Está en la página 1de 321

SOUTHEASTERN BAPTIST THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY

THE FRUITFUL VINEYARD OF GOD:


JESUS AND HIS DISCIPLES AT JOHN 15:1-17

A DISSERTATION SUBMITTED TO THE FACULTY OF SOUTHEASTERN


BAPTIST THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF
THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY

BY
GRANT D. TAYLOR
DECEMBER 2014

UMI Number: 3582372

All rights reserved


INFORMATION TO ALL USERS
The quality of this reproduction is dependent upon the quality of the copy submitted.
In the unlikely event that the author did not send a complete manuscript
and there are missing pages, these will be noted. Also, if material had to be removed,
a note will indicate the deletion.

UMI
Dissertation PiiblishMig

UMI 3582372
Published by ProQuest LLC 2015. Copyright in the Dissertation held by the Author.
Microform Edition ProQuest LLC.
All rights reserved. This work is protected against
unauthorized copying under Title 17, United States Code.

ProQuest LLC
789 East Eisenhower Parkway
P.O. Box 1346
Ann Arbor, Ml 48106-1346

2014
Grant D. Taylor

This Dissertation was prepared and presented to the Faculty as a part o f the requirements
for the Degree o f Doctor o f Philosophy at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary,
Wake Forest, North Carolina. All rights and privileges normally reserved by the author as
copyright holder are waived for the Seminary. The Seminary library may catalog,
display, and use this Dissertation in all normal ways such materials are used, for
reference and for other purposes, including electronic and other means o f preservation
and circulation, including on-line computer access and other means by which library
materials are or in the future may be made available to researchers and library users.

o u t h e a st e r n
Ba p t is t T h e o l o g ic a l
SEMINARY

P h.D . D isser ta tio n A pproval


Student Name: Grant D. Tavlor_________________

Student ID #

000222424

Dissertation Tide:

THE FRUITFUL VINEYARD OF GOD:


JESUS AND HIS DISCIPLES AT JOHN 15:1-17

This Dissertation has been approved.

Date of Defense:

December 1, 2014

Major Professor:
Dr. Scott Kellum
2nd Faculty Reader:
Dr. Chip McDaniel

External Reader:

Mike Bird

Dr. Mike B
Ph.D. Director:

iL

Dr. Heath Thomas

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

God in Christ who loved me and gave himself up for me deserves the highest honor and
glory for my life and work. Many others encouraged, assisted, and loved me as I prepared
for and completed this study. This work, like all work, was made possible and more
enjoyable with their help. Each person has shown me something o f the kindness and
faithfulness o f God.
I wish to thank my Ph.D. supervisor, Dr. Scott Kellum, for his kind, gracious, and
wise guidance through the production of this study. Even more, I thank him for the
Christ-like model he provides and the friendship he gives me. I am also grateful to Drs.
Chip McDaniel and Michael Bird for serving on my dissertation committee. Their close
reading and feedback made this project worthwhile. Several others at Southeastern
Seminary deserve special mention. Dr. Bruce Ashford has been an excellent boss and
trusted friend, standing by me at crucial times the past four years. Drs. Andreas
KOstenberger, David Beck, and Mark Rooker each taught me more about God in various
Ph.D. seminars. Likewise, Dr. Heath Thomas sharpened my thinking in biblical studies
and theology as we worked together on the Southeastern Theological Review.
The Southeastern library staff gave special help in tracking down not-so-readily
available volumes. Stephen Stout deserves a special word for his precise and efficient
proofreading. Likewise, Justin Orr assisted me greatly by proofreading untold numbers of
Hebrew words. I want to especially thank Mark Catlin, Blair Robinson, Wesley Davey,

and Jake Pratt for their friendship. Each has, in his own way, made me a better man in
Christ. Jake deserves special thanks from every Southeastern PhD for his sacrificial
service in the Ph.D. office. He helped keep me on track to complete and submit this
study.
Many others outside Southeastern helped me to do this work. Dr. Greg Beale
instructed me well in the literature of Second Temple Judaism. Drs. Timothy George,
Gerald Bray, Mark Gignilliat, Ken Mathews, Sydney Park, Allen Ross, Robert Smith,
and Frank Thielman at Beeson Divinity School shaped my love for Gods word and
taught me the skills to persevere in it. Paul House did likewise, and recently helped me
think through Isaiah as he read an early draft o f Chapter 2. He continues to teach me
about the character of God displayed in human friendship.
I am deeply grateful to God for the fellowship o f three congregations. Central
Baptist Church in Johnson City, TN, where I was baptized and ordained, provided prayer
and financial support every semester of my studies at Southeastern. The saints at
Dogwood Grove Baptist Church in Adger, AL prepared my heart to serve Gods people,
as they loved me well in my three years with them. Christ Covenant Church in Raleigh,
NC has provided rest, joy, and peace for my wife, Rebecca, and me since we first
attended four years ago. Many friends in our small group have prayed faithfully for us
along the way. I want to especially thank our pastor, Tom Mercer, for his honesty,
humility, and God-glorifying ministry. He is a wise friend and a loving shepherd.
My parents, David and Debbie Taylor, have been steadfast supporters, wise
counselors, and loving parents. This work, like all my endeavors, would not have been
possible without them. Also, they provide a godly model for me to follow as I begin
v

parenthood. My in-laws, George and Helen Hardeman, also have been tremendous
supports to Rebecca and me. And both sets o f parents make wonderful grandparents.
Finally, and most importantly, I thank my wife, Rebecca. She makes my life more
fun and full. Her patience, encouragement, kindness, sense o f humor, and love enabled
me to persevere in this work. She has sacrificed many o f her own interests so that I could
complete it. Yet she has made these sacrifices with joy. She is a godly, caring, and
gracious wife to me and mother to our new daughter, Karah. I am greatly blessed by God
to share this life with them.

vi

TABLE OF CONTENTS

ABBREVIATIONS............................................................................................................... xi
ABSTRACT.........................................................................................................................xiv
CHAPTER 1, INTRODUCTION: AN EXERCISE IN BIBLICAL THEOLOGY
FROM JOHN 15:1-17..........................................................................................................1
The Problem
The State o f Research
Survey of the History o f Interpretation

3
4
4

The 20,h-Century

11

Recent Studies

14

The Scope o f the Study

19

Other Old Testament Vineyard Texts


The Approach: An Integrative Method for Biblical Theology

19
27

The Story and Stories of Scripture

28

The Metaphors, Allusions, and Typology o f Scripture

31

The Plan of the Argument

41

Assumptions o f the Study

44

CHAPTER 2, THE STORY OF YAHWEHS VINEYARD............................................ 47


Isaiahs Story of Yahwehs Vineyard
Isaiah 5: The Vineyard Judged

48
48

The Context o f Isaiah 5 within Isaiah 1-12

49

The Back Story o f the Vineyard (Isa 5:1-2)

53

The Trial Story o f the Vineyard (Isa 5:3-6)

60

The Identity o f the Vineyard (Isa 5:7)

66

The house of Israel and plant o f Judah


according to Isaiah (Isa 5:7a)

67

The Injustice and Unrighteousness o f the Vineyard (Isa 5:7b)

76

The Sins, Woes, and Punishment of the Vineyard (Isa 5:8-30)

78

The Indictment of Israel and Judah (Isa 5:8-24)

79

The Sentence o f Israel and Judah (Isa 5:25-30)

81

Summaiy of the Vineyard Judged

83

Isaiah 27: The Vineyard Restored

84

The Context o f Isaiah 27 within Isaiah 24-27

86

The Vineyard of Yahweh In that Day (Isa 27:2)

90

The Pleasant Vineyard o f Yahweh (Isa 27:2-5)

92

The Restored and Fruitful Vineyard o f Yahweh (Isa 27:6)

98

The Fruiting of Jacob-Israel according to Isaiah


Summary o f the Vineyard Restored

103
107

Conclusion

108

CHAPTER 3, THE VINEYARD NARRATIVE IN EARLY POSTBIBLICAL


JUDAISM ......................................................................................................................... 109
The Scope o f the Second Temple Period and the Literature

111

Viticulture and Vineyard Imagery in Early Postbiblical Judaism

112

The Vineyard Narrative in the Literature

116
viii

The Vineyard Narrative in the Dead Sea Scrolls


Summary

116
126

The Vineyard Narrative in the OT Apocrypha

127

The Vineyard Narrative in the OT Pseudepigrapha

130

First Enoch 10:18-19

134

Fourth Ezra

137

Second Baruch

139

Pseudo-Philo (L.A.B.)

146

Odes o f Solomon

154

Summary

158

Vineyard Imagery in Philo


The Vineyard Narrative and the Socio-Religious
Terrain of Johns Gospel

159

160

CHAPTER 4, THE FRUITFUL VINEYARD OF GOD ANNOUNCED AT


JOHN 15:1-17.................................................................................................................. 165
Setting the Literary and Historical Context

167

The Isaiah Vineyard Narrative at John 15:1-17

175

Shared Language and Contexts

178

Yahweh Speaks to His People

186

The Eschatological Horizon o f Isaiah 27 Announced at John 15

189

Isaiah in Johns Gospel

194

The Call to Abide in Jesus, the True Vine (John 15:1-11)

196

The Grounding Metaphor: Jesus, the True Vine (John 15:1-2)

196

The Metaphor Developed and Applied:


Abide in Jesus, the True Vine (John 15:3-10)
ix

202

Abide in Jesus, the True Vine (John 15:3-7)

203

Abundant Fruit for the Fathers Glory (John 15:8)

210

Johns Conception of Bearing Fruit

211

Abide in Jesus Love (John 15:9-10)

216

Johns Conception of Abiding (^vw)

217

The Purpose of the Speech:


The Disciples Full Joy in Jesus (John 15:11)
The Love o f the Vineyard:
Jesus Disciples Bear Fruit in the World (John 15:12-17)
Mutual Love: Jesus Friends and Fruit Bearing Disciples (John 15:12-16)
The Fruitful New Covenant Friends of Jesus (John 15:16)
The Purpose o f Jesus Command: The Disciples Mutual Love (John 15:17)
Summary and Conclusions

226

229
230
234
238
239

CHAPTER 5, CONCLUSION: RESULTS AND IMPLICATIONS..............................241


Summary and Results o f the Study

242

Implications o f the Present Study

250

Implications for John 15

251

Implications for Johns Gospel

254

Implications for Biblical Theology

264

Conclusion

272

BIBLIOGRAPHY................................................................................................................274

ABBREVIATIONS

AB
ACC
AfO
AGJU
AntBib
ANF
AOTC
ATANT
BBR
BDAG

BDB
BECNT
BETL
BibSac
BTNT
BZ
BZNW
CBET
CBQ
CBQMS
CC
CRINT
DJD
DJG (2d)
DNTB
DOTP
DSD
DSS
DSSSE
FC

Anchor Bible
Ancient Christian Commentary
Archiv fu r Orientforschung
Arbeiten zur Geschichte des Antiken Judentums und des Urchristentums
Analecta Biblica
Ante-Nicene Fathers.
Apollos Old Testament Commentary
Abanhandlung zur Theologie des Alten und Neuen Testaments
Bulletin fo r Biblical Research
Danker, F. W., W. Bauer, W. R. Arndt, and F. W. Gingrinch. Greek
English Lexicon o f the New Testament and Other Early Christian
Literature. Third Edition. Chicago: Chicago University Press, 2000.
Brown, F., S. R. Driver, and C. A. Briggs. A Hebrew and English and
Lexicon o f the Old Testament. Oxford, 1907.
Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament
Bibliotheca Ephemeridum Theologicarum Lovaniensium
Bibliotheca Sacra
Biblical Theology o f the New Testament
Biblische Zeitschrift
Beihefte zur Zeitschrift fur die neutestamentliche Wissenschaft
Contributions to Biblical Exegesis and Theology
Catholic Biblical Quarterly
Catholic Biblical Quarterly Monograph Series
Continental Commentary
Compendia rerum iudaicarum ad Novum Testamentum
Discoveries in the Judean Desert
Dictionary o f Jesus and the Gospels. Edited by Joel B. Green, Jeannine K.
Brown, and Nicholas Perrin. Second Edition. Downers Grove. 2013.
Dictionary o f New Testament Background. Edited by Craig A. Evans and
Stanley E. Porter. Downers Grove. 2000.
Dictionary o f the Old Testament Prophets. Edited by Mark J. Boda and
Gordon J. McConville. Downers Grove. 2012.
Dead Sea Discoveries
Dead Sea Scrolls
Dead Sea Scrolls Study Edition. Edited by F. G. Martinez and E. J. C.
Tigchelaar. New York, 1997-1998.
The Fathers o f the Church

FRLANT
GKC
HKAT
HSM
ICC
ITQ
Int
JBL
JES
JSNTSup
JSOT
JSOTSup
JSJ
JSJSup
JTS
L&N

LCL
LF
LNTS
NA28

NAC
NCB
NICNT
NICOT
NIVApp
NovTSup
NPNF1
NPNF2
NSBT
NTL
NTS
OBT
OTL
OTP
OtSt
PNTC
Presb
RTR
SANT

Forschungen zur Religion und Literatur des Alten und Neuen Testaments
Gesenius Hebrew Grammar. Edited by E. Kautzsch. Translated by A. E.
Cowley. 2d ed. Oxford, 1910.
Handkommentar zum Alten Tetstament
Harvard Semitic Monographs
International Critical Commentary
Irish Theological Quarterly
Interpretation
Journal o f Biblical Literature
Journal o f Ecumenical Studies
Journal for the Study o f the New Testament Supplement Series
Journal fo r the Study o f the Old Testament
Journal for the Study of the Old Testament Supplement Series
Journal fo r the Study ofJudaism in the Persian, Hellenistic, and Roman
Periods
Journal for the Study of Judaism Supplement Series
Journal o f Theological Studies
Louw, J. P. and Eugene Nida. Greek-English Lexicon o f the New
Testament: Based on Semantic Domains. New York: United Bible
Societies, 1989.
Loeb Christian Library
Latin Fathers
Library of New Testament Studies
Novum Testamentum Graece 28th Edition. Institute for New Testament
Textual Research. Edited by Kurt and Barbara Aland et al. Stuttgart:
Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 2012.
New American Commentary
New Century Bible
New International Commentaryon the New Testament
New International Commentaryon the Old Testament
NIV Application Commentary
Supplements to Novum Testamentum
The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers. First Series.
The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers. Second Series.
New Studies in Biblical Theology
New Testament Library
New Testament Studies
Overtures to Biblical Theology
Old Testament Library
Old Testament Pseudepigrapha. Edited by James H. Charlesworth. 2 vols.
Second Edition. Peabody, Mass. 2011.
Oudtestamentische Studign
Pillar New Testament Commentary
Presbyterion
Reformed Theological Review
Studien zum Alten und Neuen Testament
xii

SBLDS
SBLSymS
SJOT
SJT
SNTSMS
StABH
TSAJ
TynBul
VC
VT
WBC
WTJ
WUNT
ZNW

Society o f Biblical Literature Dissertation Series


Society o f Biblical Literature Symposium Series
Scandinavian Journal o f Old Testament
Scottish Journal o f Theology
Society o f New Testament Studies Monograph Series
Studies in American Biblical Hermeneutics
Texte und Studien zum antiken Judentum
Tyndale Bulletin
Vigiliae christianae
Vetus Testamentum
Word Biblical Commentary
Westminster Theological Journal
Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament
Zeitschrift fu r die neutestamentliche Wissenshcaft und die Kunde der
alteren Kirche

ABSTRACT

The present study explores the impact o f Isaiahs vineyard story (Isa 5:1-7; 27:2-6) on
the language, imagery, and theology o f John 15:1-17. The study seeks to provide an
exercise in biblical theology by way o f a case study text, John 15:1-17. In so doing, the
study seeks to contribute to the understanding o f John 15 and the unity of the Bible.
Chapter 1 sketches the problem, scope, methodology, and assumptions of the
study. The problem addressed in this study is shown by a survey o f the history of
interpretation o f John 15:1-17. The state of research reveals an early and consistent focus
on negative, or judgmental, vineyard imagery in the OT as the backdrop to John 15. This
focus, then, reveals a lacuna. That lacuna is the lack o f consideration o f Isa 27:2-6 (a
notable instance o f positive, or restorative, vineyard imagery) together with Isa 5:1-7 as a
potential influence upon Johns imagery, especially if Isa 27:2-6 culminates the imagery
and theology o f Isa 5:1-7, a fact long-recognized by OT scholars. Thus, the question
arises: if it is plausible that John considers Jesus to be the climax, and so reversal, o f the
negative (judgment) vineyard imagery of Isa 5:1-7, would John also not consider Jesus to
fulfill the positive (restoration) vineyard imagery o f Isa 27:2-6?
To answer this question the study defends the thesis that at John 15:1-17, Jesus,
with the vineyard story of Isaiah in mind (Isa 5:1-7; 27:2-6), announces the inauguration
of the fruitful eschatological vineyard promised at Isa 27:2-6. As such, he refers to the
long-awaited restoration of Gods people now found in him as his disciples abide in and
xiv

bear fruit for him. The scope o f the study is thus limited to investigating such
connections, thereby excluding detailed investigation of all vineyard imagery in the
Bible. An integrative methodology for biblical theology, which incorporates narrative or
story analysis, metaphor, allusion, and typology, is then described as the means to
demonstrating this thesis.
Chapter 2 contains the investigation o f Isaiahs vineyard story at Isa 5:1-7 and
27:2-6. The following questions guide the investigation: What is the relation between
Isaiah 5 and 27? What is the relation o f those chapters to the entire book o f Isaiah? And,
what is the primary theme, or message, of the texts as considered? A close reading of
Isaiah 5 in the context o f Isaiah 1-12, and o f Isaiah 27 in the context o f Isaiah 24-27 is
undertaken to answer these questions. In between these readings, the intertextual
connections between Isa 5:1-7 and 27:2-6 are established. In these readings, special
attention is given to three elements, 1) the function o f the vineyard imagery, 2) the terms
house of Israel and men o f Judah at Isa 5:7, and Jacob and Israel at Isa 27:6, and
3) the connection o f the vineyard story to other texts in Isaiah (e.g., Isa 37:31-32).
Chapter 3 contains a study o f vineyard imagery in the literature, architecture (e.g.,
temple), and media culture (e.g., coinage) o f early postbiblical Judaism. The term early
postbiblical Judaism (or Jewish literature) serves as a synonym for Second Temple
Judaism (or Jewish literature). The primary research question o f the chapter is, if the
vineyard narrative o f Isaiah was embraced by Israel, why would they have embraced an
image that evoked only judgment? The Dead Sea Scrolls, OT Apocrypha, OT
Pseudepigrapha, and writings o f Philo are studied in turn for their use o f both literal and
figurative vine/vineyard and fruit terminology. In light o f the research question, special
xv

attention is given to the appearance of Isaiahs vineyard imagery in each o f these corpora.
The largely positive, not negative, connotations for vineyard imagery in the literature is
then shown to illuminate the socio-religious terrain of Johns Gospel, and its first hearers.
Chapter 4 builds on and incorporates the argument and findings o f chapters 1-3.
Thus, it contains the crux of the argument for this study. The primary research question
o f this chapter is, how does the Isaiah vineyard narrative help explain the language and
theology of John 15:1-17? After setting the context for Jesus speech at John 15:1-17,
the verbal and conceptual links between the Isaiah vineyard narrative and John 15 are
established. The work of Richard Hays, Jeffery Leonard, and Hans Hiibner is employed
to demonstrate the verbal links between Isaiah and John. These verbal links indicate
shared concepts between Isaiah and John. An exegesis o f John 15:1-17 then shows how
these concepts shed light on its meaning, especially Johns conception o f fruit-bearing
and abiding. The procedure of this chapter in concert with chapters 1-3, then, serves to
demonstrate the overall thesis o f the study.
Chapter 5 concludes the present study with a summary o f the argument and its
results. The results are then shown to have possible implications for further study of John
15, Johns Gospel, and biblical theology. These areas may be impacted separately but
also in integration. A final word on the meaning of these texts for each person who reads
them concludes the chapter and the study.

xvi

To Rebecca,
The Delight o f My Eyes.

CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION:
AN EXERCISE IN BIBLICAL THEOLOGY FROM JOHN 15:1-17

The question o f the unity and diversity, or continuity and discontinuity, o f the Bible
represents a key question in the practice o f biblical theology. This question is an
implication from the more fundamental question of the proper relationship between
history and theology in the practice o f theology.1 For a long time after J. P. Gablers
programmatic address, On the Proper Distinction Between Biblical and Dogmatic
j

Theology and the Specific Objectives o f Each, biblical theology was indeed separated
from systematic theology. As a result, biblical theologians majored in describing the
supposed inherent diversity of the Bible. In this approach, diverse texts bear witness to
divergent theologies rather than a unified theology.3 In 1955, however, Gerhard Ebeling
called for a new approach to biblical theology that emphasized unity. Ebeling remarks,
In biblical theology the theologian who devotes himself specifically to studying the

1 See Scott J. Hafemann, Biblical Theology: Retrospect and Prospect, in Biblical Theology:
Retrospect and Prospect (ed., Scott J. Hafemann; Downers Grove, 111.: 1VP, 2002), 15-21. He identifies
three key questions related to Biblical Theology: diversity, canon, and conflict. He states (p. 21), The key
question in theology is the relationship between theology and history. Cf. Charles H. H. Scobie, The Ways
o f Our God: An Approach to Biblical Theology (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2003), 99-102.
2 Johann P. Gabler, On the Proper Distinction Between Biblical and Dogmatic Theology and the
Specific Objectives o f Each, (1789) in John Sandys-Wunsch and Laurence Eldredge, J. P. Gabler and the
Distinction Between Biblical and Dogmatic Theology: Translation, Commentary, and Discussion o f His
Originality, 57733 (1980), 133-58. The address is reprinted in Ben C. Ollenburger, ed., Old Testament
Theology: Flowering and Future (2d ed.; Winona Lake, Ind.: Eisenbrauns, 2004), 497-506.
3 See the historical survey in Scobie, The Ways o f Our God, 6-45, esp. 25-28; cf. Hafemann,
Biblical Theology, 16-17. The fundamental issues, which have not changed much, are well illustrated by
Robert Morgan, The Nature o f New Testament Theology: The Contribution o f William Wrede and A dolf

connexion [s/c] between the Old and New Testaments has to give an account o f his
understanding o f the Bible as a whole, i.e. above all of the theological problems that
come of inquiring into the inner unity o f the manifold testimony o f the Bible.4 Despite
Ebelings challenge, and some appreciative responses, the question of unity and diversity
remains a dividing point in the discussion o f biblical theology.5
The present study enters this discussion with the modest goal of providing an
exercise in biblical theology6 by engaging the inner unity o f the Bible by way of a case
study from John 15:1-17. The consensus interpretation o f this text, or at least the
vineyard imagery that informs the text, depends to a great deal on the assumption of
inherent discontinuity between Israel and Jesus and his disciples, and the Old and New
Testaments. The consensus interpretation holds that the true vine Jesus, replaces the bad
vine Israel as the locus o f Gods revelation and salvation. This consensus provides the
problem addressed in this study.
To address this problem, this dissertation offers the thesis that at John 15:1-17,
Jesus, with the vineyard story o f Isaiah in mind (Isa 5:1-7; 27:2-6), announces the
inauguration o f the fruitful eschatological vineyard promised at Isa 27:2-6. As such, he
Schlatter (SBT 25; London: SCM Press, 1973). See also, A. K. M. Adam, Making Sense o f New Testament
Theology: "M odem " Problems and Prospects (StABH 11; Macon, Ga.: Mercer, 1995).
4 Gerhard Ebeling, The Meaning o f Biblical Theology, in Word and Faith (trans. James W.
Leitch; Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1960), 96. This essay was originally published in an English in JTS 6
(1955), 210-25, though the translator, Leitch, reworked the original German manuscript significantly for
Word and Faith (see p. 79).
5 See Brevard S. Childs, Biblical Theology o f the Old and New Testaments: Theological Reflection
on the Christian Bible (Minneapolis: Fortress, 1992), 6-9, who follows but goes beyond Ebelings call.
Childs (pp. 11-29) also notes the diversity o f approaches to Biblical Theology in 1992 due, in part, to this
issue. An example of the unity/diversity divide at work in NT Theology may be seen in Heikki RAisSnen,
Beyond New Testament Theology: A Story and A Programme (London: SCM Press, 1990; 2d ed. 2000) and
the response o f Peter Balia, Challenges to New Testament Theology: An Attempt to Justify the Enterprise
(Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson, 1997).
6 The phrase exercise in biblical theology comes from Timothy Laniak, Shepherds After My
Own Heart: Pastoral Traditions and Leadership (NSBT 20; Downers Grove, III.: IVP, 2006), 23.

refers to the long-awaited restoration o f Gods people now found in him as his disciples
abide in and bear fruit for him. With this thesis in mind, the details o f the problem it
addresses are described in the next section.

The Problem
On a first reading, the history o f interpretation and most scholarly treatments of John 15
do not indicate a problem at John 15:1-17. That is because most investigations of the
background text or texts for Johns vineyard imagery focus on a limited set o f evidence.
The most influential proposals for the OT background of John 15 reveal a strong
preference for, indeed dependence upon, those texts that convey the judgment o f Israel by
way o f vineyard imagery (e.g., Isa 5:1-7; Hos 10:1; Jer 2:21; Ezek 15:1-8; 17:1-10;
19:10-14; Ps 80:816).7 Without doubt, these texts represent the majority use of vineyard
imagery in the OT. Because these texts connote the judgment o f Israel, Johannine
scholars argue that at John 15:1-17 Jesus, the true vine, replaces Israel, the bad vine, as
the locus of Gods revelation and salvation.8
This reading o f John 15:1-17 and the OT texts that may lie in the background is
only partially correct. These texts are not the only use o f vineyard imagery in the OT.
Other evidence needs to be considered. There are other instances in the OT, such as Isa
27:2-6, where vineyard imagery conveys a positive work by God among his people. The
7 Unless otherwise noted, English versification is followed for biblical citations in this study.
8 See, e.g., Augustine, On the Gospel o f St. John 80.2 (NPNF1 7:344); B. F. Westcott, The Gospel
According to St. John: The Authorized Version with Introduction and Notes (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans,
1958), 216-17; J. H. Bernard, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Gospel o f John (ICC; 2 vols.,
Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1928), 2:477-78; D. A. Carson, The Gospel According to John (Grand Rapids:
Eerdmans, 1991), 513; John Pryor, John: Evangelist o f the Covenant People: The Narrative & Themes o f
the Fourth Gospel (Downers Grove, 111.: IVP, 1992), 64.

following survey o f the history o f interpretation and present state o f research illuminates
the problem and sets the stage for the proposed answer to that problem.

