Ezekiel 19:12
But she was plucked up in fury, she was cast down to the ground, and the east wind dried up her fruit: her strong rods were broken and withered; the fire consumed them.
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(12) She was plucked up.—With the captivity of Jehoiachin and a part of the people the desolation had begun. Much still remained to be accomplished, but it was now close at hand; and the prophet speaks of it in the past tense, as if he saw it already fulfilled.

19:10-14 Jerusalem was a vine, flourishing and fruitful. This vine is now destroyed, though not plucked up by the roots. She has by wickedness made herself like tinder to the sparks of God's wrath, so that her own branches serve as fuel to burn her. Blessed be God, one Branch of the vine here alluded to, is not only become a strong rod for the sceptre of those that rule, but is Himself the true and living Vine. This shall be for a rejoicing to all the chosen people of God throughout all generations.This is a dirge; and therefore that which is foreseen by the prophet, the capture and burning of Jerusalem, is described as already accomplished. 12. plucked up—not gradually withered. The sudden upturning of the state was designed to awaken the Jews out of their torpor to see the hand of God in the national judgment.

east wind—(See on [1051]Eze 17:10).

This flourishing vine first degenerated, brought forth fruit to itself, not to God, and grew proud, abused God’s mercies to all manner of sin.

She was plucked up in fury; was violently, suddenly, and totally rooted out, tore up by the roots; so was the once flourishing kingdom of the Jews overthrown.

She was cast down to the ground; had she been again set, there might have been some hope, but plucked up root and branch together it is perished for ever. To hasten the utter destruction hereof, an east wind, that blasting, piercing wind, blows upon her; the king of Babylon with all his power, raised of God to pull up this sinful kingdom.

Dried up her fruit; blasted all her fruit; deposed her king, captivated him, his family, and the whole kingdom.

Her strong rods, all the choice men, the counsellors, warriors, artificers, all that were like to be the strength of the kingdom, were broken; by Nebuchadnezzar’s hand plucked away, and removed into Babylon, where they lay as withered branches.

The fire consumed them; called fury in the former part of the verse. God’s displeasure for their sins, their adversaries’ rage, and their own animosities, burnt them up; their houses and palaces, their city and temple, all burnt, yea, and some persons with this fire were consumed also, beside some that the conqueror roasted. But she was plucked up in fury,.... This vine being turned into a degenerate plant of a strange vine; or the people of the Jews becoming wicked, disobedient to God, and disregarding his laws and ordinances, the wrath of God came upon them, and let in the Assyrians among them, who carried off ten tribes at once; and the tribes of Judah and Benjamin not taking warning hereby, but continuing and increasing in sinful courses, great part of them were carried captive into Babylon, with their king Jeconiah, who succeeded Jehoiakim before mentioned; when the kingdom seemed to be utterly ruined and destroyed, and is what is here referred to:

she was cast down to the ground; a phrase expressive of, he entire overthrow of the nation; for a vine, though plucked up, yet, if immediately planted again, might grow; but being plucked up, and left on the ground, and there lie, there is no hope of it; so that this denotes the desperate case of this people at this time, being in captivity. So the Targum paraphrases both clauses,

"and it was rooted up with strength out of the land of the house of the Shechinah, and translated into another land;''

and the east wind dried up her fruit; Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and the Chaldean army, compared to an east wind, because hurtful and pernicious, as that is to trees and fruit, and because Babylon lay northeast of Judea; the people of, he land are meant by the fruit of the vine, with their wealth and riches, which were seized upon and wasted, or carried into Babylon. So the Targum,

"and a king strong as the east wind slew her people;''

her strong rods were broken and withered; or, "strong rod"; the singular for the plural; which may design King Jeconiah particularly, who with his mother, wives, princes, and officers, and the mighty of the land, even all the mighty men of valour, with the craftsmen and smiths, were taken and carried captive, 2 Kings 24:14;

the fire consumed them; the wrath of God, which is often compared to fire, the same with fury in the beginning of the verse; which shows that it was for sin, which had provoked the Lord to wrath and anger, that all this ruin came upon the Jewish nation. The Targum is,

"her strong governors removed, and were carried captive; and the people which are strong, as fire consumed them.''

