And he fenced it
With good and wholesome laws, which distinguished them, and kept them separate from other nations; also with his almighty power and providence; especially at the three yearly festivals, when all their males appeared before God at Jerusalem: and gathered out the stones thereof;
the Heathens, the seven nations that inhabited the land of Canaan, compared to stones for their hardness and stupidity, and for their worshipping of idols of stone; see ( Psalms 80:8 ) and planted it with the choicest vine;
the seed of Abraham, Joshua, and Caleb, who fully followed the Lord, and the people of Israel with them, who first entered into the land of Canaan, and inhabited it; such having fallen in the wilderness, who murmured and rebelled against God, ( Jeremiah 2:21 ) and built a tower in the midst of it;
in which watchmen stood to keep the vineyard, that nothing entered into it that might hurt it; this may be understood of the city of Jerusalem, or the fortress of Zion, or the temple; so Aben Ezra, the house of God on Mount Moriah; and the Targum,
``and I built my sanctuary in the midst of them:''and also made a winepress therein;
to tread the grapes in; this the Targum explains by the altar, paraphrasing the words,
``and also my altar I gave to make an atonement for their sins;''so Aben Ezra; though Kimchi interprets it of the prophets, who taught the people the law, that their works might be good, and stirred them up and exhorted them to the performance of them. And he looked that it should bring forth grapes;
this "looking" and "expecting", here ascribed to God, is not to be taken properly, but figuratively, after the manner of men, for from such a well formed government, from such an excellent constitution, from a people enjoying such advantages, it might have been reasonably expected, according to a human and rational judgment of things, that the fruits of righteousness and holiness, at least of common justice and equity, would have been brought forth by them; which are meant by "grapes", the fruit of the vine, see ( Isaiah 5:7 ) and it brought forth wild grapes;
bad grapes; corrupt, rotten, stinking ones, as the word F19 used signifies; these, by a transposition of letters, are in the Misnah F20 called (Myvba) , which word signifies a kind of bad grapes, and a small sort: evil works are meant by them, see ( Isaiah 5:7 ) the Targum is,
``I commanded them to do good works before me, and they have done evil works.''
F19 (Myvab) . The Septuagint render it "thorns".
F20 Maaserot c. 1. sect. 2. Vid. Maimon. & Bartenora in ib.