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Book of Ezekiel
The Riddle or Parable of the Two Eagles
The prophecy of this chapter was aimed at another false hope of the house of Israel, that being the national conviction that God's Promises to the house of David was an unconditional guarantee that the prosperity of Israel would continue forever, no matter what! They truly thought that God would not fail Zedekiah, no matter what the moral and spiritual condition of the people was. There is certainly a lesson for us today! People everywhere are praying to GOD to bless the United States. WHY should He bless this terribly sinful nation? Consider the following:
Anti-Christian . . . if you do not agree that this country is Anti-Christ, you do not know what the Bible states!
Blasphemy is rampant. Blasphemy = an injury to the Holy Heart of God, and it is meager FEW who are not guilty (Mat.7:14). Abortion, homosexuality, gay marriage, control of prayer in schools and public places, the Blessed Name of Jesus not permitted to be used by chaplains in prisons and the armed services, drugs being legalized, etc. etc. etc. On and one and one!!! WHY should He bless this terribly sinful nation? .
Here, without reversing His ancient Promises to the house of David, the prophet Ezekiel revealed that Zedekiah would receive the due reward of his evil deeds; and that in spite of that, God would eventually fulfill ALL His glorious Promises to His Chosen People, even though all appeared to be lost . . . the kingdom of David would be exalted in latter times.
There would without any doubt, be raised up a Glorious One to sit on the throne of David . . . but that spoke of Jesus' resurrection from the grave (Jn.20:27), and His ascension to the right hand of God (Acts 2:33; 5:31; 7:55-56; Rom.8:34), these glorious events which far more than sufficiently fulfilled all of God's Promises to David (Acts 2:29-35).
Concerning the date of the chapter, the last preceding date mentioned by Ezekiel was in Ezekiel 8:1, which was 592 B.C. and the next date mentioned by the prophet (20:1) was eleven months later. From verse 17:20, it is clear that this prophecy was uttered a year or two earlier than the date given in 20:1, about 590 B.C.
Theme: Riddle of the two eagles
Riddle or Parable of the Two Eagles (17:1-24)
Ezekiel 17:1 And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, (KJV)
And the word of the Lord came unto me, saying . . . after the prophet had been sent to charge the Jews with breaking the covenant with God, he is now sent to rebuke and threaten them for breaking covenant with men, meaning the king of Babylon; by whom some of them were carried into captivity, and another part remained in the land, as will be seen.
Ezekiel 17:2 Son of man, put forth a riddle, and speak a parable unto the house of Israel; (KJV)
Son of man, put forth a riddle . . . a riddle is dark saying, but a sharp, shrewd one. It is something that at first seems difficult to understood, yet it is amusing and entertaining when unraveled, and is very useful and instructive. This riddle teaches fact, not fiction, but is not like an ordinary riddle, intended to puzzle, but to instruct. A parable is a simple story used to illustrate a moral or spiritual lesson, so here, this riddle is the same as a parable.
And speak a parable unto the house of Israel . . . the prophet was told not to hide things concerning the house of Israel from them, but instead, more strongly represent things to them. The prophet is appointed to put forth a riddle to the house of Israel, NOT to puzzle them, as Samson's riddle (Judges 14:12-18), was put forth to the Philistines, NOT to hide the mind of God from them in obscurity, NOT to leave them in uncertainty about it, one advancing one guesswork after another, as is usual in illustrating riddles . . . Ezekiel is immediately to tell them the meaning of it. But he must deliver this message in a riddle or parable, so that they might take special notice of it, might be the more affected with it themselves, and might better remember it and tell it to others.
*****Verses 1 & 2 introduce what follows in the rest of the chapter.
Ezekiel 17:3 And say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; A great eagle with great wings, longwinged, full of feathers, which had divers colours, came unto Lebanon, and took the highest branch of the cedar: (KJV)
And say, thus saith the Lord GOD . . . the riddle is not the prophet's, nor is the parable his, but is the Lord GOD'S; and is exceeding beautiful and appropriate, to indicate the things planned by it. The vast wisdom of Almighty God is greatly displayed in it.
A great eagle. . . this eagle is Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, as it is explained in (17:12); who is compared to an eagle for his power and authority, for being the king of birds, and for his swiftness and greed in conquering and subduing kingdoms. The eagle (the king of birds) is a natural representative of monarchs (Jer.48:40; 49:22; Dan.7:4).
With great wings . . . an extensive empire.
Long-winged . . . meaning the length of the wing, which was long; and so, as the wings spread, may signify the breadth of his dominion, this the length of them, and both their extensiveness; thus rapid in his conquests.
Full of feathers . . . having multitudes of subjects, cities, towns, people, armies, wealth, and riches.
Which had divers colours . . . people of various nations. The golden eagle is marked with star-like spots, and is supposed to be the largest of eagles. This answers to the variety of languages, habits, and costumes of the peoples subject to Babylon.
