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The Gospel To Israel
Book 1

Isaiah 4:1-5:30


Isaiah 4:1
From the Tanakh
(1)  In that day, seven women shall take hold of one man, saying,
“We will eat our own food
And wear our own clothes;
Only let us be called by your name-
Take away our disgrace!”

From the NKJV

(1)  And in that day seven women shall take hold of one man, saying,
"We will eat our own food and wear our own apparel;  only let us be called by your name, to take away our reproach."

And - links this verse on to the preceding chapter.

When war shall thus unsparingly have swept away the men of  Zion,  a most unnatural effect will ensue,  namely,  that women will go in search of  husbands,  and not men in search of wives.

The present pride of  the daughters of Zion,  every one of  whom now thought herself  the greatest as the wife of such and such a man,  and for whom many men were now the suitors,  would end in this unnatural
self-humiliation,  that seven of them would offer themselves to the same man,  the first man who presented himself,  and even renounce the ordinary legal claim upon their husband for clothing and food (Ex 21:10).

Exodus 21:10
If he marries again, her food, clothing, and privilege as a wife shall he not diminish.   (AMP)

It would be quite sufficient for them to be allowed to bear his name ("let thy name be named upon us"  the name is put upon the thing named,  as giving it its distinctness and character),  if he would only take away their reproach (namely,  the reproach of being unmarried, of being childless)  by letting them be called his wives.

It was in Jerusalem that the ungodly glory that was ripe for judgment was concentrated;
and it was in Jerusalem also that the light of  the true and final glory would concentrate itself.
To this promise,  with which the address returns to its starting-point,  the prophet now passes on without any further introduction.  In fact it needed no introduction,  for the judgment in itself was the medium of salvation.

When Jerusalem was judged,  it would be sifted;  and by being sifted,  it would be rescued,  pardoned,  glorified. The prophet proceeds in this sense to speak of  what would happen in that day,  and describes the one great day of  God at the end of  time,  according to its general character,  as opening with judgment,  but issuing in salvation.


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Isaiah 4:2
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum
(2In that day,   Shall the anointed one (or, Messiah) of the Lord be for joy and for glory
The radiance of the Lord God shall shine gloriously in counsel on the earth  
Will lend beauty and glory,
And the splendor of the land
[Will give] dignity and majesty,
To the survivors of Israel.   That are escaped of Israel

From the NKJV

(2)  In that day the Branch of the LORD shall be beautiful and glorious; and the fruit of the earth shall be excellent and appealing for those of Israel who have escaped.

The four epithets of glory  ("beautiful and glorious" and "excellent and appealing"),  which are here grouped in pairs,  strengthen our expectation,  that now that the mass of  Israel has been swept away,  together with the objects of  its worthless pride,  we shall find a description of  what will become an object of  well-grounded pride to the  "escaped of  Israel,"  i.e.,  to the remnant that has survived the judgment,  and been saved from destruction.

The Branch of the Lord  = Jehovah’s Branch -  Messiah.
So the Chaldee paraphrase has it.
The Hebrew word here is Zemach Jehovah  (sprout of Jehovah).
There are four titles of  Messiah:

1. Matthew the King (Zech. 9:9 with Jer. 23:5,6)
2. Mark the Servant (Isa. 42:1 with Zech. 3:8)
3. Luke the Man (Isa. 40:9,10, with Isa. 4:2)
4. John Jehovah Savior  

Compare Isaiah 28:5, where Jehovah Himself is described in the same manner,  as the glory and ornament of the remnant of  Israel  (In that day the LORD of hosts will be for a crown of glory and a diadem of beauty to the remnant of His people.).

But if the  "sprout of Jehovah"  is neither the redeemed remnant itself,  nor the fruit of the field,  it must be the name of  the Messiah.
And it is in this sense that it has been understood by the Targum  and others.
The great King of  the future is called Zemach, anatolee'  - as a shoot springing out of  the human,  Davidic,  earthly soil - a shoot which Jehovah had planted in the earth,  and would cause to break through and spring forth as the pride of  His congregation,  which was waiting for this heavenly child.

It is He again who is designated in the parallel clause as the "fruit of the land" (or lit. fruit of the earth), as being the fruit which the land of Israel, and consequently the earth itself, would produce, just as in Ezek 17:5.

Ezekiel 17:5
Then he took some of the seed of the land and planted it in a fertile field;  He placed it by abundant waters and set it like a willow tree.   (NKJV)

Zedekiah is called a  "seed of the earth."
According to Keil & Delitzsch: The reasons already adduced to show that  "the sprout of Jehovah"  cannot refer to the blessings of the field,  apply with equal force to  "the fruit of the earth."  This also relates to the Messiah Himself,  regarded as the fruit in which all the growth and bloom of  this earthly history would eventually reach its promised and divinely appointed conclusion.  The use of  this double epithet to denote  "the coming One"  can only be accounted for,  without anticipating the New Testament standpoint.

From a New Testament point of  view we might say that

The "sprout of Jehovah"  or  "fruit of the earth" was
The grain of  wheat which redeeming love sowed in the earth on the Passover
The grain of wheat which began to break through the ground and grow towards heaven on the Resurrection day.
The grain of wheat whose golden blade ascended heavenwards on Ascension Day
The grain of wheat whose myriad-fold ear bent down to the earth on the day of  Pentecost
And poured out the grains,  from which the holy church not only was born,  but still continues to be born.

(From Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament: New Updated Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

Isaiah 4:3
From the Tanakh From the Targum
(3)  And those who remain in Zion  
And are left in Jerusalem – he that hath kept the law shall be established in Jerusalem
All who are inscribed for life in Jerusalem –  
Shall be called holy. Everyone that is written down for eternal life shall se the consolation of Jerusalem

From the NKJV

(3)  And it shall come to pass that he who is left in Zion and remains in Jerusalem will be called holy — everyone who is recorded among the living in Jerusalem.

The leading emphasis of  the whole verse rests upon kadosh  (holy).
Whereas formerly in Jerusalem persons had been distinguished according to their rank and condition,  without any regard to their moral worth;  so the name kadosh (holy) would now be the one chief name of  honor,  and would be given to every individual,  inasmuch as the national calling of  Israel would now be realized in the persons of all (Ex 19:6).

Exodus 19:6
And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.  These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel."    (NKJV)

The term kadosh denotes  that which is withdrawn from the world,  or separated from it.
The church of  the saints or holy ones,  which now inhabits Jerusalem,  is what has been left from the smelting;  and their holiness is the result of washing.
(From Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament: New Updated Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

Isaiah 4:4
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum
(4)  When my Lord has washed away    
The filth of the daughters of Zion,   The pollution of the daughters of Zion
And from Jerusalem’s midst    
Has rinsed out her infamy – Shall purge out the blood from the
midst of them
Spillers innocent Blood
In a spirit of judgment   By the word (Memar) of judgment and by the word (Memar) of his final decree
And in a spirit of purging – Burning  

From the NKJV

(4) When the Lord has washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and purged the blood of Jerusalem from her midst, by the spirit of judgment and by the spirit of burning.

Blood - Figure of  Speech  (of Effect) - for blood-guiltiness.

The double purification answers to the two scenes of  judgment described in chapter 3.
The filth of the daughters of  Zion is the moral pollution hidden under their vain and coquettish finery;
and the murderous deeds of  Jerusalem are the acts of judicial murder committed by its rulers upon the poor and innocent.

This filth and these spots of  blood the Sovereign Ruler washes and purges away,  by causing His spirit or His breath to burst in upon all the inhabitants of  Jerusalem,  both male and female.
This breath is called

"the spirit of judgment" because it punishes evil
"the spirit of sifting" because it sweeps or cleans it away

Burning  baa`eer   The rendering given in the Septuagint and Vulgate, viz.,  "in the spirit of burning,"  is founded upon the meaning of  the verb,  which signifies literally  to burn up,  and hence to clear away or destroy.

The  "spirit"  is in both instances the  Spirit of God that pervades the world,

not only generating and sustaining life,
but also at times destroying and sifting,
as it does in the case before us,  in which the imperishable glory described in v. 5 is so prepared.

