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A.M. 3411. B.C. 593.
To reconcile Ezekiel himself, and his hearers, to the destruction of Judah and Jerusalem by the Chaldeans, God here shows that it was as proper that they should be destroyed as that an unfruitful vine should be cut up and burned. We have,
(1,) The parable or similitude, showing that when the vine is barren it is unfit for any use, Ezekiel 15:1-5 .
(2,) The awful application of it to the Jews, Ezekiel 15:6-8 .
Ezekiel 15:1-5. What is the vine more than any tree? The house of Israel is often compared to a vine, which when fruitful is very profitable and valuable, but when barren is very worthless and contemptible. Of this the prophet reminds the Jews to humble them, and awaken them to a sense of the importance of bringing forth the fruits of righteousness. Or, than a branch which is among the trees of the forest? One single branch of a tree in the forest is of more use and value than the whole vine-tree is, except for its fruit. Some, however, render this latter clause, If its branch is as the trees of the forest; that is, if it brings forth no fruit. Shall wood be taken thereof to do any work? There are some fruit-trees, the wood of which, if they do not bear fruit, is of much use, and may be made to turn to a good account; but the vine is not one of these; its wood is of no use in building, or in making any piece of furniture or domestic utensil; nor indeed is it fit for any of the purposes for which the wood of other trees is used. It will not afford even a pin to drive into a wall or post, on which you may safely hang any weight: and, therefore, if the vine do not bring forth grapes it is good for nothing. Behold, it is cast into the fire for fuel When, for its barrenness, it is cut down, it is only fit to be burned. The fire devoureth both the ends of it, and the midst of it, &c. “A very apt representation of the state of Judea, when both its extremities were consumed by the ravages of the destroyer, and the middle of it, where the capital city stood, was threatened every moment with destruction from the enemy.” Is it meet for any work? Is it worth any body’s while to save it from being burned for any use! If a piece of solid timber be kindled, somebody, perhaps, may snatch it out of the fire, and say it is a pity to burn it, for it may be put to some better use; but if the branch of a vine be on fire, and, as usual, both the ends of it and the middle are kindled together, nobody goes about to save it: for when it was whole it was meet for no work, much less when the fire has almost devoured it. Just so, the parable implies, it was of no use or consequence to save the Jewish nation from destruction, were it possible to do it, which had so little answered the design of God, in making them his people, and had been of so little use in promoting his glory among the surrounding nations.
Ezekiel 15:6-8. As the vine-tree among the trees of the forest, which I have given for fuel That is, as the vine-tree, when barren and fruitless, like the wild trees of the forest, is given for fuel, being fit for nothing else; or as a vine, when barren and cut up, is thrown among other wood which is intended to be fuel for the fire; so will I give the inhabitants of Jerusalem So will I destroy them by the Chaldeans, among other nations which are destroyed by them. For they are so degenerated, and grown so corrupt and wicked, that they are of no use any longer in the world; but are rather injurious to civil society, and therefore are only fit to be consumed. And I will set my face against them To thwart all their counsels and confound their schemes, as they have set their faces against me to contradict my word and defeat my designs: or, I will look upon them with indignation. They shall go out from one fire, and another fire shall devour them The end of one judgment shall be the beginning of another; and their escape from one only a reprieve till another come. They shall go from misery in their own country to misery in Babylon. They that kept themselves out of the way of the sword, perished by famine or pestilence: when one descent of the Chaldean forces upon them was over, and they thought, Surely the bitterness of death is past; yet soon after these enemies returned again with double violence till they had made a full end. And ye shall know that I am the Lord, when I have set my face against them You that are in Chaldea, when you shall hear what mischiefs, one after another, are heaped on Jerusalem, shall know that I am Jehovah, a God of almighty power, that it is my wrath and vengeance that is poured upon them. Observe, reader, God shows himself to be the Lord by the destruction of his implacable enemies, as well as by the deliverance of his obedient people. And, observe also those against whom he sets his face, though they may come out of one trouble little hurt, will fall into another; though they come out of the pit, will be taken in the snare, Isaiah 24:8; though they escape the sword of Hazael, will fall by that of Jehu, 1 Kings 19:17: for evil pursues sinners. Nay, though they go out from the fire of temporal judgments, and seem to die in peace, yet there is an everlasting fire that will devour them; for when God judgeth, first or last, he will overcome, and will be known by the judgments which he executeth.
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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Ezekiel 15". Benson's Commentary. https://studylight.org/
the Second Week of Advent