Ezekiel 31:3

Hebrew Bible

1 In the eleventh year, in the third month, on the first day of the month, the Lord’s message came to me: 2 “Son of man, say to Pharaoh king of Egypt and his hordes:“‘Who are you like in your greatness? 3 Consider Assyria, a cedar in Lebanon, with beautiful branches, like a forest giving shade, and extremely tall; its top reached into the clouds. 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. 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.

Zechariah 11:2

Hebrew Bible

1 Open your gates, Lebanon, so that the fire may consume your cedars. 2 Howl, fir tree, because the cedar has fallen; the majestic trees have been destroyed. Howl, oaks of Bashan, because the impenetrable forest has fallen. 3 Listen to the howling of shepherds, because their magnificence has been destroyed. Listen to the roaring of young lions, because the thickets of the Jordan have been devastated. 4 The Lord my God says this: “Shepherd the flock set aside for slaughter.

 Notes and References

"... Another significant interpretive question surrounds the imagery of the trees, whether figurative (depicting foreign/domestic leaders) or literal (representing trees native to ancient Israel). In favor of the former understanding, the Lebanon cedar can symbolize in the OT nations such as Assyria (Ezekiel 31:3, 16–17) or human kings (2 Kings 14:9; Isaiah 14:8; Ezekiel 17:3; Amos 2:9). The shepherds and trees would thus represent political or social leadership, whether past Judahite kings or the Persian political/priestly leaders. Here, however, the call to lament more likely concerns an actual devastation of the land, as evident from several factors. First, the juxtaposition of trees/landscape (arboreal and geographical terminology) and shepherds/young lions (demographic and faunal terminology) hints at a distinction in purview of the referents depicted. To understand the two referent groups as both symbols of leadership would involve an unwarranted shift in imagery from plants to humans/animals within the same unit. The relationship between the deforested land and the wailing shepherds seems rather to be that of realm to ruler, thus underscoring the utter demise of the source providing the leaders’ sustenance and protection ..."

Dunham, Kyle C. Zechariah 11 and the Eschatological Shepherds (pp. 3-39) Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary, 2018

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