Isaiah 5

1Now, I will sing a song for my friend ˻(God)˼. This song is about the love my friend has for his field of grapes ˻(Israel)˼. My friend had a vineyard in a very rich field. 2My friend dug and cleared the field. He planted the best grapevines there. He built a tower in the middle of the field. He hoped for good grapes to grow there. But there were only bad grapes. 3˻So God said˼: “You people living in Jerusalem, and you, man of Judah, think about me and my vineyard. 4What more could I do for my field of grapes? I did everything I could. I hoped for good grapes to grow. But there were only bad grapes. Why did that happen? 5Now, I will tell you what I will do to my field of grapes: I will pull up the thorn bushes ˻that are protecting the field˼, and I will burn them. I will break down the stone wall, and the stones will be walked on. 6I will make my vineyard an empty field. No person will care for the plants. No person will work in the field. Weeds and thorns will grow there. I will command the clouds not to rain on the field.” 7The field of grapes that belongs to the Lord All-Powerful is the nation of Israel. The grapevine—the plant the Lord loves—is the man of Judah. The Lord hoped for justice, but there was only killing. The Lord hoped for fairness, but there were only cries ˻from people being treated badly˼. 8You people live very close together. You build houses until there is no place for anything else. But ˻the Lord will punish you, and˼ you will be made to live alone. You will be the only people in the whole land! 9The Lord All-Powerful said this to me, and I heard him, “There are many houses now. But I promise that all the houses will be destroyed. There are nice, big houses now. But those houses will be empty. 10At that time, a ten-acre field of grapes will make only a little wine. And many sacks of seed will grow only a little grain.” 11You people rise early in the morning and go looking for beer to drink. You stay awake late at night, becoming drunk with wine. 12You party with your wine, harps, drums, flutes, and other musical instruments. And you don’t see the things the Lord has done. The Lord’s hands have made many, many things—but you don’t notice those things. So, it will be very bad for you people. 13˻The Lord says,˼ “My people will be captured and taken away. Why? Because they don’t really know ˻me˼. Some of the people living in Israel are important now. They are happy with their easy lives. But all those great people will become very thirsty and very hungry. 14Then ˻they will die and˼ Sheol, ˻the place of death˼, will get more and more people. That ˻place of death˼ will open her mouth with no limit. And all those people will go down into Sheol.” 15Those people will be humbled. Those great people will bow their heads and look at the ground. 16The Lord All-Powerful will judge fairly, and people will know he is great. The Holy God will do the things that are right, and the people will respect him. 17˻God will make the people of Israel leave their country; the land will be empty.˼ Sheep will go any place they want. Lambs will walk on the land that rich people once owned. 18Look at those people! They pull their guilt and sins behind them like people pull wagons with ropes. 19Those people say, “We wish God would hurry and do the things he plans to do. Then we would know what will happen. We wish the Lord’s plan would happen soon. Then we would know what his plan is.” 20Those people say that good things are bad, and bad things are good. Those people think light is darkness, and darkness is light. Those people think sour is sweet, and sweet is sour. 21Those people think they are very smart. They think they are very intelligent. 22Those people are famous for drinking wine. They are champions at mixing drinks. 23And if you pay those people money, they will forgive a criminal. But they don’t allow good people to be judged fairly. 24˻Bad things will happen to those people˼. Their descendants will be completely destroyed—like straw and leaves are burned by fire. Their descendants will be destroyed like a root ˻that dies and˼ becomes dust. Their descendants will be destroyed like a fire destroys a flower—the ashes blow away in the wind. Those people have refused to obey the teachings of the Lord All-Powerful. Those people hated the message from the Holy One ˻(God)˼ of Israel. 25So the Lord has become very angry with his people. And the Lord will raise his hand and punish them. Even the mountains will be frightened. Dead bodies will lie in the streets like garbage. But God will still be angry. His hand will still be raised ˻to punish the people˼. 26˻Look!˼ God is giving a sign to the nations in a faraway land. God is raising a flag, and he is whistling to call those people. The enemy is coming from a faraway land. The enemy will soon enter the country. They are moving very quickly. 27The enemy never becomes tired or falls down. They never become sleepy and fall asleep. Their weapon belts are always ready. Their shoestrings never break. 28The enemy’s arrows are sharp. All of their bows are ready to shoot. The horses’ feet are hard like rock. Clouds of dust rise from behind their chariots. 29The enemy shouts, and their shout is like a lion’s roar. It is loud like a young lion. The enemy growls and grabs the people it is fighting against. The people struggle and try to escape. But there is no person to save them. 30So, the “lion” roars loud like the waves of the sea. And the captured people look at the ground, and then there is only darkness. All light becomes dark in this thick cloud.

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