Came unto Lebanon . . . the northern border of the land of Judea, and invaded it; where were the mountain and forest of Lebanon, famous for the cedars that grew there, from whence the whole land may here take its name, as being more suitable for the symbol used . . . or the city of Jerusalem, where were the Temple was built with the cedars of Lebanon, as many of its palaces and houses also were, where the king of Babylon came, and took it, and who came northward, as Babylon was.
And took the highest branch of the cedar . . . King Jehoiachin with the princes and nobles of the land, was taken captive to Babylon (2 Ki.24:14). The cedar is a symbol of the Jewish state and king.
Ezekiel 17:4 He cropped off the top of his young twigs, and carried it into a land of traffick; he set it in a city of merchants. (KJV)
He cropped off the top of his young twigs . . . meaning the princes of the land, or the top branches of the royal family; the top of which was King Jeconiah (Jer.27:20), who was but young and tender, being but eighteen years of age when he began to reign (2 Ki.24:8), and this was within three months after; and was not able to withstand the force of the king of Babylon, than a tender twig to so ravenous a bird as an eagle, whose superior power and strength is signified by the cropping off of a tender twig.
And carried it into a land of traffic . . . not into the land of Canaan, as some other versions say, but into Babylon, which was a city of massive trade, and a city of many merchants.
He set it in a city of merchants . . . the word for merchants indicates apothecaries or druggists and may mean that the merchants traded in sweet spices and aromatic drugs. The city of Babylon was famous for its merchants and was the most celebrated of all the cities of the east. Its situation gave it numerous advantages; its two rivers, the Tigris and Euphrates, and the Persian Gulf, gave it communication with the richest and the most distant nations. The Jews, being captives, were forced to be there in a servant. er. .
Ezekiel 17:5 He took also of the seed of the land, and planted it in a fruitful field; he placed it by great waters, and set it as a willow tree. (KJV)
He took also of the seed of the land . . . took, chose one to be king instead of Jehoiachin. Of the seed of the land a native, one of the royal family, Mattaniah, whom he called Zedekiah (2 Ki.24:17).
And planted it in a fruitful field . . . in the land of Judea, and in Jerusalem the royal city.
He placed it by great waters . . . many people (Rev.17:1, 15); over whom he ruled, and by whom he was supported in his royal pride.
And set it as a willow tree . . . willow trees must be planted in moist places to grow up thick. Great care and caution was taken in placing him on the throne; he made a covenant with him, took an oath of him, and hostages for the performance of it (17:13).
*****The first great eagle is Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon. The eagle is a figure that is used as a symbol for Babylon elsewhere in Scripture (Jer.48:40; 49:22). Daniel saw the Empire of Babylon rising up out of the sea, and it was in the form of a lion with eagle's wings (Dan.7:4). So, what we have here is a picture of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, who is going to come and crop the top of the tree. WHO is the tree? It is Israel and precisely, the royal house of David. Nebuchadnezzar is going to crop it off and bring it to nothing. That is exactly what he did with Zedekiah.
Ezekiel 17:6 And it grew, and became a spreading vine of low stature, whose branches turned toward him, and the roots thereof were under him: so it became a vine, and brought forth branches, and shot forth sprigs. (KJV)
And it grew . . . King Zedekiah reigned and prospered, and the kingdom thrived under him.
And became a spreading vine of low stature . . . not as successful as it had been before in former reigns; it did not rise up to a cedar (Num.24:6), as it had been, but was like a vine, which, although blossoming, does not rise up high, but runs upon the ground, and is dependent on something else; so was the king and kingdom of Judah, although in tolerable circumstances, yet they were humbled and depended on the king of Babylon. The Jewish state then having no power, must abide under the wings or branches of the Chaldean king. Zedekiah was solely dependent on Nebuchadnezzar, both for his rise to the throne, and his support on it.
Ezekiel 17:7 There was also another great eagle with great wings and many feathers: and, behold, this vine did bend her roots toward him, and shot forth her branches toward him, that he might water it by the furrows of her plantation. (KJV)
There was also another great eagle . . . Hophra king of Egypt, was a very powerful prince, who was the most happy and fortunate of all the kings that were before; although NOT as mighty as the king of Babylon; so the same things cannot be said of the one as of the other.
With great wings and many feathers . . . this second eagle had large territories as well, but not as widespread as the first eagle . . . so it NOT said to be longwinged as he; and this one had many feathers, but not full of feathers (verse 3), nor did this one have such a variety . . . he had many people, much wealth and many horses and a large army, but NOT equal to the king of Babylon.
And, behold, this vine did bend her roots towards him . . . Zedekiah, and the people of the Jews under him were inclined to make an alliance with the king of Egypt, and gave him some private indications of it. Zedekiah looked to him for support in his intended rebellion against Nebuchadnezzar.
And shot forth her branches towards him . . . sent ambassadors to inform him with it (17:15).
That he might water it by the furrows of her plantation . . . Nebuchadnezzar had planted this vine, and made furrows to water (irrigate) it, and by his means it was become prosperous and flourishing; but Zedekiah was not content with the greatness and glory he had raised him to, running to the king of Egypt to help him with horses and people, in order to free himself from enslavement to the king of Babylon, and to increase his luster and glory. The reference is thought to be to the trenches and canals of the river Nile, by which the land of Egypt was watered, such as run between plots in gardens. Zedekiah was courting the favor of Egypt while he owed his very position and life to the abundant riches of Assyria.
