Bible Commentaries
Ezekiel 17

Smith's Bible CommentarySmith's Commentary

Verses 1-24

Chapter 17

Now in chapter 17 he speaks a parable of a great eagle. And this is where some of these harebrained people begin to spiritualize and try to read the United States into prophecy. Because there is an eagle on the top of the flag and thus, because he uses an eagle in a parable, that must refer to the United States, you know. And they start twisting and spiritualizing to try to make this fit the United States. But, if you'll just read the beginning, there's no way that you can twist it.

And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Son of man, put forth a riddle, and speak a parable unto [who?] the house of Israel ( Ezekiel 17:1-2 );

Not to the United States, but to the house of Israel. But people get all into the spiritualizing of scriptures and they fail to read this part. And they get down into the eagle and snapping the twig from Lebanon and they start making all of these spiritual types of analogies and it just gets off the wall.

And say, thus saith the Lord GOD; A great eagle with great wings, long-winged, full of feathers, which had various colors, came unto Lebanon, and took the highest branch of the cedar ( Ezekiel 17:3 ):

Now, this greatest eagle is Nebuchadnezzar. The highest branch of the cedar would be the house of David, the king, who was Jehoiakim at this particular time.

And cropped off the top of the young twigs, and carried it to the land of traffic; and set it in the city of merchants ( Ezekiel 17:4 ).

As the king was taken as a captive to Babylon.

He took also of the seed of the land, and planted it in a fruitful field ( Ezekiel 17:5 );

That is, he took the son, Zedekiah, and he made him the king, entering into a covenant. Swearing by God you'll be faithful to him and so forth, Zedekiah made a pledge to Nebuchadnezzar to rule the people as a vassal state to Babylon, and he swore by God his allegiance to Nebuchadnezzar. But, of course, he rebelled against it. He did not honor this covenant that he had sworn by the Lord.

So he took also the seed [that is the eagle] of the land, and planted it in a fruitful field [he took Zedekiah]; he placed it by the great waters, and set it up as a willow tree. And it grew, and became a spreading vine of low stature, whose branches turned toward him, and the roots thereof were under him: so it became a vine, and brought forth branches, and shot forth sprigs. But there was also another great eagle [Egypt] with great wings [Pharaoh Haaibre with great wings] and many feathers: and, behold, this vine did bend her roots toward him, ( Ezekiel 17:5-7 ),

Zedekiah sent down to Egypt to make an alliance to come up against the Babylonian army.

And it was planted in a good soil by great waters, that it might bring forth branches, and that it might bear fruit, that it might be a goodly vine. Say thou, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Shall it prosper? shall he not pull up the roots thereof, and cut off the fruit thereof, that it wither? it shall wither in all the leaves of her spring, even without great power or many people to pluck it up by the roots thereof. Yea, behold, being planted, shall it prosper? shall it not utterly wither, when the east wind touches it? it shall wither in the furrows where it grew ( Ezekiel 17:8-10 ).

So this alliance with Egypt will not stand, but the nation will be destroyed. Zedekiah will be destroyed.

And so it goes on to speak of his rebellion.

Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Say now to the rebellious house [to Zedekiah], Know ye not what these things mean? tell them, Behold, the king of Babylon is come to Jerusalem, and he has taken the king thereof, and the princes thereof, and led them with him to Babylon; And he hath taken of the king's seed ( Ezekiel 17:11-13 ),

And, of course, he's explaining now this parable, and it's nothing to do with the United States. This is the explanation of this eagle parable. It's the king of Babylon who has come to Jerusalem and taken the king thereof and the princes thereof, and led them with him to Babylon. And he has taken the king's seed, and that is Zedekiah.

made a covenant with him, and has taken an oath of him: he has also taken the mighty of the land. That the kingdom might be base, that it might not lift itself up, but that by the keeping of his covenant it might stand. But he [Zedekiah] rebelled against Nebuchadnezzar in sending his ambassadors to Egypt [that other eagle], that they might give him horses and many people. Shall he prosper? shall he escape that has done such things? and shall he break the covenant, or be delivered? As I live, saith the Lord GOD, surely in the place where the king dwells that made him king, whose oath he despised, and whose covenant he broke, even with him in the midst of Babylon he shall die ( Ezekiel 17:13-16 ).

And Zedekiah was indeed brought to Babylon and died there.

Neither shall Pharaoh with his mighty army and great company make for him in the war, by casting up mounts, and building forts, to cut off many persons: Seeing he despised the oath by breaking the covenant, when, lo, he had given his hand ( Ezekiel 17:17-18 ),

You know, they shook on it and all.

and hath done all these things, he shall not escape. Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; As I live, surely my oath that he has despised and my covenant that he has broken, even it will I recompense upon his own head. And I will spread my net upon him, and he shall be taken in my snare, and I will bring him to Babylon, and will plead with him there for his trespass that he hath trespassed against me. And all of his fugitives with all of his bands shall fall by the sword, and they that remain shall be scattered toward all the winds: and ye shall know that I am the LORD and I have spoken it. Thus saith the Lord GOD; I will also take of the highest branch of the high cedar ( Ezekiel 17:18-22 )

And this is a prophecy that goes on now concerning Jesus Christ. As He was the root out of the stem of Jesse, or the rod out of the stem of Jesse. So, again, the highest branch from David, the high cedar.

I will set it; I will crop off the top of his young twigs a tender one, and will plant it upon [mount Zion] the high mountain and eminent: And in the mountain of the height of Israel [mount Zion] will I plant it: and it shall bring forth boughs, and bear fruit, and be a goodly cedar: and under it shall dwell all of the fowls of every wing; and the shadow of the branches thereof shall they dwell. And all of the trees of the field shall know that I the LORD have brought down the high tree, and have exalted the low tree, I have dried up the green tree, and have made the dry tree to flourish: I the LORD have spoken it and have done it ( Ezekiel 17:22-24 ). "

Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Ezekiel 17". "Smith's Bible Commentary". 2014.