Isaiah 4:5-6
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum
(5)  The Lord will create over the whole
shrine and meeting place of Mount
yea, all the region round about it  
Zion clouds by day and smoke with a glow
of flaming fire by night. Indeed,
  Shekinah, a cloud of glory
Over all the glory shall hand a canopy, 
(6)   which shall serve as a pavilion
be a defense  
For shade from heat by day and as a shelter for protection against drenching
  From inclemency of weather and
from rai

From the NKJV

(5)   then the LORD will create above every dwelling place of Mount Zion, and above her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day and the shining of a flaming fire by night. For over all the glory there will be a covering.  (6)  And there will be a tabernacle for shade in the daytime from the heat, for a place of refuge, and for a shelter from storm and rain.

Just as Jehovah guided and shielded Israel in the days of  the redemption from Egypt in a smoke-cloud by day and a fire-cloud by night,  which either moved in front like a pillar,  or floated above them as a roof  (Num 14:14, etc.), the perpetuation of His presence at Sinai (Ex 19:9,16 ff.);  so would Jehovah in like manner shield the Israel of  the final redemption,  which would no longer need the pillar of  cloud since its wanderings would be over,  but only the cloudy covering; and such a covering Jehovah would create,  as ("and He creates") distinctly affirms.

Numbers 14:13-15
And Moses said to the LORD: "Then the Egyptians will hear it, for by Your might You brought these people up from among them, 14 and they will tell it to the inhabitants of this land. They have heard that You, LORD, are among these people; that You, LORD, are seen face to face and Your cloud stands above them, and You go before them in a pillar of cloud by day and in a pillar of fire by night.   (NKJV)

The verb bârâh  (create)  always denotes a divine and miraculous production,  having its commencement in time;  for even the natural is also supernatural in its first institution by God.
In the case before us,  however,  the reference is to a fresh manifestation of His gracious presence,  exalted above the present course of nature.
This manifestation would consist by day in  "a cloud,"  and as "cloud and smoke"  (i.e., cloud in form and smoke in substance)  distinctly affirms,  a smoke-cloud,  not a watery cloud,  like those which ordinarily cover the sky;  and by night in a fiery splendor,  not merely a lingering fiery splendor like that of the evening sky,  but,  as the words clearly indicate,  a flaming brightness (lehâbâh),  and therefore real and living fire.
The purpose of the cloud would not only be to overshadow, but also to serve as a wall of defense against opposing influences.

The cloud derived its name, 'ânân,  not from the idea of  covering,
but from that of  coming to meet one.
The clouds come towards the man who gazes at them,  inserting themselves between him and the sky,  and thus forcing themselves upon his notice instead of the sky;
hence the visible outer side of the vault of  heaven is also called 'anan (plur. 'anân),  just as the same word is used to denote the outermost portion of the branches or foliage of a tree which is the first to strike the eye
(in contradistinction to the inner portions,  which are not so easily seen,  even if visible at all).
And the fire would not only give light, but by flaming and flashing would ward off  hostile powers.

But,  above all,  the cloud and fire were intended as signs of  the nearness of  God,  and His satisfaction.
In the most glorious times of  the temple a smoke-cloud of  this kind filled the Holy of holies;  and there was only one occasion - namely,  at the dedication of Solomon's temple - on which it filled the whole building (1 Kings 8:10);  but now the cloud,  the smoke of  which,  moreover,  would be turned at night into flaming fire,  would extend over every spot of  Mount Zion,  and over the festal assemblies thereon.
The whole mountain would thus become a Holy of holies.
It would be holy

not only as being the dwelling-place of Jehovah,
but also as the gathering-place of a community of saints.

1 Kings 8:10
And it came to pass, when the priests came out of the holy place, that the cloud filled the house of the LORD.

The glory which Zion would now possess would be exposed to no further injury:  Jehovah would acknowledge it by signs of  His gracious presence;  for henceforth there would be nothing glorious in Zion,  over which there would not be a canopy spread in the manner described,  shading and yet enlightening,  hiding,  defending,  and adorning it.

Thus would Zion be a secure retreat from all adversities and disasters.
The subject to  "will be"  is not the miraculous roofing;  for ânân (cloud)  is masculine,  and the verb feminine,  and there would be no sense in saying that a  chuppâh or canopy would be a succâh or booth.
Therefore,  the verb contains the subject in itself,  and the meaning is,  "There will be a booth".
Zion or Jerusalem would be a booth,  that is to say,  as the parallel clause affirms,  a place of  security and concealment  "By day"  is left intentionally without any "by night" to answer to it in the parallel clause,  because reference is made to a place of safety and concealment for all times, whether by day or night.

Heatstorm,  and rain are mentioned as examples to denote the most manifold dangers.
The Jerusalem of  the last time will be paradise restored;  and there men will be no longer exposed to destructive changes of weather.  In this prediction the close of  the prophetic discourse is linked on to the commencement. 

This mountain of  Zion,  roofed over with a cloud of  smoke by day and the shining of  a flaming fire by night,
is no other than the mountain of  the house of  Jehovah,  which was to be exalted above all the mountains,  and to which the nations would make their pilgrimage.
This Jerusalem,  so holy within,  and all glorious without,
is no other than the place from which the word of  Jehovah was one day to go forth into all the world.

Keil & Delitzsch offer:
The real intention was to depict the holy city in its final and imperishable state after the last judgment.
But  the state beyond and the closing state here were blended together,  so that the glorified Jerusalem of earth and the glorified Jerusalem of  heaven appeared as if  fused into one.
It was a distinguishing characteristic of  the Old Testament, to represent the closing scene on this side of the grave,  and the eternal state beyond,  as a continuous line,  having its commencement here.
The New Testament first drew the cross line which divides time from eternity.  It is true,  indeed,  as the closing chapters of  the Apocalypse show,  that even the New Testament prophecies continue to some extent to depict the state beyond in figures drawn from the present world;  with this difference,  however,  that when the line had once been drawn, the demand was made, of which there was no consciousness in the Old Testament, that the figures taken from this life should be understood as relating to the life beyond, and that eternal realities should be separated from their temporal forms.
(From Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament: New Updated Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)


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Judgment of Devastation upon the Vineyard of Jehovah
Closing Words of the First Cycle of Prophecies

The basis of the address is a parable representing Israel as the vineyard of Jehovah, which, contrary to all expectation, had produced bad fruit, and therefore was given up to devastation. What kind of bad fruit it produced is described in a six-fold "woe;"  and what kind of devastation was to follow is indicated in the dark nocturnal conclusion to the whole address, which is entirely without a promise.

Isaiah 5:1-2
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum
(1)  Let me sing for my beloved   The prophet said, I will now sing unto Israel
A song of my lover about his
My vineyard The seed of Abraham my friend
(2)  My beloved had a vineyard   My people, my beloved one is Israel, I gave them an inheritance
On a fruitful hill.   in a lofty mountain, in a fruitful (lit. fat) land
He broke the ground, cleared it of stones, dug a trench  
And planted it with choice vines.
He built a watchtower inside it,
He even hewed a wine press in it dug a place  
For he hoped it would yield grapes. I waited for it to bring forth grapes I thought (lit. said) that they would do good deeds
Instead, it yielded wild grapes. It brought forth thorns but they did evil deeds

From the NKJV

(1)  Now let me sing to my Well-beloved a song of my Beloved regarding His vineyard:
My Well-beloved has a vineyard On a very fruitful hill.
(2)  He dug it up and cleared out its stones, and planted it with the choicest vine.  He built a tower in its midst, and also made a winepress in it;  so He expected it to bring forth good grapes, but it brought forth wild grapes.

A song - Eight sentences describe the vineyard,  of which seven give the characteristics,  and one (v. 7) the result.  This “song” sets forth the doom of  the Vineyard:  the Parable (Luke 20:9-16),  the doom of the husbandmen.

Luke 20:9-19
(Matt 21:33-46; Mark 12:1-12)
(9) Then He began to tell the people this parable:

"A certain man planted a vineyard,  leased it to vinedressers,  and went into a far country for a long time. (10)  Now at vintage-time he sent a servant to the vinedressers, that they might give him some of the fruit of the vineyard. But the vinedressers beat him and sent him away empty-handed. (11)  Again he sent another servant; and they beat him also, treated him shamefully, and sent him away empty-handed. (12)  And again he sent a third; and they wounded him also and cast him out.
(13)  "Then the owner of the vineyard said, 'what shall I do? I will send my beloved son. Probably they will respect him when they see him.'  (14)  But when the vinedressers saw him, they reasoned among themselves, saying, 'this is the heir. Come, let us kill him, that the inheritance may be ours.'  (15)  So they cast him out of the vineyard and killed him. Therefore what will the owner of the vineyard do to them? (16)  He will come and destroy those vinedressers and give the vineyard to others."
And when they heard it they said, "Certainly not!"
(17)  Then He looked at them and said, "What then is this that is written:
'The stone which the builders rejected
Has become the chief cornerstone'?
(18)  Whoever falls on that stone will be broken; but on whomever it falls, it will grind him to powder."
(19)  And the chief priests and the scribes that very hour sought to lay hands on Him, but they feared the people -- for they knew He had spoken this parable against them.

