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Parable of the Vineyard

Now let me sing for my greatly Beloved [Lord]
A song of my Beloved about His vineyard (His chosen people).
My greatly Beloved had a vineyard on a very fertile slope (the promised land, Canaan).(A)

He dug it all around and cleared away its stones,
And planted it with [a]the choicest vine (the people of Judah).
And He built a tower in the center of it;
And also hewed out a [b]wine vat in it.
Then He expected it to produce [the choicest] grapes,
But it produced only worthless ones.


“And now, says the Lord, O inhabitants of Jerusalem and men of Judah,
Judge between Me and My vineyard (My people).

“What more could have been done for My vineyard that I have not done in it?
When I expected it to produce good grapes, why did it yield worthless ones?

“So now let me tell you what I am going to do to My vineyard:
I will take away its thorn-hedge, and it will be burned up;
I will break down its [c]stone wall and it will be trampled down [by enemies].

“I will turn it into a wasteland;
It will not be pruned or cultivated,
But briars and thorns will come up.
I will also command the clouds not to rain on it.”


For the vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house (nation) of Israel
And the men of Judah are His delightful planting [which He loves].
So He looked for justice, but in fact, [He saw] bloodshed and lawlessness;
[He looked] for righteousness, but in fact, [He heard] a cry of distress and oppression.

Woes for the Wicked


Woe (judgment is coming) to those who join house to house and join field to field [to increase their holdings by depriving others],
Until there is no more room [for others],
So that you have to live alone in the midst of the land!

In my ears the Lord of hosts said, “Be assured that many houses will become desolate,
Even great and beautiful ones will be unoccupied.
10 
“For ten [d]acres of vineyard will yield [only] [e]one bath of wine,
And a homer ([f]six bushels) of seed will produce [only] one ephah of grain.”
11 
Woe (judgment is coming) to those who rise early in the morning to pursue intoxicating drink,
Who stay up late in the night till wine inflames them!
12 
They have lyre and harp, tambourine and flute, and wine at their feasts;
But they do not regard nor even pay attention to the deeds of the Lord,
Nor do they consider the work of His hands.

13 
Therefore My people go into exile because they lack knowledge [of God];
And their honorable men are famished,
And their common people are parched with thirst.
14 
Therefore Sheol (the realm of the dead) has increased its appetite and opened its mouth beyond measure;
And [g]Jerusalem’s splendor, her multitude, her [boisterous] uproar and her [drunken] revelers descend into it.
15 
So the common man will be bowed down and the man of importance degraded,
And the eyes of the proud (arrogant) will be degraded.
16 
But the Lord of hosts will be exalted in justice,
And God, the Holy One, will show Himself holy in righteousness [through His righteous judgments].
17 
Then the lambs will graze [among the ruins] as in their own pasture,
And strangers will eat in the desolate places of the [exiled] wealthy.

18 
Woe (judgment is coming) to those who drag along wickedness with cords of falsehood,
And sin as if with cart ropes [towing their own punishment];
19 
Who say, “Let Him move speedily, let Him expedite His work [His promised vengeance], so that we may see it;
And let the purpose of the Holy One of Israel approach
And come to pass, so that we may know it!”
20 
Woe (judgment is coming) to those who call evil good, and good evil;
Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness;
Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!
21 
Woe (judgment is coming) to those who are wise in their own eyes
And clever and shrewd in their own sight!
22 
Woe (judgment is coming) to those who are heroes at drinking wine
And men of strength in mixing intoxicating drinks,
23 
Who justify the wicked and acquit the guilty for a bribe,
And take away the rights of those who are in the right!

24 
Therefore, as the tongue of fire consumes the stubble [from straw]
And the dry grass collapses into the flame,
So their root will become like rot and their blossom blow away like fine dust;
Because they have rejected the law of the Lord of hosts
And despised and discarded the word of the Holy One of Israel.
25 
Therefore the anger of the Lord has burned against His people,
And He has stretched out His hand against them and has struck them down.
And the mountains trembled, and their dead bodies lay like rubbish in the middle of the streets.
In spite of all this God’s anger is not turned away,
But His hand is still stretched out [in judgment].

