And say to the land of Israel
The inhabitants of it, signified by the "forest of the south field", ( Ezekiel 20:47 ) : thus saith the Lord, behold, I am against thee;
and sad it is to have the Lord against a people, a nation, a city, or a family, or a particular person; for there is no contending with him, or standing before him; there is always a reason for it, it is for sin when God is against a people, even his own professing people: and will draw forth my sword out of his sheath;
bring the Chaldean army out of Babylon; which interprets what is meant by the "fire" he would kindle in the land of Israel, ( Ezekiel 20:47 ) , namely, the sword of the enemy, which he would bring upon it; or war, with all its desolating train of judgments: and will cut off from thee the righteous and the wicked;
meant by the green and dry tree, ( Ezekiel 20:47 ) , who, though they shall not perish everlastingly together, yet may fall together in temporal calamities; the one may be chastised, and the other condemned; or the one be carried captive for their good, as Ezekiel and Daniel and others be cut off by sword and famine; and such as were captives, never the better for their captivity. The Targum is,
``I will remove out of thee thy righteous ones, that I may destroy thy wicked ones.''Some think that only such who were righteous in appearance, or in their own sight, are here meant. R. Saadiah Gaon, as Kimchi quotes him, interprets them of such as were righteous to Baal, and served him continually, in distinction from such as were wicked to him, and did not serve him continually; and both were wicked before the Lord, and therefore justly cut off.