|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
80:8-16 The church is represented as a vine and a vineyard. The root of this vine is Christ, the branches are believers. The church is like a vine, needing support, but spreading and fruitful. If a vine do not bring forth fruit, no tree is so worthless. And are not we planted as in a well-cultivated garden, with every means of being fruitful in works of righteousness? But the useless leaves of profession, and the empty boughs of notions and forms, abound far more than real piety. It was wasted and ruined. There was a good reason for this change in God's way toward them. And it is well or ill with us, according as we are under God's smiles or frowns. When we consider the state of the purest part of the visible church, we cannot wonder that it is visited with sharp corrections. They request that God would help the vine. Lord, it is formed by thyself, and for thyself, therefore it may, with humble confidence, be committed to thyself.
Verse 10. - The hills were covered with the shadow of it. The "hills" intended are probably those of the south - the hill country of Judah - since the clauses which follow designate the boundaries towards the north, west, and east. (So Hengstenberg, Kay, Professor Cheyne, and others.) And the boughs thereof were like the goodly cedars; rather, and the goodly cedar trees were covered with their branches. The cedars of Lebanon are intended. They marked the boundary line on the north. The psalmist calls them "cedars of God," by a strong, but not unprecedented (Psalm 36:6), hyperbole.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
The hills were covered with the shadow of it,.... Alluding to the land of Canaan, which was a mountainous and hilly country, at least some part of it; hence we read of the hill country of Judea, Luke 1:39 and to the nature of vines, which delight to grow on hills and mountains (p): in a figurative sense this may denote the subjection of kings and kingdoms, comparable to hills, to the Israelites in the times of David and Solomon, 2 Samuel 8:1 and the exaltation of the church of Christ, in the latter day, over the hills and mountains, Isaiah 2:2. The Targum is,
"the mountains of Jerusalem were covered with the shadow of the house of the sanctuary, and of the houses of the schools:''
and the boughs thereof were like the goodly cedars; to these the righteous are compared, Psalm 92:13, the Targum is,
"the doctors, the mighty preachers, who are like to the strong cedars:''
the words may be rendered, "the boughs thereof cover the goodly cedars", or "cedars of God" (q); that is, overrun and overtop the goodly cedars; alluding to vines running and growing upon high and goodly trees; and so may denote, as before, the power of Israel over the princes and potentates of the earth, comparable to cedars, the most excellent; as things most excellent have often the name of God added to them; see Psalm 104:16.
(p) "Bacchus amat colles----" Virgil Georgic. l. 2. v. 113. (q) "rami ejus cedros Dei", Tigurine version; so Sept. "et ramia ejus cedri Dei", Musculus, Cocceius; "palmitibus ejus cedri altissimae operiebantur", Piscator, De Dieu; "ramis ejus opertae sunt cedri Dei", Michaelis.
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