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Isaiah 5 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 5

The Song of the Vineyard[a]

Now let me sing of my friend,
    my beloved’s song about his vineyard.
My friend had a vineyard
    on a fertile hillside;
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.
Now, inhabitants of Jerusalem, people of Judah,
    judge between me and my vineyard:
What more could be done for my vineyard
    that I did not do?
Why, when I waited for the crop of grapes,
    did it yield rotten grapes?
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]
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.
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]

Oracles of Reproach[d]

[e]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!
In my hearing the Lord of hosts has sworn:
    Many houses shall be in ruins,
    houses large and fine, with nobody living there.
10 Ten acres of vineyard
    shall yield but one bath,[f]
And a homer of seed
    shall yield but an ephah.
11 [g]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,
But the deed of the Lord they do not regard,
    the work of his hands they do not see!
13 Therefore my people go into exile
    for lack of understanding,
Its nobles starving,
    its masses parched with thirst.
14 Therefore Sheol enlarges its throat
    and opens its mouth beyond measure;
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,
16 But the Lord of hosts shall be exalted by judgment,
    by justice the Holy God shown holy.
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 [h]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!”
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!
21 Ah! Those who are wise in their own eyes,
    prudent in their own view!
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!
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.

25 [i]Therefore the wrath of the Lord blazes against his people,
    he stretches out his hand to strike them;
The mountains quake,
    their corpses shall be like refuse in the streets.
For all this, his wrath is not turned back,
    his hand is still outstretched.

Invasion[j]

26 He will raise a signal to a far-off nation,
    and whistle for it from the ends of the earth.
    Then speedily and promptly they will come.
27 None among them is weary, none stumbles,
    none will slumber, none will sleep.
None with waist belt loose,
    none with sandal thong broken.
28 Their arrows are sharp,
    and all their bows are bent,
The hooves of their horses like flint,
    and their chariot wheels like the whirlwind.
29 They roar like the lion,
    like young lions, they roar;
They growl and seize the prey,
    they carry it off and none can rescue.
30 They will growl over it, on that day,
    like the growling of the sea,
Look to the land—
    darkness closing in,
    the light dark with clouds!

Footnotes:

  1. 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.
  2. 5:5–6 Trampled…thorns and briers: this judgment is echoed in the description of the devastated land in 7:23–25.
  3. 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.
  4. 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. 5:8–10 An oracle against land-grabbers (v. 8); they will be impoverished instead of enriched (vv. 9–10).
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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).
  9. 5:25–30 These verses do not suit their present context. Apparently v. 25 was originally the conclusion of the poem of 9:7–20 directed against the Northern Kingdom; cf. the refrain that occurs here and in 9:11, 16, and 20. Verses 26–30 look to an invasion by Assyria and might originally have come immediately after the poem of 9:1–20 plus 5:25. The insertion of chaps. 6–8 may have occasioned the dislocation, as well as that of 10:1–4a, which may have originally belonged with the “reproach” oracles of 5:8–23.
  10. 5:26–30 This oracle threatens a future judgment, an invasion of the Assyrian army, God’s instrument for punishing Judah (10:5, 15).
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Isaiah 5 New International Version (NIV)

The Song of the Vineyard

I will sing for the one I love
    a song about his vineyard:
My loved one had a vineyard
    on a fertile hillside.
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.

“Now you dwellers in Jerusalem and people of Judah,
    judge between me and my vineyard.
What more could have been done for my vineyard
    than I have done for it?
When I looked for good grapes,
    why did it yield only bad?
Now I will tell you
    what I am going to do to my vineyard:
I will take away its hedge,
    and it will be destroyed;
I will break down its wall,
    and it will be trampled.
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.”

The vineyard of the Lord Almighty
    is the nation of Israel,
and the people of Judah
    are the vines he delighted in.
And he looked for justice, but saw bloodshed;
    for righteousness, but heard cries of distress.

Woes and Judgments

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.

The Lord Almighty has declared in my hearing:

“Surely the great houses will become desolate,
    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.”

11 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.
12 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.
13 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.
14 Therefore Death expands its jaws,
    opening wide its mouth;
into it will descend their nobles and masses
    with all their brawlers and revelers.
15 So people will be brought low
    and everyone humbled,
    the eyes of the arrogant humbled.
16 But the Lord Almighty will be exalted by his justice,
    and the holy God will be proved holy by his righteous acts.
17 Then sheep will graze as in their own pasture;
    lambs will feed[d] among the ruins of the rich.

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

20 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.

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

22 Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine
    and champions at mixing drinks,
23 who acquit the guilty for a bribe,
    but deny justice to the innocent.
24 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.
25 Therefore the Lord’s anger burns against his people;
    his hand is raised and he strikes them down.
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.

26 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!
27 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.
28 Their arrows are sharp,
    all their bows are strung;
their horses’ hooves seem like flint,
    their chariot wheels like a whirlwind.
29 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.
30 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.

Footnotes:

  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
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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