Ezekiel 17:24
Then all the trees of the field will know that I am the LORD. I bring the tall tree down and make the low tree tall. I dry up the green tree and make the withered tree flourish. I, the LORD, have spoken, and I have done it.'"
The Advantage of the Kingdom of ChristEzekiel 17:24
The Proud Abased and the Lowly ExaltedAnon.Ezekiel 17:24
The Sovereignty of the Almighty RulerJ.R. Thomson Ezekiel 17:24
The Trees of the Field and Their Appointed DestinyJ. C. Philpot.Ezekiel 17:24
To the RescueEzekiel 17:24
Divine SovereigntyJ. Parker, D. D.Ezekiel 17:22-24
God's Overrule Among the Kingdoms of the EarthA. B. Davidson, D. D.Ezekiel 17:22-24
Refuge for All in ChristF. B. Meyer, B. A.Ezekiel 17:22-24
Springtime After WinterJ.D. Davies Ezekiel 17:22-24
The Goodly Cedar and the Birds of Every WingJ. W. Hardman, LL. D.Ezekiel 17:22-24
The Planting and Progress of the Kingdom of ChristW. Jones Ezekiel 17:22-24
The Reign of the Son of GodT. Adkins.Ezekiel 17:22-24

The Bible abounds in paradox; and this for the simple reason that God does not judge and act as men judge add act. Man looketh upon the outward appearance, whereas God looks upon the heart. In many instances in Scripture history we find the younger preferred to the elder, the insignificant to the imposing. And God deals thus, not only with individuals, but with nations. He raiseth up one, and layeth low another. In the text this principle is apparent in his treatment of Israel. The captives should be restored. Earthly sovereignty might pass away from the house of David, but the Lord and King of men was intended to spring, and did spring, from a stock which seemed dry and dead. The great nations of the East, once so splendid and powerful, have, with their monarchies, passed away. But from Judah sprang the Son of man, who is appointed to reign over the race which he redeemed from sin unto God.

I. DIVINE PROVIDENCE IS TO BE RECOGNIZED IN THE ELEVATION AND DEPRESSION OF THE NATIONS. The changes which interest, amaze, and perplex the student of human history are not accidental; they are wrought by laws imposed by the Divine Creator and Ruler of all the earth.

II. DIVINE PROVIDENCE IS ESPECIALLY OBSERVABLE IN THE DISAPPOINTMENT OF HUMAN EXPECTATIONS AND THE OVERTURNING OF HUMAN PLANS. It is indeed a common proverb, "Nothing is certain but the unexpected." The fortunes of nations are beyond our prediction. Men admire the high tree; and it is brought low. They despise the low tree; and it is exalted. They predict and expect great things of the green tree; and it is dried up. They account the dry tree as fit only for burning; and lo! it flourishes.

III. DIVINE PROVIDENCE IS BY NO MEANS DIRECTED BY UNREASONING CAPRICE. The purposes of God may be hidden from us; but we may be assured that they are all inspired and controlled by infinite reason and flawless righteousness. Nothing occurs among the nations which the Omnipotent does not foresee and permit, which he will not overrule for his glory.

IV. DIVINE PROVIDENCE SO ORDERS THE CHANGES AMONG THE NATIONS THAT HONOUR MAY BE TAKEN FROM MAN AND MAY BE ATTRIBUTED TO GOD HIMSELF. He will be glorified by the work of his own hands; and will not give his honour to another. Universal history, when complete, shall be a full and manifest witness to the wisdom and to the benevolence of God. - T.

And all the trees of the field shall know that I the Lord have brought down the high tree, have exalted the low tree.
"The field" seems to set forth the visible Church of God; and "the trees of the field" seem to set forth all the professors of Divine truth, whether they are possessors or not. All these "trees of the field" shall know a certain truth. Now, what is tiffs certain truth? That the Lord will do a certain work in characters, which He Himself has delineated; and that it shall be visible to the Church of God what He does to those characters.

