Deuteronomy 32:32
For their vine is of the vine of Sodom, and of the fields of Gomorrah: their grapes are grapes of gall, their clusters are bitter:
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(32) Their vinei.e., Israel’s,” not the enemies; going back to Deuteronomy 32:30, “Their Rock,” i.e., Israel’s Rock, “had sold them . . . for their vine is of the vine of Sodom.” Comp. Hosea 10:1 : “Israel is an empty vine; he bringeth forth fruit unto himself;” and Isaiah 5:2; Isaiah 5:7 : “He looked that it should bring forth grapes, and it brought forth wild grapes . . . He looked for judgment, but behold oppression; for righteousness, but behold a cry.”

Deuteronomy 32:32. Their vine is the vine of Sodom — God had planted Israel a noble vine, a right seed, but they turned into the degenerate plant of a strange vine, Jeremiah 2:21. Their principles and practices became corrupt and abominable. Their grapes are grapes of gall — Their fruits are loathsome to me, mischievous to others, and at last will be pernicious to themselves. And so Josephus, their own countryman, describes them before their last destruction, when he says, their city was so wicked that, if the Romans had not fallen upon them, the earth would have opened its mouth and swallowed them up, or thunder and lightning from heaven must have destroyed them as it did Sodom: for “they were a more atheistical nation than those who suffered such things.” And in another place, that “there was no one work of wickedness that was not committed, nor can one imagine any thing so bad that they did not do; endeavouring publicly, as well as privately, to exceed one another, both in impiety toward God, and injustice to their neighbours.”

32:26-38 The idolatry and rebellions of Israel deserved, and the justice of God seemed to demand, that they should be rooted out. But He spared Israel, and continues them still to be living witnesses of the truth of the Bible, and to silence unbelievers. They are preserved for wise and holy purposes and the prophecies give us some idea what those purposes are. The Lord will never disgrace the throne of his glory. It is great wisdom, and will help much to the return of sinners to God, seriously to consider their latter end, or the future state. It is here meant particularly of what God foretold by Moses, about this people in the latter days; but it may be applied generally. Oh that men would consider the happiness they will lose, and the misery they will certainly plunge into, if they go on in their trespasses! What will be in the end thereof? Jer 5:31. For the Lord will in due time bring down the enemies of the church, in displeasure against their wickedness. When sinners deem themselves most secure, they suddenly fall into destruction. And God's time to appear for the deliverance of his people, is when things are at the worst with them. But those who trust to any rock but God, will find it fail them when they most need it. The rejection of the Messiah by the Jewish nation, is the continuance of their ancient idolatry, apostacy, and rebellion. They shall be brought to humble themselves before the Lord, to repent of their sins, and to trust in their long-rejected Mediator for salvation. Then he will deliver them, and make their prosperity great.Their vine - i. e., the nature and character of Israel: compare for similar expressions Psalm 80:8, Psalm 80:14; Jeremiah 2:21; Hosea 10:1.

Sodom ... Gomorrah - Here, as elsewhere, and often in the prophets, emblems of utter depravity: compare Isaiah 1:10; Jeremiah 23:14,

Gall - Compare Deuteronomy 29:18 note.

32. vine of Sodom … grapes of gall—This fruit, which the Arabs call "Lot's Sea Orange," is of a bright yellow color and grows in clusters of three or four. When mellow, it is tempting in appearance, but on being struck, explodes like a puffball, consisting of skin and fiber only. For, or but; for these words seem to contain an answer to that question, Deu 32:30, How should, &c. To this he answers,

1. Negatively; It was not from impotency in God, for if he had not forsaken and delivered them up, they could not have been so easily chased.

2. Positively; But, saith he, the true reason was this, their vine, &c. Of the vine of Sodom: The people of Israel, which I planted and brought up as a choice vine, are now degenerated and become like the vine of Sodom; their principles and practices are all corrupt and abominable. Compare Isaiah 1:10.

Their clusters are bitter; their fruits or actions are most loathsome to me, malicious and mischievous to others, and at last will be pernicious to themselves.

For their vine is of the vine of Sodom, and of the fields of Gomorrah,.... This respects the false Christians in the Roman empire, who should have taken warning by the Jews, and not have embraced such sentiments of theirs, which had been resented by the Lord, and condemned in them; such as the doctrines of man's freewill, of justification and salvation not alone by Christ, but by their own works of righteousness, saying, "our hand is high, and the Lord hath not done all this", Deuteronomy 32:27. Now out of the errors and heresies which arose in the primitive Christian church sprung the man of sin, the son of perdition, antichrist, or the antichristian and apostate church of Rome, the degenerate plant of a strange vine; and is here described as "of the vine of Sodom", a slip from that, transplanted from Judea, and from the worse part of it, Sodom; bearing a resemblance to the old Jewish church in its more degenerate state, reviving many of its antiquated rites and ceremonies, and embracing its unsound doctrines; especially which relate to justification, and salvation by the works of men; and having such a likeness to Sodom in its abominable practices, that it is even called Sodom itself, Revelation 11:8; particularly for pride, luxury, idleness, idolatry, profaneness, contempt of serious religion, and for bodily uncleanness; even for that sin which has its name from Sodom, which has not only been frequently committed by the popes and other great personages among their, and connived at; but praised and commended in printed books, published and sheltered under public authority; See Gill on Revelation 11:8; and with this compare Ezekiel 16:49; "and of the fields of Gomorrah"; another city of the plain, destroyed for the same sins that Sodom was; the phrase signifies the same as before; who has not heard of the apples and fruits of Gomorrah, which are said to look very fair and beautiful without, but when touched into ashes? a fit emblem of the fair show of religion and devotion, and the many outward works of piety in the Romish church they pretend to perform, but when examined are "lies in hypocrisy", 1 Timothy 4:2,

their grapes are grapes of gall, their clusters are bitter; which may denote the large number of the members of this church clustered together, and the many religious orders in it; which make a fair show in the flesh, but are in the gall of bitterness, and bond of iniquity; and the variety of ordinances and institutions of man's devising: so as the ordinances of the true church of Christ are compared to clusters of grapes, Sol 7:7; the ordinances of the false church are like clusters of bitter grapes, both for their quantity and quality; and may mean also their many evil works and actions, especially their oppression and cruelty in persecuting the saints, and shedding their blood; just as the wild grapes of the vine of Judah are interpreted of oppression and a cry, Isaiah 5:4.

