ISRAEL REBUKED BY THE PARABLE OF A VINEYARD.
This chapter stands in a certain sense alone, neither closely connected
with what precedes nor with what follows, excepting that it
breathes throughout a tone of denunciation. There is also a want of
connection between its parts, the allegory of the first section being
succeeded by a series of rebukes for sins, expressed in the plainest
language, and the rebukes being followed by a threat of punishment, also
expressed with plainness. The resemblance of the parable with which the
chapter opens to one of those delivered by our Lord, and recorded in the
three synoptic Gospels (Matthew 21:33-41; Mark 12:1-9; Luke 20:9-16),
has been frequently noticed.
vs. 1-5 – A song of eight lines beginning with "My well-beloved" and
ending up with "wild grapes"
The term, “well-beloved” seems to be taken from Song of Solomon
where it occurs above twenty times.
"a very fruitful hill" – the Church of God is set on an eminence and
“cannot be hid” - Matt. 5:14
"fenced it....gathered out the stones...planted it with
the choicest vine...built a tower...made a wine-press"
"when I looked that it should bring forth grapes,
brought it forth wild grapes?"
The natural, not the cultivated fruit ( the end a worthless product)
"What could have been done more, than I have not done in it?"
Compare II Kings 17:13-23 and II Chronicles 36:15-16 where
God is shown to have done all that was possible to reclaim His
people. (Compassion on His people until there was “NO REMEDY”!
"I will take away the hedge....break down the wall" – God had given
His vineyard all the protection possible.
Results - "eaten up....trodden down"
v. 6 - "I will lay it waste"... won't prune it or cultivate it
Active ravage is not so much pointed at, as the desolation which
comes from NEGLECT!
Compare the days of Noah when God’s grace did not always
“strive with man”(Genesis 6:3) and the days when the anti-christ
comes – how the Holy Spirit will be withdrawn and people will
believe “THE LIE” – II Thessalonians 2:6-12
THE LAST THING WE NEED IS FOR GOD TO LEAVE US
TO OUR OWN DEVICES!
"there shall come up briars and thorns" (natural produce
of the soil symbolizing the vices or the natural produce of the
human soul, if, and when God leaves it to self)
"I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it" –
God’s gracious influences.
God’s First Vineyard was Eden and the World Before the Flood
God’s Second Vineyard was the People of Israel
God’s Third Vineyard – the Church of Jesus Christ
vs. 8-24 - Six Woes - Six Sins Which Have Especially Provoked God
vs. 8-10 – FIRST WOE -Greed – greed will be punished by barrenness upon
vs. 11-12 – SECOND WOE - Drunkenness and Revelry - all four musical
instruments in earlier times had been dedicated to the worship of
Jehovah - I Sam. 10:5 - now they were employed to inflame men's
passions at feasts – this led to the disregarding of God (this being
Oscar season in Hollywood – think of the “pomp and circumstance”
and the concomitant “they regard not the work of the Lord,
neither consider the operation of His hands”- v. 12 - "my people
are gone into captivity, because they have no knowledge” - their
leaders are “famished” – v. 13 – By executing this judgment on
Jerusalem, the Holy God shows His holiness – v. 16
vs. 18-19 – THIRD WOE - Piling up Sin and Scoffing - instead of trembling
at coming judgment of God, they mockingly want to see it?
Compare Malachi 2:17 – “Where is the God of judgment?” – Remember,
that when Jesus comes “every eye shall see Him” - Revelation 1:7
“the day of the Lord will come” – II Peter 3:10
v.20 – FOURTH WOE - Glossing Over Evil - "Woe to them that call evil good
and good evil; that put darkness for light and light for darkness...bitter
for sweet, sweet for bitter"
There are persons who gloss over evil deeds and evil habits by fair sounding
names, (POLITICAL CORRECTNESS) who call cowardice caution, and
rashness courage, stinginess thrift, and wasteful profusion generosity. The
same men are apt also to call good evil; they brand prudence with the name
of cunning, call meekness want of proper spirit, sincerity rudeness (mean
spirited in this age), and firmness obstinacy. This deadness to moral
distinctions is the sign of deep moral corruption, and fully deserves to
have a special “woe” pronounced against it.
v. 21 – FIFTH WOE - Self-Conceit - Self-conceit is the antithesis of humility;
and as humility is, in a certain sense, the crowning virtue, so self-conceit
is a sort of FINISHING TOUCH put to vice.
v. 22 – SIXTH WOE – The Mighty Who Drink - At first this seems to be a
repetition of the second woe but these proceed to the business of their
lives, attend courts and judge causes, but with brain clouded and
moral vision dimmed, they are easily induced to pervert
justice on receipt of a bribe. (There is certainly parallels in
Congress today – CY - 2009)
v. 24 - "Therefore" - a general judgment, a judgment of ruin and destruction,
against all forms of wicked-ness is announced.
Why? "because they have cast away the law of the
Lord of hosts, and despised the word of the
Holy One of Israel"
Notice - "their blossom shall go up as dust" - readings
on arkdiscovery.com - see the handfuls of what once
was a part of Sodom disintegrating before your eyes!