Note: The three trees to which Israel is likened:

1. The Fig = National privilege
2. The Olive = Religious privilege
3. The Vine = Spiritual privilege

The fugitive rhythm,  the musical euphony,  the charming assonances in this appeal,  it is impossible to reproduce.  They are perfectly inimitable.

The person to whom the song referred,  to whom it applied,  of whom it treated,  was the singer's own beloved.  It was a song of  his dearest on touching his vineyard.

The song of  the beloved is really a song concerning the vineyard of  the beloved;  and this song is a song of the beloved himself,  not a song written about him,  or attributed to him,  but such a song as he himself  had sung,  and still had to sing.

The plough could not be used,  from the steepness of  the mountain slope:  he therefore dug it up,  that is to say,  he turned up the soil which was to be made into a vineyard with a hoe (izzeek, to hoe; Arab. mi'zak, mi'zaka);  and as he found it choked up with stones and boulders,  he got rid of this rubbish by throwing it out.  After the soil had been prepared he planted it with sorek  (the finest kind of eastern vine,  bearing small grapes of  a bluish-red,  with pips hardly perceptible to the tongue).  The name is derived from its color (compare the Arabic zerkared wine).

To protect and adorn the vineyard that had been so richly planted,  he built a tower in the midst of it.
The expression  "and also"  calls especial attention to the fact that he hewed out a wine-trough therein (yekeb,  the trough into which the must or juice pressed from the grapes in the wine-press flows,  that is to say,  in order that the trough might be all the more fixed and durable,  he constructed it in a rocky portion of the ground.

This was a difficult task,  as the expression  "and also"  indicates;  and for that very reason it was an evidence of  the most confident expectation.  But how bitterly was this deceived!
The vineyard produced no such fruit,  as might have been expected from a sorek  (plantation);  it brought forth no  'anâbim (no such grapes as a cultivated vine should bear)  whatever, but only b'ushim (wild grapes). 
Luther first of all adopted the rendering wild grapes,  and then altered it to harsh or sour grapes.
But it comes to the same thing.

These were the grapes that the vineyard produced,  such as you might indeed have expected from a wild vine,  but not from carefully cultivated vines of  the very choicest kind.
(From Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament: New Updated Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

Isaiah 5:3-4
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum
(3)  “Now, then,   O prophet, say unto them
Dwellers of Jerusalem   Behold, the house of Israel have rebelled against the law, and are not willing to return
And men of Judah,   O inhabitants of Jerusalem and men of Judah
You be the judges    
Between My vineyard and Me:   My people
(4)  What more could have been done for My vineyard
That I failed to do in it?
Why, when I hoped it would yield grapes,   They would do good deeds
Did it yield wild grapes? Has brought forth thorns Have they done evil deeds

From the NKJV

(3)  "And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem and men of Judah,  judge, please, between Me and My vineyard.
(4)  What more could have been done to My vineyard that I have not done in it?
Why then, when I expected it to bring forth good grapes, did it bring forth wild grapes?

This is an appeal which God makes to the Jews themselves, in regard to the justice and propriety of what he was about to do.
A similar appeal he makes in Micah 6:3:  'O my people, what have I done unto thee? and wherein have I wearied thee? Testify against me.'
He intended to  "punish"  them (Isa 5:5-6),  and he appeals to them for the justice of it.
He would do to them as they would do to a vineyard that had been carefully prepared and guarded,  and which yet was valueless.

As a man who had done what is described in Isaiah 5:2,  would have done all that  "could"  be done for a vineyard,  so God says that he has done all that he could,  in the circumstances of  the Jews,  to make them holy and happy.

He had chosen them;
had given them his law;
had sent them prophets and teachers;
had defended them;
had come forth in judgment and mercy,
and he now appeals to them  to say what  could  have been done more.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

The God of  nature is,  as it were,  amazed at the unnatural fruit of so well-cared a vineyard.

Wild grapes are the fruits of  the corrupt nature,  not according to the engrafted branch,  but from the root of bitterness, Hebrews 12:15. Where grace does not work corruption will.
Wild grapes are hypocritical performances in religion,  that look like grapes,  but are sour or bitter,  and are so far from being pleasing to God that they are provoking.
Wild grapes are counterfeit graces.
(from Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible: New Modern Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1991 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

Hebrews 12:15
Looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God;  lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble,  and by this many become defiled.   (NKJV)

They were called upon to decide and answer as to what more He could have done, and why the crop was bad;  but they were silent,  just because they could clearly see that they would have to condemn themselves  (as David condemned himself in connection with Nathan's parable, 2 Sam 12:5).

2 Samuel 12:5-7
So David's anger was greatly aroused against the man, and he said to Nathan, "As the LORD lives, the man who has done this shall surely die!  And he shall restore fourfold for the lamb, because he did this thing and because he had no pity."  Then Nathan said to David, "You are the man!"     (NKJV)

How often does the Word and Spirit of the Lord hold a mirror before us,  and we think it is an image of someone else?

The Lord of the vineyard,  therefore,  begins to speak.  He,  its accuser,  will now also be its judge.

Isaiah 5:5
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum
(5)  “Now I am going to tell you    
What I will do to My vineyard:   Unto my people
I will remove its hedge,   I will take away my Shekinah from them
That it may be ravaged;    
I will break down its wall, pull down its walls I will break down their sanctuarie
That it may be trampled. It shall be left to be trodden down  

From the NKJV

(5) And now, please let Me tell you what I will do to My vineyard:
I will take away its hedge, and it shall be burned;
And break down its wall, and it shall be trampled down.

Before  "now then"  (v'attâh)  we must imagine a pause.
The Lord of  the vineyard breaks the silence of  the umpires,  which indicates their consciousness of guilt.
They shall hear from Him what He will do at once to His vineyard.

He would take away the mesucah - the green thorny hedge with which the vineyard was enclosed.
He would pull down the gâreed - the low stone wall,  which had been surrounded by the hedge of  thorn-bushes to make a better defense.

As a result, the vineyard would be given up to grazing and treading down (LXX katapa'teema), i.e., would become an open way and gathering-place for man and beast.

From the Dead Sea Scrolls
Fragment 1 col. I Isaiah 5:5 Dead Sea Scrolls.

For now I will tell you what I am going to do with my vineyard: 1 […remove its fence so that it can be used for pasture, destroy] its wall so that you trample it. Isaiah 5:6 For 2 [I will leave it flattened; they shall not prune it or weed it, brambles and thi[istles] will grow. The interpretation of the word: that he has deserted them 3 […] and as for what he says: Isaiah 5:6 <<Brambles will grow, 4 [and thistles>>: its interpretation concerns…] and what 5 [it says:] of the path 6 […] his eyes.

Fragment 1 col. II Isaiah 5:11-14 Dead Sea Scrolls.

1 The interpretation of the word concerns the last days, laying waste the land through thirst and hunger. This will happen 2 at the time of the visit to the land. Woe to those who rise early in search of intoxicants and carry on until by twilight the wine 3 excites them and with zithers, harps, tambourines and flutes they feast their drunkenness, but they pay no attention to God’s doings 4 or notice the works of his hands! For this, my people will be exiled without realizing it, their nobles will die of hunger 5 and the ordinary folk have a raging thirst. For this, the abyss distends its jaws and enlarges its mouth immeasurably, 6 lowers its nobility and its ordinary people and its reveling throng enters. These are the arrogant men 7 who are in Jerusalem. They are the ones who: Isaiah 5:24 <<Have rejected the law of God and mocked the word of the Holy One of 8 Israel. Isaiah 5:25 For this the wrath of God has been kindled against his people and he has stretched out his hand against them and wounded them. 9 The mountains quake, their corpses lie like dung in the middle of the streets. In spite of this 10 [his anger] is not appeased [and his hand continues to be stretch out] >>. This is the Congregation of the arrogant men who are in Jerusalem. 11 […] …[…].

