Ezekiel 19:11
And she had strong rods for the scepters of them that bore rule, and her stature was exalted among the thick branches, and she appeared in her height with the multitude of her branches.
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(11) Thick branches should rather be translated clouds. It is a hyperbolical expression in the figure, to express the excellence of the vine of Israel.

19:10-14 Jerusalem was a vine, flourishing and fruitful. This vine is now destroyed, though not plucked up by the roots. She has by wickedness made herself like tinder to the sparks of God's wrath, so that her own branches serve as fuel to burn her. Blessed be God, one Branch of the vine here alluded to, is not only become a strong rod for the sceptre of those that rule, but is Himself the true and living Vine. This shall be for a rejoicing to all the chosen people of God throughout all generations.Sceptres - Genesis 49:10.

The thick branches - Or, the clouds; so Ezekiel 31:3, Ezekiel 31:10, Ezekiel 31:14.

11. strong rods—princes of the royal house of David. The vine shot forth her branches like so many scepters, not creeping lowly on the ground like many vines, but trained aloft on a tree or wall. The mention of their former royal dignity, contrasting sadly with her present sunken state, would remind the Jews of their sins whereby they had incurred such judgments.

stature—(Da 4:11).

among the thick branches—that is, the central stock or trunk of the tree shot up highest "among its own branches" or offshoots, surrounding it. Emblematic of the numbers and resources of the people. Hengstenberg translates, "among the clouds." But Eze 31:3, 10, 14, supports English Version.

Strong rods; many excellent persons endowed with qualifications befitting kings, that they might sway the sceptre, and rule the people with equity.

Her stature; the grandeur of the kings and kingdom.

Exalted among the thick branches; exalted above the ordinary majesty of other kingdoms.

The thick branches; the goodly cedars and their thick branches; i.e. this kingdom equalled, if not excelled, the greatest neighbour kingdoms, and her kings, as David, Solomon, &c. exceeded all their neighbour kings in riches and power.

She appeared in her height; like a mighty tree, that overtops all the forest, so did this goodly kingdom over all kingdoms, and it was seen and noted, according to God’s promise that it should be the head, and not the tail, and to that Deu 4:6-8. And she had strong rods for the sceptres of them that bear rule,.... That is, many sprung from her, and rose up in that nation who were fit to hold sceptres to be kings, rulers and governors, and were such. So the Targum.

"and there were in her strong rulers, kings that were, highly to subdue kingdoms;''

such as David, Solomon, and at hers after them: or this may refer to the times of Josiah, and at his death, who left behind him several sons, who became kings, besides other princes of the blood; as his brother Mattaniah, who also was king: and some even carry this to Zedekiah himself, who had many children, who seemed to be strong rods, fit for sceptres, or sceptre bearers; that is, to be kings. The allusion seems to be to the sceptres of the ancients, which were no other than walking sticks, cut off of the stems or branches of trees, and decorated with gold, or studded with golden nails. Thus Achilles is introduced by Homer (c) as swearing by a sceptre; which, being cut off of a trunk of a tree left on the mountains, and stripped of its bark and leaves, should never more produce leaves and branches, or sprout again: and such an one, he observes, the Grecian judges, carry in their hands. Sometimes they were made of the "oleaster" (d), or wild olive, the same as a shepherd's staff; for what shepherds were to their flocks, that were kings to men;

and her stature was exalted among the thick branches; as the body and trunk of a tree rises up higher than the branches, which are thickest about the middle of it, and so more eminent and conspicuous; thus it was with the nation of the Jews, and the royal family in it, that appeared more glorious and excellent among the nobles and princes of it; or, as the Targum expresses it,

"it was lifted up in its strength above its own kingdom;''

or rather the sense is, that in the days of David and Solomon, and some others, it greatly exceeded all the kingdoms of the nations round about it:

and she appeared in her height with the multitude of her branches; was seen and taken notice of for the multitude of her people, and the grandeur of her state.

(c) Iliad. 1. l. 234, &c. (d) Paschal. de Coronis, l. 6. c. 19. p. 406, 407.