1. The first character of which the Lord speaks is "the high tree"; which "high tree" is to be "brought down." That expression — "a high tree" — seems to bear two significations.(1) There is the "high tree" — that is, a nominal professor who is destitute of the fear of God, who has nothing of the .grace of God in His soul, but stands in the visible Church of Christ in a profession of godliness whilst he is inwardly devoid of its power. In this wood of trees the first object that catches the eye is "the high tree," that soars above them all. You will find this nominal professor in the Church of Christ always ready to come forward; he never hangs back through a sense of his weakness and ignorance; he is never plagued with doubts and fears as to his state before God; he never puts his mouth in the dust from a deep sense of his vileness and baseness before Hint; but let him be present in any company, or on any occasion, he is ready to speak, to exalt himself, and to tower high above the family of God, who are mourning and sighing over the burden of sin, guilt, and corruption, and are suing after the Lord's manifestations of favour to their souls. Now the Lord says, "All the trees of the field shall know that I the Lord have brought down the high tree." Then this "high tree" must he "brought down"; and not merely brought down, but visibly brought down, — brought down in the sight of the trees of the field, laid low in the sight of all who have eyes to see, who have ears to hear, who have minds to understand what God's dealings are.(2) But the expression "high tree" bears another signification. Whence comes the presumption of self-confident professors? Does it not spring from an internal principle of pride in them? And are not all, without exception, possessed of the same "deceitful and desperately wicked" heart? Then, if the towering confidence of a presumptuous professor springs from innate pride, is there not the Same principle at work in the heart of a living child? But the Lord will never suffer His children to walk in vain confidence; He will never allow them, for a long season together, to stand in false liberty; and therefore He will "bring them down." He has but to look upon us with one frown, and He will bruise into nothingness all our presumptuous liberty. He has but to take the veil for a moment off our hearts, and discover to us what we are and discover to us what He is, and we shall fall down before Him, as Isaiah fell when he saw the glory of the Lord in the temple.

2. And now we come to the "exalting the low tree." Here we have a striking contrast. "The low tree is one who has always the lowest, meanest thoughts concerning himself; who can find in his heart nothing spiritually good; who is continually afraid of presumption; who starts back from every appearance of being more than he really is. Now, "this low tree" the Lord has promised to exalt. But He will never "exalt the low tree" in self. The wise man shall not "glory in his wisdom, the strong man shall not glory in his strength"; but "he that glorieth" shall "glory in this, that he knoweth the Lord." "In the Lord shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory." "He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord." When "the low tree," therefore, is "exalted," it is by some sweet manifestation of the blood and love of Jesus to his soul; it is by lifting him up out of the mire, and out of the dunghill, and "setting him among princes," and making him "inherit the throne of glory"; it is by Jesus sweetly coming into his heart and conscience, sprinkling it with His atoning blood, bedewing it with the drops of His favour, discovering His glorious righteousness, and binding up every bleeding wound.

3. But consider another tree of which the Lord speaks, and another work which the Lord here promises to do. "I the Lord have brought down the high tree, have exalted the low tree, have dried up the green tree." Now, just in the same way as "the high tree" seems to shadow forth two characters (that is, the presumptuous professor, and a child of God drawn aside by Satan's subtlety into presumption), so "the green tree" seems to set forth both a professor of religion and also a child of God in the warmth of youthful zeal.

4. Oh! what a state it is in which to stand before God — a "dry tree"! To feel as though there was not a single particle of spiritual sap or heavenly moisture in us; to feel as though we had no religion worth the name; to feel as though we had no real work of the Spirit upon our soul, and no real grace in our heart given by God Himself! Now, to this "dry tree" the Lord has given a promise. He says this dry tree shall be "made to flourish." How He frustrates and disappoints all the expectations of nature! What! to "dry up a green tree," and to "make a dry tree to flourish"! Would not nature say, "Oh! the 'green tree,' make it greener still: oh! the 'dry tree,' cut it down, and cast it into the fire!" But the Lord's "ways are not our ways," neither are the Lord's "thoughts our thoughts"; but "as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are His ways higher than our ways, and His thoughts than our thoughts." Cut it down! No; "make it to flourish"! Then the Lord's work is made manifest, as much in "drying up the green tree" as in "making the dry tree to flourish." And how does He "make the dry tree to flourish"? Why, by dropping in His own blessed dew into it; by shedding his own Divine favour into the barren and parched heart; by dropping in some testimony from His own blessed and gracious lips, so as to cause the soul to "revive as the vine," and to flourish as the herb; by causing "showers of blessing" to fall upon the wilderness, and turn it into a standing pool, and so make the rose of Sharon sweetly and blessedly to blossom and flourish therein.

(J. C. Philpot.)

