Chapter 5

1Let me sing for my beloved A song of my lover about his vineyard. My beloved had a vineyard On a fruitful hill.

a-SHEE-ra NA lee-dee-DEE shee-RAT do-DEE l'-khar-MO KE-rem ha-YAH lee-dee-DEE b'-KE-ren ben SHA-men

אאָשִׁירָה נָּא לִידִידִי שִׁירַת דּוֹדִי לְכַרְמוֹ כֶּרֶם הָיָה לִידִידִי בְּקֶרֶן בֶּן־שָׁמֶן׃

 5:1   A song of my lover about his vineyard

This chapter presents one of the most famous parables in the Bible, known as the song of the vineyard. Yeshayahu gathers the people together to pass judgment on a disobedient vineyard. Despite the owner’s efforts to care for the vineyard that he loves (a metaphor for God’s care for the Children of Israel), it produces unripe grapes. Therefore, the owner announces that he will tear down the walls that protect the vineyard from thorns and other dangers of the forest. With beautiful word-play, Yeshayahu states, though the men of Yehuda are “the seedlings He lovingly tended,” instead of ‘justice,’ in Hebrew mishpat (משפט), they caused ‘injustice,’ mispach (משפח). Instead of ‘equity,’ tzedaka (צדקה), they caused ‘iniquity,’ tza’aka (צעקה) (verse 7). Hashem will therefore remove His protection from Israel and allow for its enemies to enter. The theme of injustice and oppression leading to destruction plays a prominent role in Yeshayahu’s prophecies. Ultimately, Tzion will be redeemed through justice and righteousness (Isaiah 1:27).

2He broke the ground, cleared it of stones, And planted it with choice vines. He built a watchtower inside it, He even hewed a wine press in it; For he hoped it would yield grapes. Instead, it yielded wild grapes.

בוַיְעַזְּקֵהוּ וַיְסַקְּלֵהוּ וַיִּטָּעֵהוּ שֹׂרֵק וַיִּבֶן מִגְדָּל בְּתוֹכוֹ וְגַם־יֶקֶב חָצֵב בּוֹ וַיְקַו לַעֲשׂוֹת עֲנָבִים וַיַּעַשׂ בְּאֻשִׁים׃

3“Now, then, Dwellers of Yerushalayim And men of Yehuda, You be the judges Between Me and My vineyard:

גוְעַתָּה יוֹשֵׁב יְרוּשָׁלַ ִם וְאִישׁ יְהוּדָה שִׁפְטוּ־נָא בֵּינִי וּבֵין כַּרְמִי׃

4What more could have been done for My vineyard That I failed to do in it? Why, when I hoped it would yield grapes, Did it yield wild grapes?

דמַה־לַּעֲשׂוֹת עוֹד לְכַרְמִי וְלֹא עָשִׂיתִי בּוֹ מַדּוּעַ קִוֵּיתִי לַעֲשׂוֹת עֲנָבִים וַיַּעַשׂ בְּאֻשִׁים׃

5“Now I am going to tell you What I will do to My vineyard: I will remove its hedge, That it may be ravaged; I will break down its wall, That it may be trampled.

הוְעַתָּה אוֹדִיעָה־נָּא אֶתְכֶם אֵת אֲשֶׁר־אֲנִי עֹשֶׂה לְכַרְמִי הָסֵר מְשׂוּכָּתוֹ וְהָיָה לְבָעֵר פָּרֹץ גְּדֵרוֹ וְהָיָה לְמִרְמָס׃

6And I will make it a desolation; It shall not be pruned or hoed, And it shall be overgrown with briers and thistles. And I will command the clouds To drop no rain on it.”

ווַאֲשִׁיתֵהוּ בָתָה לֹא יִזָּמֵר וְלֹא יֵעָדֵר וְעָלָה שָׁמִיר וָשָׁיִת וְעַל הֶעָבִים אֲצַוֶּה מֵהַמְטִיר עָלָיו מָטָר׃

7For the vineyard of the lord of Hosts Is the House of Yisrael, And the seedlings he lovingly tended Are the men of Yehuda. And He hoped for justice, But behold, injustice; For equity, But behold, iniquity!

זכִּי כֶרֶם יְהֹוָה צְבָאוֹת בֵּית יִשְׂרָאֵל וְאִישׁ יְהוּדָה נְטַע שַׁעֲשׁוּעָיו וַיְקַו לְמִשְׁפָּט וְהִנֵּה מִשְׂפָּח לִצְדָקָה וְהִנֵּה צְעָקָה׃

8Ah, Those who add house to house And join field to field, Till there is room for none but you To dwell in the land!

