Ezekiel 17:5
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.
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(5) Of the seed of the land.—In place of the captive Jehoiachin Nebuchadnezzar did not set over the land an eastern satrap, but appointed a native prince, Zedekiah, the uncle of Jehoiachin. He was “planted,” not like the tall cedar on the mountain, but yet like “a willow tree by great waters” where it might flourish in its degree (see Ezekiel 17:14).

17:1-10 Mighty conquerors are aptly likened to birds or beasts of prey, but their destructive passions are overruled to forward God's designs. Those who depart from God, only vary their crimes by changing one carnal confidence for another, and never will prosper.He took also of the seed of the land - Zedekiah the king's uncle, not a Babylonian satrap, was made king. 5. seed of the land—not a foreign production, but one native in the region; a son of the soil, not a foreigner: Zedekiah, uncle of Jehoiachin, of David's family.

in a fruitful field—literally, a "field of seed"; that is, fit for propagating and continuing the seed of the royal family.

as a willow—derived from a Hebrew root, "to overflow," from its fondness for water (Isa 44:4). Judea was "a land of brooks of water and fountains" (De 8:7-9; compare Joh 3:23).

Took; chose out one to be king instead of Jehoiachin.

Of the seed of the land; a native, and, which is more, one of the royal family, Mattaniah, whom he called Zedekiah.

Planted it; settled him on the throne of Judah.

A fruitful field; a field fit for such a design, in the land of Judea. The prophet goeth on in his allusion, and explains what he meant, compares this new-made king to a willow, which grows no where so well as in a wet soil, and on banks of great waters.

He took also of the seed of the land,.... Of the land of Judea, a native of it, not a stranger; not one of another country, a Babylonian; not one of his own nobles or princes, did Nebuchadnezzar, the eagle, take and set upon the throne of Judea, but one of their own, even one of the king's seed, of the blood royal, as it is explained, Ezekiel 17:13, Mattaniah, the uncle of Jeconiah, whom the king of Babylon called Zedekiah, and made him king in his room:

and planted it in a fruitful field; in the land of Judea, and in Jerusalem the royal city:

he placed it by great waters; many people, Revelation 17:15; over whom he ruled, and by whom he was supported in his royal dignity:

and set it as a willow tree; which loves moist places, and grows up thick: unless it should be rendered, "he set it with great circumspection" (s); took a great deal of care and caution in placing him upon the throne; he made a covenant with him, took an oath of him, and hostages for the performance of it, Ezekiel 17:13. The Targum is,

"a planted vine he set it,''

to make it agree with what follows; but the word in the Chaldee and Arabic languages signifies a kind of willow, as we render it, as Ben Melech observes (t).

(s) "circumspectissime posuit illud, Junins & Tremellius, Polanus; "cum magna circumspectione", Piscator; "circumspecte, Cocceius, Starckius. (t) And so it does; see Castel, col. 3220, 3221. and in this way Jarchi and Kimchi interpret the word, in which they are followed by many; so R. Sol. Urbin. Ohel Moed, fol. 73. 1. nevertheless, the sense of it here is disapproved of by Castel, who observes, what has a willow to do with a vine? col. 3222. and commends the Greek version, which renders it, "conspicuous", to be seen; and so others translate it, "in superficie", V. L. Grotius; yet the "safsaf" of the Arabs is a tree by which they understood the "abeile" or poplar tree; see Shaw's Travels, p. 432. Ed. 2.

He took also of the {c} seed of the land, and planted it in a fruitful field; he placed it by great waters, and set it as a willow tree.

(c) That is, Zedekiah who was of the king's blood and was left at Jerusalem and made king instead of Jeconiah, 2Ki 24:17, Jer 37:1.

5. Nebuchadnezzar then took Mattaniah, son of Josiah, and made him king under the name of Zedekiah. The “seed of the land” is the native royal house.

he placed it] The unknown form so rendered might be a verb, cf. Hosea 11:3. LXX. omits; Ew. conjectures slip, or cutting. The comparison to the willow (the sense is not certain, the word not occurring again) is suggested by the place where it was planted, beside great waters. “Water” is the requisite of every tree in the East, and “great waters” are the favourable conditions granted to Zedekiah. “They that drink water” is a name for trees, ch. Ezekiel 31:16.

