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Oracles of Reproach[a]

[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)
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,
lingering late
    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.

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  1. 5:8–24 These verses contain a series of short oracles introduced by the Hebrew particle hoy (“Ah!”), an emphatic exclamation, sometimes translated “Woe!”
  2. 5:8–10 An oracle against land-grabbers (v. 8); they will be impoverished instead of enriched (vv. 9–10).
  3. 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.
  4. 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. 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).

Woes and Judgments

Woe(A) to you who add house to house
    and join field to field(B)
till no space is left
    and you live alone in the land.

The Lord Almighty(C) has declared in my hearing:(D)

“Surely the great houses will become desolate,(E)
    the fine mansions left without occupants.
10 A ten-acre vineyard will produce only a bath[a] of wine;
    a homer[b] of seed will yield only an ephah[c] of grain.”(F)

11 Woe(G) to those who rise early in the morning
    to run after their drinks,
who stay up late at night
    till they are inflamed with wine.(H)
12 They have harps and lyres at their banquets,
    pipes(I) and timbrels(J) and wine,
but they have no regard(K) for the deeds of the Lord,
    no respect for the work of his hands.(L)
13 Therefore my people will go into exile(M)
    for lack of understanding;(N)
those of high rank(O) will die of hunger
    and the common people will be parched with thirst.(P)
14 Therefore Death(Q) expands its jaws,
    opening wide its mouth;(R)
into it will descend their nobles and masses
    with all their brawlers and revelers.(S)
15 So people will be brought low(T)
    and everyone humbled,(U)
    the eyes of the arrogant(V) humbled.
16 But the Lord Almighty will be exalted(W) by his justice,(X)
    and the holy God will be proved holy(Y) by his righteous acts.
17 Then sheep will graze as in their own pasture;(Z)
    lambs will feed[d] among the ruins of the rich.

18 Woe(AA) to those who draw sin along with cords(AB) of deceit,
    and wickedness(AC) as with cart ropes,
19 to those who say, “Let God hurry;
    let him hasten(AD) his work
    so we may see it.
The plan of the Holy One(AE) of Israel—
    let it approach, let it come into view,
    so we may know it.”(AF)

20 Woe(AG) to those who call evil good(AH)
    and good evil,(AI)
who put darkness for light
    and light for darkness,(AJ)
who put bitter for sweet
    and sweet for bitter.(AK)

21 Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes(AL)
    and clever in their own sight.

22 Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine(AM)
    and champions at mixing drinks,(AN)
23 who acquit the guilty for a bribe,(AO)
    but deny justice(AP) to the innocent.(AQ)
24 Therefore, as tongues of fire(AR) lick up straw(AS)
    and as dry grass sinks down in the flames,
so their roots will decay(AT)
    and their flowers blow away like dust;(AU)
for they have rejected the law of the Lord Almighty
    and spurned the word(AV) of the Holy One(AW) of Israel.

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  1. Isaiah 5:10 That is, about 6 gallons or about 22 liters
  2. Isaiah 5:10 That is, probably about 360 pounds or about 160 kilograms
  3. Isaiah 5:10 That is, probably about 36 pounds or about 16 kilograms
  4. Isaiah 5:17 Septuagint; Hebrew / strangers will eat

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