Ezekiel 19 is a lament, we are told (Ezekiel 19:14). What is the writer lamenting? In a few words, the inadequacy of the leaders of Israel in the days of Ezekiel. We have been following Israel’s history, and so the illustration of two cubs becoming strong lions that are taken to Egypt and Babylon respectively, is easy to understand. But the vineyard illustration, where Israel, the mother, has vines whose strength are taken away drives at the main point. We are told at one time there were branches that were worthy of a King’s scepter (Ezekiel 19:11). Now the days have come where, “No strong branch is left on it fit for a ruler’s scepter”. (Ezekiel 19:14) As bad as exile and humiliation is, their plight is worsened by the lack of leaders in Ezekiel’s day fit to reign. Of course David’s line will be removed from the throne shortly, as we learn from other books we have read. Still, there is great reason to lament when something much worse than bad circumstances has occurred. There are no leaders present to help the people see their way through these hard times; to show Israel how God is on the throne and to return in confidence to the Lord their God. Lament is the only appropriate response in such days.