Isaiah 1:1-5:30 Meet Divine Expectations

        Isaiah 1:1-5:30            March 1 2009

    The "Song of the Vineyard" beautifully summarizes God’s
message to Judah. Although he had done everything possible
to care for the nation, his "vineyard"—the house of Israel—had
produced only bad grapes. What else could he do but allow it
to grow wild and uncultivated? Jesus used a related analogy
in some of his parables (Matthew 20:1-16; 21:33-46;
Mark 12:1-12; Luke 13:6-9; 20:9-19).

    1. The Parable of the Vineyard (Isa. 5:1-2)

Isa. 5:1   I will sing for the one I love a song about his vineyard:
My loved one had a vineyard on a fertile hillside.  5:2   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.

    loved one. God. vineyard. Israel (Isa.5: 7; 3:14; Psalms
80:8-16). Jesus’ parable of the tenants (Matt 21:33-44;
Mark 12:1-11; Luke 20:9-18) is probably based on this song.
(John 15:1-17). Watchtower. Contrast the more modest
"shelter" of (Isa.1:8). God’s vineyard had every advantage
(Matt 21:33 ). winepress. Or "wine vat," a trough into which
the grape juice flowed (Isa.16:10; Hag 2:16 ). he looked
for … but. The interpretation (Isa.5:7) uses the same
expression (Isa.59:9, 11).

    2. What Can God Do?(Isa. 5:3-6)
Isa. 5:3   “Now you dwellers in Jerusalem and men of Judah, judge
between me and my vineyard.  5:4   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?  5:5   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.  5:6   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.”

    Briers and thorns. This pair occurs five more times (Isa.7:23-25; 9:18; 27:4). not to rain. The withholding of rain constituted a curse on the land. (Deut. 28:23-24; 2 Sam 1:21; 1 Kings 17:1).

    3. God’s Judgments Upon Covetousness (Isa.5:7-10)

Isa. 5:7   The vineyard of the LORD Almighty is the house of Israel,
and the men of Judah are the garden of his delight. And he looked
for justice, but saw bloodshed; for righteousness, but heard cries
of distress.  5:8   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. 5:9  
The LORD Almighty has declared in my hearing: Surely the great
houses will become desolate, the fine mansions left without
occupants.  5:10   A ten-acre vineyard will produce only a bath
of wine, a homer of seed only an ephah of grain.”

    The song of the vineyard (Isa 5:1-6) is now interpreted. A
powerful play on words makes the point: The words for "justice"
and "bloodshed" (mishpat√ and mis ‘pah_) sound alike, as do
those for "righteousness" (s_edaqah) and "distress" (s_e{aqah).
Six woes are pronounced on God’s covenant-breaking people
(Isa 5: 8, 11-12, 18-19, 20, 21, 22-23), followed by three
judgment sections (Isa. 5:9-10, 13-15, 24-25).House to
house … field to field. Land in Israel could only be leased,
never sold, because parcels had been permanently assigned to
individual families (Num. 27:7-11; 1 Kings 21:1-3 ;21:3).
Ephah. A tenth of a homer (Eze 45:11). Meager crops often
accompanied national sin (Deut 28:38-39; Hag 2:16-17). The
amount of wine and grain is only a tiny fraction of what a
"ten-acre vineyard" and a "homer of seed" would normally

    4. Woes for the Wicked (Isa 5:11-14)

Isa. 5:11   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.  5:12   They have harps and lyres at their
banquets, tambourines and flutes and wine, but they have no
regard for the deeds of the LORD, no respect for the work of
his hands. 5:13   Therefore my people will go into exile for
lack of understanding; their men of rank will die of hunger
and their masses will be parched with thirst. 5:14   Therefore
the grave enlarges its appetite and opens its mouth without
limit; into it will descend their nobles and masses with all
their brawlers and revelers.

     (Amos 4:1-3; 6:4-7), where a lifestyle characterized by
drunkenness and revelry is likewise condemned. Grave.
(Gen. 37:35). The grave has an insatiable appetite
(Psalms 49:14 ).

    Woe to them that  rise early in the morning, [that] they
may follow strong drink; that continue until  night, [till] wine
inflames them! And the harp, and the viol, the tabret, and pipe,
 and wine, are in their feasts: but they regard not the work of
the LORD, neither consider the operation of his hands . Therefore
my people have gone into captivity, because [they have] no
knowledge: and their honourable men [are] famished, and their
multitude dried up with thirst. Therefore  hell hath enlarged
herself, and opened her  mouth without measure: and their glory,
and their multitude, and their pomp, and he that rejoiceth, shall
descend into it.


     The prophet by this song sets before the people’s eyes their
ingratitude and God’s mercy. That is, to God. Meaning that he had
planted his Church in a place most plentiful and abundant. He
spared no diligence or cost. In Isaiah 5:7 he declares what they
were. I will take no more care for it: meaning, that he would take
from them his word and ministers and all other comforts, and
feed them contrary plagues. Judgment and righteousness are true
fruit of the fear of God and therefore in the cruel oppression
there is no religion. Of them who are oppressed. That is, for the
poor to dwell in. I have heard the complaint and cry of the poor.
Which contains about 5 gallons, so that every acre would yield
only half a gallon. Which contains 50 gallons. An ephah contains
5 gallons and is in dry things as much as a bath is in liquids. Who
spare no pain nor diligence to follow their lusts. Who are never
weary of their rioting and excessive  pleasures but use all means
to provoke to the same. They do not regard the provident care of
God over them,  nor for what end he has created them. That is,
will certainly go: for so the prophets use to  speak as though the
thing which will come to pass were  done already. Because they
would not obey the word of God. Meaning, the grave will swallow
up them who will die  for hunger and thirst, and yet for all this
great  destruction it will never be satisfied.