15 November 2017 Bible Reading
Today’s reading in Ezekiel continues the prophecy against Egypt. The Assyrian empire was like a tall and strong cedar tree – the very trees of Eden envied it. The tree was brought down, however, just as Egypt shall be. Egypt is imagined as a large threatening animal, such as a lion or a whale, caught, slain and left exposed to the elements. The sky will be darkened, and surrounding nations terrified. Egypt will be left so desolate, that its rivers shall run as smooth as oil, with nobody to disturb them. God orders the slain Pharaoh and his host to be dragged down to the lower regions of the earth. The Pharaoh will share these regions with uncircumcised tyrants and oppressors. The Pharaoh’s particular region is for those who have been slain by the sword.
Today’s passage in Hebrews references Exodus 19:12-13; Deuteronomy 9:19; Jeremiah 31:31; Haggai 2:6; and Deuteronomy 4:24.
31 In the eleventh year, in the third month, in the first day of the month, Yahweh’s word came to me, saying, 2 Son of man, tell Pharaoh king of Egypt, and to his multitude: Whom are you like in your greatness? 3 Behold, the Assyrian was a cedar in Lebanon with beautiful branches, and with a forest-like shade, and of high stature; and its top was among the thick boughs. 4 The waters nourished it, the deep made it to grow: its rivers ran all around its plantation; and it sent out its channels to all the trees of the field. 5 Therefore its stature was exalted above all the trees of the field; and its boughs were multiplied, and its branches became long by reason of many waters, when it spread them out. 6 All the birds of the sky made their nests in its boughs; and under its branches all the animals of the field gave birth to their young; and all great nations lived under its shadow. 7 Thus was it beautiful in its greatness, in the length of its branches; for its root was by many waters. 8 The cedars in the garden of God could not hide it; the cypress trees were not like its boughs, and the plane trees were not as its branches; nor was any tree in the garden of God like it in its beauty. 9 I made it beautiful by the multitude of its branches, so that all the trees of Eden, that were in the garden of God, envied it. 10 Therefore thus said the Lord Yahweh: Because you are exalted in stature, and he has set his top among the thick boughs, and his heart is lifted up in his height; 11 I will even deliver him into the hand of the mighty one of the nations; he shall surely deal with him; I have driven him out for his wickedness. 12 Strangers, the terrible of the nations, have cut him off, and have left him: on the mountains and in all the valleys his branches are fallen, and his boughs are broken by all the watercourses of the land; and all the peoples of the earth are gone down from his shadow, and have left him. 13 On his ruin all the birds of the sky shall dwell, and all the animals of the field shall be on his branches; 14 to the end that none of all the trees by the waters exalt themselves in their stature, neither set their top among the thick boughs, nor that their mighty ones stand up on their height, even all who drink water: for they are all delivered to death, to the lower parts of the earth, among the children of men, with those who go down to the pit. 15 Thus says the Lord Yahweh: In the day when he went down to Sheol [a] I caused a mourning: I covered the deep for him, and I restrained its rivers; and the great waters were stayed; and I caused Lebanon to mourn for him, and all the trees of the field fainted for him. 16 I made the nations to shake at the sound of his fall, when I cast him down to Sheol[b] with those who descend into the pit; and all the trees of Eden, the choice and best of Lebanon, all that drink water, were comforted in the lower parts of the earth. 17 They also went down into Sheol with him to those who are slain by the sword; yes, those who were his arm, who lived under his shadow in the middle of the nations. 18 To whom are you thus like in glory and in greatness among the trees of Eden? yet you will be brought down with the trees of Eden to the lower parts of the earth: you shall lie in the middle of the uncircumcised, with those who are slain by the sword. This is Pharaoh and all his multitude, says the Lord Yahweh.
32 In the twelfth year, in the twelfth month, in the first day of the month, Yahweh’s word came to me, saying, 2 Son of man, take up a lamentation over Pharaoh king of Egypt, and tell him, You were likened to a young lion of the nations: yet you are as a monster in the seas; and you broke out with your rivers, and troubled the waters with your feet, and fouled their rivers. 3 Thus says the Lord Yahweh: I will spread out my net on you with a company of many peoples; and they shall bring you up in my net. 4 I will leave you on the land, I will cast you out on the open field, and will cause all the birds of the sky to settle on you, and I will satisfy the animals of the whole earth with you. 5 I will lay your flesh on the mountains, and fill the valleys with your height. 6 I will also water with your blood the land in which you swim, even to the mountains; and the watercourses shall be full of you. 7 When I shall extinguish you, I will cover the heavens, and make its stars dark; I will cover the sun with a cloud, and the moon shall not give its light. 8 All the bright lights of the sky will I make dark over you, and set darkness on your land, says the Lord Yahweh. 9 I will also trouble the hearts of many peoples, when I shall bring your destruction among the nations, into the countries which you have not known. 10 Yes, I will make many peoples amazed at you, and their kings shall be horribly afraid for you, when I shall brandish my sword before them; and they shall tremble at every moment, every man for his own life, in the day of your fall. 11 For thus says the Lord Yahweh: The sword of the king of Babylon shall come on you. 12 By the swords of the mighty will I cause your multitude to fall; the terrible of the nations are they all: and they shall bring to nothing the pride of Egypt, and all its multitude shall be destroyed. 13 I will destroy also all its animals from beside many waters; neither shall the foot of man trouble them any more, nor the hoofs of animals trouble them. 14 Then will I make their waters clear, and cause their rivers to run like oil, says the Lord Yahweh. 15 When I shall make the land of Egypt desolate and waste, a land destitute of that of which it was full, when I shall strike all those who dwell therein, then shall they know that I am Yahweh. 