Jeremiah 31:5
You shall yet plant vines on the mountains of Samaria: the planters shall plant, and shall eat them as common things.
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(5) Thou shalt yet plant vines upon the mountains of Samaria . . .—The mention of Samaria shows that the prophet is thinking of the restoration of the northern kingdom, as well as of Judah, under the rule of the true King. In the Hebrew words “shall eat them as common things” we have a singular train of associations. The primary meaning of the verb is to “profane.” The rule of Leviticus 19:23-24, based partly, perhaps, on grounds of culture, partly with a symbolic meaning, required that a vineyard for three years after it was planted should be treated as “uncircumcised” (i.e., that no use should be made of the fruit), in the fourth year the fruit was to “be holy to praise the Lord with,” and in the fifth the planter might take the fruit for himself. So accordingly in Deuteronomy 20:6 we have, as one of the laws affecting war, that if a man had planted a vineyard and had not made it common—the same word as that used here—i.e., had not got beyond the fixed period of consecration, he might be exempted from military service, lest he should die and another eat of it. Compare also Deuteronomy 28:30, where the English “gather” answers, as the marginal reading shows, to the same verb. What is meant here, therefore, is, in contrast with the chances and changes of a time of war, that the planters of the vineyard should not be disturbed in their possession of it. They should not plant, and another eat thereof. (Comp. Isaiah 65:22; Deuteronomy 28:30.)

Jeremiah 31:5. Thou shalt yet plant vines — Building and planting are commonly joined together; upon the mountains of Samaria — Samaria, being the metropolis of the ten tribes, seems to be put for the kingdom of Israel, as it is distinct from that of Judah. According to which interpretation the mountains of Samaria are equivalent to the mountains of Israel, and therefore the words imply, that the deliverance here spoken of should extend to Israel as well as Judah. The planters shall plant, and shall eat them as common things — After they have planted them they shall eat the fruits thereof, according to the promise contained in the parallel texts, (Isaiah 65:21; Amos 9:14,) whereas, God had threatened as a curse, that, in case of their disobedience, when they had planted their vines, another should eat the fruit, Deuteronomy 28:30. The verb חללו, translated, eat them as common things, alludes to the law that forbade the fruit of any young trees to be eaten till the fifth year of their bearing. For the first three years they were to be considered as in a state of uncircumcision or uncleanness. In the fourth year the fruit was holy to the Lord. But after that time it became free for the owner’s use, Leviticus 19:23-25. See also Deuteronomy 20:6; and Deuteronomy 28:30; where the same verb is used for eating of the fruit of a plantation without restraint. Here, therefore, a promise is given directly opposite to the above-mentioned threat, namely, That the persons who planted the vineyards on the hills of Samaria should not be compelled to give up the fruit of their labours to others, but should themselves remain in the land, and enjoy the produce of their plantations unmolested.31:1-9 God assures his people that he will again take them into covenant relation to himself. When brought very low, and difficulties appear, it is good to remember that it has been so with the church formerly. But it is hard under present frowns to take comfort from former smiles; yet it is the happiness of those who, through grace, are interested in the love of God, that it is an everlasting love, from everlasting in the counsels, to everlasting in the continuance. Those whom God loves with this love, he will draw to himself, by the influences of his Spirit upon their souls. When praising God for what he has done, we must call upon him for the favours his church needs and expects. When the Lord calls, we must not plead that we cannot come; for he that calls us, will help us, will strengthen us. The goodness of God shall lead them to repentance. And they shall weep for sin with more bitterness, and more tenderness, when delivered out of their captivity, than when groaning under it. If we take God for our Father, and join the church of the first-born, we shall want nothing that is good for us. These predictions doubtless refer also to a future gathering of the Israelites from all quarters of the globe. And they figuratively describe the conversion of sinners to Christ, and the plain and safe way in which they are led.Shall eat them as common things - Rather, shall eat the fruit. Literally, as in the margin. For three years the fruit of a newly-planted tree was not to be touched, that of the fourth year was consecrated to God, but on the fifth year it was profane, i. e., unconsecrated, and so might be applied to the owner's use Leviticus 19:23-25. 5. Samaria—the metropolis of the ten tribes; here equivalent to Israel. The mountainous nature of their country suited the growth of the vine.

