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Friday, July 19th, 2024
the Week of Proper 10 / Ordinary 15
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Bible Commentaries
Ezekiel 15

Utley's You Can Understand the BibleUtley Commentary


Ezekiel 15:0


Jerusalem Like A Useless VineThe Outcast VineAllegory of the VineA Parable About A VineA Parable of the Vine
Ezekiel 15:1-8Ezekiel 15:1-5Ezekiel 15:1-5Ezekiel 15:1-5Ezekiel 15:1-5
Ezekiel 15:6-8Ezekiel 15:6-8Ezekiel 15:6-8Ezekiel 15:6-8

READING CYCLE THREE (see “Guide to Good Bible Reading”)


This is a study guide commentary which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

Read the chapter in one sitting. Identify the subjects (reading cycle #3). Compare your subject divisions with the four modern translations above. Paragraphing is not inspired, but it is the key to following the original author's intent, which is the heart of interpretation. Every paragraph has one and only one subject.

1. First paragraph

2. Second paragraph

3. Third paragraph

4. Etc.

Verses 1-8

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Ezekiel 15:1-8 1Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 2”Son of man, how is the wood of the vine better than any wood of a branch which is among the trees of the forest? 3Can wood be taken from it to make anything, or can men take a peg from it on which to hang any vessel? 4If it has been put into the fire for fuel, and the fire has consumed both of its ends and its middle part has been charred, is it then useful for anything? 5Behold, while it is intact, it is not made into anything. How much less, when the fire has consumed it and it is charred, can it still be made into anything! 6Therefore, thus says the Lord GOD, 'As the wood of the vine among the trees of the forest, which I have given to the fire for fuel, so have I given up the inhabitants of Jerusalem; 7and I set My face against them. Though they have come out of the fire, yet the fire will consume them. Then you will know that I am the Lord, when I set My face against them. 8Thus I will make the land desolate, because they have acted unfaithfully,'“ declares the Lord GOD.

Ezekiel 15:1 “how is the wood of the vine better The vine is often used as a symbol of Israel (cf. Ezekiel 19:10; Psalms 80:8-16; Isaiah 5:1-7; Hosea 10:1; Romans 11:17-22). In this brief parable Judah and Jerusalem are given to Babylon for the burning (cf. Ezekiel 19:12; Ezekiel 23:25; Jeremiah 21:10; Jeremiah 32:28-29; Jeremiah 39:8; Jeremiah 52:13; 2 Chronicles 36:19). Grapevines are not good fuel for cooking because they burn too hot and too quickly! It is also too soft to be used for furniture or construction. One cannot even make a tent peg out of vine wood! It is useless except for producing fruit, but Israel did not produce (cf. Deuteronomy 32:32; Isaiah 5:1-7; Jeremiah 2:21)!

The prophets often symbolized idolatry as an imported vine (cf. Isaiah 17:10; Ezekiel 8:17).

The personification of trees is not unusual in the OT. Note Judges 9:7-15! Parables and riddles are common ways for eastern people to express themselves. In reality chapters 15, 16, and 17 form this genre of literature. See Special Topic: The Bible in Eastern Literature.

Ezekiel 15:4 “fuel. . .consumed” There are two terms (the NOUN, lit. “food,” BDB 38 and the VERB, BDB 37, KB 46) which form a wordplay found only in Ezekiel (cf. Ezekiel 15:4, Ezekiel 15:6; Ezekiel 21:32).

“fire” See Special Topic: Fire.

Ezekiel 15:6 “give” The VERB (BDB 678, KB 733, Qal PERFECT) is used twice in this verse and again in Ezekiel 15:7 and 9. YHWH's judgment of Jerusalem is sure.

Ezekiel 15:7 “I set (lit. “give”) My face against them” See note at Ezekiel 14:8. This phrase also appears in the Levitical passage on covenant disobedience (cf. Leviticus 26:17), which is alluded to three times in this chapter (and often in Ezekiel).

Though they have come out of the fire, yet fire will consume them” If they (i.e., the inhabitants of Jerusalem) escape one of the four judgments of YHWH, another will get them (cf. 1 Kings 19:17; Isaiah 24:18; Amos 9:1-4).

It is possible that this refers to the first two groups of Judeans who were exiled in 605 and 597 B.C. and who were currently in Babylon. They are the potential repentant remnant that YHWH will begin again with (cf. Ezekiel 6:7-9; Ezekiel 14:22-23).

Ezekiel 15:8 “I will make the land desolate” This (BDB 1031) is a recurrent threat in Jeremiah (15 times) and Ezekiel (21 times). This threat is first stated in Leviticus 26:33 and reiterated by Isaiah (6 times).

“acted unfaithfully” This VERB (BDB 591, KB 612, Qal PERFECT) is first used in Ezekiel 14:13 (see note there) and Ezekiel 17:20; Ezekiel 18:24; Ezekiel 20:27; Ezekiel 39:29. The term is mentioned specifically in the penalties for covenant disobedience in Leviticus 26:40. It does not appear in Isaiah or Jeremiah. In Ezekiel 20:27 the covenant people had a history of disobedience starting from the Exodus (i.e., Exodus 32:0; Nehemiah 9:16-32) and continuing.

This parable's imagery sets the literary stage for Jesus' condemnation of Israel in His day (cf. Matthew 21:33-46; Mark 12:1-12; Luke 20:9-19)!

Bibliographical Information
Utley. Dr. Robert. "Commentary on Ezekiel 15". "Utley's You Can Understand the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ubc/ezekiel-15.html. 2021.
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