Isaiah 5 (II) Judgment On The Beloved’s Vineyard.
Israel was often likened unto the covenant LORD’s vineyard. Prominent in this regard is the song of the Beloved’s vineyard as seen at Isaiah 5. “He expected it to bring forth good grapes, but it brought forth wild grapes.” (v. 2c) The Beloved had the vineyard but now the one whose Beloved he was, sits in judgment on the vineyard. He did everything for the vineyard, and yet the result was only wild grapes, therefore judgment was coming (vv. 3-6). “For the vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel. And the men of Judah are his pleasant plant. He looked for justice, but behold, oppression; for righteousness, but behold, a cry for help.” (v. 7).
The good fruit was supposed to be acts of justice and righteousness, but instead they were consumed with the accumulation of riches (v. 8). For this they would suffer loss, so that the once fruitful (actual) vineyard, would yield only a tenth (vv. 9-10). Was this symbolic of their failure to tithe a tenth, and thus to have something for the poor of the land? They consumed in excess, feasting in drunkenness (vv. 11-12). For this reason they would go into captivity, “because they have no knowledge” (v. 13). Let us not think that this was a matter of works from those who only had head knowledge. Rather, it was their faulty knowledge which showed itself in their acts.
Some would go to Sheol, and some would be humbled (vv. 14-15), but “the LORD of hosts shall be exalted in judgment, and God who is holy shall be hallowed in righteousness. Then the lambs shall feed in their pasture, and in the waste places of the fat ones strangers shall eat.” (v. 17) There were lambs in the covenant community who would be blessed, while the goats within the covenant would be cursed. There would also be strangers to the covenant LORD who would be blessed and numbered among his lambs. The apostates thought that the LORD of the covenant was not the sovereign Lord of history who acts for his own glory, and therefore they walked in their sin (vv. 18-19).
The covenant woes are for those who reject the knowledge of the LORD and call good evil and evil good to justify themselves, and to also justify the wicked for a bribe (vv.20-23). Make no mistake, they specifically “rejected the law of the LORD of hosts, and despised the word of the Holy One of Israel” (v. 24). It was against the apostates among his covenanted people that his anger was aroused (v. 25). The LORD will call for the nations from afar to be his instruments of judgment against his people for destruction and exile (vv. 26-30). It is the Holy One of Israel who would give these nations the strength they needed for this awesome task.