror — yet have they borne their shame — They have been shamefully subdued, and have lost their lives and glory together, as Asshur did before them. They have set her a bed in the midst of the slain, &c. — Elam and her people have gone down to the state of the dead, among those who have fallen by the sword. The word bed is used for the grave, Isaiah 57:2, and may, in both places, allude to the costly monuments, or sepulchres, which used to be erected for persons of great quality. Her graves are round about him — The king and people are involved in the same common destruction.32:17-32 Divers nations are mentioned as gone down to the grave before Egypt, who are ready to give her a scornful reception; these nations had been lately ruined and wasted. But though Judah and Jerusalem were about this time ruined and laid waste, yet they are not mentioned here. Though they suffered the same affliction, and by the same hand, yet the kind design for which they were afflicted, and the mercy God reserved for them, altered its nature. It was not to them a going down to the pit, as it was to the heathen. Pharaoh shall see, and be comforted; but the comfort wicked ones have after death, is poor comfort, not real, but only in fancy. The view this prophecy gives of ruined states shows something of this present world, and the empire of death in it. Come and see the calamitous state of human life. As if men did not die fast enough, they are ingenious at finding out ways to destroy one another. Also of the other world; though the destruction of nations as such, seems chiefly intended, here is plain allusion to the everlasting ruin of impenitent sinners. How are men deceived by Satan! What are the objects they pursue through scenes of bloodshed, and their many sins? Surely man disquiets himself in vain, whether he pursues wealth, fame, power, or pleasure. The hour cometh, when all that are in their graves shall hear the voice of Christ, and shall come forth; those that have done good to the resurrection of life, and those that have done evil to the resurrection of damnation.See the marginal referenc. Elam answers to the country known to the Greeks and Romans as Elymais, near Persia and Media. The Elamites were a fierce and warlike people. In the records of Assurbanipal his final triumph over Elam seems to have been one of his proudest boasts. Elam no doubt in the decline of Assyrian power again asserted its independence and was again crushed by the Chaldaean conqueror. 24. Elam—placed next, as having been an auxiliary to Assyria. Its territory lay in Persia. In Abraham's time an independent kingdom (Ge 14:1). Famous for its bowmen (Isa 22:6).

borne their shame—the just retribution of their lawless pride. Destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar (Jer 49:34-38).

Elam; the Persians, and their great, famous kings, who lived in former days. All her multitude: see Ezekiel 32:22,23.

All of them slain: see Ezekiel 32:22.

Gone down: Ezekiel 32:21.

Uncircumcised: see Ezekiel 32:21.

The nether parts of the earth: see Ezekiel 32:18.

Their terror: see Ezekiel 32:23.

Their shame God and man poured contempt upon them, and punished them for their pride, and turned their glory into shame, whose vices and miscarriages are more remembered than their noble facts and glorious achievements. There is Elam and all her multitude round about her grave,.... The kingdom of the Medes and Persians lying in ruin, and the potent kings thereof in the state of the dead; with their army, as the Arabic version, slain and destroyed, and placed round about the grave of the king of Persia; for of him rather it is to be understood than of the king of Assyria, or of Egypt, as some:

all of them slain, fallen by the sword; either of the Scythians in the reign of Cyaxares; or of Nebuchadnezzar a few years before this, in the reign of Zedekiah king of Judah; see Jeremiah 49:34,

which are gone down uncircumcised into the nether parts of the earth; unholy persons, profane sinners, destitute of the grace of God; who were gone down into the grave, and even into hell and everlasting destruction, as their sins deserved:

which caused their terror in the land of the living; made a great noise in the world, and struck a panic in neighbouring nations, invaded and conquered by them; this they did while living, but now, being in the state of the dead, nothing was to be feared from them: yet have they borne their shame with them that go down to the pit; were obliged to submit to death, and a shameful one, by the hands of their conquerors, and to be laid with ignominy in the grave with others, without any mark of distinction; all being upon a level, cast into the same pit of destruction, and into the lower parts of it; though their king might have a magnificent sepulchre erected for him, as follows:

There is {o} Elam and all her multitude around her grave, all of them slain, fallen by the sword, who are gone down uncircumcised into the lower parts of the earth, who caused their terror in the land of the {p} living; yet have they borne their shame with them that go down to the pit.

