The word of the LORD came to me:
"Son of man, propound a riddle, and speak an allegory to the house of Israel;
say, Thus says the Lord GOD: A great eagle with great wings and long pinions, rich in plumage of many colors, came to Lebanon and took the top of the cedar;
he broke off the topmost of its young twigs and carried it to a land of trade, and set it in a city of merchants.
Then he took of the seed of the land and planted it in fertile soil; he placed it beside abundant waters. He set it like a willow twig,
and it sprouted and became a low spreading vine, and its branches turned toward him, and its roots remained where it stood. So it became a vine, and brought forth branches and put forth foliage.
"But there was another great eagle with great wings and much plumage; and behold, this vine bent its roots toward him, and shot forth its branches toward him that he might water it. From the bed where it was planted
he transplanted it to good soil by abundant waters, that it might bring forth branches, and bear fruit, and become a noble vine.
Say, Thus says the Lord GOD: Will it thrive? Will he not pull up its roots and cut off its branches, so that all its fresh sprouting leaves wither? It will not take a strong arm or many people to pull it from its roots.
Behold, when it is transplanted, will it thrive? Will it not utterly wither when the east wind strikes it--wither away on the bed where it grew?"
Then the word of the LORD came to me:
"Say now to the rebellious house, Do you not know what these things mean? Tell them, Behold, the king of Babylon came to Jerusalem, and took her king and her princes and brought them to him to Babylon.
And he took one of the seed royal and made a covenant with him, putting him under oath. (The chief men of the land he had taken away,
that the kingdom might be humble and not lift itself up, and that by keeping his covenant it might stand.)
But he rebelled against him by sending ambassadors to Egypt, that they might give him horses and a large army. Will he succeed? Can a man escape who does such things? Can he break the covenant and yet escape?
As I live, says the Lord GOD, surely in the place where the king dwells who made him king, whose oath he despised, and whose covenant with him he broke, in Babylon he shall die.
Pharaoh with his mighty army and great company will not help him in war, when mounds are cast up and siege walls built to cut off many lives.
Because he despised the oath and broke the covenant, because he gave his hand and yet did all these things, he shall not escape.
Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: As I live, surely my oath which he despised, and my covenant which he broke, I will requite upon his head.
I will spread my net over him, and he shall be taken in my snare, and I will bring him to Babylon and enter into judgment with him there for the treason he has committed against me.
And all the pick of his troops shall fall by the sword, and the survivors shall be scattered to every wind; and you shall know that I, the LORD, have spoken."
Thus says the Lord GOD: "I myself will take a sprig from the lofty top of the cedar, and will set it out; I will break off from the topmost of its young twigs a tender one, and I myself will plant it upon a high and lofty mountain;
on the mountain height of Israel will I plant it, that it may bring forth boughs and bear fruit, and become a noble cedar; and under it will dwell all kinds of beasts; in the shade of its branches birds of every sort will nest.
And all the trees of the field shall know that I the LORD bring low the high tree, and make high the low tree, dry up the green tree, and make the dry tree flourish. I the LORD have spoken, and I will do it."
Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright 1952 [2nd edition, 1971] by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. (Revised Standard Version - Holy Bible)