Isaiah 5:5
And now go to; I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard: I will take away the hedge thereof, and it shall be eaten up; and break down the wall thereof, and it shall be trodden down:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(5) I will take away the hedge . . .—This involved the throwing open of the vineyard to be as grazing land which all the wild bulls of Bashan—i.e., all the enemies of Zion—might trample on (Ezekiel 34:18). The interpretation of the parable implies that there was to be the obliteration, at least for some time and in some measure, of the distinctness and independence of the nation’s life. (Comp. Hosea 3:4, for a like sentence in another form.)

Isaiah 5:5-6. And now I will tell you, &c. — He graciously warns them beforehand, that they may have space and encouragement to repent, and so to prevent the threatened miseries. I will take away the hedge thereof, &c. — I will withdraw my presence and protection from you, and give you up into the hands of your enemies. I will lay it waste — It shall be overrun by heathen and infidels, and shall no longer bear the form of a vineyard. It shall not be pruned nor digged — Vine-dressers used to dig up and open the earth about the roots of the vines. The meaning is, I will remove my ministers, who have used great care and diligence to make you fruitful: but there shall come up briers and thorns — I will give you up to your own wicked lusts. I will also command the clouds — I will deprive you of all my blessings.5:1-7 Christ is God's beloved Son, and our beloved Saviour. The care of the Lord over the church of Israel, is described by the management of a vineyard. The advantages of our situation will be brought into the account another day. He planted it with the choicest vines; gave them a most excellent law, instituted proper ordinances. The temple was a tower, where God gave tokens of his presence. He set up his altar, to which the sacrifices should be brought; all the means of grace are denoted thereby. God expects fruit from those that enjoy privileges. Good purposes and good beginnings are good things, but not enough; there must be vineyard fruit; thoughts and affections, words and actions, agreeable to the Spirit. It brought forth bad fruit. Wild grapes are the fruits of the corrupt nature. Where grace does not work, corruption will. But the wickedness of those that profess religion, and enjoy the means of grace, must be upon the sinners themselves. They shall no longer be a peculiar people. When errors and vice go without check or control, the vineyard is unpruned; then it will soon be grown over with thorns. This is often shown in the departure of God's Spirit from those who have long striven against him, and the removal of his gospel from places which have long been a reproach to it. The explanation is given. It is sad with a soul, when, instead of the grapes of humility, meekness, love, patience, and contempt of the world, for which God looks, there are the wild grapes of pride, passion, discontent, and malice, and contempt of God; instead of the grapes of praying and praising, the wild grapes of cursing and swearing. Let us bring forth fruit with patience, that in the end we may obtain everlasting life.Go to - The Hebrew word here is one that is commonly rendered, 'I pray you,' and is used "to call the attention to" what is said. It is the word from which we have derived the adverb "now," נא nā'.

I will take away the hedge - A "hedge" is a fence of thorns, made by suffering thorn-bushes to grow so thick that nothing can pass through them. Here it means that God would withdraw his protection from the Jews, and leave them exposed to be overrun and trodden down by their enemies, as a vineyard would be by wild beasts if it were not protected.

The wall ... - Vineyards, it seems, had a "double" enclosure. - "Gesenius." Such a double protection might be necessary, as some animals might scale a wall that would yet find it impossible to pass through a thorn-hedge. The sense here is, that though the Jews had been protected in every way possible, yet that protection would be withdrawn, and they would be left defenseless.

5. go to—that is, attend to me.

hedge … wall—It had both; a proof of the care of the owner. But now it shall be trodden down by wild beasts (enemies) (Ps 80:12, 13).

I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard; he graciously warns them beforehand, that they may have space and invitation to repent, and so to prevent the threatened miseries.

I will take away the hedge thereof, & c.; I will withdraw my presence and protection from them, and give them up into the hands of their enemies. And now, go to; I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard,.... Not by bestowing fresh favours upon them, but by inflicting punishment on them, for abusing what they had received; and this he told by John Baptist, Christ, and his apostles, what he determined to do; and what he was about to do to the Jewish nation, in the utter ruin of it, Matthew 3:12.

I will take away the hedge thereof, and it shall be eaten up; that is, the vineyard shall be eaten by the wild beasts that will enter into it, when the hedge is taken away; or "it shall be burnt"; that is, the hedge, being a hedge of thorns, as Jarchi and Kimchi observe; such there were about vineyards, besides the stone wall after mentioned:

and break down the wall thereof, and it shall be trodden down; the vineyard, or the vines in it, see Psalm 80:12 this is to be understood of the Lord's removing his presence, power, and protection from the Jewish nation, and leaving them naked, destitute, and helpless, and exposed to their enemies. The Targum is,

"and now I will declare to you what I will do to my people; I will cause my Shechinah, or Majesty, to remove from them, and they shall be for a spoil; and I will break down the house of their sanctuary, and they shall be for treading.''

And now come; I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard: I {g} will take away its hedge, and it shall be eaten up; and break down the wall of it, and it shall be trodden down:

(g) I will take no more care for it: meaning, that he would take from them his word and ministers and all other comforts, and feed them contrary plagues.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
5. I will take away … and break down] better simply, Remove … Break down—absolute infs. in apposition to “what.” The vineyard is provided both with a hedge (of thorns) and a wall (of stone).

5, 6. The hearers are silent, and the prophet proceeds to pass sentence on the vineyard.

And now, let me tell you, I pray,

What I am about to do to my vineyard.

