1 And the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 2 "Son of man, put forth a riddle and speak a parable to the house of Israel, 3 And say, 'Thus says the Lord GOD: "A great eagle with great wings, long-winged, full of feathers, which had diverse colors, came to Lebanon and took the highest branch of the cedar. 4 He cropped off the top of its young twigs and carried it into a land of traders. He set it in a city of merchants. 5 He also took some of the seed of the land and planted it in a fruitful field. He placed it by great waters and set it as a willow tree. 6 And it grew and became a spreading vine of low stature, whose branches turned toward him and its roots were under him. So it became a vine, and brought forth branches and shot forth sprigs.
7 "There was also another great eagle with great wings and many feathers, and behold, this vine bent her roots toward him and shot forth her branches toward him, so that he might water it by the furrows of her plantation. 8 It was planted in good soil by great waters so that it might bring forth branches, bear fruit, and be an ample vine."' 9 Say, 'Thus says the Lord GOD: "Shall it prosper? Shall he not pull up its roots and cut off its fruit so that it may wither? It shall wither in all the leaves of her spring, even without great power or many people to pluck it up by its roots. 10 Indeed, 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."'"
11 Moreover, the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 12 "Now say to the rebellious house, 'Do you not know what these things mean?' Tell them, 'Behold, the king of Babylon has come to Jerusalem and has taken its king and its princes and led them with him to Babylon, 13 And has taken someone from the king's offspring and made a covenant with him, bringing him under an oath. He has also taken the mighty of the land, 14 So that the kingdom might be base and not lift itself up, but keep his covenant so that it might stand. 15 But he rebelled against him in sending his ambassadors into Egypt, so that they might give him horses and many people. Shall he prosper? Shall he escape who does such things? Or shall he break the covenant and be delivered? 16 As I live,' says the Lord GOD, 'surely in the place where the king dwells who made him king, whose oath he despised and whose covenant he broke, even with him in the midst of Babylon he shall die. 17 Pharaoh, with his mighty army and great company, shall not help him in the war when they cast up siege-mounds and build forts to cut off many lives. 18 Seeing that he despised the oath by breaking the covenant, when behold, he had given his hand and has done all these things, he shall not escape.'" 19 Therefore, thus says the Lord GOD: "As I live, surely my oath that he has despised and my covenant that he has broken, even that I will recompense upon his own head. 20 And I will spread my net upon him, and he shall be taken in my snare. And I will bring him to Babylon and plead with him there for his trespass that he has trespassed against me. 21 And all his fugitives with all his bands shall fall by the sword, and those who remain shall be scattered toward all winds. And you shall know that I, the LORD, have spoken it."
22 Thus says the Lord GOD: "I will also take of the highest branch of the high cedar, and will set it. I will crop off from the top of its young twigs a tender one and plant it upon a high and eminent mountain. 23 On the mountain of the height of Israel I will plant it. And it shall bring forth boughs, bear fruit, and be a majestic cedar. And under it all birds of every wing shall dwell. In the shade of its branches they shall dwell. 24 And all the trees of the field shall know that I, the LORD, have brought down the high tree, have exalted the low tree, have dried up the green tree, and have made the dry tree to flourish. I, the LORD, have spoken and have done it."
John Gill's Chapter Summary:
Under the simile of two eagles and a vine are represented the kings of Babylon and Egypt and the condition of the Jews, who are threatened with ruin for their perfidy; and yet a promise is made of the raising up of the house of Judah and family of David in the Messiah. The prophet is bid to deliver a riddle or parable to the house of Israel (Ezekiel 17:1-2). The riddle or parable is concerning two eagles and a vine, which is delivered (Ezekiel 17:3-10); and the explanation of it (Ezekiel 17:11-15); and then the destruction of the Jews is threatened for their treachery to the king of Babylon (Ezekiel 17:16-21); and the chapter is closed with a promise of the Messiah and the prosperity of his kingdom (Ezekiel 17:22-24).
[v.23] - Quoted in Matthew 13:32; Luke 13:19.