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Ezekiel 15:1-8

Burning a Useless Vine

15:1 The word of the Lord came to me: 15:2 “Son of man, of all the woody branches among the trees of the forest, what happens to the wood of the vine? 1  15:3 Can wood be taken from it to make anything useful? Or can anyone make a peg from it to hang things on? 15:4 No! 2  It is thrown in the fire for fuel; when the fire has burned up both ends of it and it is charred in the middle, will it be useful for anything? 15:5 Indeed! If it was not made into anything useful when it was whole, how much less can it be made into anything when the fire has burned it up and it is charred?

15:6 “Therefore, this is what the sovereign Lord says: Like the wood of the vine is among the trees of the forest which I have provided as fuel for the fire – so I will provide the residents of Jerusalem 3  as fuel. 4  15:7 I will set 5  my face against them – although they have escaped from the fire, 6  the fire will still consume them! Then you will know that I am the Lord, when I set my face against them. 15:8 I will make 7  the land desolate because they have acted unfaithfully, declares the sovereign Lord.”

Ezekiel 17:5-10


17:5 He took one of the seedlings 8  of the land,

placed it in a cultivated plot; 9 

a shoot by abundant water,

like a willow he planted it.

17:6 It sprouted and became a vine,

spreading low to the ground; 10 

its branches turning toward him, 11  its roots were under itself. 12 

So it became a vine; it produced shoots and sent out branches.

17:7 “‘There was another great eagle 13 

with broad wings and thick plumage.

Now this vine twisted its roots toward him

and sent its branches toward him

to be watered from the soil where it was planted.

17:8 In a good field, by abundant waters, it was planted

to grow branches, bear fruit, and become a beautiful vine.

17:9 “‘Say to them: This is what the sovereign Lord says:

“‘Will it prosper?

Will he not rip out its roots

and cause its fruit to rot 14  and wither?

All its foliage 15  will wither.

No strong arm or large army

will be needed to pull it out by its roots. 16 

17:10 Consider! It is planted, but will it prosper?

Will it not wither completely when the east wind blows on it?

Will it not wither in the soil where it sprouted?’”

Ezekiel 19:10-14


19:10 “‘Your mother was like a vine in your vineyard, 17  planted by water.

It was fruitful and full of branches because it was well-watered.

19:11 Its boughs were strong, fit 18  for rulers’ scepters; it reached up into the clouds.

It stood out because of its height and its many branches. 19 

19:12 But it was plucked up in anger; it was thrown down to the ground.

The east wind 20  dried up its fruit;

its strong branches broke off and withered –

a fire consumed them.

19:13 Now it is planted in the wilderness,

in a dry and thirsty land. 21 

19:14 A fire has gone out from its branch; it has consumed its shoot and its fruit. 22 

No strong branch was left in it, nor a scepter to rule.’

This is a lament song, and has become a lament song.”

1 tn Most modern translations take the statement as a comparison (“how is vine wood better than any forest wood?”) based on the preposition מִן (min). But a comparison should have a word as an adjective or stative verb designating a quality, i.e., a word for “good/better” is lacking. The preposition is translated above in its partitive sense.

sn Comparing Israel to the wood of the vine may focus on Israel’s inferiority to the other nations. For the vine imagery in relation to Israel and the people of God, see Ps 80:8-13; John 15:1-7; Rom 11:17-22.

2 tn The word הִנֵּה (hinneh, traditionally “behold”) draws one’s attention to something. Sometimes it may be translated as a verb of perception; here it is treated as a particle that fits the context (so also in v. 5, but with a different English word).

3 map For location see Map5 B1; Map6 F3; Map7 E2; Map8 F2; Map10 B3; JP1 F4; JP2 F4; JP3 F4; JP4 F4.

4 tn The words “as fuel” are not in the Hebrew text, but are implied.

5 tn The word translated “set” is the same Hebrew word translated as “provide” in the previous verse.

6 sn This escape refers to the exile of Ezekiel and others in 597 b.c. (Ezek 1:2; 2 Kgs 24:10-16).

7 tn The word translated “make” is the same Hebrew word translated as “provide” in v. 6.

8 tn Heb “took of the seed of the land.” For the vine imagery, “seedling” is a better translation, though in its subsequent interpretation the “seed” refers to Zedekiah through its common application to offspring.

9 tn Heb “a field for seed.”

10 tn Heb “short of stature.”

11 tn That is, the eagle.

12 tn Or “him,” i.e., the eagle.

13 sn The phrase another great eagle refers to Pharaoh Hophra.

14 tn The Hebrew root occurs only here in the OT and appears to have the meaning of “strip off.” In application to fruit the meaning may be “cause to rot.”

15 tn Heb “all the טַרְפֵּי (tarpey) of branches.” The word טַרְפֵּי occurs only here in the Bible; its precise meaning is uncertain.

16 tn Or “there will be no strong arm or large army when it is pulled up by the roots.”

17 tc The Hebrew text reads “in your blood,” but most emend to “in your vineyard,” assuming a ב-כ (beth-kaph) confusion. See L. C. Allen, Ezekiel (WBC), 1:284. Another attractive emendation assumes a faulty word division and yields the reading “like a vine full of tendrils, which/because…”; see D. I. Block, Ezekiel (NICOT), 1:607, n. 68.

18 tn The word “fit” does not occur in the Hebrew text.

19 tn Heb “and it was seen by its height and by the abundance of its branches.”

20 sn The east wind symbolizes the Babylonians.

21 sn This metaphor depicts the Babylonian exile of the Davidic dynasty.

22 tn The verse describes the similar situation recorded in Judg 9:20.

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