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The Parable of the Eagle

17 This message came to me from the Lord: “Son of Man, compose a riddle and relate a parable to Israel’s house. Tell them, ‘This is what the Lord God says, “A massive eagle with gigantic wings, long pinions, and full, multi-colored plumage came to Lebanon and took away the top of the cedar.[a] He plucked off the top of its shoot, brought it to a land of merchants, and set it down in a city full of traders. Then the eagle took a seed from the land and planted it in fertile ground. He planted it like a willow tree next to abundant waters. It flourished and became a low, spreading vine. Its branches turned toward him, and its roots spread under him to become a vine that put out shoots and spread out its branches.

“‘“All of a sudden, there was another eagle with gigantic wings and thick plumage. The vine stretched its roots hungrily toward him and spread its branches out to him in order to be watered on the terraces where it was planted. It was transplanted into good soil[b] near abundant water, and it produced branches and bore fruit, becoming a magnificent vine.”’

“Tell them, ‘This is what the Lord God says, “Will it prosper? Won’t he pull up its roots, and strip it bare so all its fresh foliage dries up? It won’t be by great strength or by a great army that it will be uprooted. 10 Look! Because it’s a transplanted vine, won’t it wither when the east wind hits it? It will surely wither in the terraces where it had started to sprout.”’”

The Meaning of the Parable

11 This message came to me from the Lord: 12 “Tell my[c] rebellious house, ‘Don’t you know what these things mean? Look! The king of Babylon came to Jerusalem, captured her king and princes, and took them with him to Babylon. 13 Then he took one of the royal descendants, made a covenant with him, and put him under an oath of loyalty, taking the leaders of the land captive 14 in order to humiliate the kingdom so it wouldn’t be able to return to power, but would still be able to continue as long as he keeps his covenant. 15 But he rebelled against the king of Babylon[d] by sending his messengers to Egypt to obtain horses and a large army. Will he succeed? Or will the one who did this escape? Will he break the covenant, but still be delivered?’”

God will Punish the King

16 “As long as I live,” declares the Lord God, “in Babylon, that place where the king has enthroned him, whose oath he despised so as to break his covenant, he’ll die with him. 17 Pharaoh, with his massive army and large battalions won’t protect him when mounds and siege walls are built to destroy many people.[e] 18 He despised the oath he had made and broke the covenant. Look! Because he willingly submitted,[f] yet he has done all these things, he won’t escape.

19 Therefore, this is what the Lord God says, “As long as I live, because he despised my oath and broke my covenant, he’s going to suffer the consequences.[g] 20 I’ll spread my net over him so that he’ll be caught in my snare. I’ll bring him to Babylon and carry out my sentence there because of his treachery toward me. 21 The fugitives of his troops will die by the sword, and the survivors will be scattered to the four[h] winds. Then you’ll know that I, the Lord, have spoken.”

The Transplanted Vine

22 This is what the Lord God says, “I’m also going to take a shoot from the top of a cedar and plant it. I’ll pluck off its delicate twigs and transplant it on a high and lofty mountain. 23 I’ll transplant it on Israel’s land, and it will grow branches, bear fruit, and become a majestic cedar. All sorts[i] of birds will rest under it, and they’ll settle down in the shade of its branches. 24 Then all the trees of the fields will know that I, the Lord, bring down the lofty tree and exalt the lowly tree. I dry up the green[j] tree and cause the dry tree to bud. I the Lord have spoken this, and I will fulfill it.”


  1. Ezekiel 17:3 I.e. a genus of coniferous evergreen in the family Pinaceae; and so throughout the book
  2. Ezekiel 17:8 Or ground
  3. Ezekiel 17:12 Lit. the
  4. Ezekiel 17:15 Lit. against him
  5. Ezekiel 17:17 Lit. souls
  6. Ezekiel 17:18 Lit. He has given his hand
  7. Ezekiel 17:19 Lit. covenant, I’ll bring it upon his head
  8. Ezekiel 17:21 Lit. to all the
  9. Ezekiel 17:23 Lit. wing
  10. Ezekiel 17:24 Or fresh