Isaiah 5
Contemporary English Version

A Song about a Vineyard

The Lord said:

1 I will sing a song

about my friend's vineyard

that was on the side

of a fertile hill.

2My friend dug the ground,

removed the stones,

and planted the best vines.

He built a watchtower

and dug a pit in rocky ground

for pressing the grapes.

He hoped they would be sweet,

but bitter grapes

were all it produced.

3Listen, people of Jerusalem

and of Judah!

You be the judge of me

and my vineyard.

4What more could I have done

for my vineyard?

I hoped for sweet grapes,

but bitter grapes

were all that grew.

5Now I will let you know

what I am going to do.

I will cut down the hedge

and tear down the wall.

My vineyard will be trampled

and left in ruins.

6It will turn into a desert,

neither pruned nor hoed;

it will be covered

with thorns and briars.

I will command the clouds

not to send rain.

7I am the Lord All-Powerful!

Israel is the vineyard,

and Judah is the garden

I tended with care.

I had hoped for honesty

and for justice,

but dishonesty

and cries for mercy

were all I found.

Isaiah Condemns Social Injustice

8You are in for trouble! You take over house after house and field after field, until there is no room left for anyone else in all the land. 9But the Lord All-Powerful has made this promise to me:

Those large and beautiful homes will be left empty, with no one to take care of them. 10Four hectares of grapevines will produce only 27 liters of juice, and 180 liters of seed will produce merely 18 liters of grain.

11 You are in for trouble! You get up early to start drinking, and you keep it up late into the night. 12At your drinking parties you have the music of stringed instruments, tambourines, and flutes. But you never even think about all the Lord has done, 13and so his people know nothing about him. That's why many of you will be dragged off to foreign lands. Your leaders will starve to death, and everyone else will suffer from thirst.

14The world of the dead has opened its mouth wide and is eagerly waiting for the leaders of Jerusalem and for its noisy crowds, especially for those who take pride in that city. 15Its citizens have been put down, and its proud people have been brought to shame. 16But the holy Lord God All-Powerful is praised, because he has shown who he is by bringing justice. 17His people will be like sheep grazing in their own pasture, and they will take off what was left by others.+

18You are in for trouble! The lies you tell are like ropes by which you drag along sin and evil. 19And you say, “Let the holy God of Israel hurry up and do what he has promised, so we can see it for ourselves.” 20You are headed for trouble! You say wrong is right, darkness is light, and bitter is sweet.

21You think you are clever and smart. 22And you are great at drinking and mixing drinks. But you are in for trouble. 23You accept bribes to let the guilty go free, and you cheat the innocent out of a fair trial.

24You will go up in flames like straw and hay! You have rejected the teaching of the holy Lord God All-Powerful of Israel. Now your roots will rot, and your blossoms will turn to dust.

25You are the Lord's people, but you made him terribly angry, and he struck you with his mighty arm. Mountains shook, and dead bodies covered the streets like garbage. The Lord is still angry, and he is ready to strike you again.+

Foreign Nations Will Attack

26The Lord has signaled for the foreign nations to come and attack you. He has already whistled, and they are coming as fast as they can. 27None of them are tired. They don't sleep or get drowsy, and they run without stumbling. Their belts don't come loose; their sandal straps don't break. 28Their arrows are sharp, and their bows are ready. The hoofs of their horses are hard as flint; the wheels of their war chariots turn as fast as a whirlwind.

29They roar and growl like fierce young lions as they grab their victims and drag them off where no one can rescue them. 30On the day they attack, they will roar like the ocean. And across the land you will see nothing but darkness and trouble, because the light of day will be covered by thick clouds.


5.17 and they … others: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
5.25 is ready … again: Or “hasn't given up on you yet.”

Contemporary English Version, Second Edition (CEV®)

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