19 Dec. Ezekiel 17:1-10

19 Dec. Ezekiel speaks in parables

“The LORD spoke his words to me, saying: ‘Human, give a riddle and tell a story to the people of Israel. Say, “This is what the Lord GOD says: a giant eagle with big wings and long feathers of many different colours came to Lebanon and took hold of the top of a cedar tree. He pulled off the top branch and brought it to a land of traders, where he planted it in a city of traders.”’”

“’”The eagle took some seed from the land and planted it in a good field near plenty of water. He planted it to grow like a willow tree. It grew and became a low vine that spread over the ground. The branches turned towards the eagle, but the roots were under the eagle. So the seed became a vine, and its branches grew, sending out leaves.”’”

“’”But there was another giant eagle with big wings and many feathers. The vine then bent its roots towards this eagle. It sent out its branches from the area where it was planted towards the eagle so he could water it. It had been planted in a good field by plenty of water so it could grow branches and give fruit. It could have become a fine vine.”’”

“’Say to them, “This is what the Lord GOD says: the vine will not continue to grow. The first eagle will pull up the vine’s roots and strip off its fruit. Then the vine and all its new leaves will dry up and die. It will not take a strong arm or many people to pull the vine up by its roots. Even if it is planted again, it will not continue to grow. It will completely dry up and die when the east wind hits the area where it grew.”’”

          (Ezekiel 17:1-10)



The prophet Ezekiel often used ‘parables’ – stories with a deeper spiritual meaning – in the same way that Jesus frequently used parables to explain the truths about the kingdom of God some six hundred years later.

In Chapter 16, Ezekiel used the story of a faithless woman as a parable for the unfaithfulness of Jerusalem. The message of the story was made quite clear: the people of Jerusalem had rejected God just as the unfaithful woman in the story had rejected her husband.

In today’s reading from the following chapter, Ezekiel told a parable about two eagles building their nests. One used branches from a well-watered, tall Lebanese cedar, while the other built its nest in a low spreading vine in the dry hill-country of Judah, dried out by a strong wind from the east. (Ezekiel 17:1-10)

Ezekiel, like Jesus, then went on to explain the meaning of the parable. The first eagle represented the successful years of Judah’s prosperous trading schemes with surrounding nations such as Tyre, when the Temple and the royal palace were built by King Solomon and lined with expensive cedar wood from Lebanon.

The second eagle represented the fate of Jerusalem in Ezekiel’s day. The royal line of Judah would be broken by a strong power from the east (Babylon), and would be punished for breaking its treaty and conspiring with Egypt, just as the second eagle had easily snapped the fragile branches off the dried-out vine. (see Ezekiel 17:11-21)

The photo (by Yhabbouche) shows Lebanese cedars in the Barouk Forest.

You can read more from Ezekiel Chapter 18 @  The Bible Journey | Ezekiel speaks through prophesies and parables

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