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Ezekiel 31 (New International Reader's Version)

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A Cedar Tree in Lebanon

1 It was the 11th year since King Jehoiachin had been brought to Babylon as a prisoner. On the first day of the third month, a message came to me from the Lord. He said, 2 "Son of man, speak to Pharaoh Hophra, the king of Egypt. Also speak to his huge army. Tell him, " 'Who can be compared with your majesty? 3 Think about what happened to Assyria. Once it was like a cedar tree in Lebanon. It had beautiful branches that provided shade for the forest. It grew very high. Its top was above all of the leaves. 4 The waters fed it. Deep springs made it grow tall. Their streams flowed all around its base. They made their way to all of the trees in the fields. 5 So it grew higher than any other tree in the fields. It grew more limbs. Its branches grew long. They spread because they had plenty of water. 6 All of the birds of the air made their nests in its limbs. All of the wild animals had their babies under its branches. All of the great nations lived in its shade. 7 Its spreading branches made it majestic and beautiful. Its roots went down deep to where there was plenty of water. 8 The cedar trees in my garden were no match for it. The pine trees could not equal its limbs. The plane trees could not compare with its branches. No tree in my garden could match its beauty. 9 I gave it many branches. They made it beautiful. All of the trees in my Garden of Eden were jealous of it.' " 10 So the LORD and King says, "The cedar tree grew very high. Its top was above all of the leaves. It was proud of how tall it was. 11 So I handed it over to the Babylonian ruler of the nations. I wanted him to punish it because it was so evil. I decided to get rid of it. 12 "The Babylonians cut it down and left it there. They did not show it any pity at all. Some of its branches fell on the mountains. Others fell in all of the valleys. They lay broken in all of the stream beds in the land. All of the nations on earth came out from under its shade. And they went on their way. 13 All of the birds of the air settled on the fallen tree. All of the wild animals moved among its branches. 14 "So trees that receive plenty of water must never grow so high that it makes them proud. Their tops must never be above the rest of the leaves. No other trees that receive a lot of water must ever grow that high. They are appointed to die and go down into the earth below. They will join the other nations that go down into the grave." 15 The LORD and King says, "Assyria was like a cedar tree. But I brought it down to the grave. On that day I dried up the deep springs of water and covered them. I held its streams back. I shut off its rich supply of water. Because of that, Lebanon was dressed in darkness as if it were clothes. All of the trees in the fields dried up. 16 "I brought the cedar tree down to the grave. It joined the other nations that go down there. I made the nations on earth shake because of the sound of its fall. Then all of the trees of Eden were comforted in the earth below. That included the finest and best trees in Lebanon. And it included all the trees that received plenty of water. 17 Others also went down into the grave along with it. That included those that lived in its shade. And it included those nations that were going to help it. They joined those who had been killed with swords. 18 "Which one of the trees of Eden can be compared with you? What tree is as glorious and majestic as you are? But you too will be brought down to the earth below. There you will join the trees of Eden. You will lie down with those who have not been circumcised. You will be among those who were killed with swords. "That is what will happen to Pharaoh and his huge armies," announces the LORD and King.
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