Israel, the Lord’s Vineyard
1Now I will sing for my friend a song about his vineyard.
My friend had a vineyard
on a hill with very rich soil.
2He dug and cleared the field of stones
and planted the best grapevines there.
He built a tower in the middle of it
and cut out a winepress as well.
He hoped good grapes would grow there,
but only bad ones grew.
3My friend says, “You people living in Jerusalem,
and you people of Judah,
judge between me and my vineyard.
4What more could I have done for my vineyard
than I have already done?
Although I expected good grapes to grow,
why were there only bad ones?
5Now I will tell you
what I will do to my vineyard:
I will remove the hedge,
and it will be burned.
I will break down the stone wall,
and it will be walked on.
6I will ruin my field.
It will not be trimmed or hoed,
and weeds and thorns will grow there.
I will command the clouds
not to rain on it.”
7The vineyard belonging to the Lord All-Powerful
is the nation of Israel;
the garden that he loves
is the people of Judah.
He looked for justice, but there was only killing.
He hoped for right living, but there were only cries of pain.
8How terrible it will be for you who add more houses to your houses
and more fields to your fields
until there is no room left for other people.
Then you are left alone in the land.
9The Lord All-Powerful said this to me:
“The fine houses will be destroyed;
the large and beautiful houses will be left empty.
10At that time a ten-acre vineyard will make only six gallons of wine,
and ten bushels of seed will grow only half a bushel of grain.”
11How terrible it will be for people who rise early in the morning
to look for strong drink,
who stay awake late at night,
becoming drunk with wine.
12At their parties they have lyres, harps,
tambourines, flutes, and wine.
They don’t see what the Lord has done
or notice the work of his hands.
13So my people will be captured and taken away,
because they don’t really know me.
All the great people will die of hunger,
and the common people will die of thirst.
14So the place of the dead wants more and more people,
and it opens wide its mouth.
Jerusalem’s important people and common people will go down into it,
with their happy and noisy ones.
15So the common people and the great people will be brought down;
those who are proud will be humbled.
16The Lord All-Powerful will receive glory by judging fairly;
the holy God will show himself holy by doing what is right.
17Then the sheep will go anywhere they want,
and lambs will feed on the land that rich people once owned.
18How terrible it will be for those people!
They pull their guilt and sins behind them
as people pull wagons with ropes.
19They say, “Let God hurry;
let him do his work soon
so we may see it.
Let the plan of the Holy One of Israel happen soon
so that we will know what it is.”
20How terrible it will be for people who call good things bad
and bad things good,
who think darkness is light
and light is darkness,
who think sour is sweet
and sweet is sour.
21How terrible it will be for people who think they are wise
and believe they are clever.
22How terrible it will be for people who are famous for drinking wine
and are champions at mixing drinks.
23They take money to set the guilty free
and don’t allow good people to be judged fairly.
24They will be destroyed
just as fire burns straw or dry grass.
They will be destroyed
like a plant whose roots rot
and whose flower dies and blows away like dust.
They have refused to obey the teachings of the Lord All-Powerful
and have hated the message from the Holy God of Israel.
25So the Lord has become very angry with his people,
and he has raised his hand to punish them.
Even the mountains are frightened.
Dead bodies lie in the streets like garbage.
But the Lord is still angry;
his hand is still raised to strike down the people.
26He raises a banner for the nations far away.
He whistles to call those people from the ends of the earth.
Look! The enemy comes quickly!
27Not one of them becomes tired or falls down.
Not one of them gets sleepy and falls asleep.
Their weapons are close at hand,
and their sandal straps are not broken.
28Their arrows are sharp,
and all of their bows are ready to shoot.
The horses’ hoofs are hard as rocks,
and their chariot wheels move like a whirlwind.
29Their shout is like the roar of a lion;
it is loud like a young lion.
They growl as they grab their captives.
There is no one to stop them from taking their captives away.
30On that day they will roar
like the waves of the sea.
And when people look at the land,
they will see only darkness and pain;
all light will become dark in this thick cloud.