16 This is the lamentation with which they shall lament; the daughters of the nations shall lament therewith; over Egypt, and over all her multitude, shall they lament therewith, says the Lord Yahweh. 17 Also in the twelfth year, in the fifteenth day of the month, Yahweh’s word came to me, saying, 18 Son of man, wail for the multitude of Egypt, and cast them down, even her, and the daughters of the famous nations, to the lower parts of the earth, with those who go down into the pit. 19 Whom do you pass in beauty? Go down, and be laid with the uncircumcised. 20 They shall fall among those who are slain by the sword: she is delivered to the sword; draw her away and all her multitudes. 21 The strong among the mighty shall speak to him out of the middle of Sheol [c] with those who help him: they are gone down, they lie still, even the uncircumcised, slain by the sword. 22 Asshur is there and all her company; her graves are all around her; all of them slain, fallen by the sword; 23 whose graves are set in the uttermost parts of the pit, and her company is around her grave; all of them slain, fallen by the sword, who caused terror in the land of the living. 24 There is 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 living, and have borne their shame with those who go down to the pit. 25 They have set her a bed among the slain with all her multitude; her graves are around her; all of them uncircumcised, slain by the sword; for their terror was caused in the land of the living, and they have borne their shame with those who go down to the pit: he is put among those who are slain. 26 There is Meshech, Tubal, and all their multitude; their graves are around them; all of them uncircumcised, slain by the sword; for they caused their terror in the land of the living. 27 They shall not lie with the mighty who are fallen of the uncircumcised, who have gone down to Sheol with their weapons of war, and have laid their swords under their heads, and their iniquities are on their bones; for they were the terror of the mighty in the land of the living. 28 But you shall be broken among the uncircumcised, and shall lie with those who are slain by the sword. 29 There is Edom, her kings and all her princes, who in their might are laid with those who are slain by the sword: they shall lie with the uncircumcised, and with those who go down to the pit. 30 There are the princes of the north, all of them, and all the Sidonians, who are gone down with the slain; in the terror which they caused by their might they are put to shame; and they lie uncircumcised with those who are slain by the sword, and bear their shame with those who go down to the pit. 31 Pharaoh shall see them, and shall be comforted over all his multitude, even Pharaoh and all his army, slain by the sword, says the Lord Yahweh. 32 For I have put his terror in the land of the living; and he shall be laid among the uncircumcised, with those who are slain by the sword, even Pharaoh and all his multitude, says the Lord Yahweh.
14 Follow after peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no man will see the Lord, 15 looking carefully lest there be any man who falls short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and many be defiled by it; 16 lest there be any sexually immoral person, or profane person, like Esau, who sold his birthright for one meal. 17 For you know that even when he afterward desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for a change of mind though he sought it diligently with tears. 18 For you have not come to a mountain that might be touched, and that burned with fire, and to blackness, darkness, storm, 19 the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of words; which those who heard it begged that not one more word should be spoken to them, 20 for they could not stand that which was commanded, “If even an animal touches the mountain, it shall be stoned”; 21 and so fearful was the appearance that Moses said, “I am terrified and trembling.”
22 But you have come to Mount Zion, and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable multitudes of angels, 23 to the general assembly and assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, 24 to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better than that of Abel.
25 See that you don’t refuse him who speaks. For if they didn’t escape when they refused him who warned on the earth, how much more will we not escape who turn away from him who warns from heaven, 26 whose voice shook the earth then, but now he has promised, saying, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth, but also the heavens.” 27 This phrase, “Yet once more”, signifies the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that have been made, that those things which are not shaken may remain. 28 Therefore, receiving a Kingdom that can’t be shaken, let us have grace, through which we serve God acceptably, with reverence and awe, 29 for our God is a consuming fire.
113 Praise Yah!
Praise, you servants of Yahweh,
praise Yahweh’s name.
2 Blessed be Yahweh’s name,
from this time forward and forever more.
3 From the rising of the sun to the going down of the same,
Yahweh’s name is to be praised.
4 Yahweh is high above all nations,
his glory above the heavens.
5 Who is like Yahweh, our God,
who has his seat on high,
6 Who stoops down to see in heaven and in the earth?
7 He raises up the poor out of the dust.
Lifts up the needy from the ash heap;
8 that he may set him with princes,
even with the princes of his people.
9 He settles the barren woman in her home,
as a joyful mother of children.
114 When Israel went out of Egypt,
the house of Jacob from a people of foreign language;
2 Judah became his sanctuary,
Israel his dominion.
3 The sea saw it, and fled.
The Jordan was driven back.
4 The mountains skipped like rams,
the little hills like lambs.
5 What was it, you sea, that you fled?
You Jordan, that you turned back?
6 You mountains, that you skipped like rams;
you little hills, like lambs?
7 Tremble, you earth, at the presence of the Lord,
at the presence of the God of Jacob,
8 who turned the rock into a pool of water,
the flint into a spring of waters.
18 Whoever tends the fig tree shall eat its fruit.
He who looks after his master shall be honored.
19 Like water reflects a face,
so a man’s heart reflects the man.
20 Sheol and Abaddon are never satisfied;
and a man’s eyes are never satisfied.