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Bible Commentaries

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

Ezekiel 15

 

 

Introduction

Chapter 15. A Depiction of Jerusalem - A Useless Wild Vine.

Here the vine is used as an example because its wood is useless for any other purpose than to be burned. Because of its nature, once it ceases to be fruitful it is only fit for destruction. Israel saw themselves as a fruitful vine (Genesis 49:22; Psalms 80:8-11). God saw them as a wild and useless vine.


Verses 1-3

‘And the word of Yahweh came to me saying, “Son of man, what is the vine tree more than any tree, the vine branch which is among the trees of the forest? Will wood be taken from it to make any work? Or will men take a pin of it to hang any vessel on it?” ’

The later implication is that Jerusalem is like the vine (Ezekiel 15:5), but in Ezekiel’s case it is the wild vine, one of the trees of the forest. Unlike other trees in the forest its usefulness is limited to bearing its fruit. But who gathers fruit from the wild vine? And apart from this it is nothing. It is useless for being carved or shaped, it is useless as a pin to hang things on. If it does not bear fruit it is nothing. The pin is elsewhere used to indicate someone who can be relied on (Isaiah 22:23-25; Zechariah 10:4). But Jerusalem is like a wild vine, not to be depended on. No one partakes of its fruit and it is useless for anything else. It should of course be a fruitful vine but it is not, for it has placed itself as one among the nations in their idolatry.

In the past Israel was likened to a vine that should have been fruitful, but sadly revealed itself as a wild vine (see Genesis 49:22; Deuteronomy 32:32; Psalms 80:8-16; Isaiah 5:1-7; Jeremiah 2:21; Hosea 10:1). This is the end of the process.


Verse 4

“Behold it is cast into the fire for fuel. The fire has devoured both the ends of it, and the middle of it is burned. Is it profitable for any work?”

In fact its only other use is as fuel, and it is not even very good for that. It is quickly consumed, both ends and middle. And what other profit has it? None. This is then again emphasised. The comparison of both ends with the middle is explained in Ezekiel 15:7. That which is burned at both ends represents those slain in the invasion of Jerusalem. The middle which is also burned represents those who escape, only to face further judgment.


Verse 5

“Behold when it was whole it was not made into any work, how much less when the fire has devoured it, and it is burned, will it yet be made into any work.”

Once it is burned it is even more useless if that were possible. When whole it was useless, now it will be even more useless. This is God’s verdict on Jerusalem, and on all whose lives are fruitless.


Verses 6-8

‘Therefore thus says the Lord Yahweh, “As the vine trees among the trees of the forest, which I have given to the fire for fuel, so have I given the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and I will set my face against them. They will go forth from the fire, but the fire will devour them. And you will know that I am Yahweh when I set my face against them. And I will make the land desolate, because they have committed a trespass,” says the Lord Yahweh.’

The reference to Jerusalem is now made clear. They are just fuel for the fire. Their land is to be made desolate because of their sin. And this will be because Yahweh has set His face against them. So even those who go forth from the fire and seemingly escape the judgment, will find that judgment follows them (compare Ezekiel 5:2 - ‘I will draw out a sword after them’).

‘And you will know that I am Yahweh when I set my face against them.’ What happens to them will make all recognise Who and What Yahweh is.

 


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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Ezekiel 15:4". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/ezekiel-15.html. 2013.

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