V Israel, God's vineyard, his mercies, and their faithfulness, should be laid waste, ver. 1-7. Judgments upon covetousness, ver. 8-10. Upon drunkards, and the lascivious, ver. 11, 12. The great misery of the Jews, ver. 13-17. Judgments on impiety, scoffers at God's threatnings, those who corrupt the notions of good and ill, strong-drinkers, and unjust Judges, ver. 18-23. God's anger, and the Chaldeans army against them, ver. 24-30.
Verse 1. Now - I will record it to be a witness for God, and against you, as Moses did his song, Deut. xxxi, 19; xxxii, 1. To - To the Lord of the vineyard. Of my beloved - Not devised by me, but inspired by God. Vineyard - His church. Hill - Hills being places most commodious for vines.
Verse 2. He gathered - He removed all hindrances, and gave them all the means of fruitfulness. A tower - For the residence of the keepers.
Verse 6. Nor digged - Vine-dressers use to dig up and open the earth about the roots of the vines. The meaning is, I will remove my ministers, who used great care and diligence to make you fruitful. Thorns - I will give you up to your own lusts. No rain - I will deprive you of all my blessings.
Verse 8. Alone - That they alone may be the lords and owners, and all others only their tenants and servants.
Verse 9. In mine ears - I heard God speak what I am about to utter.
Verse 10. One bath - Of wine. The bath contained about eight gallons. Thus an acre did not yield one gallon. An ephah - Which was of the same quantity with the bath, only the bath was the measure of liquid things, the ephah of dry things; and a ephah was the tenth part of an homer. So instead of the increase which that fruitful land commonly yielded, they should loose nine parts of their seed.
Verse 12. The harp - They give up themselves wholly to luxury. The work - What God hath lately done, and is yet doing, and about to do among them; his grievous judgments, partly inflicted, and partly threatened, which required another course of life.
Verse 13. No knowledge - No serious consideration of God's works, and of their own duty and danger. honourable men - Who thought themselves quite out of the reach of famine.
Verse 14. And he - That spends all his days in mirth and jollity.
Verse 15. The mighty - All of them, both high and low, shall be brought to destruction.
Verse 16. Exalted - By the execution of this just judgment. Sanctified - Shall appear to be an holy God, by his righteous judgments.
Verse 17. Then - When God shall have finished that work of judgment. The lambs - The poor and harmless people, who shall be left in the land when the rich are carried into captivity. Manner - Or, by their fold, as this word is manifestly used, Micah ii, 12, the only place of scripture, except this, in which this word is found. Waste places - The lands left by their owners. Fat ones - Of the rich and great men. Strangers - The poor Israelites, who were left to be vine-dressers and husbandmen, 2 Kings xxv, 12, who are called strangers, because they were so, in reference to that hand, not being the proper owners of it.
Verse 18. That draw - That are not only drawn to sin by the allurements of the world; but are active and illustrious in drawing sin to themselves. Cords - Or, with cords of lying, as the last word frequently signifies, with vain and deceitful arguments and pretenses, whereby sinners generally draw themselves to sin. A rope - With all their might, as beasts commonly do that draw carts with ropes.
Verse 19. Let him - God, in whose name thou and other prophets are always threatening us. This was the plain language of their actions; they lived as if they were of this opinion. The Holy One - They scornfully repeated the title usually given by the prophets to God.
Verse 20. To them - That take away the difference between good and evil; that justify wicked men and things, and condemn piety, or righteous persons.
Verse 22. To mingle - To drink: the antecedent being put for the consequent: for they mingled it in order to drinking.
Verse 23. Take away - Pronounce sentence against him.
Verse 24. Rottenness - They shall be like a tree which not only withers in its branches, but dies and rots at the roots, therefore is past recovery. Dust - Shall be resolved into dust, and yield no fruit.
Verse 26. An ensign - To call them together for his service. From far - To the Chaldeans; for even Babylon is called a far country, chap. xxxix, 3. And he saith nations, because the Chaldean army was made up of several nations. Will hiss - Or, will whistle unto, or for them: will gather them together by his word. as shepherds gather their sheep. He intimates how easily and speedily God can do this work. From the ends - Which is not to be understood strictly, but with a latitude, from very remote places.
Verse 27. Nor sleep - They shall all be watchful and diligent to take all opportunities of executing my judgments. Nor latchet - I will take all impediments out of their way.
Verse 28. Bent - Who are every way furnished and ready for my work, waiting only for my command. Flint - Because they shall not be broken or battered by the length or stonyness and ruggedness of the way. Whirlwind - For the swiftness of their march, and for the force and violence of their chariots in battle.
Verse 29. Roar - Which signifies both their cruelty, and their eagerness to devour the prey.
Verse 30. Sorrow - Darkness; that is, sorrow; the latter word explains the former. The heavens - When they look up to the heavens, as men in distress usually do, they see no light there.