Isaiah 5:6
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum
(6)  And I will make it a desolation; And I will forsake my vineyard Make homeless (driven out)
It shall not be pruned or hoed,   Not be assisted nor supported
And it shall be overgrown with briers and thistles.   But cast out and forsaken
And I will command the clouds   command prophets not to utter a prophecy concerning them
To drop no rain on it.”    

From the NKJV

(6)  I will lay it waste; it shall not be pruned or dug, but there shall come up briers and thorns.  I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain on it."

This puts an end to the unthankful vineyard,  and indeed a hopeless one.

Further pruning and hoeing would do it no good,  but only lead to further disappointment:  it was the will of the Lord,  therefore,  that the deceitful vineyard should shoot up in thorns and thistles.

In order that it might remain a wilderness,  the clouds would also receive commandment from the Lord not to rain upon it.  There can be no longer any doubt who the Lord of  the vineyard is.
He is Lord of the clouds,  and therefore the Lord of  heaven and earth.
The song that opened in so minstrel-like and harmless a tone has now become painfully severe and terribly repulsive.  The husk of  the parable,  which has already been broken through,  now falls completely off.

Isaiah 5:7
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum
(7)  For the vineyard of the Lord of Hosts is the House of Israel,    
And the seedlings he lovingly
tended are the men of Judah.
The men of Juda his beloved plant His pleasant plant
And He hoped for justice, I expected it to bring forth judgment  
But behold, injustice; It brought forth iniquity Multiply transgressions
For equity, And not righteousness  
But behold, iniquity! But a cry  

From the NKJV

(7)  For the vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah are His pleasant plant.
He looked for justice, but behold, oppression; for righteousness, but behold, a cry for help.

Justice oppression
Mishpat ... mishpach
Note the Figure of  Speech Paronomasia (play on words), for great and solemn emphasis, to attract our attention and impress our minds.
Righteousness a cry
Zedakah ze’akah
The same Paronomasia.
These two lines may be translated in English as:
 “He looked for equity, but behold iniquity;
for right, but behold might (as used in oppression and producing a “cry”).

The meaning is not that the Lord of  the vineyard would not let any more rain fall upon it,  because this Lord was Jehovah.  This was how the case stood with the vineyard;  for all Israel,  and especially the people of  Judah,  were this vineyard,  which had so bitterly deceived the expectations of  its Lord,  and indeed  "the vineyard of Jehovah of hosts,"  and therefore of  the omnipotent God,  whom even the clouds would serve when He came forth to punish.

The house of  Israel (beth Yishrael) was the whole nation,  which is also represented in other passages under the same figure of  a vineyard   But as Isaiah was prophet in Judah,  he applies the figure more particularly to Judah,  which was called Jehovah's favorite plantation,

inasmuch as it was the seat of  the divine sanctuary and of  the Davidic kingdom.

This makes it easy enough to interpret the different parts of  the simile employed.

1. The fat mountain-horn
was Canaan, flowing with milk and honey
(Exodus 15:17  - You will bring them in and plant them in the mountain of Your inheritance)
2. The digging of the vineyard, and clearing it of stones
was the clearing of  Canaan from its former heathen inhabitants
(Psalm 54:3  -  For strangers have risen up against me, and oppressors have sought after my life.)
3. The  vines
were the holy priests and prophets and kings of  Israel of  the earlier and better times
(Jeremiah 2:21  -  Yet I had planted you a noble vine, a seed of highest quality)
4. The  defensive and ornamental tower in the midst of the vineyard
was Jerusalem as the royal city, with Zion the royal fortress
(Micah 4:8  -  And you, O tower of the flock,  the stronghold of the daughter of Zion...the kingdom of the daughter of Jerusalem)
5. The  winepress-trough was the temple
where, according to Psalm 36:8, the wine of heavenly pleasures flowed in streams, and from which, according to Ps 42 and many other passages, the thirst of the soul might all be quenched
(Psalm 36:8  -  For with You is the fountain of life)
(Psalm 42:1, 2  -  As the deer pants for the water brooks,  so pants my soul for You, O God.  My soul thirsts for God, for the living God)

The prophet describes,  in full-toned figures,  how the expected noble grapes had turned into wild grapes,  with nothing more than an outward resemblance.

The introduction to the prophecy closes here.


Next Section
Previous Section

The prophecy itself  follows next,  a seven-fold discourse composed of  the six-fold woe contained in
verses 8-23,  and the announcement of  punishment in which it terminates.
In this six-fold woe the prophet describes the bad fruits one by one.
In confirmation of our rendering of  mispâch (oppression),  the first woe relates to covetousness and avarice as the root of all-evil.

Verse Woe unto them that Signifies  
8 Join house to house, field to field Selfish Greed  
11 Rise up early to follow strong drink Intemperate Living  
18 Draw iniquity with cords of  vanity Cynical Materialism  
20 Call evil good and good evil Reversing the Standards of  Morality  
21 Are wise in their own eyes Intellectual Pride & Self  Sufficiency  
22 Are mighty to drink wine and
Justify the wicked for reward
Excessive Alcoholic Indulgence

The First Woe Verses 8-10 Selfish Greed

Isaiah 5:8
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum
(8)  Ah, Woe to them  
Those who add house to house    
And join field to field,   Attach the field obtained by oppression to their fields
Till there is room for none but you They may take away something of
their neighbor’s
To dwell in the land! Will ye dwell alone upon the land? Until we possess every place,

From the NKJV

(8)  Woe to those who join house to house; they add field to field, till there is no place where they may dwell alone in the midst of the land!

Figure of  Speech is Epibole; or, Overlaid Repetition
The repetition of the same phrase at irregular intervals as in these woes repeated six times in succession.

By foreclosing mortgages or by forcing sales of  land,  the wealthy landowners acquired all the adjoining farms to form huge estates.  But all these were to be stripped from them:  their mansions would be left in smoking ruins,  and their fertile acreage would be reduced to near-sterility when foreign invaders had done their grim work.
(from The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1962 by Moody Press)
Such covetousness was all the more reprehensible,  because the law of  Israel and provided so very stringently and carefully,  that as far as possible:

There should be an equal distribution of  the soil
Hereditary family property should be inalienable
All landed property that had been alienated reverted to the family every fiftieth year, or year of jubilee; so that alienation simply had reference to the use of the land till that time.
It was only in the case of houses in towns that the right of  redemption was restricted to one year,  at least according to a later statute.
How badly the law of  the year of jubilee had been observed,  may be gathered from Jeremiah 34,  where we learn that the law as to the manumission of  Hebrew slaves in the sabbatical year had fallen entirely into neglect.  Isaiah's contemporary,  Micah,  makes just the same complaint as Isaiah himself (Micah 2:2).
(From Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament: New Updated Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

Micah 2:2
They covet fields and take them by violence,  also houses, and seize them.
So they oppress a man and his house,  a man and his inheritance.    (NKJV)

Isaiah 5:9, 10
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum
(9)  In my hearing [said] the Lord of Hosts: For these things have reached the ears of the Lord  
Surely, great houses For though many houses should be built, many fair houses Many houses
Shall lie forlorn,
Spacious and splendid ones
Without occupants.
Shall be desolate  
(10)  For ten acres of vineyard shall yield just one bath, For where ten yoke of oxen plough
the land shall yield one jar-full
Not giving tithes
And a field sowed with a homer of
seed shall yield a mere ephah.
He that sows six homers shall
produce three measures
A cor of seed

From the NKJV

(9)  In my hearing the LORD of hosts said,
"Truly, many houses shall be desolate, great and beautiful ones, without inhabitant.
(10)  For ten acres of vineyard shall yield one bath, and a homer of seed shall yield one ephah."

We may see from Isaiah 22:14 in what sense the prophet wrote the substantive clause, "Into mine ears,"  or more literally,  "In my ears is Jehovah Zebaoth."   He is here revealing Himself to me.

In the pointing, bŞ'aazŞnaay (OT:241) is written with tiphchah as a perusal form,  to indicate to the reader that the boldness of  the expression is to be softened down by the assumption of an ellipsis.

In Hebrew,  "to say into the ears"  did not mean to  "speak softly and secretly," but to speak in a distinct and intelligible manner, which precludes the possibility of any misunderstanding.

