New American Bible (Revised Edition)
The Song of the Vineyard[a]
1 Now let me sing of my friend,
my beloved’s song about his vineyard.
My friend had a vineyard
on a fertile hillside;
2 He spaded it, cleared it of stones,
and planted the choicest vines;
Within it he built a watchtower,
and hewed out a wine press.
Then he waited for the crop of grapes,
but it yielded rotten grapes.(A)
3 Now, inhabitants of Jerusalem, people of Judah,
judge between me and my vineyard:
4 What more could be done for my vineyard
that I did not do?(B)
Why, when I waited for the crop of grapes,
did it yield rotten grapes?
5 Now, I will let you know
what I am going to do to my vineyard:
Take away its hedge, give it to grazing,
break through its wall, let it be trampled![b]
6 Yes, I will make it a ruin:
it shall not be pruned or hoed,
but will be overgrown with thorns and briers;
I will command the clouds
not to rain upon it.
7 The vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel,
the people of Judah, his cherished plant;
He waited for judgment, but see, bloodshed!
for justice, but hark, the outcry![c]
- 5:1–7 Vineyard: although the term is sometimes used in an erotic context (Sg 1:6; 8:12), “vineyard” or “vine” is used more frequently as a metaphor for God’s people (27:2; Ps 80:9, 14, 15; Jer 2:21; 12:10; Ez 17:7; Hos 10:1; Na 2:2). The terms translated “friend” (yadid) and “beloved” (dod) suggest the Lord’s favor (Dt 33:12; 2 Sm 12:25; Ps 127:2) and familial background rather than introducing the piece as a “love song,” as is sometimes suggested. The prophet disguises the real theme (the people’s infidelity) so that the hearers will participate in the unfavorable judgment called for (vv. 3–4). Cf. the reversal of this parable in 27:2–6.
- 5:5–6 Trampled…thorns and briers: this judgment is echoed in the description of the devastated land in 7:23–25.
- 5:7 Judgment…bloodshed…justice…outcry: in Hebrew there is an impressive play on words: mishpat parallels mispah, sedaqah parallels se‘aqah. See also the threefold “waited for” in vv. 2, 4, 7.