Parable of Two Eagles and a Vine
17 Now the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 2 “Son of man, ask a riddle and tell a [a]parable to the house of Israel, 3 saying, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “A great eagle (Nebuchadnezzar) with great wings, long pinions and a rich plumage of many colors came to Lebanon (Jerusalem) and took away the top of the cedar (Judah). 4 He broke off the topmost of its young twigs (young King Jehoiachin) and carried it to a land of traders (Babylonia); he set it in a city of merchants (Babylon). 5 He also took some of the seed of the land ([b]Zedekiah, of the royal family) and planted it in fertile soil and a fruitful field; he placed it beside abundant waters and set it like a willow tree. 6 Then it sprouted and grew and became a low, spreading vine whose branches turned [in submission] toward him, but its roots remained under it. So it became a vine and yielded shoots and sent out branches.
7 “There was [also] another great [c]eagle with great wings and many feathers; and behold, this vine (Zedekiah) bent its roots toward him and sent out its branches toward him, away from the beds where it was planted, for him to water. 8 It was planted in good soil where water was plentiful for it to produce leaves and branches and to bear fruit, so that it might become a splendid vine.”’ 9 Thus says the Lord God, ‘Ask, “Will it thrive? Will he (Nebuchadnezzar) not uproot it and strip off its fruit so that all its sprouting leaves will wither? It will not take a strong arm or many people to uproot it [ending Israel’s national existence].(A) 10 Though it is planted, will it thrive and grow? Will it not completely wither when the east wind touches it? It will wither in the beds where it grew.”’”(B)
11 Moreover, the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 12 “Say now to the rebellious house, ‘Do you not know (realize) what these things mean?’ Tell them, ‘Hear this, the king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and took its king [Jehoiachin] and its princes and brought them with him to Babylon.(C) 13 And he took a member of the royal family [the king’s uncle, Zedekiah] and made a covenant with him, putting him under oath. He also took the important leaders of the land,(D) 14 so that the kingdom would be in subjection, unable to restore itself and rise again, but that by keeping his covenant it might continue. 15 But Zedekiah rebelled against Nebuchadnezzar by sending his ambassadors to Egypt so that they might give him horses and many troops. Will he succeed? Will he who does such things escape? Can he indeed break the covenant [with Babylon] and [still] escape? 16 As I live,’ says the Lord God, ‘surely in the country of the king (Nebuchadnezzar) who made Zedekiah [the vassal] king, whose oath he despised and whose covenant he broke, in Babylon Zedekiah shall die. 17 Pharaoh with his mighty army and great company will not help him in the war, when they (the Babylonians) put up ramps and build siege walls to destroy many lives. 18 Now Zedekiah dishonored the oath by breaking the covenant, and behold, he gave his hand and pledged his allegiance, yet did all these things; he shall not escape.’” 19 Therefore, thus says the Lord God, “As I live, I will bring down on his own head My oath [made on My behalf by Nebuchadnezzar] which Zedekiah dishonored and My covenant which he broke. 20 I will spread My net over him, and he will be caught in My snare; and I will bring him to Babylon and will enter into judgment with him there for his treason which he has committed against Me. 21 All the choice men [from Judah] in all his troops will fall by the sword, and those that survive will be scattered to every wind; and you will know [without any doubt] that I the Lord have spoken.”
22 [d]Thus says the Lord God, “I Myself will take a twig from the lofty top of the cedar and will set it out; I will crop off from the topmost of its young twigs a tender one and I will plant it on a high and lofty mountain.(E) 23 I will plant it on the mountain heights of Israel, that it may grow boughs and bear fruit and be a noble and stately cedar. And birds of every kind will live under it; they will nest [securely] in the shade of its branches. 24 All the trees of the field will know that I the Lord bring down the tall tree, exalt the low tree, dry up the green tree, and make the dry tree flourish. I am the Lord; I have spoken, and I will fulfill it.”
- Ezekiel 17:2 The parable is told in vv 3-10. The explanation follows in vv 11-24.
