The Eagle and the Vine
1 Then the word of the LORD came to me. He said, 2 “Son of man,* Son of man This was usually just a way of saying “a person” or “a human being.” Here, it is a way of addressing Ezekiel. I have a story with a hidden meaning for you to tell the family of Israel. 3 Tell them that this is what the Lord GOD says:
“ ‘A large eagle with big wings came to Lebanon.
He had feathers covered with spots.
4 He broke the top out of that big cedar tree and brought it to Canaan.
He set the branch down in a city of merchants.
5 Then the eagle took some of the seeds from Canaan.
He planted them in good soil by a good river.
6 The seeds grew and became a grapevine.
It was a good vine.
The vine was not tall,
but it spread to cover a large area.
The vine grew stems,
and smaller vines grew very long.
7 Then another eagle with big wings saw the grapevine.
The eagle had many feathers.
The grapevine wanted this new eagle to care for it.
So it stretched its roots and branches toward the eagle.
Its branches stretched toward this eagle.
The branches grew away from the field where it was planted.
The grapevine wanted the new eagle to water it.
8 The grapevine was planted in a good field near plenty of water.
It could have grown branches and fruit.
It could have become a very good grapevine.’ ”
9 This is what the Lord GOD says:
“Do you think that plant will succeed?
No, the new eagle will pull the plant from the ground,
and the bird will break the plant’s roots.
It will eat up all the grapes.
Then the new leaves will wilt.
That plant will be very weak.
It will not take strong arms
or a powerful nation to pull that plant up by the roots.
10 Will the plant grow where it is planted?
No, the hot east wind will blow, and the plant will become dry and die.
It will die there where it was planted.”
King Zedekiah Punished
11 The word of the LORD came to me. He said, 12 “Explain this story to the people of Israel who always turn against me. Tell them this: The first eagle is the king of Babylonia. He came to Jerusalem and took away the king and other leaders. He brought them to Babylonia. 13 Then Nebuchadnezzar made an agreement with a man from the king’s family. Nebuchadnezzar forced that man to make a promise. So this man promised to be loyal to Nebuchadnezzar. Nebuchadnezzar made this man the new king of Judah. Then he took all the powerful men away from Judah. 14 So Judah became a weak kingdom that could not turn against King Nebuchadnezzar. The people were forced to keep the agreement Nebuchadnezzar made with the new king of Judah. 15 But this new king tried to rebel against Nebuchadnezzar anyway! He sent messengers to Egypt to ask for help. The new king asked for many horses and soldiers. Now, do you think the new king of Judah will succeed? Do you think the new king will have enough power to break the agreement and escape punishment?”
16 The Lord GOD says, “By my life, I swear that this new king will die in Babylonia! Nebuchadnezzar made this man the new king of Judah, but he broke his promise with Nebuchadnezzar. This new king ignored that agreement. 17 The king of Egypt will not be able to save the king of Judah. He might send many soldiers, but Egypt’s great power will not save Judah. Nebuchadnezzar’s army will build dirt roads and dirt walls to capture the city. Many people will die. 18 But the king of Judah will not escape, because he ignored his agreement. He broke his promise to Nebuchadnezzar.” 19 The Lord GOD makes this promise: “By my life, I swear that I will punish the king of Judah, because he ignored my warnings and broke our agreement. 20 I will set my trap, and he will be caught in it. Then I will bring him to Babylon, and I will punish him there. I will punish him because he turned against me, 21 and I will destroy his army. I will destroy his best soldiers and scatter them to the wind. Then you will know that I am the LORD and that I told you these things.”
22 This is what the Lord GOD says:
“I will take a branch from a tall cedar tree.
I will take a small branch from the top of the tree,
and I myself will plant it on a very high mountain.
23 I myself will plant it on a high mountain in Israel.
That branch will grow into a tree.
It will grow branches and make fruit
and become a beautiful cedar tree.
Many birds will sit on its branches
and live in the shadows under its branches.
24 “Then the other trees will know that
I, the LORD, make tall trees fall to the ground,
and I make small trees grow tall.
I make green trees become dry,
and I make dry trees become green.
I am the LORD.
If I say that I will do something, then I will do it!”
*17:2 Son of man This was usually just a way of saying “a person” or “a human being.” Here, it is a way of addressing Ezekiel.