Isaiah 5

The Song of the Vineyard

1 I will sing for the one I love a song about his vineyard: My loved one had a vineyard on a fertile hillside.
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.
3 “Now you dwellers in Jerusalem and people of Judah, judge between me and my vineyard.
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 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.
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.”
7 The vineyard of the LORD Almighty is the nation of Israel, and the people of Judah are the vines he delighted in. And he looked for justice, but saw bloodshed; for righteousness, but heard cries of distress.

Woes and Judgments

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.
9 The LORD Almighty has declared in my hearing: “Surely the great houses will become desolate, the fine mansions left without occupants.
10 A ten-acre vineyard will produce only a bath[a] of wine; a homer[b] of seed will yield only an ephah[c] of grain.”
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.
12 They have harps and lyres at their banquets, pipes and timbrels and wine, but they have no regard for the deeds of the LORD, no respect for the work of his hands.
13 Therefore my people will go into exile for lack of understanding; those of high rank will die of hunger and the common people will be parched with thirst.
14 Therefore Death expands its jaws, opening wide its mouth; into it will descend their nobles and masses with all their brawlers and revelers.
15 So people will be brought low and everyone humbled, the eyes of the arrogant humbled.
16 But the LORD Almighty will be exalted by his justice, and the holy God will be proved holy by his righteous acts.
17 Then sheep will graze as in their own pasture; lambs will feed[d] among the ruins of the rich.
18 Woe to those who draw sin along with cords of deceit, and wickedness as with cart ropes,
19 to those who say, “Let God hurry; let him hasten his work so we may see it. The plan of the Holy One of Israel— let it approach, let it come into view, so we may know it.”
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.
21 Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and clever in their own sight.
22 Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine and champions at mixing drinks,
23 who acquit the guilty for a bribe, but deny justice to the innocent.
24 Therefore, as tongues of fire lick up straw and as dry grass sinks down in the flames, so their roots will decay and their flowers blow away like dust; for they have rejected the law of the LORD Almighty and spurned the word of the Holy One of Israel.
25 Therefore the LORD’s anger burns against his people; his hand is raised and he strikes them down. The mountains shake, and the dead bodies are like refuse in the streets. Yet for all this, his anger is not turned away, his hand is still upraised.
26 He lifts up a banner for the distant nations, he whistles for those at the ends of the earth. Here they come, swiftly and speedily!
27 Not one of them grows tired or stumbles, not one slumbers or sleeps; not a belt is loosened at the waist, not a sandal strap is broken.
28 Their arrows are sharp, all their bows are strung; their horses’ hooves seem like flint, their chariot wheels like a whirlwind.
29 Their roar is like that of the lion, they roar like young lions; they growl as they seize their prey and carry it off with no one to rescue.
30 In that day they will roar over it like the roaring of the sea. And if one looks at the land, there is only darkness and distress; even the sun will be darkened by 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 93

