Ezekiel tells a parable about two eagles. One stands for king Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. The other stands for Egypt. They both try to replant Judah. UPDATED.
VERSE 1. The LORD’s word came to me, saying,
riddle. The Hebrew word is kheedah. It is commonly translated as “allegory.” It means a riddle or an enigmatic saying that requires an explanation.
VERSE 3. and say, ‘The Lord GOD says: “A great eagle with great wings and long feathers, full of feathers, which had various colors, came to Lebanon, and took the top of the cedar.
The Lord GOD says. This is in the present tense. The LORD God is speaking right now.
A great eagle. This is the first of two eagles in this parable. It stands for king Nebuchadnezzar.
took the top of the cedar. King Nebuchadnezzar attacked Jerusalem in 597 BC and deposed King Jehoiachin.
VERSE 4. He cropped off the topmost of its young twigs, and carried it to a land of traffic. He planted it in a city of merchants.
carried it to a land of traffic. Nebuchadnezzar carried off foolish king Zedekiah and his court, “replanting” them in Babylon.
VERSE 5. “ ‘ “He also took some of the seed of the land, and planted it in fruitful soil. He placed it beside many waters. He set it as a willow tree.
VERSE 6. It grew, and became a spreading vine of low stature, whose branches turned toward him, and its roots were under him. So it became a vine, produced branches, and shot out sprigs.
VERSE 7. “ ‘ “There was also another great eagle with great wings and many feathers. Behold, this vine bent its roots toward him, and shot out its branches toward him, from the beds of its plantation, that he might water it.
another great eagle. This is the second of two eagles in this parable. It stands for Egypt.
VERSE 8. It was planted in a good soil by many waters, that it might produce branches, and that it might bear fruit, that it might be a good vine.” ’
VERSE 9. “Say, ‘The Lord GOD says: “Will it prosper? Won’t he pull up its roots, and cut off its fruit, that it may wither; that all its fresh springing leaves may wither? It can’t be raised from its roots by a strong arm or many people.
VERSE 10. Yes, behold, being planted, will it prosper? Won’t it utterly wither when the east wind touches it? It will wither in the beds where it grew.” ’ ”
VERSE 11. Moreover the LORD’s word came to me, saying,
VERSE 12. “Say now to the rebellious house, ‘Don’t you know what these things mean?’ Tell them, ‘Behold, the king of Babylon came to Jerusalem, and took its king, and its princes, and brought them to him to Babylon.
VERSE 13. He took some of the royal offspring, and made a covenant with him. He also brought him under an oath, and took away the mighty of the land;
VERSE 14. that the kingdom might be brought low, that it might not lift itself up, but that by keeping his covenant it might stand.
VERSE 15. But he rebelled against him in sending his ambassadors into Egypt, that they might give him horses and many people. Will he prosper? Will he who does such things escape? Will he break the covenant, and still escape?
VERSE 16. “ ‘As I live,’ says the Lord GOD, ‘surely in the place where the king dwells who made him king, whose oath he despised, and whose covenant he broke, even with him in the middle of Babylon he will die.
whose oath he despised. Foolish king Zedekiah violated his oath to Nebuchadnezzar. As a consequence, Nebuchadnezzar would not spare Jerusalem.
VERSE 17. Pharaoh with his mighty army and great company won’t help him in the war, when they cast up mounds and build forts, to cut off many persons.
VERSE 18. For he has despised the oath by breaking the covenant; and behold, he had given his hand, and yet has done all these things. He won’t escape.
VERSE 19. “Therefore the Lord GOD says: ‘As I live, I will surely bring on his own head my oath that he has despised and my covenant that he has broken.
my oath. In violated his oath to Nebuchadnezzar, foolish king Zedekiah also violated his oath to the LORD God.
VERSE 20. I will spread my net on him, and he will be taken in my snare. I will bring him to Babylon, and will enter into judgment with him there for his trespass that he has trespassed against me.
I will spread my net on him. This is in the future tense. The LORD God will do this in the future.
VERSE 21. All his fugitives in all his bands will fall by the sword, and those who remain will be scattered toward every wind. Then you will know that I, the LORD, have spoken it.’
VERSE 22. “The Lord GOD says: ‘I will also take some of the lofty top of the cedar, and will plant it. I will crop off from the topmost of its young twigs a tender one, and I will plant it on a high and lofty mountain.
take some of the lofty top of the cedar, and will plant it. The LORD God will replant a king from the line of David on the mountain heights of Israel.
VERSE 23. I will plant it in the mountain of the height of Israel; and it will produce boughs, and bear fruit, and be a good cedar. Birds of every kind will dwell in the shade of its branches.
it will produce boughs, and bear fruit, and be a good cedar. That is, it will prosper as it has never done before.
Birds of every kind will dwell in the shade of its branches. Instead of plucking branches from it, birds of every kind will nest in it.
This suggests that Israel will protect surrounding nations rather than being their pawn.
VERSE 24. All the trees of the field will know that I, the LORD, have brought down the high tree, have exalted the low tree, have dried up the green tree, and have made the dry tree flourish. “ ‘I, the LORD, have spoken and have done it.’ ”
have made the dry tree flourish. By God’s grace, the withered tree will bloom.
1 Thessalonians 5:24. He who calls you is faithful, who will also do it.
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