Ezekiel 17

Listen to Ezekiel 17

Parable of Two Eagles and a Vine

1 The word of the LORD came to me:
2 1"Son of man, 2propound a riddle, and speak a parable to the house of Israel;
3 say, Thus says the Lord GOD: 3A great eagle 4with great wings and long pinions, 5rich in plumage of many colors, came 6to Lebanon 7and took the top of the cedar.
4 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.
5 Then he took of the seed of the land 8and planted it in fertile soil.[a] He placed it beside abundant waters. 9He set it like a willow twig,
6 and it sprouted and became a 10low 11spreading vine, and its branches turned toward him, and its roots remained where it stood. So it became a vine and produced branches and put out boughs.
7 12"And there was another great eagle with great wings and much plumage, 13and behold, this vine bent its roots toward him and shot forth its branches toward him from 14the bed where it was planted, that he might water it.
8 15It had been planted on good soil by abundant waters, that it might produce branches and bear fruit and become a noble vine.
9 "Say, Thus says the Lord GOD: 16Will it thrive? Will he not pull up its roots and cut off its fruit, so that it withers, so that all its fresh sprouting leaves wither? It will not take a strong arm or many people to pull it from its roots.
10 Behold, it is planted; will it thrive? 17Will it not utterly wither when the east wind strikes it--wither away on the bed where it sprouted?"
11 Then the word of the LORD came to me:
12 "Say now to 18the rebellious house, 19Do you not know what these things mean? Tell them, behold, 20the king of Babylon came to Jerusalem, and took her king and her princes and brought them to him to Babylon.
13 21And he took one of the royal offspring[b]22and made a covenant with him, 23putting him under oath (24the chief men of the land he had taken away),
14 that the kingdom might be humble and not lift itself up, and keep his covenant that it might stand.
15 25But he rebelled against him by sending his ambassadors 26to Egypt, that they might give him horses and a large army. 27Will he thrive? Can one escape who does such things? Can he 28break the covenant and yet escape?
16 29"As I live, declares the Lord GOD, surely 30in the place where the king dwells 31who made him king, whose oath he despised, and whose covenant with him he broke, in Babylon he shall die.
17 32Pharaoh with his mighty army and great company will not help him in war, 33when mounds are cast up and siege walls built to cut off many lives.
18 He despised the oath in breaking the covenant, and behold, he gave his hand and did all these things; he shall not escape.
19 Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: As I live, surely it is my oath that he despised, and my covenant that he broke. I will return it upon his head.
20 34I will spread my net over him, and he shall be taken in my snare, and I will bring him to Babylon 35and enter into judgment with him there 36for the treachery he has committed against me.
21 And all the pick[c] of his troops shall fall by the sword, 37and the survivors shall be scattered to every wind, and you shall know that 38I am the LORD; I have spoken."
22 Thus says the Lord GOD: 39"I myself will take a sprig from the lofty top of the cedar and will set it out. 40I will break off from the topmost of its young twigs a tender one, and 41I myself will plant it on a high and lofty mountain.
23 42On the mountain height of Israel will I plant it, that it may bear branches and produce fruit and become a noble cedar. 43And under it will dwell every kind of bird; in the shade of its branches birds of every sort will nest.
24 And all the trees of the field shall know that I am the LORD; 44I bring low the high tree, and make high the low tree, dry up 45the green tree, and make 46the dry tree flourish. 47I am the LORD; I have spoken, and I will do it."

Ezekiel 17 Commentary

Chapter 17

A parable relative to the Jewish nation. (1-10) to which an explanation is added. (11-21) A direct promise of the Messiah. (22-24)

Verses 1-10 Mighty conquerors are aptly likened to birds or beasts of prey, but their destructive passions are overruled to forward God's designs. Those who depart from God, only vary their crimes by changing one carnal confidence for another, and never will prosper.

Verses 11-21 The parable is explained, and the particulars of the history of the Jewish nation at that time may be traced. Zedekiah had been ungrateful to his benefactor, which is a sin against God. In every solemn oath, God is appealed to as a witness of the sincerity of him that swears. Truth is a debt owing to all men. If the professors of the true religion deal treacherously with those of a false religion, their profession makes their sin the worse; and God will the more surely and severely punish it. The Lord will not hold those guiltless who take his name in vain; and no man shall escape the righteous judgment of God who dies under unrepented guilt.

