Isaiah 5-

1 Now will I sing to my wellbeloved a song of my beloved touching His vineyard. My wellbeloved hath a vineyard in a very fruitful hill:

1 Now I will sing for the one I love a song about his vineyard: My beloved had a vineyard on a rich and fertile hill. – New Living Translation

This probably rhymed in the original Hebrew.

God is singing about His wife, Israel.

2 And He fenced it, and gathered out the stones thereof, and planted it with the choicest vine, and built a tower in the midst of it, and also made a winepress therein: and he looked that it should bring forth grapes, and it brought forth wild grapes. 

 The Vineyard owner made sure the vineyard was a safe, beautiful place with everything needed to give beautiful, lush grapes, but all it would produce was worthless fruit.

3 And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem, and men of Judah, judge, I pray you, betwixt Me and My vineyard. 

4 What could have been done more to my vineyard, that I have not done in it? Wherefore, when I looked that it should bring forth grapes, brought it forth wild grapes? 

“What more could I have possibly done to make Israel love Me and follow Me and do My will?”

5 And now go to; I will tell you what I will do to My vineyard: I will take away the hedge thereof, and it shall be eaten up; and break down the wall thereof, and it shall be trodden down: 

 God will remove His protection. Many believe, and possibly rightfully so, that natural disasters and war are not so much punishment from God as the natural state of things without His protection.

6 And I will lay it waste: it shall not be pruned, nor digged; but there shall come up briers and thorns: I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it. 

 Israel is in for a time of war and drought.

7 For the vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah His pleasant plant: and he looked for judgment, but behold oppression; for righteousness, but behold a cry.

God wanted nothing more than righteousness and justice among His people. That’s all the Mosaic Law was; rules for righteousness and justice. Jesus said if you Love God with all you’ve got and love your neighbor as yourself you WILL keep the WHOLE Law. That IS the whole Law. Israel wouldn’t do it; they wouldn’t keep the Law of God.

8 Woe unto them that join house to house, that lay field to field, till there be no place, that they may be placed alone in the midst of the earth!

8 What sorrow for you who buy up house after house and field after field, until everyone is evicted and you live alone in the land.- New Living Translation

This was one injustice being done; the rich were forcing the poor off their inheritance.

When Israel first took the land of Canaan, God had them divide up the land so that everyone had an equal amount. This gave everyone a fair shot, especially over several generations, of having a good life.

But once a person lost their land there wasn’t much way they or their children could ever recover. Their family was pretty much doomed to be farm workers forever.

The rich were maneuvering things so the poor had no choice but to sell their land to them.

God values personal property rights. This is something often forgotten in this socialistic age, even by Christians. God does not honor stealing, taking another’s property, whether it’s done with a gun in your own hand or in the hand of the IRS.

Yes, we are very much to care for the poor, but it is not compassionate, it is not righteous to take money from your neighbor to give to the poor. That just makes you feel all warm and fuzzy, but it is evil.

We are to give to the poor out of our OWN pockets and let God deal with whether our neighbor gives or not.

9 In mine ears said the LORD of hosts, Of a truth many houses shall be desolate, even great and fair, without inhabitant. 

 As a result of this land grab, God is going to destroy these rich so their houses sit empty.

10 Yea, ten acres of vineyard shall yield one bath, and the seed of a homer shall yield an ephah.

10 Ten acres of vineyard will not produce even six gallons of wine. Ten baskets of seed will yield only one basket of grain.- NLT

Drought is a tool God often uses to accomplish His will. He will drive the rich off this land through bankruptcy and starvation.

11 Woe unto them that rise up early in the morning, that they may follow strong drink; that continue until night, till wine inflame them! 

 They were drunkards.

12 And the harp, and the viol, the tabret, and pipe, and wine, are in their feasts: but they regard not the work of the LORD, neither consider the operation of His hands. 

They were too busy partying to care what God wanted them to do.

God does give some people enough riches they don’t have to slave for hours every day to survive. He has plans for those people that a regular job would interfere with. If you find yourself with enough money that you need little work to have what you need, look for that none-money producing work God is putting in your path.

13 Therefore My people are gone into captivity, because they have no knowledge: and their honorable men are famished, and their multitude dried up with thirst.

