This chapter is a riddle about two eagles told by Ezekiel to the people.
Pharaoh Nechoh of Egypt defeated and killed King Josiah of Judah before making his way to fight Nebuchadnezzar at the new capital of Assyria, Carchemish. The people of Judah put Josiah's son, Jehoahaz on the throne. Nechoh then removed Jehoahaz from the throne of Judah and put another of Josiah's sons, Eliakim (Jehoiakim), on the throne instead. Nebuchadnezzar had defeated Pharaoh Nechoh at Carchemish and Jehoiakim then came under the tribute of Nebuchadnezzar when the king of Babylon took possession of some of the Egyptian tributes. Jehoiakim rebelled against Nebuchadnezzar and found himself in a war against him. That is when Daniel went into captivity. When Jehoiakim died his son, Jehoiachin (also called Jeconiah or Coniah) ruled. Nebuchanezzar removed him from the throne of Judah. Coniah and his mother, his wives, his princes, and all of his servants went into captivity. This was when Ezekiel went into captivity also. The people that were left in the land, and even some of the captives in Babylon, placed their trust in the prince that Nebuchadnezzar had set upon the throne of Judah, King Zedekiah the son of Josiah, to rescue them. They also trusted that there remained enough strength in Egypt to come to their aid against the Babylonians. They were wrong.
Does God issue any commands?
- God commanded Ezekiel to ask the people of Israel a riddle and then to interpret the riddle for the people. I believe that Pharaoh Nechoh and Nebuchadnezzar are the two eagles warring over Judah.
Does God make any promises?
- God promised that the prince who despised the covenant made with Babylon would not escape but would die in Babylon. God was most likely talking about Zedekiah. God said that the prince (again, probably Zedekiah) was guilty of breaking the covenant with God and the covenant with Nebuchadnezzar. Since the prince was an oath-breaker he would be punished.
- God promised that He would be like the eagle. He would take a branch from the high cedar and plant it upon the high mountain. It will grow boughs and bear fruit as a good tree. The birds would rest under it. Everyone would know that God brought low the high tree, exalted the low tree, dried up the green tree, and made the dry tree to flourish.
Does this chapter teach anything about Jesus?
- The branch of the tree planted upon the hill would be Jerusalem but the Branch is also Jesus, the ruler that would come out of the remnant. He is not a high tree (or boastful person) but a low tree (a humble person) who would be exalted. The green tree would wither (or die), but the dry tree (the One who died willingly and would conquer death) would be resurrected.
Does this chapter teach anything about yet-future events?
- The time will come that all will acknowledge exactly what God told Ezekiel that they will know. The low tree will be exalted because the dry tree conquered death. There is coming a day when no one will be able to deny this.