Yahweh explains the allegory (Ezek 17:11-17:14)

“Then the word of Yahweh

Came to me.

‘Say now

To the rebellious house!

Do you not know

What these things mean?

Tell them!

The king of Babylon

Came to Jerusalem.

He took its king.

He took its officials.

He brought them

Back with him

To Babylon.

He took

One of the royal offspring.

He made a covenant

With him.

He put him

Under oath.

He had taken away

The chief men

Of the land.

Thus the kingdom

Might be humble.

The kingdom might not

Lift itself up.

By keeping

His covenant,

It might stand.’’’

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.

The allegory of the eagle (Ezek 17:1-17:3)

“The word of Yahweh

Came to me.

‘Son of man!

Propound a riddle!

Speak an allegory

To the house of Israel!

Say!

Thus says Yahweh God!

‘A great eagle

With great wings,

With long pinions,

Rich in plumage

Of many colors,

Came to Lebanon.

He took the top

Of the cedar.’”

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.

The prayer for King Nebuchadnezzar (Bar 1:11-1:12)

“Pray

For the life

Of King Nebuchadnezzar

Of Babylon!

Pray

For the life of his son

Belshazzar!

Thus their days

On earth

May be

Like the days of heaven.

Pray that

The Lord

Will give us strength!

Pray that

He will give

Light to our eyes!

We shall live

Under the protection

Of King Nebuchadnezzar

Of Babylon,

Under the protection

Of his son

Belshazzar.

We shall serve them

Many days.

We will find favor

In their sight.”

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.

The crushing defeat of Zion (Lam 1:15-1:15)

Samek

“Yahweh has rejected

All my warriors

In the midst of me.

He proclaimed a time

Against me

To crush

My young men.

Yahweh has trodden

As in a wine press

The virgin daughter,

Judah.”

This lament continued with Jerusalem speaking in the first person. Yahweh has rejected all the warriors from Jerusalem and Judah. Yahweh, not the king of Babylon, has crushed the young men of Judah and Jerusalem. He has trodden and stomped over his virgin daughter, Judah, like a wine press. This verse starts with the Hebrew consonant letter Samek. Each verse after this will use the next letter of the Hebrew alphabet in this acrostic poem.

The captives and the poor (Jer 52:15-52:16)

Nebuzaradan,

The captain of the guard,

Carried into exile

Some of the poorest

Of the people.

He took into exile

The rest of the people

Who were left in the city,

He took into exile

The deserters

Who had defected

To the king of Babylon,

Together with the rest

Of the artisans.

But Nebuzaradan,

The captain of the guard,

Left some of the poorest people

Of the land,

To be vinedressers

Or tillers of the soil.”

Once again, this is very close to 2 Kings, chapter 25. The king of Babylon did not come himself, but he sent the captain of his bodyguard, Nebuzaradan, to take all the people as captives. This included those who had deserted to the Chaldeans as well as those left in the city. However, he gave some poor people the vineyards and fields to work. This might be a problem when the exiles return. However, here, unlike the 2 Kings narrative and the earlier Jeremiah story of chapter 39, he also took the some of the poor people. This seems odd, since the next sentence talks about leaving the poor people to take care of the vineyards and till the soil. There was no mention of them getting fields and vineyards as in the earlier Jeremiah story. Also here there is a mention of artisans that was lacking in the other presentations.

The Babylonians enter Jerusalem (Jer 52:12-52:12)

“In the fifth month,

On the tenth day

Of the month,

The nineteenth year

Of King Nebuchadnezzar,

King of Babylon,

Nebuzaradan,

The captain of the bodyguard,

A servant of the king of Babylon,

Entered Jerusalem.”

This is almost word for word from 2 Kings, chapter 25, but not found in the earlier Jeremiah, chapter 39. Once again we have an exact date, during the 19th year of the rule of King Nebuchadnezzar, or 587 BCE. Thus the Judah kingdom lasted 134 years after the fall of Samaria. The king of Babylon did not come himself, but he sent the captain of his bodyguard, his servant Nebuzaradan, to be in charge of Jerusalem.

The punishment for King Zedekiah (Jer 52:10-52:11)

“The king of Babylon

Killed

The sons

Of King Zedekiah

Before his eyes.

He also killed

All the officials

Of Judah,

At Riblah.

He put out

The eyes of

King Zedekiah.

He bound him

In fetters.

The king of Babylon

Took him

To Babylon.

He was put in prison

Until the day

Of his death.”

Once again, this is very similar, but more detailed than 2 Kings, chapter 25 and the earlier Jeremiah story in chapter 39. King Nebuchadnezzar ordered that the sons of King Zedekiah be killed right in front of him. The king of Babylon then killed all the nobles or officials of Judah. Finally he blinded King Zedekiah, bound him up in chains, and took him to Babylon. He now lived as the captured blind ex-king in a Babylonian prison until he died. This last detail about the prison is only mentioned here.