Ezekiel 19:14
And fire is gone out of a rod of her branches, which has devoured her fruit, so that she has no strong rod to be a scepter to rule. This is a lamentation, and shall be for a lamentation.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(14) Fire is gone out of a rod of her branches.—The rods, as shown in Ezekiel 19:11, are the royal sceptres of her kings. It was by the sin and folly of these kings, together with the sins and follies of the whole people, that judgment was drawn down upon them. Many of them did their full share of the evil work; but a “rod” is here spoken of in the singular, with especial reference to the last king, Zedekiah, who finally brought on the utter ruin of both himself and his people.

This is . . . and shall be.—It is a lamentation now in the half accomplished desolation; it shall remain for a lamentation when all shall be 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.Fire is gone out - Compare the marginal reference. Zedekiah is regarded, like Abimelech, as all usurper and the ruin of his people. 14. fire … out of a rod of her branches—The Jews' disaster was to be ascribed, not so much to the Chaldeans as to themselves; the "fire out of the rod" is God's wrath kindled by the perjury of Zedekiah (Eze 17:18). "The anger of the Lord" against Judah is specified as the cause why Zedekiah was permitted to rebel against Babylon (2Ki 24:20; compare Jud 9:15), thus bringing Nebuchadnezzar against Jerusalem.

no strong rod … sceptre to rule—No more kings of David's stock are now to rule the nation. Not at least until "the Lord shall send the rod of His strength ("Messiah," Ps 110:2; Isa 11:1) out of Zion," to reign first as a spiritual, then hereafter as a literal king.

is … and shall be for a lamentation—Part of the lamentation (that as to Jehoahaz and Jehoiakim) was matter of history as already accomplished; part (as to Zedekiah) was yet to be fulfilled; or, this prophecy both is a subject for lamentation, and shall be so to distant posterity.

This verse gives you account of the immediate cause of this hasty, furious, total pulling up of this vine.

And fire, of rebellion, will be kindled by a rod of her branches, Zedekiah, who is of the blood royal, made king by Nebuchadnezzar, and who swore allegiance to him.

Hath devoured her fruit; brought the land, city, king’s palaces, and God’s temple to utter desolation. She hath no strong rod to be a sceptre to rule; the regal dignity is ceased, and shall no more rise, you shall never have a crowned head to rule you more.

This is a lamentation; this I have told you is the subject of my mournful thoughts.

And shall be for a lamentation; my the execution of these things which shall be much more terrible, shall make you lament at sight of them, and at remembrance of them, as long as you live. And fire is gone out of a rod of her branches,.... By "her branches" are meant the rest of the Jews left in the land; and by the "rod" of them King Zedekiah, now on the throne, when this prophecy was given out; the "fire" said to go out of him signifies his rebellion against the king of Babylon, his breaking covenant and oath with him, which greatly provoked the Lord, and brought down the fire of his wrath upon him, 2 Kings 24:20;

which hath devoured her fruit; destroyed the people by sword, famine pestilence, and captivity; yea, the city and temple of Jerusalem, with the palaces and houses therein, were burnt with material fire; their king was taken, and his eyes put out; his sons were slain, and all the princes of Judah:

so that she hath no strong rod to be a sceptre to rule; none to be king, or succeed in the kingdom; and there never was a king after of the family of David, or of the tribe of Judah, till Shiloh the Messiah came; though there were princes and governors, yet no sceptre bearer, no king. The Targum of the whole is,

"and there came people who were strong as fire, and, because of the sins of her pride, slew her people; and there were not in her strong rulers, kings that are mighty to subdue kingdoms;''

this is a lamentation, and shall be for a lamentation; that is, this prophecy, as the Targum, is a lamentation, or matter of lamentation; what of it had been already fulfilled occasioned lamentation; and, when the rest should be fulfilled, it would be the cause of more. Lamentable was the case of the Jews already, but it would be still more so when all that was foretold of them should be accomplished. It denotes the continuance of the sad estate of that people; and perhaps may refer to their present condition, which will continue till they are turned to the Lord.

And fire hath gone out {i} of a rod of her branches, which hath devoured her fruit, so that she hath no strong rod to be a sceptre to rule. This is a lamentation, and shall be for a lamentation.

(i) Destruction is come by Zedekiah, who was the opportunity for this rebellion.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
14. The fire that consumed the vine went out from her own rods. The royal house brought destruction on the nation as well as on itself. Reference is to the rebellion of Zedekiah.

gone out of a rod] Possibly collective: out of the rods. The reference to Zedekiah is expressed generally in terms of the royal house.

shall be for a lamentation] Lit. and is become a lamentation. Sad enough is the history, ch. Ezekiel 32:16. It is not necessary, however, to infer from this that the lamentation was written after the exile. The passage Ezekiel 19:10-14 is prophetic, cf. Isaiah 47; Jeremiah 9:16-21. In the Book of Kings both Jehoahaz and Jehoiachin are said to have “done evil.” A three months’ reign afforded little scope for much mischief. Ezekiel’s treatment of the young lions is ideal, and in the case of Jehoiachin the reference is rather to the evils which his attitude brought upon the country, than to any ravages which he wrought personally.Verse 14. - Fire is gone out. The words are an echo of Judges 9:15. Zedekiah's reign was to work destruction for his people, as that of Abimelech had done.



