Isaiah 5:2

ESV He dug it and cleared it of stones, and planted it with choice vines; he built a watchtower in the midst of it, and hewed out a wine vat in it; and he looked for it to yield grapes, but it yielded wild grapes.
NIV He dug it up and cleared it of stones and planted it with the choicest vines. He built a watchtower in it and cut out a winepress as well. Then he looked for a crop of good grapes, but it yielded only bad fruit.
NASB He dug it all around, cleared it of stones, And planted it with the choicest vine. And He built a tower in the middle of it, And also carved out a wine vat in it; Then He expected it to produce good grapes, But it produced only worthless ones.
CSB He broke up the soil, cleared it of stones, and planted it with the finest vines. He built a tower in the middle of it and even dug out a winepress there. He expected it to yield good grapes, but it yielded worthless grapes.
NLT He plowed the land, cleared its stones, and planted it with the best vines. In the middle he built a watchtower and carved a winepress in the nearby rocks. Then he waited for a harvest of sweet grapes, but the grapes that grew were bitter.
KJV And he fenced it, and gathered out the stones thereof, and planted it with the choicest vine, and built a tower in the midst of it, and also made a winepress therein: and he looked that it should bring forth grapes, and it brought forth wild grapes.

What does Isaiah 5:2 mean?

Isaiah's song for his beloved continues with his description of all the painstaking work put into building and cultivating this vineyard. Producing wine grapes from a new vineyard in this region was a multi-year process. The limestone in the earth made the soil especially fertile and good for growing grapes, but it was also presented a problem. Large stones were found both above and below the surface of the ground. These had to be removed before any planting could begin.

The prophet goes on to describe how his beloved dug up all the stones and moved them out of the way. The stones were often used to build a wall around the vineyard to keep out animals. They were also used to erect a watchtower in the center of the vineyard so guards could be on the lookout for thieves during the time of the grape harvest.

Before building the watchtower, the farmer would plant the grape vines as soon as he could. It would take two years for the vines to take root and begin to produce usable grapes. While waiting for his harvest, the farmer would also create two large vats, an upper and a lower, in addition to the watchtower. When the first harvest was ready, the upper vat would be used to press the juice from the grapes. The juice would flow down into the lower vat, which served as a settling basin.

The song describes how, after his beloved had gone through all this work and waited for his first harvest, the grapes turned out to be "wild." Other translations for the word "wild" might be "stinking" or "sour." Instead of the sweet grapes used for making wines, the owner discovers after all the work he has put in his vineyard the harvest is worthless.

The following five verses (Isaiah 5:3–7) will continue to reveal that Isaiah's beloved is the Lord and Israel is the vineyard which has produced such disappointing results; the conclusion to the parable comes in Isaiah 5:7.
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