The Parable of the Vineyard
5 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. 2 He 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. 3 Now, you people of Jerusalem and Judah, you judge between me and my vineyard. 4 What 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? 5 Now 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. 6 I 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. 7 The 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.
Woes Pronounced on the Wicked
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. 9 But I have heard the Lord of Heaven's Armies swear a solemn oath: "Many houses will stand deserted; even beautiful mansions will be empty. 10 Ten acres of vineyard will not produce even six gallons of wine. Ten baskets of seed will yield only one basket of grain." 11 What 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. 12 They 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. 13 So 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. 14 The grave is licking its lips in anticipation, opening its mouth wide. The great and the lowly and all the drunken mob will be swallowed up. 15 Humanity will be destroyed, and people brought down; even the arrogant will lower their eyes in humiliation. 16 But the Lord of Heaven's Armies will be exalted by his justice. The holiness of God will be displayed by his righteousness. 17 In that day lambs will find good pastures, and fattened sheep and young goats will feed among the ruins.
18 What sorrow for those who drag their sins behind them with ropes made of lies, who drag wickedness behind them like a cart! 19 They 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." 20 What 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. 21 What sorrow for those who are wise in their own eyes and think themselves so clever. 22 What sorrow for those who are heroes at drinking wine and boast about all the alcohol they can hold. 23 They take bribes to let the wicked go free, and they punish the innocent. 24 Therefore, 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. 25 That 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! 26 He 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. 27 They 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. 28 Their 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. 29 They 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. 30 They 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.