Ezekiel 17:8 It was planted in a good soil by great waters, that it might bring forth branches, and that it might bear fruit, that it might be a goodly vine. (KJV)
It was planted in, a good soil, by great waters . . . as expressed verse 5; this was done by the king of Babylon, who had raised Zedekiah from a low estate to a high one, and set him on the throne of Judah, over many people; and put him in such a condition, and in such circumstances, that he and his people could have been happy, could they have been content:, for his view was,
That he might bring forth branches, and that it might bear fruit, that it might be a goodly vine . . . it was planted by Nebuchadnezzar, in a hopeful condition, where it might have thrived, been fruitful, and flourished. But both the king and the people, were unthankful and dissatisfied, and by sinful ways hoped to better themselves. They really had no good or right reason to complain of Nebuchadnezzar’s treatment towards them, but because of pride, ambition and lack of gratitude, they revolted and provoked God’s wrath and Nebuchadnezzar’s rage against them.
Ezekiel 17:9 Say thou, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Shall it prosper? shall he not pull up the roots thereof, and cut off the fruit thereof, that it wither? it shall wither in all the leaves of her spring, even without great power or many people to pluck it up by the roots thereof. (KJV)
Say thou, thus saith the Lord GOD . . . Ezekiel is given a command, and as always, he obeys. Tell Zedekiah and his people, in the Name of the LORD, what will be the result of his ingratitude and treachery to the king of Babylon, and his vain confidence in the king of Egypt.
Shall it prosper? . . . can it ever be thought that prosperity will result with such conduct as this? Neither the vine, the kingdom of Judah, nor Zedekiah the king, nor the people that are guilty of such vices shall succeed!
Shall he not pull up the roots thereof . . . Nebuchadnezzar, the first eagle, being provoked by the rebellion of the king of Judah and his people; shall indeed come against them, and utterly destroy them, and root them up from being a people and a nation! Nebuchadnezzar could easily defeat Judah with a small army (Jer.37:10).
And cut off the fruit thereof, that it wither? . . . the sons of the king, and of the nobles, and people of the land . . . the kingdom shall be ruined, with no hope left of its ever being restored again; which is the case of a vine when withered. It is fit only for the fire (15:4).
It shall wither in all the leaves of her spring . . . in the springtime with this vine, under the influence of the king of Babylon, its leaves were green and thriving; but now would wither, not as leaves do in autumn, which is to be expected, but in the spring, which would be fatal; indicating, that in the midst of their prosperity, and when there was the greatest hope and expectation of a continuance and increase of it, utter ruin would come to them.
Even without great power or many people to pluck it up by the roots thereof . . . suggesting with what ease the king of Babylon would take Jerusalem, and the land of Judea, its king and its princes, and utterly destroy them. He would not need a large army, just a few were sufficient to do it . . . just as it does not need many hands to pull up a vine by the roots, a single person can do it.
Ezekiel 17:10 Yea, behold, being planted, shall it prosper? shall it not utterly wither, when the east wind toucheth it? it shall wither in the furrows where it grew. (KJV)
Yea, behold, being planted . . . supposing it was well planted, as first by Nebuchadnezzar; and still put into a better condition by the assistance of the king of Egypt, as was hoped.
Shall it prosper? . . . NO! It would not; NOT with their own strength, NOT with the help of the king of Egypt . . . they will NOT be able to protect themselves from the rage of the king of Babylon.
Shall it not utterly wither, when the east wind toucheth it? . . . the east wind, had a bad effect on Palestine's vegetation, and became a symbol for Babylon, which was located due east of Palestine. The east wind is very hurtful to vines, and by which is meant the Chaldean army; for Babylon lay northeast of the land of Israel; and it indicates how easily the destruction would be brought about, it would be only a touch of the east wind, and this vine would wither away.
It shall wither in the furrows where it grew . . . although its being watered by Egypt, or the help and assistance that could afford it; or amidst all its prosperity, and the means of it, and the growing hope it had; or in the very country itself where it had been planted, and had flourished; Zedekiah and his princes were taken in the plains of Jericho, and his children and princes were put to death in Riblah (Jer.52:8-11).
Ezekiel 17:11 Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, (KJV)
Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying . . . the LORD had one more thing to say to this rebellious house (2:3-8) by way of clarification here, and another to apply for comfort and encouragement to the better sort among them (17:22-24). What follows is the explanation of the above riddle and parable, which the prophet received from the LORD, and had orders to deliver to the people.
Ezekiel 17:12 Say now to the rebellious house, Know ye not what these things mean? tell them, Behold, the king of Babylon is come to Jerusalem, and hath taken the king thereof, and the princes thereof, and led them with him to Babylon; (KJV)
Say now to the rebellious house . . . it had been a rebellious house to God (2:3-8), and to His prophets before, and now there was rebellion against the king of Babylon, to whom they were in some degree subject (17:15).