"lest thou be consumed in the iniquity of the city" - Gen. 19:15b
This was the angels advice to Lot.
vs. 25-30 – The Nature of the Coming Judgment Explained
A terrible invasion of Jerusalem, in which many nations will
participate is clearly announced.
At first the imagery is obscure (v. 25), but it soon grows more distinct.
“Nations” are summoned to the attack; a vast army comes, and comes”
with speed swiftly” (v. 26); then their array is described (vs. 27, 28); and
finally their ravin is compared to that of lions, and their success in catching
and carrying off their prey is prophesied (v. 29). In the last verse of the
chapter the prophet falls back into vaguer imagery, comparing the roar of
the invaders to the roaring of the sea, and the desolated land to one seen
under the gloom of a preternatural darkness (v. 30).
ADDITIONAL NOTES ON VS. 8-17 ON THE APPROPRIATNESS
OF GOD’S PUNISHMENTS
I. IDLENESS IS PUNISHED BY WANT. “If a man will not work,
neither shall he eat” (2 Thessalonians 3:10). Labor naturally produces
wealth, or at any rate value of some kind; and those who work the hardest
naturally acquire the most. The idle cannot complain if they have few of
this world’s goods, since they have made no efforts to obtain them. They
are fitly punished for their waste of time in sloth by the want of those good
things which they might have procured by diligence in toil. The wise man
will not give indiscriminate relief to the poor and needy. There is much
poverty which is the simple natural result and suitable punishment of idle
II. DRUNKENNESS IS PUNISHED BY LOSS OF MENTAL POWER,
AND IN SOME CASES BY A TERRIBLE MALADY. The drunkard
voluntarily confuses his mental faculties, and suspends their healthy
operation, each time that he indulges in the sin whereto he is addicted.
What can be more appropriate than that he should be punished by a
permanent diminution of his intellectual vigor, a loss of nerve, promptitude,
and decision? He also deranges his bodily functions by causing an undue
flow of blood to the brain, and an undue excitement of the nerves whose
connection is so close with the cerebral tissues. It is most natural and most
fitting that such ill treatment of these delicate tissues should result in
permanent injury to them, and cause the dreadful malady known to medical
science as delirium tremens. The drunkard “receives within himself” a most
appropriate “recompense of his error” (Romans 1:27 – where it is really
talking about HIV and AIDS but it is the same principle – CY - 2009).
III. LUST IS PUNISHED BY A LOATHSOME DISEASE. The nature
of the subject here is such as to preclude much illustration. But what can be
more appropriate than the punishment of the most foul and filthy of sins by
a disease which is foul and filthy and loathsome, alike to others and to the
object of it? The body marred and scarred, the blood infected, the whole
constitution undermined, form not only a just, but a most fitting,
punishment of one, the peculiarity of whose sin is that he “sins against his
own body” (1 Corinthians 6:18). In the case of Israel special national sins
were punished by special judgments, also peculiarly appropriate; e.g. —
A. THE GREED WHICH JOINED HOUSE TO HOUSE AND FIELD TO
FIELD was punished by an invasion which caused the destruction and ruin
of the annexed houses (v. 9), and the desolation of the annexed estates.
The ruin of the vineyards was such that it was scarcely worth while to
gather the produce, the continued devastation of the corn lands such that
the harvest did not nearly equal the seed corn. Nomad tribes pastured their
flocks on the over-large estates, and the so-called owners derived little or
no benefit from their acquisitions (vs. 10, 17).
B. DRUNKEN REVELRY was punished by the captivity of the revelers,
who were carried off as slaves into a strange land, and there experienced
the usual fate of slaves, which included bitter experience of hunger and
thirst (v. 13). The dole allowed the slave was seldom more than sufficient
to keep body and soul together. His drink was water. Kept to hard labor on
imperial palaces and other “great works,” he lost all cheerfulness, all
lightness of heart, all love of song or music. Asked by his taskmasters to
“sing them one of the songs of Zion,” he declined sadly; the harp of his
revels was “hung upon the willows” of Babylon (Psalm 137:2-4).
God’s judgments upon other nations have often had the same character of
appropriateness. Egypt, whose great sin had been pride (Ezekiel 29:4),
was condemned to be “the basest of the kingdoms” (v. 15); never
destroyed, but always subject to one people or another — Assyrians,
Persians, Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Turks. Rome, the most cruel and bloody
of conquering states, was made a prey, first to bloody tyrants of her own
race, and then to a succession of fierce and savage northern hordes —
Goths, Huns, Vandals, Burgundians, Heruli, Lombards — who spared
neither age nor sex, and delighted in carnage and massacre. Macedonia,
raised to greatness by her military system, and using it unsparingly to crush
all her rivals, is ruined by being brought into contact with a military system
superior to her own. Spain, elevated to the first position in Europe by her
colonial greatness, is corrupted by her colonial wealth, and sinks faster than
she had risen. States formed by conquest usually perish by conquest;
governments founded on revolution are, for the most part, destroyed by
revolution. The retributive justice which shows itself in the world’s history
does not consist in the mere fact that sin is punished, but rather in the
remarkable adaptation of the punishment which is dealt out to the sin that
has provoked it.