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Isaiah: Chapter 5

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Let me sing for my beloved A song of my lover about his vineyard.

1My beloved had a vineyard f‐ Meaning of Heb. uncertain. On a fruitful hill. ‐f Meaning of Heb. uncertain. 2He broke the ground, cleared it of stones, And planted it with choice vines. He built a watchtower inside it, He even hewed a wine press in it; For he hoped it would yield grapes. Instead, it yielded wild grapes. 3“Now, then, Dwellers of Jerusalem And men of Judah, You be the judges Between Me and My vineyard: 4What more could have been done for My vineyard That I failed to do in it? Why, when I hoped it would yield grapes, Did it yield wild grapes?

5“Now I am going to tell you What I will do to My vineyard: I will remove its hedge, That it may be ravaged; I will break down its wall, That it may be trampled. 6And I will a‐ Meaning of Heb. uncertain. make it a desolation; ‐a Meaning of Heb. uncertain. It shall not be pruned or hoed, And it shall be overgrown with briers and thistles. And I will command the clouds To drop no rain on it.”

7For the vineyard of the LORD of Hosts Is the House of Israel, And the seedlings he lovingly tended Are the men of Judah. b This sentence contains two word‐plays: “And He hoped for mishpa†, And there is mispaπ [exact meaning uncertain]; / For ßedaqah, But there is ße‘aqah [lit. ‘outcry’].” And He hoped for justice, But behold, injustice; For equity, But behold, iniquity!

8Ah, Those who add house to house And join field to field, Till there is room for none but you To dwell in the land! 9In my hearing [said] the LORD of Hosts: Surely, great houses Shall lie forlorn, Spacious and splendid ones Without occupants. 10For ten acres of vineyard Shall yield just one bath, c I.e., of wine. The bath was the liquid equivalent of the ephah; and the πomer was ten baths or ephahs (Ezek. 45.11 ). And a field sown with a homer of seed Shall yield a mere ephah.

11Ah, Those who chase liquor From early in the morning, And till late in the evening Are inflamed by wine! 12 a‐ Emendation yields “whose interests are” (mish‘ehem, from sha‘ah “to turn to,” 17.7, 8; 31.1 ). Who, at their banquets, Have ‐a Emendation yields “whose interests are” (mish‘ehem, from sha‘ah “to turn to,” 17.7, 8; 31.1 ). lyre and lute, Timbrel, flute, and wine; But who never give a thought To the plan of the LORD, And take no note Of what He is designing. 13Assuredly, My people will suffer exile For not giving heed, Its multitude victims of hunger And its masses parched with thirst. 14Assuredly, Sheol has opened wide its gullet And parted its jaws in a measureless gape; And down into it shall go, That splendor and tumult, That din and revelry. 15Yea, man is bowed, And mortal brought low; Brought low is the pride of the haughty. 16And the LORD of Hosts is exalted by judgment, The Holy God proved holy by retribution. 17 b Meaning of verse uncertain. Emendation yields “The lambs shall graze / In the pasture of the fat [rams], / And the kids shall feed / On the ranges of the stout [bucks].” The lambs and the kids are the poor and the rams and bucks are the rich oppressors (cf. Ezek. 34.17–22 .) Then lambs shall graze As in their meadows, And strangers shall feed On the ruins of the stout.

18Ah, Those who haul sin with cords of falsehood And iniquity as with cart ropes! 19Who say, c By way of retort to v. 12 . “Let Him speed, let Him hasten His purpose, If we are to give thought; Let the plans of the Holy One of Israel Be quickly fulfilled, If we are to give heed.”

20Ah, Those who call evil good And good evil; Who present darkness as light And light as darkness; Who present bitter as sweet And sweet as bitter! 21Ah, Those who are so wise— In their own opinion; So clever— In their own judgment!

22Ah, Those who are so doughty— As drinkers of wine, And so valiant— As mixers of drink! 23Who vindicate him who is in the wrong In return for a bribe, And withhold vindication From him who is in the right. 24Assuredly, As straw is consumed by a tongue of fire And hay a‐ Emendation yields “is burned by flame”; cf. 33.11–12; 47.14 . shrivels as it burns, ‐a Emendation yields “is burned by flame”; cf. 33.11–12; 47.14 . Their stock shall become like rot, And their buds shall blow away like dust. For they have rejected the instruction of the LORD of Hosts, Spurned the word of the Holy One of Israel.

25That is why The LORD's anger was roused Against His people, Why He stretched out His arm against it And struck it, So that the mountains quaked, b An allusion to the destructive earthquake in the reign of King Uzziah: Amos 1.1; Zech. 14.5; cf. Isa. 9.18a . And its corpses lay Like refuse in the streets. Yet his anger has not turned back, And His arm is outstretched still. 26He will raise an ensign to a nation a Heb. “nations.” afar, Whistle to one at the end of the earth. There it comes with lightning speed! 27In its ranks, none is weary or stumbles, They never sleep or slumber; The belts on their waists do not come loose, Nor do the thongs of their sandals break. 28Their arrows are sharpened, And all their bows are drawn. Their horses' hoofs are like flint Their chariot wheels like the whirlwind. 29Their roaring is like a lion's, They roar like the great beasts; When they growl and seize a prey, They carry it off and none can recover it. 30But in that day, a roaring shall resound over him like that of the sea; b I.e., the Lord will intervene and come to his aid. Cf. 29.6–7; 30.27 . This verse may constitute a transition between chaps.8 and 9 . and then he shall look below and, behold, Distressing darkness, with light; Darkness, c Meaning of Heb. uncertain. in its lowering clouds. ‐c Meaning of Heb. uncertain.

Notes:

f‐f Meaning of Heb. uncertain.

a‐a Meaning of Heb. uncertain.

b This sentence contains two word‐plays: “And He hoped for mishpa†, And there is mispaπ [exact meaning uncertain]; / For ßedaqah, But there is ße‘aqah [lit. ‘outcry’].”

c I.e., of wine. The bath was the liquid equivalent of the ephah; and the πomer was ten baths or ephahs (Ezek. 45.11 ).

a‐a Emendation yields “whose interests are” (mish‘ehem, from sha‘ah “to turn to,” 17.7, 8; 31.1 ).

b Meaning of verse uncertain. Emendation yields “The lambs shall graze / In the pasture of the fat [rams], / And the kids shall feed / On the ranges of the stout [bucks].” The lambs and the kids are the poor and the rams and bucks are the rich oppressors (cf. Ezek. 34.17–22 .)

c By way of retort to v. 12 .

a‐a Emendation yields “is burned by flame”; cf. 33.11–12; 47.14 .

b An allusion to the destructive earthquake in the reign of King Uzziah: Amos 1.1; Zech. 14.5; cf. Isa. 9.18a .

a Heb. “nations.”

b I.e., the Lord will intervene and come to his aid. Cf. 29.6–7; 30.27 . This verse may constitute a transition between chaps.8 and 9 .

c‐c Meaning of Heb. uncertain.

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