Isaiah 5:11

ESV Woe to those who rise early in the morning, that they may run after strong drink, who tarry late into the evening as wine inflames them!
NIV Woe to those who rise early in the morning to run after their drinks, who stay up late at night till they are inflamed with wine.
NASB Woe to those who rise early in the morning so that they may pursue intoxicating drink, Who stay up late in the evening so that wine may inflame them!
CSB Woe to those who rise early in the morning in pursuit of beer, who linger into the evening, inflamed by wine.
NLT What sorrow for those who get up early in the morning looking for a drink of alcohol and spend long evenings drinking wine to make themselves flaming drunk.
KJV Woe unto them that rise up early in the morning, that they may follow strong drink; that continue until night, till wine inflame them!

What does Isaiah 5:11 mean?

Isaiah pronounces his second "woe" of grief and judgment upon those in Judah and Jerusalem. Given the context, this is likely directed at those who were wealthy as well (Isaiah 5:8). In the ancient world, only the wealthy could afford to spend all day, every day, from early in the morning until late at night, getting drunk.

These people have turned pleasure and drinking into a full-time pursuit. Drunkenness and debauchery is why these wealthy people get out of bed in the morning. The constant drunkenness brings with it nightly rounds of being "inflamed," likely indicating participation in sexual immorality.

Scripture does not condemn the consumption of alcohol. After all, Isaiah's song and parable was about the production of grapes to make wine, and table wine was a staple of Israel's diet (Isaiah 5:1–4). And in the New Testament Paul instructs Timothy to drink some wine for his ailments (1 Timothy 5:23) We see throughout Scripture it is drunkenness that is condemned, not alcohol itself. In this passage, Isaiah is calling out the excessive lifestyles of the wealthy. As the following verse reveals, it robs them of concern for anything else, including the work of the Lord.
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