New English Translation
A Love Song Gone Sour
1 I will sing to my love - a song to my lover about his vineyard. My love had a vineyard on a fertile hill.
2 He built a hedge around it, removed its stones, and planted a vine. He built a tower in the middle of it, and constructed a winepress. He waited for it to produce edible grapes, but it produced sour ones instead.
3 So now, residents of Jerusalem, people of Judah, you decide between me and my vineyard!
4 What more can I do for my vineyard beyond what I have already done? When I waited for it to produce edible grapes, why did it produce sour ones instead?
5 Now I will inform you what I am about to do to my vineyard: I will remove its hedge and turn it into pasture, I will break its wall and allow animals to graze there.
6 I will make it a wasteland; no one will prune its vines or hoe its ground, and thorns and briers will grow there. I will order the clouds not to drop any rain on it.
7 Indeed Israel is the vineyard of the LORD who commands armies, the people of Judah are the cultivated place in which he took delight. He waited for justice, but look what he got - disobedience! He waited for fairness, but look what he got - cries for help!
Disaster is Coming
8 Those who accumulate houses are as good as dead, those who also accumulate landed property until there is no land left, and you are the only landowners remaining within the land.
9 The LORD who commands armies told me this: "Many houses will certainly become desolate, large, impressive houses will have no one living in them.
10 Indeed, a large vineyard will produce just a few gallons, and enough seed to yield several bushels will produce less than a bushel."
11 Those who get up early to drink beer are as good as dead, those who keep drinking long after dark until they are intoxicated with wine.
12 They have stringed instruments, tambourines, flutes, and wine at their parties. So they do not recognize what the LORD is doing, they do not perceive what he is bringing about.
13 Therefore my people will be deported because of their lack of understanding. Their leaders will have nothing to eat, their masses will have nothing to drink.
14 So Death will open up its throat, and open wide its mouth; Zion's dignitaries and masses will descend into it, including those who revel and celebrate within her.
15 Men will be humiliated, they will be brought low; the proud will be brought low.
16 The LORD who commands armies will be exalted when he punishes, the sovereign God's authority will be recognized when he judges.
17 Lambs will graze as if in their pastures, amid the ruins the rich sojourners will graze.
18 Those who pull evil along using cords of emptiness are as good as dead, who pull sin as with cart ropes.
19 They say, "Let him hurry, let him act quickly, so we can see; let the plan of the Holy One of Israel take shape and come to pass, then we will know it!"
20 Those who call evil good and good evil are as good as dead, who turn darkness into light and light into darkness, who turn bitter into sweet and sweet into bitter.
21 Those who think they are wise are as good as dead, those who think they possess understanding.
22 Those who are champions at drinking wine are as good as dead, who display great courage when mixing strong drinks.
23 They pronounce the guilty innocent for a payoff, they ignore the just cause of the innocent.
24 Therefore, as flaming fire devours straw, and dry grass disintegrates in the flames, so their root will rot, and their flower will blow away like dust. For they have rejected the law of the LORD who commands armies, they have spurned the commands of the Holy One of Israel.
25 So the LORD is furious with his people; he lifts his hand and strikes them. The mountains shake, and corpses lie like manure in the middle of the streets. Despite all this, his anger does not subside, and his hand is ready to strike again.
26 He lifts a signal flag for a distant nation, he whistles for it to come from the far regions of the earth. Look, they come quickly and swiftly.
27 None tire or stumble, they don't stop to nap or sleep. They don't loosen their belts, or unstrap their sandals to rest.
28 Their arrows are sharpened, and all their bows are prepared. The hooves of their horses are hard as flint, and their chariot wheels are like a windstorm.
29 Their roar is like a lion's; they roar like young lions. They growl and seize their prey; they drag it away and no one can come to the rescue.
30 At that time they will growl over their prey, it will sound like sea waves crashing against rocks. One will look out over the land and see the darkness of disaster, clouds will turn the light into darkness.
King James Version
1 Now will I sing to my wellbeloved a song of my beloved touching his vineyard. My wellbeloved hath a vineyard in a very fruitful hill:
2 And he fenced it, and gathered out the stones thereof, and planted it with the choicest vine, and built a tower in the midst of it, and also made a winepress therein: and he looked that it should bring forth grapes, and it brought forth wild grapes.
3 And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem, and men of Judah, judge, I pray you, betwixt me and my vineyard.
4 What could have been done more to my vineyard, that I have not done in it? wherefore, when I looked that it should bring forth grapes, brought it forth wild grapes?
5 And now go to; I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard: I will take away the hedge thereof, and it shall be eaten up; and break down the wall thereof, and it shall be trodden down:
6 And I will lay it waste: it shall not be pruned, nor digged; but there shall come up briers and thorns: I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it.
7 For the vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah his pleasant plant: and he looked for judgment, but behold oppression; for righteousness, but behold a cry.
8 ¶ Woe unto them that join house to house, that lay field to field, till there be no place, that they may be placed alone in the midst of the earth!
9 In mine ears said the LORD of hosts, Of a truth many houses shall be desolate, even great and fair, without inhabitant.
10 Yea, ten acres of vineyard shall yield one bath, and the seed of an homer shall yield an ephah.
11 ¶ Woe unto them that rise up early in the morning, that they may follow strong drink; that continue until night, till wine inflame them!
12 And the harp, and the viol, the tabret, and pipe, and wine, are in their feasts: but they regard not the work of the LORD, neither consider the operation of his hands.
13 ¶ Therefore my people are gone into captivity, because they have no knowledge: and their honourable men are famished, and their multitude dried up with thirst.
14 Therefore hell hath enlarged herself, and opened her mouth without measure: and their glory, and their multitude, and their pomp, and he that rejoiceth, shall descend into it.
15 And the mean man shall be brought down, and the mighty man shall be humbled, and the eyes of the lofty shall be humbled:
16 But the LORD of hosts shall be exalted in judgment, and God that is holy shall be sanctified in righteousness.
17 Then shall the lambs feed after their manner, and the waste places of the fat ones shall strangers eat.
18 Woe unto them that draw iniquity with cords of vanity, and sin as it were with a cart rope:
19 That say, Let him make speed, and hasten his work, that we may see it: and let the counsel of the Holy One of Israel draw nigh and come, that we may know it!
20 ¶ Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!
21 Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!
22 Woe unto them that are mighty to drink wine, and men of strength to mingle strong drink:
23 Which justify the wicked for reward, and take away the righteousness of the righteous from him!
24 Therefore as the fire devoureth the stubble, and the flame consumeth the chaff, so their root shall be as rottenness, and their blossom shall go up as dust: because they have cast away the law of the LORD of hosts, and despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.
25 Therefore is the anger of the LORD kindled against his people, and he hath stretched forth his hand against them, and hath smitten them: and the hills did tremble, and their carcases were torn in the midst of the streets. For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still.
26 ¶ And he will lift up an ensign to the nations from far, and will hiss unto them from the end of the earth: and, behold, they shall come with speed swiftly:
27 None shall be weary nor stumble among them; none shall slumber nor sleep; neither shall the girdle of their loins be loosed, nor the latchet of their shoes be broken:
28 Whose arrows are sharp, and all their bows bent, their horses' hoofs shall be counted like flint, and their wheels like a whirlwind:
29 Their roaring shall be like a lion, they shall roar like young lions: yea, they shall roar, and lay hold of the prey, and shall carry it away safe, and none shall deliver it.
30 And in that day they shall roar against them like the roaring of the sea: and if one look unto the land, behold darkness and sorrow, and the light is darkened in the heavens thereof.