(o) Meaning the Persians.

(p) Whom in his life all the world feared.

24, 25. Elam.

Elam, said to mean Highlands, lay E. of the Tigris, and touched Assyria and Media on the N., Media and Persia on the E., and on the S. the Persian Gulf. An early expedition of Elam into the land of the Jordan is referred to Genesis 14:1 seq. The country was incorporated into the Assyrian empire, in the armies of which it served (Isaiah 22:6; cf. Isaiah 11:11), and on the fall of this empire it probably asserted its independence. It appears independent in the time of Jeremiah, who threatens it with destruction at the hands of Nebuchadnezzar (Jeremiah 49:34; Jeremiah 49:39).

yet have they borne] and have borne. Their shame is that which adheres to them as slain with the sword and unhonoured. The consequences of their life shewed themselves in the manner of their death, and abode upon them. Cf. Ezekiel 36:6-7.

them that go down] that are gone down.Verse 24. - There is Elam etc. The nation so named appears grouped with Asshur in Genesis 10:22; in Isaiah 11:11 it stands between Cush and Shinar; in Isaiah 22:6 its warriors form part of the host of Sennacherib; in Ezra 4:9 they are named as having been among the settlers in Samaria; in Isaiah 21:2 as joining with the Medes in the attack on Babylon; in Jeremiah 25:25 again coupled with the Medes among the enemies of Nebuchadnezzar; in Daniel 8:2 as the province in which Shushan was situated, and therefore subject to Babylon. Jeremiah (Jeremiah 49:34-39) had uttered a special prophecy against it. From Ezekiel's point of view it might well take its place among the powers that had received their death-blow at the hand of Nebuchadnezzar. Yet have they borne their shame; sc. the disgrace of being uncircumcised, and therefore taking their place with the lower circles of the dead. The might of Pharaoh resembles the greatness and glory of Asshur. - Ezekiel 31:1. In the eleventh year, in the third (month), on the first of the month, the word of Jehovah came to me, saying, Ezekiel 31:2. Son of man, say to Pharaoh the king of Egypt, and to his tumult, Whom art thou like in thy greatness? Ezekiel 31:3. Behold, Asshur was a cedar-tree upon Lebanon, beautiful in branches, a shadowing thicket, and its top was high in growth, and among the clouds. Ezekiel 31:4. Water brought him up, the flood made him high, its streams went round about its plantation, and it sent its channels to all the trees of the field. Ezekiel 31:5. Therefore its growth became higher than all the trees of the field, and its branches became great, and its boughs long from many waters in its shooting out. Ezekiel 31:6. In its branches all the birds of the heaven made their nests, and under its boughs all the beasts of the field brought forth, and in its shadow sat great nations of all kinds. Ezekiel 31:7. And he was beautiful in his greatness, in the length of his shoots; for his root was by many waters. Ezekiel 31:8. Cedars did not obscure him in the garden of God, cypresses did not resemble his branches, and plane-trees were not like his boughs; no tree in the garden of God resembled him in his beauty. Ezekiel 31:9. I had made him beautiful in the multitude of his shoots, and all the trees of Eden which were in the garden of God envied him. - The word of God is addressed to King Pharaoh and to המונו, his tumult, i.e., whoever and whatever occasions noise and tumult in the land. We must not interpret this, however, as Hitzig has done, as signifying the ruling classes and estates in contrast with the quiet in the land, for no such use of המון is anywhere to be found. Nor must we regard the word as applying to the multitude of people only, but to the people with their possessions, their riches, which gave rise to luxury and tumult, as in Ezekiel 30:10. The inquiry, whom does Pharaoh with his tumult resemble in his greatness, is followed in the place of a reply by a description of Asshur as a glorious cedar (Ezekiel 31:3-9). It is true that Ewald has followed the example of Meibom (vanarum in Cod. Hebr. interprett. spec. III p. 70) and J. D. Michaelis, and endeavours to set aside the allusion to Asshur, by taking the word אשּׁוּר in an appellative sense, and understanding אשּׁוּר ארז as signifying a particular kind of cedar, namely, the tallest species of all. But apart altogether from there being no foundation whatever for such an explanation in the usage of the language, there is nothing in the fact to justify it. For it is not anywhere affirmed that Pharaoh resembled this cedar; on the contrary, the question, whom does he resemble? is asked again in Ezekiel 31:18 (Hitzig). Moreover, Michaelis is wrong in the supposition that "from Ezekiel 31:10 onwards it becomes perfectly obvious that it is not Assyria but Egypt itself which is meant by the cedar-tree previously described." Under the figure of the felling of a cedar there is depicted the overthrow of a king or monarchy, which has already taken place. Compare Ezekiel 31:12 and Ezekiel 31:16, where the past is indicated quite as certainly as the future in Ezekiel 31:18. And as Ezekiel 31:18 plainly designates the overthrow of Pharaoh and his power as still in the future, the cedar, whose destruction is not only threatened in Ezekiel 31:10-17, but declared to have already taken place, can only be Asshur, and not Egypt at all.

