Two eagles, symbolic of Babylon and Egypt, and three kings. The last two kings of Israel are replaced with the Lord Himself (Ezek. 17:22-24; see Is. 11:1). A just God deals with sinners (18:19-24). Turn and live (18:31-32; 19:14).
Ezekiel was given another parable: A great eagle (Nebuchadnezzar) with great wings . . . full of feathers, which had divers (many) colours, came unto Lebanon, and took the highest branch of the cedar: He cropped off the top of his (its) young twigs, and carried it into a land of traffick (traders); he set it in a city of merchants (Ezek. 17:3-4).
This parable illustrates the vast extent of Nebuchadnezzar's dominion. The eagle's feathers represent the great number of nations he had conquered. Removing the highest branch symbolized Jehoiachin, king of Judah, and a city of merchants was Babylon where he would be taken captive.
There was also another great eagle with great wings and many feathers (Egypt): and, behold, this vine did bend her roots toward him (17:7).
The Lord God told Ezekiel to tell the people: Thus saith the Lord God; Shall it prosper? shall he not pull up the roots thereof . . . that it wither? (17:9). The purpose of this important prophecy was to warn King Zedekiah not to betray his oath of submission to Nebuchadnezzar by forming an alliance with Egypt.
The vow made to Nebuchadnezzar and sworn to in the Name of God was binding (Num. 30:2, II Chr. 36:13). Zedekiah was warned, but foolishly chose to disobey the instruction of God.
In the ninth year of his reign, King Zedekiah made a military treaty with Egypt. As a consequence, Nebuchadnezzar besieged Jerusalem and the people suffered many months of famine and pestilence before the city and Temple were captured and utterly destroyed.
Nebuchadnezzar's invasion of Judah could have been averted if Zedekiah had honorably kept his vow. We too are obligated to keep promises, even when they are made with the unsaved (Ps. 15:4.) There are always consequences when we break our promises, whether it be a marriage vow or a business transaction.
If a man vow a vow (make a promise) unto the Lord, or swear an oath to bind his soul (obligate himself) with a bond; he shall not break his word (Num. 30:2).
When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for He hath no pleasure in fools: pay that which thou hast vowed (Ecc. 5:4).
Thought for Today:
But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly (Matt. 6:6).
As the One whose forgiveness provides life everlasting (Ezek. 18:20-22). God so loved (the people of) the world, that He gave His only begotten Son (Jesus), that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16).
17:18 had given his hand =pledged his word; 18:8 not given forth upon usury . . . taken any increase =loaned money at no interest; 18:25 not equal =unfair.
Pray for International Broadcasts in honor of Joyce Rutherford's birthday • Staff: Jennifer Cunningham • Government Official: Rep. Alcee Hastings (FL) • Country: Argentina (37 million) in southern South America • Major languages: Spanish and English • Religious freedom • 87% Roman Catholic; 8% Protestant; 1.5% Muslim; 1% Jewish; 2.5% Other • Prayer Suggestion: Revere and worship the Lord with godly fear and you will have no want (Ps. 34:9).
Optional Reading: Revelation 10
Memory Verse for the Week: Philippians 1:29