The State of Research


The problem addressed in this dissertation can be seen most clearly from a survey o f the
secondary literature on John 15:1-17. In this section, then, a representative history of
interpretation, from the Early Church to the modem era, precedes a survey o f the most
recent studies into Johns imagery and/or John 15:1-17.

Survey o f the History o f Interpretation


Dating to the late first or early second-century A.D., the Didache displays the Early
Churchs penchant for allegorical interpretation o f Johns vineyard imagery. In the
section devoted to proper observance o f the Eucharist, the text states, We give you
thanks, our Father, for the holy vine David (ujiep xfjq ayfaq afineXjOV AauiS), your child,
which you made known to us through Jesus your child (Did. 9.2).9
Irenaeus (A.D. 130-200) appeals to the imagery o f dead branches at John 15:2 to
illustrate his point that the destruction o f Jerusalem in A.D. 70 did not prove Gods lack
o f power and wisdom. The dead branches represent Jerusalem, which was supposed to
produce fruit as Isa 27:6 promised. He writes,
The fruit, therefore, having been sown throughout all the world, she
[Jerusalem] was deservedly forsaken, and those things that had formerly
brought forth fruit abundantly were taken away; for from these, according
to the flesh, were Christ and the apostles enabled to bring forth fruit. But
now these are no longer useful for bringing forth fruit. For all things which
have a beginning in time must of course have an end also.10
9 Bart D. Ehrman, ed., The Apostolic Fathers I (LCL 24; Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University
Press, 2003), 431.
10 Irenaeus, Against Heresies 4.4.1 (ANF 1:465-66).

Unique among early interpreters, Irenaeus understands the OT imagery of the vine as
applying to Jesus and the disciples, not only to Jesus, and he cites Isa 27:6 as a influential
text. Yet, like many others, he sees a stark contrast between OT Israel (Jerusalem) and
Jesus and the disciples. Irenaeus thinks that Johns vineyard imagery shows that . . . the
administration of them (the Jews) was temporary . . . 1Thus, Jesus and the disciples
replace fruitless Israel.
The late second and early third centuries witnessed further more elaborate
allegorical interpretations of Scripture. Clement of Alexandria (A.D. 150-215) compares
the fruit of the vine mentioned at Gen 49:11, the colt bound to the vine, to the blood of
Christ. As the true vine, Jesus conveys his serviceable culture for man.12 In his
commentary on Johns Gospel, Origen (A. D. 185-254) reads the true vine as a
reference to the wine that serves as a figure for the reason that gladdens the heart, or
intellect. Thus, [I]t is very clear how he who brings wine thus to rejoice the heart o f man
is the true vine. He is the true vine, because the grapes he bears are truth, the disciples are
his branches, and they, also, bring forth the truth as their fruit.13 Origen believes that
the esoteric and mystical doctrines come from the true vine and are called wine
because they cheer and produce ecstasy, being present in those who delight in the Lord
and desire not only to be nourished, but also to revel in him. 14 The statement at John
11 Ibid., 4.4.2 (ANF 1:466).
12 Clement o f Alexandria, Christ the Instructor 1.5 (ANF 2:213).
13 Origen, Commentary on the Gospel o f John 1.33 (ANF 9:314); cf. Ps 103:15. Origens
commentary also incorporates the work o f the Gnostic Heracleon, who wrote the first commentary on
Johns Gospel. The surviving text is limited, and there is no mention of John 15. See A. E. Brooke, ed., The
Fragments o f Heracleon (Texts and Studies 1; Cambridge: Cambrige, 1896).
14 Origen, Commentary on the Gospel o f John 1.208 (FC 80:75).

15:1 reveals Jesus divine nature as it accords with the mystical doctrines. 15
Several fourth-century theologians continue the lines o f interpretation seen above.
Hilary o f Poitiers (A.D. 315-367) interpreted the vine imagery in the light o f the doctrine
o f the incarnation. Hilary writes,
Through this assumption we are in Him, as the branches in the vinestock;
and unless he had become the Vine we could have borne no good fruit.. . .
He separates the form o f the Fathers majesty from the humiliation o f the
assumed flesh by calling himself the vine, the source of unity for all the
branches, and the Father the careful Husbandman, Who prunes away its
useless and barren branches to be burnt in the fire.16
John Chrysostom (A.D. 347-407) focuses on the principle o f life at work in the
connection between the vine and its branches and Jesus and the disciples. The vine
imagery shows, That the man who gives no heed to His [Jesus] words can have no life,
and that the miracles about to take place, would be wrought by the power o f Christ. 17
Interestingly, Chrysostom interprets John 15 wholly in light of the near context of the
Farewell Discourse and lacks any OT or cultural antecedents for the vineyard imagery.
On the other hand, Augustine (A.D. 354-430), like Irenaeus, sees the imagery o f
John 15:1 as implying a contrast to the OT: When he says, I am the true vine, it is to
distinguish himself, doubtless, from that [vine] to which the words are addressed: How
art thou turned into sourness, as a strange vine? For how could that be a true vine which
was expected to bring forth grapes and brought forth thorns?18 Augustine alludes to Jer
15 As Maruice F. Wiles, The Spiritual Gospel: The Interpretation o f the Fourth Gospel in the Early
Church (Cambridge: Cambridge, 1960), 112-17, shows, Origen interpreted the sayings o f Christ in Johns
Gospel according to his human or divine nature. Here, the divine nature is in play.
16 Hilary o f Poitiers, On the Trinity 9.55 (NPNF2 9:174-75).
17 John Chrysostom, Homilies on St. John 76:1 (NPNF1 14:279). Similarly, Cyril o f Alexandria
sees the life-giving element as key to the imagery, but he also allegorizes the unmentioned sap o f the
imagery as the Holy Spirit who binds the disciples to Jesus. See Cyril, Commentary on the Gospel o f John,
10.2 (LF 48:363, 365).
18 Augustine, On the Gospel o f St. John 80.2 (NPNF1 7:344).

2:21 and Isa 5:4-6, two o f the more prominent OT texts that compare Israel to a bad or
fruitless vine. By contrast, Jesus is the true or real vine that replaces the bad vine, Israel.
Like Augustine, Ephrem the Syrian (A.D. 306-73) stresses contrast from Johns
vineyard imagery. When referring to the incarnation when Jesus bent down her fruits for
the ungrateful, 19 Ephrem contrasts the vine Jesus with those that came before. He writes,
Blessed is he who made her greater than that vine from Egypt! (cf. Ps 80:8; LXX 79:9),
and, Blessed is He who rejected the vineyard that was a source of wild grapes (cf. Isa
5:2-6).20 In light of the Christ event, Ephrem sees a rejection o f the Jews.
Similar to Clement o f Alexandria, Ambrose applied a Christological exegesis of
Gen 49:11 to John 15:1. Vine imagery evokes the cross o f Christ . . . because Christ
hung on the wood like a grape. He is the vine; he is the grape.21 Fourth-century
theologians, therefore, interpret Johns vineyard imagery through allegory or sharp
contrast, or both methods, with OT references to Israel as the vine/vineyard.
A similar approach can also be found in the centuries before the Reformation. The
Venerable Bede (A.D. 673-735) applies the true vine to an allegorical interpretation of
Num 13:23.22 Several centuries later, Thomas Aquinas (A.D. 1225-74) gave extensive
lectures on Johns Gospel.23 Aquinas sees the Eucharist behind the vine imagery at John

19 Ephrem, On the Church, str. 8 in Ephrem the Syrian: Hymns (trans. Kathleen McVey; New
York: Paulist Press, 1989), 223. On Ephrems use o f vineyard imagery see Robert Murray, Symbols o f
Church and Kingdom: A Study in Early Syriac Tradition (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1975).
20 Ibid., strs. 9-10; 223-4.
21 Ambrose, On the Patriarchs 4.24 (FC 65:255-56).
22 Venerable Bede, Homily 11.15 in Homilies on the Gospels: Book Two, Lent to Dedication o f
the Church (trans. Lawrence T. Martin and David Hurst; Cistercian Christian Studies 111; Kalamazoo,
Mich.: Cistercian Publishers, 1991), 136, says, The two men who carried the cluster o f grapes on a pole
from the promised land to the waiting people in the desert accurately suggest this [salvation in Jesus]. The
cluster o f grapes on the poles is our Lord exalted on the cross, he who said, 1 am the true vine.
2 The lectures were delivered in Paris from 1269-72. Sean P. Kealey, John's Gospel and the
History o f Biblical Interpretation (2 vols.; Mellen Biblical Press 60; Lewiston, N.Y.: Edwin Mellen Press,
2002), 1:177. See St. Thomas Aquinas, Commentary on the Gospel o f John (3 vols.; trans. James A.

15:1-8, so that Jesus alludes to his blood in calling himself the true vine. Aquinas also
evidences a keen awareness o f OT antecedents. Like Augustine, he contrasts Jesus the
true vine with the deformed or spoiled vine at Jer 2:21 and Isa 5:4.24 Aquinas also
alludes to Ezek 17:6 and Ps 80:11 in his discussion o f the branches, and Ezek 15:2 as the
branches gathered and burned in the fire (John 15:6).25 While Aquinas was steeped in the
OT vineyard imagery, like most in this survey he does not mention any positive vineyard
imagery of the OT, found especially at Isa 27:2-6.
Closer to the Reformation, Desiderius Erasmus (A.D. 1466-1536) follows the
allegorizing o f Cyril o f Alexandria. In the paraphrase o f John 15, he writes, But the sap
of the stock, which gives life and the power to bear fruit to the branches as well, is the
Spirit common to the Father and me. Erasmus also retains the notion o f contrast to the
OT, Neither Moses nor any o f the prophets is a vine; I am the one vine to which anyone
who wants to bring forth the fruit o f salvation must cling. The Reformation fostered a
more literal, historical approach to exegesis as seen in the case o f John 15.
The two great reformers Luther and Calvin focus on the meaning o f John 15 on its
own terms, not in light o f OT (or other) antecedents.27 Luther interprets John 15 in the

Weisheipl and Fabian Larcher; Washington D.C.: Catholic University Press, 2010). Aquinas also produced
a patristic commentary on the Four Gospels. He shows his preference for the views o f Hilary o f Poitiers,
Augustine, and John Chrysostom in their comments on John 1S. He cites Augustine on the meaning o f the
true vine, thus showing an awareness o f the OT antecedents for the imagery in John. See Thomas Aquinas,
Catena Aurea: Commentary on the Four Gospels Collected out o f the Works o f the Fathers (4 vols.; trans.
John Henry Newman; London: Saint Austin Press, 1997), 4:477-88.
2 Aquinas, Commentary on the Gospel o f John, 3:97. He also thinks the vine o f Josephs fellow
prisoners dream (Gen 40:9-10) and Judahs foal bound to the vine (Gen 49:11) prefigures Christ and the
church (see ibid.).
25 Ibid., 3:98-102. Aquinas thinks the fruit o f John 15:45 refers to the virtues o f the Christian life,
while fruit at John 15:16 refers to the fruit o f conversion to the faith. See ibid., 3:100-01, 114-15.
26 Desiderius Erasmus, Paraphrase on John LB Vll 614-15 (Collected Works o f Erasmus 46;
trans. Jane E. Phillips; Toronto: University o f Toronto Press, 1991), 176-77.
27 In this way, they are similar to John Chrysostom more than any other predecessor.

light o f Jesus coming crucifixion and so reads the use o f vineyard imagery as an image
for his and his disciples impending suffering. Paraphrasing Jesus at John 14:31-15:2,
Luther states, Why should I say a great deal to you? I am leaving, and I shall have to
suffer and die. Later you will have to do the same thing. This suggests a vine and a
vinedresser to Me, for our lot will be that o f a vine and its branches.28 For this reason,
Luther sees the image o f fruit referring to the results of a tested and sanctified Christian
life through suffering.29 So Luther interprets the vineyard imagery synchronically,
emphasizing Jesus words given immediately before his passion.
Calvin begins his discussion with a note on the difference between a vine (vitis)
and a vineyard (vinea). He notes his preference for the view that . . . Christ compares
himself to a field planted with vines, and compares us to the plants themselves.30 Thus, a
vineyard not a single vine is in view. From this view, Calvin sees three general principles.
We have no power on our own; rooted in Christ we are dressed and pruned by the Father;
and, the unfruitful branches are removed and thrown into the fire. He focuses on the lifegiving nature o f the vine, which produces productive fruit.31 Like Chrysostom and Luther
before him, Calvin understands the vineyard imagery in light o f the argument o f John 15.
After the Enlightenment, historical-critical investigation, and thus commentary
writing, on Johns Gospel increased. A cursory glance is all that the present space
28 Martin Luther, Sermons on the Gospel o f St. John: Chapters 14-16 (vol. 24 o f Luther's Works',
eds. Jaroslav Pelikan and Daniel E. Poellot; trans. Martin E. Betram; St. Louis: Concordia Publishing
House, 1961), 193. Cf. Luther's W erkeXLV, 636.
29 Ibid., 196; Luthers Werke XLV, 639. He states, It is the sole purpose o f all the sufferings of
Christians to promote our Christian life and to bear fruit for a fuller knowledge and a stronger confession of
the Word, a more certain hope, and a wider expansion o f the kingdom.
30 John Calvin, Commentary on the Gospel According to John (trans. William Pringle; 2 vols.;
Calvins Commentaries 18; Grand Rapids: Baker, 2009), 2:107.
31 Ibid.

affords. For our purposes, J. A. Bengel in the 18th-century, and Augustus Tholuck, E. W.
Hengstenberg, and Freddric Godet in the 19,h-century serve as exemplars. Bengel thinks
John 15 serves as a parabolic illustration (paroemaiae) o f the disciples inability to do
anything apart from Jesus (John 15:5). Like the Reformers, he interprets the imagery
synchronically and without recourse to any OT or other antecedent ideas.32 Tholuck
favors a comparison to, and fulfillment of, Psalm 80 in Jesus words regarding the . . .
spiritual relations between Christ and those that are his.33 Hengstenberg contrasts the
true vine Jesus with the OT vine, Israel, and includes Hos 10:1; Isa 5:2,4; Ezek 19:10
14; and Jer 2:21 (LXX)all judgment textsin the comparison.34 Jesus substitutes the
false vine, Israel. Thus, he remarks, The true vine is Christ, or the Church in its absolute
dependence on Christ; the false vine is the Jews establishing their own righteousness, and
all those who tread in their footsteps, all communities which separate from the Head, and
sever salvation from its utter dependence on Him.35 Interestingly, Hengstenberg also
thinks that the OT command to love God under the New Testament, takes the form of
abiding in Christ.36 Godet departs from the popular approach o f contrasting Jesus
imagery with the OT. Instead, he argues that Jesus, on the way to Gethsemane with his
disciples, sees a vine covered with branches and . . . He looks upon His disciples
32 John Albrect Bengel, Gnomon o f the New Testament (trans. Andrew Fausset; 5 vols.;
Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1860), 2:44445; repr. o f Gnomon o f the New Testament (ed., J. C. F. Steudel; 2d
ed. 1759).
33 Augustus Tholuck, Commentary on the Gospel o f John (trans. Charles P. Karuth; Edinburgh: T
& T Clark, 1859), 343. Emphasis original. He also compares (p. 343) Johns thought to Pauls notion of
the mystical unity o f the Redeemer with his Church . . . .
34 E. W. Hengstenberg, Commentary on the Gospel o f John (2 vols.; Clarks Foreign Theological
Library 4:3; Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1868), 2:241-42.
35 Ibid., 242.
36 Ibid., 240.

10

1*1

grouped about Him, and finds in this plant the emblem o f His relation to them.
From the Early Church to the 19th-century, then, the interpretation o f John 15 has
been fairly consistent. Those who search outside the text for background to Johns
vineyard imagery typically look to the OT texts that convey Israels judgment. The
judgment of the false vine Israel provides the foil to the salvation brought by Jesus, the
true vine. This line of interpretation continues into the 20lh-century with a notable
exception, Bultmann.

The 20fh-Century
The work o f Rudolf Bultmann was influential for a number of reasons.38 With respect to
Johns Gospel, his influence was far reaching but also misleading. In the words o f John
Ashton, [I]n spite o f his pre-eminence, every answer Bultmann gives to the really
important questions he raisesis wrong.39 One of the wrong answers Bultmann gave
was his theory that Mandean Gnostic, not OT or Jewish, presuppositions informed the
worldview of Johns Gospel. Though he notes a potential allusion to the false vine o f Jer
2:21, in Bultmanns reading o f John 15:1-17, Jesus announces his role as the mystical
Mandean tree o f life.40 He states, That he is the true vine means that no natural life is the
true life, that life, such as man seeks and longs for, can be had only in association with
37 Frederic Godet, Commentary on the Gospel o f John: With an Historical and Critical
Introduction (trans. Timothy Dwight; 2 vols.; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Co., 1893), 293. This approach
followed in modem scholarship by, e.g., Francis Moloney, The Gospel o f John (Sacra Pagina 4;
Collegeville, Minn.: Liturgical Press, 1998), 419-20.
38 See John Ashton, Understanding the Fourth Gospel (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991),
44-66.
39 Ibid., 45.
40 See Rudolf Bultmann, The Gospel o f John: A Commentary (trans. G. R. Beasley-Murray, R. W.
N. Hoare, and J. K. Riches; Philadelphia: Westminster, 1971), 530, n. 5. In this analysis, Bultmann follows
Eduard Schweizer, Ego Eimi: Die religionsgeschitliche Herkunft und theologische Bedeutung der
johanneischen Bildreden, zugleich ein Beitrag zur Quellenfrage des vierten Evangeliums (FRLANT 38;
Gdttingen, 1939).

11

Jesus.41 Thus, Bultmann agrees with previous interpreters that Johns vineyard imagery
connotes the life-giving power o f Jesus, but he grounds that imagery in a very different
worldview. As noted above, Bultmanns approach has not stood the test o f time.
In a monograph on John 15:1-10, Rainer Borig directly challenged Bultmanns
Mandean-tree-of-life theory.42 After analyzing the text and immediate context o f John
15:1-10, Borig provides a history o f religion investigation into the background of the
vineyard imagery. He surveys relevant OT43 and Mandaean Gnostic texts. He finds the
Mandean texts interesting but lacking in their conceptual connections to Johns Gospel.44
As to the OT, Borig provides a thorough investigation o f the relevant texts,45 and he
rightly points out that Israel as a vine or vineyard was never completely uprooted or
destroyed, as the imagery o f Isa 27:3-5 indicates 46 Borig also argues that no single text,
such as Psalm 80, stands behind the words o f the Johannine Jesus. Rather, the imagery at
John 15:1 likely emerged from . . . a total impression which results from a plurality of
statements and connected ideas in which texts such as Ezekiel 17 and 19 could perhaps
be even more significant than Psalm 80.47 Borig observes Isa 27:2-6 as an exception to
the rule, that vineyard imagery always connotes the judgment o f Israel, but sees it only as
a promise for the end-time eschatological people o f God in the Messianic a g e 48 This

41 Bultmann, John, 530.


42 Rainer Borig, Der wahre Weinstock. Untersuchungen zu Jo 15, 1-10 (SANT 16; Mtinich,
Kfisel, 1967), 135-87. Since Bultmann follows Schweizer, Ego Eimi, Borig challenges both in his
assessment.
43 Borig includes Apocryphal texts such as Sirach 24 in his study o f the OT.
44 Borig, Weinstock, 135-87, 252.
45 Ibid., 79-106.
46 Ibid., 90-91.
47 Ibid., 99. Emphasis original: . . . aus einem Gesamteindruck erwachsen zu sehen, der sich aus
einer Mehrzahl von Aussagen und Vorstellungszusammenhangen ergibt, unter denen Texte wie Ez 17 und
19 vielleicht noch bedeutsamer sein kSnnten als Ps 80. Cf. Ball, "I A m " in John's Gospel, 248, n. 2.
48 Ibid., 87, 97.

promise compares to that of the eschatological messianic king (Gen 49:8-12; Isa 11:1,
10)49
Therefore, Borig sees royal connotations behind the total impression o f OT
vineyard imagery applied to Jesus at John 15:1-10. He concludes that Christology and
ecclesiology merge in Johns vineyard imagery. He discounts the views that the vine
image at John 15:1-10 refers to the Mandean tree o f life, an image for the immanence
relationship between each disciple and Jesus, the missionary growth of the Church in the
world, or to the variety o f offices and gifts within the church.50 Rather, the vine Jesus is
the church.51 Borig, then, provides a thorough investigation of the potential influences
on John 15. Aside from cursory comments on Isaiah 27,52 however, he does not consider
how John might have thought o f the Isaiah vineyard narrative as the primary background.
Rather, it is the total impression o f the OT vineyard imagery that he sees influential.
The consensus approach to the vineyard imagery at John 15:1-17, which began in
the Early Church, heavily influences the commentary literature o f the 20th-century. A
survey of major John commentaries from the past century reveals how those who argue
for a Jewish, OT background for the John 15 imagery53 virtually ignore the Isa 27:2-6
vineyard despite its clear connection to Isaiah 5. Several lack any mention.54 Others

49 Ibid., 106.
50 Ibid., 247-52.
51 Ibid., 252. [D]er Weinstock Jesus ist die Kirche."
52 See ibid., 97, 106, 241. Interestingly, Borig (p. 241) suggests that Jesus mention o f abundant
joy at John 15:11 may refer to the promise o f the restored vineyard at Isa 27:2-6.
53 The majority o f Johannine scholarship recognizes this milieu as the dominant one for Johns
Gospel. Ernst Haenchen, A Commentary on the Gospel o f John (trans. Robert W. Funk; 2 vols.; Hermeneia;
Philadelphia: Fortress, 1984), 2:131-32, however contains no mention o f any OT reference.
54 Listed diachronically: Bernard, John, 2:477-78; R. H. Lightfoot, St. John's Gospel: A
Commentary (ed., C. F. Evans; Oxford: Clarendon, 1956), 281; Westcott, John, 216-17; R. V. G. Tasker,
The Gospel According to John: An Introduction and Commentary (Leicester: IVP; Grand Rapids:
Eerdmans, 1960), 173-74; John Marsh, The Gospel o f St. John (Baltimore: Penguin, 1968), 519; B.
Lindars, The Gospel o f John (NCB; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1992), 487-88; Herman N. Ridderbos, The

13

include only a parenthetical or brief reference.55 Though not in a commentary, the


comment o f John Pryor illustrates the approach, and thus the problem, followed in the
commentaries. He states, Indeed, it is perhaps very significant that every Old Testament
mention of Israel as a vine is in the context of judgment for unfaithfulness . . . .56 One
notes, however, his preceding list o f these OT references does not include Isa 27:2-6.
Though they may not perpetuate the problem, recent studies in John 15:1-17 do not
necessarily alleviate it.

Recent Studies
The problem addressed in the present study is not due to lack o f coverage on John 15:1
17, or on the broader yet relevant topic o f the OT in Johns Gospel. Much scholarly
energy has been expended in recent study of this discipline.57 Several monographs focus

Gospel According to John: A Theological Commentary (trans. John Vriend; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans,
1991); 514-16; Thomas Brodie, The Gospel According to John: A Literary and Theological Commentary
(New York; Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993), 475; Leon Morris, The Gospel According to John
(NICNT; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1995), 593-94; G. W. Beasley-Murray, John (2d ed.; WBC 36; Waco:
Word, 1999), 272; Gary Burge, John (NIVApp; Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2000), 417; A. T. Hanson, The
Prophetic Gospel: Study o f John and the Old Testament (New York: T & T Clark, 1991), 183-85; J.
Ramsey Michaels, The Gospel o f John (NICNT; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2010), 801.
55 Listed diachronically: E. C. Hoskyns, The Fourth Gospel (2d ed.; ed., Noel Davey; London:
Faber and Faber, 1947), 474-75; Raymond E. Brown, The Gospel According to John, XIIl-XXI, 669; R.
Schnackenburg, The Gospel According to St. John (trans. David Smith and G. A. Kon; 3 vols., Crossroad:
New York, 1987), 3:105; C. K. Barrett, The Gospel According to St. John: An Introduction with
Commentary and Notes on the Greek Text (2d ed.; Philadelphia: Westminster, 1978), 472; Carson, John,
513; F. F. Segovia, The Farewell o f the Word: TheJohannine Call to Abide (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1991),
136; Craig R. Koester, Symbolism in the Fourth Gospel, 246; Ben Witherington, Jo h n s Wisdom: A
Commentary on the Fourth Gospel (Louisville: WJK, 1995), 255; G. L. Borchert, John (NAC 25A-B; 2
vols.; Nashville: B & H, 2002), 2:139; Craig S. Keener, The Gospel o f John (2 vols.; Peabody, Mass.:
Hendrickson, 2003), 2:991; Andreas J. Kftstenberger, John (BECNT; Grand Rapids: Baker, 2004), 449, n.
6; Gary T. Manning, Jr., Echoes o f a Prophet: The Use o f Ezekiel in the Gospel o f John and in Literature o f
the Second Temple P eriod(JSNTSup 270; London: T & T Clark, 2004), 53-55; U. von Wahlde, The
Gospel and Letters o f John: Volume 2, Commentary on the Gospel o f John (Eerdmans Critical
Commentary; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2010), 667.
56 John Pryor, John: Evangelist o f the Covenant People: The Narrative & Themes o f the Fourth
Gospel (Downers Grove, III.: I VP, 1992), 64.
57 It seems self evident that this energy relates to the same trend in biblical studies in general.
There are early treatments discussed in G. K. Beale, Handbook on the New Testament Use o f the Old
Testament: Exegesis and Interpretation (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2012), 37. Wide expansion o f the enterprise,

14

upon the explicit citations.58 Others treat OT allusions either from a specific OT text or
group o f texts in the Gospel.59 Still others examine a biblical character,60 theme,61
symbol,62 or phrase63 as it unfolds in Johns Gospel. A few works investigate the use of
OT quotations and allusions throughout the Gospel.64 Finally, another study examines the
social function o f the OT.65

however, stems from C. H. Dodd, According to the Scriptures: The Sub-Structure o f the New Testament
(London: Nisbet, 1952). For recent programmatic works, see Richard Hays, Echoes o f Scripture in the
Letters o f Paul (New Haven: Yale, 1989); Richard N. Longenecker, Biblical Exegesis in the Apostolic
Period (2d ed.; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1999); D. A. Carson and G. K. Beale, eds., Commentary on the
New Testament Use o f the Old Testament (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2007) and the attendant bibliographies;
and G. K. Beale, Handbook, and the bibliography there.
58 B. G. Schuchard, Scripture within Scripture: The Interrelationship o f Form and Function in the
Explicit Old Testament Citations in the Gospel o f John (SBLDS 133; Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1992); E. D.
Freed, Old Testament Quotations in the Gospel o f John (NovTSup 11; Leiden: Brill, 1965); M. J. J.
Menken, Old Testament Quotations in the Fourth Gospel: Studies in Textual Form (CBET 15; Kampen
Kok, 1996).
59 See, e.g., Margaret Daly-Denton, David in the Fourth Gospel: The Johannine Reception o f the
Psalms (AGJU, 47; Leiden & Boston: E.J. Brill, 2000); Manning, Echoes o f a Prophet', Andrew C.
Brunson, Psalm 118 in the Gospel o f John: An Intertextual Study on the New Exodus Pattern in the
Theology o f John (WUNT, 158; Tubingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2003); cf. Andrew D. Streett, The Vine and the
Son o f Man: Eschatological Interpretation o f Psalm 80 in Early Judaism (Minneapolis: Fortress Press,
2014). For such work in a specific John text, see John A. Dennis, Jesus' Death and the Gathering o f True
Israel: The Johannine Appropriation o f Restoration Theology in the Light o f John 11.47-52 (WUNT 217;
Tilbingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2006).
60 Standard works include T. F. Glasson, Moses in the Fourth Gospel (SBT 40; London: SCM
Press, 1963); W. A. Meeks, The Prophet-King: Moses Traditions and Johannine Christology (Leiden: Brill
1967).
61 On the temple theme see, Mary L. Coloe, God Dwells with Us: Temple Symbolism in the Fourth
Gospel (Collegeville, Minn.: The Liturgical Press, 2001); Alan R. Kerr, The Temple o f Jesus' Body: The
Temple Theme in the Gospel o f John (JSNTSup, 220; Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 2002); Stephen
T. Um, The Theme o f Temple Christology in John's Gospel (LNTS 312; T & T Clark, 2006).
62 See Craig R. Koester, Symbolism in the Fourth Gospel', Dorothy Lee, Flesh and Glory:
Symbolism, Gender and Theology in the Gospel o f John (New York: Crossroad, 2002); Wai-Yee Ng, Water
Symbolism in John: An Eschatological Interpretation (Studies in Biblical Literature, 15; New York: Peter
Lang, 2001); Van der Watt, Family o f the King.
63 On the I am motif see, David Mark Ball, "I Am " in Jo h n s Gospel: Literary Function,
Background and Theological Implications (JSNTSup 124; Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1996);
Silke Petersen, Brot, Licht, und Weinstock: lntertextuelle Analysen johanneischer Ich-bin-Worte (NovTSup
127; Leiden & Boston: E.J. Brill, 2008).
64 Hanson, The Prophetic Gospel; Martin Hengel, The Old Testament in the Fourth Gospel, in
The Gospels and the Scriptures o f Israel (eds., C. A. Evans and W. R. Stenger; JSNTSup 104; Sheffield:
Sheffield Academic, 1994) 380-95; Andreas J. Kflstenberger, John in Commentary on the New
Testament Use o f the Old Testament (eds., D. A. Carson and G. K. Beale; Grand Rapids: Baker, 2007),
415-512; Hans HUbner, Vetus Testamentum in Novo. Vol. 1,2: Evangelium secundum Johannem
(GUttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2003).
65 Jaime Clark-Soles, Scripture Cannot Be Broken: The Social Function o f the Use o f Scripture in
the Fourth Gospel (Leiden: Brill, 2003), uses a social-scientific method o f investigation.

