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Ezekiel 17:2-10

17:2 “Son of man, offer a riddle, 1  and tell a parable to the house of Israel. 17:3 Say to them: ‘This is what the sovereign Lord says: 2 

“‘A great eagle 3  with broad wings, long feathers, 4 

with full plumage which was multi-hued, 5 

came to Lebanon 6  and took the top of the cedar.

17:4 He plucked off its topmost shoot;

he brought it to a land of merchants

and planted it in a city of traders.

17:5 He took one of the seedlings 7  of the land,

placed it in a cultivated plot; 8 

a shoot by abundant water,

like a willow he planted it.

17:6 It sprouted and became a vine,

spreading low to the ground; 9 

its branches turning toward him, 10  its roots were under itself. 11 

So it became a vine; it produced shoots and sent out branches.

17:7 “‘There was another great eagle 12 

with broad wings and thick plumage.

Now this vine twisted its roots toward him

and sent its branches toward him

to be watered from the soil where it was planted.

17:8 In a good field, by abundant waters, it was planted

to grow branches, bear fruit, and become a beautiful vine.

17:9 “‘Say to them: This is what the sovereign Lord says:

“‘Will it prosper?

Will he not rip out its roots

and cause its fruit to rot 13  and wither?

All its foliage 14  will wither.

No strong arm or large army

will be needed to pull it out by its roots. 15 

17:10 Consider! It is planted, but will it prosper?

Will it not wither completely when the east wind blows on it?

Will it not wither in the soil where it sprouted?’”

1 sn The verb occurs elsewhere in the OT only in Judg 14:12-19, where Samson supplies a riddle.

2 tn The parable assumes the defection of Zedekiah to Egypt and his rejection of Babylonian lordship.

3 sn The great eagle symbolizes Nebuchadnezzar (17:12).

4 tn Hebrew has two words for wings; it is unknown whether they are fully synonymous or whether one term distinguishes a particular part of the wing such as the wing coverts (nearest the shoulder), secondaries (mid-feathers of the wing) or primaries (last and longest section of the wing).

5 tn This term was used in 16:10, 13, and 18 of embroidered cloth.

6 sn In the parable Lebanon apparently refers to Jerusalem (17:12).

7 tn Heb “took of the seed of the land.” For the vine imagery, “seedling” is a better translation, though in its subsequent interpretation the “seed” refers to Zedekiah through its common application to offspring.

8 tn Heb “a field for seed.”

9 tn Heb “short of stature.”

10 tn That is, the eagle.

11 tn Or “him,” i.e., the eagle.

12 sn The phrase another great eagle refers to Pharaoh Hophra.

13 tn The Hebrew root occurs only here in the OT and appears to have the meaning of “strip off.” In application to fruit the meaning may be “cause to rot.”

14 tn Heb “all the טַרְפֵּי (tarpey) of branches.” The word טַרְפֵּי occurs only here in the Bible; its precise meaning is uncertain.

15 tn Or “there will be no strong arm or large army when it is pulled up by the roots.”

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