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Commentary On Ezekiel Volume 2 by Jean Calvin

Ezekiel 17:9-10

9. Say thou, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Shall it prosper? shall he not pull up the roots thereof, and cut off the fruit thereof, that it wither? it shall wither in all the leaves of her spring, even without great power or many people to pluck it up by the roots thereof.

9. Dic, Sic dicit Dominator Iehovah, An feliciter aget? an non radices ejus evellet? et fructum ejus succidet? et siccabit omnes surculos germinis ipsius, ut arefiat et non brachio magno et populo multo ad tollendum e radicibus suis.

10. Yea, behold, being planted, shall it prosper? shall it not utterly wither, when the east wind toucheth it? it shall wither in the furrows where it grew.

10. Et ecce plantata: an prosperabitur? an non cum attigerit ipsam ventus orientalis arescendo arescet super areas plantationis suae scet?

Here God announces that this vine could not flourish any longer and bring forth fruit; for it had been planted to flourish under the shadow of an eagle, and it had removed itself away. Nothing therefore remains, than that the former eagle should avenge the injury committed against it. This is the meaning of the passage: hence he says, Shall it prosper? Shall not the eagle tear up its roots, and cut off its fruit? Ezekiel assumes this principle, that the vine could not be otherwise preserved than by the power and aid of the eagle which had planted it; for when it passed away from that eagle to another, the Prophet says that the end of the ungrateful vine was at hand; all the leaves of its branches shall wither, and so be dried up, and that not in, a mighty branch, nor in much people. It is certain that Nebuchadnezzar was accompanied with a great army when he came down upon Judea. But the Prophet means, even if Nebuchadnezzar had only brought with him a small band, yet Zedekiah could not remain king, since destruction awaited him through perfidy and revolt, as will afterwards be said. The Prophet often speaks by concession, as if he had said that, by a singe blast, Zedekiah and all the people would wither away, since he could not remain in safety unless he drew sap from his own root; but he had removed his root elsewhere, and so Ezekiel pronounces that he must immediately wither away. It was not then in the power of much people to tear it from its own roots; for Zedekiah had purposely cut off his own roots, when, through his own levity, he had transferred himself to the king of Egypt Behold, says he, he had been planted; but should he have good success? as if he had said, it is vain for Zedekiah to hope for safety from him, whom his own perfidy prevented from befriending him; and therefore the comparison of an east wind is added: since then the east wind has struck it, will it not wither and decay, even upon the furrows of its branches? that is, although it has furrows whence it may expect perpetual moisture; for Egypt was, as we have said, artificially watered; and the Prophet describes Zedekiah's state just as if the king of Egypt were nourishing him by a stream of water: upon his beds, or furrows, will he wither when the east wind shall strike it. We know that the east wind destroys the fruits in that region, and so it is often mentioned in a bad sense. It now follows --

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