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What is the significance of Isaiah 5:3–7?

The Lord describes Israel as his vineyard. Referring to himself, he says that the owner of the vineyard loved his vineyard and did all he could to care for it. “[H]e expected it to yield grapes, but it yielded wild grapes” (vs. 2). Then the Lord asks, “What more was there to do for my vineyard that I have not done in it? When I expected it to yield grapes, why did it yield wild grapes?” Because it unexpectedly failed to yield grapes, the Lord says “I will remove its hedge and it shall be devoured” (vs. 5).

According to the classical view of foreknowledge, the Lord could not express the conviction that he “expected” the vineyard to produce grapes, because he would have known from all eternity that it would not. If we rather trust that the Lord speaks with integrity, we must conclude that he genuinely thought something would take place which did not take place. This precludes accepting the notion that God foreknew everything that was going to transpire. God can’t sincerely “expect” what he foreknows will not happen. (See Jer. 3:6–7, 19–20).

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