Isaiah 5:1-2 Planting a Vineyard

Isaiah 5:1 Let me sing now for my well-beloved A song of my beloved concerning His vineyard. My well-beloved had a vineyard on a fertile hill.

Isaiah 5 is a Hebrew song. This is the first appearance, chronologically, of the vineyard as a symbol of Israel (Wycliffe Bible Commentary). The vineyard is the house of Israel (verse 7). The fig tree is the other botanical symbol that is used. The vineyard or Israel was placed on a “fertile” hill, fertile in the sense of generous offspring or children. In the Hebrew, the idea is the hill is horn shaped, a spur or a ridge off of a mountain peak. The ground or the soil is conducive for growth and production. The vineyard was placed on the hillside for drainage. 

Isaiah 5:2 He dug it all around, removed its stones, and planted it with the choicest vine. And He built a tower in the middle of it and also hewed out a wine vat in it; then He expected it to produce good grapes, but it produced only worthless ones.

 In verse 2, God is giving the blueprint on how to build a vineyard. The excavated soil from the ditch forms the foundation for the wall. Thorny plants were placed on top of the wall to keep out wild animals. If you are going to plant a good garden or vineyard, get rid of the rocks. Jewish gardeners had use for the rocks. The land was first terraced to use up the stones that littered the soil. This provided a means of soil conservation during the heavy rains. Once the vineyard was prepared, the best type or variety of grapes was planted. In the midst of the vineyard, a watchtower was constructed. The tower served as a summer cottage. This was a place for the family to stay during the summer while the grapes were harvested. Watchtowers were typically expensive to build. They were effectively second homes.

 Inside the tower was a wine press or a vat. This was a self contained place of operation. Most of the grape juice was made into wine. This was a necessity for safety. Water was not potable unless it came from a fresh spring. Milk was limited. Fluids for consumption were limited.

Pruning was done with a small pruning hook during the winter months to get rid of weak, broken, or diseased branches so the vine would produce the best possible grapes. This process was referred to as “cleaning the vine.” New Manners and Customs of Bible Times

This vineyard had the best of the best and it was expected to produce prolifically. This was the greatest possible environment for the growing grapes. God gave His best and gave abundantly. Conditions were perfect. No expense was spared. Nation Israel was expected to produce. What did God get? Worthless, sour, wild grapes…stink berries.

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