Methinks I see a great forest which reaches for many a league. The trees are of divers growths, and of various ages. Some are very lofty. Here a towering cedar, and yonder the storks have made their nests among the tall fir trees. Stout oaks there are that laugh at storms, and elms that will not be twisted with the tempest. See how they rival each other! And there are lowlier trees; some bearing fruit, though scarcely seen, others, like the vine, creeping upon the ground — so obscure they can hardly be observed.

I. "THUS SAITH THE LORD, THE TREES OF THE FIELD SHALL KNOW THAT I THE LORD HAVE BROUGHT DOWN THE HIGH TREE." Look over history, and you will see that everything gigantic in stature and colossal in dimensions; whatsoever has been great to human apprehension, grasping at earthly fame, has become an Object for God's penetrating arrows, and a subject for His withering blight. The Lord of hosts always cuts down the high tree, humiliates the creature that exalts itself, and suffers no flesh to glory in His presence. That is the Law of His government. The question arises, How does it concern us? Doubtless it opens a sad prospect to those who are lifted up with pride, or inflated with self-opinion. Among the seven abominations your order ranks highest. No liar or murderer can claim a preeminence over you in vice so long as the Proverbs stand. Ere long the heel of the Almighty shall be lifted higher than thy haughty head. He will cast thee down, be thy look never so proud; for the Lord hath purposed it to stain the pride of all glory, to bring into contempt all the excellency of the earth. There is, again, an arrogance of mind, of judgment, of opinion, just as ignorant — if not quite so grotesque — as his who dreams that his birth is of higher caste and his blood of richer hue than other men. Humanity in the bulk is the idol of some people; and yonder I see the man who quotes himself as an illustrious specimen. He does not believe in the total depravity of human nature. The Lord will abase thee, whosoever thou mayest be; He will shame thee: the axe is ready to be laid at thy root even now. Thy goodness is not God's goodness, and thy righteousness is not Christ's righteousness; therefore shall the moth consume it, and it shall be eaten away. Or shall it fare better with another class? There is our friend who says, "Well, well, I do not believe in forms and ceremonies; but, mark you, I always judge and weigh everything." He estimates himself as all independent thinker; he is bound by no precedents, fettered by no creeds, and considers that he is amenable to no judgment but his own. Strong in his self-assertion, he makes light of the Word of God, and the will of God, while he holds prophets and apostles in little esteem. Ah, well, brother! God is against you, He will make a fool of you one of these days, if you are so wise as to exalt yourself above His revelation. The world shall see your folly. I tell thee, captious questioner, that the Lord will bring thee down.

II. Furthermore the Lord says, "I WILL EXALT THE LOW TREE." Here is a word of comfort to some who specially need it. The low trees are those poor in spirit who think others better than they are themselves; who, instead of carving their names high, are willing to have them written low, because they feel they have nothing whereof to glory, nought wherein to boast. The low trees are the penitents, those who take their stand afar off with the publican, and say, "God be merciful to me, a sinner"; you that feel your own weakness to do anything aright. You that feel your ignorance, and are willing to be instructed; you that are modest as children, and ready to sit at the feet of Jesus; you that have been broken in pieces till you feel that a crumb of mercy would be more than you deserve, and are willing to take any dole He is pleased to give — you are the low trees. And you that are despised, who walk in darkness and see no light; slandered for Christ's sake, reproached with crimes you never committed; you of whom the world is not worthy, though the world accounts you to be unworthy of its esteem — you are the low trees, and God shall exalt you.

III. The Lord has also declared that HE WILL DRY UP THE GREEN TREE. Whether that green tree be high or low it does not matter; if it be green in itself, He will cut it down. Mark you, a man may be as high as heaven; if it is God that makes him high, he will stand; but if he be high in creature strength, and creature merits, and creature glory, he shall be brought down; and a man may be low without merit, if he is merely mean and meagre, paltry and pitiable, not worth a straw. That is not the spirit of lowliness that God blesses. In like manner a man may be green because he is planted by the rivers of God's living waters, that is healthy enough; but those that are like the green bay tree of the Psalmist, trees growing in their own soil, never transplanted by grace, green in the verdure of worldly prosperity, and taking all their delight in earthly things — those are the trees God will dry up.

