Isaiah 5

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Isaiah 5
Great Isaiah Scroll.jpg
The Great Isaiah Scroll, the best preserved of the biblical scrolls found at Qumran from the second century BC, contains all the verses in this chapter.
BookBook of Isaiah
Hebrew Bible partNevi'im
Order in the Hebrew part5
CategoryLatter Prophets
Christian Bible partOld Testament
Order in the Christian part23

Isaiah 5 is the fifth chapter of the Book of Isaiah in the Hebrew Bible or the Old Testament of the Christian Bible. This book contains the prophecies attributed to the prophet Isaiah, and is a part of the Book of the Prophets.[1]


The original text was written in Hebrew language. This chapter is divided into 30 verses.

Textual witnesses[edit]

Some early manuscripts containing the text of this chapter in Hebrew are of the Masoretic Text tradition, which includes the Codex Cairensis (895), the Petersburg Codex of the Prophets (916), Aleppo Codex (10th century), Codex Leningradensis (1008).[2]

Fragments containing parts of this chapter were found among the Dead Sea Scrolls (3rd century BC or later):[3]

  • 1QIsaa: complete
  • 4QIsab (4Q56): extant: verses 15-28
  • 4QIsaf (4Q60): extant: verses 13-14, 25
  • 4QIsap (4Q69): extant: verses 28-30

There is also a translation into Koine Greek known as the Septuagint, made in the last few centuries BCE. Extant ancient manuscripts of the Septuagint version include Codex Vaticanus (B; B; 4th century), Codex Sinaiticus (S; BHK: S; 4th century), Codex Alexandrinus (A; A; 5th century) and Codex Marchalianus (Q; Q; 6th century).[4]


The parashah sections listed here are based on the Aleppo Codex.[5] Isaiah 5 is a part of the Prophecies about Judah and Israel (Isaiah 1-12). {P}: open parashah; {S}: closed parashah.

{P} 5:1-6 {P} 5:8-10 {S} 5:11-17 {S} 5:18-19 {S} 5:20 {S} 5:21 {S} 5:22-23 {P} 5:24-30 {P}

Parable of the vineyard[edit]

Now let me sing to my Well-beloved
A song of my Beloved regarding His vineyard:
My Well-beloved has a vineyard
On a very fruitful hill.[6]

In relation to the "Parable of the Vineyard", the New Oxford Annotated Bible identifies the vineyard in Isaiah 5:7 as "Israel" (compare to Isaiah 1:8; Isaiah 3:14; Isaiah 27:2-6).[7]

He dug it up and cleared out its stones,
And planted it with the choicest vine.

The "choicest vine" is an allusion of the people of Israel (Psalm 80:8-16; Jeremiah 2:21; Hosea 10:1).[7]

He built a tower in its midst,
And also made a winepress in it;
So He expected it to bring forth good grapes,
But it brought forth wild grapes.[8]

The failing grapes are described as "wild" in the King James Version and the English Standard Version, "rotten" in the New American Bible (Revised Edition) and "sour" in the Good News Translation.[9] In Brenton's Septuagint Translation, the vineyard "brought forth thorns".[10]

The six woes[edit]

Verses 8 to 24 contain "the six woes". Anglican theologian Edward Plumptre suggests that the form of the woes preached by Jesus in Luke 6:24–26 is based on this passage.[11] After the general warning conveyed to Israel by the parable of the vineyard, "six sins are particularised as those which have especially provoked God to give the warning".

The six woes of Isaiah relate to those responsible for:

  • Amalgamation of land (verses 8-10)
  • Drunkenness and revelry (verses 11-17)
  • Compound sinfulness, or "sin with a cart rope" (verses 18-19)
  • Use of language to justify evil (verse 20)
  • Self-conceit (verse 21)
  • Corruption (verses 22-23) associated with intoxication, cf. Proverbs 31:3:
It is not for kings to drink wine, not for rulers to crave beer.

Verse 8[edit]

Woe to those who join house to house;
They add field to field,
Till there is no place
Where they may dwell alone in the midst of the land! [12]

The law of Israel provided "very stringently and carefully, that as far as possible there should be an equal distribution of the soil, and that hereditary family property should be inalienable. All landed property that had been alienated reverted to the family every fiftieth year, or year of jubilee; so that alienation simply had reference to the usufruct of the land till that time."[13]

Micah 2:2 and the Jerusalem Bible's translation of Job 22:8 make similar points:

You have narrowed the lands of the poor down to nothing.[14]

Verse 20[edit]

Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil

"This fourth woe relates to those who adopted a code of morals that completely overturned the first principles of ethics, and was utterly opposed to the law of God."[13]

Verse 21[edit]

Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!

See also Proverbs 3:7:

Do not be wise in your own eyes

Verse 25[edit]

For all this His anger is not turned away,
But His hand is stretched out still.[15]

This is the first occurrence of a refrain which appears again in Isaiah 9:12, 9:17, 9:21 and 10:4.

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ Theodore Hiebert, et al. 1996. The New Interpreter's Bible: Volume VI. Nashville: Abingdon.
  2. ^ Würthwein 1995, pp. 35-37.
  3. ^ Ulrich 2010, p. 338-340.
  4. ^ Würthwein 1995, pp. 73-74.
  5. ^ As implemented in the Jewish Publication Society's 1917 edition of the Hebrew Bible in English.
  6. ^ Isaiah 5:1
  7. ^ a b The New Oxford Annotated Bible with the Apocrypha, Augmented Third Edition, New Revised Standard Version, Indexed. Michael D. Coogan, Marc Brettler, Carol A. Newsom, Editors. Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA; 2007. pp. 984-986 Hebrew Bible. ISBN 978-0195288810
  8. ^ Isaiah 5:2
  9. ^, Isaiah 5:2
  10. ^ Brenton's Septuagint Translation: Isaiah 5:2
  11. ^ Plumptre, E., Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers on Isaiah 5, accessed 8 March 2018
  12. ^ Isaiah 5:8
  13. ^ a b Keil and Delitzsch, Keil and Delitzsch OT Commentary on Isaiah 5, accessed 10 March 2018
  14. ^ Jerusalem Bible, Job 22:8, note stating "correction, following Greek"
  15. ^ Isaiah 5:25


External links[edit]