Verses 22-24 The unbelief of man shall not make the promise of God of none effect. The parable of a tree, used in the threatening, is here presented in the promise. It appears only applicable to Jesus, the Son of David, the Messiah of God. The kingdom of Satan, which has borne so long, so large a sway, shall be broken, and the kingdom of Christ, which was looked upon with contempt, shall be established. Blessed be God, our Redeemer is seen even by the ends of the earth. We may find refuge from the wrath to come, and from every enemy and danger, under his shadow; and believers are fruitful in him.

Cross References 47

  • 1. See Ezekiel 2:1
  • 2. [Ezekiel 20:49; Ezekiel 24:3]
  • 3. Jeremiah 48:40
  • 4. ver. 7
  • 5. ver. 7
  • 6. [Jeremiah 22:23]
  • 7. ver. 22; Ezekiel 31:3, 4, 10
  • 8. See Deuteronomy 8:7-10
  • 9. [Isaiah 44:4]
  • 10. [ver. 14]
  • 11. Ezekiel 15:6
  • 12. [ver. 15]
  • 13. [ver. 15]
  • 14. [Ezekiel 31:4]
  • 15. [See ver. 5 above]
  • 16. [See ver. 7 above]
  • 17. Ezekiel 19:12; [Hosea 13:15]
  • 18. See Ezekiel 2:3-5
  • 19. See Ezekiel 12:9-11
  • 20. 2 Kings 24:11, 12
  • 21. 2 Kings 24:17
  • 22. ver. 15, 16, 18; 2 Chronicles 36:13
  • 23. [Ezekiel 21:23]
  • 24. 2 Kings 24:14, 15
  • 25. [ver. 7; Ezekiel 23:27; 2 Kings 24:20; 2 Chronicles 36:13; Jeremiah 37:5-7]
  • 26. Deuteronomy 17:16; [Isaiah 31:1, 3]; Isaiah 36:6, 9
  • 27. [ver. 9, 10]
  • 28. Ezekiel 16:59; [ver. 13]
  • 29. See Ezekiel 16:48
  • 30. [Ezekiel 12:13]
  • 31. ver. 13
  • 32. ver. 15; See Jeremiah 37:5-8
  • 33. See Ezekiel 4:2
  • 34. See Ezekiel 12:13
  • 35. [Ezekiel 20:35; Ezekiel 38:22]
  • 36. See Ezekiel 14:13
  • 37. See Ezekiel 5:10
  • 38. Ezekiel 21:17, 32; Ezekiel 26:5, 14; Ezekiel 28:10; Ezekiel 30:12; Ezekiel 34:24; Ezekiel 39:5; [ver. 24]
  • 39. ver. 3
  • 40. ver. 4
  • 41. [Psalms 2:6]
  • 42. Ezekiel 20:40; Ezekiel 34:14
  • 43. Ezekiel 31:6; Daniel 4:12; Matthew 13:32
  • 44. [Ezekiel 21:26, 27]
  • 45. Ezekiel 20:47; [Luke 23:31]
  • 46. Ezekiel 20:47; [Luke 23:31]
  • 47. Ezekiel 22:14; Ezekiel 24:14; Ezekiel 36:36; Ezekiel 37:14

Footnotes 3

  • [a]. Hebrew in a field of seed
  • [b]. Hebrew seed
  • [c]. Some Hebrew manuscripts, Syriac, Targum; most Hebrew manuscripts all the fugitives

Chapter Summary


Under the simile of two eagles and a vine are represented the kings of Babylon and Egypt, and the condition of the Jews, who are threatened with ruin for their perfidy; and yet a promise is made of the raising up of the house of Judah, and family of David, in the Messiah. The prophet is bid to deliver a riddle or parable to the house of Israel, Eze 17:1,2. The riddle or parable is concerning two eagles and a vine, which is delivered, Eze 17:3-10; and the explanation of it is in Eze 17:11-15; and then the destruction of the Jews is threatened for their treachery to the king of Babylon, Eze 17:16-21; and the chapter is closed with a promise of the Messiah, and the prosperity of his kingdom, Eze 17:22-24.

Ezekiel 17 Commentaries

The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.