Know ye not what these things mean? . . . are ye so hard-headed that you do not know what is meant by the riddle and parable concerning the two eagles and the vine . . . or are you so secure that you will not consider it, but run to your own ruin? This suggests that they were either not paying attention, or very stupid, if they did not know the meaning.
Tell them, behold, the king of Babylon is come to Jerusalem . . . Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon is meant by the first eagle, and the land of Judea, mainly Jerusalem is meant by Lebanon, it came unto (17:3). Many versions consider this and the following verses to be in the future; as if these were things that were yet to come to pass, whereas some render all in the past sense.
And hath taken the king thereof, and the princes thereof, and led them with him to Babylon . . . the king and the princes of Judea, Jeconiah and his nobles, who had been carried captive into Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar; for Ezekiel was among these captives (1:2; 2 Ki.24:12); so that it appears that by the twigs of the cedar the princes of the land are designed; and by the top of them King Jeconiah; and by the land of traffic the land of Chaldea; and by the city of merchants the city of Babylon (17:4); where they were carried.
Ezekiel 17:13 And hath taken of the king's seed, and made a covenant with him, and hath taken an oath of him: he hath also taken the mighty of the land: (KJV)
And hath taken of the king's seed . . . one of the royal family, signified by the seed of the land (17:5). Mattaniah, son of King Josiah, and uncle to King Jeconiah; whom Nebuchadnezzar took and made king of Judea, and called him Zedekiah, which means the justice of the LORD: to put him in mind of doing justly, by observing the covenant and oath after mentioned, or that he must expect revenge.
And made a covenant with him, and hath taken an oath of him . . . he gave him the throne and kingdom upon certain conditions to be performed, and for the performance of which he made him swear by the God of Israel (2 Chron.36:13).
He hath also taken the mighty of the land . . . the principal men of it for wisdom, riches and valor, the princes and nobles of it; which he did to weaken the nation, that it might not be so capable of rebelling against him, so to be hostages for the performance of the covenant entered into; and this is meant by planting the seed with caution (17:5).
Ezekiel 17:14 That the kingdom might be base, that it might not lift itself up, but that by keeping of his covenant it might stand. (KJV)
That the kingdom might be base . . . low or humble; its king but a viceroy, a tributary to the king of Babylon; and the subjects forced to a tax, payable to him; and this is intended by the vine being of low stature (17:6); base is low in power.
That it might not lift up itself . . . above other neighboring kingdoms, and mainly that it might not rebel against Nebuchadnezzar, but be kept in a dependence on him, and subjection to him.
But that by keeping of his covenant it might stand . . . would continue a kingdom, with Zedekiah king of it; so that it was for their good that such a covenant was made, and it was for their interest to keep it; for, had it not been made, it would have ceased to have been a kingdom, and would have become a province of the Babylonian monarchy. The Targum is, that it might keep his covenant, and serve him.
Ezekiel 17:15 But he rebelled against him in sending his ambassadors into Egypt, that they might give him horses and much people. Shall he prosper? shall he escape that doeth such things? or shall he break the covenant, and be delivered? (KJV)
But he rebelled against him . . . Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon, broke the covenant he entered into, and violated his oath. The LORD allowed this because of His wrath against Jerusalem (2 Ki.24:20).
In sending his ambassadors into Egypt . . . to form an alliance with the king, and obtain help from him to break the Babylonian yoke; this is meant by the vine bending its roots, and shooting forth its branches towards another great eagle, the king of Egypt (17:7).
That they might give him horses and much people . . . both horses and people abounded in Egypt (Deut.17:16; 1 Ki.10:28; Isa.31:1-3; 36:9); while in Judea there was a scarcity of horses and men, because of the multitude of captives which the king of Babylon had carried away.
Shall he prosper? shall he escape that doeth such things? . . . they were guilty of breaking an express law of God, which forbids the kings of Israel multiplying horses, and sending to Egypt for them (Deut.17:16). Solomon was guilty of this disobedience (1 Ki.4:26), and placing confidence in an arm of flesh (Isa.31:1); and of lack of gratitude to the king of Babylon, who had set him upon the throne, and put him in a comfortable and flourishing condition. Shall he prosper? This is the third time this question is asked, with an angry denial understood (17:9-10, 15). Even heathens believed that breakers of an oath would not escape punishment.
Or shall he break the covenant, and be delivered? . . . shall those guilty of breach of covenant, perjury and other crimes escape the vengeance of God and man? NO! They shall not escape.
*****Nebuchadnezzar kept his side of the covenant. God's people broke the covenant, but the pagan nation kept their side of it. What a picture this is of so many of today’s churches! People attend church, carrying their Bibles, but WHERE are their hearts? Their hearts are FAR from God and you cannot believe anything they say. They PROFESS to be CHRIST-ians, but they do not POSSESS Christ in their hearts!