eat … as common—literally, "shall profane," that is, shall put to common use. For the first three years after planting, the vine was "not to be eaten of"; on the fourth year the fruit was to be "holy to praise the Lord withal"; on the fifth year the fruit was to be eaten as common, no longer restricted to holy use (Le 19:23-25; compare De 20:6; 28:30, Margin). Thus the idea here is, "The same persons who plant shall reap the fruits"; it shall no longer be that one shall plant and another reap the fruit.

Samaria was the metropolis of the ten tribes, called so from Shemer, who owned the hill: Omri king of Israel bought it, and built Samaria upon it. Mountains in many places are judged the most convenient places for vineyards, being free from shades, and most exposed to the sun. God promiseth them a liberty to plant, and that they should enjoy their plantations, eating them as common things, which they could not do till the fifth year, as appears from Leviticus 19:23-25. The three first years it was to be accounted by them as uncircumcised, that is, unclean; in the fourth year it was to be holy to the Lord; in the fifth year they might eat the fruit of it, as any common thing that was not unclean, nor yet devoted and consecrated to the Lord. Thou shalt yet plant vines upon the mountains of Samaria,.... Mountains are proper places for vines, and which generally produce the best wine; but vines are not to be understood merely literally, or as only expressive of the outward peace, plenty, and prosperity of Samaria, with other places given to the Jews, as Josephus (k) observes they were by the Demetrii; which they might improve by planting vines, &c. but figuratively of the planting of Gospel churches there, comparable to vines, Sol 2:13; which was done in the first times of the Gospel; see John 4:29; and which was a pledge of what will be done in those parts hereafter in the latter day:

the planters shall plant, and shall eat them as common things; the fruit of the vines planted by them. The allusion is to the law of eating the fruit of trees planted on the fifth year of their plantation, when, and not till then, it was lawful to eat of it; but here the planters might eat of it as soon as it was produced, even as the fruit of the fifth year, which was common and lawful, Leviticus 19:23. The "planters" are the ministers of the Gospel; such an one the Apostle Paul was; who are instruments in founding and raising churches, and of planting members in them, as well as of watering, and making them fruitful; and who receive themselves benefit from hence; not only in things temporal, but spiritual; it giving them a real pleasure and satisfaction to see the plants grow and thrive, which they have planted, 1 Corinthians 3:6, Psalm 92:14.

(k) Antiqu. Jud. l. 13. c. 2. sect. 3.

Thou shalt yet plant vines upon the mountains of {g} Samaria: the planters shall plant, and {h} shall eat them as common things.

(g) Because the Israelites who were the ten tribes never returned to Samaria, therefore this must be spiritually understood under the kingdom of Christ, which was the restoration of the true Israel.

(h) That is, will eat the fruit of it, as in Le 19:23-25, De 20:6.

5. shalt thou plant vineyards, etc.] As for several years these would yield no fruit of value, the words imply a return of settled prosperity.

Samaria] A post-exilic writer would not have mentioned Jerusalem’s rival in such a connexion.

shall enjoy] mg. Heb. profane, or, make common. The fruit borne by a tree for the first three years was not to be gathered, that of the fourth year was to be consecrated to God, while that of the fifth year the owner might eat. See Leviticus 19:23-25; Deuteronomy 20:6; Deuteronomy 28:30. The word which in Deut. (“used,” “use”) expresses the handing over of the fruit to the owner’s use is that here rendered “enjoy.”Verse 5. - The mountains of Samaria. "Samaria" is used, equally with Ephraim, for the northern kingdom. Shall eat them as common things; rather, shall enjoy the fruit. The word, however, literally means shall profane them. The more common phrase, "shall eat the fruit," occurs in Isaiah 65:21, where the same promise is given. The law was that newly planted fruit trees should be left alone for three years; that in the fourth year their fruit should be consecrated to God; and that in the fifth year their fruit might be "profaned," i.e. devoted to ordinary uses (comp. Deuteronomy 20:6; Deuteronomy 28:30). The wicked shall be destroyed by the fire of God's anger. - Jeremiah 30:23. "Behold, a whirlwind of Jahveh - wrath goeth forth - a sweeping whirlwind; it shall hurl down on the head of the wicked. Jeremiah 30:24. The heat of Jahveh's anger shall not return till He hath done and till He hath established the purpose of His heart; in the end of the days ye shall consider it."

