God tells Ezekiel to teach the people a lesson of history. For genertions, the people have ignored His laws of life and justice. They rejected Him in favor of their own disgraceful practices. They ignored His special Shabbat, and instead turned to idols. Even to the terrible depths of offering child sacrifices. God only has so much patience, but no longer was God going to look the other way.
Ezekiel teaches the solution to the riddle. Those who are arrogant and do not keep the promises they make will be destroyed, while those who are humble and accept God's sovereignty will flourish.
Ezekiel employs a new method to get his message across, as God tells him a riddle to say to the people. A great eagle, a tree, a vine and a lesser eagle all play a part in this riddle. The meaning of the riddle will be discussed in 17b.
We conclude the parable of the unfaithful wife by learning the root cause of corruption and destruction. Arrogance is the the root of it all. This was the sin of Sodom, the sin of Samaria, and the sin which led to the destruction of Judah. God will remember His promise, even though we have not kept ours. The other nations will be redeemed as well, reminding us of our shame and reminding us that only with humility will any redemption occur.
Ezekiel describes how the people descended into the most awful forms of corruption and promiscuity. They looked everywhere for pleasure and satisfaction except not towards God.
Israel forgets the desperate and unfortunate cuircumstances of her birth, and uses all of her wealth, beauty and bounty to satisfy her own arrogance. In a chapter full of powerful sexual imagery, the prophet shows how arriogance can turn into a quest to satisfy one's own desires without regard to it's effects on anyone. Even to sacrifice one's own children, nothing will stop a person infected with his own arrogance and selfishness.
In the second in his series of parables, the prophet compares the people of Isael to an unfaithful wife. In this first portion, he describes how Israel was an abandoned child, full of blood and dirt and left to die. God brought us to adulthood, took care of us until we grew into a beautiful young woman, God took us under His wings, and gave them all that we needed to prosper.
Ezekiel begins a series of parables in a new attempt at getting his message across. This parable uses the familiar image of Israel as a grape vine, only now the grape vine produces no fruit. The wood of the vine is thus a useless twig, not suitable for any constructive purpose.