a song to my lover about his vineyard. 2
My love had a vineyard
on a fertile hill. 3
and planted a vine.
He built a tower in the middle of it,
and constructed a winepress.
He waited for it to produce edible grapes,
but it produced sour ones instead. 5
1 tn It is uncertain who is speaking here. Possibly the prophet, taking the role of best man, composes a love song for his friend on the occasion of his wedding. If so, יָדִיד (yadid) should be translated “my friend.” The present translation assumes that Israel is singing to the Lord. The word דוֹד (dod, “lover”) used in the second line is frequently used by the woman in the Song of Solomon to describe her lover.
2 sn Israel, viewing herself as the Lord’s lover, refers to herself as his vineyard. The metaphor has sexual connotations, for it pictures her capacity to satisfy his appetite and to produce children. See Song 8:12.
3 tn Heb “on a horn, a son of oil.” Apparently קֶרֶן (qeren, “horn”) here refers to the horn-shaped peak of a hill (BDB 902 s.v.) or to a mountain spur, i.e., a ridge that extends laterally from a mountain (HALOT 1145 s.v. קֶרֶן; H. Wildberger, Isaiah, 1:180). The expression “son of oil” pictures this hill as one capable of producing olive trees. Isaiah’s choice of קֶרֶן, a rare word for hill, may have been driven by paronomastic concerns, i.e., because קֶרֶן sounds like כֶּרֶם (kerem, “vineyard”).
4 tn Or, “dug it up” (so NIV); KJV “fenced it.’ See HALOT 810 s.v. עזק.
sn At this point the love song turns sour as the Lord himself breaks in and completes the story (see vv. 3-6). In the final line of v. 2 the love song presented to the Lord becomes a judgment speech by the Lord.