The Parable of the Eagles

Text: Ezekiel 17


I.         God now turns his attention to the king of Israel, Zedekiah.

            A.        He offers a riddle and a parable - Ezekiel 17:1-2

                        1.         This is not to obscure, but to help fix the point in their minds.

II.        The Parable - Ezekiel 17:3-10

            A.        A great eagle comes and removes the very top branch of a mighty cedar tree.

                        1.         It is brought to a land of traders and planted there.

            B.        The eagle then planted seed in good, fertile soil near a good source of water

            C.        Instead of a tree, it grew a vine.

                        1.         The branches grew toward the eagle

                        2.         But the hidden roots reached toward a second eagle

                        3.         Some of its branches also reach out toward the second eagle

            D.        So even through it was well planted, it had rejected what it was given and sought water elsewhere

            E.        Now, what does a farmer do with a wandering vine?

                        1.         It will be pulled up so that it cannot regrow

III.       The Explanation - Ezekiel 17:11-21

            A.        God gives a detailed explanation because they are too rebellious to understand

            B.        The eagle is the Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon who came and removed the king and princes of Jerusalem - II Kings 24:11-16

            C.        Jehoiachin’s uncle was then placed on the throne - II Kings 24:17

                        1.         He was placed under oath to the king of Babylon - II Chronicles 36:11-13

                        2.         The kingdom could not become powerful, but it could exist under its oath to Nebuchadnezzar

                        3.         For a conquered nation, it was treated well.

            D.        However Zedekiah rebelled

                        1.         Warnings not to rebel - Jeremiah 27:12-17

                        2.         They rebelled anyway - II Kings 24:20

                        3.         He sought to make an alliance with Egypt - Isaiah 30:1-4; 31:1-3

                                    a.         Zedekiah hoped to escape - Jeremiah 32:1-5; 34:1-7

                                    b.         Egypt did start to help - Jeremiah 37:1-10

                                    c.         Zedekiah still hoped to escape - Jeremiah 38:14-23

                        4.         Because he broke his oath to Babylon, he would die in Babylon - Jeremiah 52:11

                                    a.         Recall that Ezekiel had prophesied it before - Ezekiel 12:13

                                    b.         Numbers 30:2 - Oaths were not to be broken

                                    c.         Their word was useless - Hosea 10:4

            E.        Pharaoh and the Egyptians will not help Zedekiah once the war begins - Ezekiel 17:17

                        1.         Lamentations 4:17 - Looking for help that would not come

            F.        God was especially angered that Zedekiah broke his oath before God

                        1.         It is taking God’s name in vain - Deuteronomy 5:11

                        2.         Oaths before God are especially solemn - Ecclesiastes 5:2-6

                        3.         God would bring punishment on Zedekiah’s head - Psalm 7:16

            G.        Zedekiah would be trapped and tried in Babylon

                        1.         Net - sudden calamity - Ecclesiastes 9:12

                        2.         All trying to escape with him will be killed - II Kings 25:1-6

                        3.         Loyalist who remained behind will be scattered - II Kings 25:10-11

IV.      Extending the parable - Ezekiel 17:22-24

            A.        A tender branch would be removed and planted on a lofty mountain

                        1.         The Messiah is the branch - Isaiah 4:2; 11:1; Jeremiah 23:5; 33:15; Zechariah 3:8; 6:12

                        2.         To grow as a tender plant in a desolate area - Isaiah 53:2

                        3.         On a mountain top - Psalm 89:27; 2:6-8

            B.        The mountain is the church, which attracts people from all nations - Isaiah 2:2-4

                        1.         A permanent kingdom - Daniel 2:35, 44

                        2.         All people will stream to it - Micah 4:1

            C.        The tree grows great

                        1.         Recall the parable of the mustard seed - Matthew 13:31-32

                        2.         Colossians 3:11 - all are brought in

            D.        The high tree is brought down (Zedekiah) and it is dried up (all his descendants killed) - Isaiah 26:5.

            E.        The low tree is exalted (the Messiah) and the dry tree flourishes (though the Messiah had no offspring, his kingdom grows).- Isaiah 9:6-7; Luke 1:32-33