Now I will sing a song for the one I love about his vineyard: My beloved has a vineyard on a rich and fertile hill.
He plowed the land, cleared its stones, and planted it with choice vines. In the middle he built a watchtower and carved a winepress in the nearby rocks. Then he waited for a harvest of sweet grapes, but the grapes that grew were wild and sour.
"Now, you people of Jerusalem and Judah, you have heard the case; you be the judges.
What more could I have done to cultivate a rich harvest? Why did my vineyard give me wild grapes when I expected sweet ones?
Now this is what I am going to do to my vineyard: I will tear down its fences and let it be destroyed. I will break down its walls and let the animals trample it.
I will make it a wild place. I will not prune the vines or hoe the ground. I will let it be overgrown with briers and thorns. I will command the clouds to drop no more rain on it."
This is the story of the LORD's people. They are the vineyard of the LORD Almighty. Israel and Judah are his pleasant garden. He expected them to yield a crop of justice, but instead he found bloodshed. He expected to find righteousness, but instead he heard cries of oppression.
Destruction is certain for you who buy up property so others have no place to live. Your homes are built on great estates so you can be alone in the land.
But the LORD Almighty has sealed your awful fate. With my own ears I heard him say, "Many beautiful homes will stand deserted, the owners dead or gone.
Ten acres a of vineyard will not produce even six gallons b of wine. Ten measures of seed will yield only one measure c of grain."
Destruction is certain for you who get up early to begin long drinking bouts that last late into the night.
You furnish lovely music and wine at your grand parties; the harps, lyres, tambourines, and flutes are superb! But you never think about the LORD or notice what he is doing.
So I will send my people into exile far away because they do not know me. The great and honored among them will starve, and the common people will die of thirst.
The grave d is licking its chops in anticipation of Jerusalem, this delicious morsel. Her great and lowly will be swallowed up, with all her drunken crowds.
In that day the arrogant will be brought down to the dust; the proud will be humbled.
But the LORD Almighty is exalted by his justice. The holiness of God is displayed by his righteousness.
In those days flocks will feed among the ruins; lambs and kids e will pasture there.
Destruction is certain for those who drag their sins behind them, tied with cords of falsehood.
They even mock the Holy One of Israel and say, "Hurry up and do something! Quick, show us what you can do. We want to see what you have planned."
Destruction is certain for those who say that evil is good and good is evil; that dark is light and light is dark; that bitter is sweet and sweet is bitter.
Destruction is certain for those who think they are wise and consider themselves to be clever.
Destruction is certain for those who are heroes when it comes to drinking, who boast about all the liquor they can hold.
They take bribes to pervert justice. They let the wicked go free while punishing the innocent.
Therefore, they will all disappear like burning straw. Their roots will rot and their flowers wither, for they have rejected the law of the LORD Almighty. They have despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.
That is why the anger of the LORD burns against his people. That is why he has raised his fist to crush them. The hills tremble, and the rotting bodies of his people are thrown as garbage into the streets. But even then the LORD's anger will not be satisfied. His fist is still poised to strike!
He will send a signal to the nations far away. He will whistle to those at the ends of the earth, and they will come racing toward Jerusalem.
They will not get tired or stumble. They will run without stopping for rest or sleep. Not a belt will be loose, not a sandal thong broken.
Their arrows will be sharp and their bows ready for battle. Sparks will fly from their horses' hooves as the wheels of their chariots spin like the wind.
Roaring like lions, they will pounce on their prey. They will seize my people and carry them off into captivity, and no one will be there to rescue them.
The enemy nations will growl over their victims like the roaring of the sea. A cloud of darkness and sorrow will hover over Israel. The clouds will blot out the light.
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved. (New Living Translation - The Bible Online)