|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
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.
Verses 1-7. - ISRAEL REBUKED BY THE PARABLE OF A VINEYARD. This chapter stands in a certain sense alone, neither closely connected with what precedes nor with what follows, excepting that it breathes throughout a tone of denunciation. There is also a want of connection between its parts, the allegory of the first section being succeeded by a series of rebukes for sins, expressed in the plainest language, and the rebukes being followed by a threat of punishment, also expressed with plainness. The resemblance of the parable with which the chapter opens to one of those delivered by our Lord, and recorded in the three synoptic Gospels (Matthew 21:33-41; Mark 12:1-9; Luke 20:9-16), has been frequently noticed. Verse 1. - Now will I sing to my Well-beloved. The prophet sings to Jehovah a song concerning his vineyard. The song consists of eight lines, beginning with "My Well-beloved," and ending with "wild grapes." It is in a lively, dancing measure, very unlike the general style of Isaiah's poetry. The name "Well-beloved" seems to be taken by the prophet from the Song of Songs, where it occurs above twenty times. It well expresses the feeling of a loving soul towards its Creator and Redeemer. A song of my Well-beloved. Bishop Lowth translates "A song of loves," and Mr. Cheyne "A love-song;" but this requires an alteration of the text, and is unsatisfactory from the fact that the song which follows is not a "love-song." May we not understand the words to mean "a song concerning my Well-beloved in respect of his vineyard?" Touching his vineyard. Israel is compared to a "vine" in the Psalms (Psalm 80:8-16), and the Church of God to a "garden" in Canticles (Song of Solomon 4:12; Song of Solomon 5:1); perhaps also to a "vineyard" in the same book (Song of Solomon 8:12). Isaiah may have had this last passage in his mind. My Beloved hath a vineyard; rather, had a vineyard (ἀμπελὼν ἑγενήθη τῷ ἠγαπημένῳ, LXX.). In a very fruitful hill. So the passage is generally understood, since keren, horn, is used for a height by the Arabs (as also by the Germans, e.g. Matterhorn, Wetterhorn, Aarhorn, etc.), and "son of oil" is a not unlikely Orientalism for "rich" or "fruitful." With the "hill" of this passage compare the "mountain" of Isaiah 2:2, both passages indicating that the Church of God is set on aft eminence, and "cannot be hid" (Matthew 5:14).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Now will I sing to my well beloved,.... These are the words of the Prophet Isaiah, being about to represent the state and condition of the people of Israel by way of parable, which he calls a song, and which he determines to sing to his beloved, and calls upon himself to do it; by whom he means either God the Father, whom he loved with all his heart and soul; or Christ, who is often called the beloved of his people, especially in the book of Solomon's song; or else the people of Israel, whom the prophet had a great affection for, being his own people; but it seems best to understand it of God or Christ:
a song of my beloved; which was inspired by him, or related to him, and was made for his honour and glory; or "a song of my uncle" (q), for another word is used here than what is in the preceding clause, and is rendered "uncle" elsewhere, see Leviticus 25:49 and may design King Amaziah; for, according to tradition, Amoz, the father of Isaiah, was brother to Amaziah king of Judah, and so consequently Amaziah must be uncle to Isaiah; and this might be a song of his composing, or in which he was concerned, being king of Judah, the subject of this song, as follows:
touching his vineyard; not his uncle's, though it is true of him, but his well beloved's, God or Christ; the people of Israel, and house of Judah, are meant, comparable to a vineyard, as appears from Isaiah 5:7 being separated and distinguished from the rest of the nations of the world, for the use, service, and glory of God.
My beloved hath a vineyard in a very fruitful hill; or, "in a horn, the son of oil" (r); which designs the land of Israel, which was higher than other lands; and was, as some observe, in the form of a horn, longer than it was broad, and a very fruitful country, a land of olive oil, a land flowing with milk and honey, Deuteronomy 8:7. The Targum is,
"the prophet said, I will sing now to Israel, who is like unto a vineyard, the seed of Abraham, my beloved, a song of my beloved, concerning his vineyard. My people, my beloved Israel, I gave to them an inheritance in a high mountain, in a fat land.''
(q) "canticum patruelis mei", V. L. (r) "in cornu, filio olei", V. L.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
Isa 5:1-30. Parable of Jehovah's Vineyard.
A new prophecy; entire in itself. Probably delivered about the same time as the second and third chapters, in Uzziah's reign. Compare Isa 5:15, 16 with Isa 2:17; and Isa 5:1 with Isa 3:14. However, the close of the chapter alludes generally to the still distant invasion of Assyrians in a later reign (compare Isa 5:26 with Isa 7:18; and Isa 5:25 with Isa 9:12). When the time drew nigh, according to the ordinary prophetic usage, he handles the details more particularly (Isa 7:1-8:22); namely, the calamities caused by the Syro-Israelitish invasion, and subsequently by the Assyrians whom Ahaz had invited to his help.
1. to—rather, "concerning" [Gesenius], that is, in the person of My beloved, as His representative [Vitringa]. Isaiah gives a hint of the distinction and yet unity of the Divine Persons (compare He with I, Isa 5:2, 3).
of my beloved—inspired by Him; or else, a tender song [Castalio]. By a slight change of reading "a song of His love" [Houbigant]. "The Beloved" is Jehovah, the Second Person, the "Angel" of God the Father, not in His character as incarnate Messiah, but as God of the Jews (Ex 23:20, 21; 32:34; 33:14).
vineyard—(Isa 3:14; Ps 80:8, &c.). The Jewish covenant-people, separated from the nations for His glory, as the object of His peculiar care (Mt 20:1; 21:33). Jesus Christ in the "vineyard" of the New Testament Church is the same as the Old Testament Angel of the Jewish covenant.
fruitful hill—literally, "a horn" ("peak," as the Swiss shreckhorn) of the son of oil; poetically, for very fruitful. Suggestive of isolation, security, and a sunny aspect. Isaiah alludes plainly to the Song of Solomon (So 6:3; 8:11, 12), in the words "His vineyard" and "my Beloved" (compare Isa 26:20; 61:10, with So 1:4; 4:10). The transition from "branch" (Isa 4:2) to "vineyard" here is not unnatural.
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