A Song of a Vineyard
Works of art by Unknown Assyrian artist, Rembrandt van Rijn, and Samuel Bak
Commentaries by Kimberly J. Vrudny
Bible passage (Revised Standard Version)
5Let me sing for my beloved
a love song concerning his vineyard:
My beloved had a vineyard
on a very fertile hill.
2He digged it and cleared it of stones,
and planted it with choice vines;
he built a watchtower in the midst of it,
and hewed out a wine vat in it;
and he looked for it to yield grapes,
but it yielded wild grapes.
3And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem
and men of Judah,
judge, I pray you, between me
and my vineyard.
4What more was there to do for my vineyard,
that I have not done in it?
When I looked for it to yield grapes,
why did it yield wild grapes?
5And now I will tell you
what I will do to my vineyard.
I will remove its hedge,
and it shall be devoured;
I will break down its wall,
and it shall be trampled down.
6I will make it a waste;
it shall not be pruned or hoed,
and briers and thorns shall grow up;
I will also command the clouds
that they rain no rain upon it.
7For 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;
but behold, a cry!
8Woe to those who join 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.
9The Lord of hosts has sworn in my hearing:
“Surely many houses shall be desolate,
large and beautiful houses, without inhabitant.
10For ten acres of vineyard shall yield but one bath,
and a homer of seed shall yield but an ephah.”
11Woe to those who rise early in the morning,
that they may run after strong drink,
who tarry late into the evening
till wine inflames them!
12They have lyre and harp,
timbrel and flute and wine at their feasts;
but they do not regard the deeds of the Lord,
or see the work of his hands.
13Therefore my people go into exile
for want of knowledge;
their honored men are dying of hunger,
and their multitude is parched with thirst.
14Therefore Sheol has enlarged its appetite
and opened its mouth beyond measure,
and the nobility of Jerusalem and her multitude go down,
her throng and he who exults in her.
15Man is bowed down, and men are brought low,
and the eyes of the haughty are humbled.
16But the Lord of hosts is exalted in justice,
and the Holy God shows himself holy in righteousness.
17Then shall the lambs graze as in their pasture,
fatlings and kids shall feed among the ruins.
18Woe to those who draw iniquity with cords of falsehood,
who draw sin as with cart ropes,
19who say: “Let him make haste,
let him speed his work
that we may see it;
let the purpose of the Holy One of Israel draw near,
and let it come, that we may know it!”
20Woe 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!
21Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes,
and shrewd in their own sight!
22Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine,
and valiant men in mixing strong drink,
23who acquit the guilty for a bribe,
and deprive the innocent of his right!
24Therefore, as the tongue of fire devours the stubble,
and as dry grass sinks down in the flame,
so their root will be as rottenness,
and their blossom go up like dust;
for they have rejected the law of the Lord of hosts,
and have despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.
25Therefore the anger of the Lord was kindled against his people,
and he stretched out his hand against them and smote them,
and the mountains quaked;
and their corpses were as refuse
in the midst of the streets.
For all this his anger is not turned away
and his hand is stretched out still.
26He will raise a signal for a nation afar off,
and whistle for it from the ends of the earth;
and lo, swiftly, speedily it comes!
27None is weary, none stumbles,
none slumbers or sleeps,
not a waistcloth is loose,
not a sandal-thong broken;
28their arrows are sharp,
all their bows bent,
their horses’ hoofs seem like flint,
and their wheels like the whirlwind.
29Their roaring is like a lion,
like young lions they roar;
they growl and seize their prey,
they carry it off, and none can rescue.
30They will growl over it on that day,
like the roaring of the sea.
And if one look to the land,
behold, darkness and distress;
and the light is darkened by its clouds.