|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
17:11-21 The parable is explained, and the particulars of the history of the Jewish nation at that time may be traced. Zedekiah had been ungrateful to his benefactor, which is a sin against God. In every solemn oath, God is appealed to as a witness of the sincerity of him that swears. Truth is a debt owing to all men. If the professors of the true religion deal treacherously with those of a false religion, their profession makes their sin the worse; and God will the more surely and severely punish it. The Lord will not hold those guiltless who take his name in vain; and no man shall escape the righteous judgment of God who dies under unrepented guilt.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
That the kingdom might be base,.... Low or humble; its king but a viceroy, a tributary to the king of Babylon; and the subjects obliged to a tax, payable to him; and this is intended by the vine being of "low stature", Ezekiel 17:6;
that it might not lift up itself; above other neighbouring kingdoms and states; and particularly that it might not rebel against Nebuchadnezzar, but be kept in a dependence on him, and subjection to him:
but that by keeping of his covenant it might stand; continue a kingdom, and Zedekiah king of it; so that it was for their good that such a covenant was made, and it was their interest to keep it; for, had it not been made, it would have ceased to have been a kingdom, and would have become a province of the Babylonian monarchy, and have been put under the government of one of Nebuchadnezzar's princes or captains; and, should they break it, would endanger the ruin of their state, as the event showed. In the Hebrew text it is, "to keep his covenant, to make it stand"; or, "to stand to it" (y); that is, as it should seem, to make the covenant stand firm. The Targum is,
"that it might keep his covenant, and serve him;''
(y) "ad custodiendum pactum ejus, ad astandum ei", Montanus; "ad servandum foedus suum, ad consistendumm", Starckius.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
14. That the kingdom might be base—that is, low as to national elevation by being Nebuchadnezzar's dependent; but, at the same time, safe and prosperous, if faithful to the "oath." Nebuchadnezzar dealt sincerely and openly in proposing conditions, and these moderate ones; therefore Zedekiah's treachery was the baser and was a counterpart to their treachery towards God.
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