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“ ‘A great eagle
with a huge wingspan and long feathers,
In full plumage and bright colors,
came to Lebanon
And took the top off a cedar,
Took it to a land of traders,
and set it down in a city of shopkeepers.
and planted it in good, well-watered soil,
like a willow on a riverbank.
low to the ground.
Its branches grew toward the eagle
and the roots became established—
A vine putting out shoots,
with a huge wingspan and thickly feathered.
This vine sent out its roots toward him
from the place where it was planted.
Its branches reached out to him
so he could water it
from a long distance.
in good, well-watered soil,
And it put out branches and bore fruit,
and became a noble vine.
Will it thrive?
Won’t he just pull it up by the roots
and leave the grapes to rot
And the branches to shrivel up,
a withered, dead vine?
It won’t take much strength
or many hands to pull it up.
will it thrive?
When the hot east wind strikes it,
won’t it shrivel up?
Won’t it dry up and blow away
from the place where it was planted?’ ”
12–14 “Tell them, ‘The king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and took its king and its leaders back to Babylon. He took one of the royal family and made a covenant with him, making him swear his loyalty. The king of Babylon took all the top leaders into exile to make sure that this kingdom stayed weak—didn’t get any big ideas of itself—and kept the covenant with him so that it would have a future.
15 “ ‘But he rebelled and sent emissaries to Egypt to recruit horses and a big army. Do you think that’s going to work? Are they going to get by with this? Does anyone break a covenant and get off scot-free?
16–18 “ ‘As sure as I am the living God, this king who broke his pledge of loyalty and his covenant will die in that country, in Babylon. Pharaoh with his big army—all those soldiers!—won’t lift a finger to fight for him when Babylon sets siege to the city and kills everyone inside. Because he broke his word and broke the covenant, even though he gave his solemn promise, because he went ahead and did all these things anyway, he won’t escape.
19–21 “ ‘Therefore, God, the Master, says, As sure as I am the living God, because the king despised my oath and broke my covenant, I’ll bring the consequences crashing down on his head. I’ll send out a search party and catch him. I’ll take him to Babylon and have him brought to trial because of his total disregard for me. All his elite soldiers, along with the rest of the army, will be killed in battle, and whoever is left will be scattered to the four winds. Then you’ll realize that I, God, have spoken.
22–24 “ ‘God, the Master, says, I personally will take a shoot from the top of the towering cedar, a cutting from the crown of the tree, and plant it on a high and towering mountain, on the high mountain of Israel. It will grow, putting out branches and fruit—a majestic cedar. Birds of every sort and kind will live under it. They’ll build nests in the shade of its branches. All the trees of the field will recognize that I, God, made the great tree small and the small tree great, made the green tree turn dry and the dry tree sprout green branches. I, God, said it—and I did it.’ ”
About The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language
Many people assume that a book about a holy God should sound elevated, stately, and ceremonial. If this is how you’ve always viewed the Bible, you’re about to make a surprising discovery. The Message brings the life-changing power of the New Testament, the vibrant passion of the Psalms, and the rich, practical wisdom of Proverbs into easy-to-read modern language that echoes the rhythm and idioms of the original Greek and Hebrew. Written in the same kind of language you’d use to talk with friends, write a letter, or discuss politics, The Message preserves the authentic, earthy flavor and the expressive character of the Bible’s best-loved books. Whether you’ve been reading the Bible for years or are exploring it for the first time, The Message will startle and surprise you. And it will allow you to experience firsthand the same power and directness that motivated its original readers to change the course of history so many centuries ago.
Copyright 2005 Eugene H. Peterson.
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