Archive for vineyard parable

Isaiah 5:11-12 Party All the Time!

Posted in Isaiah with tags , , , , , , on July 6, 2012 by paulthepoke

Isaiah 5:11-12 Woe to those who rise early in the morning that they may pursue strong drink, who stay up late in the evening that wine may inflame them! Their banquets are accompanied by lyre and harp, by tambourine and flute, and by wine; but they do not pay attention to the deeds of the LORD, nor do they consider the work of His hands.

The Hebrew grammar describes these guys are getting up with a purpose. They hit the ground drinking. It was the first thing they thought about in the morning. The “strong drink” is alcohol, the hard stuff. They were not waiting until noon to start. These were all day parties. The drinking started upon awakening and they were up late. These Jews knew how to throw a good party. They had food and music as well.

Do not confuse the issue. This is a matter of lifestyle. The lifestyle presented in Isaiah 5 is what is being condemned. God is not impressed with how much one can drink. Isaiah 5:22 Woe to those who are heroes in drinking wine and valiant men in mixing strong drink…

The Bible is a very practical book. It shows that nothing has really changed with alcohol. This was going on hundreds of years before Christ.  When drinking excessively, one’s ability to walk was impaired. They weebled, they wobbled, and they did fall down. Judgment was decreased along with ability to think. The drunks back in Isaiah’s day swore they saw things too. And yes, they partied till they puked. Isaiah 28:7-8 And these also reel with wine and stagger from strong drink: the priest and the prophet reel with strong drink, they are confused by wine, they stagger from strong drink; they reel while having visions, they totter when rendering judgment. For all the tables are full of filthy vomit, without a single clean place.

A reminder, Jesus did turn water into wine at a wedding feast. God is not opposed to alcohol in moderation or for the purpose of medication. The Apostle Paul gave Timothy this advice, 1 Timothy 5:23 No longer drink water exclusively, but use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments. Balance is provided with the topic of alcohol. Is it a good idea to have a drink around an alcoholic? Probably not. Romans 14:21 It is good not to eat meat or to drink wine, or to do anything by which your brother stumbles. Applied common sense goes a long way.

Drinking and partying were the focus. There was no place for God in their lifestyle. Another “Woe”.

Isaiah 5:8-10 Greedy Real Estate Moguls

Posted in Culture, Isaiah with tags , , , , , , , , on June 30, 2012 by paulthepoke

Isaiah 5:8-9 Woe to those who add house to house and join field to field, until there is no more room, so that you have to live alone in the midst of the land! In my ears the LORD of hosts has sworn, “Surely, many houses shall become desolate, even great and fine ones, without occupants”.

These two verses further the notion of materialism and greed. This is a theme of the era. A couple of examples include the material girls of Isaiah 3:16-24 and the corruption of the leadership in Isaiah 1:23 Your rulers are rebels and companions of thieves; everyone loves a bribe and chases after rewards. They do not defend the orphan, nor does the widow’s plea come before them.

Commentators (McGee, Wycliffe Bible Translators, NET Bible) have noted the underhanded deals that took place in regards to the acquisition of real estate. People’s property was acquired by forced sales and foreclosures of mortgages. And we thought this only occurred during our time. Nothing has changed. Greed always wants more and is never satisfied. It is coveting.

It is not a good day if God proclaims “Woe” in your direction. Woe can be translated many ways. Woe can mean: dead, as good as dead, poor, those doomed, judged, sure to be judged, danger awaits, grave danger, or sinful.

Owning and acquiring real estate are not bad. Using real estate and property acquired in a constructive manner are not bad. Renting, leasing, or selling those homes to others for a place to live is providing shelter. Buying land and farming the land are productive and beneficial to others.

The goal and soul purpose of these people is the acquisition of property and wealth. This is a demonstration of gross materialism and greed. No one is living in these properties. The properties are not being loaned or rented to others. This is impractical. A person can only live in one house at a time. This is selfishness. The land and property grab is to the point that all others have been pushed out. The greed is living in isolation.

The guy could have hired workers to farm the land. Employment could have been created. The land is not being farmed or leased to be farmed. The end result is poor crop yields in verse 10. “For ten acres of vineyard will yield only one bath of wine, and a homer of seed will yield but an ephah of grain.” Translated, the vineyard produces 6-12 gallons of wine. It is estimated the land produces 5-10 bushels total output. The harvest is a complete disaster.

These are nice, huge, plentiful homes. Look at the adjectives that describe these houses.

Rab: much, many, great, abounding in, more numerous than, abundant, enough, strong, greater than

Gadowl: great, large (in magnitude and extent)

Towb: good, pleasant, agreeable (to the senses), excellent (of its kind),
good, rich, valuable in estimation, becoming, better (comparative). Definitions per Strong’s Concordance.