IV. Lastly, the Lord MAKES THE DRY TREE TO FLOURISH. How many of God's people may be fitly compared to a dry tree! They have little joy; they have not got to full assurance. They are afraid to say, "My beloved is mine, and I am His." They think they are of no use to the Church; they are half inclined to suspect it was a mistake for them to be baptized, and they were to blame for uniting themselves with the people of God. They come to the assembly of believers, and though they do sing with their lips, the heart cannot sing as it would. There are times, too, when walking home they say, "I go where others go, but I get no comfort; if I were really the Lord's, should I be thus; if I did trust Christ, should I ever be so languid?" If it is of your own bringing about that you are thus dry, I do not offer you any comfort; but if the Holy Spirit has led you to see your weakness, your nothingness, your deadness, then I am glad you have been brought to this pass, for God will cause the dry tree to flourish. When we are weak, then are we strong.

( C. H. Spurgeon.)

I. IN THE CARRYING ON THE INTEREST OF CHRIST AND THE GOSPEL, GOD WILL WORK WONDERFUL PROVIDENTIAL ALTERATIONS. There are three principal seasons of the Lord's eminent appearance to carry on the kingdom of Christ and the Gospel, and all attended with dreadful providential alterations; and unto one of these heads may all particular actings be reduced.

1. The first is, the promulgation of the Gospel among the Jews by the Lord Christ Himself and His apostles: what this was attended withal is graphically described (Matthew 24:6, 7).

2. The second is, in the further carrying on of the Gospel, after the destruction of Jerusalem, throughout the world of the Gentiles, subject then in a great proportion to the Roman Empire.

3. The most signal is, the coming of the Lord Christ to recover His people from antichristian idolatry and oppression; which of all others is and shall be attended with the most astonishing alterations and desolations, pulling down of high trees, and exalting them that are low: thence is that war, described Revelation 17:14, and that mighty vengeance poured out by the Lord Christ on the nations, their kings and captains, chap. Revelation 19:11 to the end. Now the reasons of this are —(1) Because amongst all men, where the kingdom of Christ is to be set up, there is something or other possessed, that He alone must and will have; and therefore the Lord giving Jesus Christ but His own inheritance, it must needs be attended with great alterations.(2) The works that God hath to do in such a season require it: God hath three great works to do in the day of His carrying on the interest of Christ and the Gospel —

(i)He hath great revenges to take.

(ii)He hath great deliverances to work.

(iii)He hath great discoveries to make.

1. Of His own, that they may be purged.

2. Of hypocrites, that they may be discovered.

Use 1. — To discover where dwells that spirit that actuates all the great alterations that have been in these nations.

Use 2. — To magnify the goodness of God, who unto us hath sweetened and seasoned all His dreadful dispensations, and all the alterations in those nations, with this His gracious design running through them all; this is that which puts all their beauty and lustre on them, being outwardly dreadful and horrible.


1. The first is taken from the corruptions of the hearts of men squaring the works of God to their fleshly reasonings, corrupt interests, and principles. They are bold with the wisdom of God, and conclude, thus and thus things ought to be, ordering their thoughts for the most part according to their corrupt and carnal advantages.

2. God chooseth thus to do things above and besides the expectations of men, that His presence, and the presence of the Lord Christ, may be the more conspicuous in the world.

3. God will do it for the hardening of many false empty professors, and others in the world, that the judgments appointed may come upon them to the uttermost. Use. — It serves, then, to discover the vanity of those men who, because the works of God have not been carried on in ways suitable to their reasonings and expectations, do utterly reject them, disown them, and oppose Him in them. Can these men give any one instance, of any one eminent work of God, that He hath brought about by such ways and means as men would rationally allot thereunto, especially in things that are in immediate subserviency to the kingdom of the Lord Christ?

( J. Owen, D. D.)

Consider the text as exemplified —


1. The Antediluvians and Noah. They were the high and green trees, — Noah and family, the low and the dry.

2. Pharaoh and the Israelites.

3. Goliath and David.

4. Haman and Mordecai.

II. IN THE HISTORY OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST. The Jews expected the high green tree, — earthly magnificence, worldly power and authority. But Christ fulfilled the sayings of the prophets (Isaiah 53:1, etc.) In all things He was the opposite of their desires, etc. Hence they killed Him. Yet Christ, the low tree, etc., did God exalt, etc. He hath made Him to flourish, etc. His name shall endure as long as the sun, etc.

