And say, thus saith the Lord God
The riddle is not the prophet's, nor the parable his, but the Lord God's; and exceeding beautiful and apt it is, to signify the things designed by it; the wisdom of God is greatly displayed in it: a great eagle;
which is Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, as it is explained, ( Ezekiel 17:12 ) ; who is compared to an eagle for his power and authority, that being the king of birds, and for his swiftness and voracity in conquering and subduing kingdoms; see ( Jeremiah 48:40 ) ; with great wings;
so the Babylonish monarchy is signified by a lion with eagle's wings, ( Daniel 7:4 ) ; and the two parts of the Roman empire, into which it was divided at the death of Theodosius, are called two wings of a great eagle, ( Revelation 12:14 ) ; and so here it may denote the large kingdoms and provinces which belonged to the Babylonian monarchy; see ( Esther 1:1 ) ; longwinged;
or having a "long member" F13; meaning the body of the wing, which was long; and so, as the wings spread, may signify the breadth of his dominion, this the length of them, and both their extensiveness: full of feathers;
of cities, towns, people, armies, wealth, and riches: which had divers colours;
or an "embroidery" F14; like that of the weaver, only needle work, consisting of various colours; and so it alludes to such eagles as are called the golden eagle, and "asterias", from their golden colour, and their being spotted like stars, and which are said to be of the largest size, as Bochart, from Aelianus F15, observes; and may signify people of divers languages, customs, manners, and circumstances, subject to the government of the king of Babylon: came unto Lebanon;
the northern border of the land of Judea, and invaded it; where were the mountain and forest of Lebanon, famous for the cedars that grew there, from whence the whole land may here take its name, as being more apt for the allegory used: or the city of Jerusalem, where were the temple built of the cedars of Lebanon, as many of its palaces and houses also were; whither the king of Babylon came, and took it, and who came northward, as Babylon was: and took the highest branch of the cedar;
by the "cedar" is meant, either the nation in general, or the royal family in particular; and by the "highest branch" the then reigning king, Jeconiah with the princes and nobles of the land, who were taken and carried captive by Nebuchadnezzar; see ( 2 Kings 24:14-16 ) .
F13 (rbah Kra) "longa corpore", Castalio; "longa membris", Munster, Grotius; "longo membororum ductu", Pradus.
F14 (hmqrh wl rva) , Heb; "opus phrygionicum", Piscator.
F15 Aelian. Hist. Animal. l. 2. c. 39.