Isaiah 5:7
For the vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah his pleasant plant: and he looked for judgment, but behold oppression; for righteousness, but behold a cry.
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(7) For the vineyard of the Lord of hosts.—The words remind us of Nathan’s “Thou art the man,” to David (2Samuel 12:7), and of our Lord’s words in Matthew 21:42-43.

Behold oppression.—The Hebrew word carries with it the idea of bloodshed, and points to the crimes mentioned in Isaiah 1:15; Isaiah 4:4. The “cry” is that of the victims who appeal to Jehovah when they find no help in man (Genesis 4:10; Deuteronomy 24:15; James 5:4).

Isaiah 5:7. For the vineyard, &c. — Or rather, Now the vineyard, as Dr. Waterland renders it: here we have the interpretation of the preceding parable in general. In the subsequent verses the prophet enters into particulars. This general interpretation is fully verified by the history of the Jewish people, especially in the time of our Lord and his apostles: and the men of Judah his pleasant plant — In whom God formerly delighted; and he looked for judgment — Both the administration of justice by magistrates, and justice in the dealings of the people with one another: but behold oppression — From the powerful upon their inferiors; and for righteousness — For equity, mercy, and benevolence; but behold a cry — From the oppressed, crying to men for help, and to God for vengeance. “The paronomasia, or play on the words, in the Hebrew, in this place, is very remarkable; mispat, mispach; zedakah, zeakah. There are many examples of it in the other prophets; but Isaiah seems peculiarly fond of it. The rabbins esteem it a great beauty: their term for it is, elegance of language.” — Bishop Lowth.

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.For the vineyard ... - This is the application of the parable. God had treated the Jews as a farmer does a vineyard. This was "his" vineyard - the object of his faithful, unceasing care. This was his "only" vineyard; on this people alone, of all the nations of the earth, had he bestowed his special attention.

His pleasant plant - The plant in which he delighted. As the farmer had been at the pains to plant the "sorek" Isaiah 5:2, so had God selected the ancient stock of the Jews as his own, and made the race the object of his chief attention.

And he looked for judgment - For justice, or righteousness.

But behold oppression - The word rendered "oppression" means properly "shedding of blood." In the original here, there is a remarkable "paranomasia," or play upon words, which is not uncommon in the Hebrew Scriptures, and which was deemed a great beauty in composition:

He looked for "judgment," משׁפט mishpâṭ, And lo! "shedding of blood," משׂפח mis'pâch; For "rightousness," צדקה tsedâqâh, But lo! "a clamor," צעקה tse‛âqâh.

It is impossible, of course, to retain this in a translation.

A cry. A clamor - tumult, disorder; the clamor which attends anarchy, and covetousness, and dissipation Isaiah 5:8, Isaiah 5:11-12, rather than the soberness and steadiness of justice.

7. Isaiah here applies the parable. It is no mere human owner, nor a literal vineyard that is meant.

vineyard of the Lord—His only one (Ex 19:5; Am 3:2).

pleasant—"the plant of his delight"; just as the husbandman was at pains to select the sorek, or "choicest vine" (Isa 5:2); so God's election of the Jews.

judgment—justice. The play upon words is striking in the Hebrew, He looked for mishpat, but behold mispat ("bloodshed"); for tsedaqua, but behold tseaqua (the cry that attends anarchy, covetousness, and dissipation, Isa 5:8, 11, 12; compare the cry of the rabble by which justice was overborne in the case of Jesus Christ, Mt 27:23, 24).

The vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah his pleasant plant; in whom God formerly delighted to dwell and converse. Compare Proverbs 8:31 Jeremiah 31:20. Behold the cry from the oppressed, crying to men for help, and to God for vengeance.

For the vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel,.... This is the explication of the parable, or the accommodation and application of it to the people of Israel, by whom are meant the ten tribes; they are signified by the vineyard, which belonged to the Lord of hosts, who had chosen them to be a peculiar people to him, and had separated them from all others:

and the men of Judah his pleasant plant; they were so when first planted by the Lord; they were plants of delight, in whom he took great delight and pleasure, Deuteronomy 10:15 these design the two tribes of Judah and Benjamin, in distinction from Israel:

and he looked for judgment; that the poor, and the fatherless, and the widow, would have their causes judged in a righteous manner, and that justice and judgment would be executed in the land in all respects; for which such provision was made by the good and righteous laws that were given them:

but behold oppression; or a "scab", such as was in the plague of leprosy; corruption, perverting of justice, and oppressing of the poor: Jarchi interprets it a gathering of sin to sin, a heaping up iniquities:

for righteousness, but behold a cry; of the poor and oppressed, for want of justice done, and by reason of their oppressions. Here ends the song; what has been parabolically said is literally expressed in the following part of the chapter.

For the vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah his pleasant plant: and he looked for {h} judgment, but behold oppression; for righteousness, but behold {i} a cry.

(h) Judgment and righteousness are true fruit of the fear of God and therefore in the cruel oppression there is no religion.

(i) Of them who are oppressed.

