A Song about the Lord’s Vineyard
1Now I will sing for the one I love
a song about his vineyard:
My beloved had a vineyard
on a rich and fertile hill.
2He plowed the land, cleared its stones,
and planted it with the best vines.
In the middle he built a watchtower
and carved a winepress in the nearby rocks.
Then he waited for a harvest of sweet grapes,
but the grapes that grew were bitter.
3Now, you people of Jerusalem and Judah,
you judge between me and my vineyard.
4What more could I have done for my vineyard
that I have not already done?
When I expected sweet grapes,
why did my vineyard give me bitter grapes?
5Now let me tell you
what I will do to my vineyard:
I will tear down its hedges
and let it be destroyed.
I will break down its walls
and let the animals trample it.
6I will make it a wild place
where the vines are not pruned and the ground is not hoed,
a place overgrown with briers and thorns.
I will command the clouds
to drop no rain on it.
7The nation of Israel is the vineyard of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.
The people of Judah are his pleasant garden.
He expected a crop of justice,
but instead he found oppression.
He expected to find righteousness,
but instead he heard cries of violence.
Judah’s Guilt and Judgment
8What sorrow for you who buy up house after house and field after field,
until everyone is evicted and you live alone in the land.
9But I have heard the Lord of Heaven’s Armies
swear a solemn oath:
“Many houses will stand deserted;
even beautiful mansions will be empty.
Ten baskets of seed will yield only one basket*5:10c Hebrew A homer [5 bushels or 220 liters] of seed will yield only an ephah [20 quarts or 22 liters]. of grain.”
11What sorrow for those who get up early in the morning
looking for a drink of alcohol
and spend long evenings drinking wine
to make themselves flaming drunk.
12They furnish wine and lovely music at their grand parties—
lyre and harp, tambourine and flute—
but they never think about the Lord
or notice what he is doing.
13So my people will go into exile far away
because they do not know me.
Those who are great and honored will starve,
and the common people will die of thirst.
14The grave*5:14 Hebrew Sheol. is licking its lips in anticipation,
opening its mouth wide.
The great and the lowly
and all the drunken mob will be swallowed up.
15Humanity will be destroyed, and people brought down;
even the arrogant will lower their eyes in humiliation.
16But the Lord of Heaven’s Armies will be exalted by his justice.
The holiness of God will be displayed by his righteousness.
17In that day lambs will find good pastures,
and fattened sheep and young goats*5:17 As in Greek version; Hebrew reads and strangers. will feed among the ruins.
18What sorrow for those who drag their sins behind them
with ropes made of lies,
who drag wickedness behind them like a cart!
19They even mock God and say,
“Hurry up and do something!
We want to see what you can do.
Let the Holy One of Israel carry out his plan,
for we want to know what it is.”
20What sorrow for those who say
that evil is good and good is evil,
that dark is light and light is dark,
that bitter is sweet and sweet is bitter.
21What sorrow for those who are wise in their own eyes
and think themselves so clever.
22What sorrow for those who are heroes at drinking wine
and boast about all the alcohol they can hold.
23They take bribes to let the wicked go free,
and they punish the innocent.
24Therefore, just as fire licks up stubble
and dry grass shrivels in the flame,
so their roots will rot
and their flowers wither.
For they have rejected the law of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies;
they have despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.
25That is why the Lord’s anger burns against his people,
and why he has raised his fist to crush them.
The mountains tremble,
and the corpses of his people litter the streets like garbage.
But even then the Lord’s anger is not satisfied.
His fist is still poised to strike!
26He will send a signal to distant nations far away
and whistle to those at the ends of the earth.
They will come racing toward Jerusalem.
27They will not get tired or stumble.
They will not stop for rest or sleep.
Not a belt will be loose,
not a sandal strap broken.
28Their arrows will be sharp
and their bows ready for battle.
Sparks will fly from their horses’ hooves,
and the wheels of their chariots will spin like a whirlwind.
29They will roar like lions,
like the strongest of lions.
Growling, they will pounce on their victims and carry them off,
and no one will be there to rescue them.
30They will roar over their victims on that day of destruction
like the roaring of the sea.
If someone looks across the land,
only darkness and distress will be seen;
even the light will be darkened by clouds.