The LORD spoke his word to me. He said,
"Son of man, tell this riddle. Give this illustration to the nation of Israel.
Say, 'This is what the Almighty LORD says: A large eagle came to Lebanon. It had large wings with long, colorful feathers. It took hold of the top of a cedar tree.
It broke off the highest twig and carried it to a country of merchants. It planted the twig in a city of merchants.
"'Then it took a seedling from that country and planted the seedling in fertile soil. The eagle planted the seedling like a willow where there was plenty of water.
The plant sprouted and grew into a low vine that spread over the ground. Its branches turned upward toward the eagle, but its roots grew downward. So it became a vine, producing branches and growing shoots.