Ezekiel 19:13
And now she is planted in the wilderness, in a dry and thirsty ground.
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(13) In a dry and thirsty ground.—Such was Babylon to Israel in its national relations, and even after the return from the exile the Jews never rose again to much importance among the nations of the earth; but meantime they were being disciplined, that at least a few of them might be prepared for the planting among them of that kingdom not of this world, spoken of at the close of Ezekiel 16, which should fill the whole earth.

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.This is a dirge; and therefore that which is foreseen by the prophet, the capture and burning of Jerusalem, is described as already accomplished. 13. planted—that is, transplanted. Though already "dried up" in regard to the nation generally, the vine is said to be "transplanted" as regards God's mercy to the remnant in Babylon.

dry … ground—Chaldea was well-watered and fertile; but it is the condition of the captive people, not that of the land, which is referred to.

And now; at this present time.

She is planted; but, alas! how unlike what she was! a brand pulled out of the burnings, a few of the branches of the last pruning, or a few smaller roots taken up by the provident hand of the Lord of the vineyard, a remnant that might be a nursery, a seedplot; but the much greater part of the vine is, as said, destroyed. It is not said who planted them, but it is easy to conjecture Nebuchadnezzar planted them in policy and for his advantage, they planted themselves out of necessity, and God planted them there in just correcting mercy, and will give them root, and make them thrive, and transplant them after seventy years, and set them on the mountains of Israel again.

In the wilderness; so it was to the Jews, a forlorn, dangerous, and necessitous state: though Babylon was in a very fruitful place, yet the savage cruelty and the insulting pride of the Babylonians made it to the Jews as terrible as a wilderness; besides, there were some barren places of this kingdom, to which some of the Jews might be carried and confined.

Dry: this and the other expression are a description of the nature of a wilderness, and illustrate what the prophet had spoken, or may be paraphrased by that of David, Psalm 63:1; it was dry and thirsty, where no one stream ran from that river which made glad the city of God, Psalm 46:4. And now she is planted in the wilderness,.... In the land of Babylon, which though a very fruitful country, yet, because of the hardships and miseries which the Jews were exposed unto in it, was a wilderness to them:

in a dry and thirsty ground; which is a periphrasis or description of a wilderness, Psalm 63:1; and designs the same place as before; where the Jews were deprived of their liberties, and had not the opportunities of divine worship, the word and ordinances; and were destitute of the comforts both of civil and religious life. Unless this is to be understood of the land of Judea, which by the devastation made in it by the king of Babylon, and the multitudes that were carried captive by him out of it, it became like a desert, a dry and thirsty land; and so the vine planted in it signifies the remainder of the people left in it, alter this great destruction; when it looked like a vine plucked up, and thrown down, and left on the ground, dried up with the east wind, and burnt with fire; and thus it fared with the remnant in a little time after, as the next words show.

And now she is planted in the wilderness, in a dry and thirsty ground.
13. The deportation of the people from their own land into conditions where national life cannot thrive.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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