5 I will sing[a] for my beloved my love-song concerning his vineyard:
“The one I love had a vineyard on a very fertile hill. 2 He plowed its land[b] and cleared it of stones. Then he planted it with the choicest vines, built a watchtower in the middle of it, and dug a wine vat in it; He expected[c] it to produce good[d] grapes, but it produced only wild ones.”[e]
3 “So now, you inhabitants[f] of Jerusalem and men of Judah, judge, won’t you please, between me and my vineyard. 4 What more could I do in[g] my vineyard, that I haven’t already done? When I expected it to produce good[h] grapes, why did it yield[i] wild ones?[j]
5 “Now, let me tell you, won’t you please, what I’m going to do to my vineyard.
“I’m going to take away its protective hedge, and it will be devoured;[k] I’ll break down its wall, and it will be trampled. 6 I’ll make it a wasteland, and it won’t be pruned or cultivated. Instead, briers and thorns will grow up. I’ll also issue commands to the clouds, that they drop no rain upon it.”
7 For the vineyard of the Lord of the Heavenly Armies is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah are the garden in which he delights.[l] He looked for justice, but saw only bloodshed; he searched[m] for righteousness, but heard only an outcry!
Judgment on Land Barons
8 “How terrible it will be for you who join house to house, who add field to field, until there is no more room, and you have settled yourselves alone[n] in the middle of the land!”
9 The Lord of the Heavenly Armies has declared this so I could hear it:
“Surely many houses will become desolate, great and beautiful houses, without occupants. 10 For ten acres of vineyard will produce only one bath,[o] and one omer[p] of seed[q] will produce only one ephah.”[r]
Judgment on Alcoholics
11 “How terrible it will be for those who rise at dawn in order to grab[s] a stiff drink, for those who stay up late at night as wine inflames them! 12 They have the lyre and harp, the tambourine and flute, as well as wine at their festivals, but they don’t respect what the Lord is doing, nor do they consider his actions.[t] 13 Therefore my people go into exile because they lack understanding; my[u] honored men go hungry, and the crowd is parched with thirst. 14 Therefore Sheol’s[v] appetite has grown; it has opened its mouth beyond limit. Jerusalem’s nobility and her multitudes will go there, along with her brawlers and whoever is reveling within her. 15 Humanity is brought low, and each one is humbled, while the eyes of the self-exalting are brought low.
16 But the Lord of the Heavenly Armies is exalted in justice, and the Holy God proves himself to be righteously holy. 17 Then the lambs will graze in their pasture; fatlings and foreigners will eat among the waste places of the rich.”
Judgment on Mockers
18 “How terrible it will be for those who parade iniquity with cords of falsehood, who draw sin along as[w] with a cart rope; 19 who say: ‘Let God[x] be quick, let him speed up[y] his work so we may see it! Let it happen! let the plan of the Holy One of Israel draw near, so we may recognize it!’”
Judgment on Moral Relativists
20 “How terrible it will be for those who call evil good and good evil, who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness, who substitute what is bitter for what is sweet and what is sweet for what is bitter!”
Judgment on the Arrogant
21 “How terrible it will be for those who are wise in their own opinion, and clever in their own reckoning!
22 “How terrible it will be for those who are heroes at drinking wine, and champions in mixing strong drink, 23 who acquit the guilty for a bribe, and deprive the innocent of justice!”
The Effects of Divine Judgment
24 Therefore, as flames of fire devour straw, as dry grass[z] collapses in flames, so their root will be rotten, and their blossom will blow away like dust, because they have rejected the instruction[aa] of the Lord of the Heavenly Armies, and have despised the word of the Holy One of Israel. 25 Therefore[ab] the anger of the Lord[ac] burned against his people, so he stretched out his hands[ad] against them and afflicted them. The mountains quaked, and their corpses were like refuse in the middle of the streets.
Throughout all of this, his anger has not turned away, and his hands are[ae] still stretched out to attack.[af]
26 The Lord[ag] will signal[ah] for nations far away, whistling for them to come[ai] from the ends of the earth. Look how quickly and how swiftly they come! 27 No one is weary, no one stumbles,[aj] and no one slumbers or sleeps. No belt around their waists will come undone, nor will their sandal straps be broken. 28 Their arrows are sharp, all their bows ready for action.[ak] Their horses’ hooves seem like flint, and their chariot wheels spin[al] like a whirlwind. 29 With a roar like a lion, they snarl, and like young lions, they growl;[am] they seize their prey and then carry it off, with no one to rescue. 30 They will roar over it[an] at that time,[ao] like the sea waves roar. If one surveys the land, watch out! There’s darkness and distress; even the daylight is darkened by its clouds.
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