Capture and Exile of the Princes

Ezekiel 19:1. And do thou raise a lamentation for the princes of Israel, Ezekiel 19:2. And say, Why did thy mother, a lioness, lie down among lionesses; bring up her whelps among young lions? Ezekiel 19:3. And she brought up one of her whelps: it became a young lion, and he learned to take prey; he devoured man. Ezekiel 19:4. And nations heard of him; he was caught in their pit, and they brought him with nose-rings into the land of Egypt. Ezekiel 19:5. And when she saw that her hope was exhausted, overthrown, she took one of her whelps, made it a young lion. Ezekiel 19:6. And he walked among lionesses, he became a young lion, and learned to take prey. He devoured man. Ezekiel 19:7. He knew its widows, and laid waste their cities; and the land and its fulness became waste, at the voice of his roaring. Ezekiel 19:8. Then nations round about from the provinces set up against him, and spread over him their net: he was caught in their pit. Ezekiel 19:9. And they put him in the cage with nose-rings, and brought him to the king of Babylon: brought him into a fortress, that his voice might not be heard any more on the mountains of Israel.

The princes of Israel, to whom the lamentation applies, are the king (נשׂיא, as in Ezekiel 12:10), two of whom are so clearly pointed out in Ezekiel 19:4 and Ezekiel 19:9, that there is no mistaking Jehoahaz and Jehoiachin. This fact alone is sufficient to protect the plural נשׂיאי against the arbitrary alteration into the singular נשׂיא, proposed by Houbigant and Hitzig, after the reading of the lxx. The lamentation is not addressed to one particular prince, either Zedekiah (Hitzig) or Jehoiachin (Ros., Maurer), but to Israel as a nation; and the mother (Ezekiel 19:2) is the national community, the theocracy, out of which the kings were born, as is indisputably evident from Ezekiel 19:10. The words from מה to רבצה form one sentence. It yields no good sense to separate מה אמּך from רבצה, whether we adopt the rendering, "what is thy mother?" or take מה with לביּא and render it, "how is thy mother a lioness?" unless, indeed, we supply the arbitrary clause "now, in comparison with what she was before," or change the interrogative into a preterite: "how has thy mother become a lioness?" The lionesses, among which Israel lay down, are the other kingdoms, the Gentile nations. The words have no connection with Genesis 49:9, where Judah is depicted as a warlike lion. The figure is a different one here. It is not so much the strength and courage of the lion as its wildness and ferocity that are the points of resemblance in the passage before us. The mother brings up her young ones among young lions, so that they learn to take prey and devour men. גּוּר is the lion's whelp, catulus; כּפיר, the young lion, which is old enough to go out in search of prey. ותּעל is a Hiphil, in the tropical sense, to cause to spring up, or grow up, i.e., to bring up. The thought is the following: Why has Israel entered into fellowship with the heathen nations? Why, then, has it put itself upon a level with the heathen nations, and adopted the rapacious and tyrannical nature of the powers of the world? The question "why then?" when taken with what follows, involves the reproof that Israel has struck out a course opposed to its divine calling, and will now have to taste the bitter fruits of this assumption of heathen ways. The heathen nations have taken captive its king, and led him away into heathen lands. ישׁמעוּ אליו, they heard of him (אליו for עליו). The fate of Jehoahaz, to which Ezekiel 19:4 refers, is related in 2 Kings 23:31. - Ezekiel 19:5-7 refer to Jehoiachin, the son of Jehoiakim, and not to Zedekiah, as Hitzig imagines. For the fact that Jehoiachin went out of his own accord to the king of Babylon (2 Kings 24:12), is not at variance with the figure contained in Ezekiel 19:8, according to which he was taken (as a lion) in a net. He simply gave himself up to the king of Babylon because he was unable to escape from the besieged city. Moreover, Jehoahaz and Jehoiachin are simply mentioned as examples, because they both fell into the hands of the world-powers, and their fate showed clearly enough "what the end must inevitably be, when Israelitish kings became ambitious of being lions, like the kings of the nations of the world" (Kliefoth). Jehoiakim was not so suitable an example as the others, because he died in Jerusalem. נוחלה, which has been explained in different ways, we agree with Ewald in regarding as the Niphal of יחל equals חוּל, in the sense of feeling vexed, being exhausted or deceived, like the Syriac ̀ewaḥel, viribus defecit, desperavit. For even in Genesis 8:12, נוחל simply means to wait; and this is inapplicable here, as waiting is not equivalent to waiting in vain. The change from חוּל to יחל is established by Judges 3:25, where חוּל or חיל occurs in the sense of יחל. In Judges 3:7, the figurative language passes into a literal description of the ungodly course pursued by the king. He knew, i.e., dishonoured, its (Israel's, the nation's) widows. The Targum reads וירע here instead of וידע, and renders it accordingly, "he destroyed its palaces;" and Ewald has adopted the same rendering. But רעע, to break, or smash in pieces, e.g., a vessel (Psalm 2:9), is never used for the destruction of buildings; and אלמנות does not mean palaces (ארמנות), but windows. There is nothing in the use of the word in Isaiah 13:22 to support the meaning "palaces," because the palaces are simply called ̀almânōth (widows) there, with a sarcastic side glance at their desolate and widowed condition. Other conjectures are still more inadmissible. The thought is as follows: Jehoiachin went much further than Jehoahaz. He not only devoured men, but laid hands on defenceless widows, and laid the cities waste to such an extent that the land with its inhabitants became perfectly desolate through his rapacity. The description is no doubt equally applicable to his father Jehoiakim, in whose footsteps Jehoiachin walked, since Jehoiakim is described in Jeremiah 22:13. as a grievous despot and tyrant. In Ezekiel 19:8 the object רשׁתּם also belongs to יתּנוּ: they set up and spread out their net. The plural מצדות is used in a general and indefinite manner: in lofty castles, mountain-fortresses, i.e., in one of them (cf. Judges 12:7).

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