The state and conduct of the Jewish nation. (1-7) The judgments which would come. (8-23) The executioners of these judgments. (24-30)
Verses 1-7 Christ is God's beloved Son, and our beloved Saviour. The care of the Lord over the church of Israel, is described by the management of a vineyard. The advantages of our situation will be brought into the account another day. He planted it with the choicest vines; gave them a most excellent law, instituted proper ordinances. The temple was a tower, where God gave tokens of his presence. He set up his altar, to which the sacrifices should be brought; all the means of grace are denoted thereby. God expects fruit from those that enjoy privileges. Good purposes and good beginnings are good things, but not enough; there must be vineyard fruit; thoughts and affections, words and actions, agreeable to the Spirit. It brought forth bad fruit. Wild grapes are the fruits of the corrupt nature. Where grace does not work, corruption will. But the wickedness of those that profess religion, and enjoy the means of grace, must be upon the sinners themselves. They shall no longer be a peculiar people. When errors and vice go without check or control, the vineyard is unpruned; then it will soon be grown over with thorns. This is often shown in the departure of God's Spirit from those who have long striven against him, and the removal of his gospel from places which have long been a reproach to it. The explanation is given. It is sad with a soul, when, instead of the grapes of humility, meekness, love, patience, and contempt of the world, for which God looks, there are the wild grapes of pride, passion, discontent, and malice, and contempt of God; instead of the grapes of praying and praising, the wild grapes of cursing and swearing. Let us bring forth fruit with patience, that in the end we may obtain everlasting life.
Verses 8-23 Here is a woe to those who set their hearts on the wealth of the world. Not that it is sinful for those who have a house and a field to purchase another; but the fault is, that they never know when they have enough. Covetousness is idolatry; and while many envy the prosperous, wretched man, the Lord denounces awful woes upon him. How applicable to many among us! God has many ways to empty the most populous cities. Those who set their hearts upon the world, will justly be disappointed. Here is woe to those who dote upon the pleasures and the delights of sense. The use of music is lawful; but when it draws away the heart from God, then it becomes a sin to us. God's judgments have seized them, but they will not disturb themselves in their pleasures. The judgments are declared. Let a man be ever so high, death will bring him low; ever so mean, death will bring him lower. The fruit of these judgments shall be, that God will be glorified as a God of power. Also, as a God that is holy; he shall be owned and declared to be so, in the righteous punishment of proud men. Those are in a woful condition who set up sin, and who exert themselves to gratify their base lusts. They are daring in sin, and walk after their own lusts; it is in scorn that they call God the Holy One of Israel. They confound and overthrow distinctions between good and evil. They prefer their own reasonings to Divine revelations; their own devices to the counsels and commands of God. They deem it prudent and politic to continue profitable sins, and to neglect self-denying duties. Also, how light soever men make of drunkenness, it is a sin which lays open to the wrath and curse of God. Their judges perverted justice. Every sin needs some other to conceal it.
Verses 24-30 Let not any expect to live easily who live wickedly. Sin weakens the strength, the root of a people; it defaces the beauty, the blossoms of a people. When God's word is despised, and his law cast away, what can men expect but that God should utterly abandon them? When God comes forth in wrath, the hills tremble, fear seizes even great men. When God designs the ruin of a provoking people, he can find instruments to be employed in it, as he sent for the Chaldeans, and afterwards the Romans, to destroy the Jews. Those who would not hear the voice of God speaking by his prophets, shall hear the voice of their enemies roaring against them. Let the distressed look which way they will, all appears dismal. If God frowns upon us, how can any creature smile? Let us diligently seek the well-grounded assurance, that when all earthly helps and comforts shall fail, God himself will be the strength of our hearts, and our portion for ever.
In this chapter, under the parable of a vineyard and its ruins, the Jews and their destruction are represented; the reasons of which are given, their manifold sins and transgressions, particularly enumerated, with the punishment threatened to them, and which is delivered in form of a song. The vineyard is described by the owner of it, a well beloved one; by the situation of it, in a fruitful hill; by the fence about it, and care and culture of it; and by its not answering the expectation of the owner, it bringing forth wild grapes instead of good ones, Isa 5:1,2 wherefore the men of Judah and Jerusalem are made judges between the owner and his vineyard, what more could have been done to it, or rather what was now to be done to it, since this was the case; and the result is, that it should be utterly laid waste, and come to ruin; and the whole is applied to the house of Israel, and men of Judah, Isa 5:3-7 whose sins, as the cause of their ruin, are mentioned in the following verses; their covetousness, with the punishment of it, Isa 5:8-10 their intemperance, luxury, and love of pleasure, with the punishment threatened thereunto, Isa 5:11-14 whereby haughty men should be humbled, the Lord be glorified, and at the same time his weak and innocent people would be taken care of, Isa 5:15-17 next, other sins are taken notice of, and woes pronounced on account of them, as, an impudent course of sinning, insolent impiety against God, confusion of good and evil, conceit of their own wisdom, drunkenness, and perversion of justice, Isa 5:18-23 wherefore for these things, and for their contempt and rejection of the law and word of the Lord, utter destruction is threatened them, Isa 5:24 yea, the anger of God had been already kindled against them, and they had felt it in some instances, Isa 5:25 but they are given to expect severer judgments, by means of foreign nations, that should be gathered against them; who are described by their swiftness, strength, and vigilance; by their armour, horses, and carriages; and by their terror and cruelty; the consequence of which would be utter darkness, distress, and calamities, in the land of Judea, Isa 5:26-30.