Isaiah 5:4 MEANING

Isaiah 5:4
(4) What could have been done more . . .--The prophet cuts off from the people the excuse that they had been unfairly treated, that their Lord was as a hard master, reaping where he had not sown (Matthew 25:24). They had had all the external advantages that were necessary for their growth in holiness, yet they had not used them rightly. (Comp. the striking parallelism of Hebrews 6:4-8.)

Verse 4. - What could have been done more? Comp. 2 Kings 17:13 and 2 Chronicles 36:15, where God is shown to have done all that was possible to reclaim his people: "Yet the Lord testified against Israel, and against Judah, by all the prophets, and all the seers, saying, Turn ye from your evil ways, and keep my commandments and my statutes, according to the Law which I commanded your fathers, and which I sent to you by my servants the prophets;" "And the Lord God of their fathers sent unto them by his messengers, rising up early, and sending; because he had compassion on his people, and on his dwelling-place: but they mocked the messengers of God, and despised his words, and misused his prophets, until the wrath of the Lord arose against his people, until there was no remedy."

5:1-7 Christ is God's beloved Son, and our beloved Saviour. The care of the Lord over the church of Israel, is described by the management of a vineyard. The advantages of our situation will be brought into the account another day. He planted it with the choicest vines; gave them a most excellent law, instituted proper ordinances. The temple was a tower, where God gave tokens of his presence. He set up his altar, to which the sacrifices should be brought; all the means of grace are denoted thereby. God expects fruit from those that enjoy privileges. Good purposes and good beginnings are good things, but not enough; there must be vineyard fruit; thoughts and affections, words and actions, agreeable to the Spirit. It brought forth bad fruit. Wild grapes are the fruits of the corrupt nature. Where grace does not work, corruption will. But the wickedness of those that profess religion, and enjoy the means of grace, must be upon the sinners themselves. They shall no longer be a peculiar people. When errors and vice go without check or control, the vineyard is unpruned; then it will soon be grown over with thorns. This is often shown in the departure of God's Spirit from those who have long striven against him, and the removal of his gospel from places which have long been a reproach to it. The explanation is given. It is sad with a soul, when, instead of the grapes of humility, meekness, love, patience, and contempt of the world, for which God looks, there are the wild grapes of pride, passion, discontent, and malice, and contempt of God; instead of the grapes of praying and praising, the wild grapes of cursing and swearing. Let us bring forth fruit with patience, that in the end we may obtain everlasting life.What could have been done more to my vineyard, that I have not done in it?.... Or "ought", as the Vulgate Latin: this is generally understood of good things done to it in time past; as what better culture could it have had? what greater privileges, blessings, and advantages, natural, civil, and religious, could have been bestowed on this people? what greater favour could have been shown them, or honour done them? or what of this kind remains to be done for them? they have had everything that could be desired, expected, or enjoyed: though it may be rendered, "what is further or hereafter to be done to my vineyard" (u), and "I have not done in it?" that is, by way of punishment; I have reproved and chastised them, but all in vain; what remains further for me, and which I will do, because of their ingratitude and unfruitfulness? I will utterly destroy them as a nation and church; I will cause their civil and ecclesiastical state to cease. The sense may be gathered from the answer to the question in the following verse Isaiah 5:5,

wherefore, when I looked that it should bring forth grapes, brought it forth wild grapes? that is, why have these people acted so ill a part, when such and so many good things have been bestowed upon them; on account of which it might have been reasonably expected they would have behaved in another manner? or rather the words may be rendered, "why have I looked or expected (w) that it should bring forth grapes, seeing it brought forth wild grapes?" why have I been looking for good fruit, when nothing but bad fruit for so long a time has been produced? why have I endured with so much patience and longsuffering? I will bear with them no longer, as follows. The Targum is for the former sense,

"what good have I said to do more to my people, which I have not done to them? and what is this I have said, that they should do good works, and they have done evil works?''

(u) "quid faciendum amplius fuit", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; "et quid ultra faciendum erat"; so some in Vatablus, Montanus. (w) "quare expectavi?" Cocceius.

Courtesy of Open Bible