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Ezekiel 17-19 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

Parable of the Eagles

17 The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, pose a riddle and speak a parable to the house of Israel. You are to say: This is what the Lord God says:

A great eagle with great wings, long pinions,
and full plumage of many colors
came to Lebanon and took the top of the cedar.
He plucked off its topmost shoot,
brought it to the land of merchants,
and set it in a city of traders.
Then he took some of the land’s seed
and put it in a fertile field;
he set it like a willow,
a plant[a] by abundant waters.
It sprouted and became a spreading vine,
low in height with its branches turned toward him,
yet its roots stayed under it.
So it became a vine,
produced branches, and sent out shoots.

But there was another great eagle
with great wings and thick plumage.
And this vine bent its roots toward him!
It stretched out its branches to him
from its planting bed,
so that he might water it.
It had been planted
in a good field by abundant waters
in order to produce branches,
bear fruit, and become a splendid vine.

You are to say: This is what the Lord God says:

Will it flourish?
Will he not tear out its roots
and strip off its fruit
so that it shrivels?
All its fresh leaves will wither!
Great strength and many people
will not be needed to pull it from its roots.
10 Even though it is planted, will it flourish?
Won’t it completely wither
when the east wind strikes it?
It will wither on the bed where it sprouted.”

11 The word of the Lord came to me: 12 “Now say to that rebellious house: Don’t you know what these things mean? Tell them: The king of Babylon came to Jerusalem, took its king and officials, and brought them back with him to Babylon. 13 He took one of the royal family and made a covenant with him, putting him under oath. Then he took away the leading men of the land, 14 so the kingdom might be humble and not exalt itself but might keep his covenant in order to endure. 15 However, this king revolted against him by sending his ambassadors to Egypt so they might give him horses and a large army. Will he flourish? Will the one who does such things escape? Can he break a covenant and still escape?

16 “As I live”—this is the declaration of the Lord God—“he will die in Babylon, in the land of the king who put him on the throne, whose oath he despised and whose covenant he broke. 17 Pharaoh will not help him with his great army and vast horde in battle, when ramps are built and siege walls constructed to destroy many lives. 18 He despised the oath by breaking the covenant. He did all these things even though he gave his hand in pledge. He will not escape!”

19 Therefore, this is what the Lord God says: “As I live, I will bring down on his head My oath that he despised and My covenant that he broke. 20 I will spread My net over him, and he will be caught in My snare. I will bring him to Babylon and execute judgment on him there for the treachery he committed against Me. 21 All the fugitives[b] among his troops will fall by the sword, and those who survive will be scattered to every direction of the wind. Then you will know that I, Yahweh, have spoken.”

22 This is what the Lord God says:

I will take a sprig
from the lofty top of the cedar and plant it.
I will pluck a tender sprig
from its topmost shoots,
and I will plant it
on a high towering mountain.
23 I will plant it on Israel’s high mountain
so that it may bear branches, produce fruit,
and become a majestic cedar.
Birds of every kind will nest under it,
taking shelter in the shade of its branches.
24 Then all the trees of the field will know
that I am Yahweh.
I bring down the tall tree,
and make the low tree tall.
I cause the green tree to wither
and make the withered tree thrive.
I, Yahweh, have spoken
and I will do it.

Personal Responsibility for Sin

18 The word of the Lord came to me: “What do you mean by using this proverb concerning the land of Israel:

The fathers eat sour grapes,
and the children’s teeth are set on edge?

As I live”—this is the declaration of the Lord God—“you will no longer use this proverb in Israel. Look, every life belongs to Me. The life of the father is like the life of the son—both belong to Me. The person who sins is the one who will die.

“Now suppose a man is righteous and does what is just and right: He does not eat at the mountain shrines or raise his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel. He does not defile his neighbor’s wife or come near a woman during her menstrual impurity. He doesn’t oppress anyone but returns his collateral to the debtor. He does not commit robbery, but gives his bread to the hungry and covers the naked with clothing. He doesn’t lend at interest or for profit but keeps his hand from wrongdoing and carries out true justice between men. He follows My statutes and keeps My ordinances, acting faithfully. Such a person is righteous; he will certainly live.” This is the declaration of the Lord God.

10 “Now suppose the man has a violent son, who sheds blood and does any of these things, 11 though the father has done none of them. Indeed, when the son eats at the mountain shrines and defiles his neighbor’s wife, 12 and when he oppresses the poor and needy, commits robbery, and does not return collateral, and when he raises his eyes to the idols, commits detestable acts, 13 and lends at interest or for profit, will he live? He will not live! Since he has committed all these detestable acts, he will certainly die. His blood will be on him.