Ezekiel 17:16 As I live, saith the Lord GOD, surely in the place where the king dwelleth that made him king, whose oath he despised, and whose covenant he brake, even with him in the midst of Babylon he shall die. (KJV)
As I live, saith the Lord GOD . . . (5:11; 14:16, 18, 20; 16:48; 18:3; 20:3, 31, 33; 33:11, 27; 34:8; 35:6, 11), this is an oath, which the Lord GOD swore; who, because He could swear by none greater, He swore by Himself (Heb.6:13); and this He did to confirm what He had said and was about to say, that the sins of Judah were greater than those of Samaria and Sodom; which seem hard to believe, but it was as true as He was the Living God. The LORD swears, in His wrath, by Himself, shows how much He resented, what Zedekiah had done, and how sure and certain his ruin was.
Surely in the place where the king dwelleth that made him king . . . Nebuchadnezzar dwelt in Babylon, and made Zedekiah king of Judah; which is mentioned, to show the lack of gratitude of that prince to the king of Babylon.
Whose oath he despised, whose covenant he broke . . . the oath of commitment and loyalty, which Zedekiah took to Nebuchadnezzar; and the covenant entered between them. Zedekiah made light of a solemn oath, one made by the God of Israel; and the covenant he broke, although backed by an oath; in which things were given to him he could not claim except by the courtesy of the conqueror. These sins were offensive to God: oaths and covenants, even though made with conquerors and with Heathen princes, are to be kept. A good lesson for us!
Even with him . . . meaning Nebuchadnezzar.
In the midst of Babylon he shall die . . . when Zedekiah was first taken to Riblah, and there his eyes were put out; and after that he was carried to Babylon, and put in prison, and there died (Jer.52:9).
Ezekiel 17:17 Neither shall Pharaoh with his mighty army and great company make for him in the war, by casting up mounts, and building forts, to cut off many persons: (KJV)
Neither shall Pharaoh, with his mighty army and great company, make for him in the war . . . the king of Egypt, to whom Zedekiah applied to for horses and men to help him . . . even IF he would come with a great army, and a large multitude of people . . . they would NOT be of any use to Zedekiah, nor would they do any injury to Nebuchadnezzar, nor slow him down in any way from taking Jerusalem.
By casting up mounts, and building forts, to cut off many persons . . . meaning when Nebuchadnezzar would overwhelm Jerusalem, raise mounts and build fortifications in order to take the city, and destroy its inhabitants, as he did (Jer.52:4). The Egyptian army would not be able to hinder Nebuchadnezzar from going on with the siege and taking the city; for although the siege was broken up for a time, upon the approach of Pharaoh's army, yet Nebuchadnezzar, having oppressed the Egyptians, returned again to Jerusalem and took it (Jer.37:5-8).
Ezekiel 17:18 Seeing he despised the oath by breaking the covenant, when, lo, he had given his hand, and hath done all these things, he shall not escape. (KJV)
Seeing he despised the oath, by breaking the covenant . . . this is repeated AGAIN, to show how terrible the sin Zedekiah had been guilty of, and what the cause of his ruin was.
When, lo, he had given his hand. . . Zedekiah had given his hand to the king of Babylon, to show that he was sincere about the agreement with him, and that he could depend on the oath and covenant given by him. This was a rite for custom frequently and early used in different nations and among the Romans. They joined their hands together . . . or they shook hands, confirming the oath or covenant, and it implies the willing act of Zedekiah in swearing to it, which makes his LIE all that much worse!
And hath done all these things . . . been guilty of this and so many crimes, such as lack of gratitude, lying, covenant breaking and vain confidence.
He shall not escape . . . Zedekiah shall NOT escape the LORD’S divine vengeance, which would be just and proper punishment for his sins. Again, a lesson here for us, we CANNOT get away with sin!
Ezekiel 17:19 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; As I live, surely mine oath that he hath despised, and my covenant that he hath broken, even it will I recompense upon his own head. (KJV)
Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, as I live . . . verse 16, a repetition of the oath of God as before, expressing His anger at the king of Judah, and the statement of his ruin.
Surely mine oath that he hath despised, and my covenant that he hath broken . . . the LORD calls it His oath, because it was made and taken in His Name (2 Chron.36:13); and His covenant, because it agreed with His will, and was made in His sight, which was an aggravation of Zedekiah's sin in violating them, and made his punishment worse.
Even it will I recompense upon his own head . . . Zedekiah would personally bear the punishment due to such crimes. The Targum is, I will revenge his way upon his head. Some think this refers to the putting out of his eyes (2 Ki.25:7; Jer.39:7; 52:11), which did happen.
Ezekiel 17:20 And I will spread my net upon him, and he shall be taken in my snare, and I will bring him to Babylon, and will plead with him there for his trespass that he hath trespassed against me. (KJV)
And I will spread my net upon him, and he shall be taken in my snare . . . (12:13; 32:3) where the same words are used, of the same person. History tells us that when Zedekiah, with his nobles, were caught in the plains of Jericho, and thought themselves out of danger, the great hunters of Babylon carried him to their king.
