“Now the vineyard of Adonai-Tzva’ot is the house of Isra’el, and the men of Y’hudah are the plant he delighted in…” (Isaiah 5:7).
Hebrew Word Pictures
Vineyard or kerem – כרם – kaf, resh, mem
– open the mighty authority
The vineyard is a symbol of the nation of Isra’el who was delivered from the harsh soil of Egypt and transplanted in the land of Canaan. Elohim cleared the land of pagan cities and ‘giants’ so that that His vineyard might be planted in a fertile place.
The vineyard put out many branches and shoots and filled the land, but there was one area in which Elohim took special delight and planted His choicest vines, the people of Judah. He watched over them and tended them like the perfect gardener.
“I want to sing a song for someone I love, a song about my loved one and his vineyard. My loved one had a vineyard on a very fertile hill. He dug up its stones and cleared them away, planted it with the choicest vines, built a watchtower in the middle of it, and carved out in its rock a winepress. He expected it to produce good grapes, but it produced only sour, wild grapes” (Isaiah 5:1-2).
However, instead of bringing Elohim joy by producing good grapes, the grapes were wild and sour. Elohim became frustrated with His vineyard. Though He had done everything He could to insure choice fruit, Judah becomes degenerate and produces bad fruit. They reject Torah and despise the Word of the Holy One of Isra’el.
“Many shepherds have destroyed my vineyard, they have trampled my plot of land, they have turned my desirable property into a desert waste. Yes, they have made it a waste; wasted, it mourns to me; the whole land is wasted, because nobody really cares” (Jeremiah 12:10-11).
Instead of justice for the righteous, there is bloodshed. They add house to house and join fields until there is no room for anyone. They live in splendor, but alone on their own land. They become drunks getting up early to drink intoxicating liquor and staying up late inflamed with wine. They have parties with lots of music, but pay no attention to Elohim and the work of His hands. They nit-pick sin with a thread, but their own sinful lives fill a cart they pull behind them with a rope. They exchange sweet for bitter, bitter for sweet; they change darkness for light and light for darkness and they call evil good and good evil.
“Now, citizens of Yerushalayim and people of Y’hudah, judge between me and my vineyard. What more could I have done for my vineyard that I haven’t already done in it? So why, when I expected good grapes, did it produce sour, wild grapes? Now come, I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard: I will remove its hedge, and [its grapes] will be eaten up; I will break through its fence, and [its vines] will be trampled down. I will let it go to waste: it will be neither pruned nor hoed, but overgrown with briars and thorns. I will also order the clouds not to let rain fall on it” (Isaiah 5:3-6).
Elohim decides to remove the hedge of protection around His vineyard. The Hebrew word for ‘hedge’ is suk and denotes something that surrounds and encloses like a stone wall, fence or a thorns. In Jewish thought the Torah is also considered a ‘fence’ that protects Elohim’s people.
“Accept correction, Yerushalayim, or I will be estranged from you and turn you into a desolate waste, a land without inhabitants. Thus says Adonai-Tzva’ot: They will glean the remnant of Isra’el as thoroughly as in a vineyard — one last time, like a grape-picker, pass your hand over the vines. To whom should I speak? Whom should I warn? Who will listen to me? Their ears are dull, they can’t pay attention. For them the word of Adonai has become unattractive, an object of scorn” (Jeremiah 6:8-10).
The grapes are eaten up by animals and the vines are trampled down. The vineyard becomes overgrown with briars and thorns and a drought turns the vineyard into a wasteland. Isra’el became a desolate vineyard; the Jewish a fruitless vine. Yet, Elohim as the Gardener remained faithful to His vineyard and decides to ‘woo’ her out of her deserted state. She will return to Him as her Ishi or Husband.
“But now I [yod-hey-vav-hey] am going to woo her[Isra’el] — I will bring her out to the desert and I will speak to her heart. I will give her her vineyards from there and the Akhor Valley as a gateway to hope. She will respond there as she did when young, as she did when she came up from Egypt. “On that day,” says Adonai “you will call me Ishi [My Husband]; you will no longer call me Ba‘ali [My Master]” (Hosea 2:16-18).
Hebrew Word Pictures
Grape or enav – ayin, noon, bet
– to see the life of the family
“I am the real vine, and my Father is the gardener. Every branch which is part of me but fails to bear fruit, he cuts off; and every branch that does bear fruit, he prunes, so that it may bear more fruit. Right now, because of the word which I have spoken to you, you are pruned. Stay united with me, as I will with you — for just as the branch can’t put forth fruit by itself apart from the vine, so you can’t bear fruit apart from me. I am the vine and you are the branches. Those who stay united with me, and I with them, are the ones who bear much fruit; because apart from me you can’t do a thing. Unless a person remains united with me, he is thrown away like a branch and dries up. Such branches are gathered and thrown into the fire, where they are burned up” (John 15:1-7).
Yeshua came to thirsty Isra’el and removed their spiritual drought. He is the Branch or netzer, the true vine who brings spiritual life back to the vineyard. He is the fruit from the root of Judah, the vine of David. On his grapevine are many branches that push out. Branches that fail to bear fruit are cut off and thrown into the fire where they are burned up.
“Beware of the false prophets! They come to you wearing sheep’s clothing, but underneath they are hungry wolves! You will recognize them by their fruit. Can people pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every healthy tree produces good fruit, but a poor tree produces bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, or a poor tree good fruit. Any tree that does not produce good fruit is cut down and thrown in the fire! So you will recognize them by their fruit” (Matthew 7:15-20).
Branches that bear fruit are pruned by his Father, the Master Gardener, so they may bear more fruit for the Kingdom. Grapes on the vine in Yeshua’s vineyard understand life in family of Elohim includes Yeshua’s Jewish brothers and sisters, the original vineyard, as well as those who are grafted into the vine. These branches remain united with Yeshua because apart from him, there is no life or fruit.
“If you have really turned from your sins to God, produce fruit that will prove it!” (Matthew 3:8).
“This is how my Father is glorified — in your bearing much fruit; this is how you will prove to be my talmidim [disciples]” (John 15:8).
“You did not choose me, I chose you; and I have commissioned you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last; so that whatever you ask from the Father in my name he may give you. This is what I command you: keep loving each other!” (John 15:16-17)
“But the wisdom from above is, first of all, pure, then peaceful, kind, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. And peacemakers who sow seed in peace raise a harvest of righteousness” (James 3:17-18).
“For you used to be darkness; but now, united with the Lord, you are light. Live like children of light, for the fruit of the light is in every kind of goodness, rightness and truth — try to determine what will please the Lord” (Ephesians 5:8-10).
“Therefore, from the day we heard of it, we have not stopped praying for you, asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will in all the wisdom and understanding which the Spirit gives; so that you may live lives worthy of the Lord and entirely pleasing to him, being fruitful in every good work and multiplying in the full knowledge of God” (Colossians 1:9-10).
“On that day [Messianic era], a pleasant vineyard — sing about it! I, Adonai, guard it. Moment to moment I water it. So that no harm will come to it, I guard it night and day…. The time is coming when Ya‘akov will take root; Isra’el will bud and flower, and fill the whole world with a harvest” (Isaiah 27:2-3, 6).
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