Ezekiel 17

1Then the word of the Lord came to me. He said, 2“Son of man, tell this story to the family of Israel. Ask them what it means. 3Say to them: A large eagle ˻(Nebuchadnezzar)˼ with big wings came to Lebanon. The eagle had feathers covered with spots. 4The eagle broke the top out of the big cedar tree ˻(Lebanon)˼ and brought it to Canaan. The eagle set down the branch in the town of businessmen. 5Then the eagle took some of the seeds ˻(people)˼ from Canaan He planted them in good soil. He planted them by a good river. 6The seeds grew and became a grapevine. It was a good vine. The vine was not tall, but it spread to cover a large area. The vine grew stems, and smaller vines grew very long. 7Then another eagle with big wings saw the grapevine. The eagle had many feathers. The grapevine wanted this new eagle to care for it. So it made its roots grow toward this eagle. Its branches stretched toward this eagle. The branches grew away from the field that it was planted in. The grapevine wanted the new eagle to water it. 8The grapevine was planted in a good field. It was planted near plenty of water. It could have grown branches and fruit. It could have become a very good grapevine.” 9The Lord my Master said these things. ”Do you think that plant will succeed? No! The new eagle will pull the plant from the ground. And the bird will break the plant’s roots. It will eat up all the grapes. Then the new leaves will wilt. That plant will be very weak. It won’t take strong arms or a powerful nation to pull that plant up by the roots. 10Will the plant grow where it is planted? No! The hot east wind will blow and the plant will become dry and die. It will die there where it was planted.” 11The word of the Lord came to me. He said, 12“Explain this story to the people ˻of Israel˼—they always turn against me. Tell them these things: The first eagle is ˻Nebuchadnezzar˼, the king of Babylonia. He came to Jerusalem and took away the king and other leaders. He brought them to Babylonia. 13Then Nebuchadnezzar made an agreement with a man from the king’s family. Nebuchadnezzar forced that man to make a promise. So this man promised to be loyal to Nebuchadnezzar. Nebuchadnezzar made this man the new king of Judah. Then he took all the powerful men away from Judah. 14So Judah became a weak kingdom that could not turn against King Nebuchadnezzar. The people were forced to keep the agreement Nebuchadnezzar made with the new king of Judah. 15But this new king tried to rebel against Nebuchadnezzar anyway! He sent messengers to Egypt to ask for help. The new king asked for many horses and soldiers. Now, do you think the new king of Judah will succeed? Do you think the new king will have enough power to break the agreement and escape punishment?” 16The Lord my Master says, “By my life, I promise this new king will die in Babylonia! Nebuchadnezzar made this man the new king of Judah. But this man broke his promise with Nebuchadnezzar. This new king ignored that agreement. 17And the king of Egypt won’t be able to save the king of Judah. He might send many soldiers, but Egypt’s great power won’t save Judah. Nebuchadnezzar’s army will build dirt roads and dirt walls to capture the city. Many people will die. 18But the king of Judah won’t escape. Why? Because he ignored his agreement. He broke his promise to Nebuchadnezzar. 19The Lord my Master makes this promise: “By my life, I swear that I will punish the king of Judah. Why? Because he ignored my warnings. He broke our agreement. 20I will set my trap, and he will be caught in it. And I will bring him to Babylon and I will punish him in that place. I will punish him because he turned against me. 21And I will destroy his army. I will destroy his best soldiers. And I will scatter the survivors to the winds. Then you will know that I am the Lord and that I told you these things.” 22The Lord my Master said these things: “I will take a branch from a tall cedar tree. I will take a small branch from the top of the tree. And I myself will plant it on a very high mountain. 23I myself will plant it on a high mountain in Israel. That branch will grow into a tree. It will grow branches and make fruit. It will become a beautiful cedar tree. Many birds will sit on its branches. Many birds will live in the shadows under its branches. 24“Then the other trees will know that I make tall trees fall to the ground, and I make small trees grow tall. I make green trees become dry, and I make dry trees become green. I am the Lord. If I say that I will do something, then I will do it!”

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