Isaiah 5 – “The Consequences of Iniquity”

Hebrew-English Text
I. Summary
Israel’s unfaithfulness is illustrated by means of a parable. The nation’s specific sins are listed and Isaiah warns of an attack by a terrifying foreign army.

II. Photo
Isaiah addresses those who love hard drink: “Ah, those who chase liquor from early in the morning, and till late in the evening are inflamed by wine!” (v. 11)

III. Important Verses
1-7: Let me sing for my beloved A song of my lover about his vineyard. My beloved had a vineyard On a fruitful hill. He broke the ground, cleared it of stones, And planted it with choice vines. He built a watchtower inside it, He even hewed a wine press in it; For he hoped it would yield grapes. Instead, it yielded wild grapes. “Now, then, Dwellers of Jerusalem And men of Judah, You be the judges Between Me and My vineyard: What more could have been done for My vineyard That I failed to do in it? Why, when I hoped it would yield grapes, Did it yield wild grapes?  “Now I am going to tell you What I will do to My vineyard: I will remove its hedge, That it may be ravaged; I will break down its wall, That it may be trampled. And I will make it a desolation; It shall not be pruned or hoed, And it shall be overgrown with briers and thistles. And I will command the clouds To drop no rain on it.” For the vineyard of the LORD of Hosts Is the House of Israel, And the seedlings he lovingly tended Are the men of Judah. And He hoped for justice, But behold, injustice; For equity, But behold, iniquity!
11-14:  Ah, Those who chase liquor From early in the morning, And till late in the evening Are inflamed by wine! Who, at their banquets, Have lyre and lute, Timbrel, flute, and wine; But who never give a thought To the plan of the LORD, And take no note Of what He is designing. Assuredly, My people will suffer exile For not giving heed, Its multitude victims of hunger And its masses parched with thirst. Assuredly, Sheol has opened wide its gullet And parted its jaws in a measureless gape; And down into it shall go, That splendor and tumult, That din and revelry.
26-30: He will raise an ensign to a nation afar, Whistle to one at the end of the earth. There it comes with lightning speed! In its ranks, none is weary or stumbles, They never sleep or slumber; The belts on their waists do not come loose, Nor do the thongs of their sandals break. Their arrows are sharpened, And all their bows are drawn. Their horses’ hoofs are like flint, Their chariot wheels like the whirlwind. Their roaring is like a lion’s, They roar like the great beasts; When they growl and seize a prey, They carry it off and none can recover it.  But in that day, a roaring shall resound over him like that of the sea; and then he shall look below and, behold, Distressing darkness, with light; Darkness, in its lowering clouds.

IV. Outline

1-7. Parable about Israel’s iniquities and upcoming punishment
8-17. Specific sins and their consequences #1
    8-10. The wealthy will become needy for ignoring the poor
    11-14. Bacchanalianism
        11-13. Wine-drinking is the cause for Israel’s exile
        14. The revelers will go down to Sheol
    15-17. God will be raised and the haughty will be brought low
18-25. Specific sins and their consequences #2
    18-19. Duplicitous sinners
    20-21. Corrupt “wise men”
    22. Wine drinkers
    23. Corrupt judges
    24-25. God will punish them for their misdeeds
26-30. God will summon the mighty Assyrian army against Israel

V. Comment
No comment today. Stay tuned.

VI. Works Used
(see “Commentaries” page)
Blenkinsopp, Joseph. “Isaiah 1-39” The Anchor Bible vol. 19 (New York: Doubleday, 2000).
Collins, John J. “Introduction to the Hebrew Bible,” (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2004).
Sweeney, Marvin A. “Isaiah 1-39 with an Introduction to Prophetic Literature” The Forms of Old Testament Literature vol. 16 (Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans, 1996).
Photo taken from