Revised Chapter Isaiah 5

Author: Eduardo Freire Canosa
(University of Toronto Alumnus)

I grant the entire contents of this webpage to the public domain




Introduction



The purpose of this webpage is to illustrate how a conscientious reordering of verses in certain confusing passages of the Old Testament spawns a clear-cut lecture whose enjoyment certifies the proximity of the reshuffle to the primitive original. There is no better detector of incoherence in a document than the human reader.

Three examples of dislocated verses in the Book of Isaiah follow.

(1) The first example is Isaiah 14:25,

I will crush the Assyrian in my land; on my mountains I will trample him down. His yoke will be taken from my people, and his burden removed from their shoulders.

This verse appears unaccountably in a chapter whose object is the king of Babylon (Isaiah 14:3-4). The verse must be returned to chapter Isaiah 10 whose object is the king of Assyria. There it fits perfectly after Isaiah 10:25,

Therefore, this is what the Lord, the Lord Almighty, says: "O my people who live in Zion, do not be afraid of the Assyrians, who beat you with a rod and lift up a club against you, as Egypt did. Very soon my anger against you will end and my wrath will be directed to their destruction. I will crush the Assyrian in my land; on my mountains I will trample him down. His yoke will be taken from my people, and his burden removed from their shoulders."

(Isaiah 10:24-25 followed by displaced 14:25)

(2) The second example is Isaiah 16:5,

In love a throne will be established; in faithfulness a man will sit on it—one from the house of David—one who in judging seeks justice and speeds the cause of righteousness.

This verse is marooned in an oracle about Moab (chapters Isaiah 15-16). The verse's true home is chapter Isaiah 9 ushering the block of verses which points to a future glorious king,

In love a throne will be established; in faithfulness a man will sit on it—one from the house of David—one who in judging seeks justice and speeds the cause of righteousness. Every warrior's boot used in battle and every garment rolled in blood will be destined for burning, will be fuel for the fire. For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.

(Displaced 16:5 followed by 9:5-7)

Note: The dislocated verse contains four significant nouns highlighted above which the last verse of the block duplicates. Thirteen other verses in the Book of Isaiah use both keywords "justice" and "righteousness" (1:21, 1:27, 5:7, 5:16, 11:4, 28:17, 32:1, 32:16, 33:5, 51:5, 56:1, 59:9, 59:14) but none adds a reference to David. Seven verses mention David (7:2, 7:13, 22:9, 22:22, 37:35, 38:5, 55:3) but none adds a reference to either justice or righteousness. Isaiah 16:5 and 9:7 then compose a unique combination of the four nouns and depict the same person.

(3) The third example is Isaiah 28:5-6,

In that day the Lord Almighty will be a glorious crown, a beautiful wreath for the remnant of his people. He will be a spirit of justice to him who sits in judgment, a source of strength to those who turn back the battle at the gate.

These two verses appear in Isaiah's upbraiding of the city of Jezreel "the pride of Ephraim's drunkards" and inappropriately clamp the day of that city's destruction to the day when the Lord Almighty becomes a glorious crown. More reasonably Isaiah 28:5-6 belong to chapter Isaiah 4 accompanying the description of the Branch of the Lord on vs 4:2-3 and forming a repetitive structure similar to the second example's. The only way to deduce which couplet should have precedence is the rank of the personage pointed to. Vs 28:5-6 have precedence because the "Lord Almighty" is God evidently whereas the "Branch of the Lord" is an offshoot, a creature,1

In that day the Lord Almighty will be a glorious crown, a beautiful wreath for the remnant of his people. He will be a spirit of justice to him who sits in judgment, a source of strength to those who turn back the battle at the gate. In that day the Branch of the Lord will be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the land will be the pride and glory of the survivors in Israel. Those who are left in Zion, who remain in Jerusalem, will be called holy, all who are recorded among the living in Jerusalem.

