And he fenced it, and gathered out the stones thereof, and planted it with the choicest vine, and built a tower in the middle of it…
Isaiah was speaking in the first years of the reign of Ahaz, who, by his luxury and effeminacy, was beginning to imperil the splendid results of the reigns of Uzziah and Jotham. Like most men who are embodied consciences, the prophet was looked upon as a busybody. Those are usually most hated who do that which is most needed. Having attracted attention by his parable of the vineyard and the grapes, Isaiah became a remorseless and terrible voice. The man seemed to have disappeared, while the voice spoke the retributions of the Almighty. This embodied conscience was terribly faithful. It is useless to attempt argument with a conscience. It can never be argued with — it must be heard. It utters its imperative, and you are heedless at your peril. Some things may be reasoned about; a matter of conscience, never. Furthermore, conscience is always and of necessity prophetic. Whenever conscience tells you that you are wrong, it tells you more than that — it tells you that you must turn or you will be punished. That is what makes it a terror. Not only does it point the finger of shame; it also points the finger of doom. So is it with the national conscience; it, too, is prophetic, and always speaks of judgment. Isaiah was the conscience of Judah speaking its imperative, as Wendell Phillips and William Lloyd Garrison were our national conscience in the days when the Republic protected slavery. Judah had grown rich; she was getting careless; she was trusting in her riches. Judah had been sadly disciplined. There had been earthquakes, loss of territory, defeat, and now there was approaching the spectre of an Assyrian invasion. For all this she boasted of her riches and neglected God.
(Amory H. Bradford, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: 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.
WEB: He dug it up, gathered out its stones, planted it with the choicest vine, built a tower in its midst, and also cut out a winepress therein. He looked for it to yield grapes, but it yielded wild grapes.