Verse 8. "Thou hast brought a vine out of Egypt." There it was in unfriendly soil: the waters of the Nile watered it not, but were as death to its shoots, while the inhabitants of the land despised it and trampled it down. Glorious was the right hand of the Lord when with power and great wonders he removed his pleasant plant in the teeth of those who sought its destruction.
"Thou hast cast out the heathen, and planted it." Seven nations were digged out to make space for the vine of the Lord; the old trees, which long had engrossed the soil, were torn up root and branch; oaks of Bashan, and palm trees of Jericho were displaced for the chosen vine. It was securely placed in its appointed position with divine prudence and wisdom. Small in appearance, very dependent, exceeding weak, and apt to trail on the ground, yet the vine of Israel was chosen of the Lord, because he knew that by incessant care, and abounding skill, he could make of it a goodly fruit bearing plant.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 8. "Thou hast brought a vine out of Egypt," etc. The blessings are here placed before us in figurative language, taken from the vine, and the care usually expended upon it. They are,
- The transplanting of the vine from an unfruitful to a very rich and fertile soil.
- Its plantation and care.
- Its incredible fruitfulness derived hence. Venema.
Verse 8-19. Mant's version of the passage is so exquisite that we quote it in full:
- Thy hands from Egypt brought a goodly vine, And planted fair in fertile Palestine; 9. Cleared for its grasping roots the unpeopled land, And gave it high to rise, and firm to stand. 10. Far over the eternal hills her shadow spread, Her tendrils wreathed the cedar's towering head; 11. And, as the centre of the land she stood, Her branches reaches the sea, her boughs the eastern flood. 12. Why hast thou now her hedges rent away, And left her bare, the passing traveller's prey? 13. The field fed beast devours each tender shoot, Fierce from the wood the boar assails her root. 14. Return, O God; from heaven thine eyes incline; Behold, and visit this neglected vine: 15. Regard the plant, thou once didst love so well, And chief thy pleasant branch, the hope of Israel. 16. Burnt though she be and rent, her haughty foe The deathly terrors of thy wrath shall know. 17. But on the man, by thee with strength array'd, The Son of Man by thee for conquest made, 18. Thy hand shall rest; till we thy triumph see, Resound thy praise, and still remember thee. 19. Turn us again, thou God of heaven's high powers, Beam with thy radiance forth, and peace shall still be ours.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 8-15. Parallel between the Church and a vine.