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Series Theme: FRAMEWORKS: Isaiah

(Return to Old Testament Contents)

 

(The objective of these ‘Frameworks' is to provide an easy-to-read layout of the text in order then to use these individual verses for verse-by-verse study or meditation. To focus each verse we have also added in italic a description of what is happening)

 

FRAMEWORKS: Isaiah 5: Judgement on the Vineyard

      

For structure & preliminaries, see chapter 1

 

v.1,2 The Vineyard's origin

v.3-6 The Failure of the Vineyard

v.7 The Summary of the Vineyard

v.8-23 Woes and Consequences

v.24-30 The Lord's Activity Spelled Out

 

v.1,2 The Vineyard's origin

 

v.1 (a prophetic allegory about a vineyard) I will sing for the one I love a song about his vineyard:
( the vineyard belonged to the Lord) My loved one had a vineyard on a fertile hillside.
v.2 (He created and established it with the intent of growing grapes for wine production [wine indicates flourishing life]. It produced only bad fruit ) He dug it up and cleared it of stones and planted it with the choicest vines. He built a watchtower in it and cut out a winepress as well. Then he looked for a crop of good grapes, but it yielded only bad fruit.

  

  

v.3-6 The Failure of the Vineyard

 

v.3 (He asks the listeners (readers) to assess this vineyard) “Now you dwellers in Jerusalem and people of Judah, judge between me and my vineyard.
v.4 (what more could He have done? ) What more could have been done for my vineyard than I have done for it? ( why did it produce only bad fruit?) When I looked for good grapes, why did it yield only bad?
v.5 (He has decided what must be done) Now I will tell you what I am going to do to my vineyard:
(He will remove its boundaries making it vulnerable to attackers) I will take away its hedge, and it will be destroyed; I will break down its wall, and it will be trampled.
v.6 (He will let it return to wasteland) I will make it a wasteland, neither pruned nor cultivated, and briers and thorns will grow there. I will command the clouds not to rain on it.”

  

  

v.7 The Summary of the Vineyard

 

v.7 (Yes, the vineyard is the nation) The vineyard of the Lord Almighty is the nation of Israel, and the people of Judah are the vines he delighted in.
(the bad He saw was unrighteous bloodshed) And he looked for justice, but saw bloodshed; for righteousness, but heard cries of distress.

   

  

v.8-23 Woes and Consequences

 

v.8 (woe [1] to land grabbers bringing injustice) Woe to you who add house to house and join field to field till no space is left and you live alone in the land.

v.9 (consequence [1] – their activities (houses) will be desrtoyed) The Lord Almighty has declared in my hearing: “Surely the great houses will become desolate, the fine mansions left without occupants.
v.10 (consequence [2] – their harvests will wither) A ten-acre vineyard will produce only a bath of wine; a homer of seed will yield only an ephah of grain.”

v.11 (woe [2] those given over to alcohol and debauchery) Woe 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.
v.12 (who make music in their revelry but disregard God) They have harps and lyres at their banquets, pipes and timbrels and wine, but they have no regard for the deeds of the Lord, no respect for the work of his hands.
v.13 (consequence [3] – therefore they will be cast out) Therefore my people will go into exile for lack of understanding; those of high rank will die of hunger and the common people will be parched with thirst.
v.14 (consequence [4] – therefore death will overcome them) Therefore Death expands its jaws, opening wide its mouth; into it will descend their nobles and masses with all their brawlers and revelers.
v.15 (consequence [5] – therefore, as a nation they will be humbled) So people will be brought low and everyone humbled, the eyes of the arrogant humbled.
v.16 (onlookers will realise justice has been done and God glorified) But the Lord Almighty will be exalted by his justice, and the holy God will be proved holy by his righteous acts.
v.17 (the end result will be a land at peace [without people]) Then sheep will graze as in their own pasture; lambs will feed among the ruins of the rich.

v.18 (woe [3] to those who exalt in sin, deceit and wickedness ) Woe to those who draw sin along with cords of deceit, and wickedness as with cart ropes,
v.19 (..and to those who say in derision, ‘Where is God?') to those who say, “Let God hurry; let him hasten his work so we may see it.
(… who deride the plans of God) The plan of the Holy One of Israel— let it approach, let it come into view, so we may know it.”

v.20 (woe [4] to those who twist and distort truth) Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.

v.21 (woe [5] to those being wise in their own eyes) Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and clever in their own sight.

v.22 (woe [6] to those who carry on in drunken debauchery regardless) Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine and champions at mixing drinks,
v.23 (woe [7] to those who twist and deny justice) who acquit the guilty for a bribe, but deny justice to the innocent.

    

  

v.24-30 The Lord's Activity Spelled Out

 

v.24 (so destruction will come because they have rejected the Lord and His Law) Therefore, as tongues of fire lick up straw and as dry grass sinks down in the flames, so their roots will decay and their flowers blow away like dust; for they have rejected the law of the Lord Almighty and spurned the word of the Holy One of Israel.
v.25 (So He will act against them) Therefore the Lord's anger burns against his people; his hand is raised and he strikes them down.
(their world will be shaken and death be common) The mountains shake, and the dead bodies are like refuse in the streets. Yet for all this, his anger is not turned away, his hand is still upraised.

v.26 (He will do it by using hostile nations) He lifts up a banner for the distant nations, he whistles for those at the ends of the earth. Here they come, swiftly and speedily!
v.27 (who will come in delight, eager to destroy) Not one of them grows tired or stumbles, not one slumbers or sleeps; not a belt is loosened at the waist, not a sandal strap is broken.
v.28 (ready to bring death) Their arrows are sharp, all their bows are strung; their horses' hooves seem like flint, their chariot wheels like a whirlwind.
v.29 (who come full of their own might) Their roar is like that of the lion, they roar like young lions; they growl as they seize their prey and carry it off with no one to rescue.
v.30 (and so will come like a tsunami of destruction) In that day they will roar over it like the roaring of the sea. And if one looks at the land, there is only darkness and distress; even the sun will be darkened by clouds.

 

[Notes: From the reigns noted in 1:1, Isaiah prophesied in the period somewhere between about 760 to 690BC but, although there were various attacks on Judah (the northern nation of ‘Israel' having been carried away in 772 after the fall of Samaria) these words did not seem to come into total fulfilment until in 587BC there was the fall of Jerusalem to the armies of Nebuchadnezzar and the start of the Exile, which thoroughly purged and cleansed and transformed the nation before they eventually started returning.

We should understand that often prophecies were brought that didn't see their fulfilment [although they were fulfilled] for a number of years, and in some cases prophetic words hung over the nation as warning for decades if not centuries, an indication of God's grace calling out for the nation to come to its senses, but giving them years to comply. It was only after their situation became so dire and their rejection of Him so set, that the judgment eventually fell. To see God's heart on these things, read Ezek 18:23,32 & 33:11]

 

Continue to Chapter 6