  • 1. Psalms 80:8-9; Isaiah 27:2; John 15:1
  • 2. S Exodus 15:17; Isaiah 16:8; Jeremiah 2:21
  • 3. 1 Samuel 2:9; Isaiah 27:3; Isaiah 31:5; Isaiah 49:8; Matthew 21:33
  • 4. S Job 24:11
  • 5. Matthew 21:19; Mark 11:13; Luke 13:6
  • 6. Matthew 21:40
  • 7. S 2 Chronicles 36:15; Jeremiah 2:5-7; Micah 6:3-4; Matthew 23:37
  • 8. Jeremiah 2:21; Jeremiah 24:2; Jeremiah 29:17
  • 9. 2 Chronicles 36:21; Isaiah 6:12; Isaiah 27:10
  • 10. S Psalms 80:12; S Isaiah 22:5
  • 11. Isaiah 10:6; Isaiah 26:6; Isaiah 28:3,18; Isaiah 41:25; Isaiah 63:3; Jeremiah 12:10; Jeremiah 34:22; Lamentations 1:15; Hosea 2:12; Micah 7:10; Malachi 4:3; S Luke 21:24
  • 12. S Genesis 6:13; S Leviticus 26:32; Isaiah 6:13; Isaiah 49:17,19; Isaiah 51:3; Joel 1:10
  • 13. ver 10,17; S 2 Samuel 23:6; Isaiah 7:23,24; Isaiah 32:13; Isaiah 34:13; Isaiah 55:13; Ezekiel 28:24; Hosea 2:12; Hebrews 6:8
  • 14. S Deuteronomy 28:24; S 2 Samuel 1:21; Amos 4:7
  • 15. Psalms 80:8; Isaiah 17:10; Isaiah 18:5; Isaiah 37:30
  • 16. Isaiah 10:2; Isaiah 29:21; Isaiah 32:7; Isaiah 59:15; Isaiah 61:8; Ezekiel 9:9; Ezekiel 22:29
  • 17. S Isaiah 1:21
  • 18. S Psalms 12:5
  • 19. ver 11,18,20; Isaiah 6:5; Isaiah 10:1; Isaiah 24:16; Jeremiah 22:13
  • 20. Job 20:19; Micah 2:2; Habakkuk 2:9-12
  • 21. Jeremiah 44:11
  • 22. Isaiah 22:14
  • 23. Isaiah 6:11-12; Matthew 23:38
  • 24. S ver 6; Leviticus 26:26; S Deuteronomy 28:38; Zechariah 8:10
  • 25. S ver 8
  • 26. S 1 Samuel 25:36; S Proverbs 23:29-30
  • 27. Psalms 68:25; Isaiah 24:8
  • 28. S Job 21:12
  • 29. S 1 Samuel 12:24; Job 34:27
  • 30. Psalms 28:5; Ezekiel 26:13; Amos 6:5-6
  • 31. Isaiah 49:21; Hosea 4:6
  • 32. S Proverbs 10:21; S Isaiah 1:3; Hosea 4:6
  • 33. S Job 22:8
  • 34. S Isaiah 3:1
  • 35. S Proverbs 30:16
  • 36. S Numbers 16:30
  • 37. Isaiah 22:2,13; Isaiah 23:7; Isaiah 24:8
  • 38. Isaiah 10:33
  • 39. S Isaiah 2:9
  • 40. S Isaiah 2:11
  • 41. Psalms 97:9; Isaiah 33:10
  • 42. Isaiah 28:17; Isaiah 30:18; Isaiah 33:5; Isaiah 61:8
  • 43. S Leviticus 10:3; Isaiah 29:23; Ezekiel 36:23
  • 44. Isaiah 7:25; Isaiah 17:2; Isaiah 32:14; Zephaniah 2:6,14
  • 45. S ver 8
  • 46. Hosea 11:4
  • 47. Isaiah 59:4-8; Jeremiah 23:14
  • 48. Isaiah 60:22
  • 49. S Isaiah 1:4; Isaiah 29:23; Isaiah 30:11,12
  • 50. Jeremiah 17:15; Ezekiel 12:22; 2 Peter 3:4
  • 51. S ver 8
  • 52. S Genesis 18:25; S 1 Kings 22:8
  • 53. S Psalms 94:21
  • 54. S Job 24:13; Matthew 6:22-23; Luke 11:34-35
  • 55. Amos 5:7
  • 56. S Proverbs 3:7; Isaiah 47:10; Romans 12:16; 1 Corinthians 3:18-20
  • 57. S 1 Samuel 25:36; S Proverbs 23:20; S Isaiah 22:13
  • 58. S Proverbs 31:4; Isaiah 65:11; Jeremiah 7:18
  • 59. S Exodus 23:8; S Ezekiel 22:12
  • 60. ver 7; S Isaiah 1:17; Isaiah 10:2; Isaiah 29:21; Isaiah 59:4,13-15
  • 61. S Psalms 94:21; Amos 5:12; James 5:6
  • 62. S Isaiah 1:31
  • 63. Isaiah 47:14; Nahum 1:10
  • 64. S 2 Kings 19:30; S Job 18:16
  • 65. S Job 24:24; Isaiah 40:8
  • 66. Psalms 107:11; Isaiah 8:6; Isaiah 30:9,12
  • 67. Job 6:10; Isaiah 1:4; Isaiah 10:20; Isaiah 12:6
  • 68. S 2 Kings 22:13; S Job 40:11; Isaiah 10:17; Isaiah 26:11; Isaiah 31:9; Isaiah 66:15; S Jeremiah 6:12
  • 69. S Exodus 19:18
  • 70. S Psalms 110:6
  • 71. S 2 Kings 9:37
  • 72. S 2 Samuel 22:43
  • 73. Jeremiah 4:8; Daniel 9:16
  • 74. Isa 9:12,17,21; Isaiah 10:4
  • 75. S Psalms 20:5
  • 76. Isaiah 7:18; Zechariah 10:8
  • 77. Deuteronomy 28:49; Isaiah 13:5; Isaiah 18:3
  • 78. Isaiah 14:31; Isaiah 40:29-31
  • 79. Isaiah 22:21; Ezekiel 23:15
  • 80. S Job 12:18
  • 81. Joel 2:7-8
  • 82. S Job 39:23; Psalms 45:5
  • 83. S Psalms 7:12
  • 84. Ezekiel 26:11
  • 85. S 2 Kings 2:1; S Job 1:19
  • 86. S 2 Kings 17:25; Jeremiah 51:38; Zephaniah 3:3; Zechariah 11:3
  • 87. Isaiah 10:6; Isaiah 49:24-25
  • 88. Isaiah 42:22; Micah 5:8
  • 89. S Isaiah 2:11
  • 90. S Psalms 93:3; Jeremiah 50:42; Luke 21:25
  • 91. S 1 Samuel 2:9; S Job 21:30; Psalms 18:28; Psalms 44:19; S Psalms 82:5
  • 92. S Judges 6:2; Isaiah 22:5; Isaiah 33:2; Isaiah 8:22; Jeremiah 4:23-28
  • 93. Isaiah 13:10; Isaiah 50:3; Joel 2:10

Footnotes 4

  • [a]. That is, about 6 gallons or about 22 liters
  • [b]. That is, probably about 360 pounds or about 160 kilograms
  • [c]. That is, probably about 36 pounds or about 16 kilograms
  • [d]. Septuagint; Hebrew "/ strangers will eat"

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

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