Ezekiel 15:4
Behold, it is cast into the fire for fuel; the fire devoureth both the ends of it, and the midst of it is burned. Is it meet for any work?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
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.Behold, it is cast into the fire - The wood is in itself useless for any purpose; but what if it have been cast into the fire, and half burned, what of it then? 4. cast into … fire—(Joh 15:6).

both the ends—the north kingdom having been already overturned by Assyria under Tiglath-pileser; the south being pressed on by Egypt (2Ki 23:29-35).

midst of it is burned—rather, "is on flame"; namely, Jerusalem, which had now caught the flame by the attack of Nebuchadnezzar.

Is it meet for any work—"it," that is, the scorched part still remaining.

When for its barrenness it is cut down, it is fit only to be burnt. Nor is it a choice fuel neither, a little branch of a tree of the forest is better, and affords more fuel.

Behold, it is cast into the fire for fuel, That is; a vine tree when cut down, or a branch when cut off, it is good for nothing else; and that is the use it is generally put to; see John 15:6; and this, it is suggested, would be the end of the Jewish nation; who were become by their sins like a wild vine, and were fit fuel for the fire of divine wrath:

the fire devoureth both the ends of it; the branch cast into it, and so is quickly consumed. Kimchi explains this by Isaiah 9:12; "the Syrians before, and the Philistines behind, and they devour Israel with open mouth"; and Abendana of the ten tribes; but it seems only to design how soon the fire takes it; and how inevitable the consumption is when it is fired at both ends:

and the midst of it is burnt: presently; it being dried, and reduced to a brand by the heat of the fire at both ends: this Kimchi interprets of the city of Jerusalem, which was in the midst of the land:

is it meet for any work? no; for if it was not fit for any work when cut down, or cut off, much less when burnt in the fire.

Behold, it is cast into the fire for fuel; the fire devoureth both the ends of it, and the midst of it is burned. Is it meet for any work?
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
4. A hypothetical sentence: Behold, when it hath been cast into the fire for fuel, when the fire hath devoured both the ends of it, and the midst of it is charred, will it be meet for any work? This part of the similitude is borrowed from the actual instance of Israel. As it is Jerusalem, including Judah, that is compared to the vine, the burning of the ends and scorching of the middle probably refers to the calamities sustained by that kingdom, such as the captivity under Jehoiachin and other severe reverses.

Ezekiel 15:4And the word of Jehovah came to me, saying, Ezekiel 15:2. Son of man, what advantage has the wood of the vine over every wood, the vine-branch, which was among the trees of the forest? Ezekiel 15:3. Is wood taken from it to use for any work? or do men take a peg from it to hang all kinds of vessels upon? Ezekiel 15:4. Behold, it is given to the fire to consume. If the fire has consumed its two ends, and the middle of it is scorched, will it then be fit for any work? Ezekiel 15:5. Behold, when it is uninjured, it is not used for any work: how much less when the fire has consumed it and scorched it can it be still used for work? Ezekiel 15:6. Therefore thus saith the Lord Jehovah, As the wood of the vine among the wood of the forest, which I give to the fire to consume, so do I give up the inhabitants of Jerusalem, Ezekiel 15:7. And direct my face against them. They have gone out of the fire, and the fire will consume them; that ye may learn that I am Jehovah, when I set my face against them. Ezekiel 15:8. And I make the land a desert, because they committed treachery, is the saying of the Lord Jehovah. - Israel is like the wood of the wild vine, which is put into the fire to burn, because it is good for nothing. From Deuteronomy 32:32-33 onwards, Israel is frequently compared to a vine or a vineyard (cf. Psalm 80:9.; Isaiah 5; Hosea 10:1; Jeremiah 2:21), and always, with the exception of Psalm 80, to point out its degeneracy. This comparison lies at the foundation of the figure employed, in Ezekiel 15:2-5, of the wood of the wild vine. This wood has no superiority over any other kind of wood. It cannot be used, like other timber, for any useful purposes; but is only fit to be burned, so that it is really inferior to all other wood (Ezekiel 15:2 and Ezekiel 15:3). And if, in its perfect state, it cannot be used for anything, how much less when it is partially scorched and consumed (Ezekiel 15:4 and Ezekiel 15:5)! מה־יּהיה, followed by מן, means, what is it above (מן, comparative)? - i.e., what superiority has it to כּל־עץ, all kinds of wood? i.e., any other wood. 'הזמורה אשׁר וגו is in apposition to עץ הנּפן, and is not to be connected with מכּל־עץ, as it has been by the lxx and Vulgate, - notwithstanding the Masoretic accentuation, - so as to mean every kind of fagot; for זמורה does not mean a fagot, but the tendril or branch of the vine (cf. Ezekiel 8:17), which is still further defined by the following relative clause: to be a wood-vine, i.e., a wild vine, which bears only sour, uneatable grapes. The preterite היה (which was; not, "is") may be explained from the idea that the vine had been fetched from the forest in order that its wood might be used. The answer given in Ezekiel 15:3 is, that this vine-wood cannot be used for any purpose whatever, not even as a peg for hanging any kind of domestic utensils upon (see comm. on Zechariah 10:4). It is too weak even for this. The object has to be supplied to לעשׂות למלאכה: to make, or apply it, for any work. Because it cannot be used as timber, it is burned. A fresh thought is introduced in Ezekiel 15:4 by the words 'את שׁני ק. The two clauses in Ezekiel 15:4 are to be connected together. The first supposes a case, from which the second is deduced as a conclusion. The question, "Is it fit for any work?" is determined in Ezekiel 15:5 in the negative. אף כּי: as in Ezekiel 14:21. נחר: perfect; and יחר: imperfect, Niphal, of חרר, in the sense of, to be burned or scorched. The subject to waויּחר is no doubt the wood, to which the suffix in אכלתהוּ refers. At the same time, the two clauses are to be understood, in accordance with Ezekiel 15:4, as relating to the burning of the ends and the scorching of the middle. - Ezekiel 15:6-8. In the application of the parable, the only thing to which prominence is given, is the fact that God will deal with the inhabitants of Jerusalem in the same manner as with the vine-wood, which cannot be used for any kind of work. This implies that Israel resembles the wood of a forest-vine. As this possesses no superiority to other wood, but, on the contrary, is utterly useless, so Israel has no superiority to other nations, but is even worse than they, and therefore is given up to the fire. This is accounted for in Ezekiel 15:7 : "They have come out of the fire, and the fire will consume them" (the inhabitants of Jerusalem). These words are not to be interpreted proverbially, as meaning, "he who escapes one judgment falls into another" (Hvernick), but show the application of Ezekiel 15:4 and Ezekiel 15:5 to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. Out of a fire one must come either burned or scorched. Israel has been in the fire already. It resembles a wild vine which has been consumed at both ends by the fire, while the middle has been scorched, and which is now about to be given up altogether to the fire. We must not restrict the fire, however, out of which it has come half consumed, to the capture of Jerusalem in the time of Jehoiachin, as Hitzig does, but must extend it to all the judgments which fell upon the covenant nation, from the destruction of the kingdom of the ten tribes to the catastrophe in the reign of Jehoiachin, and in consequence of which Israel now resembled a vine burned at both ends and scorched in the middle. The threat closes in the same manner as the previous one. Compare Ezekiel 15:7 with Ezekiel 14:8, and Ezekiel 15:8 with Ezekiel 14:15 and Ezekiel 14:13.
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