And I will bring him to Babylon . . . although, as it is said in Eze.12:13, he should not see it, his eyes being put out before he was brought there. http://godcannotlie.org/book_of_ezekiel_ch12.htm
And I will plead with him there for his trespass that he hath trespassed against me . . . plead = calculate, reckon (20:36; 38:22). For even though it was breaking covenant and oath with a Heathen prince, yet it was a sin against God, in whose Name the covenant and oath were made . . . Zedekiah’s being in prison in Babylon, and his being kept there until his death . . . was the LORD'S pleading with him, and judging him. It was a rebuke and condemnation of Zedekiah and his sins. , and a condemnation of him and them. Lying falsehoods of men in breaking oaths and covenants are in a highest degree, trespasses against Almighty God (15:8). BEWARE!!! So many lessons in this Book of Ezekiel can be applied to us today.
Ezekiel 17:21 And all his fugitives with all his bands shall fall by the sword, and they that remain shall be scattered toward all winds: and ye shall know that I the LORD have spoken it. (KJV)
And all his fugitives with all his bands shall fall by the sword . . . when the city of Jerusalem was taken, those of Zedekiah’s army that fled, attempting to escape, fell into the Chaldean army, which was all around the city, and a great number of them fell by the sword of the Chaldeans (Jer.52:7-9). All his fugitives . . . not all, but the greatest part (Jer.13:19; 44:22), of those who, at the taking of Jerusalem, attempt to flee with their king. His bands; his guards were probably the most bold and most brave men, his body-guards reserved to take him in safety away from the pursuing enemy. Shall fall by the sword . . . the enemy shall overtake, and cut them in pieces. The few that do escape would be scattered abroad among strangers, who will show them no kindness. The desolation and misery of these people shall fall under such a weight and persistence, that they all shall know it is being executed by the righteous wrath of the Lord GOD from Heaven above!
And they that remain shall be scattered towards all winds . . . and so it was, that those that escaped the sword were either carried captive into Babylon, or fled some one way or another, even into all parts, east, west, north, and south. Scattered: (6:8; 11;16-17; 17:21;20:34, 41; 28:25; 29:13; 34:5-6, 12, 21; 36:19; 46:18).
And ye shall know that I the Lord have spoken it . . . the Targum adds, by my word, and will do it; who is the Lord God omniscient and omnipotent, just and righteous; faithful and true, as to his word of promise, so of threatening. Shall know: (6:7, 10; 13:14, 23; 15:7; 26:11).
Ezekiel 17:22 Thus saith the Lord GOD; I will also take of the highest branch of the high cedar, and will set it; I will crop off from the top of his young twigs a tender one, and will plant it upon an high mountain and eminent: (KJV)
Thus saith the Lord GOD . . . in case it should be thought, by the above prophecies, that the tribe of Judah would be utterly lost, and the family of David destroyed, and the Promise to him void, that he would have one of his seed to sit upon his throne for evermore (Ps.132:11), it is here in a symbolic way indicated that of David’s seed, the Messiah would indeed be raised up, by whom the church and Kingdom of God would one day be brought into a thriving state and condition.
I will also take of the highest branch of the high cedar . . . Nebuchadnezzar had taken one of the family of David, and set him on the throne, meant by taking of the seed of the land, and planting it (17:5); but without success; here the LORD promises that He will also take of the highest branch and plant it, and it would thrive and prosper. The high cedar means the Jewish nation, which the LORD chose and set on high above all nations of the Earth, setting it apart with unusual blessings and favors; for which reason it can be compared to the high and spreading cedar (Num.24:6), and by the highest branch of it the tribe of Judah, who prevailed above his brethren, because from him came the chief ruler (1 Chron.5:2); and from where the Messiah was to come, and did come (Gen.49:10; Lk.3:26, 30, 33; Rev.5:5).
And set it . . . meaning the slip (crop) taken from the highest branch of the high cedar; or one that would descend from the Jewish nation, and particularly from the tribe of Judah, more fully described in the next clause.
I will crop off from the top of his young twigs a tender one . . . and by the top and young twigs of the highest branch of the cedar, or of the chief tribe in Israel, are meant the house and family of David, the royal family, and the descendants of it, the chief of the tribe of Judah; and by the tender one is meant the Messiah, Jesus Christ. The Targum, is this, I will bring one of the kingdom of the house of David, which is like to a high cedar, and I will raise him up an infant from his children's children. The Messiah is often called a branch in prophecy (Isa.4:2; 11:1; 60:21; Jer.23:5; 33:15; Zec.3:8; 6:12), and here it is a tender twig or branch (Isa.53:2); a tender plant expresses the hard-heartedness of Messiah’s descent, David's family being very low at the time of Jesus’ birth, and of the disgraceful appearance He made in the form of a Servant (Isa.42:1; 49:6; Mk.10:45; Lk.4:18-19; 22:27; Jn.13:12-15; Phil.2:3-8; 1 Tim.2:5-6); as well as was attended with poverty (Mat.8:20), griefs and sorrows of various kinds (Isa.53:3-4, 10), and so made a very unpromising appearance of being the great Prophet, Priest, and King in Israel (Mat.12:23; 13:55). Some say that the cropping off of the tender twig seems to be mean the Messiah’s sufferings and death, NOT the incarnation of the Messiah (Jn.1:14), because He was cut off, NOT for Himself, but for the sins of His people (Jn.3:13-18), and in which His divine Father had an important hand (Isa.53:8; Acts 2:23), and to which is owed the great fruitfulness of His Kingdom and attentive concern (Jn.12:24). This may respect not only the Person of the Messiah, but also His church and great concern, which were at first like a little stone cut out of the mountain (Dan.2:34-35, 44-45), and like a grain of mustard seed, the least of all seeds (Mat.13:31-32).
