Isaiah 5:6
And I will lay it waste: it shall not be pruned, nor digged; but there shall come up briers and thorns: I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(6) There shall come up briers and thorns.—The picture of desolation is still part of a parable. The “briers and thorns” (both the words are peculiar to Isaiah) are the base and unworthy who take the place of the true leaders of the people (Judges 9:7-15). The absence of the pruning and the digging answers to the withdrawal of the means of moral and spiritual culture (John 15:2; Luke 13:8). The command given to the clouds (comp. 2Samuel 1:21, for the outward form of the thought) implies the cessation of all gracious spiritual influences.

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.I will lay it waste ... - The description here is continued from Isaiah 5:5. The image is carried out, and means that the Jews should be left utterly without protection.

I will also command the clouds ... - It is evident here, that the parable or figure is partially dropped. A farmer could not command the clouds. It is God alone who could do that; and the figure of the vineyard is dropped, and God is introduced speaking as a sovereign. The meaning is, that he would withhold his divine influences, and would abandon them to desolation. The sense of the whole verse is plain. God would leave the Jews without protection; he would remove the guards, the helps, the influences, with which he had favored them, and leave them to their own course, as a vineyard that was unpruned, uncultivated, unwatered. The Chaldee has well expressed the sense of the passage: 'I will take away the house of my sanctuary (the temple), and they shall be trodden down. I will regard them as guilty, and there shall be no support or defense for them; they shall be abandoned, and shall become wanderers. I will command the prophets, that they shall not prophesy over them.' The lesson taught here is, that when a people become ungrateful, and rebellious, God will withdraw from them, and leave them to desolation; compare Revelation 2:3.

6. I will … command—The parable is partly dropped and Jehovah, as in Isa 5:7, is implied to be the Owner: for He alone, not an ordinary husbandman (Mt 21:43; Lu 17:22), could give such a "command."

no rain—antitypically, the heaven-sent teachings of the prophets (Am 8:11). Not accomplished in the Babylonish captivity; for Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Haggai, and Zechariah prophesied during or after it. But in gospel times.

It shall not be pruned nor digged: vine-dressers use to dig up and open the earth about the roots of the vines, for divers good purposes. The meaning is. I will remove my ministers, who used great care and diligence to make you fruitful.

There shall come briers and thorns; I will give you up to your own wicked lusts.

I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain on it; I will deprive you of all my blessings, which are oft compared to rain, &c.

And I will lay it waste,.... Or "desolate", as it was by the Romans: the whole land of Judea, as well as the city and temple Matthew 23:38,

it shall not be pruned nor digged; as vineyards are, to make them more fruitful; but no care shall be taken of it, no means made use of to cultivate it, all being ineffectual:

but there shall come up briers and thorns; sons of Belial, wicked and ungodly men; immoralities, errors, heresies, contentions, quarrels, &c. which abounded about the time of Jerusalem's destruction, and before:

I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain upon them; by "the clouds" are meant the apostles of Christ, who were full of the doctrines of grace, from whom they dropped as rain upon the mown grass; these, when the Jews contradicted and blasphemed the Gospel, and judged themselves unworthy of it, were commanded by Christ to turn from them, and go to the Gentiles, Acts 13:45 agreeably to this sense is the Targum,

"and I will command the prophets, that they do not prophesy upon them prophecy.''

And I will lay it waste: it shall not be pruned, nor digged; but there shall come up briers and thorns: I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
6. lay it waste] or, make an end of it. The word is thought to be connected with that rendered “desolate” in ch. Isaiah 7:19,—better “precipitous,” “cut off,” hence (as here) “made an end of.”

there shall come up … thorns] The Heb. is more forcible: it shall go up in thorns and thistles. “Thorns and thistles,” a phrase peculiar to the book of Isaiah: Isaiah 7:23-25; Isaiah 9:18; Isaiah 10:17; Isaiah 27:4. The change of rhythm referred to (Introd. Note above) commences with this clause—rightly, since the next line reveals the whole drift of the parable: He who can command the clouds must be no other than Jehovah himself.

Verse 6. - I will lay it waste; literally, I will make it a desolation (comp. Isaiah 7:19, where a cognate term occurs). Active ravage is not so much pointed at, as the desolation which comes from neglect. There shall come up briers and thorns. The natural produce of neglected ground in Palestine (see Proverbs 24:31). The "thorns and briers" symbolize vices of various kinds, the natural produce of the human soul, if God leaves it to itself. The words are scarcely to be taken literally, though it is probably true that "no country in the world has such variety and abundance of thorny plants as Palestine in its present desolation" (Macmillan, 'Min. of Nat.,' p. 103). I will also command the clouds. Here at last disguise is thrown off, and the speaker manifestly appears as Jehovah, who can alone "command the clouds." The "rain" intended is probably that of his gracious influences. Isaiah 5:6This puts an end to the unthankful vineyard, and indeed a hopeless one."And I will put an end to it: it shall not be pruned nor digged, and it shall break out in thorns and thistles; and I will command the clouds to rain no rain over it." "Put an end:" bâthâh ( equals battâh : Ges. 67, Anm. 11) signifies, according to the primary meaning of bâthath (בּוּת, בּהת, see at Isaiah 1:29), viz., abscindere, either abscissum equals locus abscissus or praeruptus (Isaiah 7:19), or abscissio equals deletio. The latter is the meaning here, where shı̄th bâthâh is a refined expression for the more usual כלה עשׂה, both being construed with the accusative of the thing which is brought to an end. Further pruning and hoeing would do it no good, but only lead to further disappointment: it was the will of the Lord, therefore, that the deceitful vineyard should shoot up in thorns and thistles (âlâh is applied to the soil, as in Isaiah 34:13 and Proverbs 24:31; shâimr vâshaith, thorns and thistles, are in the accusative, according to Ges. 138, 1, Anm. 2; and both the words themselves, and also their combination, are exclusively and peculiarly Isaiah's).

(Note: Cassel associates shâmir as the name of a plant (saxifraga) with σμὐρις, and shaith with sentis, ἄκανθα; but the name shâmir is not at all applicable to those small delicate plants, which are called saxifraga (stone-breakers) on account of their growing out of clefts in the rock, and so appearing to have split the rock itself. Both shâmir vâshaith and kōts v'dardar, in Genesis 3:18, seem rather to point to certain kinds of rhamnus, together with different kinds of thistles. The more arid and waste the ground is, the more does it abound, where not altogether without vegetation, in thorny, prickly, stunted productions.)

In order that it might remain a wilderness, the clouds would also receive commandment from the Lord not to rain upon it. There can be no longer any doubt who the Lord of the vineyard is. He is Lord of the clouds, and therefore the Lord of heaven and earth. It is He who is the prophet's beloved and dearest one. The song which opened in so minstrel-like and harmless a tone, has now become painfully severe and terribly repulsive. The husk of the parable, which has already been broken through, now falls completely off (cf., Matthew 22:13; Matthew 25:30). What it sets forth in symbol is really true. This truth the prophet establishes by an open declaration.

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