III. IN THE TRIUMPHS OF THE APOSTOLIC LABOURS. Look at the persons of the apostles, — plain, illiterate, poor men. Not the high green tree. Not learned, affluent, or influential. Hearken to their message. What is it? Christ crucified. Not a religion of metaphysical subtleties. Not elaborate doctrines or profound dogmas of philosophy. Not a splendid system of pompous ceremony. But the lowly doctrines of the cross. Humility, self-denial, spirituality, etc. And what is the result? The high tree of paganism is brought down. The green tree of Judaism is dried up. The low tree of Christianity is exalted and flourishes, and blesses every known civilised land, etc. (1 Corinthians 1:21-29).

IV. IN THE EXPERIENCE OF THE HAUGHTY, AND OF THE PENITENTIAL SINNER. The man of proud heart, exalted self-esteem, etc. "God, I thank thee," etc. The poor publican self-convicted, self-abhorred. He is the dry tree, nothing to trust in, or to plead. "God be merciful," etc. Mark the result. God rejects the high tree; He despises his work, — He brings him low. He beholds with approbation the low tree, etc. He goes down to his house justified.

V. IN THE LIVES OF THE HIGH-MINDED AND OF THE LOWLY CHRISTIAN. Pride and self-sufficiency are the great temptations of the human heart. To be something. To do something. To he thought something. To exalt ourselves. How prone we are to this. Well, what, is the result? God knows it will ruin us if not eradicated. We must be brought low in mercy or judgment. He blights the worldly prospects. He reverses the dazzling scene. He sends repeated disappointments. Troops of crosses and troubles. Perhaps keen bereavements. And thus brings down the high tree, dries up the green tree, etc. But behold the low tree, the dry tree. The lowly Christian says, "I am nothing." He lives by faith on the Son of God, etc. He abases Himself, etc. He glories in the cross, etc. He makes mention of Christ's righteousness, etc. He dwells in the dust. God exalts, blesses, makes fruitful, etc., lifts them up forever. Application —

1. Learn the evil of self-exaltation. Avoid it. Watch against it. Pray against it.

2. Be clothed with humility. What peace, safety, and honour are here.

3. God must have all the glory. See the text; also Daniel 6:34.


Ezekiel, Pharaoh
Babylon, Egypt, Jerusalem, Lebanon, Syria
Bring, Caused, Clear, Dried, Dry, Drying, Exalt, Exalted, Field, Flourish, Full, Green, Grow, Growth, Low, Making, Moist, Perform, Spoken, Tall, Tree, Trees
1. Under the parable of two eagles and a vine
11. is shown God's judgment upon Jerusalem for revolting from Babylon to Egypt
22. God promises to plant the cedar of the Gospel

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Ezekiel 17:23

     4675   nest

Ezekiel 17:22-23

     4416   branch

Divine Destruction and Protection
CAN your minds fly back to the time when there was no time, to the day when there was no day but the Ancient of Days? Can you speed back to that period when God dwelt alone, when this round world and all the things that be upon it, had not come from his hand; when the sun flamed not in his strength, and the stars flashed not in their brightness? Can you go back to the period when there were no angels, when cherubim and seraphim had not been born; and, if there be creatures elder than they, when none
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 62: 1916

'As Sodom'
'Zedekiah was one and twenty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Hamutal the daughter of Jeremiah of Libnah. 2. And he did that which was evil in the eyes of the Lord, according to all that Jehoiakim had done. 3. For through the anger of the Lord it came to pass in Jerusalem and Judah, till he had cast them out from his presence, that Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon. 4. And it came to pass, in the ninth year of his reign,
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

Bunyan's Last Sermon --Preached July 1688.
"Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God;" John i. 13. The words have a dependence on what goes before, and therefore I must direct you to them for the right understanding of it. You have it thus,--"He came to his own, but his own received him not; but as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them which believe on his name; which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, but of God." In
by John Bunyan—Miscellaneous Pieces

To a modern taste, Ezekiel does not appeal anything like so powerfully as Isaiah or Jeremiah. He has neither the majesty of the one nor the tenderness and passion of the other. There is much in him that is fantastic, and much that is ritualistic. His imaginations border sometimes on the grotesque and sometimes on the mechanical. Yet he is a historical figure of the first importance; it was very largely from him that Judaism received the ecclesiastical impulse by which for centuries it was powerfully
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament

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