Ezekiel 31:17
They too descended with it to Sheol, to those slain by the sword. As its allies they had lived in its shade among the nations.
Under God's Shadow Among the HeathenF. B. Meyer, B. A.Ezekiel 31:17
A Terrible PerditionJ.D. Davies Ezekiel 31:1-18
The Cedar in LebanonA London MinisterEzekiel 31:1-18
The Spectacle of Fallen GreatnessW. Clarkson Ezekiel 31:10-18
Mourning and LamentationJ.R. Thomson Ezekiel 31:15-17

The description here given of the distress and mourning which took place upon the occasion of the downfall of Assyria is very poetical, and might appear exaggerated were we not able, by the aid of imagination, to place ourselves in the position of an observer at that critical epoch in the history of the world. It was necessary that Pharaoh and his people should be enabled to enter into the fate of Assyria in order that they might learn the warning intended to be conveyed by that awful event. It was the aim of Ezekiel to portray Assyria in all her glory and in all her desolation, in order to impress upon the Egyptians the lesson which at that conjuncture it was so important, for them to lay to heart. The mourning raised over the one kingdom might speedily be required by the condition of the other.

I. THE CAUSE OF MOURNING. The immediate cause was the disaster which befell Assyria and the allied and dependent nations. But to those who looked beneath the surface there was a deep-seated cause in the sin by which the mighty kingdom and its rulers brought upon themselves a fate so calamitous and irreversible. Wherever there is lamentation it may be suspected that the ultimate explanation of it is sin.

II. THE MOURNERS. The prophet speaks of the mighty rivers and the terrible ocean, of the majestic trees of the forest, as taking part in this lamentation. The nations shook at the Sound of Assyria's fall, when it went down to Hades. The literal fact is this - that all spectators with intelligence to understand what had occurred, and with a nature susceptible of feeling, viewed the calamity with appreciative pity. It was a catastrophe never to be forgotten, and the compassion of those who witnessed it rose to sublimity.

III. THE EXTENT AND VASTNESS OF THE MOURNING. This is evident from the fact of the Divine intervention. "Thus saith the Lord God, I caused a mourning." There could then be nothing petty or trivial in it. Originating in the counsels of the Eternal, and diffused throughout the earth, and reaching to the gates of Hades, this lamentation was worthy of the event. And it certainly justifies us in making our own the sorrows, not of individuals alone, but of nations and of mankind. It is a Divine exercise so to sympathize. "In all their afflictions he is afflicted."

IV. THE PROFIT OF MOURNING. We are assured upon high authority that "it is better to go to the house of mourning than to the house of feasting." It is a whole some and chastening discipline of the Soul. To mourn for our own faults is morally necessary. "They that lack time to mourn lack time to mend." But the case before the reader of this passage is that of mourning for the sins and the chastisement of humanity generally, and especially of the nations with whose experience we are personally conversant. A common sorrow binds hearts together, and enables men to realize their community. Grief over sin and its consequences is no inconsiderable protection against participation in the evil lamented. - T.

They...that dwelt under His shadow in the midst of the heathen.
Whatever may be the primary meaning of these words, they have a very blessed application to those who have gone forth from so many Christian families into heathen lands. For no choice of their own, and simply in obedience to their King's command, hundreds of our sons and daughters have gone forth to dwell in the midst of the heathen. They have taken up their home amid conditions which they would not have chosen had it not been for the constraining love of Christ, and the imperative need of dying men; and as fond relatives and friends regard their lot from a distance, they are often filled with anxious forebodings. May they not be involved in some sudden riot, and sacrificed to a frenzy of hate? May not the sanitary conditions and methods of life be seriously detrimental to their health or morals? "Oh, if only I could be there," you sigh. Hush! Christ is there; as near them as He is to you, casting over them the shadow of His presence, beckoning them to His secret place. He is the shadow of a great Rock in a weary land; or like the canopy of cloud that hovered over the camp of Israel by day, screening it from the torrid glare. Do not fear to trust your loved ones to the immortal Lover, who fainteth not, neither is weary. The hand that would harm is arrested and paralysed when it attempts to penetrate that safe enclosure.

(F. B. Meyer, B. A.).

Ezekiel, Pharaoh
Assyria, Babylon, Egypt, Lebanon, Tigris-Euphrates Region
Allies, Arm, Dwelt, Grave, Heathen, Hell, Helpers, Joining, Killed, Midst, Nations, Nether-world, Perish, Pierced, Shade, Shadow, Sheol, Slain, Strength, Sword, Underworld, Yea, Yes
1. A relation unto Pharaoh
3. of the glory of Assyria
10. and the fall thereof for pride
18. The like destruction of Egypt

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Ezekiel 31:17

     5205   alliance

Ezekiel 31:15-17

     9540   Sheol

To a modern taste, Ezekiel does not appeal anything like so powerfully as Isaiah or Jeremiah. He has neither the majesty of the one nor the tenderness and passion of the other. There is much in him that is fantastic, and much that is ritualistic. His imaginations border sometimes on the grotesque and sometimes on the mechanical. Yet he is a historical figure of the first importance; it was very largely from him that Judaism received the ecclesiastical impulse by which for centuries it was powerfully
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament

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