(Displaced Isaiah 28:5-6 followed by 4:2-3)

Note: The dislocated verses duplicate two significant adjectives and one phrase owned by Isaiah 4:2. The expression "remnant of his people" (28:5) is a synonym for "survivors in Israel" (4:2). No other verses in the Book of Isaiah contain both keywords "glorious" and "beautiful" except the proximate term "glorious beauty" used to describe the city of Jezreel.



1 A "branch" or offshoot of God is not a tolerable god (Exodus 5:7, 6:4). The idea of a divine trinity (Father, Son, Holy Spirit) hails from Greek mythology where an "offshoot" or offspring of Zeus could be a god (Apollo) or goddess (Aphrodite).







Analysis of Chapter Isaiah 5



The first seven verses are a straightforward parable about the house of Israel and the men of Judah (v 7). Presumably the rest of this chapter addresses the house of Israel and the men of Judah exclusively. The presumption brands v 15, "So man will be brought low and mankind humbled, the eyes of the arrogant humbled," a displaced verse which belongs to a chapter addressing mankind or the world. For example it could be inserted in chapter Isaiah 13 as follows,

I will punish the world for its evil, the wicked for their sins. I will put an end to the arrogance of the haughty and will humble the pride of the ruthless. So man will be brought low and mankind humbled, the eyes of the arrogant humbled.

(Isaiah 13:11 followed by displaced 5:15)

Vs 8-9 convey the original structure of the six "Woe to" rebukes (vs 8, 11-12, 18-19, 20, 21, 22-23). A rebuke must be followed by a matching punishment. Thus the "Woe to you who add house to house and join field to field till no space is left and you live alone in the land" (v 8) conjures up the parallel punishment that "the great houses will become desolate, the fine mansions left without occupants" (v 9).

The presence of three rebukes without a trailing sanction (vs 18-19, 20, 21) shows that the original text got disorganized. The first challenge is to couple these widowed reproofs with a chastisement.

Vs 18-19 can be linked to v 24 through the keyphrase match, "the Holy One of Israel."

Woe to those who draw sin along with cords of deceit, and wickedness as with cart ropes, to those who say, "Let God hurry, let him hasten his work so we may see it. Let it approach, let the plan of the the Holy One of Israel come, so we may know it." Therefore, as tongues of fire lick up straw and as dry grass sinks down in the flames, so their roots will decay and their flowers blow away like dust; for they have rejected the law of the Lord Almighty and spurned the word of the the Holy One of Israel.

(vs 18-19 followed by v 24)

Discovering which punishment corresponds to v 20 must await the resolution of every other rebuke-sanction pair.

The next tough challenge was to find the punishment related to v 21, "Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and clever in their own sight." V 15 the apparent answer is invalid since it is a displaced verse. The alternate verse is not found in chapter Isaiah 5. Consequently the entire Book of Isaiah must be scoured to find it with the requisite that its reclaim does not perturb the local narrative. A good candidate is Isaiah 29:13-14 because Isaiah 29:14 matches two keywords and because the extraction of both verses does not break up the flow of chapter Isaiah 29.2

Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and clever in their own sight. The Lord says: "These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men. Therefore once more I will astound these people with wonder upon wonder; the wisdom of the wise will perish, the intelligence of the intelligent will vanish."

(v 21 followed by Isaiah 29:13-14)

Since the replacement of v 15 is two verses long these were tabbed 9a and 9b in the next section to assist a juxtaposition of the revised and the canonical text.

Vs 22-23 can be linked to vs 14, 16 by coupling "heroes at drinking wine and champions at mixing drinks" (v 22) with "brawlers and revelers" (v 14) and by the keyword match, "justice" (vs 23, 16).

Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine and champions at mixing drinks, who acquit the guilty for a bribe, but deny justice to the innocent. Therefore the grave enlarges its appetite and opens its mouth without limit; into it will descend their nobles and masses with all their brawlers and revelers. But the Lord Almighty will be exalted by his justice, and the holy God will show himself holy by his righteousness.