15

As to specific studies of John 15:1-17, many investigate the function of the


imagery or metaphor at work in the text.66 Others focus more specifically on the function
of the I am statement within the imagery.67 Some consider the structure in detail,68
while a few consider the sociological background or implications o f the text.69 Finally,
others examine the theological implications, especially for ecclesiology and discipleship,
o f the text.70 O f course, these approaches are not mutually exclusive. Among these
studies, Ball, Bolt, Kerr, and Nielsen suggest but do not demonstrate a positive

66 See Jilrgen Becker, Die Herde des Hirten und die Reben am Weinstock: ein Versuch zu Joh
10.1-18 und 15,1-17, in Gleichnisreden Jesu 1899-1999 (e d , Ulrich Mell; BZNW 103; Berlin: Walter de
Gruyter, 1999), 149-78; Peter Bolt, What Fruit Does the Vine Bear: Some Pastoral Implications o f John
15:18, /f77f 51:1 (1992), 11-19; Kirsten Nielsen, Old Testament Imagery in the Gospel o f John, in
New Readings in John (eds. Johannes Nissen and Sigfred Pedersen; JSNTSup 182; Sheffield: Sheffield
Academic, 1999), 66-82; O. Petit, La vigne: les 6chos thlologiques d une figure biblique, SimiotBib 109
(2003), 56-61; Stanislaw Pisarek, Christ the Son and the Father-farmer in the Image o f the Vine (Jn 15.1
11, 12-17), in Testimony and Interpretation: Early Christology in Its Judeo-Hellenistic Milieu. Studies in
Honor o f Petr Porkomy (eds., Jifi Mrdzek and Jan Roskovec; JSNTSup 272; London: T & T Clark
International, 2004), 240-46; Hubert Ritt, Der Christologische Imperativ: zur Weinstock-Metapher in der
testamentarischen Mahnrede Joh 15,1-17, in Neues Testament und Ethik (ed., H. Merklein; FS Rudolf
Schnackenburg; Freiburg i Br: Herder, 1989), 136-50; J. G. van der Watt, Metaphorik in Joh 15,1-8,
BZ 38:1 (1994), 67-80; Idem., Family o f the King: Dynamics o f Metaphor in the Gospel according to John
(Biblical Interpretation, 47; Leiden, Boston: Brill, 2000); Jean Zumstein, Bildersprache und RelektUre am
Beispiel von Joh 15,1-17, in Imagery in the Gospel o f John (eds. J6rg Frey, Jan G. van der Watt, and
Ruben Zimmermann; WUNT 200; Tflbingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2006), 139-56. Cf. Hyunsok Doh, The
Johannine Paroimia" (PhD diss., Andrews University, 1992).
67 See Ball, "I Am in John's Gospel, 241-48; Silke Petersen, Brot, Licht und Weinstock:
Intertextuelle Analysen Johanneischer Ich-bin-Worte (NovTSup 127; Leiden: Brill, 2008), 286-313; B.
Schwank, Ich Bin der Wahre Weinstock (Joh 15,1), Erbe undAuftrag 74:3 (1998), 241-43.
68 See, e.g., Giorgio Giurisato, Der Weinstock und die Reben: Struktur und BotschafI von Joh
15.1-8, in Lebendiges Kloster (Festschrift filr Abt Georg Holzherr zum 70 Geburtstag; Fribourg,
Switzerland: Paulusverlag Freiburg Schweiz, 1997), 111-24.
69 See Fernando F. Segovia, The Theology and Provenance o f John 15:117, JBL 101:1 (1982),
115-28; Sjef van Tilborg, Ideology and Text: John 15 in the Context o f the Farewell Discourse, in Text
and Interpretation: New Approaches in the Criticism o f the New Testament (eds., P. J. Hartin and J. H.
Petzer; Leiden: Brill, 1991), 259-70.
70 See Michel Gourgues, La vigne du plre (Jn 15,1-17) ou le rassembiement des enfants de
Dieu, in Communion et Reunion: melanges Jean-Marie Roger Tillard (eds., G. R. Evans and M.
Gourgues; BETL 121; Louvain: Leuven University Press, 1995), 265-81; S. J. Kim, Friendship and
Discipleship in John 15:1-17, Yonsei Review o f Theology & Culture 7 (2002), 129-36; J. D. Peligro,
Johannine Ecclesiology in the Light o f the Parable o f the Vine and the Branches (Jn. 15:1-6), Quaerens
1:1 (1997), 119-72; James Rosscup, Abiding in Christ: Studies in John 15 (Eugene, Ore.: W ipf & Stock,
2003).

16

relationship between Isaiah 27 and John 15.71 Their suggestions, however, are helpful for
the approach taken in the present study.72
Similar to the procedure followed in this study, Peter Akpunonu traces the vine
metaphor across the testaments with exegesis o f the key texts, Isa 5:1-7, Psalm 80, Matt
21:33-44, and John 15:117.73 He then gives special attention to the historical continuity
and discontinuity between Israel and the Church as the vine.74 Since Jesus is the true
vine (John 15:1), Akpunonu concludes,
The Church is the vine, and the vineyard o f Yahweh Sebaoth. All the
favors and responsibilities o f Israel are now with the Church. The
challenges are there but divine providence is forever present: I am with
you always, yes to the end o f time (Matt 28:20). The Church has a
mission to all humanityto bear fruitto yield soreq to Yahweh Sebaoth,
the Holy One of Israel.75
Akpunonu acknowledges Isa 27:2-5 as a doublet o f Isa 5:1-7, and briefly mentions
Isaiah 27 in relation to the fruit-bearing language of John 15:117.76 He also claims that
John 15:1 serves as the climax of the tradition initiated by Isaiah at Isa 5:1-7.

77

Yet, he

does not explore whether or how Isaiah 5 and 27 together might have influenced John for
his presentation of Jesus and the disciples at John 15:1-17. Like many before him,
71 Ball and Bolt suggest that the time o f restoration promised at Isa 27:26 dawns in Jesus words
at John 15:1-17, while Kerr applies Isaiahs language more specifically to the temple motif. Nielsen sees
the application o f both Isa 5:1-7, in the rejection o f fruitless branches that do not remain in Jesus, and Isa
27:2-6, in the blessing o f the fruitful branches that do remain, at John 15:1-17. See Ball, I am " in John's
Gospel, 243-44; Bolt, What Fruit, 14-15; Nielsen, Old Testament Imagery, 72-76; Kerr, Temple, 34345.
72 See below on the approach o f this study.
73 Peter D. Akpunonu, The Vine, Israel and the Church (Studies in Biblical Literature 51; New
York: Peter Lang, 2004), 19-157.
74 See ibid., 158-98.
75 Ibid., 157.
76 Ibid., 1,146.
77 Ibid., 43.

17

Akpunonu approaches John 15:1 as the climactic application o f a single proof text (Isa
5:1-7) not the (possible) typological fulfillment o f the Isaiah vineyard narrative.
Finally, several unpublished dissertations investigate the vineyard language and
imagery o f the OT,78 while others discuss the language and theology of John 15:1-17 in
concert with other NT texts.79 Rarely is Isa 27:2-6 mentioned except in a list o f verses
and never as the narrative of the vine/vineyard.
The state o f research into the vineyard imagery of John 15:1-17 reveals a lacuna.
That is the lack of consideration o f Isa 27:2-6 together with Isa 5:1-7 as a potential
influence upon Johns imagery, especially if Isa 27:2-6 culminates the imagery and
theology o f Isa 5:1-7. Old Testament scholars have long recognized this connection to be
the case.80 Thus, the question arises: if it is plausible that John considers Jesus to be the
climax, and so reversal, of the negative (judgment) vineyard imagery o f Isa 5:1-7, would

78 David Stanford Keller, Vineyard Imageries in the Old Testament Prophets (PhD Diss.,
University o f Minnesota, 1995); Robert Paul Teachout, The Use o f Wine in the Old Testament (ThD
Diss.; Dallas Theological Seminary, 1979); Kon Hwon Yang, Theological Significance o f the Motif o f the
Vineyard in the Old Testament (PhD Diss., Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary, 1996); John Lyle
Story, Biblical Agrarian Imagery: A Salvation Historical Perspective on the People o f God (PhD Diss.,
Fuller Theological Seminary, 1984).
79 See Mary Anne Hoope, Vineyard: An Ecclesiological Model (PhD Diss., Saint Louis
University, 1981); Johann Fourie, The Vine and the Body: An Ecclesiological Study o f Two New
Testament Metaphors (PhD Diss., Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen, 2010); Lilian Hui-Kiau Lim, Christ
and Community in the Fourth Gospel: Pastoral Symbols as Symbolic Relationship (PhD Diss., Southern
Baptist Theological Seminary, 1996); Laurie L. Norris, The Function o f New Testament Warning
Passages: A Speech Act Theory Approach (PhD Diss., Wheaton College, 2011).
80 See Edmund Jacob, Du premier au deuxieme chant de la vinge du prophete Esaie, Reflexions
sure Esaie 27,2-5, in Wort-Gebot-Glaube: Beitrdge zur Theologie des Alien Testaments: Walter Eichrodt
zum 80. Geburtstag (eds. H. J. Stoebe et. al.; ATANT 59; Zurich: Zwingli, 1970), 325-30; Kirsten Nielsen,
There is Hope fo r a Tree: The Tree as Metaphor in Isaiah (JSOTSup 65; Sheffield, Eng.: JSOT, 1989),
117-20; John N. Oswalt, The Book o f Isaiah: Chapters 1-39 (NICOT; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1986),
493; Gary V. Smith, Isaiah 1-39 (NAC 15A; Nashville: B & H, 2007), 458-59; Marvin A. Sweeney, New
Gleanings from an Old Vineyard: Isaiah 27 Reconsidered, in Early Jewish and Christian Exegesis: Studies
in Memory o f William Hugh Brownlee (eds., C. A. Evans and W. F. Steinspring; Atlanta: Scholars Press,
1987), 51-66; Hans Wildberger, Isaiah 13-27 (trans. Thomas A. Trapp; CC; Minneapolis: Fortress, 1997),
583-87.

18

John also not consider Jesus to fulfill the positive (restoration) vineyard imagery of Isa
27:2-6? The thesis defended in this study seeks to answer that question.

The Scope of the Study


This study does not address the vineyard imagery elsewhere in the New Testament.
Significantly, each version o f the Parable o f the Wicked Tenants (Matt 21:3344; Mark
o |

12:1-11; Luke 20:9-18) contains an allusion to the first vineyard song, Isa 5:1-7.
Though the possible implications for that text, or set o f texts, are mentioned in the final
chapter o f this study, space precludes a detailed investigation. Moreover, the thesis o f the
present study concerns the apparent gap in Johannine, not Synoptic Gospels, scholarship.
Such is also the case for the brief use o f vineyard imagery elsewhere in the NT (Matt
20:1-16; 1 Cor 4:9; Rev 14:14-20).
More pertinent to the thesis, the present study retains a focus on the use of
Isaiahs vineyard story at Isa 5:1-7 and 27:2-6, not other OT texts, applied at John 15:1
17 for several reasons. Those reasons are explored in detail in chapter 4, which forms the
crux of the argument. However, in order to establish the warrant for a specific
investigation into the link between Isaiah and Johns vineyard imagery, the reasons for
excluding the other OT vineyard texts for an allusion at John 15 must be considered.

Other Old Testament Vineyard Texts


Several OT texts make use of vineyard imagery. Specifically, the vineyard as Israel
metaphor is prominent at Hos 10:1; 14:7; Isa 5:1-7; 16:8-10; 27:2-6; Jer 2:21; Ezek
81 See Klyne Snodgrass The Parable o f the Wicked Tenants (WUNT 27; Tiibingen: Mohr-Siebeck,
1983); John Kldppenborg, The Tenants in the Vineyard Ideology, Economics, and Agrarian Conflict in

19

15:1-8; 17:1-10; 19:1-14; and Ps 80:8-18. Each one, except for Hos 14:7 and Isa 27:26, tells o f Israel as the vine/vineyard o f God under judgment.82 Many o f these OT texts
and a few post-biblical Jewish texts (e.g., 2 Bar. 39:7) have lexical and/or conceptual
parallels with John 15:117.83 None of them on their own, however, explains the
language and theology o f John 15. Therefore, this section points to the need for the
present study by highlighting the insufficient or incomplete nature of the OT allusions at
John 15:1-17 that are traditionally favored in Johannine scholarship.
Hosea is the oldest biblical writer to use vineyard imagery to describe Israel.84
Hosea 10:1 reads, Israel is a luxuriant vine

]?j?i3

]) that has produced the

fruit o f idolatry. At Hos 14:7, Israels spiritual and national flourishing after their return
to Yahweh (Hos 14:1) is compared to blossoming like the vine (19jp in -!?1). Once
fruitless in the wilderness (Hos 10:1), Israel will one day be fruitful for Yahweh in the
land because he, not idols, gives fruit (Hos 14:8).85 Hosea, like Isaiah, uses the vineyard
metaphor to depict Israels judgment and restoration. Unlike Isa 27:6, however, Hos
14:7-8 does not explicitly connect Israels worldwide fruit bearing and restoration.
Though this may be implied, Hos 10:1 and 14:7 do not present as strong a lexical or
logical correspondence to John 15:1-17 as other texts.
Jewish Palestine (WUNT 195; Tttbingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2006); N. T. Wright, Jesus and the Victory o f God
(Christian Origins and the Question o f God, vol. 2. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1996), 178,497-501.
82 As discussed in chapter 3 below, this image continues into the post-biblical Jewish literature
(e.g., 4Q500; 4 Ezra 5:23; L.A.B. 12:8-9; 18:10-11; 23:12; 28:4; 37:2-3; 39:7; Tg. Isa. 5:1; 27:2).
83 Htlbner, Johannem, 486-95, esp. 486-91, for texts that utilize vineyard imagery.
84 See Ellen Davis, Scripture, Culture, and Agriculture: An Agrarian Reading o f the Bible
(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009), 120-38.
8 See Douglas Stuart, Hosea-Jonah (WBC 31; Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1987), 216.

20

Jeremiah 2:21, however, evinces strong lexical correspondence to John 15:1. In


the context o f recounting Israels covenant infidelity (esp. Jer 2:20), Yahweh states, Yet
I planted you a choice vine, a wholly true seed (nj5$ y*l if?? Pl'itf ^ 9 ? N? ^ l)-86 The
metaphor is similar to that found at Isa 5:2. Both stress the covenantal relationship, now
strained, between Yahweh and Israel (cf. Isa 5:3; Jer 2:35). Yet, whereas Jeremiah
indicates that Yahweh planted with seed, Isaiah indicates Yahweh planted shoots o f the
vine.87 As Walsh notes, The expectations o f the divine vintners in Isa 5:1-7 and Jer 2:21
are different. Isaiahs vintner waits for the fruit, namely, the grapes. Jeremiahs vintner
go

waits for the plant, the vines growth, and neither vintner gets what he expected. Both
prophets lament the covenant infidelity o f Israel.
Jeremiah 2:21 LXX translates the choice vine (pifa7) as fruitful vine ((SfrzreXov
Kapno<p6pov) and wholly true seed (njDS y*TT rfv>3) as all true (ttaaav aXrjSiv^v). These
lexemes, o f course, appear at John 15:1, I am the true vine (Eydi eifu ^ fifrrreXo? ^
dXrjOtv^). For this reason, NA28 lists Jer 2:21 as a possible allusion at John 15:1.89 The
logic, then, is that Jesus is the faithful, true vine o f God. He is the true vine that replaces
the alien vine (ITH}] l^jtn) Israel had become (Jer 2:21). From and in him the branches
(disciples) produce fruit (John 15:2, 5). This allusion is legitimate and sound as far as it
goes (though it ignores the promises o f restoration found in Jeremiah 30-33).90 An
86 Keller, Vineyard Imageries, 130-31, notes that Jeremiah is clearly working with an already
established metaphor. Thus, The fundamental perception o f Judahs condition related in 2:21 informs
much o f Jeremiahs theology and is largely decisive in his use o f vineyard related imagery.
87 Ellen Caty Walsh, Fruit o f the Vine: Viticulture in Ancient Israel (HSM 60; Winona Lake, Ind:
Eisenbrauns, 2000), 100. See the discussion o f Isa 5:2 below.
88 Ibid., 103.
89 Interestingly, Htlbner, Johannem, 490, does not highlight dXj0iv>jv in LXX Jer 2:21 as a possible
allusion at John 15:1.
90 Paul R. House made this point to the present author in personal correspondence.

21

allusion to Jer 2:21 at John 15:1 plausibly informs Jesus identity and role. However, Jer
2:21 (MT) does not contain the fruit-bearing language found at Isa 5:2,4; 27:6 (MT and
LXX). Also unlike Isa 27:2-6, Jer 2:21 (cf. Jer 12:10) does not associate the
eschatological renewal o f Gods people with the vineyard image.91 Thus, Ball notes well
the insufficiency of a sole allusion to Jer 2:21:
In Jeremiah, as in Isaiah 5, the entirely true, fruitbearing vine does not
fulfill its role and is in fact seen to be a false vine because it produces
bad fruit. In John, however, there is no question o f the true vine bearing
bad fruit. The emphasis is not on good fhiit and bad fruit but on
fruitfulness and fruitlessness. At the same time the emphasis is not on the
vines ability to bear fruit, but on that of each branch. Thus, while Jesus
claim to be the true vine may allude to the fact that he will fulfill the role
which the vine in Jeremiah (and Isaiah 5) should have fulfilled, his
interpretation o f what this means concerns the fruitfulness o f the
individual disciples and not o f the vine as a whole.92
In sum, Jer 2:21 does not explain the totality of John 15:1-17, particularly the fruitbearing of the disciples, as well as the vineyard narrative o f Isa 5:1-7; 27:2-6.
The Ezekiel texts share a high verbal correspondence with John 15:1-17.93 The
Johannine lexemes vine (#fnreXo$), branch(es) (xXfjpta), and fruit (xap7r6$) appear
frequently in LXX-Ezekiel. These terms carry the metaphor in three parables94 The texts
depict the vineyard as the people o f God under judgment, whether the whole people
(Ezek 15:1-8), an individual king (Ezek 17:10-14), or the royal house (Ezek 19:1-14).
Each parable displays the covenant unfaithfulness of Israel and the consequent fitting
91 Though Jeremiah comes close when he associates the renewal o f the people with their renewed
agriculture and viticulture in the land. See Jer 31:5, 12; 32:15. So Keller, Vineyard Imageries, 129, n.
231.
92 Ball, I Am " in John's Gospel, 247.
93 See Manning, Echoes o f a Prophet, 135-49.
94 Ezekiel is repeatedly commanded to speak to Israel in these images, and at Ezek 17:2 to speak a
parable ( b ^ ) . See Ezek 15:2; 17:6,7,8; 19:10 for vine (&pne\o<;) (]^> ; Ezek 15:2; 17:6, 7; 19:11 for
branch(es) (xXfjpa) (rniEJjlV1^ ; or n^N'S) and Ezek 17:8,9; 19:10 for fruit(ful) (xapnitf C")?).

22

judgment of Yahweh. Whatever the referent o f the vine, Ezekiel uses it consistently to
portray Yahwehs then present judgment. Only Ezek 28:26, which uses the familiar
refrain of building houses and planting vineyards as sign o f Israels restoration to the
land, makes use o f the image in a positive context.95 This text, however, does not
figuratively compare the fate of the vine or vineyard to Israel, nor does it utilize fruit in a
figurative sense. Therefore, though the Ezekiel texts share a high verbal correspondence
with John 15:1-17, none of them anticipate a fulfillment in the way Isa 27:2-6 does.
Outside of Isa 5:1-7, Psalm 80 makes the fullest use o f vineyard imagery in the
OT,96 and it is well known by post-biblical Jewish authors97 Psalm 80:8-16 utilizes the
Israel as vine image to recount Gods faithfulness in the context o f a communal lament
that calls for restoration (w . 3, 7,14). The vine that was faithfully delivered from Egypt
and planted in the land by Yahweh, so that it filled and covered the land (vv. 8-11), has
been overrun and left vulnerable to its enemies (vv. 12-13). The specific context o f the
lament is unclear, but many scholars think it addresses the status o f the northern
kingdom, Israel, after the fall o f Samaria (722 B.C.).98
The LXX translation of Psalm 80 (LXX Psalm 79) evinces lexical and conceptual
connections to John 15:1-17." In a recent monograph, Andrew Streett argues that Psalm

95 See Keller, Vineyard Imageries, 193.


96 Ibid., 246.
97 See for example, L.A.B. 12:8-9; 39:7.
98 For example, Allen P. Ross, A Commentary on the Psalms: Volume 2 (42-89) (Grand Rapids:
Kregel, 2013), 686-87. Ross points out that the psalmist mentions the three northern tribes Ephraim,
Benjamin, and Manassehby name (Ps. 80:2). The date o f the psalm is also unclear. Much is made o f the
superscription, concerning the Assyrians (iitlp toO Acroupfou), added in the LXX. See Mitchell Dahood,
Psalms 51-100 (AB 17; Garden City, N.J.: Doubelday, 1968), 255; H. J. Kraus, Psalms 60-150: A
Commentary (trans. Hilton C. Oswald; CC; Minneapolis: Fortress, 1993), 139; Marvin E. Tate, Psalms 5 1 100 (WBC 20; Dallas: Word Books, 1990), 309.
99 See Borig, Weinstock, 98-99; J. G. van der Watt, Die gebruik van die metafore in Psalm 80 (79
-LXX) in vergelyking met Johannes 15:1-8, Skrif en Kerk 20 (1999), 455-64; idem., Family o f the King:

23

80 serves as the primary allusion at John 15 because, 1) it accounts for the identifications
of the Son, the Father and the disciples; 2) possesses some features in common with
Ezekiel, which he also sees in the background; and, 3) proves a more direct use of the OT
than other possibilities (e.g., Isa 27:26).100 The primary lexical connection is the noun,
vine (<3t|z7reXo?) (LXX Ps 79:1,15; John 15:1). Conceptually, the psalmist envisions God
as a gardener and applies vine imagery to both the nation (Ps 80:8-13) and an individual
(Ps 80:14-16)a son/son o f man you [Yahweh] made strong for yourself (Ps 80:15,
17).101 The LXX adds son of man (ui6v dvOpcbrcou) where the MT has son at verse 15
(LXX 79:16). For this reason, some Johannine scholars see a connection to Jesus at John
15.102 Streett rightly discounts this argument since, Son o f Man does not appear in
John 15 and there is no other reason to believe that this self-designation o f Jesus is in
view.103 Yet, Streett infers a Father/Son relationship between the vine/son and Yahweh
due to the use o f son ( p ) at Ps 80:15 (LXX 79:16).104 The Targum o f Psalm 80 refers
to this p as King Messiah (Nrritfa IGbft). Thus, Streett argues John 15:1 picks up on
the royal notions o f the vine/son imagery o f Psalm 80.105 Streett also notes the figurative
portrayal o f individual Israelites as branches (KXfjpaxa) at Ps 80:11 (LXX 79:12),
which corresponds to the disciples as branches in John 15. With these connections in
Dynamics o f Metaphor in the Gospel According to John (Biblical Interpretation 47; Leiden, Boston: Brill,
2000), 50-54.
100 Streett, The Vine, 213-18. Streett does not define what he means by more direct use.
101 See Ross, Psalms, 2:697.
102 See Borig, Weinstock, 80; Carson, John, 513; cf. Ball, "I A m " in John's Gospel, 241, n. 4.
103 Streett, The Vine, 214. Streett (p. 210) also rightly notes the overplayed assertion that OT
vineyard imagery always connotes judgment.
104 Ibid., 215-16. The son o f verse 15 parallels root at verse 15 and vine at verse 14. The
MT ID could be interpreted as son or branch, but the reading son is more likely given the parallel to
verse 17. Cf. Ross, Psalms, 2:685-86, n. 19.
105 Ibid., 215; cf. Borig, Weinstock, 98-99.

