New American Bible (Revised Edition)
Oracles of Reproach[a]
8 [b]Ah! Those who join house to house,
who connect field with field,
Until no space remains, and you alone dwell
in the midst of the land!(A)
9 In my hearing the Lord of hosts has sworn:(B)
Many houses shall be in ruins,
houses large and fine, with nobody living there.(C)
10 Ten acres of vineyard
shall yield but one bath,[c]
And a homer of seed
shall yield but an ephah.
11 [d]Ah! Those who rise early in the morning
in pursuit of strong drink,
inflamed by wine,
12 Banqueting on wine with harp and lyre,
timbrel and flute,(D)
But the deed of the Lord they do not regard,
the work of his hands they do not see!(E)
13 Therefore my people go into exile
for lack of understanding,(F)
Its nobles starving,
its masses parched with thirst.
14 Therefore Sheol enlarges its throat
and opens its mouth beyond measure;(G)
Down into it go nobility and masses,
tumult and revelry.
15 All shall be abased, each one brought low,
and the eyes of the haughty lowered,(H)
16 But the Lord of hosts shall be exalted by judgment,
by justice the Holy God shown holy.(I)
17 Lambs shall graze as at pasture,
young goats shall eat in the ruins of the rich.
18 Ah! Those who tug at guilt with cords of perversity,
and at sin as if with cart ropes!
19 [e]Who say, “Let him make haste,
let him speed his work, that we may see it;
On with the plan of the Holy One of Israel!
let it come to pass, that we may know it!”(J)
20 Ah! Those who call evil good, and good evil,
who change darkness to light, and light into darkness,
who change bitter to sweet, and sweet into bitter!(K)
21 Ah! Those who are wise in their own eyes,
prudent in their own view!(L)
22 Ah! Those who are champions at drinking wine,
masters at mixing drink!
23 Those who acquit the guilty for bribes,
and deprive the innocent of justice!(M)
24 Therefore, as the tongue of fire licks up stubble,
as dry grass shrivels in the flame,
Their root shall rot
and their blossom scatter like dust;
For they have rejected the instruction of the Lord of hosts,
and scorned the word of the Holy One of Israel.
- 5:8–24 These verses contain a series of short oracles introduced by the Hebrew particle hoy (“Ah!”), an emphatic exclamation, sometimes translated “Woe!”
- 5:8–10 An oracle against land-grabbers (v. 8); they will be impoverished instead of enriched (vv. 9–10).
- 5:10 Ten acres: a field with ten times the surface area a yoke of oxen could plow in one day. Bath: a liquid measure equal to about twelve gallons. Homer: a dry measure equal to what a donkey can carry, calculated to be about ten bushels. Ephah: a dry measure of about one bushel. So small a harvest is the fruit of the land-grabbers’ greed.
- 5:11–13 An oracle against debauchery and indifference. Strong drink: the Hebrew word shekar means either beer or a type of wine, perhaps date wine, not distilled liquor.
- 5:19 An indication that some, presumably of the ruling class, scoff at Isaiah’s teaching on the Lord’s “plan” and “work” (cf. v. 12; 14:26–27; 28:9–14; 30:10–11).