Ezekiel 17: Eagles and Vines


(24 verses, 4:21 to read)

What I am about to READ

  • The Lord preaches to Israel through riddle and allegory.


  • v. 1-10–The riddle
  • v.11-18–The riddle explained historically
  • v. 19-21–The riddle explained theologically
  • v.22-24–The kingdom of God for all people


  • v.1-10–Standing alone this riddle could mean anything and nothing.  We need more information that is supplied for us later in the chapter and throughout the entirety of the Book of Ezekiel and the larger context of the Bible
  • v.11-18–One thing that we must understand and forever realize is that God is intimately involved in human history.  He dis not start the world spinning and then step away.  This is seen in the history given throughout the OT, but most importantly seen in the Son becoming man, dying on the cross, and rising from the dead.
    • The Players:
      • The first eagle is Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon.
      • The cedar refers to Jerusalem/Israel
      • The top portion that is broken off refers to King Jehoiachin
      • The member of the royal family that is set up as vassal is Jehoiachin’s uncle Mattaniah, who is renamed Zedekiah.
      • Zedekiah rebels against Nebuchadnezzar and attempts to make an allegiance with Egypt, the second eagle.
      • The uprooting of the vine is punishment met out on Zedekiah and Jerusalem by Babylon
      • (All of this is recorded in 2 Kings 24 and 2 Chronicles 36)
  • v.19-21–We see that everything that has taken place in v. 11-18 is under the authority of God and Him alone.  Israel will be punished for breaking the covenant that God made with them.
  • v.22-24–This is a sign of the Messianic Kingdom that is set up under Christ.  He, ultimately is the sprig that is taken off of the top of the cedar.  But his time it is not Nebuchadnezzar that takes the sprig, but God Himself.  And from this sprig grows a vine that is large enough to offer cover and protection to every bird of the air; to every people under heaven.
    • This is ultimately made possible through he death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, which took place in time and space.  It is Christ that sets up the Church; and it is under Her protection that the Lord provides salvation to all of mankind.  The forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to all.  And to every people baptism is offered and given so that they might be sons and daughters of God.


  • In reading the OT, the history and the prophecy provided, we must always view it through the lens on Jesus.  Apart from Him history is just random events that hold no clue to the Gospel.  But through Him, history and theology work together as one in order to proclaim the salvation that comes form our God and takes place in time and space.

Questions? Comments? Join the conversation in our Facebook Group.

Lord’s Blessings,
Rev. Eli Lietzau

Faith in Christ Lutheran Church, Albuquerque, NM





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