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Ezekiel 17:3-4

3. And say, Thus says the Lord GOD; A great eagle with great wings, longwinged, full of feathers, which had divers colours, came unto Lebanon, and took the highest branch of the cedar:

3. Et dic, Sit dicit Dominator Iehovah, aquila magna, magna alis, longa penna 156156     Or, “wings” — there is a change of number. — Calvin. plena 157157     Or, “thick with,” “plentiful in.” — Calvin. plumis quae illis variae 158158     The number, though singular, is taken for plural, that is, “of divers colors.” — Calvin. erant venit ad montem Libanum, et accepit summitatem cedri.

4. He cropped off the top of his young twigs, and carried it into a land of traffick; he set it in a city of merchants.

4. Caput 159159     Or, “the top.” — Calvin. surculorum ejus avellit, et transtulit in terram mercatoris, 160160     The word כנען, cengnen, (or, chnaan,) is not a proper name, but is taken appellatively. — Calvin. in urbe mercatorum posuit eam. 161161     Or, “that top.” — Calvin.


Here the Prophet reasons from the greater to the less: for if Nebuchadnezzar was able to subdue the whole kingdom with ease, when as yet the Jews were untouched, how much more readily would he overthrow them when wretched and all but ruined: for nothing remained which was not threatened with ruin; and this is the meaning of the Prophet. But he compares King Nebuchadnezzar to an eagle, whom he says was great, and then with large or extended wings. There is no doubt that by wings, feathers, and plumes, he means the regions and peoples over which Nebuchadnezzar presided; for we know that the Chaldaeans possessed the monarchy of the East. Since, therefore, so many regions and people obeyed Nebuchadnezzar’s sway, it is not surprising that the Prophet calls him a great eagle, with ample wings, and with numerous feathers or plumes; for where he now says, מלא הנוצה, mela henotzeh, full of feathers, he will shortly say, רב נוצה, reb notzeh, many feathers, when speaking of the king of Egypt. He says, the wings were of divers colors; it is the same noun which the Prophet used in the last chapter, when he said that the people were clad in precious garments; for thus the Hebrews speak of Phrygian texture: hence he compares the wings of the king of Babylon to a woven garment, resplendent with various colors; for although Nebuchadnezzar held his throne at only one place, yet he had seized and subdued many tributaries on all sides. This, therefore, is the reason for this variety; — but I cannot proceed further at present.

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