Psalm 80:15
And the vineyard which your right hand has planted, and the branch that you made strong for yourself.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(15) And the vineyard which . . .—Most modern scholars follow the LXX. and Vulg. in making the word rendered vineyard an imperative of a verb, meaning protect: And protect what thy right hand hath planted. This makes a good parallelism.

Psalm 80:15. And the vineyard — Hebrew, כנה, channah, which Buxtorf translates, surculus, planta, a branch, or plant, but which Dr. Hammond says “may be most fitly rendered a root, or stock, such as is wont to be planted. For this we know,” proceeds he, “that a branch of a vine, being laid in the ground, will take a root to it, and so be fit to be planted.” And after many critical remarks on the sense of the word, as used in other places, he adds, “by all this it appears that כנהhere, having in its original meaning somewhat of strength and stability, (being used for a foot, or basis,) and being by the context confined to vines, must signify such a slip, or young stock, or plant, as is fit to be set, or grow by itself. And being by the Masorites (Jewish rabbins) written with a large כ, (caph,) signifies this eminent plant, the whole people of the Jews whom God had chosen; and so his right hand is truly said to have planted it.” And the branch that thou madest strong for thyself — Hebrew, בן, ben, the son, namely, the son of the root or stock, according to the Hebrew phraseology, which terms any thing, that is produced by another, its son or daughter. Thus branches are called בנות, benoth, daughters, Genesis 49:22. The royal family of David is evidently intended here, which God had raised and established for himself, to accomplish his eternal purpose of saving mankind by the Messiah, who was one day to spring from the root of Jesse. The Chaldee paraphrast expounds the branch of Messiah himself; “On King Messiah, whom thou hast established,” &c. So do the rabbins, Aben Ezra and Obadiah, cited by Dr. Hammond. And the LXX. have rendered the clause, επι υιον ανθρωπου, on the Son of man, an expression actually used by the psalmist, Psalm 80:17. “To the advent of this Son of man.” says Dr. Horne, “Israel was ever accustomed to look forward, in time of affliction; on his second and glorious advent the Christian Church must fix her eye, in the day of her calamities.”80:8-16 The church is represented as a vine and a vineyard. The root of this vine is Christ, the branches are believers. The church is like a vine, needing support, but spreading and fruitful. If a vine do not bring forth fruit, no tree is so worthless. And are not we planted as in a well-cultivated garden, with every means of being fruitful in works of righteousness? But the useless leaves of profession, and the empty boughs of notions and forms, abound far more than real piety. It was wasted and ruined. There was a good reason for this change in God's way toward them. And it is well or ill with us, according as we are under God's smiles or frowns. When we consider the state of the purest part of the visible church, we cannot wonder that it is visited with sharp corrections. They request that God would help the vine. Lord, it is formed by thyself, and for thyself, therefore it may, with humble confidence, be committed to thyself.And the vineyard ... - Gesenius renders this as a verb: "Protect;" that is, "Protect or defend what thy right hand hath planted." So the Septuagint renders it κατάρτισαι katartisai - and the Vulgate, perfice, fit, prepare, order. Prof. Alexander renders it sustain. DeWette, "Guard what thy right hand hath planted." This is doubtless the true idea. It is a prayer that God would guard, sustain, defend what he had planted; to wit, the vine which he had brought out of Egypt, Psalm 80:8.

And the branch - literally, the son; that is, the offspring or shoots of the vine. Not merely the original plant - the parent stock - but all the branches which had sprung from it and which had spread themselves over the land.

That thou madest strong for thyself - Thou didst cause it to grow so vigorously for thine own use or honor. On that account, we now call on thee to defend what is thine own.

15. And the vineyard—or, "And protect or guard what thy right hand," &c.

the branch—literally, "over the Son of man," preceding this phrase, with "protect" or "watch."

for thyself—a tacit allusion to the plea for help; for

The vineyard; or, the root, or stock, or plant, as others render it. Thy right hand hath planted; which thou hast planted or fixed with thy might and power; whereof the right hand is both a sign or symbol and an instrument. The branch, Heb. the son, i.e. either,

1. The son of man, as it is more fully expressed, Psalm 80:17. Or rather,

2. The branch; for as yet he continues the metaphor; which is called the son, to wit, of the root or stock mentioned in the former clause, as the branches are called daughters in the Hebrew text, Genesis 49:22.

