Two Eagles and a Vine: A Riddle and a Parable

The school bell has rung, class is now in session.

I have been studying the Book of Ezekiel and decided to park in chapter 17.

I came across a really interesting riddle and parable. Let me preface this by defining the two. A riddle is usually a statement, question or phrase containing a double or veiled meaning; presented as a puzzle to be solved. A parable is a simple story used to illustrate a moral or spiritual lesson. Jesus was really good at using these. Let’s begin!

This is the beginning of the parable of the Two Eagles and a Vine. Before the Book of Ezekiel, it was prophesied that the Children of Israel would fall into the hands of their enemies, due to their disobedience and lack of loyalty. The first eagle represented King Nebuchadnezzar, and the twigs on the top, represented the nobility of the Children of Israel. He came, uprooted and deposited them in the city of merchants (Babylon). The King made an oath with the Children of Israel and their leader, King Zedekiah. The oath basically stated that they would remain in submission to him, and would be well cared for. He even allowed them to live freely. Think about your life right now. Have you ever felt uprooted and taken out of your comfort zone? Have you felt like you have been given over to the hands of your enemies? Have you felt powerless to stop what was happening? What if I told you that this COULD possibly be the Will of God for your life?

The twigs (Children of Israel) were placed in a fruitful field, by great waters and a tree. They were provided for by God, even though they were in captivity. This captivity was a part of God’s judgement on their disobedience, but through His mercy, He still provided a comfortable living for them. Consider this, the Children of Israel were taken and placed in a fruitful place, the only thing they had to do was pay taxes and be under the rule of King Nebuchadnezzar. I know in hindsight it sounds easy, but how many times have you felt forsaken, or wondered why you were going through a certain situation? This is how King Zedekiah felt for himself and his people. Over time, the twigs began to grow and with them came forth new generations. As they began to grow, another eagle came onto the scene.

The second eagle represented Egypt. King Zedekiah began to despise the oath he made with King Nebuchadnezzar, and plotted on how to overturn him. He began to conspire with the King of Egypt and the more they talked about joining against the King of Babylon, the more King Zedekiah’s judgement became cloudy. The parable went on to describe how the branches (Children of Israel), began to divide between each eagle. God was sorely displeased about King Zedekiah’s plan to break his oath with King Nebuchadnezzar, because it was ultimately God’s plan for the Children of Israel at that time. This part of the book was profound because essentially, King Zedekiah thought that by seeking assistance from the King of Egypt, that he was in the will of God. He was dead wrong and God judged him for it. How often does this happen in our lives? When we use our human intellect to reason what is right or wrong, only to realize afterwards our huge mistake. This chapter caused me to reflect because I know I have made decisions in my life that I thought were God ideas, but turned out to be only good ideas. Going forward in this new year, take your eyes away from what is seen on the surface, those things can be deceiving. If King Zedekiah had been paying attention, and remembering what God had originally said; he would not have ended up dying before his time.

*Take away* Hide God’s word in your heart. He is one with His Word. You cannot know one, without the other.

The last lesson that can be learned, according to the Matthew Henry Commentary is “Those who depart from God, only multiply their wrongdoing by changing one (humanistic) confidence for another, and will never prosper.”

The school bell has rung, class dismissed!

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