And will plant it on a high mountain and eminent . . . this may not express the incarnation of Christ (Jn.1:14), but instead His ascension to Heaven after His death (Lk.24:50-51; Acts 1:9; Eph.4:8-12), and His resurrection from the dead (Lk.20:35; Acts 4:2; Rom.1:4; 1 Cor.15:12; Phil.3:20-21; 1 Pet.1:3); and the setting up of Him as King over God's holy hill of Zion, the church of God . . . no doubt there is an reference to Mount Zion, and to Jerusalem, from whence the Gospel first went forth, and where the first Gospel church was planted; and being said to be on a high mountain and eminent, may mean both the visibility and stability of the Gospel Church of Jesus Christ (Ps.2:6-9; 45:6; 89:27, 36-37; 48;1-2; 50:2; 78:68; 110:1-2; 132:13-14; Isa.2:2-3; 9:6-7; Dan.7;13-14; Mat.28:18; Acts 2:34-36; 5:30-31; Eph.1:22; Phil.2:9-11; Heb.12:22; Rev.14:1).
Ezekiel 17:23 In the mountain of the height of Israel will I plant it: and it shall bring forth boughs, and bear fruit, and be a goodly cedar: and under it shall dwell all fowl of every wing; in the shadow of the branches thereof shall they dwell. (KJV)
In the mountain of the height of Israel will I plant it . . . (20:40), Jerusalem is said by Jewish writers to be the highest part of the land of Israel, it was there that the Messiah preached and did His miracles, including in the mountain of the Lord's house, the Temple; and it was here the first Christian church was planted and established (Acts 2). It is not here meant actual Mount Moriah, as much as the Kingdom of which that mountain represents, meaning the seat of the throne of the anointed Son of God (Psalm 2:6; 48:1-2). See Special Comments at the end of this Chapter for more on Mount Moriah and Mount Zion.
And it shall bring forth boughs, and bear fruit, and be a goodly cedar . . . meaning the tender twig or branch cropped off, set and planted as described above. Shalt bring forth boughs . . . apostles in the time of Christ, evangelists, preachers, teachers and their successors in the Gospel ministry after the death of Christ, bringing many souls to Christ. There are no apostles today. An apostle lived at the time of the Lord Jesus, and was personally chosen by Him. http://www.jesus-is-savior.com/False%20Religions/new_apostolic_church.htm
And bear fruit . . . multitudes of souls shall be converted by the preaching of these boughs. A goodly cedar. . . JESUS is the goodliest and best that ever grew, most excellent and most durable.
And under it shall dwell all fowl of every wing; in the shadow of the branches thereof shall they dwell . . . all fowl of every wing, all fowl of every kind who flock from all lands to this Kingdom (Mat.13:32), by whom are meant converted sinners of all classes, and of all nations, Jews and Gentiles . . . here compared to birds, because they are weak, defenseless and timid when exposed to danger; and wonderfully protected by this goodly cedar where they shall dwell. All fowl (all nations), including the Gentiles as well as the Jews (Gal.3:26-29), shall build and multiply under the Kingdom of Christ; it shall be no more confined to the Jews, but extend to the Gentiles also. There they shall find peace and safety; and this being repeated confirms the certainty of the Promise. The Coming Kingdom of Christ: http://www.godcannotlie.org/matthew_ch19.html
The prophet Ezekiel brings forward the clear future adoration of the KING; giving us hope, encouragement and comfort, at such times when we see the Gospel Church of Christ in similar despair.
Ezekiel 17:24 And all the trees of the field shall 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 to flourish: I the LORD have spoken and have done it. (KJV)
And all the trees of the field shall know . . . one sweet day, ALL the nations of the World, and ALL the great and the mighty men of the Earth, ALL people shall know, own, recognize and admit when the above things are done. ALL knees shall bow and ALL tongues shall confess that Christ is LORD! Isaiah 45:23 I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear. (KJV) Romans 14:11 For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. (KJV) . . . THIS SHALL INDEED HAPPEN!!! You can do it NOW with Jesus’ blessing; or you SHALL do it on Judgment Day with His wrath upon you! Your choice!
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 to flourish . . . brought down the high tree, Zedekiah is the high tree that would NOT listen to the LORD or His prophets, or to Nebuchadnezzar; or the kingdom of Babylon, which was brought low when overthrown by Darius and Cyrus (Ezra 6). The low tree is either Jehoiachin's line, or the church, which, from being low, was exalted by the LORD, causing Cyrus to restore the captivity from Babylon, and building the city and house of God . . . possibly meaning advancing the Kingdom of Christ, and suppressing His enemies.
