Parable of Two Eagles and a Vine
1 And the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 2 Son of man, put forth a riddle and speak a parable or allegory to the house of Israel; 3 Say, Thus says the Lord God: A great eagle [Nebuchadnezzar] with great wings and long pinions, rich in feathers of various colors, came to Lebanon [symbolic of Jerusalem] and took the top of the cedar [tree]. 4 He broke off the topmost of its young twigs [the youthful King Jehoiachin] and carried it into a land of trade [Babylon]; he set it in a city of merchants. 5 He took also of the seedlings of the land [Zedekiah, one of the native royal family] and planted it in fertile soil and a fruitful field; he placed it beside abundant waters and set it as a willow tree [to succeed Zedekiah's nephew Jehoiachin in Judah as vassal king]. 6 And it grew and became a spreading vine of low [not Davidic] stature, whose branches turned [in submission] toward him, and its roots remained under and subject to him [the king of Babylon]; so it became a vine and brought forth branches and shot forth leafy twigs.
7 There was also another great eagle [the Egyptian king] with great wings and many feathers; and behold, this vine [Zedekiah] bent its roots [languishingly] toward him and shot forth its branches toward him, away from the beds of its planting, for him to water. 8 Though it was planted in good soil where water was plentiful for it to produce leaves and to bear fruit, it was transplanted, that it might become a splendid vine. 9 Thus says the Lord God: Ask, Will it thrive? Will he [the insulted Nebuchadnezzar] not pluck up its roots and strip off its fruit so that all its fresh sprouting leaves will wither? It will not take a strong arm or many people to pluck it up by its roots [totally ending Israel's national existence]. 10 Yes, behold, though transplanted, will it prosper? Will it not utterly wither when the east wind touches it? It will wither in the furrows and beds where it sprouted and grew.
11 Moreover, the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 12 Say now to the rebellious house, Do you not know and realize what these things mean? Tell them, Behold, the king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and took its king [Jehoiachin] and its princes and brought them with him to Babylon. 13 And he took one of the royal family [the king's uncle, Zedekiah] and made a covenant with him, putting him under oath. He also took the mighty and chief men of the land, 14 That the kingdom might become low and base and be unable to lift itself up, but that by keeping his [Nebuchadnezzar's] covenant it might stand. 15 But he [Zedekiah] rebelled against him [Nebuchadnezzar] in sending his ambassadors into Egypt, that they might give him horses and much people. Will he prosper? Will he escape who does such things? Can he break the covenant with [Babylon] and yet escape? 16 As I live, says the Lord God, surely in the place where the king [Nebuchadnezzar] dwells who made [Zedekiah as vassal] king, whose oath [Zedekiah] despised and whose covenant he broke, even with him in the midst of Babylon shall [Zedekiah] die. 17 Neither shall Pharaoh with his mighty army and great company help him in the war when the [Babylonians] cast up mounds and build forts to destroy many lives. 18 For [Zedekiah] despised the oath and broke the covenant and behold, he had given his hand, and yet has done all these things; he shall not escape. 19 Therefore thus says the Lord God: As I live, surely My oath [made for Me by Nebuchadnezzar] that [Zedekiah] has despised and My covenant with him that he has broken, I will even bring down on his own head. 20 And I will spread My net over him, and he shall be taken in My snare; and I will bring him to Babylon and will enter into judgment and punishment with him there for his trespass and treason that he has committed against Me. 21 And all his fugitives [from Judah] in all his bands shall fall by the sword, and they that remain shall be scattered toward every wind. And you shall know (understand and realize) that I the Lord have spoken it.
22 Thus says the Lord God: I Myself will take a twig from the lofty top of the cedar and will set it out; I will crop off from the topmost of its young twigs a tender one and will plant it upon a mountain high and exalted. 23 On the mountain height of Israel will I plant it, that it may bring forth boughs and bear fruit and be a noble cedar, and under it shall dwell all birds of every feather; in the shade of its branches they shall nestle and find rest. 24 And all the trees of the field shall know (understand and realize) that I the Lord have brought low the high tree, have exalted the low tree, have dried up the green tree, and have made the dry tree flourish. I the Lord have spoken, and I will do it.