5 Now I will sing a song about his vineyard to the one I love. My Beloved has a vineyard on a very fertile hill. 2 He plowed it and took out all the rocks and planted his vineyard with the choicest vines. He built a watchtower and cut a winepress in the rocks. Then he waited for the harvest, but the grapes that grew were wild and sour and not at all the sweet ones he expected.
3 Now, men of Jerusalem and Judah, you have heard the case! You be the judges! 4 What more could I have done? Why did my vineyard give me wild grapes instead of sweet? 5 I will tear down the fences and let my vineyard go to pasture to be trampled by cattle and sheep. 6 I won’t prune it or hoe it, but let it be overgrown with briars and thorns. I will command the clouds not to rain on it anymore.
7 I have given you the story of God’s people. They are the vineyard that I spoke about. Israel and Judah are his pleasant acreage! He expected them to yield a crop of justice, but found bloodshed instead. He expected righteousness, but the cries of deep oppression met his ears.[a] 8 You buy up property so others have no place to live. Your homes are built on great estates so you can be alone in the midst of the earth! 9 But the Lord Almighty has sworn your awful fate—with my own ears I heard him say, “Many a beautiful home will lie deserted, their owners killed or gone. 10 An acre of vineyard will not produce a gallon of juice! Ten bushels of seed will yield a one-bushel crop!”
11 Woe to you who get up early in the morning to go on long drinking bouts that last till late at night—woe to you drunken bums. 12 You furnish lovely music at your grand parties; the orchestras are superb! But for the Lord you have no thought or care. 13 Therefore I will send you into exile far away because you neither know nor care that I have done so much for you. Your great and honored men will starve, and the common people will die of thirst.
14 Hell is licking its chops in anticipation of this delicious morsel, Jerusalem. Her great and small shall be swallowed up, and all her drunken throngs. 15 In that day the haughty shall be brought down to the dust; the proud shall be humbled; 16 but the Lord Almighty is exalted above all, for he alone is holy, just, and good. 17 In those days flocks will feed among the ruins. Lambs and calves and kids will pasture there!
18 Woe to those who drag their sins behind them like a bullock on a rope.[b] 19 They even mock the Holy One of Israel and dare the Lord to punish them.[c] “Hurry up and punish us, O Lord,” they say. “We want to see what you can do!” 20 They say that what is right is wrong and what is wrong is right; that black is white and white is black; bitter is sweet and sweet is bitter.
21 Woe to those who are wise and shrewd in their own eyes! 22 Woe to those who are “heroes” when it comes to drinking and boast about the liquor they can hold. 23 They take bribes to pervert justice, letting the wicked go free and putting innocent men in jail. 24 Therefore God will deal with them and burn them. They will disappear like straw on fire. Their roots will rot and their flowers wither, for they have thrown away the laws of God and despised the word of the Holy One of Israel. 25 That is why the anger of the Lord is hot against his people; that is why he has reached out his hand to smash them. The hills will tremble, and the rotting bodies of his people will be thrown as refuse in the streets. But even so, his anger is not ended; his hand is heavy on them still.
26 He will send a signal to the nations far away, whistling to those at the ends of the earth, and they will come racing toward Jerusalem. 27 They never weary, never stumble, never stop; their belts are tight, their bootstraps strong; they run without stopping for rest or for sleep. 28 Their arrows are sharp; their bows are bent; sparks fly from their horses’ hoofs, and the wheels of their chariots spin like the wind. 29 They roar like lions and pounce upon the prey. They seize my people and carry them off into captivity with none to rescue them. 30 They growl over their victims like the roaring of the sea. Over all Israel lies a pall of darkness and sorrow, and the heavens are black.
- Isaiah 5:7 crop of justice, but found bloodshed instead . . . expected righteousness, but the cries of deep oppression met his ears. Here is an example of serious punning often used by the prophets: the Hebrew words for “justice” and “bloodshed” sound very much alike, as do those for “righteousness” and “cry.”
- Isaiah 5:18 like a bullock on a rope, or “with cords of falsehood.”
- Isaiah 5:19 and dare the Lord to punish them, implied.