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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.

After Ezekiel has narrated that Jehoiacin was carried away with his counselors and the flower of the whole people, and was so deprived of his native country as to be without hope of return, he now says, that the eagle took up the seed in Judea, and placed it in a fertile land; for he calls it a land of seed, since it was cultivated and produced fruit abundantly. He says, that the seed was afterwards hidden in the soil, that it grew immediately, and became a luxuriant vine. He says also, that its roots were irrigated, like a willow planted by a river’s bed. The Prophet afterwards explains himself: hence it is sufficient to state briefly what he means. The seed, then, which he here means is Zedekiah, the last king. It is said to have been planted beside the waters; for his condition was tolerable, since the royal name and dignity and wealth was left to him. For although he was tributary, the kindness with which he was treated by Nebuchadnezzar was not to be despised, since, by the right of war, he was able to lead him captive. together with his nephew; for Zedekiah was the uncle of Jeconiah or Jehoiacin. But he said, that this vine, which sprang from a seed or germ, grew so that it was of low stature; the Prophet means by these words, as we shall afterwards see, that Zedekiah was not a king, that he was restrained by a bridle from daring to rebel against the king of Babylon; and hence it is added, that its branches turned towards the eagle, and its roots were under him; but in the next clause Ezekiel announces, that it became a vine which set forth branches, and shot forth boughs, which he repeats again, that Zedekiah’s ingratitude may appear the greater, who, not content with his moderate confinement, perfidiously revolted from the king of Babylon, through reliance on the new treaty, on which we touched yesterday. It now follows —

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