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Judah Is Compared to a Tree

17 Yahweh spoke his word to me. He said, “Son of man, tell this riddle. Give this illustration to the nation of Israel. Say, ‘This is what Adonay Yahweh says: A large eagle came to Lebanon. It had large wings with long, colorful feathers. It took hold of the top of a cedar tree. It broke off the highest twig and carried it to a country of merchants. It planted the twig in a city of merchants.

“‘Then it took a seedling from that country and planted the seedling in fertile soil. The eagle planted the seedling like a willow where there was plenty of water. The plant sprouted and grew into a low vine that spread over the ground. Its branches turned upward toward the eagle, but its roots grew downward. So it became a vine, producing branches and growing shoots.

“‘There was another large eagle with large wings and many feathers. Now, the vine stretched its roots toward this eagle and sent its branches toward the eagle so that the eagle could water it. The vine turned away from the garden where it was planted. It was planted in good soil beside plenty of water so that it could grow branches, bear fruit, and become a wonderful vine.’

“Tell the nation of Israel, ‘This is what Adonay Yahweh says: Will this vine live and grow? Won’t the first eagle uproot it and tear off its fruit? Then it will wither. All the leaves on its branches will wither. It won’t take much strength or many people to pull the vine up by its roots. 10 It might be planted again, but will it live and grow? It will wither completely when the east wind blows on it. It will certainly wither in the garden where it is growing.’”

11 Yahweh spoke his word to me. He said, 12 “Ask these rebellious people, ‘Don’t you know what this means?’ Tell them, ‘The king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and captured its king and its leaders. He brought them home with him to Babylon. 13 Then he took someone from the royal family, made a treaty with him, and made him promise to be loyal. He took away the leading citizens from Judah 14 so that it would remain a humiliated country and be unable to regain its power. The country could only survive by keeping the treaty. 15 But the king of Judah rebelled against the king of Babylon by sending his messengers to Egypt to get horses and many soldiers. Will the king of Judah succeed? Will anyone who does such things escape? He can’t break a treaty and go unpunished.

16 “‘As I live, declares Adonay Yahweh, the king of Judah will die in Babylonia. He will die in the country of the king who appointed him king of Judah. The king of Judah broke his promise and his treaty with the king of Babylon. 17 Even with a large army and many people, Pharaoh will not be able to help him in battle when the Babylonians put up dirt ramps and set up blockades to kill many people. 18 The king of Judah broke the promise and the treaty that he pledged to keep. He did all these things, and he can’t go unpunished.

19 “‘So this is what Adonay Yahweh says: As I live, I will certainly punish you for rejecting my promise and hating my treaty. 20 I will spread my net over you to catch you in my trap. I will take you to Babylon and judge you there for rebelling against me. 21 The best of your troops will die in battle. Anyone who remains will be scattered in every direction that the wind blows. Then you will know that I, Yahweh, have spoken.

22 “‘This is what Adonay Yahweh says: I, too, will take hold of the top of a cedar tree. I will break off the highest twig and plant it on a high and lofty mountain. 23 I will plant it on a high mountain in Israel. It will grow branches and produce fruit. It will become a magnificent cedar tree. Every kind of bird will nest in it and find a home in the shelter of its branches. 24 Then all the trees in the field will know that I am Yahweh. I cut down tall trees, and I make small trees grow tall. I dry up green trees, and I make dry trees grow. I, Yahweh, have spoken, and I will do it.’”