19 Eternal One: Sing a dirge over the princes of Israel.
2 What was your mother? A lioness among the pride! She settled down among the young lions and reared her cubs. 3 She trained one of her own, and he became a strong and fierce lion. He learned to hunt and tear into his prey; he became a man-eater. 4 The nations heard about him and set a trap for him. They caught him and led him away with hooks to the land of Egypt. 5 When the lioness realized that her hopes for her son had vanished, she chose another one of her cubs and trained him to be a strong and fierce young lion. 6 He prowled among the other lions; he was now a robust young lion. He learned to hunt and tear into his prey; he became a man-eater. 7 He seized their widows and left their cities in ruins. The whole land—everything in it—was terrified when he roared. 8 Then all the nations in the surrounding provinces came together to hunt the great lion. They set traps for him, and they caught him. 9 With hooks they pulled him into a cage and took him to the king of Babylon. The great lion was put in a prison so that his roar was no longer heard in the mountains of Israel.
Again God informs Ezekiel and the exiles of the coming destruction of Jerusalem. The lioness is Judah, the young lions are the nations surrounding Judah, and the cubs are her kings. This metaphor is appropriate since the Davidic monarchy comes from the tribe of Judah, characterized as a lion in Genesis 49:9. The first cub is Jehoahaz. This son of the great King Josiah ruled for only three months after his father died in 609 b.c.; he was quickly captured and deported to Egypt by Pharaoh Neco when Egypt made Judah a vassal state. The story of this cub is the historical precedent for what will happen to the second cub, Zedekiah. Prior to 586 b.c. Zedekiah fraternizes with leaders of other nations—represented by the other lions—until he will be imprisoned in Babylon by those other lions, specifically Nebuchadnezzar.
10 Eternal One: Your mother was like a vine in your vineyard, planted near a rushing stream; The vine grew healthy fruits and branches because of the abundant supply of water. 11 Its branches were strong, like royal scepters; but one branch grew up into the clouds, towering high above everything else. It was easily seen because of its great height, noticeable for its many branches. 12 But the vine was uprooted in rage and thrown to the ground! The hot east wind blew, and soon all the fruits shriveled up; the strongest branch broke, and the leaves withered; fire consumed it. 13 Now the remains of it are planted in the wilderness— in a dry and thirsty land. 14 Fire has spread from its branch; it scorched its shoots and devoured its fruit. There is no longer a strong branch left on the vine that is fit to be made into a royal scepter.
This lament is to be sung once the prophecy comes true.
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