1 Let me sing to my loved one a song of my beloved concerning his vineyard: My loved one had a vineyard on a fertile hill.
2 He dug the soil all around and removed its stones. He planted it with the choicest vine. And he built a tower in the middle of it and also hewed out a wine vat in it. Then he expected it to produce good grapes, but it only produced worthless ones.
3 »Now then, you inhabitants of Jerusalem and Judah, judge between my vineyard and me!
4 »What more could have been done for my vineyard than what I have already done for it? When I waited for it to produce good grapes, why did it produce only sour, wild grapes?
5 »Here is what I am going to do to my vineyard: I will take away the hedge and break down the wall that protects it. I will let wild animals eat it and trample it down.
6 »It will turn into a desert, neither pruned nor cultivated. It will be covered with thorns and briars. I will command the clouds not to send rain.«
7 I am Jehovah of Hosts All Powerful! Israel is the vineyard, and Judah is the garden I tended with care. I had hoped for honesty and for justice, but dishonesty and cries for mercy were all I found.
8 Cursed are those who are joining house to house, and putting field to field, till there is no more living-space for any but themselves in all the land!
9 With my own ears I heard Jehovah of Hosts say: »Many houses will become empty. Large, beautiful houses will be without people to live in them.
10 »A ten-acre vineyard will produce only six gallons of wine, and two quarts of seed will produce only four quarts of grain.«
11 How horrible it will be for those who get up early in the morning to look for a drink and who sit up late at night until they are drunk from wine.
12 At their feasts there are lyres and harps, tambourines and flutes, and wine. Yet, they do not pay attention to what Jehovah is doing or respect what his hands have done.
13 My people will go into exile because they do not understand what I am doing. Honored men will starve, and common people will be parched with thirst.
14 That is why the grave's appetite increases. It opens its mouth very wide so that honored people and common people will go down into it. Those who are noisy and joyous will go down into it.
15 People will be brought down. Everyone will be humiliated and the eyes of arrogant people will be abased humbled.
16 Jehovah of Hosts shows his greatness by doing what is right. He reveals his holiness by judging his people.
17 In the ruins of the cities lambs will eat grass and young goats will find pasture.
18 Woe to those who scatter sin with cords of falsehood and iniquity with a cart rope!
19 You say: »Let Jehovah hurry up and do what he says he will, so that we can see it. Let Israel's holy God carry out his plans. Let us see what he has in mind.«
20 You are doomed! You call evil good and you call good evil. You turn darkness into light and light into darkness. You make what is bitter, sweet, and what is sweet you make bitter.
21 You are doomed! You think you are wise. You think you are so very clever.
22 You are doomed! Heroes of the wine bottle! Brave and fearless when it comes to mixing drinks!
23 You let the guilty go free for a bribe and you keep the innocent from getting justice.
24 You will go up in flames like straw and hay! You have rejected the law of the holy God Jehovah the All-Powerful Holy One of Israel. Now your roots will rot, and your blossoms will turn to dust.
25 You are Jehovahs people, but you made him terribly angry, and he struck you with his mighty arm. Mountains shook, and dead bodies covered the streets like garbage. Jehovah is still angry. He is ready to strike you again.
26 Jehovah raises up a flag for the nations far away. With a whistle he signals those at the ends of the earth. Look, they are coming very quickly!
27 None of them grow tired or stumble. None of them slumber or sleep. The belts on their waists are not loose or their sandal straps broken.
28 Their arrows are sharpened. All their bows are strung and ready to shoot. Their horses' hoofs are as hard as flint. Their chariot wheels are as quick as the wind.
29 They roar like a lioness. They growl like a young lion. They growl as they snatch their prey and carry it off to where no one can rescue it.
30 In that day they will roar over their prey as the sea roars. If they look at the land, they will see only darkness and distress. Thick clouds will darken even the light.