Thou madest strong; either,

1. By supporting it with stakes or walls, upon which the vine groweth up or rather,

2. By causing it to grow in bulk and thickness, and consequently in strength. For thyself; for thy own especial delight, and service, and honor. And the vineyard which thy right hand hath planted,.... The word "Cannah" is only used in this place, and the first letter of it is larger than usual, to keep in perpetual remembrance, as is thought by some (t), the bringing of this vine out of Egypt, and the great things done for it in the land of Israel; and the letter, being crooked, may denote the oppression of this vine by various calamities. The Targum renders the word, a branch or shoot; and Kimchi, according to the scope of the place, a plant; and observes, that others interpret it an habitation or dwelling place; and so may be understood of Jerusalem, or the temple. Aben Ezra takes it to be an adjective, and to signify "prepared" or "established", which is said of this vine, Psalm 80:9. It is an Egyptian word used by the psalmist, treating of the vine brought out of Egypt, and signifies a plant; hence the ivy is by the Greeks called the plant of Osiris (u); the clause carries in it a reason or argument, enforcing the above petition, taken from this vine being of the Lord's planting, as in Psalm 80:8 and therefore his own honour and glory were concerned in it:

and the branch that thou madest strong for thyself: meaning the same thing, and the same people whom he confirmed in the land of Canaan, and made strong for his service and glory. The word (w) translated "branch" signifies a son, as Israel was, to the Lord, son and firstborn. The Targum understands it of Christ, and paraphrases it thus,

"and for the King Messiah, whom thou hast strengthened for thyself;''

that is, for the sake of Christ, whom thou hast appointed to work out the salvation of thy people by his great strength, and who was to come from this vine, or descend from Israel; for the sake of him destroy it not, nor suffer it to be destroyed; and is the same with the Son of man, Psalm 80:17, and so it is read in a manuscript.

(t) Vid. Buxtorf. Tiberias, c. 14. (u) Plutarch de lsid. & Osir. (w) "super filium", V. L. Pagninus, Montanus, Musculus; "propter filium", Junius & Tremellius, Michaelis.

And the vineyard which thy right hand hath planted, and the branch that thou madest {l} strong for thyself.

(l) So that no power can prevail against it, and which as a young bud you raised up again as out of the burnt ashes.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
15. This verse presents serious ambiguities and difficulties. The first word may be rendered as a substantive, in close connexion with Psalm 80:14, and the vineyard, or better as R.V. and the stock: or, as in R.V. marg., as a verb: and protect (or maintain) that which thy right hand hath planted. The second rendering is preferable, though not wholly free from difficulty.

the branch] Or, the son, which is the literal meaning of the word. Cp. Exodus 4:22; Hosea 11:1. Probably an allusion to Genesis 49:22. The Targum interprets, “and upon Messiah the king, whom thou hast made strong for thyself.” But the primary reference is obviously to the nation.

madest strong] Tending it with loving care till it grew up: cp. Psa. 39:21; Isaiah 1:2.Verse 15. - And the vineyard which thy right hand hath planted; rather, the stock. (So Kay, Cheyne, and the Revised Version.) Some, however, regard כַנָּה as a verb, and translate, "Establish that which thy right hand has planted" (see the LXX., Michaelis, Hupfeld, Canon Cook, and others). And the branch that thou madest strong for thyself; literally, the son, which may mean the offshoot (comp. Genesis 49:22). Is this offshoot Ephraim? or is the entire vine, all Israel, intended? The complaint now assumes a detailing character in this strophe, inasmuch as it contrasts the former days with the present; and the ever more and more importunate prayer moulds itself in accordance therewith. The retrospective description begins, as is rarely the case, with the second modus, inasmuch as "the speaker thinks more of the bare nature of the act than of the time" (Ew. 136, b). As in the blessing of Jacob (Genesis 49:22) Joseph is compared to the layer (בּן) of a fruitful growth (פּרת), whose shoots (בּנות) climb over the wall: so here Israel is compared to a vine (Genesis 49:22; גּפן פּריּח, Psalm 128:3), which has become great in Egypt and been transplanted thence into the Land of Promise. הסּיע, lxx μεταίρειν, as in Job 19:10, perhaps with an allusion to the מסעים of the people journeying to Canaan (Psalm 78:52).

