The Vine-Tree Fit for Burning Only.

As little as the Lord, for the sake of a handful of righteous people, will spare Jerusalem, so little can a preference of Israel before other nations be alleged, as placing the Jews in a position of safety. As the preceding prophecy is directed against any false confidence on the part of the righteous, so the present message takes away the illusion held by some as though the people of Israel on account of their position as the children of God were safe from destruction. V. 1. And the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, v. 2. Son of man, what is the vine-tree more than any tree, what advantage has it above other trees, or than a branch which is among the trees of the forest? The wild vine has nothing that would make it particularly acceptable above other trees; on the contrary, it is less useful even than the ordinary forest-tree. V. 3. Shall wood be taken thereof to do any work? In building or manufacture. Or will men take a pin of it to bang any vessel thereon? to suspend vessels used in the household. V. 4. Behold, it is cast into the fire for fuel, that being about the only purpose which it serves; the fire devoureth both the ends of it, consuming them entirely, and the midst of it is burned, scorched, the aim even here not being realized entirely. Is it meet for any work? After the long exposition, the question is brought out with great emphasis, thus preparing the way for the answer. V. 5. Behold, when it was whole, uninjured, when it was still growing, or immediately after it had been cut off, it was meet for no work, unfit for any purpose which would be of real benefit; how much less shall it be meet yet for any work when the fire bath devoured it and it is burned! that is, scorched, set afire. The two ends that had been consumed were evidently Israel and the bulk of Judah; what still remained was but a small remnant, and that subject to swift destruction. V. 6. Therefore, 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, of whom the vine-tree of the parable was a type. V. 7. And I will set My face against them, determined upon their destruction; they shall go out from one fire, as from the calamities which had even now partly consumed them, and another fire, a final catastrophe, shall devour them; and ye shall know that I am the Lord when I set My face against them. V. 8. And I will make the land desolate, because they have committed a trespass, saith the Lord God, their treachery being that of their shameless idolatry. As in the case of the Jews their guilt was increased by their deliberate revolt and apostasy, so all those who fall away from the truth in our days will make themselves liable to a much severer punishment than the people who have never known the way of Godís mercy.