The construction in the second line is the fut. instans; the owner’s mind is finally made up.Verse 5. - And now go to; I will tell you; rather, and now, I pray you, let me tell yon. The address is still smooth and persuasive up to the word "vineyard." Then there is a sudden change; the style becomes abrupt, the tone fierce and menacing. "Let me tell you what I will do to my vineyard: break down its hedge, that it be grazed on; destroy its wall, that it be trampled underfoot," etc. The hedge... the wall. Vine-yards were usually protected either by a hedge of thorns, commonly of the prickly pear, or else by a wall; but the rabbis say that in some cases, for additional security, they were surrounded by both. God had given his vineyard all the protection possible. "And Jehovah creates over every spot of Mount Zion, and over its festal assemblies, a cloud by day, and smoke, and the shining of flaming fire by night: for over all the glory comes a canopy." Just as Jehovah guided and shielded Israel in the days of the redemption from Egypt in a smoke-cloud by day and a fire-cloud by night, which either moved in front like a pillar, or floated above them as a roof (Numbers 14:14, etc.), the perpetuation of His presence at Sinai (Exodus 19:9, Exodus 19:16.); so would Jehovah in like manner shield the Israel of the final redemption, which would no longer need the pillar of cloud since its wanderings would be over, but only the cloudy covering; and such a covering Jehovah would create, as the praet. consec. וּברא) ("and He creates") distinctly affirms. The verb bârâh always denotes a divine and miraculous production, having its commencement in time; for even the natural is also supernatural in its first institution by God. In the case before us, however, the reference is to a fresh manifestation of His gracious presence, exalted above the present course of nature. This manifestation would consist by day in "a cloud," and as the hendiadys "cloud and smoke" (i.e., cloud in form and smoke in substance) distinctly affirms, a smoke-cloud, not a watery cloud, like those which ordinarily cover the sky; and by night in a fiery splendour, not merely a lingering fiery splendour like that of the evening sky, but, as the words clearly indicate, a flaming brightness (lehâbâh ), and therefore real and living fire. The purpose of the cloud would not only be to overshadow, but also to serve as a wall of defence against opposing influences;

(Note: The cloud derived its name, ‛ânân, not from the idea of covering, but from that of coming to meet one. The clouds come towards the man who gazes at them, inserting themselves between him and the sky, and thus forcing themselves upon his notice instead of the sky; hence the visible outer side of the vault of heaven is also called ‛anan (plur. ‛anân), just as the same word is used to denote the outermost portion of the branches or foliage of a tree which is the first to strike the eye (in contradistinction to the inner portions, which are not so easily seen, seven if visible at all).)

and the fire would not only give light, but by flaming and flashing would ward off hostile powers. But, above all, the cloud and fire were intended as signs of the nearness of God, and His satisfaction. In the most glorious times of the temple a smoke-cloud of this kind filled the Holy of holies; and there was only one occasion - namely, at the dedication of Solomon's temple - on which it filled the whole building (1 Kings 8:10); but now the cloud, the smoke of which, moreover, would be turned at night into flaming fire, would extend over every spot (mâcōn, a more poetical word for mâkōm) of Mount Zion, and over the festal assemblies thereon. The whole mountain would thus become a Holy of holies. It would be holy not only as being the dwelling-place of Jehovah, but as the gathering-place of a community of saints. "Her assemblies" (mikrâehâ) points back to Zion, and is a plural written defectively (at least in our editions),

(Note: Such codices and ancient editions as Soncino (1488), Brescia (1494), and many others, have the word with the yod of the plural.)

- as, for example, in Jeremiah 19:8. There is no necessity to take this noun in the sense of "meeting halls" (a meaning which it never has anywhere else), as Gesenius, Ewald, Hitzig, and others have done, since it may also signify "the meetings," though not in an abstract, but in a concrete sense (ecclesiae).

(Note: It is doubtful whether the form מפעל (מפעל) is ever strictly a nomen actionis kal (Ges. 84, 14). Its meaning seems rather to be always concrete, even in Arabic, where menâm signifies a sleeping-place, sleeping-time, or a dream, but never sleep, or sleeping (like inse, Heb. shenâh, or naum, Heb. nūm).)

The explanatory clause, "for over all the glory (comes) a canopy," admits of several interpretations. Dr. Shegg and others take it in the general sense: "for defence and covering are coming for all that is glorious." Now, even if this thought were not so jejune as it is, the word Chuppâh would not be the word used to denote covering for the sake of protection; it signifies rather covering for the sake of beautifying and honouring that which is covered. Chuppâh is the name still given by the Jews to the wedding canopy, i.e., a canopy supported on four poles and carried by four boys, under which the bride and bridegroom receive the nuptial blessing - a meaning which is apparently more appropriate, even in Psalm 19:6 and Joel 2:16, than the ordinary explanation thalamus to torus. Such a canopy would float above Mount Zion in the form of a cloud of smoke and blaze of fire. (There is no necessity to take Chuppâh as a third pers. pual, since תּהיה, which follows immediately afterwards in Isaiah 4:6, may easily be supplied in thought.) The only question is whether Col Câbōd signifies "every kind of glory," or according to Psalm 39:6; Psalm 45:14, "pure glory" (Hofmann, Stud. u. Krit. 1847, pp. 936-38). The thought that Jerusalem would now be "all glory," as its inhabitants were all holiness, and therefore that this shield would be spread out over pure glory, is one that thoroughly commends itself. but we nevertheless prefer the former, as more in accordance with the substantive clause. The glory which Zion would now possess would be exposed to no further injury: Jehovah would acknowledge it by signs of His gracious presence; for henceforth there would be nothing glorious in Zion, over which there would not be a canopy spread in the manner described, shading and yet enlightening, hiding, defending, and adorning it.

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