Yahweh poses questions about the withering vine (Ezek 17:9-17:10)

“Say!

Thus says Yahweh God!

‘Will the vine prosper?

Will he not pull up

Its roots?

Will this cause

Its fruit to rot?

Will it wither?

Will its fresh sprouting leaves

Fade?

No strong arm

Or mighty army

Will be needed

To pull it

From its roots.

When it is transplanted,

Will it thrive?

When the east wind

Strikes it,

Will it not utterly wither?

Will it wither

On the bed

Where it grew?’”

Yahweh then posed a series of questions about this vine that was transplanted by the second eagle. Would this vine prosper in the new place, after it was pulled up by its roots? Would its fruit be rotten? Would it wither away? Sometimes letting a vine wither is easier than having a strong army come in and try to tear it up. Would the east wind be too strong for this vine? Basically Yahweh, via Ezekiel, was casting doubts about transplanting this vine.

Yahweh against all nations (Isa 34:1-34:4)

“Draw near!

O nations!

Hear!

O people!

Give heed!

Let the earth hear

With all that fills it!

Let the world hear

With all that comes from it!

Yahweh is enraged

Against all the nations.

He is furious

Against all their hoards.

He has doomed them.

He has given them over for slaughter.

Their slain shall be cast out.

The stench of their corpses shall rise.

The mountains shall flow with their blood.

All the host of heaven shall rot away.

The skies shall roll up like a scroll.

All their host shall wither

Like a leaf withering on a vine,

Like fruit withering on a fig tree.”

Once again Isaiah has this important call to listen. This time it is not merely to the people of Israel who should listen, but this is a more universal call to all the nations, all the people, the whole world, and the earth itself. Yahweh is mad at the whole world, everybody, all the countries. He has destined and doomed them for slaughter. There will be so many killed that the stench of their dead bodies will rise up, while the mountains will flow with blood. This is quite a gruesome scene. On top of that, all the hosts of heaven or the false gods will dry up and wither away like a leaf on a vine or a fruit on a tree.

Against the sacred trees (Isa 1:29-1:31)

“You shall be ashamed

Of the oaks In which you delighted.

You shall blush

For the gardens

That you have chosen.

You shall be

Like an oak

Whose leaf withers.

You shall be

Like a garden

Without water.

The strong shall become

Like tinder.

Their work shall become

Like a spark.

They shall burn.

Their work shall burn together

With them.

No one will quench them.”

Here Isaiah attacks the pagan practice as well as the practices in Samaria, outside of Jerusalem. These were the places where people worshiped at sacred trees. He wanted them to be ashamed of their oak trees and their wonderful gardens that so delighted them. These worshipers were like dying trees or gardens without water. Soon there would be no water, as the oak leaves would wither away. These strong trees would be like tinder kindling wood. They and their works would burn together in a fire that could not be put out. Thus he called for the destruction of the oak tree idol worship and their worshipers, preferably by an unquenchable fire.

Generosity (Prov 11:24-11:28)

“Some give freely.

Yet they grow all the richer.

Others withhold what is due.

But they only suffer want.

A generous person will be enriched.

One who gives water will get water.

The people curse those who hold back grain.

But a blessing is on the head of those who sell it.

Whoever diligently seeks good things seeks favor.

But evil comes to the one who searches for it.

Those who trust in their riches will wither.

But the righteous will flourish like green leaves.”

There is a need for generosity. Those people who give freely usually grow richer. Those who withhold what is due only suffer more wanting of things. A generous person will be enriched. If you give water, you will get water. If you hold back your grain, hoping for a higher price, you will be cursed. However, you will be blessed if you sell it to others in the normal course of the harvest. If you are seeking good things, you will be favored. If you are looking for evil, you will find it. If you trust in your wealth, it will wither away on you. However, if you are righteous, you will flourish like green leaves on a tree.