17 The word of the Lord came to me:2 “Son of man, propound a riddle, and speak a parable to the house of Israel;3 say, Thus says the Lord God: A great eagle with great wings and long pinions, rich in plumage of many colors, came to Lebanon and took the top of the cedar.4 He broke off the topmost of its young twigs and carried it to a land of trade and set it in a city of merchants.5 Then he took of the seed of the land and planted it in fertile soil.[a] He placed it beside abundant waters. He set it like a willow twig,6 and it sprouted and became a low spreading vine, and its branches turned toward him, and its roots remained where it stood. So it became a vine and produced branches and put out boughs.
7 “And there was another great eagle with great wings and much plumage, and behold, this vine bent its roots toward him and shot forth its branches toward him from the bed where it was planted, that he might water it.8 It had been planted on good soil by abundant waters, that it might produce branches and bear fruit and become a noble vine.
9 “Say, Thus says the Lord God: Will it thrive? Will he not pull up its roots and cut off its fruit, so that it withers, so that all its fresh sprouting leaves wither? It will not take a strong arm or many people to pull it from its roots.10 Behold, it is planted; will it thrive? Will it not utterly wither when the east wind strikes it—wither away on the bed where it sprouted?”
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