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Bible Commentaries

Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible

Isaiah 5

Verses 1-30

Isaiah’s Preaching early in the Reign of Ahaz

Isaiah 2-4 are closely connected, and Isaiah 5 is generally thought to belong to the same period, though it probably represents discourses delivered rather later. There are two points which serve as indications of date: (a) The influx of foreign fashions, both in religion (Isaiah 2:6, Isaiah 2:8) and in common life (Isaiah 3:16-23, where the difficulty of explaining the names for the various articles of female attire from the Hebrew suggests that the articles, like the names, were of foreign importation). (b) The weak and capricious character of the king and his advisers (Isaiah 3:12). These features point to the reign of Ahaz, who was an innovator in religion (2 Kings 16:2-4, 2 Kings 16:10), but in that case these chapters must be placed quite early in his reign, because we should gather from the mention of deep-sea ships (Isaiah 2:16) that Elath, the one seaport of the kingdom, was still in the possession of Judah, while we read in 2 Kings 16:6 that the Syrians captured it during the invasion by Rezin and Pekah.

Isaiah 2:2-4. Isaiah quotes a prophecy that the nations shall resort to Zion, and there learn true religion, with the result of universal peace.

5-9. Before this future can be realised, God’s own people must trust in Him and forsake their idolatry.

10-22. The retributive judgment that is coming on the nation is described in detail.

Isaiah 3:1-15. The ruin of social order in Judah, traceable to the misconduct of the rulers, who shall be punished.

16-C. Isaiah 4:1. The sin and punishment of the ladies of Jerusalem.

2-6. The day of the Lord, though a day of judgment for the wicked, will prove a day of salvation for the faithful remnant.

Isaiah 5:1-7. Judah compared in a parable to an unfruitful vineyard.

8-24. The charge of bringing forth evil fruit is proved in detail.

[25-30. The coming invasion and dark prospect.]

Verses 1-30

1-24. Judah, God’s unfruitful vineyard, and the judgment upon it.

1. I] i.e. Isaiah. To my] rather, ’for my,’ or ’of my.’ The beloved, as appears later, is Jehovah: cp. our Lord’s parable (Matthew 21:33). The allegory is rhythmical in form: cp. Song of Solomon 8:11-14.

2. Tower] watch-tower: see on Isaiah 1:8.

3f. God speaks.

7. Judgment] i.e. justice. Oppression] perhaps better, ’bloodshed.’ A cry] i.e. of the oppressed.

8-10. Unjust seizure of land resulting in barrenness and want of population.

8. Place] RV ’room.’

10. Bath] about 8 gallons. And the seed, etc.] RV ’and a homer of seed shall yield but an ephah.’ An ephah is the tenth part of a homer, which was 10 or 12 bushels (Ezekiel 45:11).

11. That continue until night] RV ’that tarry late into the night.’

12. Regard not, etc.] i.e. have no regard for the working of the Lord’s will in the events of history.

13. Are gone into captivity] an example of the ’prophetic perfect.’ The future is regarded as so certain that it is described as past.

14. Hell] Heb. Sheol, i.e. the place of departed spirits, RM ’the grave’: cp. Genesis 37:35.

15. Cp. Isaiah 2:9, Isaiah 2:17.

17. After their manner] RV ’as in their pasture.’ So desolate will the cities be.

Strangers] RM ’wanderers.’ The meaning is that nomad tribes wander over the land at pleasure.

18. The people have chained themselves to sin like beasts of burden.

19. They scoff at the declared judgments of God.

20. The perverting of all moral distinctions.

23. Bribery and injustice.

25-30. The position of these vv. is doubtful. Very probably they should be connected with the prophecy, Isaiah 9:8 to Isaiah 10:4. In that section the closing words of Isaiah 5:25 occur four times as a sort of refrain.

26. Lift up an ensign] i.e. as a signal to muster them: cp. Isaiah 11:10; Isaiah 18:3; Isaiah 49:22; Isaiah 62:10. Nations] i.e. those under the dominion of the Assyrian king and serving in his army. Hiss] The metaphor is from collecting a swarm of bees (Isaiah 7:18).

30. They shall roar against them] i.e. the enemies against God’s people.

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Bibliographical Information
Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 5". "Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". 1909.