(vs 22-23 followed by vs 14, 16)

The leftover vs 20, 25 become companions by default. The concluding sentence of v 25, "Yet for all this, his anger is not turned away, his hand is still upraised," shows that the chastisement meted out is incomplete, binding v 25 to complementary punishment vs 26-30 and making v 20 the last rebuke in the chapter.

Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter. Therefore the Lord's anger burns against his people; his hand is raised and he strikes them down. The mountains shake, and the dead bodies are like refuse in the streets. Yet for all this, his anger is not turned away, his hand is still upraised.

(v 20 followed by v 25)

The next task is to examine the two original duos {vs 8-10} and {vs 11-13} along with detached v 17. It turns out that v 10 and v 17 must trade places because abandoned fields are fields where "sheep will graze as in their own pasture" (v 17) whereas people starve and thirst during a drought when "a ten-acre vineyard will produce only a bath of wine, a homer of seed only an ephah of grain" (v 10).

Therefore vs 8-10 change to vs 8-9 plus v 17,

Woe to you who add house to house and join field to field till no space is left and you live alone in the land. The Lord Almighty has declared in my hearing: "Surely the great houses will become desolate, the fine mansions left without occupants. Then sheep will graze as in their own pasture; lambs will feed among the ruins of the rich."

(vs 8-9 followed by v 17)

And vs 11-13 change to vs 11-13 plus v 10,

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. They have harps and lyres at their banquets, tambourines and flutes and wine, but they have no regard for the deeds of the Lord, no respect for the work of his hands. Therefore my people will go into exile for lack of understanding; their men of rank will die of hunger and their masses will be parched with thirst. A ten-acre vineyard will produce only a bath of wine, a homer of seed only an ephah of grain.

(vs 11-13 followed by v 10)

The next task is to examine the sequential logic of the six rebukes (vs 8, 11-12, 18-19, 20, 21, 22-23). In view of the fact already established that v 20 must be the last rebuke in the chapter and since it is the worst transgression of all (to "call evil good and good evil") the indication is that Woe to's must be listed in order of increasing gravity of the sin. A complementary aid is the severity of the chastisements. An agreeable sequence is {vs 21, 8, 11-12, 22-23, 18-19, 20}.

All tasks completed, the outcome is the version of chapter Isaiah 5 submitted in the next section. Since the analysis performed was local there might be additional chapter 5 verses scattered throughout the Book of Isaiah.3 The optimal way to ferret them out is to comb every chapter painstakingly, build a stack of displaced verses and after the survey reallocate them with great care. The exercise would correct the canonical Book of Isaiah and recover the lost original in whole or in part.

The numbering of the verses in the following section is easy to understand. The first tally is the ordinal value for the revised text. The second tally is the verse number assigned on the canonical standard. The separator is a semicolon. Thus for example the tag "18; 5:21" means "verse eighteen copied from canonical Isaiah 5:21."



2 As a matter of fact Isaiah 29:15-17 are also displaced verses. The logical continuation of Isaiah 29:12 is 29:18.

3 Isaiah 8:21-22 are preliminary candidate verses for appending to Isaiah 5:24 because the pronoun "they" of Isaiah 8:21 tabs uprooted men who curse God in a time of distress and hunger whereas the pronoun "they" of preceding Isaiah 8:20 tabs "the dead" or at best the "mediums and spiritists" of Isaiah 8:19. But could Isaiah 8:21-22 fit better in a chapter other than Isaiah 5? The entire Book of Isaiah must be examined before the question can be settled satisfactorily.







Revised Chapter Isaiah 5



1; 5:1 I will sing for the one I love a song about his vineyard: My loved one had a vineyard on a fertile hillside.

2; 5:2 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.

3; 5:3 "Now you dwellers in Jerusalem and men of Judah, judge between me and my vineyard.

4; 5:4 What more could have been done for my vineyard than I have done for it? When I looked for good grapes, why did it yield only bad?

