1I want to sing a song for someone I love,
a song about my loved one and his vineyard.
My loved one had a vineyard
on a very fertile hill.
2He dug up its stones and cleared them away,
planted it with the choicest vines,
built a watchtower in the middle of it,
and carved out in its rock a winepress.
He expected it to produce good grapes,
but it produced only sour, wild grapes.
3Now, citizens of Yerushalayim and people of Y’hudah,
judge between me and my vineyard.
4What more could I have done for my vineyard
that I haven’t already done in it?
So why, when I expected good grapes,
did it produce sour, wild grapes?
5Now come, I will tell you
what I will do to my vineyard:
I will remove its hedge,
and [its grapes] will be eaten up;
I will break through its fence,
and [its vines] will be trampled down.
6I will let it go to waste:
it will be neither pruned nor hoed,
but overgrown with briars and thorns.
I will also order the clouds
not to let rain fall on it.
7Now the vineyard of Adonai-Tzva’ot
is the house of Isra’el,
and the men of Y’hudah
are the plant he delighted in.
So he expected justice,
but look — bloodshed! —
and righteousness, but listen —
cries of distress!
8Woe to those who add house to house
and join field to field,
until there’s no room for anyone else,
and you live in splendor alone on your land.
9Adonai-Tzva’ot said in my ears,
“Many houses will be brought to ruin,
large, magnificent ones left empty;
10for a ten-acre vineyard will produce
only five gallons of wine,
and seed from five bushels of grain
will yield but half a bushel.”
11Woe to those who get up early
to pursue intoxicating liquor;
who stay up late at night,
until wine inflames them.
12They have lutes and lyres, drums and flutes,
and wine at their parties;
but they pay no attention to how Adonai works
and never look at what his hands have made.
13For such lack of knowledge
my people go into exile;
this is also why their respected men starve
and their masses are parched from thirst.
14Therefore Sh’ol has enlarged itself
and opened its limitless jaws —
and down go their nobles and masses,
along with their noise and revels.
15The masses are lowered, the nobles are humbled —
proud looks will be brought down.
16But Adonai-Tzva’ot is exalted through justice,
God the Holy One is consecrated through righteousness.
17Then lambs will be able to feed
as if they were in their own pasture,
and those wandering through will eat
from the ruined fields of the overfed.
18Woe to those who begin by pulling
at transgression with a thread,
but end by dragging sin along
as if with a cart rope.
19They say, “We want God to speed up his work,
to hurry it along, so we can see it!
We want the Holy One of Isra’el’s plan
to come true right now, so we can be sure of it!”
20Woe to those who call evil good
and good evil,
who change darkness into light
and light into darkness,
who change bitter into sweet
and sweet into bitter!
21Woe to those seeing themselves as wise,
esteeming themselves as clever.
22Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine,
men whose power goes to mixing strong drinks,
23who acquit the guilty for bribes
but deny justice to the righteous!
24Therefore, as fire licks up the stubble,
and the chaff is consumed in the flame;
so their root will rot,
and their flowers scatter like dust;
because they have rejected the Torah
they have despised the word
of the Holy One of Isra’el.
25This is why Adonai’s anger blazed up against his people,
why he stretched out his hand against them and struck them
[so hard that] the hills shook,
and corpses lay like trash in the streets.
Even after all this, his anger remains,
his upraised hand still threatens.
26He will give a signal to faraway nations,
he will whistle for them to come
from the ends of the earth;
and here they come, so fast! —
27none of them tired or stumbling,
none of them sleeping or drowsy,
none with a loose belt,
none with a broken sandal-strap.
28Their arrows are sharp,
all their bows are strung,
their horses’ hoofs are like flint,
and their [chariot] wheels like a whirlwind.
29They will roar like lions —
yes, roaring like young lions,
they growl and seize the prey
and carry it off, with no one to rescue.
30On that day they will growl at them,
like the sea when it growls —
and when one looks toward land,
one sees darkness closing in;
the light is dissipated
in the obscuring overcast.