5 Now I will sing a song to my friend. This song is about his vineyard.
My friend had a vineyard on a hill with very rich soil. 2 He dug and cleared the field of stones. He planted the best grapevines there. And he built a tower in the middle of it. He cut out a winepress as well. He hoped good grapes would grow there. But only bad grapes grew.
3 My friend says, “You people living in Jerusalem, and you men of Judah, judge between me and my vineyard. 4 What more could I have done for my vineyard? I did everything I could. I hoped for good grapes to grow. But why were there only bad grapes? 5 Now I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard: I will remove the hedge, and it will be burned. I will break down the stone wall, and it will be walked on. 6 I will ruin my field. It will not be trimmed or hoed. Weeds and thorns will grow there. I will command the clouds not to rain on it.”
7 The vineyard belonging to the Lord of heaven’s armies is the nation of Israel. The garden that the Lord loves is the men of Judah. The Lord looked for justice, but there was only killing. The Lord hoped for right living, but there were only cries of pain.
8 How terrible it will be for you who add more houses to your houses and more fields to your fields. Finally there is no room left for other people. Then you are left alone in the land.
9 The Lord of heaven’s armies said this to me:
“The fine houses will be destroyed. The large and beautiful houses will be left empty. 10 At that time a ten-acre vineyard will make only six gallons of wine. And ten bushels of seed will grow only half a bushel of grain.”
11 How terrible it will be for people who rise early in the morning to look for strong drink. They stay awake late at night, becoming drunk with wine. 12 At their parties they have lyres, harps, tambourines, flutes and wine. They don’t see what the Lord has done. They don’t notice the work of his hands. 13 So my people will be captured and taken away because they don’t really know me. All the great men will die of hunger. The common people will die of thirst. 14 So the place where the dead are wants more and more people. It opens its mouth wide. Jerusalem’s important men will go down into it. And the common people will go down into it. 15 So the common people and the great people will be humbled. Those who are proud will be humbled. 16 The Lord of heaven’s armies will receive glory by judging fairly. The holy God will show himself holy by doing what is right. 17 Then the sheep will go anywhere they want. Lambs will feed on the land that rich people once owned.
18 How terrible it will be for those people! They pull their guilt and sins behind them as people pull wagons with ropes. 19 They say, “Let’s see God hurry. Let’s see him do his work soon. We want to see it. Let’s see the plan of the Holy One of Israel happen soon. Then we would know what it really is.”
20 How terrible it will be for people who call good things bad and bad things good. They think darkness is light and light is darkness. They think sour is sweet and sweet is sour.
21 How terrible it will be for people who think they are wise. They think they are clever.
22 How terrible it will be for people who are famous for drinking wine. They are champions at mixing drinks. 23 They take money to set the guilty free. But they don’t allow good people to be judged fairly. 24 They will be destroyed just as fire burns straw or dry grass. They will be destroyed like a plant whose roots rot and whose flower dies and blows away like dust. They have refused to obey the teachings of the Lord of heaven’s armies. They hated the message from the Holy God of Israel. 25 So the Lord has become very angry with his people. And he has raised his hand to punish them. Even the mountains are frightened. Dead bodies lie in the streets like garbage.
But the Lord is still angry. His hand is still raised to strike down the people.
26 God raises a banner for the nations far away. He is whistling to call those people. The enemy comes quickly! 27 Not one of them becomes tired or falls down. Not one of them gets sleepy and falls asleep. Their weapons are close at hand. Their sandal straps are not broken. 28 Their arrows are sharp. All of their bows are ready to shoot. The horses’ hooves are hard as rock. Their chariot wheels move like a whirlwind. 29 Their shout is like the roar of a lion. It is loud like a young lion. The enemy growls as they grab their captives. There is no one to stop them from taking their captives away. 30 On that day they will roar like the waves of the sea. And when people look at the land, they will see only darkness and pain. All light will become dark in this thick cloud.
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