24

mind, the logic o f an allusion to Psalm 80 runs as follows: The nation Israel once planted
and nurtured in the land by Yahweh has come under his judgment. John 15:1 announces
that Jesus, the true vine and son o f the vinedresser Father will faithfully accomplish what
Israel did not.106 Thus, Jesus answers the psalmists call for restoration (Ps. 80:3,7,19).
Despite these lexical and conceptual connections, there are a few reasons why
Psalm 80 proves insufficient as the primary background to John 15, especially in
comparison to the Isaiah vineyard narrative. First, though Ps 80:12 (LXX 79:13) refers to
fruit being plucked up, the psalm contains no mention o f fruit bearing so vital to the
meaning o f John 15:1-17. Indeed, the purpose o f Jesus self-identification as the true
vine and his Father as vinedresser is so that his disciples/branches will bear fruit. The
fruit they produce, for the glory o f the Father, reveals their true identity and clarifies their
role as disciples (John 15:4-8, 16). As Borig observes, It must be emphasized that, in
the vine imagery of Psalm 80 the idea of fruit-bearing so important for John 15, and the
manner of Gods intervention determined by that, is completely ignored.107 The fruitbearing emphasis of John 15, then, does not take its cue from Psalm 80.
Second, as Streett shows, the argument for a messianic connection between Psalm
80 and John 15 depends upon the use o f son at Ps 80:15.108 Yet, the figure identified as
the son at Ps 80:15 is the same figure as the son of man at Ps 80:17. If the son of
106 In this way the logic is similar to the arguments for an allusion to Jer 2:21 and the vine
meshalim at Ezek 15:1-8; 17:10-14.
107 Borig, Weinstock, 99. Man muB aber feststellen, dafl im Weinstockbild des Ps 80 die filr Jo 15
so bedeutsame Vorstellung des Fruchtbringens und der sich daran entscheiden Weise des Eingreifens
Gottes vdllig Ubergangen ist. The quote pointed out by Ball, "I am " in Jo h n s Gospel, 243. Cf. Keller,
Vineyard Imageries, 248. For this reason, then, the allusion to Psalm 80 would not, as Streett (The Vine,
218) claims, offer a better explanation for the general tenor o f Jesus teaching. The general tenor of
Jesus teaching at John 15 includes and stresses his disciples fruit bearing.
108 He also relies on the Targums messianic interpretation o f this verse. Streett, The Vine, 215-16.
Ball, "1 Am in Jo h n s Gospel, 242 makes a similar claim.

25

man language o f Psalm 80 does not apply to John 15, then why would the son
language, especially if the two terms refer to the same figure? Third, if Ps 80:8-18 refers
to Israel (cf. Ps 80:1) as only the northern tribes, then the whole people o f God are not
addressed in the way envisioned by Isaiah. As shown in chapter 2 below, the vineyard
narrative of Isaiah 5 and 27 keeps the whole people o f God, north and south, in view.109
Finally, though Psalm 80 calls for the restoration of Gods people, it does not, in itself,
promise such restoration. In itself, Psalm 80 is a lament that only later receives
eschatological interpretation.110 However, in the reversal o f Isa 5:1-7, the eschatological
text Isa 27:2-6 contains such a promise with particular reference to the end-time
fruitfulness o f reunited Israel.
Contrary to the insufficiencies noted, Johannine scholarship remains focused upon
the OT texts surveyed, which connote Gods people under judgment. Each o f the texts
contains legitimate verbal and conceptual connections to John 15:1-17. Some are
stronger (e.g., Psalm 80) than others (e.g., Hosea 14). The stronger connections make use
of vine/vineyard, branches, and fruit terminology together. However, it is reasonable to
expect these lexemes in any vineyard text. It is possible, therefore, that Jesus allusion at
John 15 is broad enough to include Jer 2:21 or Ps 80:8-16. It is also possible that the
entirety o f the OT vineyard imagery is seen as typologically fulfilled in Christ.111
However, it is highly probable that Isaiahs vineyard narrative serves as the primary
linguistic and theological backdrop for Jesus statement at John 15:1-17.
109 Indeed, Isa 27:2-13 envisions the reunification o f the north and south, restored in the land.
110 Also, the eschatological interpretation o f Psalm 80 can only apply to the fulfillment o f the vine
and braches imagery but not fruit-bearing since it does not anticipate eschatological fruitfulness.
111 So Borig, Weinstock, 99; Ball, "I A m " in John's Gospel, 248.

26

The Approach: An Integrative Method for Biblical Theology


Insofar as biblical theology integrates the findings o f Old and New Testament exegesis
and theology, it requires an integrative methodology. And since the texts investigated in
the present study feature a metaphor that spans the biblical stoiyline, from the 8th c. B.C.
to the 1st c. A.D., and appears in various text-types (e.g., Prophets, Gospels) and genres
(e.g., discourse, apocalyptic), an integrative methodology is not only appropriate but
required in order to meet the goal o f the study. The justification for this method is, as
Stephen Motyer summarizes his methodology, . . . attempted en route. 112
The methodology employed in the present study takes its cue from several
scholars working in OT and NT studies and biblical theology. The first cue is taken from
Bruce Waltkes recent description o f his method for biblical theology. Waltke
summarizes the two primary tools in this method as, 1) narrative theology and 2) poetics
and intertextuality."3 Narrative theology consists of storythe people, things or events
outside the textand plotthe way the narrator represents events, characters, settings,
and interactions o f these elements. He notes, Story refers to the content of the narrative;
plot refers to the contours of its representation. 114 A story, moreover, is told from a
particular point of view and describes and evaluates characters within the story.115
Together, poetics and intertextuality refer to the literary strategies and texts employed by
an author in the creation o f a text. Poetics refers to the literary devices employed by an
author (e.g., metaphor), and intertextuality refers to an authors reference to another
112 Stephen Motyer, Your Father the Devil? A New Approach to John and the Jew s' (Paternoster
Biblical and Theological Monographs; Carlisle, U. K.: Paternoster, 1997), 6.
113 Bruce K. Waltke, An Old Testament Theology: An Exegetical, Canonical, and Thematic
Approach (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2007), 93-142.
114 Ibid., 94.
115 Ibid., 106-112.

27

biblical text (e.g., allusion). The use o f the two tools o f biblical theology in the present
study is described below.

The Story and Stories o f Scripture


Narrative theology is employed in the present study to describe the storyline o f the Bible
as it unfolds in the selected texts. The Bible, or Scripture, refers in this study to the
Protestant canon. Recent contributions to biblical theology evince a move toward story or
storyline as an advantageous criterion and method for analyzing the texts and theology of
the Bible.116 The method and argument o f this study follows, and seeks to contribute to,
this general approach.
There are, as N. T. Wright observes, two elements of the biblical story: The basic
story of Scripture and smaller stories that comprise and reflect that basic story.117 The
basic story o f Scripture describes Gods dealings with humankind from creation and fall
(Genesis 1-3) to new creation (Revelation 21-22). God deals with humankind through
his covenant relationship with Abraham and Israel (Genesis 12; 15; 17; Exodus 19-24;
Deuteronomy; 2 Samuel 7) and the new covenant (Jer 31:3134) inaugurated in the life,
death, resurrection, and ascension of his Son, Jesus Christ (Heb 8:1-13), which
constitutes the gospel that is good news to Israel (e.g., Mark 1:15; cf. Isa 61:1-3) and the
116 In addition to Waltke, Old Testament Theology, see, for example, G. K. Beale, A New
Testament Biblical Theology: The Unfolding o f the Old Testament in the New (Grand Rapids: Baker
Academic, 2011), 29-184; Tom Schreiner, The King in His Beauty: A Biblical Theology o f the Old and
New Testaments (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2013), esp. xii-xvi, 423-27; James Barr, The Concept o f
Biblical Theology: An Old Testament Perspective (Minneapolis: Fortress, 1999), 345-61; Craig G.
Bartholomew and Mike W. Goheen, Story and Biblical Theology, in Out o f Egypt: Biblical Theology and
Biblical Interpretation (Scripture and Hermeneutics 5; eds. Craig Bartholomew et. al. Grand Rapids:
Zondervan, 2004), 144-71. The trend also impacts a recent effort in bridging biblical and systematic
theology, as seen in Michael F. Bird, Evangelical Theology: A Biblical and Systematic Introduction (Grand
Rapids: Zondervan, 2013), 62-64,496-512, cf. 214-30.
117 N. T. Wright, The New Testament and the People o f God (Christian Origins and the Question
o f God, vol. 1. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1992), 215-23.

28

nations (e.g., Rom 1:16; Gal 3:8; 1 Cor 15:1-8). As a result o f this gospel, the Spirit
comes to empower the church (John 15:26-27; Acts 1:8), Jew and Gentile in Christ (Eph
2:11-22), and convict the world (John 16:8-11) in the new age o f the new covenant (e.g.,
2 Cor 3:1-18) until the consummation o f final judgment and new creation (e.g., Rev
19:11-22:5). In this way, then, the plot o f the biblical story can be summarized.
Within this basic story, numerous smaller stories in Scripture serve as paradigms
for the larger biblical story.118 In the present study, it will be shown that Isaiah 5 and 27
constitute a vineyard story that serves as a paradigm o f Isaiahs larger message of
judgment and redemption (chapter 2). The early postbiblical Jewish literature also
contains varying kinds of texts (e.g., apocalypses, biblical retellings) that witness to the
heuristic power of the vineyard story in the lives of Jews o f the Second Temple period
(chapter 3). Likewise, John 15 serves to explicate the special relationship between Jesus
and his disciples within Johns Gospel, itself a smaller story and unique witness of the
gospel story (chapter 4).119 How these smaller stories become mutually interpretive of
one another and serve as paradigms of the larger story of Scripture provides the
overarching methodological question o f the study.
The plot o f the biblical story, then, provides the broad structure in which the texts
of this study may be investigated. That is, the smaller stories (e.g., Isaiah 5-27; John 15)
can be read as intimations of the larger biblical story and windows into the development
118 Wright, New Testament and the People o f God, 219-21, describes a second type o f smaller
story, the non-biblical tale that while less attached to the biblical storyline nonetheless contains an
underlying narrative structure. Wright cites the apocryphal book Susannah as an example (cf. Daniel).
1 9 On the unique character and witness o f Johns Gospel as story, see Wright, New Testament and
the People o f God, 410-17; Mark W. G. Stibbe, John as Storyteller: Narrative Criticism and the Fourth
Gospel (SNTSMS 73; Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press, 1992); Timothy Wiarda,
Interpreting Gospel Narratives: Scenes, People, and Theology (Nashville: B&H Academic, 2010), 195
200 .

29

o f the plot. Furthermore, the basic story and smaller stories unfold according to a
particular point of view. For example, in the vineyard song o f Isa 5:1-7 the point o f view
shifts between the prophet (Isa 5:1-2), Yahweh (Isa 5:3-6), and back to the prophet (Isa
5:7). The characters involved in the speech include the speaker/singer, a beloved, and a
vineyard (Isa 5:1), the inhabitants o f Jerusalem and men o f Judah (Isa 5:3), Yahweh of
hosts (Isa 5:7), and the house o f Israel and men of Judah (Isa 5:7). The identity and
interactions o f these characters within the metaphorical story must be observed as the
story, or song, itself develops.120 Isaiah 27 and John 15 are analyzed in the same way.
The reading strategy for this study, then, is inductive.
Therefore, narrative theology is employed in the present study in order to read
pertinent selections o f Scripture according to its structure. This may be called a forward
reading methodology for biblical theology. This methodology stems from the conviction
that the structure of a text serves as the container for its meaning or sense. And, that the
sense o f a text can occur as Cotterell and Turner observe on the sentence, paragraph, and
discourse level.121 The sentences and paragraphs o f Isaiah 5:1-7,27:2-6, and John 15:117 (in light of contemporary Jewish literature), therefore, present us with a meaning that,
when read together, tell the story o f Gods fruitful vineyard inaugurated in Jesus Christ
and his disciples. That story culminating at John 15 presents a similar but different story
from the early postbiblical, or Second Temple, Jewish literature.
It should be noted, however, that this method for biblical theology is not the only
method. It would be just as legitimate to read John 15 in its narrative context then look
120 See chapter 2 below.
121 Peter Cotterell and Max Turner, Linguistics & Biblical Interpretation (Downers Grove, 111.:
IVP, 1989), 77-82.

30

back to pertinent OT vine or vineyard texts. This method operates as a backward reading
(in direction, not necessarily in plausibility), as seen in Rainer Bongs methodology.

Yet, the present study follows the vineyard metaphor as it unfolds from the 8th c. B.C. to
the 1st c. A.D. in order to discern how the proposed vineyard story develops, and to see
the various themes it provides along the way. This forward reading method of the story
and stories o f Scripture explains the structure o f the chapters 2-4 in this study.

The Metaphors, Allusions, and Typology o f Scripture


Poetics and intertextuality together constitute the second major tool of biblical theology.
This two-part tool is employed as the primary instrument o f exegesis used to read the
story and stories o f the Bible just described. With respect to poetics, the examination of a
biblical metaphor, the vineyard metaphor, is described.123 The use o f intertextuality, or
inner-biblical exegesis, refers to the observation of allusions and typology in the study.
As for metaphor, the Bible contains numerous images drawn from the Sitz im
Leben of ancient Israel and the first-century A.D. Church. These images provide vibrant
material for the construction o f metaphors that, in turn, communicate theology.124
Timothy Laniak, for example, shows the heuristic power of the shepherd as a metaphor
for God and Israels leaders throughout Scripture.125 Biblical imagery o f vines and
122 See Borig, Weinstock, 15-16.
123 The precedent for describing metaphor as an aspect o f poetics is early. See Aristotle, The
Poetics (trans. W. Hamilton Fyfe; London: William Henemann; Cambridge: Harvard University Press,
1927; repr. 1953), xxi. 7-xxii. 19.
124 For a thorough survey, see Leyland Ryken, ed., Dictionary o f Biblical Imagery (Downers
Grove: 1VP, 1998). The Psalms, for example, are rife with images that function in manifold ways. For a
recent taxonomy, see Allen P. Ross, A Commentary on The Psalms: Volume (1-41) (Grand Rapids: Kregel,
2011), 90-109.
125 Laniak, Shepherds After My Own Heart.

31

vineyards likewise has roots in the life o f ancient Israel.126 Carey Ellen Walsh shows how
viticulture flourished in ancient Israel due to its suitable location, weather (alternating
rainy and dry seasons), soil, and even its hilly topography.127 She notes that vineyard
terms are . . . used frequently in biblical description and attain a metaphoric prominence
unrivaled by any other mundane feature of Israelite life.128
Readers of the story and stories of Scripture may notice such imagery, but also
may regard it only as ornamental language on top o f propositional truths. As Kirsten
Nielsen states, Images taken from nature are often so self-evident that we forget to ask
[for instance] whether it is fair at all to compare the leaders of Jerusalem or the great king
o f Egypt with proud trees . . . .129 That is, in the interest o f theology, readers may fail to
discern the function of a particular image in its literary and historical contexts, thus
limiting the theological implications o f the text(s) in which the image appears. The
present study eschews that temptation. Instead, the historical context and function o f the
imagery in the pertinent texts is carefully considered. In order to do so, some theoretical
foundations and definitions for metaphor and imagery are required.
The scope o f the present study precludes significant discussion o f the study of
metaphor, a discipline in its own right. Brief mention can be made, though, o f the three

126 Domestication o f the wild grape may have begun early in the ancient period. Daniel Zohary
argues that the earliest evidence o f transformation from a wild grape (v/7/s sylvestris) to a domesticated
grape (vitis vinifera) . . . comes from the Chalcolithic (ca. 3700-3200 BCE; Tell esh-Shuna in the Jordan
Valley) and the Early Bronze Age (3200-1900 BCE; Jericho, Lachish, and Numeira). Daniel Zohary, The
Domestication o f the Grapevine Vitis Vinifera L. in the Near East, in The Origins and Ancient History o f
Wine (eds. Patrick E. McGovern et. al; Luxembourg: Gordon and Breach, 1995), 28, cited in Victor H.
Matthews, Treading the Winepress: Actual and Metapohrical Viticulture in the Ancient Near East, Semia
86 (1999), 19-20.
127 Walsh, Fruit o f the Vine, 27-33. Walsh also shows how Israel mixed grain farming and
horticulture from its earliest years (cf. Deut. 8:8). Cf. Matthews, Treading the Winepress.
128 Walsh, Fruit o f the Vine, 2.
129 Kirsten Nielsen, From Oracles to CanonAnd the Role o f Metaphor, SJOT 17:1 (2008),
25 .

32

views of metaphor, articulated by Max Black. This brief overview will allow for the
articulation o f the approach to metaphor taken in this study. First, there is the substitution
view o f metaphor wherein a metaphorical expression stands in place of, is substituted for,
a literal expression.130 The figures of speech known as metonymy and synecdoche, for
example, represent two prominent uses of substitution in the Bible.131 Black describes the
second view o f metaphor as the comparison view in which a writer intends to point out
the underlying analogy or similarity between two subjects.132 Similes (e.g., like a tree
planted by rivers o f waters [Ps 1:3]), provide an example o f comparisons.133 G. B. Caird
discusses metaphor as an aspect o f comparison, and identifies four kinds o f comparisons:
perceptual, synaesthetic, affective and pragmatic. According to Caird, the meaning o f the
metaphor or simile turns on the kind o f comparison it creates.134 The third view, which
Black prefers, is called the interaction view because the system o f associated
commonplaces connoted by the two subjects in the metaphor interact to create a new
meaning for the subjects in the metaphor.135 By interaction view, Black means that the
contexts associated with the words for the subjects, not only the words themselves (e.g.,
Jesus or vine), interact in the metaphor. As Laniak descrbies, A metaphor leads us

130 Max Black, Models and Metaphors: Studies in Language and Philosophy (Ithaca, N. Y.:
Cornell University Press, 1962), 31; cf. van der Watt, 14-15.
131 See Allen P. Ross, A Commentary on the Psalms: Volume I (1-41), 96-105.
132 Black, Models and Metaphors, 35.
133 Ross, Psalms, 1:90. Ross (pp. 90-96) also lists metaphor, hypocatastasis, parable, allegory,
personification, anthropormorphism, zoomorphism, and idiom as figures o f speech that make comparisons.
Note that he includes metaphor within a comparison view, which differs from Blacks taxonomy followed
here. The standard work on imagery is E. W. Bullinger, Figures o f Speech Used in the Bible: Illustrated
and Explained (London: Messrs, Eyre, Spottiswoode, 1898; repr. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2008). He
distinguishes a figure from literal speech and delineates three large categories o f figures: involving
omission, involving addition, or involving change.
134 G. B. Caird, The Language and Imagery o f the Bible (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1980), 144-49.
Caird (pp. 149-59) also argues that visualization and correspondence and development are two other
components o f metaphor as comparison.
135 See Black, Models and Metaphors, 38-47. The quote is found on p. 40, emphasis original.

33

to reconsider the two distinct domains from the perspective of the shared elements in
focus.136 On the interaction view, the socio-cultural and even theological connotations of
the subjects in the metaphor must be investigated in order to grasp the metaphor.
The approach taken in this dissertation follows, in general, Blacks interaction
view o f metaphor. The investigation of the contextual background for the vine imagery at
John 15:1-17 stems from this understanding o f metaphor.137 The approach taken here
does not deny a comparison between, for example, Jesus and the true vine. Rather, the
approach in the present study acknowledges a deeper, contextual and intertextual,
interaction between the two subjects, Jesus and vine. In this vein, two scholars prove
especially helpful for the method employed in the present study.
In her work on OT metaphors, Nielsen observes that metaphor is contextual,
cognitive, performative, and reusable.138 Metaphor is contextual in that, Imagery acts in
a specific context by an interaction between two different statements.139 At John 15:1,
for example, I am and true vine interact to provide the meaning o f Jesus utterance.
Metaphor is cognitive because, Information can be derived from imagery in the form of
new proposals for understanding reality.140 If it is not the first instance o f the metaphor,

136 Laniak, Shepherds after My own Heart, 33. This view was first adduced by I. A. Richards, The
Philosophy o f Rhetoric (London: Oxford University, 1936), but sharpened by Black.
Such is the purpose o f portions o f the present chapter, and chapters 2 and 3.
138 See Nielsen, There is Hope fo r a Tree; idem, Old Testament Imagery in the Gospel o f John;
idem, Metaphors and Biblical Theology, in Metaphor in the Hebrew Bible (ed., P. van Hecke; BETL
187; Leuven: University Press, 2005), 263-73; and esp. From Oracles to Canon, 22-33, which
represents a reworking o f her earlier methodological comments in There is Hope fo r a Tree, 25-67. Nielsen
is certainly not the only scholar to recognize the use o f metaphors in doing biblical theology. See also
Elmer Martnes, Reading the Earth Story in Both Testaments, in The Old Testament in the Life o f G ods
People: Essays in Honour o f Elmer Martens (ed., John Isak; Winona Lake, Ind.: Eisenbrauns, 2009), 231
41.
139 Nielsen, There is Hope fo r a Tree, 65. She is inspired by Max Blacks theory o f interaction,
which holds that there is polyvalence in language. Cf. Caird, Language and Imagery, 149, [M]etaphor,
like literal language, is capable o f multiple meaning.
140 Ibid.

34

Isaiah 5 is likely the most influential o f the OT vineyard texts. Thus, it and its
complement, Isaiah 27, invite special consideration. Next, metaphor can be called
performative since . . . the object of imagery is to involve the hearers in such a way that
by entering into the interpretation they take it over as their own perception o f reality
(performative function).141 At Isa 5:3, 7 for example, the audience o f Isaiahs prophecy
is called to render a verdict about the vineyard from the metaphor they have just heard.
Finally, metaphors are reusable in that [ijmagery can be reused in another context, with
possibilities of new interpretation and new evaluation of the informative function and the
performative function respectively. 142 Such is the case for John 15. The argument o f the
present study is that John reuses, in some way, Isaiahs use of vineyard imagery.143 This
final point about metaphor leads to a discussion o f intertextuality below.
With respect to the NT, and especially Johns Gospel, the study o f metaphor or
symbolism serves as a sub-discipline o f Johannine scholarship.144 Specific to John 15, the
recent work o f J. G. van der Watt proves especially helpful for the present study.
Following the theories o f Black and Paul Ricoeur, van der Watt observes a number of
metaphors such as birth, life, love, and the vine, which form a network that runs
throughout Johns Gospel. That metaphoric network then refers to the root or principal

141 Ibid.
142 Ibid., 65-66. Nielsen (pp. 87-123), discuss a chief characteristic o f vineyard imagery in Isaiah
is its reception to new interpretation and the occasion for production o f a new text. See her new thoughts,
however, in Nielsen, From Oracles to Canon, 25-33.
143 How and to what end John reuses that imagery is the question o f chapter 4 below.
144 Recently, see JOrg Frey, Jan G. van der Watt, and Ruben Zimmermann, eds., Imagery in the
Gospel o f John: Terms, Forms, Themes and Theology o f Johannine Figurative Language (WUNT 200;
TObingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2006); Craig Koester, Symbolism in the Fourth Gospel: Meaning, Mystery and
Community (2d ed.; Minneapolis: Fortress, 2003); Wai-Yee Ng, Water Symbolism in John: An
Eschatological Interpretation (Studies in Biblical Literature, 15; New York: Peter Lang, 2001); Adesola
Joan Akala, The Son-Father Relationship and Christological Symbolism in the Gospel o f John (LNTS 505;
New York: Bloomsbury T & T Clark, 2014).

35

metaphor o f the Gospel, i.e. family.145 John 15, like John 10, is o f interest since it
employs imagery from the OT to construct its metaphor.146 Especially pertinent to this
study is van der Watts point that John 15 tells a story by way o f its imagery.147 Van der
Watts observations on the function o f the metaphor at John 15 inform the exegesis of
John 15:1-17 after the possible allusion to Isaiah 5 and 27 has been analyzed. That step,
then, requires discussion of intertextuality.
The second aspect of this second component o f biblical theology is intertextuality.
A brief word on terminology is in order before describing the method. Intertextuality, or
inner-biblical exegesis, generally refers to the use of an early text in a later text in the
production of new meaning. This study has no commitment to either term, given the
amount o f debate surrounding both, especially intertextuality, which has roots in
postmodern literary theory.148 The term intertextuality is used in this study to refer only
to the phenomenon of one authors use o f an earlier authors text or concept, by allusion
or typology, in the creation o f the later text and its meaning.

145 Van der Watt, Family o f the King, esp. 394-434.


146 Thus, Nielsens fourth criteria for metaphor, i.e. reusability.
147 Van der Watt, Family o f the King, 54.
148 Two streams o f literary criticism source the ever-growing river o f intertextuality in biblical
studies. The first stream originates in the work o f French literary critic Julia Kristeva, a member of a radical
social-literary group in France. She first coined the term intertextuality in 1967. For Kristeva
intertextuality is the Intersection o f textual surfaces rather than a point (a fixed meaning). Julia
Kristeva, Desire in Language: A Semiotic Approach to Literature and Art (New York: Columbia
University Press, 1980), 65. Kristevas point was not to show influence between texts, but rather to show
the relationship between text, reader, and culture. On her approach applied to postmodern biblical studies
see, George Aichele and Gary A. Phillips, Introduction: Exegesis, Eisegesis, Intergesis, Semeia 69/70
(1995), 7-19. The second stream comes from the work o f Harold Bloom and John Hollander. Bloom
sought to explain (psychoanalytically) what poet(s) influenced another even though such influence is
inappropriate. For Bloom, every poem is a misinterpretation o f a parent poem. Harold Bloom, Anxiety o f
Influence (New York: Oxford University Press, 1973), 194, cited in Richard Hays, Echoes o f Scripture in
the Letters o f Paul (New Haven: Yale, 1989), 17. More positively, John Hollander argues that later poets
charitably allude to or echo others in order to make a new point. See John Hollander, The Figure o f Echo:
A Mode o f Allusion in Milton and After {Berkley: University o f California Press, 1981), ix cited in Hays,
Echoes o f Scripture, 19. On the use o f the term intertextuality, see G. K. Beale, Handbook, 39-40.