26 
He will lift up a flag to [call] the distant nations [to bring His judgment on Judah],
And will whistle for them from the ends of the earth;
And indeed, they will come with great speed swiftly.
27 
No one among them is weary or stumbles,
No one slumbers or sleeps;
Nor is the belt at their waist undone [as if unprepared for action],
Nor is the strap of their sandal broken.
28 
Their arrows are sharp and all their bows are strung and bent;
Their horses’ hoofs seem like flint and their chariot wheels like a whirlwind.
29 
Their roaring is like a lioness, they roar like young lions;
They growl and seize their prey
And carry it off and there is no one to save it.
30 
And in that day they will roar against them (Judah) like the roaring of the sea.
And if one looks to the land, in fact, there is darkness and distress;
Even the light will be darkened by its clouds.

Isaiah’s Vision

In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw [in a vision] the Lord sitting on a throne, high and exalted, with the train of His royal robe filling the [most holy part of the] temple.(B) Above Him seraphim (heavenly beings) stood; each one had six wings: with two wings he covered his face, with two wings he covered his feet, and with two wings he flew. And one called out to another, saying,

“Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord of hosts;
The whole earth is filled with His glory.”

And the foundations of the thresholds trembled at the voice of him who called out, and the temple was filling with smoke. Then I said,

“Woe is me! For I am ruined,
Because I am a man of [ceremonially] unclean lips,
And I live among a people of unclean lips;
For my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.”

Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a burning coal in his hand, which he had taken from the altar with tongs. He touched my mouth with it and said, “Listen carefully, this has touched your lips; your wickedness [your sin, your injustice, your wrongdoing] is taken away and your sin atoned for and forgiven.”

Isaiah’s Commission

Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I. Send me!” And He said, “Go, and tell this people:

‘Keep on listening, but do not understand;
Keep on looking, but do not comprehend.’
10 
“Make the heart of this people insensitive,
Their ears dull,
And their eyes dim,
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
Hear with their ears,
Understand with their hearts,
And return and be healed.”

11 Then I said, “Lord, how long?” And He answered,

“Until cities are devastated and without inhabitant,
And houses are without people
And the land is utterly desolate,
12 
The Lord has removed [His] people far away,
And there are many deserted places in the midst of the land.
13 
“And though a tenth [of the people] remain in the land,
It will again be subject to destruction [consumed and burned],
Like a massive terebinth tree or like an oak
Whose stump remains when it is chopped down.
The holy seed [the elect remnant] is its stump [the substance of Israel].”

War against Jerusalem

Now it came to pass in the days of Ahaz the son of Jotham, the son of Uzziah, king of Judah, that Rezin king of [h]Aram (Syria) and Pekah the son of Remaliah, king of Israel, went up to Jerusalem to wage war against it, but they could not conquer it. When the house of David (Judah) was told, “Aram is allied with Ephraim (Israel),” the hearts of Ahaz and his people trembled as the trees of the forest tremble in the wind.

Then the Lord said to Isaiah, “Go out to meet Ahaz [king of Judah], you and your son [i]Shear-jashub, at the end of the aqueduct of the Upper Pool, on the highway to the [j]Fuller’s Field; and say to him, ‘Take care and be calm, do not fear and be weak-hearted because of these two stumps of smoldering logs, on account of the fierce anger of [King] Rezin and Aram and of the son of Remaliah (Pekah, usurper of the throne of Israel). Because Aram, along with Ephraim (Israel) and the son of Remaliah, have planned evil against you (Judah), saying, “Let us go up against Judah and terrorize it; and let us breach its wall and tear it apart [each of us taking a portion] and set up the son of Tabeel over it as its [puppet] king,” for this is what the Lord God says, “It shall not stand nor shall it happen. For the head (capital) of Aram is Damascus and the head of Damascus is [King] Rezin (now within sixty-five years Ephraim will be broken to pieces and will no longer be a people). And the head (capital) of Ephraim is Samaria, and the head of Samaria is Remaliah’s son [King Pekah]. If you will not [k]believe [and trust in God and His message], be assured that you will not be established.”’”

The Child Immanuel

10 Then the Lord spoke again to [King] Ahaz, saying, 11 “Ask a sign for yourself from the Lord your God [one that will convince you that God has spoken and will keep His word]; make your request as deep as Sheol or as high as heaven.” 12 But Ahaz said, “[l]I will not ask, nor will I test the Lord!” 13 Then Isaiah said, “Hear then, O house of David! Is it too small a thing for you to try the patience of men, but will you try the patience of my God as well? 14 Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Listen carefully, the [m]virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and she will call his name Immanuel (God with us).(C) 15 He will eat curds and honey when he knows enough to refuse evil and choose good. 16 For before the child will know enough to refuse evil and choose good, the land (Canaan) whose two kings you dread will be deserted [both Ephraim and Aram].(D)

Trials to Come for Judah

17 The Lord will bring on you, on your people, and on your father’s house such days as have not come since the day that Ephraim (the ten northern tribes) separated from Judah—[He will call for] the king of Assyria.”

