Isaiah 5:9
In my ears said the LORD of hosts, Of a truth many houses shall be desolate, even great and fair, without inhabitant.
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(9) In mine ears said the Lord.—The italics show that there is no verb in the Hebrew, the text, if it be correct, giving the emphasis of abruptness; but it is rightly supplied in the Authorised Version. The sentence that follows is one of a righteous retribution: There shall be no profit or permanence in the property thus unjustly gained.

5:8-23 Here is a woe to those who set their hearts on the wealth of the world. Not that it is sinful for those who have a house and a field to purchase another; but the fault is, that they never know when they have enough. Covetousness is idolatry; and while many envy the prosperous, wretched man, the Lord denounces awful woes upon him. How applicable to many among us! God has many ways to empty the most populous cities. Those who set their hearts upon the world, will justly be disappointed. Here is woe to those who dote upon the pleasures and the delights of sense. The use of music is lawful; but when it draws away the heart from God, then it becomes a sin to us. God's judgments have seized them, but they will not disturb themselves in their pleasures. The judgments are declared. Let a man be ever so high, death will bring him low; ever so mean, death will bring him lower. The fruit of these judgments shall be, that God will be glorified as a God of power. Also, as a God that is holy; he shall be owned and declared to be so, in the righteous punishment of proud men. Those are in a woful condition who set up sin, and who exert themselves to gratify their base lusts. They are daring in sin, and walk after their own lusts; it is in scorn that they call God the Holy One of Israel. They confound and overthrow distinctions between good and evil. They prefer their own reasonings to Divine revelations; their own devices to the counsels and commands of God. They deem it prudent and politic to continue profitable sins, and to neglect self-denying duties. Also, how light soever men make of drunkenness, it is a sin which lays open to the wrath and curse of God. Their judges perverted justice. Every sin needs some other to conceal it.In mine ears - This probably refers to the prophet. As if he had said, 'God has revealed it to me,' or 'God has said in my ears,' i. e, to me. The Septuagint reads it, 'These things are heard in the ears of the Lord of hosts,' that is, the wishes" of the man of avarice. The Chaldee, 'The prophet said, In my ears I have heard; a decree has gone from the Lord of hosts,' etc.

Many houses shall be desolate - Referring to the calamities that should come upon the nation for its crimes.

9. In mine ears … the Lord—namely, has revealed it, as in Isa 22:14.

desolate—literally, "a desolation," namely, on account of the national sins.

great and fair—houses.

In mine ears said the Lord; I heard God speak what I now about to utter. Heb. In the ears of the Lord; may relate either,

1. To the foregoing words; The cry of your sins, and of the oppressed, as come into God’s he hears and sees it, and will certainly punish it.

2. To the following clause, which being of great importance, he ushers in with an oath; I speak it in God’s as well as in yours; I call God to witness the truth of what I say. My houses shall be desolate; the houses you have so greedily coveted shall cast you out, and become desolate. In mine ears, said the Lord of hosts,.... This may be understood either of the ears of the Lord of hosts, into which came the cry of the sins of covetousness and ambition before mentioned; these were taken notice of by the Lord, and he was determined to punish them; or of the ears of the prophet, in whose hearing the Lord said what follows: so the Targum,

"the prophet said, with mine ears I have heard, when this was decreed from before the Lord of hosts:''

of a truth many houses shall be desolate; or "great" ones (z); such as the houses of the king, of the princes, and nobles, judges, counsellors, and great men of the earth; not only the house of God, the temple, but a multitude of houses in Jerusalem and elsewhere; which was true not only at the taking of Jerusalem by the Chaldeans, but at the destruction of it by the Romans, to which this prophecy belongs, Matthew 23:38 the words are a strong asseveration, and in the form of an oath, as Jarchi and Kimchi observe; , "if not"; if many houses are not left desolate, let it be so or so, I swear they shall:

even great and fair, without inhabitants: houses of large and beautiful building shall be laid in such a ruinous condition, that they will not be fit for any to dwell in, nor shall any dwell in them: and this is the judgment upon them for joining house to house; that for laying field to field follows.

(z) "domus magnificae, sive sumptuosae", Vatablus.

In my {l} ears said the LORD of hosts, Of a truth many houses shall be desolate, even great and fair, without inhabitant.

(l) I have heard the complaint and cry of the poor.

9. In mine ears said the Lord of hosts] The verb is to be supplied as in Isaiah 22:14 : In my ears (hath revealed himself) Jehovah.… It is a prophetic “audition”; the words which follow seem actually to sound in his ears. The great houses shall be uninhabited, because—

9, 10. The divine judgment on this evil. Cf. Amos 5:11.Verse 9. - Either something has fallen out in the first clause of this verse, or there is a most unusual ellipse of the verb "said" which our translators have supplied, very properly. There seems to be nothing emphatic in the words, "on mine ears" (see Isaiah 22:14; Ezekiel 9:1, 5; Ezekiel 10:13). Many houses shall be desolate. The greed of adding house to house will be punished by the death of those who have so sinned, and the extinction of their families, either through war, or through a more direct divine judgment. The song of the beloved who was so sorely deceived terminates here. The prophet recited it, not his beloved himself; but as they were both of one heart and one soul, the prophet proceeds thus in Isaiah 5:3 and Isaiah 5:4 : "And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem and men of Judah, judge, I pray you, between me and my vineyard! What could have been done more to my vineyard that I have not done in it? Wherefore did I hope that it would bring forth grapes, and it brought forth wild grapes?" The fact that the prophet speaks as if he were the beloved himself, shows at once who the beloved must be. The beloved of the prophet and the lover of the prophet (yâdid and dōd) were Jehovah, with whom he was so united by a union mystica exalted above all earthly love, that, like the angel of Jehovah in the early histories, he could speak as if he were Jehovah Himself (see especially Zechariah 2:12-13). To any one with spiritual intuition, therefore, the parabolical meaning and object of the song would be at once apparent; and even the inhabitants of Jerusalem and the men of Judah (yoosheeb and iish are used collectively, as in Isaiah 8:14; Isaiah 9:8; Isaiah 22:21, cf., Isaiah 20:6) were not so stupefied by sin, that they could not perceive to what the prophet was leading. It was for them to decide where the guilt of this unnatural issue lay - that is to say, of this thorough contradiction between the "doing" of the vineyard and the "doing" of the Lord; that instead of the grapes he hoped for, it brought forth wild grapes. (On the expression "what could have been done," quid faciendum est, mah-la'asoth, see at Habakkuk 1:17, Ges. 132, Anm. 1.) Instead of למה (למּה) we have the more suitable term מדּוּע, the latter being used in relation to the actual cause (Causa efficiens), the former in relation to the object (Causa finalis). The parallel to the second part, viz., Isaiah 50:2, resembles the passage before us, not only in the use of this particular word, but also in the fact that there, as well as here, it relates to both clauses, and more especially to the latter of the two. We find the same paratactic construction in connection with other conjunctions (cf., Isaiah 12:1; Isaiah 65:12). They were called upon to decide and answer as to this what and wherefore; but they were silent, just because they could clearly see that they would have to condemn themselves (as David condemned himself in connection with Nathan's parable, 2 Samuel 12:5). The Lord of the vineyard, therefore, begins to speak. He, its accuser, will now also be its judge.
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