Ezekiel 15:1
And the word of the LORD came to me, saying,
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
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.15:1-8 Jerusalem like an unfruitful vine. - If a vine be fruitful, it is valuable. But if not fruitful, it is worthless and useless, it is cast into the fire. Thus man is capable of yielding a precious fruit, in living to God; this is the sole end of his existence; and if he fails in this, he is of no use but to be destroyed. What blindness then attaches to those who live in the total neglect of God and of true religion! This similitude is applied to Jerusalem. Let us beware of an unfruitful profession. Let us come to Christ, and seek to abide in him, and to have his words abide in us.Ye shall be comforted ... - By a truer estimate of the dispensations of the Almighty. This visitation will be recognized as inevitable and just. CHAPTER 15

Eze 15:1-8. The Worthlessness of the Vine as Wood Especially When Burnt, Is the Image of the Worthlessness and Guilt of the Jews, Who Shall Pass from One Fire to Another.

This chapter represents, in the way of a brief introduction, what the sixteenth chapter details minutely.

EZEKIEL CHAPTER 15.

By the unfitness of the vine branch for any work, Ezekiel 15:1-5, is showed the utter rejection of Jerusalem, Ezekiel 15:6-8.

No text from Poole on this verse. And the word of the Lord came unto me, saying. The destruction of Jerusalem had been represented under various types and similes before, as of a siege, and a sharp razor; and here of a fruitless and useless vine, only fit for the fire; which was delivered out by a spirit of prophecy. The Targum calls it the word of prophecy, as usual. And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
No prophet is to give any other answer. - Ezekiel 14:9. But if a prophet allow himself to be persuaded, and give a word, I have persuaded this prophet, and will stretch out my hand against him, and cut him off out of my people Israel. Ezekiel 14:10. They shall bear their guilt: as the guilt of the inquirer, so shall the guilt of the prophet be; Ezekiel 14:11. In order that the house of Israel may no more stray from me, and may no more defile itself with all its transgressions; but they may be my people, and I their God is the saying of the Lord Jehovah. - The prophet who allows himself to be persuaded is not a prophet מלּבּו (Ezekiel 13:2), but one who really thinks that he has a word of God. פּתּה, to persuade, to entice by friendly words (in a good sense, Hosea 2:16); but generally sensu malo, to lead astray, or seduce to that which is unallowable or evil. "If he allow himself to be persuaded:" not necessarily "with the hope of payment from the hypocrites who consult him" (Michaelis). This weakens the thought. It might sometimes be done from unselfish good-nature. And "the word" itself need not have been a divine oracle of his own invention, or a false prophecy. The allusion is simply to a word of a different character from that contained in Ezekiel 14:6-8, which either demands repentance or denounces judgment upon the impenitent: every word, therefore, which could by any possibility confirm the sinner in his security. - By אני יהוה (Ezekiel 14:9) the apodosis is introduced in an emphatic manner, as in Ezekiel 14:4 and Ezekiel 14:7; but פּתּיתי cannot be taken in a future sense ("I will persuade"). It must be a perfect; since the persuading of the prophet would necessarily precede his allowing himself to be persuaded. The Fathers and earlier Lutheran theologians are wrong in their interpretation of פּתּיתי, which they understand in a permissive sense, meaning simply that God allowed it, and did not prevent their being seduced. Still more wrong are Storr and Schmieder, the former of whom regards it as simply declaratory, "I will declare him to have gone astray from the worship of Jehovah;" the latter, "I will show him to be a fool, by punishing him for his disobedience." The words are rather to be understood in accordance with 1 Kings 22:20., where the persuading (pittâh) is done by a lying spirit, which inspires the prophets of Ahab to predict success to the king, in order that he may fall. As Jehovah sent the spirit in that case, and put it into the mouth of the prophets, so is the persuasion in this instance also effected by God: not merely divine permission, but divine ordination and arrangement; though this does not destroy human freedom, but, like all "persuading," presupposes the possibility of not allowing himself to be persuaded. See the discussion of this question in the commentary on 1 Kings 22:20. The remark of Calvin on the verse before us is correct: "it teaches that neither impostures nor frauds take place apart from the will of God" (nisi Deo volente). But this willing on the part of God, or the persuading of the prophets to the utterance of self-willed words, which have not been inspired by God, only takes place in persons who admit evil into themselves, and is designed to tempt them and lead them to decide whether they will endeavour to resist and conquer the sinful inclinations of their hearts, or will allow them to shape themselves into outward deeds, in which case they will become ripe for judgment. It is in this sense that God persuades such a prophet, in order that He may then cut him off out of His people. But this punishment will not fall upon the prophet only. It will reach the seeker or inquirer also, in order if possible to bring Israel back from its wandering astray, and make it into a people of God purified from sin (Ezekiel 14:10 and Ezekiel 14:11). It was to this end that, in the last times of the kingdom of Judah, God allowed false prophecy to prevail so mightily, - namely, that it might accelerate the process of distinguishing between the righteous and the wicked; and then, by means of the judgment which destroyed the wicked, purify His nation and lead it on to the great end of its calling.
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