Parable of the Two Eagles
This took place while Ezekiel was miles away in Babylon and Jeremiah was in Judah warning Zedekiah not to turn to Egypt for alliance.
Verse 1 – And the word of the Lord came to me, saying,
Verse 2 – “Son of man, pose a riddle, and speak a parable to the house of Israel,
Verse 3 – “and say, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “A great eagle with large wings and long pinions, full of feathers of various colors, came to Lebanon and took from the cedar the highest branch. (This great eagle is Nebuchadnezzar and Lebanon refers to Jerusalem.
Verse 4 – He cropped off its topmost young twig and carried it to a land of trade; he set it in a city of merchants.
Verse 5 – Then he took some of the seed of the land and planted it in a fertile field; he placed it by abundant waters and set it like a willow tree.
Nebuchadnezzar took both the king of Judah and the chiefs of the land to Babylon, the city of merchants.
Verse 6 – And it grew and became a spreading vine of low stature; its branches turned toward him, but its roots were under it. So it became a vine, brought forth branches, and put forth shoots.
The Jewish state having no heights of dominion, must abide under the wings or branches of the Chaldean king. Zedekiah was wholly dependent on Nebuchadnezzar for elevation to the throne and support on it.
Verse 7 – “But there was another great eagle with large wings and many feathers; and behold, this vine bent its roots toward him, and stretched its branches toward him, from the garden terrace where it had been planted, that he might water it.
This great eagle is the king of Egypt – the vine, Zedekiah, his nobles and people. Did bend – sought his friendship. Stretched its branches toward him – trusted to the power of Egypt.
Verse 8 – It was planted in good soil by many waters, to bring forth branches, bear fruit, and become a majestic vine.” ‘
Verse 9 – “Say, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “Will it thrive? Will he not pull up its roots, cut off its fruit, and leave it to wither? All of its springs leaves will wither, and no great power or many people will need to pluck it up by its roots.
Pulling up its roots refers to the deportation of Judah to Babylon.
Verse 10 – Behold, it is planted, will it thrive? Will it not utterly wither when the east wind touches it? It will wither in the garden terrace where it grew.” ‘ ”
This hot dry wind was Nebuchadnezzar’s armies overcoming the nation of Judah.
Verse 11 – Moreover the word of the Lord came to me, saying,
Verse 12 – “Say now to the rebellious house: ‘Do you not know what these things mean? Tell them, ‘Indeed the king of Babylon went to Jerusalem and took its king and princes, and led them with him to Babylon.
Verse 13 – ‘And he took the king’s offspring, made a covenant with him, and put him under oath. He also took away the mighty of the land,
Verse 14 – ‘that the kingdom might be abased and not lift itself up, bu that by keeping his covenant it might stand.
Nebuchadnezzar had installed his own puppet, King Mattaniah, whom he renamed Zedekiah after Jehoiachin was removed from the throne. Then all the people of upper class were carried off to Babylon along with Jehoiachin.
Verse 15 – ‘But he rebelled against him by sending his ambassadors to Egypt, that they might give him horses and many people. Will he prosper? Will he who does such things escape? Can he break covenant and still be delivered?
Zedekiah had been appointed king of Judah by Nebuchadnezzar, but soon rebelled against him and sent people to Egypt to ask for help from them to overthrow the king of Babylon, he broke the covenant.
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 – with him in the midst of Babylon he shall die.
This prophesy was fulfilled in 2 Kings 25:7. Zedekiah’s eyes were put out after he watched all his sons murdered, and then carried off to Babylon, never to return to Judah.
Verse 17 – ‘Nor will Pharaoh with his mighty army and great company do anything in the war, when they heap up a siege mound and build a wall to cut off many persons.
Verse 18 – ‘Since he despised the oath by breaking the covenant, and in fact gave his hand and still did all these things, he shall not escape.’ ”
Verse 19 – Therefore thus say the Lord God: “As I live, surely My oath which he despised, and My covenant which he broke, I will recompense on his own head.
Here’s why God said it was His covenant: Nebuchadnezzar had forced his covenant on King Zedekiah of Judah. The oath had been sworn to the God of Israel, so a violation of the agreement would bring anger from the Lord. The king’s most serious transgression was not against Nebuchadnezzar but against his loyalty and responsibility to God that he swore by.
Verse 20 – “I will spread My net over him, and he shall be taken in My snare. I will bring him to Babylon and try him there for the treason which he committed against Me.
Verse 21 – “All his fugitives with all his troops shall fall by the sword, and those who remain shall be scattered to every wind; and you shall know that I , the Lord, have spoken.”
Here is what Zedekiah couldn’t get through his head: God was using Babylon to punish Judah for their sin, and when he went against Nebuchadnezzar and tried to get help from Egypt to overthrow him, God called it treason. Jeremiah had been warning Zedekiah not to fight and just surrender to the king of Babylon and he would live. But Zedekiah wouldn’t listen. He went against God’s will.
Verse 22 – Thus says the Lord God: “I will take also one of the high branches of the high cedar and set it out. I will crop off from the topmost of its young twigs and tender one, and will plant it on a high and prominent mountain.
Verse 23 – “On the mountain height of Israel I will plant it; and it will bring forth boughs, and bear fruit, and be a majestic cedar. Under it will dwell birds of every sort; in the shadow of its branches they will dwell.
Verse 24 – “And all the trees of the fields shall know that I, the Lord, have brought down the high tree and made the dry tree flourish; I, the Lord, have spoken and have done it.”
Ezekiel’s prophesy ends in hope, In Isaiah 11:1-5, God says He would plant a tender sprig, the Messiah, whose kingdom would grow and become a shelter for all who come to Him. This prophesy was fulfilled at the coming of Jesus Christ.