Congratulations to the greedy.  You have won and you have the most stuff. Good for you! Your reward, God has pronounced judgment.

Isaiah 5:3-5 The Wall of Protection Crumbles

Posted in Isaiah with tags , , , , , , , , on June 18, 2012 by paulthepoke

Isaiah 5:3-5 “And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem and men of Judah, judge between Me and My vineyard. What more was there to do for My vineyard that I have not done in it? Why, when I expected it to produce good grapes did it produce worthless ones? So now let Me tell you what I am going to do to My vineyard: I will remove its hedge and it will be consumed; I will break down its wall and it will become trampled ground.

God is calling on those who live in Jerusalem and the region of Judah to make the judgment. God is asking those who live in the vineyard to make the determination. God is asking with a rhetorical question. He has done all He can do and He has offered up the best He has.

There is expectation and accountability. God had given Israel His best and He expected productive fruit. In our world today, it is no different. God has given us His perfect and blameless Son.  He expects us to respond to what Jesus has done for us on the cross. He paid for our transgressions against God.

Israel’s response to God was stinking, wild grapes. That was their choice. God countered in return. “So now let Me tell you what I am going to do to My vineyard…”

Step one; the hedge of protection will be removed by God. Scripture tells us of another situation in Job where Satan requested the hedge of protection to be removed from around Job. The hedge was allowed to be removed by God. We all know that did not initially turn out well for Job.

Step two; the wall will be broken down. Psalm 80:12-13 points out what happens when the wall comes tumbling down. A boar from the forest eats it away and whatever moves in the field feeds on it.

The result for Israel, it will be consumed and it will become trampled ground. These verses are prophetic as J. Vernon McGee points out in his commentary. Israel was subsequently invaded by Syria, Assyria, and Babylon. The place was a baron wasteland for centuries.

What about us? Does it matter how we respond to what God has given us in the person of Jesus? Does God still hold us accountable?

Isaiah 5:1-2 Planting a Vineyard

Posted in Isaiah with tags , , , , , , on June 10, 2012 by paulthepoke

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.

Isaiah 1:7-9

Posted in Isaiah with tags , , , , , on September 24, 2010 by paulthepoke

Isaiah 1:7-9 Your land is a desolation; your cities burned with fire. Foreigners devour your land before you; and behold, ruin, as overthrown by foreigners. And the daughter of Zion is left a booth in a vineyard, like a hut in a cucumber field, like a besieged city. Except the Lord of Hosts had left a remnant for us, a few, we would be as Sodom; we would be as Gomorrah.


Verse 7: The foreigners mentioned in this verse are likely the Assyrians. They had come into Judah (southern kingdom) and destroyed their fortified cities. At the time, the Jewish people had already split into two kingdoms. Israel in the north had already fallen.  Their cities, in the south of Judah, had been set on fire and laid to waste. The devastation and destruction were complete and the people could not live in the cities. Their crops had been destroyed leaving the people without food. We live in a culture today where food is plentiful. Can you imagine the social unrest and violence if there was a severe food shortage in the United States? And you think the controversy of who got kicked off American Idol is a big deal.

Verse 8: Here the text uses examples of metaphorical and literal language to express the utter helplessness and vulnerability. Figuratively, the description of a hut in a vineyard and the shelter in a cucumber field is used. The idiomatic language of the vineyard would have hit close to home because of the love of wine in this period of history. This love of wine is noted in Isaiah 5:11. Woe to those who rise early in the morning to go after fermented drink, tarrying in the twilight while wine inflames them! No grapes equals no wine. The southern kingdom has no food and no wine. Literally, this is a besieged city. No matter how you want to look at, literally or figuratively, this place is in serious trouble.

Verse 9: The Lord of Hosts is a term that is noted throughout the Old Testament. It is a military term that communicates that God is the head of the army.

God always sets aside a group of core believers that is called the remnant. There are examples of the remnant in both the Old and New Testaments. Two examples include 2 Kings 19:31 and Romans 11:4-5. Notice, it is God who achieves and chooses this remnant. There are many examples noted throughout the Bible of God choosing a remnant. A couple of others include Isaiah 10:20-22; 11:11.

2Kings 19:31 For out of Jerusalem shall go forth a remnant, and out of Mount Zion they that shall escape; the zeal of Jehovah of Hosts shall do this.


Romans 11:4-5 But what does the Divine answer say to him, “I reserved to Myself seven thousand men who did not bow a knee to Baal.” (paraphrasing  1 Kg. 19:18) So then, also in the present time a remnant according to election of grace has come into being.


If  God had not chosen a remnant, their destiny would have been like Sodom and Gomorrah. We all know how that turned out in Genesis 19:1-29. There was a remnant of three who came out of the total destruction of those two cities, they were Lot and his two daughters. Those three are a sordid story that is for another day.

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