Verse 5. - The seed of the land is Zedekiah, who was made king by Nebuchadnezzar in Jeconiah's place. The imagery of the willow (the Hebrew word occurs here only) seems suggested by Ezekiel's surroundings. No tree could stand out in greater contrast to the cedar of Lebanon than the willows which he saw growing by the waters of Babylon (Psalm 137:2, though the word is different). The choice of the willow determined the rest of the imagery, and the fruitful field and the great or "many" (Revised Version) waters represent Judah, possibly with reference to its being in its measure a "land of brooks of waters," of "fountains and depths," of "wheat and barley and wine" (Deuteronomy 8:7-9; Deuteronomy 11:10-12). The kingdom of Zedekiah, i.e., was left with sufficient elements for material prosperity. That prosperity is indicated in ver. 6 by the fact that the willow became a vine. It was of "low stature," indeed, trailing on the ground. It could not claim the greatness of an independent kingdom. Its branches turned toward the planter (ver. 6); its roots were under him. It acknowledged, that is, Nebuchadnezzar's suzerainty, and so, had things continued as they were, it might have prospered. Ezekiel 17:5The Parable

Ezekiel 17:1. And the word of Jehovah came to me, saying, Ezekiel 17:2. Son of man, give a riddle, and relate a parable to the house of Israel; Ezekiel 17:3. And say, Thus saith the Lord Jehovah, A great eagle, with great wings and long pinions, full of feathers of variegated colours, came to Lebanon and took the top of the cedar: Ezekiel 17:4. He plucked off the topmost of its shoots, and brought it into Canaan's land; in a merchant-city he set it. Ezekiel 17:5. And he took of the seed of the land, and put it into seed-land; took it away to many waters, set it as a willow. Ezekiel 17:6. And it grew, and became an overhanging vine of low stature, that its branches might turn towards him, and its roots might be under him; and it became a vine, and produced shoots, and sent out foliage. Ezekiel 17:7. There was another great eagle with great wings and many feathers; and, behold, this vine stretched its roots languishingly towards him, and extended its branches towards him, that he might water it from the beds of its planting. Ezekiel 17:8. It was planted in a good field by many waters, to send out roots and bear fruit, to become a glorious vine. Ezekiel 17:9. Say, Thus saith the Lord Jehovah, Will it thrive? will they not pull up its roots, and cut off its fruit, so that it withereth? all the fresh leaves of its sprouting will wither, and not with strong arm and with much people will it be possible to raise it up from its roots. Ezekiel 17:10. And, behold, although it is planted, will it thrive? will it not wither when the east wind touches it? upon the beds in which it grew it will wither.

The parable (mâshâl, corresponding exactly to the New Testament παραβολή) is called chīdhâh, a riddle, because of the deeper meaning lying beneath the parabolic shell. The symbolism of this parable has been traced by many commentators to Babylonian influences working upon the prophet's mind; but without any tenable ground. The figure of the eagle, or bird of prey, applied to a conqueror making a rapid descent upon a country, has as little in it of a specifically Babylonian character as the comparison of the royal family to a cedar or a vine. Not only is Nebuchadnezzar compared to an eagle in Jeremiah 48:40; Jeremiah 49:22, as Cyrus is to a bird of prey in Isaiah 46:11; but even Moses has described the paternal watchfulness of God over His own people as bearing them upon eagle's wings (Exodus 19:4; Deuteronomy 32:11). The cedar of Lebanon and the vine are genuine Israelitish figures. The great eagle in Ezekiel 17:3 is the great King Nebuchadnezzar (compare Ezekiel 17:12). The article is simply used to indicate the species, for which we should use the indefinite article. In Ezekiel 17:7, instead of the article, we have אחד in the sense of "another." This first eagle has large wings and long pinions; he has already flown victoriously over wide-spread countries. אשׁר־לו , literally, which is to him the variegated ornament, i.e., which he has as such an ornament. The feathers of variegated ornamental colours point to the many peoples, differing in language, manners, and customs, which were united under the sceptre of Nebuchadnezzar (Hitzig, etc.); not to the wealth and splendour of the conqueror, as such an allusion is altogether remote from the tendency of the parable. He came to Lebanon. This is not a symbol of the Israelitish land, or of the kingdom of Judah; but, as in Jeremiah 22:23, of Jerusalem, or Mount Zion, with its royal palace so rich in cedar wood (see the comm. on Habakkuk 2:17 and Zechariah 11:1), as being the place where the cedar was planted (compare the remarks on Ezekiel 17:12). The cedar is the royal house of David, and the top of it is King Jehoiachin. The word tzammereth is only met with in Ezekiel, and there only for the top of a cedar (compare Ezekiel 31:3.). The primary meaning is doubtful. Some derive it from the curly, or, as it were, woolly top of the older cedars, in which the small twigs that constitute their foliage are only found at the top of the tree. Others suppose it to be connected with the Arabic dmr, to conceal, and understand it as an epithet applied to the foliage, as the veil or covering of the tree. In v. 4, tzammereth is explained to be ראשׁ רניקותיו, the topmost of its shoots. This the eagle plucked off and carried אל־ארץ כּנען, an epithet applied to Babylonia here and in Ezekiel 16:29, as being a land whose trading spirit had turned it into a Canaan. This is evident from the parallel עיר רכלים, city of traders, i.e., Babylon (compare Ezekiel 17:12). The seed of the land, according to Ezekiel 16:13, is King Zedekiah, because he was of the land, the native king, in contrast to a foreign, Babylonian governor.

