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Barnes' Notes on the Bible
1And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
2Son of man, What is the vine tree more than any tree, or than a branch which is among the trees of the forest?
The vine ... - The image is grounded on a well-known figure Psalm 80:8; Isaiah 5. The comparison is not between the vine and other trees, but between the wood of the vine and the wood of other trees.
3Shall wood be taken thereof to do any work? or will men take a pin of it to hang any vessel thereon?
4Behold, it is cast into the fire for fuel; the fire devoureth both the ends of it, and the midst of it is burned. Is it meet for any work?
Behold, it is cast into the fire - The wood is in itself useless for any purpose; but what if it have been cast into the fire, and half burned, what of it then?
5Behold, when it was whole, it was meet for no work: how much less shall it be meet yet for any work, when the fire hath devoured it, and it is burned?
6Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; As the vine tree among the trees of the forest, which I have given to the fire for fuel, so will I give the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
7And I will set my face against them; they shall go out from one fire, and another fire shall devour them; and ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I set my face against them.
They shall go out ... - Rather, they have gone forth from the fire, and the fire shall devour them. The condition of the people is here depicted. The people of Israel - as a whole and as separate kingdoms - had become worthless. The branch torn from the living stem had truly been cast into the fire, which had devoured both ends of it; what remained was a brand plucked from the burning. Those who had escaped the general calamity were reserved for a like fate. Compare John 15:6.
8And I will make the land desolate, because they have committed a trespass, saith the Lord GOD.