ch. 5





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comes – how the Holy Spirit will be withdrawn and people will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





"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

            the land


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 -  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).




                                    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

“loafing” habits.




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).



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.



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.