The picture of the glory of this cedar recalls in several respects the similar figurative description in Ezekiel 17. Asshur is called a cedar upon Lebanon, because it was there that the most stately cedars grew. חרשׁ מצל, a shade-giving thicket (מצל is a Hiphil participle of צלל), belongs to יפה ענף as a further expansion of ענף, corresponding to the further expansion of גּבהּ קמה by "its top was among the clouds." If we bear this in mind, the reasons assigned by Hitzig for altering חרשׁ into an adjective הרשׁ, and taking מצל as a substantive formation after the analogy of מסב, lose all their force. Analogy would only require an adjective in the construct state in the event of the three statements 'יפה ע, 'הרשׁ מ, and 'גּבהּ גּבהּ ק being co-ordinate with one another. But what is decisive against the proposed conjecture is the fact that neither the noun מצל nor the adjective הרשׁ is ever met with, and that, in any case, מצל cannot signify foliage. The rendering of the Vulgate, "frondibus nemorosus," is merely guessed at, whilst the Seventy have omitted the word as unintelligible to them. For עבתים, thicket of clouds, see the comm. on Ezekiel 19:11; and for צמּרת, that on Ezekiel 17:3. The cedar grew to so large a size because it was richly watered (Ezekiel 31:4). A flood poured its streams round about the place where the cedar was planted, and sent out brooks to all the trees of the field. The difficult words את־נהרתיה וגו' are to be taken literally thus: as for its (the flood's) streams, it (the flood) was going round about its plantation, i.e., round about the plantation belonging to the flood or the place situated near it, where the cedar was planted. את is not to be taken as a preposition, but as a sign of the accusative, and את־נהרתיה dna , as an accusative used for the more precise definition of the manner in which the flood surrounded the plantation. It is true that there still remains something striking in the masculine הלך, since תּהום, although of common gender, is construed throughout as a feminine, even in this very verse. But the difficulty remains even if we follow Ewald, and take הלך to be a defectively written or irregular form of the Hiphil הוליך; a conjecture which is precluded by the use of הוליך, to cause to run equals to cause to flow away, in Ezekiel 32:14. מטּעהּ, its (the flood's) plantation, i.e., the plantation for which the flood existed. תּהום is used here to signify the source of starting-point of a flood, as in Deuteronomy 8:7, where תּהמות are co-ordinate with עינות. - While the place where the cedar was planted was surrounded by the streams of the flood, only the brooks and channels of this flood reached to the trees of the field. The cedar therefore surpassed all the trees of the field in height and luxuriance of growth (Ezekiel 31:5). fגּבהאheb>, an Aramean mode of spelling for גּבהה heb>; and asרעפּתheb>, ἁπ. λεγ.., an Aramean formation with ר inserted, for סעפת, branches. For פּארת, see the comm. on Ezekiel 17:6. בּשׁלּחו cannot mean "since it (the stream) sent out the water" (Ewald); for although תּהום in Ezekiel 31:4 is also construed as a masculine, the suffix cannot be taken as referring to תּהום, for this is much too far off. And the explanation proposed by Rosenmller, Hvernick, Kliefoth, and others, "as it (the tree) sent them (the branches) out," is open to this objection, that בּשׁלּחו would then contain a spiritless tautology; since the stretching out of the branches is already contained in the fact of their becoming numerous and long. the tautology has no existence if the object is left indefinite, "in its spreading out," i.e., the spreading not only of the branches, but also of the roots, to which שׁלּח is sometimes applied (cf. Jeremiah 17:8). By the many waters which made the cedar great, we must not understand, either solely or especially, the numerous peoples which rendered Assyria great and mighty, as the Chaldee and many of the older commentators have done. It must rather be taken as embracing everything which contributed to the growth and greatness of Assyria. It is questionable whether the prophet, when describing the flood which watered the cedar plantation, had the description of the rivers of Paradise in Genesis 2:10. floating before his mind. Ewald and Hvernick think that he had; but Hitzig and Kliefoth take a decidedly opposite view. There is certainly no distinct indication of any such allusion. We meet with this for the first time from Ezekiel 31:8 onwards.

