Son of man, what is the vine tree more than any
Or, "the wood of the vine than any wood" F2; it is not better than other wood; it is not so good as any other wood; nay, it is good for nothing. The fruit of the vine tree is good, but its wood is of no use: a vine tree, if it bears fruit, is valuable; but if it does not, it is of no account. The people of the Jews are often compared to a vine, who, while they brought forth good fruit, were in esteem; but, when they became like an empty and fruitless vine, were rejected as good for nothing, ( Psalms 80:8 ) ( Isaiah 5:1 Isaiah 5:2 ) ( Jeremiah 2:22 ) ( Hosea 10:1 ) ; they were originally no better than others; what they had were owing to the grace and goodness of God; and when they degenerated, they were the worst of all people: [or than] a branch which is among the trees of the forest?
a vine tree that bears fruit is better than a tree of the forest, or than a branch of one that is unfruitful; but a vine tree that does not bear fruit is not so good; because the wood of the one may be useful when the other is not; though the words may be better rendered, even "the branch [of a wild vine] which is among the trees of the forest" F3; and so it explains what vine tree is spoken of; not a fruitful one in the vineyards, but a wild and barren one in the forest. So Jarchi paraphrases the words,
``not of the vine in the vineyards, which bears fruit, speak I unto thee; but of the branch of the vine which grows in the forests;''and so Kimchi,
``I do not ask thee of the vine tree which beareth fruit, for that is valuable; but of the branch (of the wild vine) which is among the trees of the forest, and is as they that do not bear fruit, concerning that I ask thee; for even it is not as the trees of the forest; for the trees of the forest, though they do not bear fruit, they are fit to do work of them, to make vessels of them, and to floor houses with them; but the wood of this vine is not so.''