(Note: Exod. Rabba, ch. 44, with reference to this passage, says: "When husbandmen seek to improve a vine, what do they do? They root (עוקרין) it out of its place and plant (שׁותלין) it in another." And Levit. Rabba, ch. 36, says: "As one does not plant a vine in a place where there are great, rough stones, but examines the ground and then plants it, so didst Thou drive out peoples and didst plant it," etc.)

Here God made His vine a way and a place (פּנּהּ, to clear, from פּנה, to turn, turn aside, Arabic fanija, to disappear, pass away; root פן, to urge forward), and after He had secured to it a free soil and unchecked possibility of extension, it (the vine) rooted its roots, i.e., struck them ever deeper and wider, and filled the earth round about (cf. the antitype in the final days, Isaiah 27:6). The Israelitish kingdom of God extended itself on every side in accordance with the promise. תּשׁלּח (cf. Ezekiel 17:6, and vegetable שׁלח, a shoot) also has the vine as its subject, like תּשׁרשׁ. Psalm 80:11-12 state this in a continued allegory, by the "mountains" pointing to the southern boundary, by the "cedars" to the northern, by the "sea" to the western, and by the "river" (Euphrates) to the eastern boundary of the country (vid., Deuteronomy 11:24 and other passages). צלּהּ and ענפיה are accusatives of the so-called more remote object (Ges. 143, 1). קציר is a cutting equals a branch; יונקת, a (vegetable) sucker equals a young, tender shoot; ארזי־אל, the cedars of Lebanon as being living monuments of the creative might of God. The allegory exceeds the measure of the reality of nature, inasmuch as this is obliged to be extended according to the reality of that which is typified and historical. But how unlike to the former times is the present! The poet asks "wherefore?" for the present state of things is a riddle to him. The surroundings of the vine are torn down; all who come in contact with it pluck it (ארה, to pick off, pluck off, Talmudic of the gathering of figs); the boar out of the wood (מיער with עין תלויה, Ajin)

(Note: According to Kiddushin, 30a, because this Ajin is the middle letter of the Psalter as the Waw of גחון, Leviticus 11:42, is the middle letter of the Tra. One would hardly like to be at the pains of proving the correctness of this statement; nevertheless in the seventeenth century there lived one Laymarius, a clergyman, who was not afraid of this trouble, and found the calculations of the Masora (e.g., that אדני ה occurs 222 times) in part inaccurate; vid., Monatliche Unterredungen, 1691, S. 467, and besides, Geiger, Urschrift und Uebersetzungen der Bibel, S. 258f.))

cuts it off (כּרסם, formed out of כּסם equals גּזם

(Note: Saadia appropriately renders it Arab. yqrḍhâ, by referring, as does Dunash also, to the Talmudic קרסם, which occurs of ants, like Arab. qrḍ, of rodents. So Peah ii. 7, Menachoth 71b, on which Rashi observes, "the locust (חגב) is accustomed to eat from above, the ant tears off the corn-stalk from below." Elsewhere קירסם denotes the breaking off of dry branches from the tree, as זרד the removal of green branches.))

viz., with its tusks; and that which moves about the fields (vid., concerning זיז, Psalm 50:11), i.e., the untractable, lively wild beast, devours it. Without doubt the poet associates a distinct nation with the wild boar in his mind; for animals are also in other instances the emblems of nations, as e.g., the leviathan, the water-serpent, the behemoth (Isaiah 30:6), and flies (Isaiah 7:18) are emblems of Egypt. The Midrash interprets it of Ser-Edom, and זיז שׂדי, according to Genesis 16:12, of the nomadic Arabs.

In Psalm 80:15 the prayer begins for the third time with threefold urgency, supplicating for the vine renewed divine providence, and a renewal of the care of divine grace. We have divided the verse differently from the accentuation, since שׁוּב־נא הבּט is to be understood according to Ges. 142. The junction by means of ו is at once opposed to the supposition that וכּנּה in Psalm 80:16 signifies a slip or plant, plantam (Targum, Syriac, Aben-Ezra, Kimchi, and others), and that consequently the whole of Psalm 80:16 is governed by וּפקד. Nor can it mean its (the vine's) stand or base, כּן (Bttcher), since one does not plant a "stand." The lxx renders וכנה: καὶ κατάρτισαι, which is imper. aor. 1. med., therefore in the sense of כּוננה.