חהוֹי מַגִּיעֵי בַיִת בְּבַיִת שָׂדֶה בְשָׂדֶה יַקְרִיבוּ עַד אֶפֶס מָקוֹם וְהוּשַׁבְתֶּם לְבַדְּכֶם בְּקֶרֶב הָאָרֶץ׃

9In my hearing [said] the lord of Hosts: Surely, great houses Shall lie forlorn, Spacious and splendid ones Without occupants.

טבְּאָזְנָי יְהֹוָה צְבָאוֹת אִם־לֹא בָּתִּים רַבִּים לְשַׁמָּה יִהְיוּ גְּדֹלִים וְטוֹבִים מֵאֵין יוֹשֵׁב׃

10For ten acres of vineyard Shall yield just one bat, And a field sown with a chomer of seed Shall yield a mere efah.

יכִּי עֲשֶׂרֶת צִמְדֵּי־כֶרֶם יַעֲשׂוּ בַּת אֶחָת וְזֶרַע חֹמֶר יַעֲשֶׂה אֵיפָה׃

11Ah, Those who chase liquor From early in the morning, And till late in the evening Are inflamed by wine!

יאהוֹי מַשְׁכִּימֵי בַבֹּקֶר שֵׁכָר יִרְדֹּפוּ מְאַחֲרֵי בַנֶּשֶׁף יַיִן יַדְלִיקֵם׃

12Who, at their banquets, Have lyre and lute, Timbrel, flute, and wine; But who never give a thought To the plan of Hashem, And take no note Of what He is designing.

יבוְהָיָה כִנּוֹר וָנֶבֶל תֹּף וְחָלִיל וָיַיִן מִשְׁתֵּיהֶם וְאֵת פֹּעַל יְהֹוָה לֹא יַבִּיטוּ וּמַעֲשֵׂה יָדָיו לֹא רָאוּ׃

13Assuredly, My people will suffer exile For not giving heed, Its multitude victims of hunger And its masses parched with thirst.

יגלָכֵן גָּלָה עַמִּי מִבְּלִי־דָעַת וּכְבוֹדוֹ מְתֵי רָעָב וַהֲמוֹנוֹ צִחֵה צָמָא׃

14Assuredly, Sheol has opened wide its gullet And parted its jaws in a measureless gape; And down into it shall go, That splendor and tumult, That din and revelry.

ידלָכֵן הִרְחִיבָה שְּׁאוֹל נַפְשָׁהּ וּפָעֲרָה פִיהָ לִבְלִי־חֹק וְיָרַד הֲדָרָהּ וַהֲמוֹנָהּ וּשְׁאוֹנָהּ וְעָלֵז בָּהּ׃

15Yea, man is bowed, And mortal brought low; Brought low is the pride of the haughty.

טווַיִּשַּׁח אָדָם וַיִּשְׁפַּל־אִישׁ וְעֵינֵי גְבֹהִים תִּשְׁפַּלְנָה׃

16And the lord of Hosts is exalted by judgment, The Holy Hashem proved holy by retribution.

טזוַיִּגְבַּה יְהֹוָה צְבָאוֹת בַּמִּשְׁפָּט וְהָאֵל הַקָּדוֹשׁ נִקְדָּשׁ בִּצְדָקָה׃

17Then lambs shall graze As in their meadows, And strangers shall feed On the ruins of the stout.

יזוְרָעוּ כְבָשִׂים כְּדָבְרָם וְחָרְבוֹת מֵחִים גָּרִים יֹאכֵלוּ׃

18Ah, Those who haul sin with cords of falsehood And iniquity as with cart ropes!

יחהוֹי מֹשְׁכֵי הֶעָוׂן בְּחַבְלֵי הַשָּׁוְא וְכַעֲבוֹת הָעֲגָלָה חַטָּאָה׃

19Who say, “Let Him speed, let Him hasten His purpose, If we are to give thought; Let the plans of the Holy One of Yisrael Be quickly fulfilled, If we are to give heed.”

יטהָאֹמְרִים יְמַהֵר יָחִישָׁה מַעֲשֵׂהוּ לְמַעַן נִרְאֶה וְתִקְרַב וְתָבוֹאָה עֲצַת קְדוֹשׁ יִשְׂרָאֵל וְנֵדָעָה׃

20Ah, Those who call evil good And good evil; Who present darkness as light And light as darkness; Who present bitter as sweet And sweet as bitter!

