Ezekiel 17

Talks for Growing Christians

Israel’s Captive King and Victorious King

Ezekiel 17

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Lesson Number 18

Background Notes

Doctrinal Point(s)

  1. A king was taken into captivity by the eagle of Babylon.
  2. A king broke his covenant by favoring the eagle of Egypt.
  3. A king will be planted on the mountain of Jerusalem.

Practical Application

  1. Keep your promises!


  1. Why is the word of the Lord to Ezekiel concerning the two eagles called a riddle? Why is it also called a parable?
  2. In what year did Nebuchadnezzar, the eagle of Babylon, invade Judah and take a number of influential Jews, including Ezekiel and King Jehoiachin, captive? Who did Nebuchadnezzar then place in authority in Jerusalem as a puppet king? (This king is described in the parable as the “seed of the land.”)
  3. In the parable, the second great eagle appears in verse 7. Who does this eagle represent? Who broke his covenant with Nebuchadnezzar to favor the second great eagle?
  4. When Ezekiel wrote this parable, the first part of the parable had already taken place – King Jehoichin was already a captive in Babylon. Had the second part of the parable, including the political dealings with Egypt, yet taken place?
  5. In the final portion of this parable (vs 22-24), who is represented by the sprig from the highest branches of the cedar tree? What mountain is spoken of in verses 22 and 23?


  1. Here in chapter 17, the word of the Lord to Ezekiel is called a riddle to emphasize that it was an obscure story and requires an interpretation. It is called a parable because it emphasizes that God was illustrating His dealings with the nation of Judah.
  2. Nebuchadnezzar invaded Judah for the 2nd time in 597 BC. After taking many of the influential Jews captive, he set up Zedekiah as a puppet king in Jerusalem. Zedekiah was to submit to Nebuchadnezzar’s authority and not try to rebel.
  3. The second great eagle (v 7) represents Egypt. King Zedekiah broke his covenant with Nebuchadnezzar as he favored Egypt and turned to them for help in trying to regain Judah’s freedom.
  4. When Ezekiel wrote this parable, the second part of the parable, Zedekiah’s breaking of the covenant and dealings with Egypt had not yet taken place. It is therefore a prophetic warning. Zedekiah’s political dealings with Egypt would fail and Nebuchadnezzar would return and deliver a final blow to Jerusalem and Judah. This happened in 586 BC. See Jeremiah 52: 3b-14.
  5. The Lord Himself is represented by the sprig from the highest branches of the cedar tree. This prophecy states that the Lord will be placed on the mountain of Jerusalem when He returns and literally reigns from this mountain city.


  1. The prophetic message given in this chapter in verses 22-24 is another statement concerning the return of our Lord and the establishment of His literal kingdom when He will reign from the city of Jerusalem. Discuss the fact that this is not a prophecy now being fulfilled in the church while our Lord is rejected by this world, but takes place when all the nations (represented by all the trees in verse 24) will acknowledge the Lord and submit to Him as the rightful King.


  1. Have you considered the fact that when you break a promise with someone you are committing a serious sin? Read again verses 11-21. Be very careful when making promises, and do not sin by breaking a promise. Be a person of your word!

Key Verses

  • “Therefore thus says the Lord God: ‘As I live, surely My oath which he despised, and My covenant which he broke, I will recompense on his own head.’” Ezekiel 17:19
  • “On the mountain height of Israel I will plant [the young twig]; and it will bring forth boughs, and bear fruit, and be a majestic cedar.” Ezekiel 17: 23a

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