Allegory of the Lions*

1As for you, raise a lamentation over the princes of Israel, 2and say:

What a lioness was your mother,

a lion among lions!

She made her lair among young lions,

to raise her cubs;

3One cub she raised up,

a young lion he became;

He learned to tear apart prey,

he devoured people.a

4Nations heard about him;

in their pit he was caught;

They took him away with hooks

to the land of Egypt.* b

5When she realized she had waited in vain,

she lost hope.

She took another of her cubs,

and made him a young lion.

6He prowled among the lions,

became a young lion;

He learned to tear apart prey,

he devoured people.c

7He ravaged their strongholds,

laid waste their cities.

The earth and everything in it were terrified

at the sound of his roar.

8Nations laid out against him

snares all around;

They spread their net for him,

in their pit he was caught.d

9They put him in fetters and took him away

to the king of Babylon,

So his roar would no longer be heard

on the mountains of Israel.

Allegory of the Vine Branch

10Your mother was like a leafy vine*

planted by water,

Fruitful and full of branches

because of abundant water.

11One strong branch grew

into a royal scepter.

So tall it towered among the clouds,

conspicuous in height,

with dense foliage.e

12But she was torn out in fury

and flung to the ground;

The east wind withered her up,

her fruit was plucked away;

Her strongest branch dried up,

fire devoured it.f

13Now she is planted in a wilderness,

in a dry, parched land.g

14Fire flashed from her branch,

and devoured her shoots;

Now she does not have a strong branch,

a royal scepter!h

This is a lamentation and serves as a lamentation.

* [19:19] Some commentators identify Jehoahaz and Zedekiah, sons of the same mother, as the “two young lions”; they were deported to Egypt and Babylon respectively. Cf. 2 Kgs 23:3134; 24:1820.

* [19:4] A common fate for royal prisoners: e.g., Assurbanipal claims he put a ring in the jaw of a captive king and a dog collar around his neck (cf. v. 9). A wall relief shows Esarhaddon holding two royal captives with ropes tied to rings in their lips.

* [19:1014] Vine: Judah. One strong branch: the Davidic king. This allegory describes the deportation of the Davidic dynasty to Babylon and laments the destruction of the house of David. From Ezekiel’s perspective, the arrogance of Judah’s kings leads to this tragedy (vv. 1214).

a. [19:3] 2 Kgs 23:3134.

b. [19:4] 2 Chr 36:4.

c. [19:6] 2 Kgs 24:9.

d. [19:8] 2 Kgs 24:215.

e. [19:11] Dn 4:11.

f. [19:12] Hos 13:15.

g. [19:13] cf. Ez 20:35.

h. [19:14] cf. Ez 20:47.

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