Let me sing a lovesong to my beloved about his vineyard: My beloved had a vineyard on a fertile hill.
He dug it up, removed its stones, planted it with the choicest vines, built a watchtower in it, and made a winepress in it. Then he waited for it to produce good grapes, but it produced only sour, wild grapes.
Now then, you inhabitants of Jerusalem and Judah, judge between me and my vineyard!
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?
Now then, let me tell you what I will do to my vineyard. I will tear away its hedge so that it can be devoured and tear down its wall so that it can be trampled.
I will make it a wasteland. It will never be pruned or hoed. Thorns and weeds will grow in it, and I will command the clouds not to rain on it.
The vineyard of the LORD of Armies is the nation of Israel, and the people of Judah are the garden of his delight. He hoped for justice but saw only slaughter, for righteousness but heard only cries of distress.
How horrible it will be for you who acquire house after house and buy field after field until there's nothing left and you have to live by yourself in the land.
With my own ears I heard the LORD of Armies say, "Many houses will become empty. Large, beautiful houses will be without people to live in them.
A ten-acre vineyard will produce only six gallons of wine, and two quarts of seed will produce only four quarts of grain."
How horrible it will be for those who get up early to look for a drink, who sit up late until they are drunk from wine.
At their feasts there are lyres and harps, tambourines and flutes, and wine. Yet, they don't pay attention to what the LORD is doing or see what his hands have done.
"My people will go into exile because they don't understand what I'm doing. Honored men will starve, and common people will be parched with thirst."
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.
People will be brought down. Everyone will be humbled. And the eyes of arrogant people will be humbled.
The LORD of Armies will be honored when he judges. The holy God will show himself to be holy when he does what is right.
Then lambs will graze as if they were in their own pasture, and foreigners will eat among the ruins of the rich.
How horrible it will be for those who string people along with lies and empty promises, whose lives are sinful.
They say, "Let God hurry and quickly do his work so that we may see what he has in mind. Let the plan of the Holy One of Israel happen quickly so that we may understand what he is doing."
How horrible it will be for those who call evil good and good evil, who turn darkness into light and light into darkness, who turn what is bitter into something sweet and what is sweet into something bitter.
How horrible it will be for those who think they are wise and consider themselves to be clever.
How horrible it will be for those who are heroes at drinking wine, who are champions at mixing drinks,
who declare the guilty innocent for a bribe, who take away the rights of righteous people.
As flames burn up straw and dry grass shrivels in flames, so their roots will rot, and their blossoms will blow away like dust. They have rejected the teachings of the LORD of Armies and have despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.
That's why the anger of the LORD burns hot against his people, and he is ready to use his power to strike them down. The hills tremble, and dead bodies lie like garbage in the streets. Even after all this, his anger has not disappeared, and he is still ready to use his power.
The LORD 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!
None of them grow tired or stumble. None of them slumber or sleep. The belts on their waists aren't loose or their sandal straps broken.
Their arrows are sharpened; all their bows are ready to shoot. Their horses' hoofs are as hard as flint. Their chariot wheels are as quick as the wind.
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.
On 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. Even the light will be darkened by thick clouds.