18 In that day the Lord will whistle for the fly that is in the [n]mouth of the rivers and canals of Egypt and for the bee that is in the land of Assyria. 19 These [armies, like flies and bees] will all come and settle on the steep and rugged ravines and in the clefts of the rocks, and on all the thorn bushes and in all the watering places.

20 In that day [when foreign armies swarm the land] the Lord will shave with a razor, hired from the regions beyond the Euphrates (that is, with the king of Assyria), [that razor will shave] the head and the hair of the legs; and it will also remove the beard [leaving Judah stripped, shamed and scorned].(E)

21 Now in that day [because of the poverty caused by the invaders] a man will keep alive only a young milk cow and two sheep; 22 and because of the abundance of milk produced he will eat curds, for everyone that is left in the land will eat [only] curds and [wild] honey.

23 And it will come to pass in that day, in every place where there used to be a thousand vines, worth a thousand silver shekels, there will be briars and thorns. 24 People will come there [to hunt] with arrows and with bows because all the land will be briars and thorns. 25 As for all the hills which used to be cultivated with the pick and the hoe, you will no longer go there for fear of briars and thorns; but they will become a place where oxen are pastured and where sheep tread.

Damascus and Samaria Fall

Then the Lord said to me, “Take for yourself a large tablet [for public display] and write on it in ordinary characters: Belonging to [o]Maher-shalal-hash-baz. And I will get faithful witnesses to attest [to this prophecy] for me, Uriah the priest and Zechariah the son of Jeberechiah.” So I approached [my wife] the prophetess, and she conceived and gave birth to a son. Then the Lord said to me, “Name him Maher-shalal-hash-baz [to remind the people of the prophecy]; for before the boy knows how to say, ‘My father’ or ‘My mother,’ the riches of Damascus (Aram’s capital) and the spoil of Samaria (Israel’s capital) [p]will be carried away by the king of Assyria.”

Again the Lord spoke to me, saying,


“Because these people (Judah) have refused the gently flowing waters of [q]Shiloah
And rejoice in Rezin [the king of Aram] and Remaliah’s son [Pekah the king of Israel],

Now therefore, listen carefully, the Lord is about to bring on them the waters of the [Euphrates] River, strong and abundant—
The king of Assyria and all his glory;
And it will rise over all its channels and canals and go far beyond its banks.(F)

“Then it will [r]sweep on into Judah; it will overflow and pass through [the hills],
Reaching even to the neck [of which Jerusalem is the head],
And its outstretched wings (the armies of Assyria) will fill the width of Your land, O Immanuel.(G)

A Believing Remnant


“Be broken [in pieces], O peoples, and be shattered!
Listen, all you [our enemies from the] far countries.
Prepare yourselves [for war], and be shattered;
Prepare yourselves [for war], and be shattered.
10 
“Take counsel together [against Judah], but it will come to nothing;
Speak the word, but it will not stand,
For God is with us (Immanuel).”

11 For in this way the Lord spoke to me with His strong hand [upon me] and instructed me not to walk in the way of this people [behaving as they do], saying,

12 
“You are not to say, ‘It is a conspiracy!’
In regard to all that this people call a conspiracy,
And you are not to fear what they fear nor be in dread of it.
13 
“It is the Lord of hosts whom you are to regard as holy and awesome.
He shall be your [source of] fear,
He shall be your [source of] dread [not man].
14 
“Then He shall be a sanctuary [a sacred, indestructible shelter for those who fear and trust Him];
But to both the houses of Israel [both the northern and southern kingdoms—Israel and Judah, He will be] a stone on which to stumble and a rock on which to trip,
A trap and a snare for the inhabitants of Jerusalem.(H)
15 
“Many [among them] will stumble over them;
Then they will fall and be broken,
They will even be snared and trapped.”

16 Bind up the testimony, seal the law and the teaching among my (Isaiah’s) disciples. 17 And I will wait for the Lord who is hiding His face from the house of Jacob; and I will look eagerly for Him. 18 Listen carefully, I and the children whom the Lord has given me are [s]for signs and wonders [that will occur] in Israel from the Lord of hosts, who dwells on Mount Zion.