5; 5:5 Now I will tell you what I am going to do to my vineyard: I will take away its hedge, and it will be destroyed; I will break down its wall, and it will be trampled.

6; 5:6 I will make it a wasteland, neither pruned nor cultivated, and briers and thorns will grow there. I will command the clouds not to rain on it."

7; 5:7 The vineyard of the Lord Almighty is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah are the garden of his delight. And he looked for justice, but saw bloodshed; for righteousness, but heard cries of distress.

8; 5:21 Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and clever in their own sight.

9a; 29:13 The Lord says: "These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men.

9b; 29:14 Therefore once more I will astound these people with wonder upon wonder; the wisdom of the wise will perish, the intelligence of the intelligent will vanish."

10; 5:8 Woe to you who add house to house and join field to field till no space is left and you live alone in the land.

11; 5:9 The Lord Almighty has declared in my hearing: "Surely the great houses will become desolate, the fine mansions left without occupants.

12; 5:17 Then sheep will graze as in their own pasture; lambs will feed among the ruins of the rich."

13; 5:11 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.

14; 5:12 They have harps and lyres at their banquets, tambourines and flutes and wine, but they have no regard for the deeds of the Lord, no respect for the work of his hands.

15; 5:13 Therefore my people will go into exile for lack of understanding; their men of rank will die of hunger and their masses will be parched with thirst.

16; 5:10 A ten-acre vineyard will produce only a bath of wine, a homer of seed only an ephah of grain.

17; 5:22 Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine and champions at mixing drinks,

18; 5:23 who acquit the guilty for a bribe, but deny justice to the innocent.

19; 5:14 Therefore the grave enlarges its appetite and opens its mouth without limit; into it will descend their nobles and masses with all their brawlers and revelers.

20; 5:16 But the Lord Almighty will be exalted by his justice, and the holy God will show himself holy by his righteousness.

21; 5:18 Woe to those who draw sin along with cords of deceit, and wickedness as with cart ropes,

22; 5:19 to those who say, "Let God hurry, let him hasten his work so we may see it. Let it approach, let the plan of the Holy One of Israel come, so we may know it."

23; 5:24 Therefore, as tongues of fire lick up straw and as dry grass sinks down in the flames, so their roots will decay and their flowers blow away like dust; for they have rejected the law of the Lord Almighty and spurned the word of the Holy One of Israel.

24; 5:20 Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.

25; 5:25 Therefore the Lord's anger burns against his people; his hand is raised and he strikes them down. The mountains shake, and the dead bodies are like refuse in the streets. Yet for all this, his anger is not turned away, his hand is still upraised.

26; 5:26 He lifts up a banner for the distant nations, he whistles for those at the ends of the earth. Here they come, swiftly and speedily!

27; 5:27 Not one of them grows tired or stumbles, not one slumbers or sleeps; not a belt is loosened at the waist, not a sandal thong is broken.

28; 5:28 Their arrows are sharp, all their bows are strung; their horses' hoofs seem like flint, their chariot wheels like a whirlwind.

29; 5:29 Their roar is like that of the lion, they roar like young lions; they growl as they seize their prey and carry it off with no one to rescue.

30; 5:30 In that day they will roar over it like the roaring of the sea. And if one looks at the land, he will see darkness and distress; even the light will be darkened by the clouds.







Further Reading



  1. Chronology of the Bible (status: ONLINE)

  2. Criticism of the Book of Revelation (status: ONLINE)

  3. Lenore: That Rare And Radiant Maiden (status: ONLINE)

  4. New York City Is "Babylon The Great" (status: ONLINE)

  5. The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (status: ONLINE)

  6. The Fourth Trumpet (status: ONLINE)

  7. The Gold-Headed Statue of Nebuchadnezzar's Dream (status: ONLINE)

  8. The Number 666 (status: ONLINE)

  9. The Revised Book of Revelation (status: ONLINE)

  10. The Soviet Union Almost Was the Red Beast of Revelation (status: ONLINE)