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Zedekiah’s Perfidy and its Punishment
Zedekiah had been placed on the throne of Judah as a vassal of Babylon, but was led by his nobles to intrigue with Egypt and to throw off the Babylonian yoke. The revolt actually took place in 588 b.c., but it had been contemplated much earlier: see Jeremiah 27:1-11, where ’Zedekiah’ should be read for ’Jehoiakim’ in Jeremiah 27:1. Jeremiah 27:15 of this chapter refers to an embassy to Egypt, of which Ezekiel had heard in BabyIonia. The prophet exposes this rebellious policy in an allegory, condemns it, and prediets its failure and punishment. The royal house of Judah is a cedar of Lebanon. BabyIon (or Nebuchadrezzar) is an eagle, which crops off the highest twig of the cedar (Jehoiachin) and carries it to a land and city of commerce (Babylon). The eagle takes of the seed of the land (Zedekiah) and plants it so that it becomes a dwarf vine bending towards the eagle (subordinate to Babylon). There is another eagle (Egypt, or Pharaoh-Hophra) towards which the vine (Zedekiah) turns (seeking Egyptian instead of Babylonian overlordship). God will not allow such treachery to prosper. The vine will be uprooted. Egyptian help will fail. Zedekiah will be taken captive and will die in Babylon (Ezekiel 17:1-21).
But God Himself will take another twig of the cedar, and will plant it on a high mountain of Israel, where it will become a great, spreading, and fruitful tree. All the trees (nations) will learn that God directs the destinies of every one of them (Ezekiel 17:22-24). This is a prophecy of the restoration of the Jewish kingdom which was never literally fulfilled, but which contains a promise of the Messiah—the ideal future king.
5, 6. A willow.. a vine of low stature] indicating the dependent position of Zedekiah’s kingdom: see Ezekiel 17:14.
12, 13. These vv. describe the captivity of Jehoiachin (597 b.c.) and the appointment of Zedekiah as king under a solemn oath of allegiance to Babylon.
17. The Egyptians succeeded in raising the siege of Jerusalem (Jeremiah 37:11), but the relief was only temporary, as Jeremiah foretold that it would be (Ezekiel 37:6-10).
19. Zedekiah had sworn allegiance to Nebuchadrezzar in God’s name. His revolt against Babylon, therefore, did dishonour to God. For another example of Zedekiah’s perfidy see Jeremiah 34:8-11.
20, 21. A repetition of Ezekiel 12:13, Ezekiel 12:14.
22-24. Ezekiel expected that the restored kingdom of God would have a prince (Ezekiel 45:7-8; Ezekiel 46:1-18; Ezekiel 47:21-22). This was only fulfilled in a Messianic sense.
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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Ezekiel 17". "Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". https://studylight.org/
the Second Week of Advent