19 When the people [instead of trusting God] say to you, “Consult the mediums [who try to talk to the dead] and the soothsayers who chirp and whisper and mutter,” should not a people consult their God? Should they consult the dead on behalf of the living? 20 [Direct those people] to the law and to the testimony! If their teachings are not in accord with this word, it is because they have no dawn. 21 They [who consult mediums and soothsayers] will pass through the land deeply distressed and hungry, and when they are hungry, they will become enraged and will curse their king and their God as they look upward. 22 Then they will look to the earth, they will see only distress and darkness, the gloom of anguish; and they will be driven away into darkness and overwhelming night.

Footnotes

  1. Isaiah 5:2 Lit a bright red grape.
  2. Isaiah 5:2 This was the lower of two hollowed-out reservoirs made in the soft rock, one above the other, connected by a channel that allowed the juice pressed out in the upper reservoir to flow to the lower.
  3. Isaiah 5:5 The wall was usually made up of loose stones that had been cleared from the field.
  4. Isaiah 5:10 Lit teams of oxen, referring to the area of land that a team of oxen can plow in one day.
  5. Isaiah 5:10 This is only a very rough approximation. The basic Hebrew unit of volume was an egg, which varied greatly, and the estimation was significantly larger than an ordinary chicken egg. A bath was set at 432 eggs—six to eight gallons.
  6. Isaiah 5:10 The actual Hebrew measure was the volume of 4,320 eggs, and an ephah (like a bath, only a dry measure) was 432 eggs.
  7. Isaiah 5:14 Lit her.
  8. Isaiah 7:1 The people of the kingdom of Aram were descended from Aram, the youngest son of Shem, the son of Noah (Gen 10:22, 23). The territory of the Arameans also included the areas later identified as Syria and Mesopotamia.
  9. Isaiah 7:3 A prophetic name meaning a remnant shall return.
  10. Isaiah 7:3 A field where freshly washed clothes were spread out to bleach and dry in the sun.
  11. Isaiah 7:9 The same Hebrew word is used both for believe and be established.
  12. Isaiah 7:12 This was a misplaced sense of faithfulness on Ahaz’s part. It is wise not to ask God for a sign, unless He offers one as He did to Ahaz.
  13. Isaiah 7:14 This prophecy of the virgin is declared in Matt 1:22, 23 to be fulfilled in the birth of Jesus. There has been a great deal of discussion over the Hebrew word found here for virgin (almah) and the word that Matthew uses (parthenos). The latter refers unambiguously to a virgin, while the former (almah) has been said to refer to a young woman, in contrast to the Hebrew word bethulah, which is the equivalent of the Gr parthenos. It has also been noted that the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Hebrew OT, has parthenos here for almah, and that Matt 1:23 is taken from the Septuagint. Some have wondered why the Septuagint translators used the more specific word parthenos. It is fair to say that this question is the result of oversimplifying the vocabulary and misinterpreting the distinctions. The Hebrew words almah and bethulah can actually refer to the same kind of woman; almah is a youthful woman of marriageable age, one who has not yet had her first child, while bethulah is one who has not been touched in an intimate way. Furthermore, in the present context it would be unthinkable to infer that the woman might have had sexual relations outside of marriage. So the well-known translation of “young woman” for almah, while technically not incorrect, can be viewed as too ambiguous for the Hebrew word and the context. Parthenos was an appropriate choice in the Greek. Another word, kore (for “girl”) could have been used, but it has a wider range of meaning than the Heb almah (Mark uses a related word, korasion, to translate Jesus’ Aramaic word talitha). It should also be acknowledged from a theological perspective that when Matthew cites the verse with parthenos, he thereby authenticates it as inspired.
  14. Isaiah 7:18 Lit end.
  15. Isaiah 8:1 I.e. swift is the plunder, speedy is the prey.
  16. Isaiah 8:4 Samaria was overthrown by Assyria in 722 b.c., ten years after the downfall of Damascus, fulfilling this prophecy.
  17. Isaiah 8:6 The perennial spring outside Jerusalem that flowed to the Pool of Siloam, Jerusalem’s water supply. The spring was a symbol of God’s protection and sustaining power.
  18. Isaiah 8:8 This prophecy was literally fulfilled, and although Aram and Israel were conquered and led into captivity, the kingdom of Judah was spared and continued for over 130 years.
  19. Isaiah 8:18 Isaiah’s own name means “Salvation of the Lord.” His two children’s names were “signs” as well, the one (see note v 1) pointing to the coming military crisis and the other (see note 7:3) to the future restoration.

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