Yahweh’s vineyard (Isa 5:7-5:7)

“The vineyard of Yahweh of hosts

Is the house of Israel.

The people of Judah

Are his pleasant planting.

He expected justice.

But he saw bloodshed!

He expected righteousness.

But he heard a cry!”

Isaiah is clear about explaining this song of the vineyard. This vineyard is the house of Israel, and in particular the people of Judah. Yahweh was expecting justice and righteousness from his pleasant planting in the vineyard. However, all he saw and heard was bloodshed and crying. These wild grapes were very disconcerting.

The value of the vineyard (Isa 5:3-5:4)

“Now!

Inhabitants of Jerusalem!

People of Judah!

Judge between me

And my vineyard!

What more was there

To do for my vineyard,

That I have not done in it?

When I expected it

To yield grapes,

Why did it yield wild grapes?”

This song is clearly directed at the people of Jerusalem and Judah, not the northern tribes of Israel with its capital in Samaria. The vineyard is no longer that of a beloved friend. It is now the vineyard of Isaiah himself, who wanted them to judge between him and his vineyard. Who was at fault? Was it him the gardener or the vines themselves? Could he have done more? While he expected good grapes, he only got wild grapes. Why did this happen?

The song of the vineyard (Isa 5:1-5:2)

“Let me sing

For my beloved.

My love song

Concerns his vineyard.

My beloved had

A vineyard

On a very fertile hill.

He dug it out.

He cleared it of stones.

He planted it

With choice vines.

He built a watchtower

In the midst of it.

He hewed out

A wine vat in it.

He expected it

To yield grapes.

But it yielded wild grapes.”

The allegory about a vineyard can be found among many other biblical prophets and even Jesus Christ himself. Either this was at the beginning of Isaiah’s prophetic career, or it was part of the festival of booths. Certainly it was a song about a friend’s vineyard, a common biblical theme. Isaiah was singing for his beloved friend, who had a vineyard on a fertile hill. This friend of Isaiah’s took great care to get this vineyard ready. He dug out stones and planted choice vines. He put a tower in the middle to look over the vineyard with a carved wine vat there also. He was expecting good grapes, but he only got wild grapes. Clearly, he did not get what he expected.