In Ezekiel 31:6-9 the greatness and glory of Asshur are still further depicted. Upon and under the branches of the stately tree, all creatures, birds, beasts, and men, found shelter and protection for life and increase (Ezekiel 31:6; cf. Ezekiel 17:23 and Daniel 4:9). In כּּל־גּוים רבּים, all kinds of great nations, the fact glimmers through the figure. The tree was so beautiful (ויּיף from יפה) in its greatness, that of all the trees in the garden of God not one was to be compared with it, and all envied it on that account; that is to say, all the other nations and kingdoms in God's creation were far inferior to Asshur in greatness and glory. גּן אלהים is the garden of Paradise; and consequently עדן in Ezekiel 31:9, Ezekiel 31:16, and Ezekiel 31:18 is also Paradise, as in Ezekiel 28:13. There is no ground for Kliefoth's objection, that if עדן be taken in this sense, the words "which are in the garden of God" will contain a superfluous pleonasm, a mere tautology. In Genesis 2:8 a distinction is also made between עדן and the garden in Eden. It was not all Eden, but the garden planted by Jehovah in Eden, which formed the real paradisaical creation; so that the words "which are in the garden of God" give intensity to the idea of the "trees of Eden." Moreover, as Hvernick has correctly pointed out, there is a peculiar emphasis in the separation of בּגן אלהים from ארזים in Ezekiel 31:8 : "cedars...even such as were found in the garden of God." Not one even of the other and most glorious trees, viz., cypresses and planes, resembled the cedar Asshur, planted by God by many waters, in its boughs and branches. It is not stated in so many words in Ezekiel 31:8 and Ezekiel 31:9 that the cedar Asshur stood in the garden of God; but it by no means follows from this, that by the garden of God we are to understand simply the world and the earth as the creation of God, as Kliefoth imagines, and in support of which he argues that "as all the nations and kingdoms of the world are regarded as trees planted by God, the world itself is quite consistently called a garden or plantation of God." The very fact that a distinction is made between trees of the field (Ezekiel 31:4 and Ezekiel 31:5) and trees of Eden in the garden of God (Ezekiel 31:8 and Ezekiel 31:9), shows that the trees are not all regarded here as being in the same sense planted by God. If the garden of God stood for the world, where should we then have to look for the field (השּׂדה)? The thought of Ezekiel 31:8 and Ezekiel 31:9 is not that "not a single tree in all God's broad earth was to be compared to the cedar Asshur," but that even of the trees of Paradise, the garden in Eden, there was not one so beautiful and glorious as the cedar Asshur, planted by God by many waters.

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