- Israel, God's vineyard, his mercies, and their faithfulness, should be laid waste, verse 1-7.
- Judgments upon covetousness, verse 8-10.
- Upon drunkards, and the lascivious, verse 11, 12.
- The great misery of the Jews, verse 13-17.
- Judgments on impiety, scoffers at God's threatnings, those who corrupt the notions of good and ill, strong-drinkers, and unjust judges, verse 18-23.
- God's anger, and the Chaldeans army against them, verse 24-30.
Now - I will record it to he a witness for God, and against you, as Moses did his song, Deuteronomy 31:19; . 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.
He gathered - He removed all hindrances, and gave them all the means of fruitfulness. A tower - For the residence of the keepers.
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.
Pleasant - In whom God formerly delighted. A cry - From the oppressed, crying to men for help, and to God for vengeance.
Alone - That they alone may be the lords and owners, and all others only their tenants and servants.
In mine ears - I heard God speak what I am about to utter.
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.
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.
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.
And he - That spends all his days in mirth and jollity.
The mighty - All of them, both high and low, shall be brought to destruction.
Exalted - By the execution of this just judgment. Sanctified - Shall appear to be an holy God, by his righteous judgments.
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 2:12, 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 25:12, who are called strangers, because they were so, in reference to that hand, not being the proper owners of it.
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 pretences, whereby sinners generally draw themselves to sin. A rope - With all their might, as beasts commonly do that draw carts with ropes.
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.
To them - That take away the difference between good and evil; that justify wicked men and things, and condemn piety, or righteous persons.
To mingle - To drink: the antecedent being put for the consequent: for they mingled it in order to drinking.
Take away - Pronounce sentence against him.
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.
An ensign - To call them together for his service. From far - To the Chaldeans; for even Babylon is called a far country, chap. 39:3. 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.
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.
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.
Roar - Which signifies both their cruelty, and their eagerness to devour the prey.
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.