The prophet,  indeed,  had not Jehovah standing locally beside him;  nevertheless,  he had Him objectively over against his own personality,  and was well able to distinguish very clearly the thoughts and words of  his own personality,  from the words of  Jehovah that arose audibly within him.
These words informed him what would be the fate of  the rich and insatiable landowners.

Verse 10,  which commences,  with ci (in), explains how such a desolation of  the houses would be brought about:

By failure of crops produces famine,  and this is followed by depopulation.

The Second Woe Verses 11-17 Intemperate Living

Isaiah 5:11
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum
(11)  Ah, those who chase liquor
from early in the morning,  and till late
in the evening.
Woe to them that rise up in the mourning and follow strong drink;
after old wine
Make long sittings (delay departure) passing evening on couches
Are inflamed by wine!   The wine of oppression inflaming them

From the NKJV

(11)  Woe to those who rise early in the morning, that they may follow intoxicating drink; who continue until night, till wine inflames them!

The second woe,  for which the curse is about to fall upon vine dressing  (v. 10 a)  prepared the way by the simple association of  ideas,  is directed against the debauchees,  who in their carnal security carried on their excesses even in the daylight.

Isaiah 5:12
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum
(12)  Who, at their banquets, have
lyre and lute, timbrel, flute, and wine;
For they drink wine with harp, and psaltery, and drums, and pipes  
But who never give a thought Regard not the works of the Lord Regarded the law of the Lord
To the plan of the Lord, Consider not the works of his hands Of his might
And take no note of what He is designing.    

From the NKJV

(12)  The harp and the strings, the tambourine and flute, and wine are in their feasts;
But they do not regard the work of the LORD, nor consider the operation of His hands.

This is the phrase used to express the idea of  eternal counsel of  God (Isaiah 37:26),  which leads to salvation by the circuitous paths of  judgment (Isaiah 10:12; 28:21; 29:23),  so far as that counsel is embodied in history,  as molded by the invisible interposition of  God.

In their joy and glory they had no sense for what was the most glorious of all  -  the moving and working of God in history;  so that they could not even discern the judgment which was in course of  preparation at that very time.

Isaiah 5:13
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum
(13)  Assuredly,   Therefore {which means, because of what I have just said}
My people will suffer exile Have been taken captive,  
For not giving heed, Because they know not the Lord: They knew not the law:
Its multitude victims of hunger and
its masses parched with thirst.
Of dead bodies, because of hunger
and of thirst for water.

From the NKJV

(13)  Therefore my people have gone into captivity, because they have no knowledge;
Their honorable men are famished, and their multitude dried up with thirst.

Therefore judgment would overtake them in this blind,  dull,  and stupid animal condition.
As the word  "therefore"  (lâceen,)  introduces the threat of punishment,
gâlâh (go into captivity)  is a prophetic preterite (former - what has gone before).
Israel would go into exile,  and that  "without knowing"  (mibb'li-da'ath).

The knowledge, of which verse 12 pronounces them destitute,  was more especially knowledge of  the judgment of  God that was hanging over them;  so that,  as the captivity would come upon them without knowledge,  it would necessarily come upon them unawares.

"Their glory" (ceboodoo)  and  "their tumult"  (hamono)  are therefore to be understood as collective nouns used in a personal sense:

"Their glory" signifying the more select portion of the nation (cf., Mic 1:15, 16)
"their tumult" signifying the mass of the people, who were living in rioting and tumult
(From Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament: New Updated Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

Mic 1:15-16
I will yet bring an heir to you, O inhabitant of Mareshah; the glory of Israel shall come to Adullam.
Make yourself bald and cut off your hair, because of your precious children; enlarge your baldness like an eagle, for they shall go from you into captivity.     (NKJV)

Isaiah 5:14
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum
(14)  Assuredly, Therefore  
Sheol has opened wide its gullet Hell has enlarged its desire and opened its mouth without ceasing:  
And parted its jaws in a measureless gape;    
And down into it shall go, that
splendor and tumult,
Her glorious and great, and her rich and her pestilent men shall go down  
That din and revelry.   He that is strong among them, have descended into it.

From the NKJV

(14)  Therefore Sheol has enlarged itself and opened its mouth beyond measure;
Their glory and their multitude and their pomp, and he who is jubilant, shall descend into it.

Figure of  Speech is Prosopopoeia  (Personification)
Things represented as persons.

The threat of  punishment commences again with  "therefore;"  it has not yet satisfied itself,  and therefore grasps deeper still.
The verbs that follow lâceen (therefore) are prophetic preterites, as in verse 13.

A mouth is ascribed to the under-world,  also a nephesh - a greedy soul,  in which sense nephesh is then applied sometimes

to a thirst for blood
to simple greediness
to the throat which the soul opens "without measure,"  when its craving knows no bounds

The word Sheol signifies primarily the irresistible and inexorable demand made upon every earthly thing;  and then secondarily,  in a local sense,  the place of  the abode of  hades,  to which everything on the surface of the earth is summoned;  or essentially the divinely appointed curse which demands and swallows up everything upon the earth. 

According to the prevalent idea,  Hades was in the interior of the earth.
And there was nothing really absurd in this,  since it is quite within the power and freedom of the omnipresent God to manifest Himself wherever and however He may please.
As He reveals Himself above the earth, i.e., in heaven,  among blessed spirits in the light of  His love;  so did He reveal Himself underneath the earth, viz., in Sheol,  in the darkness and fire of  His wrath.

And with the exception of  Enoch and Elijah,  with their marvelous departure from this life,  the way of  every mortal ended there, 
until the time when Jesus Christ, having first paid the lu'tron, i.e., having shed His blood,  which covers our guilt and turns the wrath of God into love
and from that time forth has changed the death of  all believers from a descent into Hades into an ascension to heaven.

Isaiah 5:15-16
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum
(15)  Yea, man is bowed, And the mean man shall be brought low  
And mortal brought low;   Strength of men shall become feeble
Brought low is the pride of the haughty.   Eyes of the lofty shall be brought low
(16)  And the Lord of Hosts is exalted by judgment, Be exalted in judgment  
The Holy God proved holy by retribution. Be glorified in righteousness  

From the NKJV

(15)  People shall be brought down, each man shall be humbled, and the eyes of the lofty shall be humbled.
(16)  But the LORD of hosts shall be exalted in judgment, and God who is holy shall be hallowed in righteousness.

The prophet now repeats a thought that formed one of  the refrains of  the second prophetic address
(Isa 2:9,11).
It acquires here a still deeper sense,  from the context in which it stands.
That which had exalted itself from earth to heaven,  would be cast down earthwards into hell.
The consecutive futures depict the coming events,  which are here represented as

historically present
as the direct sequel of what is also represented as present in v. 14:   Hades opens,  and then both low and lofty in Jerusalem sink down,  and the soaring eyes now wander about in horrible depths.

God, who is both exalted and holy in Himself,  demanded that

as the exalted One He should be exalted
as the Holy One He should be sanctified
(From Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament: New Updated Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

Isaiah 5:17
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum
(17)  Then lambs shall graze   And they that were spoiled shall be fed as bulls, and lambs shall feed
As in their meadows,   And the righteous shall be nurtured as was promised concerning them,
And strangers shall feed   And the riches of the wicked shall the righteous possess.
On the ruins of the stout. On the waste places of them that are taken away.  

From the NKJV

(17)  Then the lambs shall feed in their pasture, and in the waste places of the fat ones strangers shall eat.

The second woe closes with verse 17.  It is the longest of all.
This also serves to confirm the fact that luxury was the leading vice of Judah in the time of Uzziah-Jotham,  as it was that of  Israel under Jeroboam II (see Amos 6, where the same threat is held out).

The Third Woe Verses 18-19 Cynical Materialism

Isaiah 5:18
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum
(18)  Ah, Woe to them that Begin to sin by little, drawing transgressions with cords of vanity
Those who haul sin with cords of falsehood Draw sins to them as with a long rope  
And iniquity as with cart ropes! And iniquities as with a thong of the heifer’s yoke  

From the NKJV

(18)  Woe to those who draw iniquity with cords of vanity, and sin as if with a cart rope;

The third woe is directed against the supposed strong-minded men,  who called down the judgment of God by presumptuous sins and wicked words.

There is a bitter sarcasm involved in the bold figure employed.
They were proud of their unbelief;  but this unbelief was like a halter with which,  like beasts of burden,  they were harnessed to sin,  and therefore to the punishment of sin,  which they went on drawing further and further,  in utter ignorance of  the wagon behind them.