- Ezekiel 17:5 Nebuchadnezzar appointed Zedekiah to rule in Judah as his vassal king.
- Ezekiel 17:7 Most likely a reference to Pharaoh Hophra (Apries) of Egypt (Jer 44:30). He ruled from 589-570 b.c. In the third century a.d. an obelisk attributed to him was taken to Rome by the Emperor Diocletian where it remains to this day.
- Ezekiel 17:22 These next three verses contain a word of prophecy regarding the coming of the Messiah, from the line of David, and His worldwide reign in the Millennium.
New International Version
Two Eagles and a Vine
17 The word of the Lord came to me: 2 “Son of man, set forth an allegory and tell it to the Israelites as a parable.(A) 3 Say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: A great eagle(B) with powerful wings, long feathers and full plumage of varied colors came to Lebanon.(C) Taking hold of the top of a cedar, 4 he broke off(D) its topmost shoot and carried it away to a land of merchants, where he planted it in a city of traders.
5 “‘He took one of the seedlings of the land and put it in fertile soil. He planted it like a willow by abundant water,(E) 6 and it sprouted and became a low, spreading vine. Its branches(F) turned toward him, but its roots remained under it. So it became a vine and produced branches and put out leafy boughs.(G)
7 “‘But there was another great eagle with powerful wings and full plumage. The vine now sent out its roots toward him from the plot where it was planted and stretched out its branches to him for water.(H) 8 It had been planted in good soil by abundant water so that it would produce branches,(I) bear fruit and become a splendid vine.’
9 “Say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Will it thrive? Will it not be uprooted and stripped of its fruit so that it withers? All its new growth will wither. It will not take a strong arm or many people to pull it up by the roots.(J) 10 It has been planted,(K) but will it thrive? Will it not wither completely when the east wind strikes it—wither away in the plot where it grew?(L)’”
11 Then the word of the Lord came to me: 12 “Say to this rebellious people, ‘Do you not know what these things mean?(M)’ Say to them: ‘The king of Babylon went to Jerusalem and carried off her king and her nobles,(N) bringing them back with him to Babylon.(O) 13 Then he took a member of the royal family and made a treaty(P) with him, putting him under oath.(Q) He also carried away the leading men(R) of the land, 14 so that the kingdom would be brought low,(S) unable to rise again, surviving only by keeping his treaty. 15 But the king rebelled(T) against him by sending his envoys to Egypt(U) to get horses and a large army.(V) Will he succeed? Will he who does such things escape? Will he break the treaty and yet escape?(W)
16 “‘As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, he shall die(X) in Babylon, in the land of the king who put him on the throne, whose oath he despised and whose treaty he broke.(Y) 17 Pharaoh(Z) with his mighty army and great horde will be of no help to him in war, when ramps(AA) are built and siege works erected to destroy many lives.(AB) 18 He despised the oath by breaking the covenant. Because he had given his hand in pledge(AC) and yet did all these things, he shall not escape.
19 “‘Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says: As surely as I live, I will repay him for despising my oath and breaking my covenant.(AD) 20 I will spread my net(AE) for him, and he will be caught in my snare. I will bring him to Babylon and execute judgment(AF) on him there because he was unfaithful(AG) to me. 21 All his choice troops will fall by the sword,(AH) and the survivors(AI) will be scattered to the winds.(AJ) Then you will know that I the Lord have spoken.(AK)
22 “‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I myself will take a shoot(AL) from the very top of a cedar and plant it; I will break off a tender sprig from its topmost shoots and plant it on a high and lofty mountain.(AM) 23 On the mountain heights(AN) of Israel I will plant it; it will produce branches and bear fruit(AO) and become a splendid cedar. Birds of every kind will nest in it; they will find shelter in the shade of its branches.(AP) 24 All the trees of the forest(AQ) will know that I the Lord bring down(AR) the tall tree and make the low tree grow tall. I dry up the green tree and make the dry tree flourish.(AS)
“‘I the Lord have spoken, and I will do it.(AT)’”