21. Yet I had planted thee a noble vine, wholly a right seed: how then art thou turned into the degenerate plant of a strange vine unto me?
21. Et ego plantavi to vineam electam (vineam nobilem, vel, exquisitam, hoc enim significat nomen,
God here confirms what is said in the last verse; for he condemned the Israelites for having perversely run here and there after their superstitions, when yet they had been redeemed for this end, -- that they might be ruled by the hand of God. Hence he says,
The metaphor is well known, and often occurs; for God frequently compares his Church to a vine. He calls it generally his heritage, or his land; but as vines excel other possessions, (for they are usually preferred to pasture lands, or to cultivated fields,) as then vines are the most valuable property, God hereby testifies how highly he values his Church; for he calls it his vine rather than his pasture or his field, when he speaks of it. So he does in this place, "I did not deliver thee from Egypt, that I might afterwards throw aside every care of thee; but my purpose was, that thou shouldest strike roots, and become an heritage precious to me, as an exquisite and a noble vine. I, therefore,
Then he says,
1 The word means not only the seed of vegetables, but whatever forms that from which anything grows. It is applied as a verb to the planting of shoots or cuttings in Isaiah 17:10. The proper rendering here would be,-
The whole of it a genuine plant (or shoot).
What is rendered "choice vine,"
2 Much difference exists as to the literal meaning of this clause, though the general meaning is quite evident. None of the early versions are the same. The word
Yet how I find thee changed! Depart, O vine of spurious growth.
But there is a harshness and incongruity in this version that renders it inadmissible. Besides "vine of spurious growth" is not the meaning of the words used, for it is "a foreign vine," that is, a heathen vine; which contains an allusion to the idolatry which had been imported from heathen nations.
It is most probable that
And I myself had planted thee a choice vine, The whole of it a genuine plant; How then art thou become to me The degenerate shoots of a foreign vine?
The plant was of the best kind, but the shoots or the branches had become degenerated, such as a foreign or heathen vine produced.-Ed.
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