|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
31:1-9 God assures his people that he will again take them into covenant relation to himself. When brought very low, and difficulties appear, it is good to remember that it has been so with the church formerly. But it is hard under present frowns to take comfort from former smiles; yet it is the happiness of those who, through grace, are interested in the love of God, that it is an everlasting love, from everlasting in the counsels, to everlasting in the continuance. Those whom God loves with this love, he will draw to himself, by the influences of his Spirit upon their souls. When praising God for what he has done, we must call upon him for the favours his church needs and expects. When the Lord calls, we must not plead that we cannot come; for he that calls us, will help us, will strengthen us. The goodness of God shall lead them to repentance. And they shall weep for sin with more bitterness, and more tenderness, when delivered out of their captivity, than when groaning under it. If we take God for our Father, and join the church of the first-born, we shall want nothing that is good for us. These predictions doubtless refer also to a future gathering of the Israelites from all quarters of the globe. And they figuratively describe the conversion of sinners to Christ, and the plain and safe way in which they are led.
Verse 5. - The mountains of Samaria. "Samaria" is used, equally with Ephraim, for the northern kingdom. Shall eat them as common things; rather, shall enjoy the fruit. The word, however, literally means shall profane them. The more common phrase, "shall eat the fruit," occurs in Isaiah 65:21, where the same promise is given. The law was that newly planted fruit trees should be left alone for three years; that in the fourth year their fruit should be consecrated to God; and that in the fifth year their fruit might be "profaned," i.e. devoted to ordinary uses (comp. Deuteronomy 20:6; Deuteronomy 28:30).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Thou shalt yet plant vines upon the mountains of Samaria,.... Mountains are proper places for vines, and which generally produce the best wine; but vines are not to be understood merely literally, or as only expressive of the outward peace, plenty, and prosperity of Samaria, with other places given to the Jews, as Josephus (k) observes they were by the Demetrii; which they might improve by planting vines, &c. but figuratively of the planting of Gospel churches there, comparable to vines, Sol 2:13; which was done in the first times of the Gospel; see John 4:29; and which was a pledge of what will be done in those parts hereafter in the latter day:
the planters shall plant, and shall eat them as common things; the fruit of the vines planted by them. The allusion is to the law of eating the fruit of trees planted on the fifth year of their plantation, when, and not till then, it was lawful to eat of it; but here the planters might eat of it as soon as it was produced, even as the fruit of the fifth year, which was common and lawful, Leviticus 19:23. The "planters" are the ministers of the Gospel; such an one the Apostle Paul was; who are instruments in founding and raising churches, and of planting members in them, as well as of watering, and making them fruitful; and who receive themselves benefit from hence; not only in things temporal, but spiritual; it giving them a real pleasure and satisfaction to see the plants grow and thrive, which they have planted, 1 Corinthians 3:6, Psalm 92:14.
(k) Antiqu. Jud. l. 13. c. 2. sect. 3.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
5. Samaria—the metropolis of the ten tribes; here equivalent to Israel. The mountainous nature of their country suited the growth of the vine.
eat … as common—literally, "shall profane," that is, shall put to common use. For the first three years after planting, the vine was "not to be eaten of"; on the fourth year the fruit was to be "holy to praise the Lord withal"; on the fifth year the fruit was to be eaten as common, no longer restricted to holy use (Le 19:23-25; compare De 20:6; 28:30, Margin). Thus the idea here is, "The same persons who plant shall reap the fruits"; it shall no longer be that one shall plant and another reap the fruit.
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