Now will then, I will sing my beloved friend a song of his vineyard. My beloved friend hath a vineyard in a very fruitful plenteous ground. This he hedged, this he walled round about, and planted it with goodly grapes. In the midst of it builded he a tower, and made a wine press therin. And afterward when he looked that it should bring him grapes, it brought forth thorns. I show you now my cause ( O ye Citizens of Jerusalem and whole of Juda ) : Judge, I pray you, betwixt me and my vineyard. What more could have been done for it, that I have not done? Wherefore hath it given thorns, where I looked to have grapes of it?
Well, I shall tell you how I will do with my vineyard: I will take the hedge from it, that it may perish, and break down the wall, that it may be trodden under foot. I will lay it waste, that it shall neither be twisted nor cut, but bear thorns and briers. I will also forbid the clouds, that they shall not rain upon it. As for the vineyard of the Lord of Hosts it is the house of Israel, and whole Juda his fair planting. Of these he looked for equity, but see there is wrong: for righteousness, lo, It is but misery.
Woe unto you that join one house to another, and bring one land so nigh unto another, till ye can get no more ground. Will ye dwell upon the earth alone? The Lord of Hosts roundeth me thus in mine ear: shall not many greater and more gorgeous houses be so waste, that no man shall dwell in them? And ten acres of vines shall give but a Quart, and thirty bushels of feed shall give but three.
Woe unto them that rise up early to use themselves in drunkenness, and yet at night are more superfluous with wine. In those companies are harps and lutes, tabrets and pipes, and wine. But they regard not the work of the Lord, and consider not the operation of his hands. Therefore cometh my folk also in captivity, because they have no understanding. Their glory shall be mixed with hunger, and their pride shall be marred for thirst. Therefore gapeth hell, and openeth her mouth marvelous wide: that pride boasting and wisdom, with such as rejoice therin, may descend into it.
Thus shall man have a fall, he shall be brought low, and the high looks of the proud layed down. But the Lord of Hosts, that holy God: shall be exalted and untouched, when he shall declare his equity and righteousness after this manner: Then shall the lambs eat their appointed fodder, and shall feed plentiously in the mountains. Woe be unto vain persons, that draw wickedness unto them, as it were with a cord: and sin, as it were with a cart rope. Which use to speak on this manner: Let him make hast now, and go forth with his work, that we may see it. Let that counsel of the holy one of Israel come, and draw nye, that we may know it.
Woe be unto them that call evil good, and good evil: which make darkness light, and light darkness, that make sour sweet, and sweet sour. Woe be unto them that are wise in their own sight, and think themselves to have understanding. Woe be unto them that are conning men to sup out wine and expert to set up drunkenness. These give sentence with the ungodly for rewards, but condemn the just cause of the righteous.
Therefore like as the fire licketh up the straw, as the flame consumeth the stubble: Even so ( when their root is full ) their blossom shall vanish away as dust or smoke: for they despise the law of the Lord of Hosts, and blaspheme the word of the holy maker of Israel.
Therefore is the wrath of the Lord kindled also against his people, and he shaketh his hand at them: yee he shall smite so, that the hills shall tremble. And their carcasses shall lie in the open streets, like mire. After all this, the wrath of God shall not cease, but he shall stretch his hand wider. And he shall give a token unto a strange people, and call unto them in a far country: and behold, they shall come hastily with speed. There is not one faint or feeble among them, no not a sluggish or slippery person. There shall not one of them put off the girdle from his loins, *ner loose the latchet of their shoe. Their arrows are sharp, and their bows bent. Their horses hoofs are like flint, and their cart wheels like a stormy wind. Their cry is as it were of a lion, and the roaring of them like lions whelps. They shall roar, and haunch up the prey, and no man shall recover it or get it from them. In that day they shall be fierce upon them, as the sea. And if we look unto the land, behold, it shall be all darkness and sorrow. If we look to heaven: behold, it shall be dark with careful desperation.