Isaiah 5

Listen to Isaiah 5

The Vineyard of the Lord Destroyed

1 Let me sing for my beloved my love song concerning his vineyard: My beloved had 1a vineyard on a very fertile hill.
2 He dug it and cleared it of stones, and planted it with 2choice vines; he built a watchtower in the midst of it, and hewed out a wine vat in it; and 3he looked for it to yield grapes, but it yielded wild grapes.
3 And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem and men of Judah, judge between me and my vineyard.
4 4What more was there to do for my vineyard, that I have not done in it? 5When I looked for it to yield grapes, why did it yield wild grapes?
5 And now I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard. I will remove 6its hedge, and it shall be devoured;[a] 7I will break down its wall, and it shall be trampled down.
6 I will make it a waste; it shall not be pruned or hoed, and 8briers and thorns shall grow up; 9I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it.
7 10For the vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah are his pleasant planting; and he looked for justice, but behold, bloodshed;[b] for righteousness, but behold, an outcry![c]

Woe to the Wicked

8 Woe to those who 11join house to house, who add field to field, until there is no more room, and you are made to dwell alone in the midst of the land.
9 The LORD of hosts has sworn in my hearing: 12"Surely many houses shall be desolate, large and beautiful houses, without inhabitant.
10 13For ten acres[d] of vineyard shall yield but one bath, and a 14homer of seed shall yield but an ephah."[e]
11 Woe to those who 15rise early in the morning, that they may run after strong drink, who tarry late into the evening as wine inflames them!
12 16They have lyre and harp, tambourine and flute and wine at their feasts, 17but they do not regard the deeds of the LORD, or see the work of his hands.
13 Therefore my people go into exile 18for lack of knowledge;[f] their 19honored men go hungry,[g] and their multitude is parched with thirst.
14 Therefore Sheol has 20enlarged its appetite and opened 21its mouth beyond measure, and the nobility of Jerusalem[h] and her multitude will go down, her revelers and he who 22exults in her.
15 23Man is humbled, and each one is brought low, and the eyes of the haughty[i] are brought low.
16 24But the LORD of hosts is exalted[j] in justice, and the Holy God shows himself holy in righteousness.
17 Then shall the lambs graze 25as in their pasture, and 26nomads shall eat among the ruins of the rich.
18 Woe to those who draw iniquity with 27cords of falsehood, who draw sin as with cart ropes,
19 who say: 28"Let him be quick, let him speed his work that we may see it; let the counsel of the Holy One of Israel draw near, and let it come, that we may know it!"
20 Woe to 29those who call evil good and good evil, 30who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!
21 Woe to those who are 31wise in their own eyes, and shrewd in their own sight!
22 Woe to those who are 32heroes at drinking wine, and valiant men in mixing strong drink,
23 who 33acquit the guilty for a bribe, and deprive the innocent of his right!
24 Therefore, 34as the tongue of fire devours the stubble, and as dry grass sinks down in the flame, so 35their root will be 36as rottenness, and their blossom go up like dust; for they have 37rejected the law of the LORD of hosts, and have 38despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.
25 Therefore 39the anger of the LORD was kindled against his people, and he stretched out his hand against them and struck them, and 40the mountains quaked; and their corpses were 41as refuse in the midst of the streets. 42For all this his anger has not turned away, and his hand is stretched out still.
26 He will 43raise a signal for nations far away, and 44whistle for them 45from the ends of the earth; and behold, quickly, speedily they come!
27 46None is weary, none stumbles, none slumbers or sleeps, not a waistband is loose, not a sandal strap broken;
28 47their arrows are sharp, all their bows bent, their horses' hoofs seem like flint, and their wheels 48like the whirlwind.
29 Their roaring is like a lion, like young lions they roar; they growl and 49seize their prey; they carry it off, and none can rescue.
30 They will growl over it on that day, like the growling of the sea. And if one looks to the land, behold, 50darkness and distress; and the light is darkened by its clouds.

Isaiah 5 Commentary

Chapter 5

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.

Cross References 50

  • 1. Psalms 80:8; Matthew 21:33; Mark 12:1; Luke 20:9; [Hosea 9:10]
  • 2. Jeremiah 2:21
  • 3. [Matthew 21:19; Mark 11:13; Luke 13:6]
  • 4. [Micah 6:3, 4]
  • 5. [See ver. 2 above]
  • 6. [Jeremiah 5:10]
  • 7. Psalms 80:12; [Proverbs 24:31]
  • 8. See Isaiah 7:23-25
  • 9. [1 Kings 17:1; Jeremiah 14:1, 22]
  • 10. [Isaiah 3:14]; See Psalms 80:8-11
  • 11. Micah 2:2
  • 12. Isaiah 6:12
  • 13. [Leviticus 26:26; Haggai 1:6; Haggai 2:16]
  • 14. Ezekiel 45:11
  • 15. ver. 22; [Proverbs 23:29, 30; Ecclesiastes 10:16, 17]
  • 16. Amos 6:5, 6
  • 17. Isaiah 26:11
  • 18. Isaiah 1:3; Hosea 4:6
  • 19. [Lam. 4:2, 7, 8]
  • 20. Habakkuk 2:5
  • 21. Psalms 141:7
  • 22. [ver. 12; Job 1:18, 19]
  • 23. Isaiah 2:9
  • 24. Isaiah 2:11, 17
  • 25. Micah 2:12
  • 26. [Judges 6:3]
  • 27. Proverbs 5:22
  • 28. [Ezekiel 12:22; 2 Peter 3:4]
  • 29. [Amos 5:7]
  • 30. [Job 17:12; Matthew 6:22, 23; Luke 11:34, 35]
  • 31. Proverbs 3:7; Romans 12:16
  • 32. ver. 11
  • 33. Exodus 23:8; Proverbs 17:15
  • 34. Isaiah 47:14; Joel 2:5; [Exodus 15:7]
  • 35. Job 18:16
  • 36. Hosea 5:12
  • 37. Isaiah 30:9
  • 38. Isaiah 1:4
  • 39. 2 Kings 22:13, 17
  • 40. Jeremiah 4:24; [Psalms 97:5; Habakkuk 3:6]
  • 41. [2 Kings 9:37; Jeremiah 36:30]
  • 42. Isaiah 9:12, 17, 21; Isaiah 10:4
  • 43. Isaiah 11:12; Isaiah 13:2; Isaiah 18:3
  • 44. Isaiah 7:18; Zechariah 10:8
  • 45. Isaiah 10:3; Deuteronomy 28:49
  • 46. See Isaiah 10:28-31
  • 47. Psalms 7:12, 13
  • 48. Isaiah 21:1
  • 49. See 2 Kings 18:13-16
  • 50. Isaiah 8:22

Footnotes 10

  • [a]. Or grazed over; compare Exodus 22:5
  • [b]. The Hebrew words for justice and bloodshed sound alike
  • [c]. The Hebrew words for righteous and outcry sound alike
  • [d]. Hebrew ten yoke, the area ten yoke of oxen can plow in a day
  • [e]. A bath was about 6 gallons or 22 liters; a homer was about 6 bushels or 220 liters; an ephah was about 3/5 bushel or 22 liters
  • [f]. Or without their knowledge
  • [g]. Or die of hunger
  • [h]. Hebrew her nobility
  • [i]. Hebrew high
  • [j]. Hebrew high

Chapter Summary


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.

Isaiah 5 Commentaries

The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.