14 “Now suppose he has a son who sees all the sins his father has committed, and though he sees them, he does not do likewise. 15 He does not eat at the mountain shrines or raise his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel. He does not defile his neighbor’s wife. 16 He doesn’t oppress anyone, hold collateral, or commit robbery. He gives his bread to the hungry and covers the naked with clothing. 17 He keeps his hand from harming the poor, not taking interest or profit on a loan. He practices My ordinances and follows My statutes. Such a person will not die for his father’s iniquity. He will certainly live.

18 “As for his father, he will die for his own iniquity because he practiced fraud, robbed his brother, and did what was wrong among his people. 19 But you may ask, ‘Why doesn’t the son suffer punishment for the father’s iniquity?’ Since the son has done what is just and right, carefully observing all My statutes, he will certainly live. 20 The person who sins is the one who will die. A son won’t suffer punishment for the father’s iniquity, and a father won’t suffer punishment for the son’s iniquity. The righteousness of the righteous person will be on him, and the wickedness of the wicked person will be on him.

21 “Now if the wicked person turns from all the sins he has committed, keeps all My statutes, and does what is just and right, he will certainly live; he will not die. 22 None of the transgressions he has committed will be held against him. He will live because of the righteousness he has practiced. 23 Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked?” This is the declaration of the Lord God. “Instead, don’t I take pleasure when he turns from his ways and lives? 24 But when a righteous person turns from his righteousness and practices iniquity, committing the same detestable acts that the wicked do, will he live? None of the righteous acts he did will be remembered. He will die because of the treachery he has engaged in and the sin he has committed.

25 “But you say, ‘The Lord’s way isn’t fair.’ Now listen, house of Israel: Is it My way that is unfair? Instead, isn’t it your ways that are unfair? 26 When a righteous person turns from his righteousness and practices iniquity, he will die for this. He will die because of the iniquity he has practiced. 27 But if a wicked person turns from the wickedness he has committed and does what is just and right, he will preserve his life. 28 He will certainly live because he thought it over and turned from all the transgressions he had committed; he will not die. 29 But the house of Israel says, ‘The Lord’s way isn’t fair.’ Is it My ways that are unfair, house of Israel? Instead, isn’t it your ways that are unfair?

30 “Therefore, house of Israel, I will judge each one of you according to his ways.” This is the declaration of the Lord God. “Repent and turn from all your transgressions, so they will not be a stumbling block that causes your punishment. 31 Throw off all the transgressions you have committed, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. Why should you die, house of Israel? 32 For I take no pleasure in anyone’s death.” This is the declaration of the Lord God. “So repent and live!

A Lament for Israel’s Princes

19 “Now, lament for the princes of Israel and say:

What was your mother? A lioness!
She lay down among the lions;
she reared her cubs among the young lions.
She brought up one of her cubs,
and he became a young lion.
After he learned to tear prey,
he devoured people.
When the nations heard about him,
he was caught in their pit.
Then they led him away with hooks
to the land of Egypt.

When she saw that she waited in vain,
that her hope was lost,
she took another of her cubs
and made him a young lion.
He prowled among the lions,
and he became a young lion.
After he learned to tear prey,
he devoured people.
He devastated their strongholds[c]
and destroyed their cities.
The land and everything in it shuddered
at the sound of his roaring.
Then the nations from the surrounding provinces
set out against him.
They spread their net over him;
he was caught in their pit.
They put a wooden yoke on him[d] with hooks
and led him away to the king of Babylon.
They brought him into the fortresses
so his roar could no longer be heard
on the mountains of Israel.

10 Your mother was like a vine in your vineyard,[e]
planted by the water;
it was fruitful and full of branches
because of plentiful waters.
11 It had strong branches, fit for the scepters of rulers;
its height towered among the clouds.[f]
So it was conspicuous for its height
as well as its many branches.
12 But it was uprooted in fury,
thrown to the ground,
and the east wind dried up its fruit.
Its strong branches were torn off and dried up;
fire consumed them.
13 Now it is planted in the wilderness,
in a dry and thirsty land.
14 Fire has gone out from its main branch[g]
and has devoured its fruit,
so that it no longer has a strong branch,
a scepter for ruling.

This is a lament and should be used as a lament.”

Footnotes:

  1. Ezekiel 17:5 Hb obscure
  2. Ezekiel 17:21 Some Hb mss, LXX, Syr, Tg read choice men
  3. Ezekiel 19:7 Tg, Aq; MT reads knew their widows
  4. Ezekiel 19:9 Or put him in a cage
  5. Ezekiel 19:10 Some Hb mss; other Hb mss read blood
  6. Ezekiel 19:11 Or thick foliage
  7. Ezekiel 19:14 Lit from the branch of its parts

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