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Isaiah 5:8-10

Context
Disaster is Coming

5:8 Those who accumulate houses are as good as dead, 1 

those who also accumulate landed property 2 

until there is no land left, 3 

and you are the only landowners remaining within the land. 4 

5:9 The Lord who commands armies told me this: 5 

“Many houses will certainly become desolate,

large, impressive houses will have no one living in them. 6 

5:10 Indeed, a large vineyard 7  will produce just a few gallons, 8 

and enough seed to yield several bushels 9  will produce less than a bushel.” 10 

1 tn Heb “Woe [to] those who make a house touch a house.” The exclamation הוֹי (hoy, “woe, ah”) was used in funeral laments (see 1 Kgs 13:30; Jer 22:18; 34:5) and carries the connotation of death.

2 tn Heb “[who] bring a field near a field.”

sn This verse does not condemn real estate endeavors per se, but refers to the way in which the rich bureaucrats of Judah accumulated property by exploiting the poor, in violation of the covenantal principle that the land belonged to God and that every family was to have its own portion of land. See the note at 1:23.

3 tn Heb “until the end of the place”; NASB “until there is no more room.”

4 tn Heb “and you are made to dwell alone in the midst of the land.”

5 tn Heb “in my ears, the Lord who commands armies [traditionally, the Lord of hosts].”

6 tn Heb “great and good [houses], without a resident.”

7 tn Heb “a ten-yoke vineyard.” The Hebrew term צֶמֶד (tsemed, “yoke”) is here a unit of square measure. Apparently a ten-yoke vineyard covered the same amount of land it would take ten teams of oxen to plow in a certain period of time. The exact size is unknown.

8 tn Heb “one bath.” A bath was a liquid measure. Estimates of its modern equivalent range from approximately six to twelve gallons.

9 tn Heb “a homer.” A homer was a dry measure, the exact size of which is debated. Cf. NCV “ten bushels”; CEV “five bushels.”

10 tn Heb “an ephah.” An ephah was a dry measure; there were ten ephahs in a homer. So this verse envisions major crop failure, where only one-tenth of the anticipated harvest is realized.



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