Isaiah 5:19
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum
(19)  Who say,   When will be hasten to reveal his wonders, that we may see them
“Let Him speed, let Him hasten His purpose,   When will the counsel of the Holy One of Israel draw nigh
If we are to give thought; That we may see it  
Let the plans of the Holy One of Israel Let the counsel of the Holy One of Israel  
Be quickly fulfilled,    
If we are to give heed.” That we may know it.  

From the NKJV

(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 near and come, that we may know it."

This shows very clearly that the prophet referred to the freethinkers of  his time,  the persons who are called fools (nabal) and scorners (leetz) in the Psalms and Proverbs.

They doubted whether the day of  Jehovah would ever come
(Ezekiel 12:22; Jeremiah 5:12-13)
They went so far in their unbelief as to call out for what they could not and would not believe
They desired it to come that they might see it with their own eyes and experience it for themselves

The fact that the free-thinkers called God  "the Holy One of Israel,"  whereas they scoffed at His intended final and practical attestation of  Himself as the Holy One,  may be explained from Isaiah 30:11:

they took this name of  God from the lips of the prophet himself,
so that their scorn affected both God and His prophet at the same time.

Ezekiel 12:22
Son of man, what is this proverb that you people have about the land of  Israel, which says, 'The days are prolonged, and every vision fails'?    (NKJV)

Jeremiah 5:13
The prophets are but wind and the word is not in them; so let what they say be done to them."    (NIV)

Isaiah 30:11
Leave this way, get off this path, and stop confronting us with the Holy One of Israel!"     (NIV)

The Forth Woe Verse 20 Reversing the Standards of  Morality

Isaiah 5:20
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum
(20)  Ah, Woe to them  
Those who call evil good   Say unto the ungodly who prosper in this world,
And good evil;   Ye are the good
Who present darkness as light   To the afflicted say, Ye are the wicked:
And light as darkness;   Shall it not be dark for the wicked when light cometh to the righteous?
Who present bitter as sweet   Shall not the words of the law be sweet for the doers of it?
And sweet as bitter!   But bitterness shall come to the wicked; In the end sin is bitter to the doer of it.

From the NKJV

(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!

The previous woe had reference to those who made the facts of  sacred history the butt of their naturalistic doubt and ridicule,  especially so far as they were the subjects of prophecy.
This fourth woe relates to

those who adopted a code of  morals that completely overturned the first principles of ethics,  and was utterly opposed to the law of God;
for evil, darkness, and bitter, with their respective antitheses, represent moral principles that are essentially related (Matt 6:23; James 3:11).
Evil - as hostile to God
Dark - in its nature, and therefore loves darkness, and is exposed to the punitive power of darkness

And although it may be sweet to the material tasteit is nevertheless bitter,  inasmuch as it produces abhorrence and disgust in the godlike nature of  man,  and,  after a brief period of self-deception,  is turned into the bitter woe of  fatal results.

Darkness and light, bitter and sweet,  therefore,  are not tautological metaphors for evil and good;  but epithets applied to evil and good according to their essential principles,  and their necessary and internal effects.
(From Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament: New Updated Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

Matthew 6:23
But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!    (NKJV)

James 3:11-12
Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening?  Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Thus no spring yields both salt water and fresh.    (NKJV)

The Fifth Woe Verse 21 Intellectual Pride & Self  Sufficiency

Isaiah 5:21
From the Tanakh From the  LXX
(21)  Ah, Woe to them
Those who are so wise – In their own opinion;
So clever – In their own judgment!

From the NKJV

(21)  Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes,  and prudent in their own sight!

The third woe - had reference to the unbelieving naturalists, the opponents of prophecy (nebuâh)
The fourth - to the moralists, who threw all into confusion.
And to this there is appended,  by a very natural association of ideas,  the woe denounced upon those whom want of humility rendered inaccessible to that wisdom which went hand in hand with prophecy, and the true foundation of  which was the fear of  Jehovah (Prov 1:7; Job 28:28; Eccl 12:13).

"Do not be wise in your own eyes,"  is a fundamental rule of  this wisdom (Prov 3:7).
It was upon this wisdom that that prophetic policy rested,  whose warnings,  as we read in Isaiah 28:9-10,  they so scornfully rejected.  The next woe,  which has reference to the administration of  justice in the state,  shows very clearly that in this woe the prophet had more especially the want of theocratic wisdom in relation to the affairs of state in his mind.

Proverbs 1:7
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge,
But fools despise wisdom and instruction.     (NKJV)

Job 28:28
And to man He said,
"Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom,
And to depart from evil is understanding."    (NKJV)

Ecclesiastes 12:13-14
Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter:
Fear God and keep His commandments,  for this is man's all.
For God will bring every work into judgment,
Including every secret thing, whether good or evil.    (NKJV)

Proverbs 3:7-8
Do not be wise in your own eyes;
Fear the LORD and depart from evil.
It will be health to your flesh, and strength to your bones.    (NKJV)

The Sixth Woe Verses 22-23 Excessive Alcoholic Indulgence & Corruption

Isaiah 5:22-23
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum
(22)  Ah, Woe to the strong ones of you Are mighty men to drink wine, and men of wealth
Those who are so doughty –   Men of wealth to be drunken with old wine:
As drinkers of wine,
And so valiant –
As mixers of drink!
(23)  Who vindicate him who is in the wrong
In return for a bribe,
And withhold vindication from him
who is in the right.
Take away the righteousness  

From the NKJV

(22)  Woe to men mighty at drinking wine,
Woe to men valiant for mixing intoxicating drink,
(23)  Who justify the wicked for a bribe, and take away justice from the righteous man!

We see from verse 23 that the drinkers in verse 22 are unjust judges.
The threat denounced against these forms the substance of his sixth and last woe.
They are heroes

not,  however,  in avenging wrong,  but in drinking wine
They are men of  renown
though not for deciding between guilt and innocence but mixing the ingredients of strong artistic wines

For the terms applied to such mixed wines, Prov 23:30.  It must be borne in mind,  however,  that what is here called shecâr was not,  properly speaking,  wine,  but an artificial mixture,  like date wine and cider.  For such things as these they were noteworthy and strong;  whereas they judged unjustly,  and took bribes that they might consume the reward of their injustice in drink and debauchery  (Isa 28:7-8; Prov 31:5).

Proverbs 31:4-5
It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine, nor for princes intoxicating drink; lest they drink and forget the law, and pervert the justice of all the afflicted.     (NKJV)

Proverbs 23:29-35
Who has woe?
Who has sorrow?
Who has contentions?
Who has complaints?
Who has wounds without cause?
Who has redness of eyes?
Those who linger long at the wine,
Those who go in search of mixed wine.
Do not look on the wine when it is red,
When it sparkles in the cup,
When it swirls around smoothly;
At the last it bites like a serpent,
And stings like a viper.
Your eyes will see strange things,
And your heart will utter perverse things.
Yes, you will be like one who lies down in the midst of the sea,
Or like one who lies at the top of the mast, saying:
"They have struck me, but I was not hurt;
They have beaten me, but I did not feel it.
When shall I awake, that I may seek another drink?"     (NKJV)

Isaiah 5:24
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum
(24)  Assuredly, Therefore  
As straw is consumed by a tongue of fire Stubble shall be burnt by a coal of fire,  
And hay shrivels as it burns, Shall be consumed by a violent flame, Dry grass in flame
Their stock shall become like rot, Their root shall be as chaff, Increase of might as rottenness
And their buds shall blow away like dust.   Wealth obtained by violence shall be as dust that flies away
For they have rejected the instruction
of the Lord of Hosts,
The law of the Lord of Hosts,  
Spurned the word of the Holy One of Israel. Insulted the word of the Holy One of Israel  

From the NKJV

(24)  Therefore, as the fire devours the stubble,  and the flame consumes the chaff, so their root will be as rottenness,
And their blossom will ascend like dust;  because they have rejected the law of the LORD of hosts, and despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.

In the three exclamations in vv. 18-21,  Jehovah rested contented with the simple undeveloped  "woe"  (hoi). On the other hand,  the first two utterances respecting the covetous and the debauchees were expanded into an elaborate denunciation of  punishment.
But now that the prophet has come to the unjust judges,  the denunciation of  punishment bursts out with such violence,  that a return to the simple exclamation of  "woe"  is not to be thought of.
The two "therefores" in vv. 13, 14,  a third is now added in v. 24.  The persons primarily intended as those described in vv. 22, 23,  but with a further extension of  the range of  vision to Judah and Jerusalem,  the vineyard of  which they are the bad fruit.

