Ezekiel 17:22-24

Ezekiel 17:22-24
Wednesday of Holy Week – A Women’s Lectionary


22 Thus says the LordA God:B

I myself will take a sprig
    from the loftyC topD of a cedar;E
    I will set it out.

Notes on verse 22a

A “Lord” = Adonai. From adon (lord, master, owner); root means to rule or be sovereign. This is the actual Hebrew word for Lord used (in a different form) of humans and (in the present form) of God. It means someone who is in control.
B “God” = YHVH. From havah (to be, become) or hayah (to come to pass, become, be). This is the name of the God of Israel, the self-existent and eternal one, the tetragrammaton. This pronunciation has been lost to time so “Lord” is generally used in its place.
C “lofty” = rum. This is to rise or raise, to be high literally or figuratively. So it can also mean to exalt or extol.
D “sprig from the…top” = tsammeret. 5x in OT – all in Ezekiel. From the same as tsemer (wool, shaggy thing). This is a tree top, foliage.
E “cedar” = erez. Perhaps from araz (made from cedar; to be firm, strong). This is cedar or a cedar tree as strong.

I will break offF a tender oneG
    from the topmostH of its young twigs;I

Notes on verse 22b

F “break off” = qataph. 5x in OT. This is to pluck, break off, strip, cut down.
G “tender one” = rak. 16x in OT. From rakak (to be tender, soft, faint, weak; to soften or mollify). This is tender in a literal or figurative sense. It could be delicate, gentle, inexperienced, refined, soft, or weak.
H “topmost” = rosh. This may come a word that means to shake. It is the head, captain, or chief. It can also be excellent or the forefront. It can be first in position or in statue or in time (i.e. the beginning).
I “young twigs” = yoneqet. 6x in OT. From yoneq (sapling, sucker); from yanaq (to suckle or to nurse; a nursing mother or for her suckling child.) This is a young shoot or twig.

I myself will plantJ it
    on a highK and loftyL mountain.

Notes on verse 22c

J “plant” = shathal. 10x in OT. This is to plant or transplant.
K “high” = gaboah. From gabah (to be tall, high, exalted, proud, haughty). This is high, tall, long, proud, or arrogant. It could also be a high ranking official, someone exalted, or something lofty. 
L “lofty” = talal. 1x in OT. This is lofty, elevated. It is something piled up.

23 On the mountain heightM of IsraelN
    I will plant it,
in order that it may produceO boughsP

Notes on verse 23a

M “height” = marom. Related to “lofty” in v22. From rum (see note C above). This can be height, high place, or lofty. It can be either exalted or haughty/proud. It can refer to dignity or to heaven.
N “Israel” = Yisrael. From sarah (to persist, exert oneself, contend, persevere, wrestle, prevail) + el (God or god). This is God strives or one who strives with God; new name for Jacob and for his offspring. This refers to the people and to the land.
O “produce” = nasa. This to lift in a broad sense, literally and figuratively. So it could be to carry, take, or arise. It could also be bring forth, advance, accept.
P “boughs” = anaph. 7x in OT. This is a branch or bough – something that covers.

and bearQ fruit,R
    and becomeS a nobleT cedar.

Notes on verse 23b

Q “bear” = asah. This is to make, do, act, appoint, become in many senses.
R “fruit” = peri. From parah (to bear fruit, grow, be fruitful, increase; bearing fruit in a literal or figurative sense). This is fruit or reward.
S “become” = hayah. Related to “God” in v22. See note B above.
T “noble” = addir. From adar (wide, glorious, honorable, great, magnificent). This is majestic, excellent, mighty, powerful, or noble.

Under it every kind of birdU will live;V
    in the shadeW of its branchesX will nestY
    winged creaturesZ of every kind.

Notes on verse 23c

U “bird” = tsippor. From tsaphar (to skip about, maybe to depart). This is a little bird like a sparrow – a little bird as one that hops about.
V “live” = shakan. This is to settle down in the sense of residing somewhere or staying there permanently. It can mean abide or continue. “Mishkan,” taken from this verb, is the Hebrew word for the Tabernacle (as a place where God abided).
W “shade” = tsel. From tsalal (to be or become dark, shade; this is the shade as during twilight or shadow as associated with something opaque). This is shade in a literal or figurative sense. So, it could be shadow, shade, protection, shelter, or defense.
X “branches” = dalit. 8x in OT – all in Jeremiah and Ezekiel. From dalah (to draw, lift up; properly, to dangle; draw water; figuratively, to deliver). This is a branch or bough as dangling from the tree.
Y “nest” = shakan. Same as “live” In v23. See note V above.
Z “winged creatures” = kanaph. This is wing, edge, corner, extremity. It can also be a flap or fold of a garment or the pinnacle of a building.

24 All the treesAA of the fieldBB shall knowCC
    that I am the Lord.

Notes on verse 24a

AA “trees” = ets. Perhaps from atsah (to shut, fasten, firm up, to close one’s eyes). This is tree or other things related to trees like wood, sticks, or stalks. It can also refer to wood products like a plank or staff or gallows. Additionally, this can refer to a carpenter.
BB “field” = sadeh. This is literally field, ground, soil, or land. It is used to mean wild like a wild animal.
CC “know” = yada. This is to know, acknowledge, advise, answer, be aware, be acquainted with. Properly, this is to figure something out by seeing. It includes ideas of observation, recognition, and care about something. It can be used causatively for instruction, designation, and punishment.

I bring lowDD the high tree,
    I make highEE the lowFF tree;

Notes on verse 24b

DD “bring low” = shaphel. This is to be low, sink, be cast down, put down, humble, or humiliate.
EE “make high” = gabah. Related to “high” in v22. See note K above.
FF “low” = shaphal. 19x in OT. From shaphel (see note DD above). This is low, humble, abased, depressed. It is low in a literal or figurative sense.

I dry upGG the greenHH tree
    and make the dryII tree flourish.JJ

Notes on verse 24c

GG “dry up” = yabesh. This is to be dry, withered, confused, or ashamed. It can also be to fail.
HH “green” = lach. 6x in OT. This is fresh, green, new.
II “dry” = yabesh. Related to “dry up” in v24. 9x in OT. From yabesh (see note GG above). This is dry, withered (as for plants), or gone.
JJ “make…flourish” = parach. This is to sprout, blossom, bloom, spread, flourish.

I the LordKK have spoken;LL
    I will accomplishMM it.

Notes on verse 24d

KK “Lord” = YHVH. Same as “God” in v22. See note B above.
LL “spoken” = dabar. This is generally to speak, answer, declare, or command. It might mean to arrange and so to speak in a figurative sense as arranging words.
MM “accomplish” = asah. Same as “bear” in v23. See note Q above.

Image credit: “Cedrus libani” – Lebanese cedar in Antalya province, Turkey by Juan José Sánchez, 2013.

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