Yahweh, via Ezekiel, said that this great cedar tree towered high, with its tree top in the clouds. This tree was proud in its heart of its height. Yahweh gave it to the prince of the nations, probably the king of Babylon, who dealt with it because of its wickedness. Yahweh was going to cast it out. Foreigners from the worst nations came and cut it down. They left it lying on the mountains and in the valleys. The fallen broken branches were on the ground and in small streams of water. Everybody went away from its shade, as they left this fallen tree alone.
The king of Babylon had a lot of horses, so many that the dust from these galloping horses would cover them up. The cavalry would make such a loud noise that the walls would shake. The noisy wheels of the chariots, driven by horses, would enter their gates as if there were no gates there. The hoofs of their horses would trample all their streets. Their people would be killed. Their large pillars would be crushed to the ground. In very colorful language, there would be a lot of horses with cavalry and chariots attacking Tyre.
Once again, the word of Yahweh came to Ezekiel, the son of man. He had to put a maker at a fork in the road. There would be two roads for the sword of the king of Babylon to take. Both roads came from the same place, Babylon. However, at this fork in the road, one led to the city of Rabbah, the home of the Ammonites. The other road led to a fortified Jerusalem in Judah.
This second young lion ravaged the strongholds and towns around there. The land and everybody in it were appalled at the sound of his roaring. Thus various countries from around the area set upon him. They spread out their nets over him. They caught him in a pit. They hooked him and put him into a cage. They brought him to the king of Babylon. He was now in custody so that his voice would no longer be heard on the mountains of Israel. This sounds a lot like a reference to King Zedekiah (598-587).
It is interesting to note that the covenant and oath that King Zedekiah had sworn to the King of Babylon was interpreted by Yahweh as an oath and alliance with Yahweh, himself. Yahweh was going to return the oath on the king’s head because he had despised this oath. He had broken Yahweh’s covenant when he broke his agreement with the king of Babylon. Yahweh was going to spread his net over him, so that he was going to be caught in his snare. Yahweh was going to bring the king to Babylon to enter judgment on him there for the treason that he had committed against Yahweh. All the king’s best troops would fall by the sword in battle. The survivors would be scattered to every wind. They would know that it was Yahweh who had delivered this judgment.
If the King of Judah, King Zedekiah, was expecting big things from the Egyptian Pharaoh, he was going to be disappointed. Even Pharaoh with his mighty army and great company would not be able to help him in a war, where there were so many ramps and siege walls. The king of Judah had despised his oath and broken his covenant with the King of Babylon. He had given his hand. Yet he did all these things. Thus he was not going to escape.
The explanation of the riddle of the eagles continued with the assertion that the second eagle was Egypt. This new king, King Zedekiah, rebelled against the king of Babylon. King Zedekiah sent ambassadors to Egypt in order to get horses and a large army. Would he succeed? What happens to people who do things like this? Would he be able to break the covenant and escape? Yahweh had a different idea. The king of Judah had broken his agreement with the king of Babylon, the same one who put him on the throne. The result was that the king of Judah would die in Babylon.
Ezekiel had another oracle from Yahweh that explained the first eagle allegory or riddle. Obviously the rebellious house of Judah did not understand it. Thus Yahweh, via Ezekiel, was going to explain it to them. The first eagle was the king of Babylon who came to Jerusalem. He took its king and officials back with him to Babylon. Then he took one of the Judean royal offspring and made an agreement with him. This new king swore an oath of allegiance to the King of Babylon. The first king that was uprooted was King Jehoiakim (609-598 BCE), while the new king was King Zedekiah (598-587). Thus the kingdom of Judah would be humbled and not be able to lift itself up. It would be allowed to exist, if it kept the agreement with the King of Babylon.
Yahweh once again came to Ezekiel, the son of man. This time Yahweh proposed a riddle or an allegory for the house of Israel about an eagle. A great eagle with colorful rich wonderful wings and feathers came to sit on the top of a cedar in Lebanon. Is this an allegory or riddle about King Nebuchadnezzar who became king of Babylon in 597 BCE? It sure seems like it, since he was the great eagle who came to sit on his throne.
Baruch and these exiles looked very favorably on the king of Babylon, King Nebuchadnezzar (634-562 BCE), as they pray for him. They also pray for his son Belshazzar. They were going to live under the protection of both of them. They would serve both of them in order to find favor with them. King Nebuchadnezzar took over Babylon and consolidated his power around 605 BCE. He was succeeded by Amel-Marduk in 562 BCE, his son, who ruled for 2 years. Then his brother-in-law Nabonidus took over for 10 years. Belshazzar was the king of Babylon from 550-539, when the great empire fell. However, Belshazzar was not the son of King Nebuchadnezzar, but the son of Nabonidus and may have served as king with his father. Obviously there are some historical problems here.