But she was plucked up in fury, she was cast down to the ground, and the {h} east wind dried up her fruit: her strong rods were broken and withered; the fire consumed them.

(h) Meaning, that the Chaldeans would destroy them as the east wind does the fruit of the vine.

12. Destruction of the vine, the nationality of Israel. The figures employed are usual, ch. Ezekiel 17:9-10, Ezekiel 31:12; Amos 9:15.Verse 12. - The parable, like that of Ezekiel 17:10, describes the sudden downfall of Jerusalem and the kingly house. The "dry ground" is Babylon, and the new "planting" indicates the deportation of Jehoiachin and the chief men of Judah. The vindication of the ways of God might have formed a fitting close to this divine oracle. But as the prophet was not merely concerned with the correction of the error contained in the proverb which was current among the people, but still more with the rescue of the people themselves from destruction, he follows up the refutation with another earnest call to repentance. - Ezekiel 18:27. If a wicked man turneth from his wickedness which he hath done, and doeth right and righteousness, he will keep his soul alive. Ezekiel 18:28. If he seeth and turneth from all his transgressions which he hath committed, he shall live and not die. Ezekiel 18:29. And the house of Israel saith, The way of the Lord is not right. Are may ways not right, O house of Israel? Is it not rather your ways that are not right? Ezekiel 18:30. Therefore, every one according to his ways, will I judge you, O house of Israel, is the saying of the Lord Jehovah. Turn and repent of all your transgressions, that it may not become to you a stumbling-block to guilt. Ezekiel 18:31. Cast from you all your transgressions which ye have committed, and make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! And why will ye die, O house of Israel? Ezekiel 18:32. For I have no pleasure in the death of the dying, is the saying of the Lord Jehovah. Therefore repent, that ye may live. - For the purpose of securing an entrance into their hearts for the call to repentance, the prophet not only repeats, in Ezekiel 18:27 and Ezekiel 18:28, the truth declared in Ezekiel 18:21 and Ezekiel 18:22, that he who turns from his sin finds life, but refutes once more in Ezekiel 18:29, as he has already done in Ezekiel 18:25, the charge that God's ways are not right. The fact that the singular יתּכן is connected with the plural דּרכיכם, does not warrant our altering the plural into דּרכּכם, but may be explained in a very simple manner, by assuming that the ways of the people are all summed up in one, and that the meaning is this: what you say of my way applies to your own ways, - namely, "it is not right; there is just measure therein." לכן, "therefore, etc.;" because my way, and not yours, is right, I will judge you, every one according to his way. Repent, therefore, if ye would escape from death and destruction. שׁוּבוּ is rendered more emphatic by השׁיבוּ, sc. פניכם, as in Ezekiel 14:6. In the last clause of Ezekiel 18:30, עון is not to be taken as the subject of the sentence according to the accents, but is a genitive dependent upon מכשׁול, as in Ezekiel 7:19 and Ezekiel 14:3; and the subject is to be found in the preceding clause: that it (the sinning) may not become to you a stumbling-block of iniquity, i.e., a stumbling-block through which ye fall into guilt and punishment. - The appeal in Ezekiel 18:31 points back to the promise in Ezekiel 11:18-19. השׁליך, to cast away. The application of this word to transgressions may be explained from the fact that they consisted for the most part of idols and idolatrous images, which they had made. - "Make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit:" a man cannot, indeed, create either of these by his own power; God alone can give them (Ezekiel 11:19). But a man both can and should come to God to receive them: in other words, he can turn to God, and let both heart and spirit be renewed by the Spirit of God. And this God is willing to do; for He has no pleasure בּמות המת, in the death of the dying one. In the repetition of the assurance given in Ezekiel 18:23, המּת is very appropriately substituted for רשׁע, to indicate to the people that while in sin they are lying in death, and that it is only by conversion and renewal that they can recover life again.
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