1 Then this message came to me from the LORD:
2 "Son of man, tell this story to the people of Israel.
3 Give them this message from the Sovereign LORD: A great eagle with broad wings full of many-colored feathers came to Lebanon. He took hold of the highest branch of a cedar tree
4 and plucked off its topmost shoot. Then he carried it away to a city filled with merchants, where he planted it.
5 "Then he planted one of its seedlings in fertile ground beside a broad river, where it would grow as quickly as a willow tree.
6 It took root there and grew into a low, spreading vine. Its branches turned up toward the eagle, and its roots grew down beneath it. It soon produced strong branches and luxuriant leaves.
7 But then another great eagle with broad wings and full plumage came along. So the vine sent its roots and branches out toward him for water.
8 The vine did this even though it was already planted in good soil and had plenty of water so it could grow into a splendid vine and produce rich leaves and luscious fruit.
9 "So now the Sovereign LORD asks: Should I let this vine grow and prosper? No! I will pull it out, roots and all! I will cut off its fruit and let its leaves wither and die. I will pull it out easily enough--it won't take a strong arm or a large army to do it.
10 Then when the vine is transplanted, will it thrive? No, it will wither away completely when the east wind blows against it. It will die in the same good soil where it had grown so well."
11 Then this message came to me from the LORD:
12 "Say to these rebels of Israel: Don't you understand the meaning of this riddle of the eagles? I will tell you, says the Sovereign LORD. The king of Babylon came to Jerusalem, took away her king and princes, and brought them to Babylon.
13 He made a treaty with a member of the royal family and made him take an oath of loyalty. He also exiled Israel's most influential leaders,
14 so Israel would not become strong again and revolt. Only by keeping her treaty with Babylon could Israel maintain her national identity.
15 "Nevertheless, this man of Israel's royal family rebelled against Babylon, sending ambassadors to Egypt to request a great army and many horses. Can Israel break her sworn treaties like that and get away with it?
16 No! For as surely as I live, says the Sovereign LORD, the king of Israel will die in Babylon, the land of the king who put him in power and whose treaty he despised and broke.
17 Pharaoh and all his mighty army will fail to help Israel when the king of Babylon lays siege to Jerusalem again and destroys the lives of many.
18 For the king of Israel broke his treaty after swearing to obey; therefore, he will not escape.
19 "So this is what the Sovereign LORD says: As surely as I live, I will punish him for breaking my covenant and despising the solemn oath he made in my name.
20 I will throw my net over him and capture him in my snare. I will bring him to Babylon and deal with him there for this treason against me.
21 And all the best warriors of Israel will be killed in battle, and those remaining in the city will be scattered to the four winds. Then you will know that I, the LORD, have spoken these words.
22 "And the Sovereign LORD says: I will take a tender shoot from the top of a tall cedar, and I will plant it on the top of Israel's highest mountain.
23 It will become a noble cedar, sending forth its branches and producing seed. Birds of every sort will nest in it, finding shelter beneath its branches.
24 And all the trees will know that it is I, the LORD, who cuts down the tall tree and helps the short tree to grow tall. It is I who makes the green tree wither and gives new life to the dead tree. I, the LORD, have spoken! I will do what I have said."