God is going to bring the Assyrian army on Israel and the Babylonian army on Judah and carry them off into slavery.

Often, because of a lack of greed, the most honorable people are also poor. That was the case with Israel.

14 Therefore hell hath enlarged herself, and opened her mouth without measure: and their glory, and their multitude, and their pomp, and he that rejoiceth, shall descend into it. 

The punishment is coming and the partier is most in danger.

15 And the mean man shall be brought down, and the mighty man shall be humbled, and the eyes of the lofty shall be humbled:

God can knock the block off anyone He wants to.

16 But the LORD of hosts shall be exalted in judgment, and God that is holy shall be sanctified in righteousness. 

God always works things for His glory in the end.

17 Then shall the lambs feed after their manner, and the waste places of the fat ones shall strangers eat. 

17 In that day lambs will find good pastures, and fattened sheep and young goats will feed among the ruins. –NLT

The weakest will profit at the captivity of Israel/Judah. Both the Assyrians and Babylonians left the poorest in the land to keep it from becoming unproductive and wild. So, while the rich stole the land from the poor, in the end, the poor would have all the land, including the rich man’s!

18 Woe unto them that draw iniquity with cords of vanity, and sin as it were with a cart rope:

18 What sorrow for those who drag their sins behind them with ropes made of lies, who drag wickedness behind them like a cart! –NLT

Sometimes the newer translations just make more sense. After reading the NLT I can see this is what the KJV says.

19 That 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 nigh and come, that we may know it!”

They are mocking God, telling Him to hurry up and show them a miracle to prove He is there.

20 Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! 

Our culture is trying hard to do this right now. They are turning things completely around.

Those who choose to sin are “brave and courageous” while those who choose to live by God’s rules are “bigots and haters.”

21 Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!

When you start thinking of yourself as “all that” it is time to watch out.

22 Woe unto them that are mighty to drink wine, and men of strength to mingle strong drink: 

22 What sorrow for those who are heroes at drinking wine and boast about all the alcohol they can hold.- NLT

This is not talking about having A glass of wine with dinner or A beer with the guys. It is talking about habitual, intentional drunkenness, with pride in the achievement of being the most drunk!

23 Which justify the wicked for reward, and take away the righteousness of the righteous from him!

If there is enough money behind it, it must be righteous, right?

This so reminds me of our governments (Federal, State, County, City, or even Home Owner’s Association). If a big business comes along and pays enough money into the reelection funds, they can get all the laws passed they want that outlaw competition. And it will all be done in the name of “protecting the consumer,” so they sound so righteous. In reality all they are doing is making it too expensive for the little man to compete.

24 Therefore as the fire devoureth the stubble, and the flame consumeth the chaff, so their root shall be as rottenness, and their blossom shall go up as dust: because they have cast away the law of the LORD of hosts, and despised the word of the Holy One of Israel. 

Because they have made up their own rules, to their own financial benefit, God will destroy them like fire in a field of dry grass.

25 Therefore is the anger of the LORD kindled against his people, and He hath stretched forth His hand against them, and hath smitten them: and the hills did tremble, and their carcasses were torn in the midst of the streets. For all this His anger is not turned away, but His hand is stretched out still.

“God is mad and you are in trouble!”

26 And He will lift up an ensign (flag with the symbol of a country) to the nations from far, and will hiss unto them from the end of the earth: and, behold, they shall come with speed swiftly:

God will put it in the head of Israel/Judah’s enemies to come destroy them.

27 None shall be weary nor stumble among them; none shall slumber nor sleep; neither shall the girdle of their loins be loosed, nor the latchet of their shoes be broken: 

The enemy won’t get tired. “Luck” will be on their side.

28 Whose arrows are sharp, and all their bows bent, their horses' hoofs shall be counted like flint, and their wheels like a whirlwind: 

29 Their roaring shall be like a lion, they shall roar like young lions: yea, they shall roar, and lay hold of the prey, and shall carry it away safe, and none shall deliver it. 

30 And in that day they shall roar against them like the roaring of the sea: and if one look unto the land, behold darkness and sorrow, and the light is darkened in the heavens thereof.

The Assyrians and Babylonians will simply be unbeatable when they attack.