The sinners are compared to a plant which molders into dust both above and below, i.e., altogether
(cf., Mal. 3:19,  and the expression,  "Let there be to him neither root below nor branch above,"  in the inscription upon the sarcophagus of  the Phoenician king Es'mun'azar).
Their root molders in the earth,  and their blossom (perach, as in Isa 18:5)  turns to fine dust,  which the wind carries away.
And this change in root and blossom takes place suddenly,  as if through the force of  fire.
(From Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament: New Updated Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

Isaiah 5:25
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum
(25)  That is why the Lord’s anger was roused against His people,    
Why He stretched out His arm
against it
Reached forth his hand upon them,  
And struck it,   Stroke of his might against them:
So that the mountains quaked, And the mountains were troubled,  
And its corpses lay like refuse in the streets.    
Yet his anger has not turned back,   They turned not from their transgressions,
And His arm is outstretched still.   His stroke about to take vengeance on them.

From the NKJV

(25)  Therefore the anger of the LORD is aroused against His people;
He has stretched out His hand against them and stricken them, and the hills trembled.
Their carcasses were as refuse in the midst of the streets.
For all this His anger is not turned away, but His hand is stretched out still.

We may see from these last words,  which are repeated as a refrain in the cycle of  prophecies relating to the time of Ahaz  (Isa 9:11,16; 10:4),  that the prophet had before his mind a distinct and complete judgment upon Judah,  belonging to the immediate future.
It was certainly a coming judgment,  not one already past;  for the verbs  after "therefore" ('al-ceen),  like those after the three previous lâceen,  are all prophetic preterites (past tense).
It is impossible,  therefore,  to take the words  "and the hills tremble"  as referring to the earthquake in the time of Uzziah (Amos 1:1; Zech 14:5).  This judgment,  which was closer at hand,  would consist in the fact that Jehovah would stretch out His hand in His wrath over His people  (or,  as it is expressed elsewhere,  would swing His hand:  Luther translates:  "wave His hand," i.e.,  move it to and fro; vid. Isa 11:15; 19:16; 30:30,32),  and bring it down upon Judah with one stroke,  the violence of  which would be felt not only by men,  but by surrounding nature as well.

There can be no doubt that the spirit of  prophecy here points to the massacre that took place in Judah in connection with the Syro-Ephraimitish war  (see 2 Chron 28:5-6). The mountains may then have trembled with the marching of troops, and the din of arms, and the felling of trees, and the shout of war. At any rate, nature had to participate in what men had brought upon themselves; for, according to the creative appointment of God, nature bears the same relation to man as the body to the soul. Every stroke of divine wrath which falls upon a nation equally affects the land which has grown up, as it were, with it; and in this sense the mountains of  Judah trembled at the time referred to,  even though the trembling was only discernible by initiated ears.
But "for all this" (Beth, = "notwithstanding,"  "in spite of," ) the wrath of Jehovah,  as the prophet foresaw,  would not turn away,  as it was accustomed to do when He was satisfied;  and His hand would still remain stretched out over Judah,  ready to strike again.

Amos 1:1
The words of Amos, who was among the sheepbreeders of Tekoa, which he saw concerning Israel in the days of Uzziah king of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel, two years before the earthquake.     (NKJV)

Zechariah 14:5
Then you shall flee through My mountain valley,
For the mountain valley shall reach to Azal.
Yes, you shall flee
As you fled from the earthquake
In the days of Uzziah king of Judah.     (NKJV)

2 Chronicles 28:1-7
Ahaz was twenty years old when he became king,  and he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem;  and he did not do what was right in the sight of the LORD,  as his father David had done.  For he walked in the ways of the kings of Israel, and made molded images for the Baals.  He burned incense in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, and burned his children in the fire, according to the abominations of the nations whom the LORD had cast out before the children of Israel.  And he sacrificed and burned incense on the high places, on the hills, and under every green tree.
Therefore the LORD his God delivered him into the hand of the king of Syria. They defeated him, and carried away a great multitude of them as captives, and brought them to Damascus. Then he was also delivered into the hand of the king of  Israel, who defeated him with a great slaughter.  For Pekah the son of  Remaliah killed one hundred and twenty thousand in Judah in one day,  all valiant men,  because they had forsaken the LORD God of their fathers.     (NKJV)

Isaiah 5:26
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum
(26)  He will raise an ensign to a nation afar,   Will lift up a sign to the nations from afar,
Whistle to one at the end of the earth. Shall hiss for them Will summon them
There is comes with lightning speed! They are coming very quickly. King & armies come

From the NKJV

(26)  He will lift up a banner to the nations from afar, and will whistle to them from the end of the earth;  surely they shall come with speed, swiftly.

Whistle to - Hiss unto = hiss for (as men call bees). Figure of  Speech

Jehovah finds the human instruments of  His further strokes,  not in Israel and the neighboring nations,  but in the people of  distant lands.

What the prophet here foretold began to be fulfilled in the time of Ahaz.
But the prophecy,  which commences with this verse,  has every possible mark of  the very opposite.
It is,  strictly speaking,  only what had already been threatened in Deut 28:49 ff. (cf., Isa 32:21 ff.), though here it assumes a more plastic form,  and is here presented for the first time to the view of  the prophet as though coming out of a mist.  Jehovah summons the nations afar off:  haggooyim meerâchok signifies,  as we have rendered it,  the  "distant nations."

Deuteronomy 28:49-51
The LORD will bring a nation against you from afar, from the end of the earth, as swift as the eagle flies, a nation whose language you will not understand,  a nation of fierce countenance, which does not respect the elderly nor show favor to the young.    (NKJV)

The visible working of Jehovah presents itself to the prophet in two figures.
Jehovah plants a banner or standard, which, like an optical telegraph, announces to the nations at a more remote distance than the horn of battle (shophâr) could possibly reach, that they are to gather together to war.

The nations through whom this was primarily fulfilled were the nations of  the Assyrian empire.
According to the Old Testament view,  these nations were regarded as far off,  and dwelling at the end of  the earth (Isa 39:3),  not only inasmuch as the Euphrates formed the boundary towards the north-east between what was geographically known and unknown to the Israelites,  but also a complex body of  nations stretching far away into further Asia.
(From Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament: New Updated Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

Isaiah 5:27
From the Tanakh
(27)  In its ranks, none is weary or stumbles, they never sleep or slumber;
The belts on their waists do not come loose, nor do the thongs of their sandals break

From the NKJV

(27)  No one will be weary or stumble among them, no one will slumber or sleep; nor will the belt on their loins be loosed,  nor the strap of their sandals be broken;

Notwithstanding the long march,  there is no exhausted one,  obliged to separate himself and remain behind ; no stumbling one (coosheel), for they march on,  pressing incessantly forwards,  as if along a well-made road.

Isaiah 5:28
From the Tanakh
(28)  Their arrows are sharpened, and all their bows are drawn.
Their horses’ hoofs are like flint, their chariot wheels like the whirlwind.

From the NKJV

(28)  Whose arrows are sharp, and all their bows bent;
Their horses' hooves will seem like flint, and their wheels like a whirlwind.

The prophet then proceeds to describe their weapons and war-chariots.
In the prophet's view they are coming nearer and nearer.  For he sees that they have brought the sharpened arrows in their quivers;  and the fact that all their bows are already trodden (namely, as their length was equal to a man's height, by treading upon the string with the left foot, as we may learn from Arrian's Indica),  proves that they are near to the goal.
Homer designates such horses chalkopodes = brazen-footed.
And the two wheels of the war-chariots,  to which they were harnessed,  turned with such velocity,  and overthrew everything before them with such violence,  that it seemed not merely as if a whirlwind drove them forward,  but as if they were the whirlwind itself.
Nahum compares them to lightning (Nah 2:4).

Nahum 2:4
The chariots rage in the streets,  they jostle one another in the broad roads;  they seem like torches,  they run like lightning.    (NKJV)

Thus far the prophet's description has moved on,  as if by forced marches,  in clauses of  from two to four words each.  It now changes into a heavy,  stealthy pace,  and then in a few clauses springs like a wild beast upon its prey.