כהוֹי הָאֹמְרִים לָרַע טוֹב וְלַטּוֹב רָע שָׂמִים חֹשֶׁךְ לְאוֹר וְאוֹר לְחֹשֶׁךְ שָׂמִים מַר לְמָתוֹק וּמָתוֹק לְמָר׃

21Ah, Those who are so wise— In their own opinion; So clever— In their own judgment!

כאהוֹי חֲכָמִים בְּעֵינֵיהֶם וְנֶגֶד פְּנֵיהֶם נְבֹנִים׃

22Ah, Those who are so doughty— As drinkers of wine, And so valiant— As mixers of drink!

כבהוֹי גִּבּוֹרִים לִשְׁתּוֹת יָיִן וְאַנְשֵׁי־חַיִל לִמְסֹךְ שֵׁכָר׃

23Who vindicate him who is in the wrong In return for a bribe, And withhold vindication From him who is in the right.

כגמַצְדִּיקֵי רָשָׁע עֵקֶב שֹׁחַד וְצִדְקַת צַדִּיקִים יָסִירוּ מִמֶּנּוּ׃

24Assuredly, As straw is consumed by a tongue of fire And hay shrivels as it burns, Their stock shall become like rot, And their buds shall blow away like dust. For they have rejected the instruction of the lord of Hosts, Spurned the word of the Holy One of Yisrael.

כדלָכֵן כֶּאֱכֹל קַשׁ לְשׁוֹן אֵשׁ וַחֲשַׁשׁ לֶהָבָה יִרְפֶּה שָׁרְשָׁם כַּמָּק יִהְיֶה וּפִרְחָם כָּאָבָק יַעֲלֶה כִּי מָאֲסוּ אֵת תּוֹרַת יְהֹוָה צְבָאוֹת וְאֵת אִמְרַת קְדוֹשׁ־יִשְׂרָאֵל נִאֵצוּ׃

25That is why Hashem's anger was roused Against His people, Why He stretched out His arm against it And struck it, So that the mountains quaked, And its corpses lay Like refuse in the streets. Yet his anger has not turned back, And His arm is outstretched still.

כהעַל־כֵּן חָרָה אַף־יְהֹוָה בְּעַמּוֹ וַיֵּט יָדוֹ עָלָיו וַיַּכֵּהוּ וַיִּרְגְּזוּ הֶהָרִים וַתְּהִי נִבְלָתָם כַּסּוּחָה בְּקֶרֶב חוּצוֹת בְּכָל־זֹאת לֹא־שָׁב אַפּוֹ וְעוֹד יָדוֹ נְטוּיָה׃

26He will raise an ensign to a nation afar, Whistle to one at the end of the earth. There it comes with lightning speed!

כווְנָשָׂא־נֵס לַגּוֹיִם מֵרָחוֹק וְשָׁרַק לוֹ מִקְצֵה הָאָרֶץ וְהִנֵּה מְהֵרָה קַל יָבוֹא׃

27In its ranks, none is weary or stumbles, They never sleep or slumber; The belts on their waists do not come loose, Nor do the thongs of their sandals break.

כזאֵין־עָיֵף וְאֵין־כּוֹשֵׁל בּוֹ לֹא יָנוּם וְלֹא יִישָׁן וְלֹא נִפְתַּח אֵזוֹר חֲלָצָיו וְלֹא נִתַּק שְׂרוֹךְ נְעָלָיו׃

28Their arrows are sharpened, And all their bows are drawn. Their horses' hoofs are like flint, Their chariot wheels like the whirlwind.

כחאֲשֶׁר חִצָּיו שְׁנוּנִים וְכָל־קַשְּׁתֹתָיו דְּרֻכוֹת פַּרְסוֹת סוּסָיו כַּצַּר נֶחְשָׁבוּ וְגַלְגִּלָּיו כַּסּוּפָה׃

29Their roaring is like a lion's, They roar like the great beasts; When they growl and seize a prey, They carry it off and none can recover it.

כטשְׁאָגָה לוֹ כַּלָּבִיא ושאג [יִשְׁאַג] כַּכְּפִירִים וְיִנְהֹם וְיֹאחֵז טֶרֶף וְיַפְלִיט וְאֵין מַצִּיל׃

30But in that day, a roaring shall resound over him like that of the sea; and then he shall look below and, behold, Distressing darkness, with light; Darkness, in its lowering clouds.

לוְיִנְהֹם עָלָיו בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא כְּנַהֲמַת־יָם וְנִבַּט לָאָרֶץ וְהִנֵּה־חֹשֶׁךְ צַר וָאוֹר חָשַׁךְ בַּעֲרִיפֶיהָ׃