36

The method followed in this study integrates the work o f three scholars to show
the intertextual relationship between Isaiah 5 and 27 and John 15. The criteria for
discerning Johns intertextuality follow Richard Hayss criteria,149 but are adapted with
criteria for shared language in a recent article by Jeffery Leonard.150
Building on the work o f Michael Fishbane,151 Hays delineates three kinds of
intertextuality: quotation, allusion, and echo. Hays sees the three as . . . points along a
spectrum of intertextual reference, moving from the explicit to the subliminal. 152 Since
quotations are easier to identify, Hays provides seven criteria for identifying allusions
and echoes: availability, volume, recurrence, thematic coherence, historical plausibility,
history o f interpretation, and satisfaction.153 The study below focuses on allusions, but
not echoes, and so depends especially on the first five of these criteria.
It is hoped that the historical plausibility of the allusion to Isaiahs vineyard story
at John 15 emerges from reading chapters 2-4 o f this dissertation together. As shown
above, the history o f interpretation has focused upon Isaiah 5, and other OT texts, at the

149 Hays, Echoes o f Scripture, 14-33. Stanley Porter critiques Hays on the grounds that he
conflates allusions and echoes, and that the last four criteria are matters o f interpretation not discovery. See
Stanley Porter, Allusions and Echoes, in As It Is Written: Studying Paul's Use o f Scripture (eds., S. E.
Porter and C. D. Stanley; SBLSymS 50; Atlanta: SBL, 2008), 29-40, esp. 36-40. The appropriation of
Hayss criteria in the present study does not imply total agreement with Hayss approach to NT
intertextuality. Rather, the present study employs Hayss criteria as a methodological starting point. Others
working in the field note Hayss significant influence and take him as a starting point. See, e.g. Beale,
Handbook, 32-35. Beale (pp. 34-35) also refutes some o f Porters critiques o f Hays.
150 Jeffery M. Leonard, Identifying Inner-Biblical Allusions: Psalm 78 as a Test Case, JBL 127:2
(2008), 241-65. Leonard works with OT allusions in the OT, but his criteria also fit NT use o f the OT.
151 Michael Fishbane, Biblical Interpretation in Ancient Israel (Oxford: Oxford University Press,
1985). Fishbane (pp. 1-19) distinguishes between an original scriptural traditum and its unfolding traditio
and thus argues that the varying and expanding traditio-legal, aggadic, and mantalogical exegesis-of the
traditum coalesced in the exile so that Jewish exegesis has its origin in a very ancient tradition.
152 Hays, Echoes o f Scripture, 23.
153 Ibid., 29-32. Beale, Handbook, 32-33, adopts and slightly adapts Hayss criteria. Not all,
however, agree with Hayss approach. See, e.g., Aichele and Phillips, Introduction: Exegisis, Eisegesis,
Intergesis, 7,12, n. 5, who charge Hays with seeking conservative ideals such as literary influence and
authorial intent. Note, however, Hayss own words in Echoes o f Scripture, 33, that seeking Pauls intent
would . . . impose a severe and arbitrary hermeneutical restriction.

37

neglect of Isaiah 27 when considering the allusion(s) at John 15. Thus presenting one of
the main problems addressed in this study. As for satisfaction, readers are the determiners
of this point making it a less than universally accepted and reliable criterion.154 As far as
availability, chapter 3 contains the evidence that the Isaiah vineyard narrative shows up
prominently in the literature and even media o f early Judaism. If the authors o f these texts
had access to and interpreted these texts, then it is highly unlikely that John and his
biblically informed audience would not have access to the same.
Jeffery Leonard sharpens Hayss criteria of volume, recurrence, and thematic
coherence with eight more thoughts for shared language, which provide tests for
discerning legitimate verbal and contextual links. Also following Fishbane, he writes,
(1) Shared language is the single most important factor in establishing a
textual connection. (2) Shared language is more important than non-shared
language. (3) Shared language that is rare or distinctive suggests a stronger
connection than does language that is widely used. (4) Shared phrases
suggest a stronger connection than do individual shared terms. (5) The
accumulation of shared language suggests a stronger connection than does
a single shared term or phrase. (6) Shared language in similar contexts
suggests a stronger connection than does shared language alone. (7)
Shared language need not be accompanied by shared ideology to establish
a connection. (8) Shared language need not be accompanied by shared
form to establish a connection.
Leonards criteria are used in this study because they help sharpen the connection
between conceptual, or contextual, and verbal links between two biblical texts.
The demonstration of specific verbal allusions follows the work o f Hans HUbner,
who suggests links in table form.156 Hubners table is adapted in chapter 4 to demonstrate

154 See Beale, Handbook, 33.


155 Leonard, Identifying Inner-Biblical Allusions, 246.
156 Httbner, Johannem.

38

the lexical links between Isaiah 5; 27; and John 15.157 In this dissertation, verbal links
suggest a contextual link. Contextual links are important because the argument o f this
study is not that John makes an allusion to a single text, but rather to the vineyard
narrative o f Isaiah 5 and 27. The proposed allusion to the Isaiah vineyard narrative will
prove plausible, then, only if both verbal and contextual links can be shown.
Finally, the nature o f Johns allusion to the Isaiah vineyard narrative is explained
in this study in terms of typology, or typological fulfillment. Thus, brief attention must be
given to the concept of typology integrated into the present methodology.158 Typology is
the phenomenon whereby an author describes a person, place, or event by way of
reference to an earlier person, place, or event in Scripture.159 It is, as David Baker argues,
. . . theological reflection on relationships between events, persons, and institutions
recorded in biblical texts.160 Typology, then, is a way o f thinking, a presupposition of
the biblical authors who reflect on the correspondence o f Gods actions in and through
history.161

157 For instance, links (e.g., fruit [xapmis]) not noted by Hiibner are indicated by an asterisk (*).
158 Like metaphor, the study o f typology constitutes a sub-discipline o f biblical hermeneutics. See
especially, Leonard Goppelt, Typos: Typological Interpretation o f the New Testament (trans. Donald H.
Madvig; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1982); G. W. H. Lampe and K. J. Woolcombe, Essays on Typology
(SBT; London: SCM Press, 1957); Richard M. Davidson, Typology in Scripture: A Study o f Hermeneutical
tvttot; Structures (Andrews University Seminary Doctoral Dissertation Series, 2; Berrien Springs, Mich.:
Andrews University Press, 1981). Waltke, Old Testament Theology, 136-42, identifies typology as a type
o f intertextuality. He also differentiates between non-transformative and transformative intertextuality (pp.
126-28). This study examines transformative intertextuality. Also, in relation to Hayss spectrum, typology
could be at work in any o f the three, though more easily identified in a quotation or allusion. The present
study deals with the examination o f typology by way o f allusion.
159 The definition and description o f typology here is indebted to the discussion in David L. Baker,
Two Testaments, One Bible: The Theological Relationship Between the Old and New Testaments (3d ed.;
Downers Grove: IVP, 2010), 169-89.
160 Ibid., 181.
161 See Richard N. Longenecker, Biblical Exegesis in the Apostolic Period (2d ed.; Grand Rapids:
Eerdmans, 1999), 76-79; Beale, Handbook, 95-102.

39

As understood and applied in the present study, typology is not a mode o f


exegesis or a broad method of interpretation. It is not equivalent with allegory, nor is it a
type o f sensus plenior}62 Rather, typology is concerned with the historical and
theological correspondences between the people, places, and events mentioned in
Scripture. In the OT, for example, creation images serve as a paradigm for a new creation
(Gen. 1-2; Isa. 9:2; 11:6-9; 65:17), and the exodus provides the prophets a type for a new
exodus (e.g., Isa. 11:15-16; 43:16-21; 52:11-12; Jer. 16:1415).163 Thus, later OT texts
contain eschatological expectations that use past history, or in the present case images of
that history (the vineyard), given in previous texts to anticipate the future fulfillment of
that history. This way o f looking at history is likewise present in the NT, as will be seen
in Jesus reference to the true vine, vinedresser, branches, and fruit at John 15:1-17. It is
also present in much of the early postbiblical Jewish literature.164
In a study o f the biblical usage o f type (ronoq), Richard Davidson finds a
relationship between five TUJtoq structures mentioned in the NT (see 1 Cor 10:1-13; Rom
5:12-21; 1 Pet 3:18-22; and Hebrews 8 and 9) and Heilsgeschichte, or salvation history.
He concludes that types (t u j c o i ) evince a historicality [that]. . . may be identified with

162 As E. Earle Ellis states, [U]n!ike allegorical exposition, the typology o f the NT writers
represents the OT not as a book o f metaphors hiding a deeper meaning but as an account o f historical
events and teachings from which the meaning o f the text arises. Ellis, Foreword, in Goppelt, Typos, x.
This view differs from, for example, Manlio Simonetti, Biblical Interpretation in the Early Church (trans.
John A. Hughes; Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1994), 32, n.7, who argues that typology is a form o f allegorical
interpretation," . . . intending by allegory the interpretive procedure (saying one thing and signifying
another) and by typology the contents o f allegorical interpretation (the Old Testament, typos o f the New
Testament). Christopher A. Hall, Reading Scripture with the Church Fathers (Downers Grove: IVP,
1998), 133-135, for instance, follows Simonettis approach. On the distinction from sensus plenior, see
Baker, Two Testaments, One Bible, 184-5; Scobie, The Ways o f Our God, 89-90; cf. Longenecker, Biblical
Exegesis, xxxi-xxxiv, for a brief overview o f the issues related to sensus plenior.
163 See Baker, Two Testaments, One Bible, 171-2.
164 In Jubilees, for example, Daniel Patte notes, typology is actually a peculiar way o f looking at
history. Daniel Patte, Early Jewish Hermeneutic in Palestine (SBLDS 22; Missoula, Mont.: 1975), 161.

40

constituent elements of salvation history and may be subsumed under that heading . . .
,i65 Tjiereforej typology includes the concept of salvation-historical escalation. For
example, John frequently identifies Jesus with David and Davids sufferings (e.g., Ps
41:9 at John 13:18; Ps 69:4 at John 15:25). Yet, in so doing Johns Gospel implies Jesus
is greater than David .166 As Leonard Goppelt observed much earlier than Davidson,
typological allusions or quotations o f the OT in the NT . . . declare that there is
something here, which corresponds to the substance of the OT parallels and yet is
greater.167 The phrase salvation historical escalation refers to this apparent awareness
in Scripture of a move from the lesser (e.g., David) to the greater (e.g., Jesus).
In summary, typology refers in the present study to the biblical authors way of
thinking as they relate the contents (people, places, and events) o f salvation-history. This
way o f thinking is inherent in OT and NT and in the relationship between the two.
Therefore, references to typology or typological fulfillment in the present study occur
with the above description in mind.

The Plan o f the Argument


As for the structure of the study, in chapter 2, the vineyard story o f Isaiah is examined.
The main questions addressed in the chapter are: What is the relation between Isaiah 5
and 27? What is the relation o f those chapters to the entire book o f Isaiah? And, what is
the primary theme, or message, o f those texts as considered? In reply, the chapter offers
165 Davidson, Typology in Scripture, 405. On salvation history, see, Baker, Two Testaments, One
Bible, 139-166; Robert W. Yarbrough, The Salvation Historical Fallacy? Reassessing the History o f New
Testament Theology (History o f Biblical Interpretation Series 2; Leiden: Deo, 2004).
166 See Margaret Daly-Denton, David in the Fourth Gospel: The Johannine Reception o f the
Psalms (AGJU, 47; Leiden & Boston: E.J. Brill, 2000). On Johns concept o f fulfillment, see, Brian J.
Tabb, Johannine Fulfillment o f Scripture: Continuity and Escalation, BBR 21 (2011), 495-505.
167 Goppelt, Typos, 199.

41

the thesis that the vineyard story o f Isaiah 5 and 27 tells the story o f Yahwehs judgment
and restoration o f his true people, the remnant o f Israel (answering questions 1 and 3). In
this way, the vineyard story communicates the story o f the book of Isaiah in miniature
(answering question 2 and 3). The chapter contains a close reading o f Isaiah 5 in the
context o f Isaiah 1-12, and o f Isaiah 27 in the context of Isaiah 24-27. In between these
readings, the intertextual connections between Isa 5:1-7 and 27:2-6 are established.
Intertextuality in the study refers generally to the practice o f allusion and/or typology
to another earlier biblical subject (person, place, or event) by the authors o f the texts
investigated. In the chapter, special attention is given to three elements, 1) the function of
the vineyard imagery, 2) the terms house of Israel and men o f Judah at Isa 5:7 and
Jacob and Israel at Isa 27:6, and 3) the connection of the vineyard story to other texts
in Isaiah (e.g., Isa 37:31-32).
Chapter 3 contains a study o f vineyard imagery in the literature, architecture (e.g.,
temple), and media culture (e.g., coinage) o f early postbiblical Judaism. The term early
postbiblical Judaism (or Jewish literature) serves as a synonym for Second Temple
Judaism (or Jewish literature), because it precludes investigation o f the rabbinic
literature.168 That is, it is early because it denotes the corpus o f Jewish literature that
predates the rabbinic literature. It is postbiblical because it postdates the Old Testament
literature. The primary research question o f the chapter is, if the vineyard narrative o f
Isaiah was embraced by Israel, why would they have embraced an image that evoked
only judgment? The chapter offers the thesis that OT vineyard imagery, especially
168 The period refers to the time between the dedication o f the second temple ca. 516 B.C. and its
destruction in A.D. 70. The Rabbinic literature emerged well after A.D. 70. See Shaye D. Cohen, From the
Maccabees to the Mishnah (2d ed. Louisville: WJK, 2006), 6-8. Cohen rightly notes the vague nature of

42

Isaiahs vineyard narrative, appears prominently in in this period because it


communicates election theology. The Dead Sea Scrolls, OT Apocrypha, OT
Pseudepigrapha, and writings o f Philo are studied in turn for their use of both literal and
figurative vine/vineyard and fruit terminology.169 Special attention is given to the
appearance o f Isaiahs vineyard imagery in each o f these corpora. The final section
briefly sketches the socio-religious terrain of Johns Gospel, and its first hearers, in the
light of the findings in the early postbiblical Jewish literature.170
Chapter 4 contains the crux of the argument for this study. The question o f this
chapter is, how does the Isaiah vineyard narrative help explain the language and theology
of John 15:1-17? In response to this question, the following thesis is defended: At John
15:1-17, Jesus announces the inauguration of the fruitful vineyard promised at Isa 27:26 . After setting the context for Jesus speech 171 at John 15:1-17, the verbal and

conceptual links between the Isaiah vineyard narrative and John 15:1-17 are established.
As described in the methodology section, the work o f Richard Hays, Jeremy Leonard,
and Hans Hubner aids in demonstrating the links between Isaiah and John. From these
verbal linkages, the shared concepts between Isaiah and John 15, including the use of
Isaiah elsewhere in John, are discussed. With these linkages in place, an exegesis o f John
15:1-17 is provided to show the plausibility and implications o f the proposed linkages.
early Judaism. Thus, the descriptor postbiblical" is added in this dissertation to denote the period and
literature, for the most part, dated after the OT period and literature.
169 The tables show references in the texts to vine(s) or vineyard(s) according to their literal
(lit.) or metaphorical (fig.) usage, and the figurative use of fruit. Since he describes the presence o f vines
on the temple, Josephuss use o f vineyard terminology is considered in the section on the imagery in the
culture.
170 Several texts from this period, e.g., 4 Ezra and 2 Baruch, share a similar date o f origin and
worldview with Johns Gospel. Thus, they aid in the construction o f Johns, and his readers, socio
religious terrain.
171 See chapter 4 below for brief discussion o f this assumption.

43

To that end, Johns conceptions of abiding and fruit bearing are considered in detail. The
chapter concludes with four theological themes that emerge from the reading o f John 15.
Chapter 5 concludes the study. The results o f the study are followed by proposed
implications for John 15, Johns Gospel, and biblical theology. Some suggestions for
further study sketch out how these implications might impact future scholarship in the
areas of John 15, Johns Gospel, and biblical theology.

Assumptions of the Study


The following assumptions should be kept in mind as one reads the present study. First,
the approach of this dissertation stems from the belief that exegesis is essential for the
construction of biblical theology. The argument and methodology adduced above will
only be as plausible and helpful as the exegesis o f specific texts is appropriate and
defensible. Christopher Seitz observes, Debates from a prior period most frequently
emerge over a specific exegetical problem .. . . The exegesis urges and gives rise to the
discussion o f method .172 Therefore, methodological and thematic implications for other
texts, which form the contours o f a biblical theology, are developed from the conclusions
of the exegesis o f texts. The question o f course is, what constitutes exegesis? The
remaining assumptions deal with the answer assumed in this study.
Second, the biblical and extra or post-biblical texts that provide the objects of
exegesis are read as unified products. Their unified status includes the order or structure
in which they stand. As Meir Sternberg comments, Unavailable in the sequences o f life,
each ordering assumes significance against the background o f the rejected options.. . . As
172 Christopher Seitz, Prophecy and Hermeneutics: Toward a New Introduction to the Prophets
(Studies in Theological Interpretation; Grand Rapids: Baker, 2007), 200.

44

with global, so with local ordering.73 Thus, the final structure o f the texts investigated is
taken to be meaningful and, therefore, the container for its meaning. The text, not the
readers (implied or real) or even first-hearers o f the text, though important, provides the
starting point of exegesis in this study .174
Third, texts have authors who intend meaning in their texts,175 but the identity of
those authors is not integral to the argument or exegesis o f this study. Again, the subject
of investigation is the final form o f the texts.176 Fourth, such an assumption, however,
does not mean that the texts investigated, especially Isaiah and John, are ahistorical.
Instead, the present study assumes the reliable character o f the texts, which witness to the
truth-telling capabilities o f their author(s). As Francis Watson states, truth is textually
mediated.177 And texts such as Johns Gospel represent narrated history .178 Fifth, and
finally, this study assumes that biblical theology is a legitimate discipline that may
helpfully bridge exegesis and systematic theology, and thus the Bible and the life and

173 Meir Sternberg, The Poetics o f Biblical Narrative (Bloomington, Ind.: Indiana University
Press, 1987), 478.
174 In contrast to, for example, Kirsten Nielsens stated approach in Old Testament Imagery in the
Gospel o f John, 67. By taking the active listener or reader as our starting-point we are in good company
with much current exegesis.
175 The arguments o f Francis Watson, Text and Truth: Redefining Biblical Theology (Grand
Rapids: Eerdmans, 1997), esp. 95-126, and Kevin J. Vanhoozer, Is There a Meaning in this Text? The
Bible, The Reader, and The Morality o f Literary Knowledge (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1998) remain
important and inform the assumption noted here. On the topic o f polyvalence, see F. Gerald Downing,
Ambiguity, Ancient Semantics, and Faith, NTS 56 (2009), 139-62.
It is noted that the final form o f the text is not an ahistorical entity, a point which Brevard
Childs, Biblical Theology, 55-106, sees as integral to the construction o f Biblical Theology. Cf. Scobie, the
fVays o f Our God, 73-75.
177 Watson, Text and Truth, 2.
178 Ibid., 33-69. On this point, which relates to the genre o f the Gospels, see also Jonathan
Pennington, Reading the Gospels Wisely: A Narrative and Theological Introduction (Grand Rapids: Baker
Academic), 18-35; Michael F. Bird, The Gospels o f the Lord: How the Early Church Wrote the Story o f
Jesus (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2014), 221-80, esp. 270-73 on the relation to Jesus history.

45

faith o f the church .179 Some may disagree,180 but the legitimacy of this assumption can
only be demonstrated in the argument below and the implications that may come from it.
The following chapters take up that argument.

179 See Charles H. H. Scobie, The Ways o f Our God, 46-49. On the hermeneutical issues o f this
relationship, see, D. A. Carson, Systematic Theology and Biblical Theology, in New Dictionary o f
Biblical Theology (eds., T. Desmond Alexander et al.; Downers Grove, 111.: IVP, 2000) 89-104.
180 For example, RSisSnen, Beyond New Testament Theology.

46

CHAPTER2
THE STORY OF YAHWEHS VINEYARD

As seen in chapter 1, the use o f vineyard imagery throughout the Old Testament
functions to communicate the realities of Yahwehs relationship with Israel and the
nations (e.g., Isa 5:1-7; 27:2-6; Jer 2:21; Ezek 15:1-8; 17:10-14; 19:1-14; Hos 10:1; Ps
80:8-16). The theme of Yahwehs judgment of Israel was shown to be especially
prominent in Johannine scholarship. Yet, it was also shown, judgment is not the only
theme conveyed by the use o f vineyard imagery. The same imagery appears at Isa 27:26 , where Yahweh promises to renew his elect people in the future. A comparison o f the

OT vineyard texts and John 15:1-17 showed that an allusion to the Isaiah vineyard story,
which necessarily includes Isa 27:2-6, may better explain the language, imagery, and
theology of John 15:1-17 than an allusion to a single OT proof text, especially those texts
that convey the judgment of Israel (e.g., Jer 2:21; Ps 80:8-16).
In the first major step in this pursuit, the present chapter offers the thesis that the
vineyard story of Isaiah 5 and 27 tells the story o f Yahwehs judgment and restoration of
his true people, the remnant of Israel. In this way, the vineyard story communicates the
story o f the book of Isaiah in miniature. To pursue this thesis, the chapter gives a close
reading of Isaiah 5 in the context o f Isaiah 1-12. The intertextual connections between
Isa 5:1-7 and 27:2-6 are then established before reading Isaiah 27 in the context o f Isaiah
24-27. In the reading o f these texts, special attention is given to three elements, 1) the

47

function of the vineyard imagery, 2) the terms house o f Israel and men o f Judah at
Isa 5:7 and Jacob and Israel at Isa 27:6, and 3) the connection o f the vineyard story to
other texts in Isaiah (e.g., Isa 37:31-32).' In this way, the intended effect o f Isaiahs
vineyard story on the original hearers and subsequent readers may be discerned. This
strategy is pursued to defend further the dissertations primary claim, that at John 15:1
17 Jesus announces the inauguration o f the Isaiah vineyard narrative and the long-awaited
restoration o f Gods true people.

Isaiahs Story of Yahwehs Vineyard


The book of Isaiah tells the story o f Yahwehs judgment upon his people so that they
might be redeemed, renewed, and restored. Isaiah tells o f the sinthe covenant breach
of Judah and especially Jerusalem, and the consequences for such sin. Yet, Isaiah also
tells o f the promise o f redemption, renewal, and restoration for those who truly repent
from their sin and worship Yahweh alone (Isa 1:27-31). The logic o f Isaiah, then, is one
of judgment o f all for the restoration of many applied to Jerusalem in particular. The two
vineyard texts, Isa 5:1-7 and 27:2-6, follow this logic and so tell the story o f Isaiah in
miniature.

Isaiah 5: The Vineyard Judged


The vineyard song o f Isa 5:1-7 has received great attention in Isaiah scholarship for its
location in Isaiah 1-12, genre and imagery, and rhetorical thrust. Before analyzing the
1 For this dissertation, the book o f Isaiah is taken as a unity, regardless o f the possible redactional
history behind the text. For further elaboration on the books unity see, e.g., J. A. Motyer, The Prophecy o f
Isaiah: An Introduction and Commentary (Downers Grove, III.: IVP: 1993), 30-33; R. E. Clements, The
Unity o f the Book o f Isaiah, Int 36 (1982), 117-29; Brevard Childs, Isaiah (OTL; Louisville: Westminster
John Knox, 2001); Ulrich F. Berges, The Book o f Isaiah: Its Composition and Final Form (Hebrew Bible
Monographs 46; Sheffield: Sheffield Phoenix, 2012). Thus, the question o f the authorship o f Isaiah is not
germane to the present chapter.
2 There are many instances o f renewal outside Israel. See, e.g., Isa 11:12-16; 56:6-8; 65:17-25.

48

song itself,3 the literaiy and historical setting in Isaiah must be examined. This
examination will in turn allow for some initial observations about its genre. The imagery
and rhetorical thrust of the passage are discussed in the analysis o f the passage itself.

The Context o f Isaiah 5 within Isaiah 1-12


Isaiah 1-12 establishes the primary topic and goal for the rest o f the book (Isaiah 1-66).
William Dumbrell rightly argues that Isaiahs overmastering theme is Yahwehs
concern for and dealings with the city of Jerusalem and thus the nation. As such, Isaiah 1
provides the literary and topical introduction to the book: Yahweh judges downtrodden
Jerusalem and the nation (Isa 1:7 -8 ,21-23), for he has a covenant lawsuit with his
people (Isa 1:2-4). But Jerusalem (Zion) will also be renewed and restored through
Yahwehs judgment (Isa 1:24-31). The book also concludes in this key: a New Jerusalem
on Gods holy mountain (Isa 66:20-24) conveys the prophesied New Creation where
Gods redeemed servants reside (Isa 65:1725).4 The contents o f Isaiah 1-12 oscillates
between these themes o f judgment (e.g., Isa 2:6-4:1) and restoration (e.g., 2:1-5; 4:2-6).
It also oscillates between the historical (e.g., Isa 6- 8) and eschatological (e.g., Isa 11-12).
Both are fundamental to the purpose of the book ,5 which is established by chapters 1-12.
How Isaiah 5 relates to this setting provides a key to discerning its purpose.

3 So called because o f the first word o f Isa 5:1, let me sing (.Tp^N).
4 William Dumbrell, T h e Purpose o f Isaiah, TynBul 36 (1985), 112. Significantly, the historical
narrative at Isaiah 36-39 is also concerned with the fate o f the city. See Christopher R. Seitz, Zion's Final
Destiny: The Development o f the Book o f Isaiah: A Reassessment o f Isaiah 36-39 (Minneapolis: Fortress,
1991).
5 See Dumbrell, The Purpose o f Isaiah, 123. He also notes (p. 116), [T]he eschatology o f the
book o f Isaiah aims at reversing the situation described in Isaiah 1.

49

Isaiah scholarship generally, if not universally, agrees that Isa 5:1-7 begins a new
literary sub-section of the book (Isa 5:l-30).6 It follows a promise o f restoration (Isa 4:26 ) but describes severe judgment (Isa 5:8-30), a message that extends through Isaiah 6- 8 .

