King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

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Ezekiel 17

A parable relative to the Jewish nation. (1-10) to which an explanation is added. (11-21) A direct promise of the Messiah. (22-24)

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A parable relative to the Jewish nation

1 And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,

2 Son of man, put forth a riddle, and speak a parable unto the house of Israel;

3 And say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; A great eagle with great wings, longwinged, full of feathers, which had divers colours, came unto Lebanon, and took the highest branch of the cedar:

4 He cropped off the top of his young twigs, and carried it into a land of traffick; he set it in a city of merchants.

5 He took also 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 the roots thereof 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 did bend her roots toward him, and shot forth her branches toward him, that he might water it by the furrows of her plantation.

8 It was planted in a good soil by great waters, that it might bring forth branches, and that it might bear fruit, that it might be a goodly vine.

9 Say thou, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Shall it prosper? shall he not pull up the roots thereof, and cut off the fruit thereof, that it wither? it shall wither in all the leaves of her spring, even without great power or many people to pluck it up by the roots thereof.

10 Yea, behold, being planted, shall it prosper? shall it not utterly wither, when the east wind toucheth it? it shall wither in the furrows where it grew.

to which an explanation is added

11 Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,

12 Say now to the rebellious house, Know ye not what these things mean? tell them, Behold, the king of Babylon is come to Jerusalem, and hath taken the king thereof, and the princes thereof, and led them with him to Babylon;

13 And hath taken of the king’s seed, and made a covenant with him, and hath taken an oath of him: he hath also taken the mighty of the land:

14 That the kingdom might be base, that it might not lift itself up, but that by keeping of his covenant it might stand.

15 But he rebelled against him in sending his ambassadors into Egypt, that they might give him horses and much people. Shall he prosper? shall he escape that doeth such things? or shall he break the covenant, and be delivered?

16 As I live, saith the Lord GOD, surely in the place where the king dwelleth that made him king, whose oath he despised, and whose covenant he brake, even with him in the midst of Babylon he shall die.

17 Neither shall Pharaoh with his mighty army and great company make for him in the war, by casting up mounts, and building forts, to cut off many persons:

18 Seeing he despised the oath by breaking the covenant, when, lo, he had given his hand, and hath done all these things, he shall not escape.

19 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; As I live, surely mine oath that he hath despised, and my covenant that he hath broken, even it will I 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 will plead with him there for his trespass that he hath trespassed against me.

21 And all his fugitives with all his bands shall fall by the sword, and they that remain shall be scattered toward all winds: and ye shall know that I the LORD have spoken it.

A direct promise of the Messiah

22 Thus saith 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 his young twigs a tender one, and will plant it upon an high mountain and eminent:

23 In the mountain of the height of Israel will I plant it: and it shall bring forth boughs, and bear fruit, and be a goodly cedar: and under it shall dwell all fowl of every wing; in the shadow of the branches thereof shall they 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.

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G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 2. Riddle. Thus the prophets and Christ often delivered their doctrine. C.

Ver. 3. A large eagle. Nabuchodonosor, king of Babylon. Ch. — The multitude of his subjects, and his rapid and cruel conquests, are designated. C. — He spoils the vineyard of Jerusalem, notwithstanding the Jews had applied to another eagle, the king of Egypt. v. 12. W. — Libanus. That is, Jerusalem; (Ch.) or invaded the country, (C.) entering by Libanus. H. — Cedar. King Jechonias Ch. and his nobles, (4 Kin. xxiv. 11.) with the most precious effects.

Ver. 4. Twigs. The young king and his officers, who had scarcely got established. C. — Chanaan. This name, which signifies traffic, is not taken here for Palestine, but for Chaldea; and the city of merchants here mentioned is Babylon. Ch. — It was so corrupt as to deserve this appellation, as Rome was afterwards styled Babylon. Its situation was very favourable to traffic, and its dominions were very extensive. C.

Ver. 5. Land. Sedecias, whom he made king. Ch. — He was brother of the dethroned king, and have every prospect of reigning long, if he had proved faithful. C.

Ver. 6. Towards him. Nabuchodonosor, to whom Sedecias swore allegiance. Ch. — Lit. “to it,” eam, the eagle. H. — The dominions of Sedecias were extensive, but weak, and dependant on a foreign king.

Ver. 7. Eagle. The king of Egypt, (Ch.) Vaphres, who came at the request of Sedecias, to oppose the Chaldeans, but was routed; and they returned to the siege of Jerusalem. Jer. xxxvii. 4. — Plantation, as the waters of the Nile were conducted to different parts by ditches. Deut. xi. 10.

Ver. 9. Prosper. Will God countenance perfidy? C. — “Faith must be kept even with enemies.” S. Jer. — Arm. The conquest did not cost the Chaldeans much. Sedecias fled by night, but was soon taken. 4 K. xxv. 6. C.

Ver. 12. Shall, or, “hath taken,” &c. Ch. as also (v. 13.) Sedecias was seized five years after. C. viii. 1. Jechonias, the princes, mighty warriors, (v. 13.) and expert artists, had been taken away six years before, with the prophet. Prot. “is come,…and hath taken,” &c. H.

Ver. 16. Die. He had sworn fidelity, and was justly punished, dying blind, and in prison. C. xii. W.

Ver. 17. Souls. Some refer this to Pharao; others to the enemy. The former did not attempt to surround the besiegers, but after losing a battle retired. C. xxx. 21. C.

Ver. 18. Hand. Swearing perhaps to both (H.) the Egyptian and to the Chaldean monarch.

Ver. 20. Net. C. xii. 13. C. — Judge, punish. H. — His sentence was pronounced at Reblatha. 4 Kin. xxv. 7. C.

Ver. 22. Cedar. Of the Royal stock of David. — Twig. Jesus Christ, whom God hath planted in Mount Sion, that is, the high mountain of his Church, to which all nations flow. Ch. — The Jews in vain apply this to Zorobabel or to the Machabees. Their power was never great enough to verify these expressions. C. — But Christ has united in his Church all the birds, or those who have strength enough to raise themselves above earthly things. S. Jer. Theod. &c. — The kingdom of Sedecias and that of Nabuchodonosor prospered not, or was soon at an end: Christ remains for ever. W.

Ver. 24. High and green denote Sedecias; low and dry Jechonias, who was exalted at Babylon, while his rival was hurled down from his present high estate. The prophets speak of that as past, which God has decreed. See Jer. xxii. 30. C.