1.Behold, the Lord maketh the earth empty, and maketh it waste, and turneth it upside down, and scattereth abroad the inhabitants thereof.
2 And it shall be, as with the people, so with the priest; as with the servant, so with his master; as with the maid, so with her mistress; as with the buyer, so with the seller; as with the lender, so with the borrower; as with the taker of usury, so with the giver of usury to him.
3 The land shall be utterly emptied, and utterly spoiled: for the Lord hath spoken this word.
4 The earth mourneth and fadeth away, the world languisheth and fadeth away, the haughty people of the earth do languish.
The vine was of great importance in the religion of Israel. It was used as a symbol of the religious life of Israel itself, and a carving of a bunch of grapes often adorned the front exterior of the synagogue. The symbolism was based upon passages such as Psalm 80 and Isaiah 5:1-5 where Israel is God’s vine. The importance of the vine is why the Pharisees took the point so angrily when Jesus told the story of the wicked tenants in the vineyard (Matthew 21:33-41, 45-46). As the fulfilment of all that Israel should be to God, Jesus was the true vine (John 15:5-7).
Branches in the world of the Bible were either on trees or vines and were relatively rare given the arid climate, so the picture of a healthy and fruitful tree was a symbol of vigor and prosperity. “Branch” or “branches” could refer to families (Gen 49:22) or rulers (Ezek 31:3,6). Broken or unfruitful branches symbolized judgment or the downfall of a person or nation (Job 15:32; 18:16; Dan 4:14; Isa 9:14: 17:6; Jer 11:16). But God always gives the hope of restoration, and branches figure in the symbolism of redemption as well: “When that day comes, the branch of the LORD will be beautiful and wonderful. The fruit of the land will be the pride and joy of Israel’s survivors” (Isa 4:2). The image of judged or redeemed branches reaches its climax in the prophecies of the messianic Branch and the salvation he brings.
Grapevines are a plant well suited to the climate of Palestine. Grapes were cultivated as far back as Noah’s day (Gen 9:20) and were eaten fresh, dried, or crushed to make juice, vinegar, or wine. In an area where water was often in short supply, the juice from grapes became crucial for life. Clusters of grapes as large as five kilograms (twelve pounds) have been reported in Palestine, giving validity to the spies’ account of the grapes in Canaan in