And she had strong rods for the sceptres of them that bare rule, and her stature was exalted among the thick branches, and she appeared in her height with the multitude of her branches.
11. sceptres … bare rule] Or, for rulers’ sceptres, i.e. royal sceptres. Out of Israel this vine there rose powerful native kings.

among the thick branches] Or, into the clouds, cf. Ezekiel 31:3; Ezekiel 31:10; Ezekiel 31:14. The phrase is designedly hyperbolical, to express the power of Israel in earlier times. Jeremiah 11:16-17.

appeared in her height] Lit. was seen—conspicuously and from afar.Verse 11. - The verse describes generally the apparent strength of the kingly line of David. The word for thick branches, which occurs again in Ezekiel 31:3, 10, 14, is taken by Keil and Furst as meaning "thick clouds," as describing the height to which the tree grew. So the Revised Version (margin). The vindication of the ways of God might have formed a fitting close to this divine oracle. But as the prophet was not merely concerned with the correction of the error contained in the proverb which was current among the people, but still more with the rescue of the people themselves from destruction, he follows up the refutation with another earnest call to repentance. - Ezekiel 18:27. If a wicked man turneth from his wickedness which he hath done, and doeth right and righteousness, he will keep his soul alive. Ezekiel 18:28. If he seeth and turneth from all his transgressions which he hath committed, he shall live and not die. Ezekiel 18:29. And the house of Israel saith, The way of the Lord is not right. Are may ways not right, O house of Israel? Is it not rather your ways that are not right? Ezekiel 18:30. Therefore, every one according to his ways, will I judge you, O house of Israel, is the saying of the Lord Jehovah. Turn and repent of all your transgressions, that it may not become to you a stumbling-block to guilt. Ezekiel 18:31. Cast from you all your transgressions which ye have committed, and make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! And why will ye die, O house of Israel? Ezekiel 18:32. For I have no pleasure in the death of the dying, is the saying of the Lord Jehovah. Therefore repent, that ye may live. - For the purpose of securing an entrance into their hearts for the call to repentance, the prophet not only repeats, in Ezekiel 18:27 and Ezekiel 18:28, the truth declared in Ezekiel 18:21 and Ezekiel 18:22, that he who turns from his sin finds life, but refutes once more in Ezekiel 18:29, as he has already done in Ezekiel 18:25, the charge that God's ways are not right. The fact that the singular יתּכן is connected with the plural דּרכיכם, does not warrant our altering the plural into דּרכּכם, but may be explained in a very simple manner, by assuming that the ways of the people are all summed up in one, and that the meaning is this: what you say of my way applies to your own ways, - namely, "it is not right; there is just measure therein." לכן, "therefore, etc.;" because my way, and not yours, is right, I will judge you, every one according to his way. Repent, therefore, if ye would escape from death and destruction. שׁוּבוּ is rendered more emphatic by השׁיבוּ, sc. פניכם, as in Ezekiel 14:6. In the last clause of Ezekiel 18:30, עון is not to be taken as the subject of the sentence according to the accents, but is a genitive dependent upon מכשׁול, as in Ezekiel 7:19 and Ezekiel 14:3; and the subject is to be found in the preceding clause: that it (the sinning) may not become to you a stumbling-block of iniquity, i.e., a stumbling-block through which ye fall into guilt and punishment. - The appeal in Ezekiel 18:31 points back to the promise in Ezekiel 11:18-19. השׁליך, to cast away. The application of this word to transgressions may be explained from the fact that they consisted for the most part of idols and idolatrous images, which they had made. - "Make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit:" a man cannot, indeed, create either of these by his own power; God alone can give them (Ezekiel 11:19). But a man both can and should come to God to receive them: in other words, he can turn to God, and let both heart and spirit be renewed by the Spirit of God. And this God is willing to do; for He has no pleasure בּמות המת, in the death of the dying one. In the repetition of the assurance given in Ezekiel 18:23, המּת is very appropriately substituted for רשׁע, to indicate to the people that while in sin they are lying in death, and that it is only by conversion and renewal that they can recover life again.
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