Isaiah 5:29
From the Tanakh From the  LXX
(29)  Their roaring is like a lion’s, Draw nigh as a lion’s whelps:
They roar like the great beasts;
When they growl and seize a prey,
They carry it off and none can recover it.

From the NKJV

(29)  Their roaring will be like a lion, they will roar like young lions;  yes, they will roar and lay hold of the prey; they will carry it away safely, and no one will deliver.

The lion roars when eager for prey;  and such is now the war cry of the bloodthirsty enemy,  which the prophet compares to the roaring of a lion or of young lions (cephirim) in the fullness of their strength.
(The lion is described by its poetic name, laabiy' (OT:935);  this does not exactly apply to the lioness,  which would rather be designated by the term lŞbiyaah.)
The roar is succeeded by a low growl (nâham, fremere),  when a lion is preparing to fall upon its prey.

And so the prophet hears a low and ominous murmur in the army,  which is now ready for battle.
But he also sees immediately afterwards how the enemy seizes its booty and carries it irrecoverably away: literally, "how he causes it to escape," i.e.,  carries it to a place of safety.
The prey referred to is Judah. It also adds to the gloomy and mysterious character of  the prophecy,  that the prophet never overtly mentions Judah.  In the following verse also (v. 30) the object is still suppressed,  as if the prophet could not let it pass his lips.

Isaiah 5:30
From the Tanakh From the  LXX
(30)  But in that day, a roaring shall resound over him
like that of the sea; and then he shall look below and, behold,
On account of them
They shall look to the land
Distressing darkness, with light; Darkness, in its
lowering clouds.
Behold, there shall be thick darkness in their perplexity.

From the NKJV

(30)  In that day they will roar against them like the roaring of the sea.
And if one looks to the land, behold, darkness and sorrow; and the light is darkened by the clouds.

Subject to  "roars"  is the mass of  the enemy;  and in the expressions  "over it"  and  "it looks"  the prophet has in his mind the nation of  Judah,  upon which the enemy falls with the roar of the ocean - that is to say, overwhelming it like a sea.  And when the people of  Judah look to the earth - to their own land -  darkness alone presents itself,  and darkness that has swallowed up all the smiling and joyous aspect that it had before.

And what then?

The prophet here predicts that,  before utter ruin has overtaken Judah,  sundry approaches will be made towards this,  within which a divine deliverance will appear again and again.

Grace tries and tries again and again,
until at last the measure of iniquity is full,
and the time of repentance past.

The history of the nation of  Judah proceeded according to this law until the destruction of  Jerusalem by the Romans.
(From Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament: New Updated Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)


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Isaiah 4:1-5:30 - from the Amplified Version

4:1 AND IN that day seven women shall take hold of one man, saying, We will eat our own bread and provide our own apparel; only let us be called by your name to take away our reproach [of being unmarried].
(2)  In that day the Branch of the Lord shall be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the land shall be excellent and lovely to those of Israel who have escaped. [Jer 23:5; 33:15; Zech 3:8; 6:12.]
(3)  And he who is left in Zion and remains in Jerusalem will be called holy, everyone who is recorded for life in Jerusalem and for eternal life, [Joel 3:17; Phil 4:3.]
(4)  After the Lord has washed away the [moral] filth of the daughters of Zion [pride, vanity, haughtiness] and has purged the bloodstains of Jerusalem from the midst of it by the spirit and blast of judgment and by the spirit and blast of burning and sifting.
(5)  And the Lord will create over the whole site, over every dwelling place of Mount Zion and over her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day and the shining of a flaming fire by night; for over all the glory shall be a canopy (a defense of divine love and protection).
(6)  And there shall be a pavilion for shade in the daytime from the heat, and for a place of refuge and a shelter from storm and from rain.

5:1  LET ME [as God's representative] sing of and for my greatly Beloved [God, the Son] a tender song of my Beloved concerning His vineyard [His chosen people]. My greatly Beloved had a vineyard on a very fruitful hill. [Song 6:3; Matt 21:33-40.]
(2)  And He dug and trenched the ground and gathered out the stones from it and planted it with the choicest vine and built a tower in the midst of it and hewed out a winepress in it. And He looked for it to bring forth grapes, and it brought forth wild grapes.
(3)  And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem and men of Judah, judge, I pray you, between Me and My vineyard [My people, says the Lord].
(4)  What more could have been done for My vineyard that I have not done in it? When I looked for it to bring forth grapes, why did it yield wild grapes?
(5)  And now I will tell you what I will do to My vineyard: I will take away its hedge, and it shall be eaten and burned up; and I will break down its wall, and it shall be trodden down [by enemies].
(6)  And I will lay it waste; it shall not be pruned or cultivated, but there shall come up briers and thorns. I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it.
(7)  For the vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah His pleasant planting [the plant of His delight]. And He looked for justice, but behold, [He saw] oppression and bloodshed; [He looked] for righteousness (for uprightness and right standing with God), but behold, [He heard] a cry [of oppression and distress]!
(8)  Woe to those who join house to house [and by violently expelling the poorer occupants enclose large acreage] and join field to field until there is no place for others and you are made to dwell alone in the midst of the land!
(9)  In my [Isaiah's] ears the Lord of hosts said, Of a truth many houses shall be desolate, even great and beautiful ones shall be without inhabitant.
(10)  For ten acres of vineyard shall yield only about eight gallons, and ten bushels of seed will produce but one bushel.
(11)  Woe unto those who rise early in the morning, that they may pursue strong drink, who tarry late into the night till wine inflames them!
(12 They have lyre and harp, tambourine and flute and wine at their feasts, but they do not regard the deeds of ) the Lord, neither do they consider the operation of His hands [in mercy and in judgment].
(13)  Therefore My people go into captivity [to their enemies] without knowing it and because they have no knowledge [of God]. And their honorable men [their glory] are famished, and their common people are parched with thirst.
(14)  Therefore Sheol (the unseen state, the realm of the dead) has enlarged its appetite and opened its mouth without measure; and [Jerusalem's] nobility and her multitude and her pomp and tumult and [the drunken reveler] who exults in her descend into it.
(15)  And the common man is bowed down, and the great man is brought low, and the eyes of the haughty are humbled.
(16)  But the Lord of hosts is exalted in justice, and God, the Holy one, shows Himself holy in righteousness and through righteous judgments.
(17)  Then shall the lambs feed [among the ruins] as in their own pasture, and [among] the desolate places of the [exiled] rich shall sojourners and aliens eat.
(18)  Woe to those who draw [calamity] with cords of iniquity and falsehood, who bring punishment to themselves with a cart rope of wickedness,
(19)  Who say, Let [the Holy one] make haste and speed His [prophesied] vengeance, that we may see it; and let the purpose of the Holy one of Israel draw near and come, that 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 prudent and shrewd in their own sight!
(22)  Woe to those who are mighty heroes at drinking wine and men of strength in mixing alcoholic drinks!--
(23)  Who justify and acquit the guilty for a bribe, but take away the rights of the innocent and righteous from them!
(24)  Therefore, as the tongue of fire devours the stubble, and as the dry grass sinks down in the flame, so their root shall be like rottenness and their blossom shall go up like fine dust--because they have rejected and cast away the law and the teaching of the Lord of hosts and have not believed but have treated scornfully and have despised the word of the Holy one of Israel.
(25)  Therefore is the anger of the Lord kindled against His people, and He has stretched forth His hand against them and has smitten them. And the mountains trembled, and their dead bodies were like dung and sweepings in the midst of the streets. For all this, His anger is not turned away, but His hand is still stretched out [in judgment].
(26)  And He will lift up a signal to call together a hostile people from afar [to execute His judgment on Judea], and will hiss for them from the end of the earth [as bees are hissed from their hives], and behold, they shall come with speed, swiftly!
(27)  None is weary or stumbles among them, none slumbers or sleeps; nor is the girdle of their loins loosed or the latchet (thong) of their shoes broken;
(28)  Their arrows are sharp, and all their bows bent; their horses' hoofs seem like flint, and their wheels like a whirlwind.
(29)  Their roaring is like that of a lioness, they roar like young lions; they growl and seize their prey and carry it safely away, and there is none to deliver it.
(30)  And in that day they [the army from afar] shall roar against [the Jews] like the roaring of the sea. And if one looks to the land, behold, there is darkness and distress; and the light [itself] will be darkened by the clouds of it.

(End of  Lesson 3)




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