(Note: Perhaps the Caph majusculum is the result of an erasure that required to be made, vid., Geiger, Urschrift, S. 295. Accordingly the Ajin suspensum might also be the result of a later inserted correction, for there is a Phoenician inscription that has יר (wood, forest); vid., Levy, Phnizisches Wrterbuch, S. 22.)

But the alternation of על (cf. Proverbs 2:11, and Arab. jn ‛lâ, to cover over) with the accusative of the object makes it more natural to derive כנה, not from כּנן equals כּוּן, but from כּנן Arab. kanna equals גּנן, to cover, conceal, protect (whence Arab. kinn, a covering, shelter, hiding-place): and protect him whom...or: protect what Thy right hand has planted. The pointing certainly seems to take כנה as the feminine of כּן (lxx, Daniel 11:7, φυτόν); for an imperat. paragog. Kal of the form כּנּה does not occur elsewhere, although it might have been regarded by the punctuists as possible from the form גּל, volve, Psalm 119:22. If it is regarded as impossible, then one might read כנּה. At any rate the word is imperative, as the following אשׁר, eum quem, also shows, instead of which, if כנה were a substantive, one would expect to find a relative clause without אשׁר, as in Psalm 80:16. Moreover Psalm 80:16 requires this, since פּקד על can only be used of visiting with punishment. And who then would the slip (branch) and the son of man be in distinction from the vine? If we take בנה as imperative, then, as one might expect, the vine and the son of man are both the people of God. The Targum renders Psalm 80:16 thus: "and upon the King Messiah, whom Thou hast established for Thyself," after Psalm 2:1-12 and Daniel 7:13; but, as in the latter passage, it is not the Christ Himself, but the nation out of which He is to proceed, that is meant. אמּץ has the sense of firm appropriation, as in Isaiah 44:14, inasmuch as the notion of making fast passes over into that of laying firm hold of, of seizure. Rosenmller well renders it: quem adoptatum tot nexibus tibi adstrinxisti.

The figure of the vine, which rules all the language here, is also still continued in Psalm 80:17; for the partt. fem. refer to גּפן ot refer, - the verb, however, may take the plural form, because those of Israel are this "vine," which combusta igne, succisa (as in Isaiah 33:12; Aramaic, be cut off, tear off, in Psalm 80:13 the Targum word for ארה; Arabic, ksḥ, to clear away, peel off), is just perishing, or hangs in danger of destruction (יאבדוּ) before the threatening of the wrathful countenance of God. The absence of anything to denote the subject, and the form of expression, which still keeps within the circle of the figure of the vine, forbid us to understand this Psalm 80:17 of the extirpation of the foes. According to the sense תּהי־ידך על

(Note: The תהי has Gaja, like שׂאו־זמרה (Psalm 81:3), בני־נכר (Psalm 144:7), and the like. This Gaja beside the Sheb (instead of beside the following vowel) belongs to the peculiarities of the metrical books, which in general, on account of their more melodious mode of delivery, have many such a Gaja beside Sheb, which does not occur in the prose books. Thus, e.g., יהוה and אלהים always have Gaja beside the Sheb when they have Rebia magnum without a conjunctive, probably because Rebia and Dech had such a fulness of tone that a first stroke fell even upon the Sheb-letters.)

coincides with the supplicatory כנה על. It is Israel that is called בּן in Psalm 80:16, as being the son whom Jahve has called into being in Egypt, and then called out of Egypt to Himself and solemnly declared to be His son on Sinai (Exodus 4:22; Hosea 11:1), and who is now, with a play upon the name of Benjamin in Psalm 80:3 (cf. Psalm 80:16), called אישׁ ימינך, as being the people which Jahve has preferred before others, and has placed at His right hand

(Note: Pinsker punctuates thus: Let Thy hand be upon the man, Thy right hand upon the son of man, whom, etc.; but the impression that ימינך and אמצתה לך coincide is so strong, that no one of the old interpreters (from the lxx and Targum onwards) has been able to free himself from it.)

continued...

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