Ezekiel 17

A story about two eagles and a vine

1 The Lord gave this message to me: 2 ‘Son of man, I want you to tell a story to Israel's people. It tells about them.

3 Say to them, “The Almighty Lord says this: There was a great eagle that had strong wings. Its feathers were long and beautiful, with many colours. The eagle came to Lebanon and he took hold of the top of a cedar tree. 4 He broke off the top branch of the tree. He took it to a country where there were many traders who buy and sell things. He planted the branch in a city there.

5 The eagle also took a seed from Israel's land. He planted it in a good field, like a willow tree near to plenty of water. 6 The seed made a plant that grew well. It became a vine that grew near to the ground. The vine's branches turned up towards the eagle. Its roots went down into the ground. The vine grew with many new branches and leaves.

7 There was also another great eagle. It had strong wings and many feathers. Now the vine turned its roots and its branches towards this eagle. It wanted to get more water in the ground where it was growing. 8 But the vine was already growing in a good field where there was plenty of water. It could grow very well in that place, with new branches. It could become a beautiful vine and make grapesthere.”

9 Then say to Israel's people, “The Almighty Lord says this: Do you think that the vine will continue to grow well? No, the first eagle will surely pull its roots out of the ground! He will destroy its grapes. All its leaves and branches will become dry and die. It would be easy to pull it out of the ground. It would not need a strong man or a large army to do that. 10 Yes the plant is in the ground, but will it continue to grow? When the hot wind from the east blows on it, it will become completely dry. It will die in the same good field where it had been growing.” ’

11 Then the Lord gave this message to me: 12 ‘Israel's people have turned against me. Say to them, “Surely you must understand the meaning of this story.” Then say to them, “Listen! The king of Babylon came to Jerusalem. He took away Israel's king and his officers. He took them with him as his prisoners to Babylon. 13 He made an agreement with one man from the king of Israel's family. He made that man promise to serve Babylon's king. Then he could rule as king in Jerusalem.

17:13King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon attacked Jerusalem. He took King Jehoiachin of Judah away as his prisoner to Babylon. He chose King Jehoiachin's uncle, Zedekiah, to rule as king in Jerusalem instead. See 2 Kings 24:10-20.

The king of Babylon also took away the leaders of Jerusalem as his prisoners. 14 He wanted to make their kingdom weak. He did not want it to become strong enough to fight against him. He wanted them to obey his agreement with him. 15 But the man from the king's family did turn against the king of Babylon. He sent his officers with a message to Egypt. He asked them to send a large army with horses to save Jerusalem. But that will not help him to be safe! He did not obey his agreement with the king of Babylon, so he will not escape!

16 I promise you this, as surely as I live, says the AlmightyLord. That man that the king of Babylon made king in Jerusalem will die! He will die in Babylon because he did not obey the agreement he had made with the king of Babylon. He thought that his promise was not important. 17 The king of Egypt has a great army and many soldiers. But he still will not be able to help him to fight against Babylon's army. Babylon's soldiers will build heaps of earth against Jerusalem's walls. They will attack the walls and go into the city. They will kill many people in Jerusalem. 18 Judah's king did not obey his agreement with the king of Babylon. He had promised to serve Babylon's king but instead he turned against him. He did not do what he had promised to do, so he will not escape.

19 So this is what the Almighty Lord says: I promise you this, as surely as I live. I will certainly punish Judah's king for what he has done. He did not respect the promise that he made in my name. He did not obey the agreement that he made. 20 I will throw a net over him and I will catch him in my trap. I will take him to Babylon and I will judge him there. I will punish him because he was not faithful to me. 21 All the brave soldiers in his army will die in the battle. The soldiers who escape will run away in all directions. Then you will know that I, the Lord, have spoken this message.

17:21See 2 Kings 25:1-5.

22 The Almighty Lord says this: I myself will take a new branch from the top of a tall cedar tree. I will break off one of its small fresh branches. Then I will plant it on the top of a high mountain. 23 I will plant it on a high mountain in Israel. There it will grow and make branches and fruit. It will become a beautiful cedar tree. Many kinds of birds will live under the tree's branches. They will be safe in its shadow. 24 Then all the trees of the forest will know that I am the Lord. I cause tall trees to fall down. I cause small trees to grow tall. I cause green trees to become dry. I cause dry trees to make fresh leaves.

I, the Lord, have said this and I will surely do it.” ’