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“Son of man, offer a riddle,[a] and tell a parable to the house of Israel. Say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says:[b]

“‘A great eagle[c] with broad wings, long feathers,[d]
with full plumage that was multi-hued,[e]
came to Lebanon[f] and took the top of the cedar.
He plucked off its topmost shoot;
he brought it to a land of merchants
and planted it in a city of traders.

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  1. Ezekiel 17:2 sn The verb occurs elsewhere in the OT only in Judg 14:12-19, where Samson supplies a riddle.
  2. Ezekiel 17:3 tn The parable assumes the defection of Zedekiah to Egypt and his rejection of Babylonian lordship.
  3. Ezekiel 17:3 sn The great eagle symbolizes Nebuchadnezzar (17:12).
  4. Ezekiel 17:3 tn Hebrew has two words for wings; it is unknown whether they are fully synonymous or whether one term distinguishes a particular part of the wing such as the wing coverts (nearest the shoulder), secondaries (mid-feathers of the wing), or primaries (last and longest section of the wing).
  5. Ezekiel 17:3 tn This term was used in 16:10, 13, and 18 of embroidered cloth.
  6. Ezekiel 17:3 sn In the parable Lebanon apparently refers to Jerusalem (17:12).

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