Hence, Isaiah scholarship debates whether chapter 5 ends the introductory section (Isaiah
1-5) or begins the next major section (Isaiah 5-12). J. A. Motyer sees Isa 5:1-30 as a
single unit that concludes the preface (Isa 1:1-5:30) to the whole book (Isaiah 166 ).7
Marvin Sweeney argues, however, for the latter approach. Isaiah 5:1-30 has no
syntactical connection to Isa 4:2-6, and the topic shifts from restoration o f Jerusalem (Isa
4:2-6) to the judgment o f Judah and Israel (Isa 5:17).8 Thus, he reads Isa 6:1-12:6 as
explaining how the situation pictured in Isaiah 5 . . . came about and where it was
meant to lead .9 Isaiah 5 proclaims what Isaiah 6-12 explains, which is . . . the fate of
Israel and Judah in relation to the threat by Assyria.10 Sweeneys approach also makes
sense o f the lexical connections between Isa 5:25 and Isa 9:11, 16, 20 (cf. Isa 10:4)."
Isaiah 5:1-7 can, then, be related to 5:8-30 as follows: 5 ,8 -2 4 and 5,25-30 comprise
the two elements o f a larger unit concerned with accusing the people and announcing
6 See H. G. M. Williamson, Isaiah 1-27: Volume I (Isaiah 1-5) (ICC; London: T & T Clark,
2006), 324.
7 Motyer, Isaiah, 40-41; cf. John N. Oswalt, The Book o f Isaiah: Chapters 1-39 (NICOT; Grand
Rapids: Eerdmans, 1986), 150-51.
8 Marvin Sweeney, Isaiah 14 and the Post-Exilic Understanding o f the Isaianic Tradition (ZNW
171; Berlin; New York: de Gruyter, 1988), 38. Note that Isa 4:2-6 also serves as abookend to Isa 2:1-5.
9 Ibid., 43.
10 Ibid., 37.
11 Specifically, the repetition o f the phrase his hand is stretched out
Wildberger
thinks that Isa 5:1-7 should be read independently from Isa 5:8-24, which parallels the woe o f Isa 10:1-4,
and Isa 5:25-30, which parallels the poetic form o f Isa 9:7-20. He speaks (p. 224) o f the . . . wide-ranging
consensus . . . that Isa 5:25-30 belongs to the same context as Isa 9:7-20. See Hans Wildberger, Isaiah 112 (CC; trans. Thomas H. Trapp; Minneapolis: Fortress, 1991), 188-245. Sweeney, Isaiah 14,3 7 ,
appreciates this approach but laments the failure to read Isaiah, particularly chapters 5-12, in its final form.
As Gary V. Smith, Isaiah 1-39 (NAC 15A; Nashville: B & H, 2007), 161-62, rightly observes: No direct
literary connection (being part o f the same document) is required between sermons that happen to use
similar phrases (chaps. 5 and 9-10) if they were spoken years apart under different historical and
theological conditions. An author may choose to repeat phrases in unrelated sermons to emphasize a point
or to remind the reader of what was said in the earlier passage.

50

their punishment. Since the parable in 5 ,1 -7 also describes corruption and its
punishment, 5, 8 ff. spells out in detail what is parabolically stated in 5 , 1-7 .12 This
understanding of Isaiah 5 within Isaiah 1-12 informs the exegesis below.
The genre o f Isa 5:1-7 has been debated extensively. In 1977, J. T. Willis found
at least twelve proposals for the genre. Willis proposes that a parabolic song o f a
disappointed husbandman" best describes the text.13 G. A. Yee agrees with Willis, yet
compares Isa 5:1-7 with the covenant lawsuit form o f Deuteronomy 32.14 She finds both
this form and a song at Isa 5:1-7. According to Yee, the juridical parable in song form
functions to indict only the inhabitants of the southern kingdom, Judah (cf. Isa 5:3).15
These proposals reflect a form-critical approach, which seeks to identify either a Sitz im
Leben behind the text or redaction(s) that led to the final form. It is important, however,
to keep in mind Williamsons warning that . . . there are different elements to which
justice needs to be done if the analysis is to be faithful to the text.16 The text as it stands
is the primary concern of this chapter.

12 Sweeney, Isaiah 1 - 4 ,38-9.


13 J. T. Willis, The Genre o f Isaiah 5:1-7, JBL 96 (1977), 337-362, esp. 359. See also David J.
Clark, The Song o f the Vineyard: Love Lyric or Comic Ode? A study o f the Oral and Discourse features
o f Isaiah 5.1-7, in Discourse Perspectives on Hebrew Poetry in the Scriptures (New York: United Bible
Societies, 1994), 131-46.
14 Gale E. Yee, A Form-Critical Study o f Isaiah 5:1-7 as a Song and a Juridical Parable, CBQ
43 (1981), 30-40. On the covenant lawsuit (rib-pattem) see Herbert B. Huffmon, The Covenant Lawsuit
in the Prophets, JBL 68 (1959), 285-95; G. W. Ramsey, Speech-Foims in Hebrew Law and Prophetic
Oracles, JBL 96 (1977), 45-58; Kirsten Nielsen, Yahweh as Prosecutor and Judge: An Investigation o f the
Prophetic Lawsuit (RJb-Pattem) (Sheffield: JSOT Press, 1978).
15 Ibid., 38-39. Gerald Sheppard finds the lawsuit form interspersed in both Isa 5:1-7 and Isa
3:12-15, which also uses the vineyard as people image. The final shape o f these texts indicates a redaction
that, for Sheppard, supports Yees proposal for a juridical parable at Isa 5:1-7. See Gerald T. Sheppard,
More on Isaiah 5:1-7 as a Juridical Parable, CBQ 44 (1982), 45-47.
16 Williamson, Isaiah 1 - 5 ,327. Form-critical and redactional concerns, while legitimate, require
supplementary interpretations that seek to discern the function o f the literary form. Cf. Willis, The Genre
o f Isa 5:1-7, 359: The scholars primary goal should be to determine and define the genre o f a text in
such a way as to comprehend all that is in the text.

51

To this end, two recent proposals merit attention. First, Kirsten Nielsen argues
that Isa 5:1-7 evinces three genres: a song, a (juridical) parable, and a metaphorical
narrative. In the third aspect, Nielsen takes into consideration the function o f the imagery
as an authentic Isaianic statement.17 As Nielsen observes, all interpreters agree that Isa
5:1-7 uses imagery, but the interpretive key lies in discerning the rhetorical purpose for
which Isaiah deploys the vineyard imagery. Both the original and subsequent hearers of
Isa 5:1-7 must attempt to enter into the interpretation o f the text, which climaxes at Isa
5:7.18 Second, Gary Williamss method offers a way to do what Nielsen suggests.
Williams finds numerous frustrated expectations indicated in the text. He states, As
we read through the passage, again and again we are led to expectations which are shortly
proven false. These false expectations force us to reinterpret the passage repeatedly.19
As such, he encourages later interpreters to interpret Isa 5:1-7 . . . dynamically, i.e., as
it is revealed bit by bit .20 The knowledge gained from verse 7 (i.e. the identity of the
vineyard) must be delayed while interpreting earlier parts (e.g., the beloved at v. 1).
The exegesis below follows the emphases o f Nielsen and Williams. The structure
o f Isa 5:1-7 governs the interpretation o f the metaphor that starts at Isa 5:1-2. Attention
to later realities (e.g., Jesus Christ) not revealed by the text itself are withheld in favor o f
a close reading o f Isa 5:1-7 within the context of Isaiah 1-12. Connections can then be
made between Isa 5:1-7 and Isa 27:2-6. The story of Yahwehs vineyard emerges from
17 Nielsen, There is Hope, esp. 89-90, 97-100.
18 Ibid., 98.
19 Gary Roye Williams, Frustrated Expectations in Isaiah V 1-7: A Literary Interpretation, VT
XXXV 4 (1985), 459-65.
20 Williams, Frustrated Expectations, 465. Only after reading and interpreting the whole song
can we then claim, as Carey Ellen Walsh, The Fruit o f the Vine: Viticulture in Ancient Israel (HSM 60;
Winona Lake, Ind.: Eisenbrauns, 2000), 90, does: The reality o f Yahweh and his love for Isaiah (cf. Isa
6:1-5) shapes his song about Yahwehs vineyard, his people. Yahweh loves his vineyard as Isaiah loves his
God.

52

these connections. Therefore, the voice o f Isaiah can be heard on its own terms before
investigating the proposed appropriation o f that voice at John 15.

The Back Story o f the Vineyard (Isa 5:1-2)


Isaiah 5:1 provides a complex start to this story. The verse has a parallel structure:

jfa rqffl T 71!?to}

m i l n ^ T 7 ) n ; n Q i ? Y21
The first half line, Let me sing now for my beloved a song, my beloved concerning his
vineyard, presents several challenges. The interpretation of the verse turns on
identifying three figures: the one singing, my beloved C T T ). and my beloved pliT).
In the independent clause, the first person cohortative, let me sing (TT^X) with the
particle S|, signals the prophet as the speaker and indicates his desire and intention .22 The
identity of my beloved is less clear, though obviously it is one close to Isaiah .23 The
masculine singular noun (T7?) appears elsewhere in the OT as one beloved by God (e.g.,
Deut 33:12; Ps 127:2). The same form as at Isa 5:1

O lT !?) appears at Jer 11:15, where

Yahweh speaks o f his impending judgment on his feminine beloved, Jerusalem and
Judah: What right has my beloved ('lT,7'!?) in my house when she has done so many evil
deeds .24 Yet, at Isa 5:1 the prophet speaks, or sings, on behalf o f his beloved about the

21 Let me sing now for my beloved a song, my beloved concerning his vineyard. My beloved had
a vineyard on a fertile hill. Unless otherwise noted, all Hebrew translations are the present authors own.
22 GKC 108; cf. Bruce K. Waltke and M. O Connor, An Introduction to Biblical Hebrew Syntax
(Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns, 1990), 573.
23 Nielsen, There is Hope, 90.
24 Jeremiah 11:16-17 connects the text with arboreal imagery: A luxuriant olive tree with
beautiful fruit, Yahweh once called your name . . . Yahweh o f Hosts who planted you has pronounced
disaster against you (nyi 7$y 737 7 ypfcn h itq ? n p i ... 701? rnjv x ^ w n ? n p .^ y in T ).

53

beloveds vineyard .25 The song intentionally retains a lack o f clarity at this point.
The next half line of Isa 5:1 has traditionally been rendered, . . . a song o f my
beloved about his vineyard

17i7 DT^?). Yet debate exists on the identification of

my beloved 0717). Proposals include an uncle (cf. Lev 10:4), a pagan deity ,26 Christ,27
or a lover. This last, more popular approach associates the use o f 717 and D*)3 at Isa 5:1
with Song o f Songs, which repeatedly refers to a husband-wife relationship using the
same terminology (Song 1:6; 2:15; 4:16; 8:12).28 As Williamson notes, It has
occasionally been thought that, since elsewhere 7i7 is usually used by a female o f a male,
the singer is here adopting the guise o f the woman in the relationship, singing o f her
lovers vineyard .29 If the original audience o f Isa 5:1-7 (see Isa 5:3) were aware o f the
Songs imagery, then they may have interpreted Isa 5:1 as a song about a husbands love
for his wife .30 On this reading, Isa 5:1-7 presents a [N]arrative about a man and his
wife, but with the special refinement that the narrative is formed in imagery .31

BHS prints Jer 11:15-16 as a poetic section with Jer 11:17 beginning a new line o f narrative, indicated by
the waw disjunctive + Yahweh (iTIjVT).
25 Cf. Williamson, Isaiah 1 - 5 ,332.
26 Most recent scholars dismiss the view. See Williamson, Isaiah 1-5, 333: [T]here is no firm
evidence that such a god ever existed . . . .
27 Jerome followed Aqulias reading o f Ps 44:1 (LXX) into Gospels, stating, But that Christ is
called beloved and most dear, which Aquila understood to mean patradelphon, kindred through a father,
the forty-fourth psalm teaches us in its inscription, A song for the beloved, as does the voice o f God the
Father in the Gospel: This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased. See Steven A. McKinion,
ed., Isaiah 1-39 (ACC; Downers Grove: 1VP, 2004), 39. Cf. Williamson, Isaiah 1-5, 333, who notes that
Luther picked up on this reading.
28 The form my beloved O il?) appears 19 times in Song o f Songs 1:13,14, 16; 2:3, 8-10, lb 17; 4:16; 5:2, 4 ,8 ,1 0 ,1 6 ; 6:2; 7:12,14; 8:14(cf.H os 2:8).
29 Williamson, Isaiah 1 - 5 ,334.
30 Possibly at the marriage ceremony. Cf. Motyer, Isaiah, 68; Smith, Isaiah 1-39, 166. Williams,
Frustrated Expectations, 460.
31 Nielsen, There is Hope, 92. Nielsen identifies this thread as early as 1927, in the work o f Agae
Bentzen, Zur Erlauterung von Jesaja 5.1-7, AfO 4 (1927), 209-10.

54

The parallel structure noted above indeed allows for the lover interpretation at
this point in the song. The one o f whom the prophet sings possesses (rPTl) the vineyard.
He had it on a fertile hill, literally, on a horn, a son o f oil (]$$"1? Hi?/?)- The phrase
works as a metonymy o f adjunct, connoting the fruitful yield expected from a vineyard in
such a location. The lexeme 1$$ elsewhere can refer to the fertility o f the land (Gen
27:28; Num 13:20). Hence, the my beloved of whom Isaiah sings has provided amply
and admirably for his beloved, his bride. The beloved selects and then keeps the best
spot for a vineyard.32 Yet, at Isa 5:2 the narrative takes an unexpected turn.
The prophet describes in three parallel lines the detailed processes o f vineyard
work undertaken by the beloved:

piiznnytpn

DTO

l ^ i 33

The verbal forms at the front o f each line indicate that a story is being told .34 As with Isa
5:1, the language o f Isa 5:2 coheres with what an 8th c. B.C. audience likely knew o f
viticulture. The first line, And he dug it out and cleared it o f stones, and he planted it

32 Walsh, The Fruit o f the Vine, 94-6, notes that hillside viticulture, accomplished by terracing,
allowed urban dwelling farmers to keep their vineyard close to home, while freeing up the valley beds and
more fertile soils for the grains nascent to Israelite agriculture (cf. Deut 8:8). Thus, the prophets often
connect divine blessing and restoration with the appearance o f vineyards on a hillside (cf. Amos 9:13).
33 And he dug it out and cleared it o f stones, and he planted it with a choice vine. He put a
watchtower in the midst o f it and also hewed out a wine vat in it, and he waited for it to yield grapes but it
yielded stinking grapes.
34 Each line begins with a preterite + waw consecutive (3rd person imperfect) verb, indicating past
time narrative. See Allen P. Ross, Introducing Biblical Hebrew (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2001), 136-8; GKC
11 la.

55

with a choice vine . . . 35 denotes a careful tilling of the soil by hand and clearing it of
large stones. The first verb, and he dug (P\V) is a hapax legomenon, which refers to the
working of the earth with a tool.36 The phrase it will not be hoed (TTV- N1? !)at Isa 5:6
affirms the intentional work done by hand at Isa 5:2. The clearing o f stones evokes the
sight o f the farmer removing the burdensome rock that could choke out the plants .37 Once
this work is complete, the farmer can set about planting and protecting the vines.
So the beloved friend did exactly that: and he planted it with a choice vine
(pniznnVl??]). The planting of a vine shoot or branch (cf. Isa 11:1), instead o f seed,
reflects typical viticultural practice .38 The choice vine (p"HZ?) is significant in the OT .39
The use here indicates the beloved o f Isa 5:1 has selected the best location, used the best
land clearing and tilling practices, and planted the best plant, the plt2?.40
The second line continues the narrative: he put a watchtower in the midst o f it
and also hewed out a wine vat in it. Vintners put in such instillations to ensure the
protection and efficiency of a vineyard. The wine vat or winepress (3p?) was an
35 Isaiah 5:2 LXX offers a different reading o f this line: And I placed a hedge around and I fenced
it in and I planted a choice vine (xal 4>payfr4v mept0)xa xal ^apaxw ua xal tyurtuaa fipireXov cupijx). By
skipping the digging and clearing stages, it emphasizes the protective measures taken by the singer (note
the first person verbs). Thus, it conflates the singer with the beloved o f Isa 5:1 (LXX). Yet, there is no
problem with the MT and it follows more strictly the processes for 8th c. viticulture. The MT also maintains
the tension o f the song that only resolves at its denouement (Isa 5:7). Isaiah 5:2 LXX parallels the MT in
the next line. There is no reason the MT should not be followed throughout the song (Isa 5:1-7).
36 BDB, pry, 740; cf. Walsh, The Fruit o f the Vine, 97.
37 Even though vines often function well in rocky soil. See Walsh, The Fruit o f the Vine, 98-9.
38 Walsh, The Fruit o f the Vine, 100.
39 At Judges 16:4 the noun specifies a particular place, in the valley o f Soreq (pl'W ^njjl), and
thus elsewhere signifies the kind o f red grape associated with this valley. Zech 1:8 refers to the sorrel
(D1p'ltp) colored horse standing behind the man riding on a red horse. In the oracle against Moab (Isa 1516), similar vineyard imagery refers to the destruction o f Moabs choice vines by the lords o f nations, i.e.
foreign invaders (.T p n tp
b i l
Isa 16:8). Cf. Smith, Isaiah 1-39, 338. At Jer 2:21, it evokes
Yahwehs election o f Israel and his planting them in the land (cf. Exod 15:17).
40 See Walsh, The Fruit o f the Vine, 106-110, for discussion on the philology o f plttf, and the
likelihood that usage at Isa 5:2 connotes not the red color, but the origin o f the vine plant from the Valley
o f Sorek (Judges 16:4); cf. Victor Matthews, Treading the Winepress, 26.

56

obvious choice. Wine production was the main purpose o f a vineyard .41 The winepress is
hewed out ( 2 X0 ), likely referring to the carving out o f the press from the bedrock itself.
By locating the winepress inside (13) the vineyard rather than outside the vine rows, the
beloved intended efficiency, multiplying the possibilities for a bountiful harvest 42
The function of a tower in the midst o f it (iDinijl b^Q ) was less clear.43 The
reference is, as Walsh observes, . . . unique in the Hebrew Bible for its inclusion o f a
tower within a vineyard.44 The lexeme tower (b^Xft) appears 51 times in the OT, and
usually refers to the installations (proud) humans built for protection o f their cities.45 The
only other use o f b^D in an agricultural setting appears at 2 Chr 26:9-10, where Uzziah- a lover of the soilmade efforts to support the mixed economy of Israelite agriculture
outside of Jerusalem .46 The tower, then, is for protection and perhaps for a dwelling.
Isaiah elsewhere references similar installations to picture Yahwehs judgment
and restoration o f Judah. At Isa 1:8, the prophet demurs that [DJaughter Zion remains

41 SeeN um 18:27,30; Deut 15:14; 16:13; 2 Kings 6:27; Job 24:11; Prov 3:10; Isa 5:2; 16:10; Jer
48:33; Hos 9:2; Joel 2:24; 4:13; Hag 2:16; Zech 14:10. The Torah often pairs it with the threshing floor
to explain the offerings expected from worshippers. Walsh notes two synonyms in the OT: FIX, which
in each instance references the pressing process, and IT^S, which appears figuratively in two prophetic
texts (Isa 63:3; Hag 2:16) to highlight the capacity o f the press for the purposes o f divine judgment. O f the
three terms, DjJ is the more comprehensive as it can refer to the treading floor, collecting vat, and channels
for the grape juice (Walsh, The Fruit o f the Vine, 162-63). The prophets then pull from this tradition to
utilize winepress metaphorically. See, e.g., Joel 4:13. Cf. Williamson, Isaiah 1 - 5 ,337-38.
42 Walsh, The Fruit o f the Vine, 142-43; Matthews, Treading the Winepress, 27. Walsh, The
Fruit o f the Vine, 148-62, also observes that archeological surveys o f the Iron Age period corroborate the
these details at Isa 5 :2 .4Q500, which also mentions the winepress, will be discussed in chapter 3 below.
43 Walsh, The Fruit o f the Vine, 127-28.
44 Ibid., 129.
45 Genesis 11:4-5; Exod 14:2; Num 33:7; Jdg 8:9,17; 9:51-52; 2 Kgs 9:17; 17:9; 18:8; 1 Chr
27:25; 2 Chr 14:6; 26:9-10,15; 27:4; 32:5; Neh 3:1,11,25-27; 8:4; 12:38-39; Pss 48:13; 61:4; Prov 18:10;
Song 4:4; 5:13; 7:5; 8:10; Isa 2:15; 5:2; 30:25; 33:18; Jer 31:38; 44:1; 46:14; Ezek 26:4,9; 27:11; 29:10;
30:6; Zech 14:10. Isaiah uses the term in this sense at Isa 2:15; 30:25; 33:18.
46 Walsh, The Fruit o f the Vine, 129-32. Second Chronicles 26:10 notes Uzziah built these
instillations because Op) he had many herds and had farmers and vinedressers (MT: Dfrjp); LXX:
dpreXoupyol), because Op) he was a lover of the soil.

57

like a booth in a vineyard (DpT?

The vulnerable booth connotes

Jerusalems precarious political and spiritual status during the days o f Uzziah. Shelter is
necessary but limited from the coming storms. According to Isa 4:6, on the day o f the
glorified branch of Yahweh (Isa 4:2), a booth will become shade by day from the
heat (Dl'na

n;nn HpJQ'l). Here, the booth connotes the protection Yahweh will

give his true people on his day .47 The booth(s) were made o f branches and/or animal
skins.48 The tower o f Isa 5:1 was most likely constructed o f the stones taken out o f the
vineyard. The protective capacity of the tower ( ^ Q ) in the midst o f the vineyard (Isa
5:2) thus exceeds the capabilities o f a booth (H3Q). As Walsh summarizes,
The stone tower offered improvement over a booth in terms o f
permanence and as a cooling agent. It might have carried some prestige
as well, demonstrating the commitment o f the vintner to his cultivation.
This prestige is glimpsed in Yahwehs choice o f
over
pHttf
over l?Jand a hill slope for his vineyard. Isaiahs divine vintner at all
points was using the best options within Israelite viticulture 49
The tower of Isa 5:2, then, connotes the generosity o f the beloved toward his vineyard. At
every stage, the beloved took great care to cultivate, protect, and provide for the vineyard.
The final line (Isa 5:2c), however, changes the mood o f this song: and he waited
for it to yield grapes but it yielded stinking grapes (DT O m ' l DJJJS?

^ D -50

The verb he waited (lj?D stresses the time and expectation the beloved had invested in
the vineyard. The verb n)j? appears over 40 times in the OT, always to stress the hopeful
47 A day following the judgments to come (cf. Isa 6:11-13); see the discussion below of Isa 27:2.
48 The term evokes Yahwehs protection o f Israel during the wilderness wanderings. See esp. Lev
23:3443; Walsh, The Fruit o f the Vine, 136-42.
49 Walsh, The Fruit o f the Vine, 137; cf. Matthews, Treading the Winepress, 27.
50 Isaiah 5:2 LXX reads, I remained for it to make a bunch o f grapes but it made thorns (xal
2fteiva to O iro ifjo ra t o~ra4><Aijv kttolriaev 8k dxavfla?). Both versions emphasize the persistence o f the beloved
and the poor yield in the vineyard. As at Isa 5:1, there is no reason to follow the LXX over the MT.

58

expectation o f something.51 Isaiah employs the verb 15 times; most often referring to the
trust the audience ought to put in Yahweh .52 Most significant, the verb appears three
times in this passage (Isa 5:2,4, 7) to stress that the beloved waited on the grapes
(Q^ i ?)53 o f the vineyard. As shown in chapter 4 below, the LXX translated n)j? with
ytivu (cf. John 15:1-17). The wait time for an initial vineyard harvest from a newly
planted vineyard was substantial.54 Given the story told to this point, the original
audience may have thought of such a harvest. They would have been surprised, therefore,
by the result, stinking/sour grapes (D,${t:-1). At Isa 5:2,4, the plural noun refers to the
abundant stink fruit or shameful grapes the beloved got back for all his labors.55
The tragic irony conveys what Williams identifies as the first in a series of
frustrated expectations encountered by the hearers of Isa 5:1-7:
It becomes immediately evident that this song is not the brides, for she
would hardly sing thus of her own failures. It begins to appear that the
purpose o f the song is not to praise the groom but to lay the foundation for
a complaint against his wife. Consequently, in v. la layedidi and dodi
must be reinterpreted as references to a close friend o f the p o et... .56
The close friend

o f the poet turns this apparent song o f celebration into a lament.

51 Genesis 49:18; Job 3:9; 6:19; 7:2; 17:13; 30:26; Pss 25:3, 5,21; 27:14; 37:9, 34; 39:8; 40:2;
52:11; 56:7; 69:7, 21; 119:95; 130:5; Prov 20:22; Isa 5:2,4, 7; 8:17; 25:9; 26:8; 33:2; 40:31; 49:23; 51:5;
59:9, 11; 60:9; 64:2; Jer 3:17; 8:15; 13:16; 14:19, 22; Lam 2:16; 3:25; Hos 12:7; Mic 5:6.
52 The faithful in Judah are exhorted to wait on Yahweh (e.g., Isa 25:9). See Isa 5:2,4, 7; 8:17;
25:9 (x2); 26:8; 33:2; 40:31; 49:23; 51:5; 59:9,11; 60:9; 64:2.
53 This is the typical term, along with grape cluster
for the harvest from a vineyard in
the ANE and Israel. See Walsh, The Fruit o f the Vine, 167-71.
54 After planting the vines, the vintner usually had to wait four to five years for the first small
harvest. So Walsh, The Fruit o f the Vine, 20; cf. Lev 19:23-25 and Deut 20:6. The actual harvest took place
in the late summer after the grapes were tested for readiness. See Matthews, Treading the Winepress, 27.
55 The related lexeme, though different root, ttiNJ appears 22 times in the OT, 17 times as a verb
and often in reference to a despised people-group (e.g., Exod 5:21; 1 Sam 13:4; 2 Sam 10:6). See BDB,
tfXJ, 92; Gen 34:30; Exod 5:21; 7:18,21; 8:10; 16:20,24; 1 Sam 13:4; 27:12 (2x); 2 Sam 10:6; 16:21; 1
Chr 19:6; Ps 38:6; Prov 13:5; Eccl. 10:1; Isa 50:2. There is doubtful additional usage at Isa 30:5. Each of
the three uses o f the noun form (ttftt^l) refers to the stench given off by something (Isa 34:3; Joel 2:20;
Amos 4:10).
56 Williams, Frustrated Expectations, 461.

59

As Nielsen explains, if the first hearers o f Isaiahs song (Isa 5:1-2) heard it an erotic
code, the end o f verse 2 reveals that they had the wrong key for this song .57 The
disappointment indicates that my beloved C jil) o f Isa 5:1 cannot be an uncle, lover, or
even Christ.58 At this stage in the text we do not yet know the referents for the vineyard
or the beloved. Indeed, this is the point. Isaiah 5:12b invites the hearers and readers into
a story that pictures a scene of the beloveds methodical and loving work in and for his
vineyard .59 This story heightens expectations that quickly becoming frustrated (Isa 5:2c).
Verses 3-6 contain the basis for these frustrations.

