Verse 1 – Now let me sing to my Well-beloved a song of my Beloved regarding His vineyard: My Well-beloved has a vineyard on a very fruitful hill.
This is about God, and the vineyard are His people.
Verse 2 – He dug it up and cleared out its stones, and planted it with the choicest vine. He built a tower in its midst, and also made a wine-press in it; so He expected it to bring forth good grapes, but it brought forth wild grapes.
Verse 3 – “And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem and men of Judah, judge, please, between Me and My vineyard.
Do you remember reading in 2 Samuel 12:1-15, when Nathan came to King David and pointed out his sin with Bathsheba? This is what Isaiah is doing here: Isaiah was calling the people to judge themselves.
Verse 4 – What more could have been done to My vineyard that I have not done in it? Why then, when I expected it to bring forth good grapes, did it bring forth wild grapes?
Verse 5 – And now, please let Me tell you what I will do to My vineyard: I will take away its hedge, and it shall be burned; and break down its wall, and it shall be trampled down.
Let me tell you a little bit about a protective “Hedge.” In this verse, the vineyard was God’s people that He had provided for, prospered, and protected. A hedge was a fence of thorns – bushes that grow so thick nothing could penetrate through it. It had a double enclosure with a wall. God was about to burn it down.
Now, to define what a hedge of protection is to the Christian. When you stay in a church, surrounded by other believing Christians, God has a “Wall” of protection surrounding you. When you walk away from the body of believers and don’t find another church to join, you are left on the “outside” of that “hedge” of protection! Just like a sheep that wonders off from the flock, they are exposed to all kinds of danger. The wolves come in!
Verse 6 – “I will lay it to waste; it shall not be pruned or dug, but there shall come up briers and thorns. I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain on it.”
When God says He will withhold the rain, He will withhold His blessing.
Verse 7 – For the vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah are His pleasant plant. He looked for justice, but behold oppression; for righteousness, but behold, weeping.
Verse 8 – Woe to those who join house to house (accumulate houses), who add field to field, till there is no place where they may dwell alone in the midst of the land!
This is the first woe: This is directed toward those who expanded their real estate holdings. They were buying up land at the cost of another being made homeless. The seizure of Naboth’s vineyard is an example of this (1 Kings 21).
Verse 9 – In my hearing the Lord of hosts said, “Truly, many houses shall be desolate, great and beautiful ones, without inhabitant.
Verse 10 – For ten acres of vineyard shall yield one bath , and a homer of seed shall yield one ephah (measure).”
While the wealthy intended to grab land to get richer, the end result would be the opposite – empty houses and poor harvest.
Verse 11 – Woe to those who rise early in the morning, that they may follow intoxicating drink; who continue until night, till wine inflames them!
Here is the second woe: They drank excessively, forgetting what was truly important.
Verse 12 – The harp and the strings, the tambourine and flute, and wine are in their feast; but they do not regard the work of the Lord, nor consider the operation of His hands.
Verse 13 – Therefore my people have gone into captivity, because they have no knowledge; their honorable men are famished, and their multitude dried up with thirst.
These people spent their time partying and drinking it up. Isaiah predicted many would soon die of hunger and thirst. Pleasures without God will destroy.
Verse 14 – Therefore Sheol has enlarged itself and opened its mouth beyond measure; their glory and their multitude and their pomp, and he who is jubilant, shall descend into it.
Verse 15 – People shall be brought down, each man shall be humbled, and the eyes of the lofty shall be humbled.
The mighty, both high and the low, shall be brought to destruction.
Verse 16 – But the Lord of hosts shall be exalted in judgment, and God who is holy shall be hallowed in righteousness.
Verse 17 – Then the lambs shall feed in their pasture, and in the waste places of the fat ones strangers shall eat.
The poor will be left in the land after the rich were carried into captivity.
Verse 18 – Woe to those who draw iniquity with cords of vanity, and sin as if with a cart rope;
Verse 19 – They say, “Let Him make speed and hasten His work, that we may see it; and let the counsel of the Holy One of Israel draw near and come, that we may know it.”
The third woe depicts people who drag their sin around with them, not willing to let them go. Their sin was one of Cynicism. They challenged God to act. They sinned and did not see God’s punishment coming.
Verse 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!
When people make excuses for their actions, they break down the distinction between right and wrong. If it doesn’t line up with God’s Word, moral decisions will become fuzzy. The fourth woe caused moral confusion – calling good evil and evil good.
Verse 21 – Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!
Romans 1:22 – Professing to be wise, they became fools,…
Verse 22 – Woe to men mighty at drinking wine, woe to men valiant for mixing intoxicating drink.
Verse 23 – Who justify the wicked for a bribe, and take away justice from the righteous man!
The sixth and final woe returns to the earlier issue of excessive drinking and also twisting justice for money.
Verse 24 – Therefore, as the fire devours the stubble, and the flames consumes the calf, so their root will be as rottenness, and their blossom will ascend like dust; because they have rejected the law of the Lord of hosts, and despise the word of the Holy One of Israel.
Israel suffered because they rebelled against God. We should make reading God’s word a top priority in order to be more like Him.
Verse 25 – Therefore the anger of the Lord is aroused against His people; He has stretched out His hand against them and stricken them, and the hills trembled. Their carcasses were as refuse in the midst of the streets. For all this His anger is not turned away, but His hand is stretched out still.
Verse 26 – He will lift up a banner to the nations from afar, and will whistle to them from the end of the earth; surely they shall come with speed, swiftly.
God will call for foreign armies to descend on His people. Though the names are not mentioned here, we know from history it was the Assyrians and the Babylonians. This illustrates God’s sovereign rule over the nations.
Verse 27 – No one will be weary or stumble among them, no one will slumber or sleep; nor will the belt on their loins be loosed, nor the strap of their sandals be broken;
Verse 28 – Whose arrows are sharp, and all their bows bent; their horses hooves will seem like flint, and their wheels like a whirlwind.
Verse 29 – Their roaring will be like a lion, they will roar like young lions; yes, they will roar and lay hold of their pry; they will carry it away safely, and no one will deliver.
Verse 30 – In that day they will roar against them like the roaring of the sea. And if one looks to the land, behold, darkness and sorrow; and the light is darkened by the clouds.
The armies that were about to descend on Israel would be diligent to take every opportunity of executing God’s judgment. The Assyrians began to torment Israel during the reign of Ahaz (735-715 B.C.). They destroyed the northern kingdom in 722 B. C. and scattered the people throughout its own empire.
God compared the armies like lions and that signifies their cruelty when devouring their prey.
Sin always takes you farther than you want to go and costs more than you could ever pay!