Ezekiel 15:1-8

Submitted by admin on Wed, 2018-01-03 15:22.

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YHWH’s “word” or message came to Ezekiel. The Targum refers to it as a “word of prophecy from before the Lord.” (15:1) As at other times, Ezekiel is addressed as “son of man,” reminding him that he is a mortal in the service of the eternal God. YHWH is represented as asking him about how the wood of the vine (probably a grapevine) differs from any of the branches of trees in the forest. In the Septuagint, the question pertains to what the wood of the vine might become in relation to all the wood of tree branches in the forest. (15:2) As the answers to the rhetorical questions indicate, wood from a vine is useless. From the wood of a vine, nothing could be made that would be suitable for work. No part of the wood could be used as a peg from which to hang a vessel. (15:3) The wood could serve as fuel for the fire. When the fire has consumed both ends of the branch from a vine and charred the remaining middle part, that part cannot be used for anything functional. (15:4)

When whole, the wood from a vine cannot be fashioned into a tool that could be used for work. “How much less” so when fire has consumed and charred the wood could it be utilized for anything useful! (15:5) Ezekiel was to make known how this applied to the populace of Jerusalem. “Thus says the Lord YHWH, Like the wood of the vine among the trees of the forest, which [wood] I have given [or assigned] to the fire for fuel, so I will give up the inhabitants of Jerusalem.” This expression of judgment indicated that, in view of the serious wrongdoing of the people, they deserved severe punishment. (15:6) YHWH purposed to set his face against them, causing them to experience the full expression of his anger. Although they seemingly might escape from the fire (or the punishment YHWH had determined for them), the fire would consume them. They would not be able to escape the punitive judgment that was certain to be executed against them. At the time YHWH would direct his face against the wayward people, they would “know” or come to recognize that YHWH is the God who does not tolerate serious wrongdoing indefinitely and who is the one who took action against them by means of the instrument of his choosing — the warriors under the command of Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon. (15:7) The Lord YHWH, when permitting the enemy military invasion to succeed, would make the land desolate because his people had been unfaithful to him. (15:8)