7. The formal application of the parable, emphasising two facts: (1) Jehovah’s vineyard is the house of Israel, but especially the men of Judah, the plant of his delight (R.V. marg.); (2) “the wild grapes” it produces are the frightful oppressions and perversion of justice which are perpetrated in its midst. The underlying thought is that Jehovah’s signal care and goodness ought to have resulted in a national life corresponding to His moral character—a fundamental truth of the prophetic theology.

He looked for judgment (mishpâṭ), but behold bloodshed (mispâḥ);

For righteousness (çědâqâh), but behold a cry! (çě‘âqâh).

These powerful assonances, which cannot be reproduced in English, are evidently designed to clinch the moral of the parable in the memories of the hearers. The “cry” is that of the oppressed, cf. Job 19:7.

Verse 7. - For the vineyard, etc. The full explanation of the parable follows immediately on the disclosure in ver. 6. The vineyard is "Israel," or rather "Judah;" the fruit expected from it, "judgment and righteousness;" the wild grapes which alone it had produced, "oppression" and the "cry" of the distressed. His pleasant plan;: literally, the plant of his delights; i.e. the plantation in which he had so long taken delight. He looked for judgment, etc. Gesenius has attempted to give the verbal antithesis of the Hebrew, which is quite lost in our version -

"Er harrete auf Recht, und siehe da Unrecht,
Auf Gerechtigkeit, und siehe da Schlechtigkeit."
Isaiah 5:7"For the vineyard of Jehovah of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah are the plantation of His delight: He waited for justice, and behold grasping; for righteousness, and behold a shriek." The meaning is not that the Lord of the vineyard would not let any more rain fall upon it, because this Lord was Jehovah (which is not affirmed in fact in the words commencing with "for," Ci), but a more general one. This was how the case stood with the vineyard; for all Israel, and especially the people of Judah, were this vineyard, which had so bitterly deceived the expectations of its Lord, and indeed "the vineyard of Jehovah of hosts," and therefore of the omnipotent God, whom even the clouds would serve when He came forth to punish. The expression "for" (Ci) is not only intended to vindicate the truth of the last statement, but the truth of the whole simile, including this: it is an explanatory "for" (Ci explic.), which opens the epimythion. "The vineyard of the Lord of hosts" (Cerem Jehovah Zebaoth) is the predicate. "The house of Israel (Beth Yisrâel) was the whole nation, which is also represented in other passages under the same figure of a vineyard (Isaiah 27:2.; Psalm 80, etc.). But as Isaiah was prophet in Judah, he applies the figure more particularly to Judah, which was called Jehovah's favourite plantation, inasmuch as it was the seat of the divine sanctuary and of the Davidic kingdom. This makes it easy enough to interpret the different parts of the simile employed. The fat mountain-horn was Canaan, flowing with milk and honey (Exodus 15:17); the digging of the vineyard, and clearing it of stones, was the clearing of Canaan from its former heathen inhabitants (Psalm 54:3); the sorek-vines were the holy priests and prophets and kings of Israel of the earlier and better times (Jeremiah 2:21); the defensive and ornamental tower in the midst of the vineyard was Jerusalem as the royal city, with Zion the royal fortress (Micah 4:8); the winepress-trough was the temple, where, according to Psalm 36:9 (8.), the wine of heavenly pleasures flowed in streams, and from which, according to Psalm 42:1-11 and many other passages, the thirst of the soul might all be quenched. The grazing and treading down are explained in Jeremiah 5:10 and Jeremiah 12:10. The bitter deception experienced by Jehovah is expressed in a play upon two words, indicating the surprising change of the desired result into the very opposite. The explanation which Gesenius, Caspari, Knobel, and others give of mispâch, viz., bloodshed, does not commend itself; for even if it must be admitted that sâphach occurs once or twice in the "Arabizing" book of Job (Job 30:7; Job 14:19) in the sense of pouring out, this verbal root is strange to the Hebrew (and the Aramaean). Moreover, mispâch in any case would only mean pouring or shedding, and not bloodshed; and although the latter would certainly be possible by the side of the Arabic saffâch, saffâk (shedder of blood), yet it would be such an ellipsis as cannot be shown anywhere else in Hebrew usage. On the other hand, the rendering "leprosy" does not yield any appropriate sense, as mispachath (sappachath) is never generalized anywhere else into the single idea of "dirt" (Luzzatto: sozzura), nor does it appear as an ethical notion. We therefore prefer to connect it with a meaning unquestionably belonging to the verb ספח (see kal, 1 Samuel 2:36; niphal, Isaiah 14:1; hithpael, 1 Samuel 26:19), which is derived in יסף, אסף, סוּף, from the primary notion "to sweep," spec. to sweep towards, sweep in, or sweep away. Hence we regard mispach as denoting the forcible appropriation of another man's property; certainly a suitable antithesis to mishpât. The prophet describes, in full-toned figures, how the expected noble grapes had turned into wild grapes, with nothing more than an outward resemblance. The introduction to the prophecy closes here.

The prophecy itself follows next, a seven-fold discourse composed of the six-fold woe contained in vv. 8-23, and the announcement of punishment in which it terminates. In this six-fold woe the prophet describes the bad fruits one by one. In confirmation of our rendering of mispâch, the first woe relates to covetousness and avarice as the root of all evil.

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