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The Two Eagles and the Vine

17 The word of the Lord came to me: O mortal, propound a riddle, and speak an allegory to the house of Israel. Say: Thus says the Lord God:

A great eagle, with great wings and long pinions,
    rich in plumage of many colors,
    came to the Lebanon.
He took the top of the cedar,
    broke off its topmost shoot;
he carried it to a land of trade,
    set it in a city of merchants.
Then he took a seed from the land,
    placed it in fertile soil;
a plant[a] by abundant waters,
    he set it like a willow twig.
It sprouted and became a vine
    spreading out, but low;
its branches turned toward him,
    its roots remained where it stood.
So it became a vine;
    it brought forth branches,
    put forth foliage.

There was another great eagle,
    with great wings and much plumage.
And see! This vine stretched out
    its roots toward him;
it shot out its branches toward him,
    so that he might water it.
From the bed where it was planted
    it was transplanted
to good soil by abundant waters,
    so that it might produce branches
    and bear fruit
    and become a noble vine.

Say: Thus says the Lord God:

Will it prosper?
Will he not pull up its roots,
    cause its fruit to rot[b] and wither,
    its fresh sprouting leaves to fade?
No strong arm or mighty army will be needed
    to pull it from its roots.
10 When it is transplanted, will it thrive?
When the east wind strikes it,
    will it not utterly wither,
    wither on the bed where it grew?

11 Then the word of the Lord came to me: 12 Say now to the rebellious house: Do you not know what these things mean? Tell them: The king of Babylon came to Jerusalem, took its king and its officials, and brought them back with him to Babylon. 13 He took one of the royal offspring and made a covenant with him, putting him under oath (he had taken away the chief men of the land), 14 so that the kingdom might be humble and not lift itself up, and that by keeping his covenant it might stand. 15 But he rebelled against him by sending ambassadors to Egypt, in order that they might give him horses and a large army. Will he succeed? Can one escape who does such things? Can he break the covenant and yet escape? 16 As I live, says the Lord God, surely in the place where the king resides who made him king, whose oath he despised, and whose covenant with him he broke—in Babylon he shall die. 17 Pharaoh with his mighty army and great company will not help him in war, when ramps are cast up and siege walls built to cut off many lives. 18 Because he despised the oath and broke the covenant, because he gave his hand and yet did all these things, he shall not escape. 19 Therefore thus says the Lord God: As I live, I will surely return upon his head my oath that he despised, and my covenant that he broke. 20 I will spread my net over him, and he shall be caught in my snare; I will bring him to Babylon and enter into judgment with him there for the treason he has committed against me. 21 All the pick[c] of his troops shall fall by the sword, and the survivors shall be scattered to every wind; and you shall know that I, the Lord, have spoken.

Israel Exalted at Last

22 Thus says the Lord God:

I myself will take a sprig
    from the lofty top of a cedar;
    I will set it out.
I will break off a tender one
    from the topmost of its young twigs;
I myself will plant it
    on a high and lofty mountain.
23 On the mountain height of Israel
    I will plant it,
in order that it may produce boughs and bear fruit,
    and become a noble cedar.
Under it every kind of bird will live;
    in the shade of its branches will nest
    winged creatures of every kind.
24 All the trees of the field shall know
    that I am the Lord.
I bring low the high tree,
    I make high the low tree;
I dry up the green tree
    and make the dry tree flourish.
I the Lord have spoken;
    I will accomplish it.

Footnotes

  1. Ezekiel 17:5 Meaning of Heb uncertain
  2. Ezekiel 17:9 Meaning of Heb uncertain
  3. Ezekiel 17:21 Another reading is fugitives

Two Eagles and a Vine

17 The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, set forth an allegory and tell it to the Israelites as a parable.(A) Say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: A great eagle(B) with powerful wings, long feathers and full plumage of varied colors came to Lebanon.(C) Taking hold of the top of a cedar, he broke off(D) its topmost shoot and carried it away to a land of merchants, where he planted it in a city of traders.

“‘He took one of the seedlings of the land and put it in fertile soil. He planted it like a willow by abundant water,(E) and it sprouted and became a low, spreading vine. Its branches(F) turned toward him, but its roots remained under it. So it became a vine and produced branches and put out leafy boughs.(G)

“‘But there was another great eagle with powerful wings and full plumage. The vine now sent out its roots toward him from the plot where it was planted and stretched out its branches to him for water.(H) It had been planted in good soil by abundant water so that it would produce branches,(I) bear fruit and become a splendid vine.’

“Say 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.(J) 10 It has been planted,(K) but will it thrive? Will it not wither completely when the east wind strikes it—wither away in the plot where it grew?(L)’”

11 Then the word of the Lord came to me: 12 “Say to this rebellious people, ‘Do you not know what these things mean?(M)’ Say to them: ‘The king of Babylon went to Jerusalem and carried off her king and her nobles,(N) bringing them back with him to Babylon.(O) 13 Then he took a member of the royal family and made a treaty(P) with him, putting him under oath.(Q) He also carried away the leading men(R) of the land, 14 so that the kingdom would be brought low,(S) unable to rise again, surviving only by keeping his treaty. 15 But the king rebelled(T) against him by sending his envoys to Egypt(U) to get horses and a large army.(V) Will he succeed? Will he who does such things escape? Will he break the treaty and yet escape?(W)

16 “‘As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, he shall die(X) in Babylon, in the land of the king who put him on the throne, whose oath he despised and whose treaty he broke.(Y) 17 Pharaoh(Z) with his mighty army and great horde will be of no help to him in war, when ramps(AA) are built and siege works erected to destroy many lives.(AB) 18 He despised the oath by breaking the covenant. Because he had given his hand in pledge(AC) and yet did all these things, he shall not escape.

19 “‘Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says: As surely as I live, I will repay him for despising my oath and breaking my covenant.(AD) 20 I will spread my net(AE) for him, and he will be caught in my snare. I will bring him to Babylon and execute judgment(AF) on him there because he was unfaithful(AG) to me. 21 All his choice troops will fall by the sword,(AH) and the survivors(AI) will be scattered to the winds.(AJ) Then you will know that I the Lord have spoken.(AK)

22 “‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I myself will take a shoot(AL) 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 mountain.(AM) 23 On the mountain heights(AN) of Israel I will plant it; it will produce branches and bear fruit(AO) and become a splendid cedar. Birds of every kind will nest in it; they will find shelter in the shade of its branches.(AP) 24 All the trees of the forest(AQ) will know that I the Lord bring down(AR) the tall tree and make the low tree grow tall. I dry up the green tree and make the dry tree flourish.(AS)

“‘I the Lord have spoken, and I will do it.(AT)’”

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