The Trial Story o f the Vineyard (Isa 5:3-6)


Isaiah 5:3-6 marks a significant shift in the speaker and mood of the text. Two and
now (nfjy']) lines at verses 3 and 5a provide the logic and structure, shown as follows:

5:3

T;n rr?
5:4

5:5a

rn v r

n^i1 n $ n

nitps?1? rrjij? y ^ a 13
nftV

sA"ny T N ^>21

5:5b oq"!??1? n;ni iT?a n s i v i )


5:6a

'>"|3l? t o n i^ y y n n

ip.n

T g # rftyi ">7V.

nna in jrtfiji

57 Nielsen, There is Hope, 96-7.


58 The details o f Isa 5:1-2 should not be taken allegorically, as if the beloved refers to the Son,
the tower to the apostles o f the church, or the vineyard as human souls. See Athanasius, Against the
Arians 4.24 (NPNF^ 4:442); Ambrose, Six Days o f Creation 3.12.50 (FC 42:104-5); Basil the Great,
Homilies on the Hexaemeron 5.6 (NPNF 8:79); cf. McKinion, Isaiah 1-39, 38-9.
59 Motyer, Isaiah, 68.

60

5:6b

i$ y TjDZ?n ; r o b ayjj by.]60

Waltke and O Connor note that n$y) signifies . . . a shift in argumentative tack with a
continuity in subject and reference.61 Thus their paraphrase, And now (that you know
these basic facts), Jerusalemites, render judgment between my vineyard and me: What
more was there to do for my vineyard that I did not do . . . ? And now (that you have
formed a judgment), I will reveal to you what I am going to do with my vineyard .62 The
paraphrase gives the sense of the shift in the story following the frustrated expectation of
Isa 5:2c. Beginning at Isa 5:3, the beloved speaks and the audience is thrust into his story.
The question o f the identity o f the audience arises at Isa 5:3a. Many interpreters
read the construct phrase H llT

2y}V as collective nouns referring to the

general population o f Judah, inhabitants o f Jerusalem and men o f Judah .63 However,
Marvin Chaney argues that, in the light o f the 8th c. political economy, these terms refer
to the ruling elites of Jerusalem and Judah who oppressed the general population,

60 And now, inhabitants o f Jerusalem and men o f Judah, judge now between me and my vineyard.
What more could I do for my vineyard that I have not already done in it? For what reason have I waited for
it to produce good grapes and yet it produced stinking fruit? And now I declare to you what I will do to my
vineyard. I will remove its hedge and it will become for grazing / burning, I will break down its wall and it
will become for trampling. And 1 will put it to waste; it will not be pruned or hoed, and thorns and thistles
will grow up; and I will command the clouds not to rain on it. The structure shown here does not follow
exactly the BHS, which prints Isa 5:1-7 as poetry with each new line parallel to the other. The purpose of
this structure is to stress the two and now (nflST]) phrases. The presentation o f Isa 5:6, however, does
follow the BHS in starting the second line with and against (,7}7'J).
61 Waltke and O Connor, Hebrew Syntax, 667-68. Cf. H. A. Brongers, Bemerkungen zum
Gebrauch des adverbialen weatah im alten Testament, V T 15 (1965), 289-99; Wildberger, Isaiah 1-12,
182.
62 Ibid., 668. Cf. Williamson, Isaiah 1 - 5 ,338: . . . i.e. what do you think? . . . Well now, I will
tell you what I think.
63 See Oswalt, Isaiah 1-39, 153-4; John H. Hayes and Stuart A. Irvine, Isaiah The Eighth Century
Prophet: His Times and His Preaching (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1987), 101; Williamson, Isaiah 1-5,
338. Cf. NASB, NIV, NRSV, CJB, HCSB, ESV. The MT is technically singular: inhabitant o f Jerusalem
and man o f Judah. The LXX maintains one singular but translates the next and inverts the order: And
now, you man o f Judah and dwellers in Jerusalem (xai v u v f i v S p u i r o ? t o u Iou5a x a l o l I v o i x o O v t e ? v
IepouaaXrjp.).

61

especially the poor, of Judah .64 The relationship between the inhabitants of Jerusalem
and men o f Judah (Isa 5:3) and the house of Israel and the men o f Judah (Isa 5:7)
illuminates the original recipients o f this prophecy. But, given the strategy o f the present
study for interpreting Isa 5:1-7 dynamically, or inductively, a decision on the relationship
of 5:3 to 5:7 is deferred until after reading verse 7.
Isaiah 5:3b indicates a shift o f the speaker in the text. Whereas Isa 5:1-2 utilize
the third person singular for the beloved, at Isa 5:3 the first person appears: . . . judge
between me and my vineyard pp"]? PJH "T? xjriupW). As Nielsen observes, [T]he
distance previously present between the prophet and the owner of the vineyard
disappears. It is the betrayed himself who now begins to speak, asking his neighbors for
their verdict and asserting his own innocence in the form o f v. 4s rhetorical questions.65
Moreover, judge now! (xipOipW) starkly shifts the mood of this song. It is now a trial.
The language parallels that o f Isa 3:12-15, which indicts the people o f Yahweh in
a covenant lawsuit. Although Isa 5:3-6 does not use the technical T >terminology found
in such lawsuits (cf. Isa 3:13), both texts share the concept of a trial between a superior
and inferior. The call to judge between me and my vineyard (Isa 5:3) highlights the
beloveds ownership o f the vineyard because there has been a breach in the relationship.
Trial in civil court thus becomes necessary.66

64 Marvin L. Chaney, Whose Sour Grapes? The Addresses o f Isaiah 5:1-7 in the Light of
Political Economy, Semeia 87 (1999), 105-22. Chaney marshals social-scientific considerations o f 8lh c.
Judahite political economy, form-critical study o f Isa 5:1-7, and lexicographical evidence in his thorough
study. Chaney finds warrant for this claim at Isa 3:12-15, which also uses the vineyard as people metaphor.
At Isa 3:14, God entered into judgment with the elders and rulers o f his people (T] ^ l
JlppDy).
While Chaneys comparison is legitimate, the information given at Isa 5:3 must be correlated with Isa 5:7.
65 Nielsen, There is Hope, 95.
66 See Williams, Frustrated Expectations, 461. Such language reflects the covenant language
found throughout Isaiah. For example, Isa 1:2-4 contains the language o f creation (the heavens and earth)

62

Two parallel rhetorical questions at Isa 5:4 present the evidence for this
relationship. First, the beloved asks, What more could I do for my vineyard that I have
not already done in it? The expected and appropriate answer is, nothing. Second, the
beloved questions the expediency o f his decision to wait for grapes: For what reason
have I waited for it to produce good grapes and yet it produced stinking fruit? Again, a
negative reply, for no reason, is expected and appropriate. The audience o f the text
should come to these expected answers. With Isa 5:1-2, then, these expected answers (Isa
5:4) provide corroborating evidence that grounds the verdict and sentence.
Isaiah 5:5-6 give that verdict and sentence. The second hri?) clause (Isa 5:5a)
progresses the trial begun at Isa 5:3. After presenting the evidence with assumed
responses to his rhetorical questions (Isa 5:4), the beloved states his punishment. The
grammar o f Isa 5:5a indicates an urgent action: And now I declare to you what I will do
to my vineyard

The hiphil verb and enclitic particle, I declare (NjTny'TiN)

forcefully announces67 his coming action. The pronoun you (D!jl)l$) refers back to the
inhabitants o f Jerusalem and men o f Judah (Isa 5:3). The final phrase, what I will do to
my vineyard, emphasizes the beloveds ownership. This reiterates the final clause of Isa
5:3between me and my vineyardand leaves no doubt about the beloveds level o f
disappointment. It requires a judgment.
At Isa 5:5b, two parallel clauses specify the beloveds sentence. Each line begins
with an emphatic infinitive absolute ( P )! . . ."IQ7I),68 followed by a 3rd singular feminine

as covenant witnesses, a feature seen in Deuteronomy 32. On the covenant lawsuit see, esp. HufTmon, The
Covenant Lawsuit in the Prophets, 285-95 and Nielsen, Yahweh as Prosecutor and Judge.
67 Walkte and O Connor, Hebrew Syntax, 683-4.
68 Ibid., 595, n. 55. Cf. Motyer, Isaiah, 69, n. 2.

63

noun, rrn verb, and *pplus substantive. Literally translated, I will remove its hedge and
it will become for grazing/burning, I will break down its wall and it will become for
trampling .69 In the first clause, the syntax connotes the purpose and result o f the hedge
removal.70 Also at Isa 5:5b, the lexeme 1V2, in the prepositional phrase "ly?1? indicates
the removal o f protection either by the grazing of animals (cf. Exod 22:4) or the burning
o f the vineyard. The verb appears 17 times in Isaiah, most often to connote the
consumption o f something by fire.71 At Isa 6:13, the lexeme and ITT! verb OJH1? n n H])
refer to the burning of the tenth remaining. This use increases the likelihood that Isa 5:5b
refers to the consuming fires of judgment. In the second clause, the breaking o f the
vineyard wall (TV73, f "]S)72 results in its status as a place of trampling (OZJID1?).73 Most
likely, this refers to the effects o f foreign invasions (cf. Isa 7:25; Dan 8:13; Mic 7:10).
The language at Isa 5:6 expands the punishment. The beloved will put it to
waste (n r a )nrPU7$]).74 The vineyard will not be cultivated; he will not prune it or hoe it
O lT . N1?] 10J? N1?).75 All the attention previously lavished on the vineyard will be
completely reversed. Watts argues that this verse is key not only for the song but all of
69 The LXX follows the Hebrew grammar and syntax closely:
t 4v 4>paypiiv auToO xal lorat
el; StapTray^v xal xafleXS t 6v toT^ov auToO xal iarai ei? xartmtnjpia.
7 It may even connote the state o f the vineyard. See Ronald J. Williams, Hebrew Syntax: An
Outline (2d ed.; Toronto: University o f Toronto Press, 1976), 277-79.
71 See Isa 1:31; 3:14; 4:4; 5:5; 6:13; 9:17; 10:17; 19:11; 30:27, 33; 34:9; 40:16; 42:25; 43:2; 44:15;
50:11; 62:1. The niphal at Isa 19:11 connotes stupidity. Notably, at Isa 3:14 it refers to the elders and
princes who have consumed the vineyard (D*]$3 07)")y). On this point, Williamson makes an important
distinction between the two texts: there [Isa 3:14], the leaders o f the people are accused o f destroying the
vineyard (understood as a reference to the people); here, the vineyard (not yet identified . . . ) will be
destroyed because o f its own failings. See Williamson, Isaiah 1 - 5 ,340.
72 See also Isa 30:13; 54:3; 58:12; cf. Williamson, Isaiah 1-5, 340 and his discussion regarding the
same verb at Ps 80:13.
73 Williams, Hebrew Syntax, 279.
74 The lexeme
is a hapax legomenon at Isa 5:6. Cf. Isa 7:19 for the related but different word,
n$3(B D B , 144).
75 See Walsh, The Fruit o f the Vine, 97-98; Oded Borowski, Agriculture in Iron Age Israel
(Winona Lake, Ind.: Eisenbrauns, 1987), 107-8; Williamson, Isaiah 1 -5 ,340.

64

Isaiah 7-33. In the context o f Assyrian incursions in Palestine (ca. 750-734 B.C.),
desolation language dominates the section .76 Though not listed in Wattss treatment, nri^
at Isa 5:6 may be called a synonym o f this desolation. According to Watts, The plan to
destroy the vineyard thinly disguises the decree for the destruction o f the land.77 The
beloveds punishment on the vineyard will bring total results.
The results follow the beloveds abandonment o f the vineyard: but thistles and
thorns will come up ( r r $ ) "IW

The thistles and thorns

T $ ) represent

long-term abandonment and thus death for the vineyard from the ground up. This word
pair serves as a sub-motif o f the arboreal imagery o f Isaiah 1-39 .78 The nearest use
occurs in the promised judgment on Ahaz, his kingdom, and the land on that day (Isa
7:20,23-25). Due to Ahazs stubborn refusal o f Yahwehs provision (see Isa 7:1-17) the
land of a thousand vines (l^ l *^$) will be for thistles and thorns (rnrr rp$b)
Isa 7:23).79 Only hunters will roam the land with bows and arrows because thistles and
thorns will cover the land

rrnfl

T p $ " 'l3; Isa 7:24). Finally, the hills once

cultivated will be deserted because o f the thistles and thorns (n?$)

Isa 7:25).

This picture o f destruction of the land likely alludes to the promise at Isa 5:6 .80
At Isa 5:6b, the locus of punishment expands to the skies that provide rain. The
covenant blessings bring rain (Deut 11:11-14; 28:12), while covenant curses shut up the
skies (Deut 11:17; 28:23-24; cf. Lev 26:19). By alluding to these curses, Isaiah indicates
76 See the table in John D. W. Watts, Isaiah 1-39 (WBC 24; rev ed. Nashville: Thomas Nelson,
2005), 79.
77 Watts, Isaiah 1-39, 87.
78 See Isa 5:6; 7:23-25; 9:17; 10:17; 27:4; 32:13. The phrase is explored at Isa 27:4 in discussion
o f Isa 27:2-6 below.
79 The best, most valuable land for viticulture will be abandoned. Wildberger, Isaiah 1 -1 2 ,327.
80 See, e.g., Wildberger, Isaiah 1-12, 326-29; Motyer, Isaiah 1 -3 9 ,90.

65

that the beloved can and will command the clouds not to rain. Hayes and Irvine note,
Isaiah moves in his presentation to what no human owner could do . . . .81 The beloved
is not the prophet or a human husband. For those first hearers who still believed
otherwise, Isa 5:5-6 unveils the more-than-human beloveds now altered intention to
remove all the vineyard protections.82 He will abandon normal viticulture practice.
Indeed, the beloved intends not only to find better land for cultivating, now he plans to
attack the vineyard .83 The metaphorical narrative in song moves toward its end, which
comes at Isa 5:7 with the revelation o f the identity o f the beloved and his vineyard.

The Identity o f the Vineyard (Isa 5:7)


So far, the prophet has sung of the total care a beloved provided for his vineyard. Yet, the
vineyard did not bear the kind o f fruit desired (Isa 5:1-2). Thus, the frustrated beloved
speaks and calls the audience to join in his judgment upon the vineyard (Isa 5:3). The
means and scope o f that judgment is sketched at Isa 5:4-6. Repeatedly, the audience
builds expectations that become thoroughly frustrated. At Isa 5:7, the prophet reveals the
goal o f this metaphorical narrative. The purpose o f Isa 5:7a is to identify the historical
realities associated with the images o f Isa 5:1-6. At 5:7b, then, the metaphor recedes
behind the stated covenant rebellion committed by Judah. For this, all Israel will continue

81 Hayes and Irvine, Isaiah, 101; cf. Wildberger, Isaiah 1 -1 2 ,184; Motyer, Isaiah, 69. The power
to command the rain is divine. See 1 Kgs 8:35-36; Isa 30:23; Amos 4:7; cf. Gen 2:5; Ps 147:8 for evidence
of the divine power o f the beloved indicated at Isa 5:6.
82 On this reading, Isa 5:5-6 may have evoked the barrenness o f the bride (cf. 2 Sam 1:21). See
Williams, Frustrated Expectations, 461-62.
3 So Smith, Isaiah 1 - 3 9 ,167: " . . . by removing what protected it from animals who might walk
through i t . . . by no longer cultivating or caring for the plants . . . and by cursing the field to prevent rain
from falling on it (cf. Lev 26:19; Deut 28:23-24; Amos 4:7-8). Cf. Motyer, Isaiah, 69.

66

to incur Yahwehs refining judgment. The present section, then, provides an


interpretation o f the vineyard as referring to all Israel.

The house o f Israel and plant o f Judah according to Isaiah (Isa 5:7a)
As indicated by th e S clause,84 Isa 5:7 gives the interpretation of the prophets song, For
the vineyard o f Yahweh of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah his pleasant
plant (v p z ty # ypj rm rr W#} % $ '!

np

?). If there was any doubt

after Isa 5:6b, the prophet now reveals that the beloved of the song is Yahweh of
hosts .85 The referent of the vineyard, however, is less clear. The collocations, the house
of Israel, and the men of Judah (Isa 5:7) are related to the inhabitant(s) o f Jerusalem
and men o f Judah (Isa 5:3). How these titles relate provides the interpretive crux of the
passage. Here the phrase identifies Israel and Judah together as Yahwehs vineyard, not
one or the other.
G. B. Gray mentions two equally unlikely (for him) possibilities based on the
usage o f

IT? at Isa 5:7; either the vineyard refers to the northern kingdom, or it is

a synonym for Judah (cf. Isa 1:8).86 Wildberger argues that


the people o f God because of the synonymous parallelism with

rP2 refers to Israel as


UTS. Both terms

. . . are identical with the terms in v. 3, which means: the exact same group o f listeners ..
. . Those called to judge (Isa 5:3) have unwittingly judged themselves.87 In agreement,

84 See Williams, Hebrew Syntax, 451-52; GKC, 104a; cf. Smith, Isaiah 1-39, 168.
85 A preferred collocation for God in Isaiah: see Isa 1:9,24; 3:1,15; 5:7,9, 16,24; 6:3, 5; 8:13, 18;
9:6, 12, 18; 10:16,23-24,26,33; 13:4,13; 14:22,23,24,27; 17:3; 18:7; 19:4, 12, 16,17, 25; 21:10; 22:5,
12,14 (2x), 15,25; 23:9; 24:23; 25:6; 28:5,22,29; 29:6; 31:4, 5; 37:16, 32; 39:5; 44:6; 45:13; 47:4; 48:2;
51:15; 54:5.
86 G. B. Gray, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Book o f Isaiah 1-XXVll (ICC;
Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1912), 87.
87 Wildberger, Isaiah 1-12, 184.

67

many interpreters see the whole in view, wherein the men o f Judah forms part o f the
whole .88 Still others disagree.
Yee argues that this passage ironically indicts only the people o f Judah because
the house of Israel

rP3) refers to the northern kingdom .89 She gives two

reasons for this. First, the term never occurs in synonymous parallelism with men of
Judah or inhabitants o f Jerusalem, and other eighth-century prophets always use
house o f Israel with reference to the north .90 Second, the identification o f the vineyard
of Yahweh with the house of Israel parallels imagery in Hosea, who prophesied to the
north .91 The vineyard imagery o f Hosea compares favorably to Psalm 80, which may
have a dating similar to Isaiah 1-6 (734-32 B.C .).92 From Isa 5:1-6, then, the people of
Judah (Isa 5:3) would have inferred the north as the covenant breaker, the unfaithful wife
to Yahweh. Accordingly, Isa 5:7 causes Judah to see its situation in light o f the north.
Yee states, Although the vineyard o f the Lord o f Hosts is the north, the favorite plant o f
the Lord and ultimate offender of Yhwh is Judah .93 Thus, the people o f Judah are just as
unfruitful, so their judgment from Yahweh is just as great.
Offering a more novel interpretation, Chaney argues, Those trapped into selfcondemnation by the parable were the ruling elites o f Judah and Israel, led by two
dynastic houses and their sitting dynasties, not the general populations o f Jerusalem,
88 See, e.g., K. Delitzsch, Biblical Commentary on the Prophecies o f Isaiah (Edinburgh: Clark,
1898), 153; E. J. Young, The Book o f Isaiah (2 vols; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1970), 1:203; O. Kaiser,
Isaiah 1-12: A Commentary (OTL; Philadelphia: Westminster, 1972), 61; Nielsen, There is Hope, 110-14.
89 Yee, Form Critical Study, 37-8.
90 See Hos 1:4,6; 5:1; 6:10; 12:1; Amos 5:1, 3 ,4 ,2 5 ; 6:1, 14; 7:10; 9:9; Micah 1:5; 3:1,9.
91 See Hos 9:10; 10:1; 14:8 and the discussion above.
92 Psalm 80 also has a northern provenance similar to Hos. Yee cites [SJcholars such as Eissfeldt,
Mowinckel, Weiser, Briggs, Sabourin, and Dahood . . . but does not provide their rationale. Cf.
Akpunonu, The Vine, Israel, and the Church (Studies in Biblical Literature 51; New York: Peter Lang,
2004), 44-50, for various views on the background o f Ps 80. Yee, Form Critical Study, 38.
93 Yee, Form Critical Study, 38; cf. Williams, Frustrated Expectations, 462.

68

Judah, and Israel.94 Chaney builds his argument upon sociological, contextual, formcritical, and lexical considerations. He notes that 8th c. B.C. Israel and Judah witnessed a
sharp increase in wine exportation such that . . . what had previously been multipurpose
l and. . . was converted into vineyards.95 This activity o f the wealthy resulted in the
oppression of the poor in Judah and Israel (see Amos 5:11; cf. Isa 5:8-10). Thus,
vineyard became a word that reflected such oppression 96 Contextually, Isa 3:12-15
compares favorably with Isa 5:8-10 (cf. Micah 2:2), as both texts indict the wicked
leadership of Judah for their mistreatment o f Yahwehs people (Di?).97 Chaney asks, if
both o f these passages indict the ruling classes for the same wicked practices, How can
the parable of the vineyard blame all the people, most o f whom are victims?98 Formcritically, the poetic trickery in the genre o f Isa 5:1-7 may be intended for a royal
figure.99 This royal motif is key for Chaney as seen in his lexical evidence.
According to Chaney, the singular noun in construct inhabitant o f Jerusalem
2p_V; Isa 5:3) refers specifically to the dweller o f a capital city (cf. Isa 9:8).
Chaney infers that this most likely means the ruling elites who sit enthroned (dwell) in
that capital (cf. Zech. 12:7, 8 ,1 0 ).100 If this is the case, then inhabitants o f Jerusalem
(Isa 5:3) can refer to the . . . ruling dynast and/or ruling classes o f Jerusalem .101 He
sees the same sort o f elite connotation in men o f Judah (HTirP U/1^), for it often refers

94 Chaney, Whose Sour Grapes, 117. Cf. Smith, Isaiah 1 -3 9 ,164, 168.
95 Ibid., 107-8. On the 8th c. situation see Walsh, The Fruit o f the Vine.
96 Ibid., 108-9.
97 Indeed these two texts likely reflect the same historical-context, early in Isaiahs ministry (ca.
745-40 B.C.). Cf. Hayes and Irvine, Isaiah, 103.
98 Chaney, Whose Sour Grapes, 111.
" Ib id ., 111-12.
100 Ibid., 112-14. The term parallels the ruling house o f Judah and house o f David (Isa 22:21; cf.
Isa 8:12-14).
101 Ibid., 115.

69

to a military aristocracy.102 Thus, the group at Isa 5:3, 7 is this kind o f group. Finally, he
claims the house of Israel at Isa 5:7 . . . almost certainly . . . refers to the northern
kingdom. So its usage elsewhere (e.g., Isa 8:14; Jer 33:17; Hos 1:4) indicates the dynastic
house of Israel, i.e., ruling elites o f Samaria.103
Yee and Chaney present strong arguments in favor o f a northern referent for
house o f Israel. They challenge the view that Isa 5:7 has all o f Israel, north and south,
in view. However, neither Chaney nor Yee consider that house o f Israel paralleled with
man/men o f Judah at Isa 5:7 refers to Israel in total. Chaney only claims that house of
Israel almost certainly refers to the northern kingdom. For him the decision is only
whether this means the general populous or dynastic house o f the north.104 Also, both
resort to lexical evidence from other texts, some much later than the time o f Isaiah (e.g.,
Zech 12:7, 8; Jer 33:7),105 to argue their positions. Though Chaney supports his thesis
with the use o f house language in Isaiah (Isa 8:14; 22:21), this support only goes as far
as the stated interpretive options allow. Chaney has already limited house o f Israel to
the north.
The more likely interpretation of Isa 5:7a is that house of Israel and men of
Judah refers to the total group o f Gods people as they existed prior to 733 B.C. The ten
tribes o f Israel and two tribes o f Judah are in view for four reasons. First, the use o f
house of Israel within Isaiah ought to guide the interpretation. The term (house of)
102 Ibid., 116. Chaney cites Jdgs 15:10, 1 Sam 11:8; 15:4; 2 Sam 19:15; 17:42,43,44; 20:4; 2 Kgs
23:2.
103 Ibid., 116-17. Cf. 2 Sam 12:8; 1 Kgs 20:31; Jer 2:26; Hos 1:6; 5:1; Amos 6:1; Mic 3:1,9.
104 Chaney, Whose Sour Grapes?, 116.
105 Especially in his early years of ministry (Isa 1-5; 745-40 B.C.). See Chaney, Whose Sour
Grapes? 126; Yee, Form-Critical Study, Semantic change for the term, house o f Israel, between the
time o f Isaiah and Jeremiah, for instance, remains a possibility. On this phenomenon see M oists Sivla,
Biblical Words and Their Meaning: An Introduction to Lexical Semantics (rev. ed.; Grand Rapids:
Zondervan, 1994), 55.

