The Agora
Bible Commentary

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Ezekiel 17

Eze 17:1

Eze 17: "The great parable of the two eagles and the vine describe the situation in Zedekiah's last days. The great eagle is representative of Nebuchadnezzar's Babylon; the other eagle speaks of the southern power of Egypt. Both were important in the final history of the kingdom of Judah. The vine represented Judah, the tender planting of Yahweh, which had become affected by the disease of humanity, and sought for support from its companion nations, ignoring the strength and power of Yahweh's protection. The chapter presents 'The Allegory of Zedekiah, the Covenant Breaker,' and outlines: (1) Zedekiah's power set up by the Babylonian Eagle: vv 1-6. (2) The king turns to Egypt for help: vv 7-10. (3) Zedekiah's treachery proves fatal: vv 11-21. (4) The Zedekiah who keeps Covenants: vv 22-24.

"Thus the desolation brought about by Zedekiah (Yahweh is Righteous), will be restored by a king with the name 'Yahweh our Righteousness,' fulfilled in the Lord Jesus Christ. Thus the 'one whose right it is' will uphold the name of the last king of Judah, and restore the throne of David in accordance with the principles of true righteousness. Notice the constant ref to 'covenant' in this ch (6 times)" (GEM).

Eze 17:2

ALLEGORY: "Riddle" in KJV. The word "chiydah" is used of a secret -- and usually a dark secret at that: sw Num 12:8 ("riddles"); 1Ki 10:1 and 2Ch 9:1 ("hard questions"). However, here and in several other places, the "riddles" are attributed to the wise, so clearly the idea is of things that are revealed only to those who seek them out (Psa 49:4; 78:2; Pro 1:6).

Eze 17:3

A GREAT EAGLE: The king of Babylon (v 12): Hab 1:8; Rev 12:14; Deu 28:49; Dan 7:4; Jer 4:13; 48:40; Lam 4:19. It seems strange that God should choose to use the picture of the eagle for this nation of evil, where it is elsewhere, apparently used mainly for powers of good. This may perhaps indicate that the real power behind Nebuchadnezzar, in this endeavor at least, is the Holy Spirit!

TAKING HOLD OF THE TOP OF A CEDAR: An allusion to Solomon's "house of the forest of Lebanon" (1Ki 7:2), which became the armory of Jerusalem. Cp also Jer 22:6,7,23; Isa 2:13; 10:34.

Eze 17:4

ITS TOPMOST SHOOT: The leading men of the land (v 13).

CARRIED IT AWAY TO A LAND OF MERCHANTS: Jehoiachin and princes were taken to Babylon, along with Ezekiel (2Ki 24:10-16).

Eze 17:5

Vv 5,6: Zedekiah replaces Jehoiakim, becoming a subordinate king with leanings toward and dependence upon Babylon (2Ki 24:17).

Eze 17:6

BRANCHES... BOUGHS: Leaves, and promises, but no actual fruit.

Eze 17:7

ANOTHER GREAT EAGLE: Another nation of lesser strength and prestige: ie Egypt of v 15.

Eze 17:8

BEAR FRUIT: "This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples" (John 15:8).

Eze 17:12

THE KING OF BABYLON: The eagle of v 3.

Eze 17:13

THE LEADING MEN OF THE LAND: The top branches of v 4.

Eze 17:15

THE KING REBELLED: Zedekiah (2Ki 24:20; 2Ch 36:13).

BY SENDING HIS ENVOYS TO EGYPT TO GET HORSES AND A LARGE ARMY: The ineffectual support of Egypt at final siege: Jer 37:5-8; 39:1,2,7; 52:11.

Eze 17:22

A SHOOT FROM THE VERY TOP OF A CEDAR: Christ the branch (Eze 34:29; Isa 53:1,2; 2Sa 7:12-16), of the highest nobility of the Land.

Eze 17:23

BIRDS OF EVERY KIND WILL NEST IN IT; THEY WILL FIND SHELTER IN THE SHADE OF ITS BRANCHES: Spoken of Babylon and Nebuchadnezzar in Dan 4:12: "Its leaves were beautiful, its fruit abundant, and on it was food for all. Under it the beasts of the field found shelter, and the birds of the air lived in its branches; from it every creature was fed."

Eze 17:24

Four phases: (1) bring down the tall tree: Jehoiachin's captivity; (2) make the low tree grow tall: restoration of Zerubbabel; (3) dry up the green tree: fall of Jerusalem (Luk 23:31); and (4) make the dry tree flourish: the future greatness of the new branch, Christ.

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