The Lord instructs Ezekiel to speak a riddle about two eagles. The eagles represent Babylon and Egypt. The riddle reveals that King Zedekiah rebelled against Babylon by, “Sending his ambassadors to Egypt, that they might give him horses and many people.”
Nebuchadnezzar made Zedekiah king over Jerusalem but Zedekiah despised the oath by breaking the covenant that he had with Babylon. The Lord says that by breaking the covenant with Babylon and rebelling against the Lord’s ordained judgement, Zedekiah actually rebelled against the Lord. Therefore, he would not receive any help from Egypt and he would die in the midst of Babylon – “As I live, surely My oath which he despised, and My covenant which he broke, I will recompense on his own head. I will spread My net over him, and he shall be taken in My snare. I will bring him to Babylon and try him there for the treason which he committed against Me. All his fugitives with all his troops shall fall by the sword, and those who remain shall be scattered to every wind; and you shall know that I, the Lord, have spoken.”
Although Zedekiah is about to be dethroned, his eyes gouged out and taken to Babylon, the Lord still promises to send the Branch of Jesse, the Messiah, who is coming through the Davidic bloodline. Under the reign of King Jesus and the sovereign hand of the Lord, all people amongst all the nations, Jews and Gentiles, can find peace and rest in Christ as their Lord and Savior- “I will take also one of the highest branches of the high cedar and set it out. I will crop off from the topmost of its young twigs a tender one, and will plant it on a high and prominent mountain. On the mountain height of Israel I will plant it; and it will bring forth boughs, and bear fruit, and be a majestic cedar. Under it will dwell birds of every sort; in the shadow of its branches they will dwell. And all the trees of the field shall know that I, the Lord, have brought down the high tree and exalted the low tree, dried up the green tree and made the dry tree flourish; I, the Lord, have spoken and have done it.”
The Lord confronts the complaining captives who blame their captivity on the sins of the previous generations. He says each person is responsible for his own actions. “Behold, all souls are Mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is Mine; The soul who sins shall die. But if a man is just and does what is lawful and right… If he has walked in My statutes and kept My judgments faithfully— He is just; He shall surely live!… The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not bear the guilt of the father, nor the father bear the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself.”
God makes clear that He takes no pleasure in punishing the wicked but His nature can not let sin go unpunished. He desires for the people to repent of their sin and turn to Him – “‘Repent, and turn from all your transgressions, so that iniquity will not be your ruin. Cast away from you all the transgressions which you have committed, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. For why should you die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of one who dies,’ says the Lord God. ‘Therefore turn and live!’”
Ezekiel then laments over the kings. He says there is a lioness, Judah, and her two cubs: 1) King Jehoahaz who reigned three months and was taken to Egypt where he died and 2) King Jehoiachin who was taken into captivity with Ezekiel. Both of these kings ignored God’s Word. Now the cowardly King Zedekiah is sitting on the throne as the last king of Judah.