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The Jewish nation, about to be destroyed by the Chaldeans, compared to a barren vine which is fit for nothing but to be cast into the fire, Ezekiel 15:1-8.
What is the vine tree more than any tree - It is certain that the vine is esteemed only on account of its fruit. In some countries, it is true, it grows to a considerable size and thickness: but, even then, it is not of a sufficient density to work into furniture. But whatever may be said of the stock of the vine, it is the branch that the prophet speaks of here; and I scarcely know the branch of any tree in the forest more useless than is the branch of the vine. Out of it who can even make a pin to drive into a mud wall, or hang any vessel on? A vine would never be cultivated for the sake of its wood; it is really worthless but as it bears fruit. What is Israel? Good for nothing, but as God influenced them to bring forth fruit to his glory. But now that they have ceased to be fruitful, they are good for nothing, but, like a withered branch of the vine, to be burnt.
The fire devoureth both the ends of it, and the midst of it is burned - Judea is like a vine branch thrown into the fire, which seizes on both the ends, and scorches the middle: so both the extremities of the land is wasted; and the middle, Jerusalem, is now threatened with a siege, and by and by will be totally destroyed.
Therefore thus saith the Lord - As surely as I have allotted such a vine branch, or vine branches, for fuel; so surely have I appointed the inhabitants of Jerusalem to be consumed.
The design of this parable is to abate the pride of the Jews; to show them that, in their best estate, they had nothing but what they had received, and therefore deserved nothing; and now, having fallen from all righteousness, they can have no expectation of any thing but judgment unmixed with mercy.
They shall go out from one fire, and another fire shall devour them - If they escape the sword, they shall perish by the famine; if they escape the famine, they shall be led away captives. To escape will be impossible. It will be to them according to the proverb: -
Incidit in Scyllam, cupiens vitare Charybdim.
“Out of the scald, into the flame.”
They have committed a trespass - They have prevaricated; they are the worst of sinners, and shall have the heaviest of punishments. Can men suppose that it is possible to hide even their dark hearts from God?