Dried up the green tree . . . the same meaning expressed in different words.
I the Lord have spoken and have done it . . . the power, goodness and faithfulness of God, can do whatsoever He pleases, and will absolutely do ALL that He has promised. The future of His faithful people, Jews and Gentiles, are assured and comforted by His Holy Word. Because the prophecy of it is sure and true, and because it is certain of being fulfilled, it is said to be done as soon as it was spoken of.
*****If the one tree is symbolic of the Messiah’s Kingdom, then all the other trees refer to the other kingdoms of the world, and they all shall know wonderful works of the Lord GOD:
<><><>1. The Lord GOD has brought down the high tree (17:24; Dan.4; Lk.1:52).
<><><>2. The Lord GOD exalted the low tree (17:24), which is no doubt the Tree in (17:23).
<><><>3. The Lord GOD dried up the green tree (the present kingdom of Babylon 17:24).
<><><>4. The Lord GOD made the dry tree (the Messiah’s Kingdom) to flourish (17:23-24).
Although some understand this to have been fulfilled in the restoration of Judah under Zerubbabel, Ezra and Nehemiah, it seems to me that what is said here goes far beyond such a limited time frame, to a time yet future when Israel will have its Perfect King, the Messiah, reigning on the Earth in righteousness. I believe these concluding verses without question introduce a Messianic prophecy (Isa.2:2-4; Mic.4:1-4).
See Last days: http://www.godcannotlie.org/2_tim_ch4.htm
http://22.214.171.124/zec_ch12.htm (Zechariah Chapter 12)
http://godcannotlie.org/zec_ch14.htm (Zechariah Chapter 14)
Ten Prophecies . . . Fulfilled in Ezekiel Chapter 17:
<><><>1. The king of Babylon has come to Jerusalem and taken Jehoiachin and the princes to Babylon (17:21). He has taken the king's seed (Zedekiah) and made a covenant with him, and taken an oath of him; he has also taken the mighty of the land to Babylon, so that the kingdom might be base and not rebel, but keep the covenant (17:13-14). But Zedekiah rebelled against Nebuchadnezzar in sending ambassadors to Egypt to secure their help against Babylon. This alliance will not stand, for he has broken his covenant with Nebuchadnezzar (17:15-16).
<><><>2. Zedekiah will die in Babylon, in the land of the king whose oath he hated, and whose covenant he broke (17:16).
<><><>3. Pharaoh and his great army will not save him from Babylon (17:17).
<><><>4. He will not escape Babylon, because he broke the oath with Nebuchadnezzar (17:18).
<><><>5. The oath and the covenant that he had hated will be recompensed upon him (17:9).
<><><>6. The LORD will spread His net upon him, and he will be taken in a snare (17:20).
<><><>7. The LORD will bring him to Babylon and plead with him there for his sin (17:20).
<><><>8. All his fugitives with all his bands will fall by the sword (17:21).
<><><>9. They that remain shall be scattered toward all winds (17:21).
<><><>10. You will know that I the LORD have spoken it (17:24).
Six Prophecies . . . NOT Fulfilled in Ezekiel Chapter 17:
<><><>1. I will take the highest branch of the high cedar, and will set it (17:22).
<><><>2. I will crop off from the top of his young twigs a tender One, and will plant it upon a high and eminent mountain (17:22).
<><><>3. In the mountain of the height of Israel will I plant it (17:23).
<><><>4. It will bring forth boughs, bear fruit, and be a goodly cedar (17:23).
<><><>5. Under it will dwell all fowl of every kind (17:23).
<><><>6. 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 to flourish (17:24).
Mount Zion and Mount Moriah are two mountains next to each other.
Mt Zion was a Jebusite stronghold captured by David (2 Sam.5:6-9; 1 Ki.8:1; 1 Chron.11:5), which became his royal residence (Ps.2:6). When the Ark of the Covenant was transferred there it became especially Holy to the Lord GOD. (2 Sam.6:17-18).
Mt Moriah was north of Zion, where the Temple was built during Solomon's reign. Eventually the term Holy Mountain and Zion came to refer to the combined area of Zion and Moriah, including Jerusalem (Isa. 66:20).
Factually, Mount Zion was often used interchangeably with Mount Moriah, because both referred to the Temple Mount, and Foundation Stone where the Dome of the Rock Shrine currently sits. It is in this location that the Jebusites had their fortress. David had his palace close by, and it is where Solomon built the Temple (1 Ki.5).
About 2000 years ago, Judeans started referring to a second mountain, to the southwest of the Temple Mount as Mount Zion. This mountain is currently located to the south of the Armenian Quarter and is still called Mount Zion. They stopped using the term Mount Zion to refer to the Temple Mount and instead used Mount Moriah to exclusively refer to that.
Mount Moriah: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Zion
Mount Zion: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Zion
Bible Verses about Zion: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . http://bible.knowing-jesus.com/topics/Zion,-As-A-Symbol
Book of Ezekiel
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