Ezekiel 17: Two
eagles and a vine
Comment : In this chapter we find two pictures of eagles
– clearly significant rulers [Nebuchadnezzar and Pharaoh Neco]
and both pictures are warnings to Zedekiah, fist of the power
and might of Nebuchadnezzar and, second, not to put trust in Egypt.]
Nebuchadnezzar, the first eagle
word of the Lord came to me:
of man, set forth an allegory and tell it to
the Israelites as a parable.
to them, “This is what the Sovereign Lord says: a great eagle
with powerful wings, long feathers and full plumage of varied
colours came to Lebanon. Taking hold of the top of a cedar,
broke off its topmost shoot and carried it away to a land of merchants,
where he planted it in a city of traders.
took one of the seedlings of the land and put it in fertile soil.
He planted it like a willow by abundant water,
it sprouted and became a low, spreading vine. Its branches turned
towards him, but its roots remained under it. So it became a vine
and produced branches and put out leafy boughs.
comes to Lebanon, part of the north of Israel, and takes away
its leaders – probably in our present time frame, Jehoiachin
who was taken and replaced by Zedekiah
who initially seemed for Nebuchadnezzar but turned away after
having been established.]
Pharaoh Neco, the second eagle
there was another great eagle with powerful wings and full plumage.
The vine now sent out its roots towards him from the plot where
it was planted and stretched out its branches to him for water.
had been planted in good soil by abundant water so that it would
produce branches, bear fruit and become a splendid vine.”
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.
has been planted, but will it thrive? Will it not wither completely
when the east wind strikes it – wither away in the plot where
looked towards Egypt for support but could be easily uprooted
and taken by Nebuchadnezzar.]
The pictures applied
the word of the Lord came to me:
to this rebellious people, “Do you not know what these things
mean?” Say to them: “The king of Babylon went to Jerusalem and
carried off her king and her nobles, bringing them back with him
he took a member of the royal family and made a treaty with him,
putting him under oath. He also carried away the leading men of
that the kingdom would be brought low, unable to rise again, surviving
only by keeping his treaty.
the king rebelled against him by sending his envoys to Egypt to
get horses and a large army. Will he succeed? Will he who does
such things escape? Will he break the treaty and yet escape?
surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, he shall die in
Babylon, in the land of the king who put him on the throne, whose
oath he despised and whose treaty he broke.
with his mighty army and great horde will be of no help to him
in war, when ramps are built and siege works erected to destroy
despised the oath by breaking the covenant. Because he had given
his hand in pledge and yet did all these things, he shall not
word is directed at Zedekiah as a clear warning – Egypt will not
save you from Nebuchadnezzar!]
Therefore Zedekiah WILL be judged by God
this is what the Sovereign Lord says: as surely as I live, I will
repay him for despising my oath and breaking my covenant.
will spread my net for him, and he will be caught in my snare.
I will bring him to Babylon and execute judgment on him there
because he was unfaithful to me.
his choice troops will fall by the sword, and the survivors will
be scattered to the winds. Then you will know that I the Lord
condemnation is clear – covenant breaking, turning from God. Zedekiah
will be taken to Babylon and his army will fall.]
Instead the Lord Himself will ‘plant' a future leader
is what the Sovereign Lord says: I myself will take a shoot 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
the mountain heights of Israel I will plant it; it will produce
branches and bear fruit and become a splendid cedar. Birds of
every kind will nest in it; they will find shelter in the shade
of its branches.
the trees of the forest will know that I the Lord bring down the
tall tree and make the low tree grow tall. I dry up the green
tree and make the dry tree flourish.
the Lord have spoken, and I will do it.”'
is the one who brings down mighty kings and raises up lowly ones,
and all will learn this.]
chapter of warning through allegory. Pictures are memorable and
easy to convey. Thus Zedekiah is given yet a further warning of
the judgment that is going to come on him because of his unfaithfulness.]
to Chapter 18