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Jeremiah 31:5

5. Thou shalt yet plant vines upon the mountains of Samaria: the planters shall plant, and shall eat them as common things.

5. Adhuc plantabis rites in montibus Samariae: plantabunt plantatores (hoc est, plantabunt vinitores) et profanabunt (id est, conferent ad usum communem)


The verb חלל, chelal, means to profane, but it means also to apply to common use. The expression is taken from the Law; for it was not lawful to eat of the fruit of the vine until after the fourth year; for its uncircumcision as it were remained in the vine, so that its fruit was unclean. Then its first-fruits were offered to God; afterwards every one enjoyed his vintage. (Leviticus 19:23-25) But at the same time Jeremiah had respect to the curses which we read of elsewhere,

“Thou shalt plant a vineyard, and others shall eat its fruit.” (Deuteronomy 28:30)

What did he then mean by these words? even that the country would, for a time, be so deserted, that there would be no vines on the richest and the most fertile mountains. The mountains of Samaria were rich in vines; and when vines on these were cut down, there was a dreadful desolation. When, therefore, the Prophet says, they shall yet plant a vineyard, he intimates that the land would be desolate for a time; so also when he says, I will yet build thee, he reminds the Jews, that they were to bear with resignation the judgment of God, while they could see nothing but desolation through the whole land.

This, then, is what the word yet intimates: but when he promised that there would be vines again on the mountains of Samaria, he adds, that they who planted them would enjoy the fruit. Here, then, is an additional blessing: it would have availed them nothing to plant or set vines, except this blessing of God was added; for it is a very grievous thing to be deprived of a possession which we have cultivated, and on which we have spent much labor. He then who has diligently planted vines, and he who has cultivated his land, if driven into exile, feels deeply wounded in his mind, when he sees that his vines and his land are in the possession of strangers. Hence the Prophet here intimates that God’s favor would be certain, because he would not only give leisure to the Jews, when they returned, to plant vines, but would also cause them to enjoy the fruit in peace and quietness. They shall then profane, 2424     This verb seems not to have been rightly understood by the authors of the early versions, nor by the writer of the Targum. Their imperfect knowledge of Hebrew frequently appears. — Ed. that is, apply to their own use, in the fifth year, the fruit produced by the vines, as though he had said, “They shall dwell, without disturbance, in their own inheritance, when once they shall have returned to it.”

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