Ezekiel 17:23

Hebrew Bible

22 “‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: “‘I will take a sprig from the lofty top of the cedar and plant it. I will pluck from the top one of its tender twigs; I myself will plant it on a high and lofty mountain. 23 I will plant it on a high mountain of Israel, and it will raise branches and produce fruit and become a beautiful cedar. Every bird will live under it; every winged creature will live in the shade of its branches. 24 All the trees of the field will know that I am the Lord.I make the high tree low; I raise up the low tree. I make the green tree wither, and I make the dry tree sprout.I, the Lord, have spoken, and I will do it!’”

Matthew 13:31

New Testament

30 Let both grow together until the harvest. At harvest time I will tell the reapers, “First collect the darnel and tie it in bundles to be burned, but then gather the wheat into my barn.”’” 31 He gave them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field. 32 It is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest garden plant and becomes a tree, so that the wild birds come and nest in its branches.” 33 He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed with three measures of flour until all the dough had risen.”

 Notes and References

"... In the parable of the mustard seed, all three accounts conclude with an allusion to Ezekiel 17:23 and related Old Testament passages (esp. Psalm 104:12; Ezekiel 31:6; Daniel 4:12), in which the birds of the air come to nest in the branches of the mighty cedar of Lebanon. In that context the birds stand for all the peoples of the earth, that is, predominantly the Gentiles. It is hard to know if such a meaning is intended in Jesus’ parable as well. The lowly mustard plant, even though it can occasionally reach heights of ten to twelve feet and be legitimately considered a small shade tree, pales in comparison with the lofty cedar. Nevertheless, there may be deliberate irony in this choice of imagery. Garland argues that the point is not whether something so small can represent God’s work but if something so contemptible can. Perhaps we do not have to choose between the two interpretations, inasmuch as small things have often been the objects of contempt throughout history. In the prophetic passages, God’s kingdom ultimately supplants Babylon; perhaps Jesus is suggesting that it will also prove the undoing of Rome ..."

Blomberg, Craig L. Interpreting the Parables (pp. 359-360) InterVarsity Press, 1990

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