New International Reader's Version

Ezekiel 17

Two Eagles and a Vine

1A message from the Lord came to me. The Lord said, “Son of man, tell the people of Israel a story about their kings. Let them know what will happen to them. Tell them, ‘The Lord and King says, “A great eagle came to the city of ‘Lebanon.’ It had powerful wings and a lot of long feathers. The feathers were colorful and beautiful. The eagle landed in the top of a cedar tree. It broke off the highest twig. The eagle carried it away to the land of Babylon. There are many traders in that land. The eagle planted the twig in the city of Babylon.

“ ‘ “Then it took from the land a seed that had just sprouted. It put it in rich soil near plenty of water. It planted the seed like a willow tree. The seed grew into a low, spreading vine. Its branches turned toward the eagle. And its roots remained under the eagle. So the seed became a vine. It produced branches and put out leaves.

“ ‘ “But there was another great eagle. It also had powerful wings and a lot of feathers. The vine now sent out its roots toward that eagle. It sent them out from the place where it was planted. And it reached out its branches to the eagle for water. The seed had been planted in good soil near plenty of water. Then it could produce branches and bear fruit. It could become a beautiful vine.” ’

“Ezekiel, tell the Israelites, ‘The Lord and King asks, “Will the vine grow? Won’t it be pulled up by its roots? Won’t all its fruit be stripped off? Won’t it dry up? All its new growth will dry up. It will not take a strong arm or many people to pull it up. 10 It has been planted, but will it grow? No. It will dry up completely when the east wind strikes it. It will dry up in the place where it grew.” ’ ”

11 A message from the Lord came to me. The Lord said, 12 “These people refuse to obey me. Ask them, ‘Don’t you know what these things mean?’ Tell them, ‘Nebuchadnezzar went to Jerusalem. He was the king of Babylon. He carried off King Jehoiachin and the nobles. He brought them back with him to the city of Babylon. 13 Then Nebuchadnezzar made a peace treaty with Zedekiah. He was a member of Jerusalem’s royal family. Nebuchadnezzar made him promise he would keep the treaty. He also took away the leading men of the land as prisoners. 14 He did it to bring down their kingdom. It would not rise again. In fact, it would be able to last only by keeping his treaty. 15 But Zedekiah turned against him. He sent messengers to Egypt. They went there to get horses and a large army. Will he succeed? Will he who does things like that escape? Can he break the peace treaty and still escape?

16 “ ‘Zedekiah will die in Babylon,’ announces the Lord and King. ‘And that is just as sure as I am alive. He will die in the land of King Nebuchadnezzar, who put him on the throne. Zedekiah didn’t keep his promise to Nebuchadnezzar and broke his treaty. 17 So Nebuchadnezzar will build ramps against the walls of Jerusalem. He will set up war machines to destroy many lives. Pharaoh will not be able to help Zedekiah during the war. The huge and mighty army of Egypt will not be of any help. 18 Zedekiah didn’t keep his promise to Nebuchadnezzar and broke his treaty. Zedekiah had made a firm promise to keep it. But he broke it anyway. So he will not escape.

19 “ ‘The Lord and King says, “Zedekiah didn’t keep the promise he made in my name. He broke the treaty. So I will pay him back. And that is just as sure as I am alive. 20 I will spread out my net to catch him. He will be caught in my trap. I will bring him to Babylon. I will judge him there because he was not faithful to me. 21 All Zedekiah’s best troops will be killed by swords. Those who are left alive will be scattered to the winds. Then you will know that I have spoken. I am the Lord.”

22 “ ‘The Lord and King says, “I myself will get a twig from the very top of a cedar tree and plant it. I will break off the highest twig. I will plant it on a very high mountain. 23 I will plant it on the high mountains of Israel. It will produce branches and bear fruit. It will become a beautiful cedar tree. All kinds of birds will make their nests in it. They will live in the shade of its branches. 24 All the trees in the forest will know that I bring down tall trees. I make short trees grow tall. I dry up green trees. And I make dry trees green.”

“ ‘I have spoken. I will do this. I am the Lord.’ ”