For their vine is of the vine of Sodom, and of the fields of Gomorrah: their grapes are grapes of gall, their clusters are bitter:
32. These foes of Israel are of the same stock morally (can one produce grapes of thistles?) as the cities whose destruction for their wickedness was proverbial. They are therefore doomed.

fields] Heb. sedemôth, a rare word of uncertain meaning. Tracts is probably nearer it. It may have been chosen here for its assonance to Sedom in the previous line.

Verse 32. - If the Rock of Israel was so much mightier than the rock of their enemies, how came it that Israel was beaten and put to flight by their enemies? The reason is here given: It was because Israel had become wholly corrupt and vitiated that they were forsaken of the Lord and left to the power of their enemies. Their vine; i.e. Israel itself (cf. Psalm 80:9, etc.; Isaiah 5:2; Jeremiah 2:21; Hosea 10:1 ). The vine of Sodom. It has been supposed that there is reference here to a particular plant, and different plants have been suggested as deserving to be so named. But it is more probable that Sodom and Gomorrah are here advanced as types of what is depraved, and to the moral taste nauseous (cf. Isaiah 1:10; Jeremiah 23:14). Gall (cf. Deuteronomy 29:18). Deuteronomy 32:32"For their vine is of the vine of Sodom, and of the fields of Gomorrah: their grapes are poisonous grapes, bitter clusters have they. Dragon-poison is their wine, and dreadful venom of asps." The connection is pointed out by Calovius thus: "Moses returns to the Jews, showing why, although the rock of the Jews was very different from the gods of the Gentiles, even according to the testimony of the heathen themselves, who were their foes, they were nevertheless to be put to flight by their enemies and sold; and why Jehovah sold them, namely, because their vine was of the vine of Sodom, i.e., of the very worst kind, resembling the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah, as if they were descended from them, and not from their holy patriarchs." The "for" in Deuteronomy 32:32 is neither co-ordinate nor subordinate to that in Deuteronomy 32:31. To render it as subordinate would give no intelligible meaning; and the supposition that it is co-ordinate is precluded by the fact, that in that case Deuteronomy 32:32 and Deuteronomy 32:33 would contain a description of the corruptions of the heathen. The objections to this view have been thus expressed by Schultz with perfect justice: "It is priori inconceivable, that in so short an ode there should be so elaborate a digression on the subject of the heathen, seeing that their folly is altogether foreign to the theme of the whole." To this we may add, that throughout the Old Testament it is the moral corruption and ungodliness of the Israelites, and never the vices of the heathen, that are compared to the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah. The Israelites who were forsaken by the Lord, were designated by Isaiah (Isaiah 1:10) as a people of Gomorrah, and their rulers as rulers of Sodom (cf. Isaiah 3:9); the inhabitants of Jerusalem were all of them like Sodom and Gomorrah (Jeremiah 23:14); and the sin of Jerusalem was greater than that of Sodom (Ezekiel 16:46.). The only sense in which the "for" in Deuteronomy 32:32 can be regarded as co-ordinate to that in Deuteronomy 32:31, is on the supposition that the former gives the reason for the thought in Deuteronomy 32:30, whilst the latter serves to support the idea in Deuteronomy 32:30. The order of thought is the following: Israel would have been able to smite its foes with very little difficulty, because the gods of the heathen are not a rock like Jehovah; but Jehovah had given up His people to the heathen, because it had brought forth fruits like Sodom, i.e., had resembled Sodom in its wickedness. The vine and its fruits are figurative terms, applied to the nation and its productions. "The nation was not only a degenerate, but also a poisonous vine, producing nothing but what was deadly" (Calvin). This figure is expanded still further by Isaiah 5:2. Israel was a vineyard planted by Jehovah, that it might bring forth good fruits, instead of which it brought forth wild grapes (vid., Jeremiah 2:21; Psalm 80:9.; Hosea 10:1). "Their vine" is the Israelites themselves, their nature being compared to a vine which had degenerated as much as if it had been an offshoot of a Sodomitish vine. שׁדמת, the construct state of שׁדמת, floors, fields. The grapes of this vine are worse than wild grapes is snake-poison. Tannin: see Exodus 7:9-10. Pethen: the asp or adder, one of the most poisonous kinds of snake, whose bite was immediately fatal (vid., Rosenmller, bibl. Althk. iv. 2, pp. 364ff.). These figures express the thought, that "nothing could be imagined worse, or more to be abhorred, than that nation" (Calvin). Now although this comparison simply refers to the badness of Israel, the thought of the penal judgment that fell upon Sodom lies behind. "They imitate the Sodomites, they bring forth the worst fruits of all impiety, they deserve to perish like Sodom" (J. H. Michaelis).

The description of this judgment commences in Deuteronomy 32:34. Israel had deserved for its corruption to be destroyed from the earth (Deuteronomy 32:26); yet for His name's sake the Lord would have compassion upon it, when it was so humiliated with its heavy punishments that its strength was coming to an end.

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