קח, for לקח, after the analogy of קחם in Hosea 11:3, and pointed with Kametz to distinguish it from the imperative. לקח אל is used as in Numbers 23:27. The ἁπ. λεγ.צפצפה signifies, in Arabic and the Talmud, the willow, probably so called because it grows in well-watered places; according to Gesenius, it is derived from צוּף, to overflow, literally, the inundated tree. This meaning is perfectly appropriate here. "He set it as a willow" means he treated it as one, inasmuch as he took it to many waters, set it in a well-watered soil, i.e., in a suitable place. The cutting grew into an overhanging vine, i.e., to a vine spreading out its branches in all directions, though not growing very high, as the following expression שׁפלת קומה more clearly shows. The object of this growth was, that its branches might turn to him (the eagle), and its roots might be under him (the eagle). The suffixes attached to אליו and תּחתּיו refer to נשׁר. This allusion is required not only by the explanation in Ezekiel 17:14 (? Ezekiel 17:14, Ezekiel 17:15), but also by Ezekiel 17:7, where the roots and branches of the vine stretch to the (other) eagle. In Ezekiel 17:6, what has already been affirmed concerning the growth is briefly summed up again. The form פּארה is peculiar to Ezekiel. Isaiah has פּארה sah h equals פּארה in Ezekiel 10:33. The word signifies branch and foliage, or a branch covered with foliage, as the ornament of a tree. - The other eagle mentioned in Ezekiel 17:7 is the king of Egypt, according to Ezekiel 17:15. He had also large wings and many feathers, i.e., a widely spread and powerful kingdom; but there is nothing said about pinions and variegated colours, for Pharaoh had not spread out his kingdom over many countries and peoples, or subjugated a variegated medley of peoples and tribes. כּפן, as a verb ἁπ. λεγ.., signifies to yearn or pine after a thing; in Chaldee, to hunger. להשׁקות, that he (the eagle-Pharaoh) might give it to drink, or water it. The words מערגות מטּעהּ are not connected with להשׁקות, but with שׁלחה and כּנפה, form the beds of its planting, i.e., in which it was planted; it stretched out roots and branches to the other eagle, that he might give it to drink. The interpretation is given in Ezekiel 17:15. The words להשׁקות אותהּ, which are added by way of explanation, do not interrupt the train of thought; nor are they superfluous, as Hitzig supposes, because the vine had water enough already (Ezekiel 17:5 and Ezekiel 17:8). For this is precisely what the passage is intended to show, namely, that there was no occasion for this pining and stretching out of the branches towards the other eagle, inasmuch as it could thrive very well in the place where it was planted. The latter is expressly stated once more in Ezekiel 17:8, the meaning of which is perfectly clear, - namely, that if Zedekiah had remained quiet under Nebuchadnezzar, as a hanging vine, his government might have continued and prospered. But, asks Ezekiel in the name of the Lord, will it prosper? תּצלח is a question, and the third person, neuter gender. This question is answered in the negative by the following question, which is introduced with an affirmative הלוא. The subject to ינתּק and יקוסס dna is not the first eagle (Nebuchadnezzar), but the indefinite "one" (man, they). In the last clause of v. 9 משׂאות is a substantive formation, used instead of the simple form of the infinitive, after the form משּׂא in 2 Chronicles 19:7, with the termination ות, borrowed from the verb ה'ל (compare Ewald, 160b and 239a), and the construction is the same as in Amos 6:10 : it will not be to raise up equals it will not be possible to raise it up (compare Ges. 132, 3, Anm. 1). To raise it up from its root does not mean to tear it up by the root (Hvernick), but to rear the withered vine from its roots again, to cause it to sprout again. This rendering of the words corresponds to the interpretation given in Ezekiel 17:17. - In Ezekiel 17:10 the leading thought is repeated with emphasis, and rounded off. The east wind is peculiarly dangerous to plants on account of its dryness (compare Genesis 41:6, and Wetstein on Job 27:21 in Delitzsch's Commentary); and it is used very appropriately here, as the Chaldeans came from the east.

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