a Bible passage

Click a verse to see commentary
Select a resource above

The Two Eagles and the Vine


The word of the L ord came to me: 2O mortal, propound a riddle, and speak an allegory to the house of Israel. 3Say: Thus says the Lord G od:

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 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.

9 Say: Thus says the Lord G od:

Will it prosper?

Will he not pull up its roots,

cause its fruit to rot and wither,

its fresh sprouting leaves to fade?

No strong arm or mighty army will be needed

to pull it from its roots.


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 L ord came to me: 12Say 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. 13He 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), 14so that the kingdom might be humble and not lift itself up, and that by keeping his covenant it might stand. 15But 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? 16As I live, says the Lord G od, 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. 17Pharaoh 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. 18Because he despised the oath and broke the covenant, because he gave his hand and yet did all these things, he shall not escape. 19Therefore thus says the Lord G od: As I live, I will surely return upon his head my oath that he despised, and my covenant that he broke. 20I 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. 21All the pick of his troops shall fall by the sword, and the survivors shall be scattered to every wind; and you shall know that I, the L ord, have spoken.

Israel Exalted at Last

22 Thus says the Lord G od:

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.


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.


All the trees of the field shall know

that I am the L ord.

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 L ord have spoken;

I will accomplish it.

The Prophet now descends to the whole people, especially to the soldiers, whom Zedekiah himself thought would be fit guardians of the city. He says, then, thus shall all his forces be dissipated, so that they shall be dispersed hither and thither and all by the sword. By these words he means the slaughter of the army, since as long as soldiers stand in their own ranks they sustain and repel a hostile attack; but when they are dispersed, every one is subject to the enemy, and hence a promiscuous slaughter arises. He says, therefore, that Zedekiah’s soldiers would be fugitives amidst all their bands: that is, although he had a large army, yet all his forces should be dispersed, and while each should consult his own advantage, he should fall into the enemy’s hands: thus, all shall fall by the sword; then those who remain shall be dispersed towards every wind. We saw the same thing before, for when the Prophet had declared that all the people should suffer by the sword, he added, at the same time, that all the survivors should be fugitives, just as if any one should throw out refuse or hair which the wind would blow hither and thither. Hence he repeats the same now, namely, that the whole people would be like a torn body, since if they escaped the sword, yet they would find no place of rest. Hence while a few would flee to Egypt, some to the Moabites, and others to the neighboring nations, the whole body of the people, would be dissipated. He adds, and you shall know that I Jehovah have spoken. We have explained the meaning of this, and why the Prophet repeats it so often, namely, because the Jews were untractable and derided all God’s threats: the Prophet teaches that they should really feel that he had spoken, and this is the wisdom of fools, as the common proverb expresses it. For because they do not obey any counsels, nor admit any admonitions, and receive no teaching, they are instructed only by the event itself. It follows —

VIEWNAME is study