These two verses have been already met with in Jeremiah 23:19 and Jeremiah 23:20, with a few variations. Instead of מיחולל we have here מתגּורר, and אף־יהוה is here strengthened by prefixing חרון; on the other hand, בּינה, which is added in the preceding passage to intensify התבּוננוּ, is here omitted. The first of these changes is more of a formal than a real kind; for by the substitution of מתגּורר for מיחולל, the play in the latter word on יחוּל is merely disturbed, not "destroyed," since ר and ל are kindred sounds. התגּורר has been variously rendered. The meaning of "abiding," which is founded on 1 Kings 17:20, is here unsuitable. Equally inappropriate is the meaning of "crowding together," or assembling in troops, which we find in Hosea 7:14. It is more correct to derive it from גּרר, either in the sense of sweeping away or that of blustering, which are meanings derived from the fundamental one of producing harsh sounds in the throat, and transferred to the rushing sound made by the storm as it carries everything along with it. The second and third changes affect the sense. For, by the addition of חרון to אף, the idea of a judgment in wrath is intensified; and by dropping בּינה, less is made of the acuteness of perception. Both of these variations correspond to differences in the context of both passages. In Jeremiah 23, where the words are applied to the false prophets, it was important to place emphasis on the statement that these men would, by experience, come to a full knowledge of the reality of that judgment they denied; in this chapter, on the other hand, the idea of judgment in wrath must be expressly set aside. There is thus no good ground for considering these verses a later interpolation into the text, as Movers, Hitzig, and Ngelsbach think. Hitzig rejects these verses as spurious on the false ground that the judgment threatened in this chapter refers merely to the fall of the kingdom of Babylon, which Jeremiah could not have been able to know beforehand; Ngelsbach rejects them on the ground of other erroneous assumptions.

(Note: First, he holds the groundless opinion that this prophecy originated in the time of Josiah, and therefore could not have borrowed verses from the address given in Jeremiah 23, which belongs to the time of Jehoiakim; secondly, with as little ground he affirms that these verses do not correspond with the character of the chapter, and seem like a jarring discord in the midst of the announcement of deliverance it contains; finally, he asks whence could come "the wicked" mentioned, in the times described by the prophet - as if he thought that when the captivity of the people was turned, all godless ones would suddenly disappear. - The doubts as to the genuineness of Jeremiah 30:22 are based by Ngelsbach merely on the fact that the same idea is repeated in Jeremiah 31:1.)

The only doubtful point regarding these verses is, whether they are to be connected, as Hengstenberg thinks, with what precedes, or with what follows, as Ewald supposes. In the former case, to the promise for the true Israel would be added a threat against those who only seemed to be Israel, - like the declaration in Isaiah, "There is no peace to the wicked:" this addition would thus be made, lest those for whom the promise was not intended should unwarrantably apply it to themselves. But, however well-founded the thought is, that every increasing manifestation of grace is invariably accompanied by an increased manifestation of righteousness, and though all the prophets clearly testify that the godless members of the covenant people have no share in the promised salvation, but instead are liable to judgment; yet there has not been such preparation made for the introduction of this thought as that we might be able at once to join these two verses to what precedes. The exclamation "Behold!" with which the words are introduced, rather form a sign that a new addition is to be made to the prophecy. We therefore view the threat in this verse as a resumption of the threat of judgment made in Jeremiah 30:5., to which is attached, in Jeremiah 31:1, the further development of the announcement of deliverance; but we refer the threat made in the verse not merely to the heathen as such, but to all "wicked ones," in such a way that it at the same time applies to the godless members of the covenant people, and signifies their exclusion from salvation.

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