70

Israel has a vast semantic range in the Prophets106 including Isaiah, where Israel
occurs over 90 times.107 Thus, the claim that house o f Israel, especially in Isaiah,
(almost) always refers to the northern kingdom seems premature. The specific phrase
house of Israel appears at Isa 5:7; 14:2; 46:3, and the plural two/both houses o f Israel
appears at Isa 8:14.
Both Isa 14:2 and 46:3 use the term in the context o f Isaiahs remnant theology.
At 14:2, after his judgment o f Babylon, Yahweh will have compassion on Jacob and
again chose Israel, and foreigners will join the house of Jacob (Isa 14:1). Thereby the
nations (CPQy) will become the possession of the house o f Israel (Isa 14:2). That is,
the restored Israelthe people o f Yahwehwill inherit the peaceful wealth o f the
nations (cf. Exod 12:33-36) under his sovereign Kingship (cf. Isa 9:7).108 At Isa 46:3, the
house of Jacob and all the remnant of the house o f Israel (*?j>ni{r n Jl rP'lK^"'?^]),
the whole nation, is called to eschew the idolatry of Babylon. This text identifies the
remnant in the north as the remnant o f the house o f Israel. Even so, the prophet stresses
1061. M. Duguid observes that Israel has a semantic range o f at least ten different, but related,
uses in the Prophets: the original ancestor o f the people, Jacob (e.g., Isa 63:16; Hos 12:12); the people o f
God delivered out Egypt (e.g., Jer 32:20; Amos 3:1); the tribal alliance that predates the monarchy (Jer 7);
the united nation even after the divided kingdom (Isa 8:14; Ezek 9:9; Jer 51:3); the northern part o f the
kingdom (Isa 7:1; Jer 41:9; Hos 1:1); the southern part o f the kingdom (Isa 1:3; Jer 5:15; Ezek 2:3);
Judeans exiled to Babylon (Jer 16:15; Ezek 11:15; cf. Isa 11:12-16); the Judeans who returned during the
Persian period (Ezra 2:2; Zech 12:1; Mai 1:1); the land o f Israel a rare formulation only at Ezek 27:17;
40:2; 47:18; and the future eschatological people yet to be constituted (Ezek 37:21; Zech 9:1; cf. Isa 19:2425; 27:6). I. M. Duguid, Israel, in Dictionary o f the Old Testament Prophets: A Compendium ofBiblical
Scholarship (eds., Mark J. Boda and Gordon J. McConville; Downers Grove, 111.: IVP, 2012), 391-93
(hereafter DOTP). But note Williamsons remark, While there is no doubt that the name Israel was
eventually adopted as an alternative designation for Judah alone, there is no strong evidence that Isaiah ever
used it so. Williamson, Isaiah 1-5, 342.
107 Isaiah 1:3-4,24; 4:2; 5:7,19,24; 7:1; 8:14,18; 9:7,11, 13; 10:17,20 (x2), 22; 11:12, 16; 12:6;
14:1-2; 17:3,6-7,9; 19:24-25; 21:10,17; 24:15; 27:6, 12; 29:19, 23; 30:11-12, 15,29; 31:1, 6; 37:16, 21,
23; 40:27; 41:8,14 (x2), 16-17, 20; 42:24; 43:1,3, 14-15,22,28; 44:1,5-6,21 (x2), 23; 45:3^1, 11,15,
17,25; 46:3,13; 47:4; 48:1 (x2), 2 ,1 2 ,1 7 ; 49:3, 5, 7 (x2); 52:12; 54:5; 55:5; 56:8; 60:9,14; 63:7, 16;
66 :20 .
108 So Motyer, Isaiah, 142. Isaiah 9:7-8 also favors this argument. See Nielsen, There is Hope,
113; R. G. Kratz, Israel in the Book o f Isaiah, JSO T 31.1 (2006), 120.

71

the oneness o f the people of Yahweh who stem from Jacob, renamed Israel. 109Thus,
both Isa 14:2 and Isa 46:3 use house o f Israel in synonymous parallelism that resembles
the usage at Isa 5:7. Other examples exist.
The same remnant theology can be seen at Isa 8:14, where Israel is one entity
comprised o f two houses. The audience of this prophecy is the same group from whom
Isaiah is instructed to turn aside. He is not to walk in the way o f this people (rftrrnyr};
Isa. 8:11), who speak conspiracy (8:12). Instead, he and his followers must fear Yahweh,
not the conspiracies (Isa 8:13). Those o f both houses o f Israel who do not do this will
stumble on the rock, Yahweh (Isa 8:14). Chaney argues that the inhabitants of
Jerusalem (D^lfHT 2pV) at 8:14 refers only to the ruling house in Jerusalem.110 Yet in
context, these are the same people referred to at Isa 8:11. The whole great kingdom
of the people o f Yahweh, not only the north or south or their rulers,111 must fear him lest
they stumble (Isa. 8:13-15). As signs and wonders in Israel

ni^lN1?),

not merely Judah, Isaiah and his children exemplify the remnant (Isa 8:16). In turn, they
will be authoritative testimonies against both houses of Israel that stumble (Isa 8:14).112
Thus, Isa 8:11-15 differentiate the remnant and the ungodly, not the north and south. The
rulers o f the north (or south) may exemplify the ungodly but they are not the only
ungodly of the house o f Israel.113

109 As Isa 46:3b emphasizes: You who have been borne by me from birth, carried by me from the
womb (Dn*5;,?a D^ n
c f. Kratz, Israel, 112-13; Smith, Isaiah 40-66, 288-89; and
the discussion below o f Isa 27:6.
110 Chaney, Whose Sour Grapes? 114-15.
111 Cf. Nielsen, There is Hope, 112; Motyer, Isaiah, 95; Smith, Isaiah 1 -3 9 ,226-7.
112 See Kratz, Israel, 118; Hayes and Irvine, Isaiah, 165.
113 Contra Chaney, Whose Sour Grapes, 114-15.

72

Second, the idea o f Israel develops within the book o f Isaiah. A semantic shift
occurs in the context o f Isaiah 5-12. The historical narrative o f Isaiah 6-8 proves
especially significant for this discussion. For instance at Isa 7:1, Israel parallels
Judah. Specifically, Ahaz, the king o f Judah (south), must trust Yahweh in view o f the
threat from Rezin, king o f Syria and Pekah, king o f Israel (north).114 Ahazs heart shook
since the Arameans (Syrians) were encamped in Ephraim (DTptrby 0"1$ 711$ Isa 7:2).
This text explains the Aramean-Ephraim alliance described at Isa 7:5, 8, 9. Then, at Isa
7:17, Isaiah warns Ahaz that his refusal of Yahwehs aid will bring far worse results than
when Ephraim separated from Judah. The south as Judah contrasts the north as
Ephraim, not Israel. Thus, Isaiah most often identifies the geo-political entities o f north
and south by the titles, Ephraim and Judah. 115
Moreover, the religious and political concepts o f Israel seem to merge in
Isaiah. Since Isaiah prefers Ephraim and Judah as geo-political terms, he usually
employs Israel as an ethnic-spiritual term. Kratz explains how Isa 5:7 shows this.
The parallelism o f the house o f Israel and men o f Judah explicitly
connects for the first time both political designations for the Northern and
Southern Kingdoms into a unity, the unity of the people o f Israel from
Israel and Judah, for which later on within the book of Isaiah the terms
the house of Israel or the house o f Jacob suffice. In this way, 5.7 makes
explicit what the composition o f the Denkschrift [Memoir] in Isaiah 6-8
only implies: the unification o f both kingdoms into one complete people
of God under the sign o f divine indictment and judgment.116
This interpretation also fits with the literary and historical context o f Isaiah 5-12. That is,
Isa 5:1-7 pictures what Isa 5:8-30 proclaims, and Isa 5:1-30 proclaims what Isaiah 6-8
114 Nielsen, There is Hope, 113, argues this is the only passage in Isaiah 1-39 where Israel
unambiguously refers to the northern kingdom.
115 See also Isa 9:8,20; 11:13; 17:3; 28:1, 3; cf. Kratz, Israel, 122-23, who notes that Samaria
also appears as synecdoche for Ephraim (see Isa 7:9; 8:4; 9:8; 10:9-11; 36:19).
116 Kratz, Israel, 126; cf. ibid., 120-22 for discussion of the Denkschrift (Isaiah 6-8).

73

explains. As such, Isaiah considered Israel as one people in his prophecies, even though
after 930 B.C. the nation was divided into north and south.117
Third, the prophet often parallels Israel with my people, a term that connotes
Yahwehs covenantal people. At Isa 1:2-3, for instance, heaven and earth are called as
witnesses to Yahwehs lawsuit, Israel does not know, my people do not understand
CljTQnn

JDy VT nV^K"!^). The prophet calls the whole people of Yahweh, Israel, not

only Judah to trial. This logic also applies to at least Isaiah 1-12. As Kratz observes,
The logion serves as a foreword not only to ch. 1, but also to the whole o f First Isaiah, if
not to the entire book

The message of Isaiah as a whole has been placed under a

prominent and comprehensive motto.118 Other texts give the same sense.119 The people
of Yahweh are his people who hear his words and thus enjoy his protection (Isa 51:4, 16).
Hence, if Israel often parallels my people, the referent for Israel elsewhere in
Isaiah must be carefully considered.
Fourth, the one often represents the many in Isaiah, as seen in another text that
refers to my people. At Isa 3:12-15, Yahwehs people (a?), identified as the poor,
have been oppressed (Isa 3:12,15). So at 3:13, Yahweh rises to contend and stands to
judge the people (EPay ]>$ 7)'y| Tip T 'l? 3)J3). This people represents a group

117 So Kratz, Israel, 123. Like other 8th c. prophets, then, Isaiah evinces a flexible use o f Israel
but not as a geo-political entity. Kratz, Israel, 117, observes that in the prophets contemporaneous to
Isaiah (i.e. not Jeremiah) [T]he name Israel oscillates, meaning either the Northern Kingdom or the
people o f God from Israel and Judah. On the other hand, the name Jacob appears to refer solely to the
people o f God, or as Israel as a whole. Cf. Motyer, Isaiah, 69.
118 Kratz, Israel, 117-18. Cf. Watts, Isaiah 1 -3 3 ,17, 143.
119 Isaiah 1:3; 3:12 (x2), 15; 5:13; 10:2,24; 19:25; 22:4; 26:20; 32:13, 18; 40:1; 43:20; 47:6; 51:4,
16; 52:4-6; 53:8; 57:14; 63:8; 65:22. Twice my people refers to those in Zion (Isa 10:24; 51:16), but it
also refers to Yahwehs people in Egypt (Isa 19:25; cf. Isa 52:14). The people o f Yahweh are those with
whom he was angry and thus gave (or will give) into the hands o f the Babylonians (Isa 47:6). Yet he does
this to refine his people (Isa 52:4-6).

74

either parallel to or larger than my people o f Isa 3:12,15.120 At Isa 3:14, the point is
clear. Yahweh judges the wicked leadership o f his people, those who have devoured the
vineyard. Even though the leaders bear the brunt and focus o f his judgment (Isa 3:14),
Yahweh judges the whole people. The same dynamic is seen at Isa 5:13, where Yahwehs
people will incur exile because of their lack of knowledge o f God.121 Teaching such
knowledge was a task of the elders o f Israel, north and south. If they have sinned,

1^5

they

will suffer for their sins. But their sin and suffering will also affect the people o f Yahweh.
If the one (the leader) suffers, then the many (the people) also suffer.123
Isaiahs own history commends this logic. After his vision o f the glory of
Yahweh, Isaiah confesses not only his sin, but that he is in the midst o f a people of
unclean lips (DYIDtf? Xnip"Oy; Isa 6:5). As Wildberger notes, [I]t was a widely accepted
principle in the thought world o f the ancients that the individual carried responsibility for
the guilt of the collective whole and also felt personally accountable for that guilt. 124
Thus, Isaiah confesses his sin, finds atonement, and receives his commission. He must
preach to this people (D ^ ) a message that will bring about judgment and, in turn, the
remnant (Isa 6:9-13). Kratz notes that this people likely refers to the audience in Judah
120 The plural noun (D^V) indicates the object o f Yahwehs covenant lawsuit (3V1) and judgment
(I1!?1?)- See GK.C 115b. The presence o f the plural peoples ($; cf. Tg. Isa.) at Isa 3:13 is interesting in
the context o f repeated use o f the singular my people or his people (Isa 3:12-15). As such the LXX
reads his people ( t 6 v Xaiv auToO); cf. the Vulgate and Sryiac. This may be a scribal error or as Smith,
Isaiah 1 - 3 9 ,148, n. 85, thinks, [Tjthe prophet connecting the judgment o f'm y people with the judgment
o f other peoples as well. Cf. Richard L. Schultz, Nationalism and universalism in Isaiah in
Interpreting Isaiah: Issues and Approaches (eds., David G. Firth and H. G. M. Williamson; Downers
Grove: 1VP, 2009), 131-32.
121 See Smith, Isaiah 1 - 3 9 ,175, n. 161.
122 There is considerable evidence that this is the case. See, e.g., the judgment o f princes (iSj?) at
Isa 1:23; 3:3-4, 14; 9:5; 10:8; 19:11,13; 21:5; 23:8; 30:4; 31:9; 32:1; 34:12; 43:28; 49:7.
123 Cf. Isa 9:14-20. Motyer, Isaiah, 109, notes that [T]he situation o f both leaders and led is
culpable. The former need not have misled . . . the latter need not have followed.
124 Wildberger, Isaiah 1 -1 2 ,268. See especially H. Wheeler Robinson, Corporate Personality in
Ancient Israel (rev. ed.; New York: T &T Clark, 1992).

75

who would hear Isaiahs prophecy (cf. Isa 8:6). The vineyard song [TJakes advantage o f
the ambiguous expression this people [Isa 6:9] and expands its spectrum o f meaning to
include Israel.125 All Israels (Isa 5:7) experience will follow on the analogy, or sign, of
Isaiahs experience (Isa 6:5; cf. Isa 8:18). The one corresponds to the many.
For at least these reasons, then, Isa 5:7a indicts the whole o f Israel. Though Yees
rationale does not hold, her ironic interpretation o f Isa 5:7 does. That is, the people o f
Jerusalem and, by synecdoche, Judah would have thought they were independent o f the
northern kingdom. Isaiah 5:1-7 undercuts this rebellious thought. Also, even if Chaneys
interpretation o f Isa 5:7 is correct, the function o f my people language in Isaiah (e.g.,
Isa 5:13) indicates that all people in Jerusalem and Judah share the same fate. Though
Isaiah works in Judah under the kings of Judah and speaks to Judeans (cf Isa 5:3), he has
an eye toward the people of Yahweh, who are called Israel, with whom he shares a
destiny. At Isa 5:7a, then, the whole people o f God come under the purview o f Yahwehs
justice and righteousness (cf. Isa 5:16). At Isa 5:7b, the specific reasons for the discipline
and eventual abandonment of the vineyard are given.

The Injustice and Unrighteousness o f the Vineyard (Isa 5:7b)


At Isa 5:7b, the prophet explains the reality signified by the stinking fruit (Isa 5:2,4).
The Hebrew contains a word play in a similarity of sounds, seen in the highlighted nouns:

H22S n-irn n E B 1? n a$y\ b s g tf ? ii?;i


Though the pun is difficult to render in English, it can be translated thus: And he waited
for justice but behold, bloodshed, for righteousness but behold an outcry. As Motyer
writes, Justice is the righting of wrongs while bloodshed is the inflicting of wrongs.
125 Kratz, Israel, 125.

76

Righteousness is right living and right relationships while to cry . . . indicates wrong
relationships and the anguish of the oppressed.126 Thus, the prophet clarifies the contents
of the grapes

and stinking fruit

from the parable (Isa 5:2,4). The

same verb, he waited (mp), appears in all three verses (Isa 5 :2 ,4 ,7).127 The logic o f the
metaphor can now be clarified. The beloved waited for grapes but got stinking fruit;
Yahweh waited for justice but got bloodshed, for righteousness but got a cry (cf. Isa
1:10-26). The repetition of but behold (njin)) in each cola at Isa 5:7b increases the
surprise. An exclamation (!) would not be out of place. The surprise is appropriate given
Yahwehs care for the people explained at Isa 5:1-2. His waiting for justice and
righteousness from Israel was justified considering his prior election o f her.
The word pair, justice and righteousness, features prominently in Isaiah because it
summarizes what Yahweh requires o f Israel and expects in . . . the right ordering of
society within Gods covenant community.128 Isaiah uses the word pair to refer to the
inappropriate worship o f Israel (Isa 1:12-17; 5:7; 59:8); the identity and actions o f God
(Isa 5:16; 30:18; 40:14; 51:4); the future restoration of the righteous (Isa 1:27; 28:6-7;
32:1, 16; 33:5; 56:1); or the person who will bring about that restoration (Isa 9:7; cf. Isa
42:l).129 At Isa 5:7, the word pair indicates the false worship and unethical behavior that
Israel gave to Yahweh in clear contradiction to the covenant. Amidst the woes o f Isa 5:8-

126 Motyer, Isaiah, 69. Italics original.


127 The forms are similar: piel imperfect + waw consecutive in vv. 2, 7 and the piel perfect in v. 4.
128 E. R. Hayes, Justice, Righteousness, in DOTP, 467. Cf. H. G. Reventlow and Y. Hoffman,
eds., Justice and Righteousness: Biblical Themes and Their Influence (JSOTSup 137; Sheffield: JSOT,
1992).
129 Ibid., 468. See the wider OT use at Gen 18:19; Deut 33:21; 2 Sam 8:15; 1 Kgs 10:9; 1 Chr
18:14; 2 Chr 9:8; Job 37:23; Pss 33:5; 36:7; 72:1; 99:4; 103:6; 106:3; Prov 8:20; 16:8; 21:3; Isa 1:27; 5:7,
16; 9:6; 28:17; 32:16; 33:5; 54:17; 56:1; 58:2; 59:9, 14; Jer4:2; 9:23; 22:3,15; 23:5; 33:15; Ezek 18:5, 19,
21,27; 33:14, 16, 19; 45:9; Amos 5:7, 24; 6:12; Mic 7:9.

77

24, Isa 5:16 assures that Yahweh will be exalted in justice and righteousness despite
Israels perversion o f both (Isa 5:7).130
Thus, the books story runs along the following lines. Zions redemption will
come with justice

f t? ) and with righteousness (HiTpQ

fr her repentant

inhabitants (Isa 1:27). At the end o f the book, the community that has survived Yahwehs
judgment still looks for the same (Isa 59:9). As Conrad notes, The lament of the implied
audience toward the end of the b o o k . . . is matched by the LORDS description of the
community at the beginning o f the book.131 Therefore, the audience o f Isa 5:1-6 (all
Israel) at Isa 5:7 interprets the once beautiful song in the most self-convicting way.
The text of Isa 5:1-7 contains a metaphorical narrative that moves from a
beautiful song to a woeful lament. Along the way it tells the story o f Yahwehs care for
his covenant people, Israel, and so functions to indict that same group o f people (Isa 5:7).
The text does no less than raise the question o f the permanence o f Yahwehs election.
The remainder o f Isaiah 5 gives the rationale for this question.

The Sins, Woes, and Punishment o f the Vineyard (Isa 5:8-30)


The woes at Isa 5:8-23 explicate the specifics o f the stinking fruit (Isa 5:2,4) as
bloodshed and a cry (Isa 5:7b) Yahweh got from Israel. The woes also promise his
impending judgment and provide rationales for that judgment. Motyer notes that the six
woes (Isa 5:8-10, 11-12, 18-19, 20, 21, 22-23) occur in two setsone o f two woes (Isa
5:8-12), the other o f four woes (Isa 5:18-23) each followed by two therefore
statements (^*7 at Isa 5:13,14,24; I?"1?!? at 5:25) that explain the judgment Yahweh will
130 The person and number o f justice/judgment

masc. sg. abs.) and righteousness

( n jn ? fem. sg. abs.) are the same in Isa 5:7 and 16.
131 Edgar W. Conrad, Reading Isaiah (OBT 27; Minneapolis: Fortress, 1991), 105.

78

pour out.132 Thus, Isa 5:8-24 contains the indictment o f Israel and Judah, specifying the
bloodshed and cry of Isa 5:7b. At Isa 5:25-30, then, the sentence is given for this
inverted society found guilty.

The Indictment o f Israel and Judah (Isa

5:8-24)

The first set o f woes indicates that a greedy desire for more property led the wealthy to
steal their neighbors land (Isa

5:8-10),133 and to give banquets characterized by

drunkenness. They ignored Gods deeds (Isa

5:11-12). Thus, Yahweh promises to judge

Israel, Therefore my people go into exile for lack o f knowledge (-,1??!3

nyi; Isa 5:13).'34 Jeremy Smoak shows that the destruction of viticulture and houses, as
described at Isa

5:5-6, 8-9,17, often accompanied the destruction o f cities (e.g.,

Samaria) by the Assyrians.135 Beginning with the reign o f Tiglath-pileser III

(745-727

B.C.) the Assyrians ramped up their policy of exiling foreign people groups. The policy
culminated in the north with the destruction o f Samaria by Tiglath- pilesers son,
Shalmaneser (722 B.C.), and in the south with Sennecharibs incursions into Judah in 701
B.C. (cf. Isa 36-39).136 The curses o f Deuteronomy connect such incursions with the
destruction o f Israels viticulture (Deut

28:30), the land, and the exile o f the people (Deut

132 Motyer, Isaiah, 70.


133 See Heath A. Thomas, Building House to House (Isaiah 5:8): Theological Reflection on Land
Development and Creation Care, BBR 21 (2011), 189-212.
134 The qal perfect n*$ often carries the sense o f removal (cf. 1 Sam 4:21; 2 Kgs 17:23) or
uncovering (cf. Num 24:4,16). But here, as at Judges 18:30 and 2 Kings 17:23; 25:21,
denotes the
removal o f people into exile (see BDB, 162). Isaiah 5:13 LXX, therefore my people become captives
(alxftdXwTO? 6 Xai? pou iyevjjSrj), offers the same sense. Cf. Num 21:29; Isa 14:2 for the same use o f
alx(tdXa)T0 {. This usage may emerge from its literal sense used at Exod 22:9, 13 with reference to a
neighbors stolen / taken away animal.
135 Jeremy D. Smoak, Building Houses and Planting Vineyards: The Inner Biblical Discourse of
an Ancient Israelite Curse, JBL 127 (2008), 19-35.
136 See Eugene Merrill, Kingdom o f Priests: A History o f Old Testament Israel. (2d ed. Grand
Rapids: Baker, 2008), 406-08,436-42; Nadav N aaman, Historical and Chronological Notes on the
Kingdoms o f Israel and Judah in the 8lh Century B.C.E., in Ancient Israel's History and Historiography:
The First Temple Period (3 vols.; Winona Lake, Ind.: Eisenbrauns, 2006), 3:236-55.

79

28:39,48-51).137 Smoak rightly points out that these curses (and the blessings; see Deut
28:1-14) address the whole nation of Israel, not only its urban ruling elites.138 The
judgment promised at Isa 5:13139 will affect honored men (n ia p i) and their crowd
(ijiarjD alike. Again, the judged vineyard (Isa 5:3-7) represents the whole people. The
next line evokes the realities o f exile, hunger and death (cf. Isa 9:19-20). Thus, the
punishment at 5:13 fits the crimes o f 5:11-12.140
The second therefore section (Isa 5:14-17) balances the first set o f woes at Isa
5:8,12. The wealthy who join house to house (Isa 5:8-9) will see the destruction of
their estates (Isa 5:17), and the gluttons that feed their voracious appetites (Isa 5:11-12)
will become food for Sheol (Isa 5:14). The next set o f woes then describes the nature of
the expanding evil. Sin becomes bondage (Isa 5:18); the society calls good evil and evil
good (Isa 5:20); the proud love their pride (Isa 5:21); and finally, the leaders are drunks
who solicit bribes to declare the wicked to be righteous (!?$) 1i?.'r?) and take away
righteousness from the righteous 03$?? IT p

Isa 5:22-23). The woes thus

reveal a society wholly inverted from its original purpose (cf. Gen 18:19).
At Isa 5:24a, another therefore statement, in two parallel lines, concludes the
indictment section:
n$-| hprft

# rji m ^

rflX l P3S?

p 1?
n t a PB?

137 See the destruction o f the inclusive grain, new wine, and new oil
at Deut
28:51, which certainly implies the destruction o f vines (vineyards) that produce the new wine (cf. Deut
7:13; 11:14; 33:28; Isa 24:7). Isaiah connotes the reversal o f this destruction, the renewal o f the people and
land, with this same image (see Isa 62:8; 65:8). Cf. BDB,
440.
138 Smoak, Building Houses, 32-33.
139 Or perhaps judgment already is taking place. See Motyer, Isaiah, 71.
140 So Smith, Isaiah 1-39, 175; Motyer, Isaiah, 71.

80

The text reads, Therefore as a tongue of fire devouring stubble and dry grass falling into
fire, their roots will become like rot, their sprouts will blow away like dust. The
metaphor powerfully communicates their coming punishment. Whereas the people of
God were meant to produce good grapes (Isa 5:2,4,7), instead they are as dry grass.
Thus, Isa 5:24b clarifies why: because (3) they have rejected Yahwehs law and despised
his word (ixga bgit^-iznii? r n p s ngi n iita? n irr r n in n s roijip ^ ) . This is the root sin
that grows into the bad fruit o f injustice and unrighteousness (Isa 5:8-23).

The Sentence o f Israel and Judah (Isa 5:25-30)


The second, longer therefore (lit. for this reason; itr^ y ) section at Isa 5:25-30 points
to this fundamental sin as the basis for Yahwehs past, present, and future judgment o f
Israel.141 According to Isa 5:25, Yahwehs hand of judgment either continues or will soon
fall upon his people. Isa 5:26-30, then, presents the manner in which Yahweh will
accomplish the (near) future judgment o f his people.
At Isa 5:25, Yahwehs judgment is described in three lines.
Tj?y i n DJ!1

n]rr-HK n*}n itrb y

ni^in 3"ii?3 nfiio? u&ii *pni iinn>T}T}-42


t o t il? 7iyi ist<

h x 'r b s ? 143

141 Following the structure indicated in the BHS; cf. Motyer, Isaiah, 73.
142 One perfect tense, his anger burned (71117) is followed by three preterite verbs: his hand (will
have) stretched out (DT). . . struck them down (ITDD the mountains (will have) quaked (ItJl'T); their
corpses became (jUlD offal in the streets. Specifically, the preterite (perfect plus waw consecutive) can
indicate future action, shown by the parentheses. See GKC 11 lw; Williams, Hebrew Syntax, 176-77.
143 Therefore the anger o f Yahweh burned against his people, and he has stretched out his hand
against them and struck them down, and the mountains quaked. Their corpses became offal in the streets. In
all this, his anger has not turned away, but his hand is still stretched out.

81

The verb tenses o f the first two lines may indicate a past or future judgment. In context, a
recent past judgment is likely.144 The oblique mention at Isa 5:25 o f an earthquake
probably refers to a great disaster prior to Isaiahs work, during the time o f Amos (76560 B.C.; cf. Amos 1:1; 2:13; 6:11; 8:8; 9:1).145 The final line o f Isa 5:25, though,
indicates the continuing effects o f that judgment into the present. Yahwehs hand is still
(Tty']) stretched out.
Therefore, Isa 5:26-30 contain Yahwehs promise that he will call external forces
to serve as the tool of his hand. The verb tenses of Isa 5:26 and the familiar Isaianic
refrain in that day (Ninn DT3) at Isa 5:30,146 provide a future orientation for the figures
and events described. At Isa 5:26, He will lift up a signal flag to the distant nation(s) and
will whistle to it from the ends o f the earth. And behold, it will come swiftly. The plural
noun nations (fcrix1?) to whom Yahweh will lift a signal flag (Op"Kt^l)raises the
question of whether this refers to multiple nations or to a single foe. On balance, it seems
that a nation from among the nations is in view.147

144 Isaiah 5:25 LXX translates each o f these verbs as third person aorist, indicating previous
action: xal i0upu8>] ipyfj xupio? <ra|3aa>0 iml t& v Xaiv atfrou xal iir^aXev t t ] v x&Pa aiiroO in ' auTOu? xal
inixaSjsv auTou? xal irapu|i5v0>) rh Spy xal iyevj8>j t& Ovija-ipaia auT&Sv tlx; xonpla tv p.iau 6Sov. For
discussion o f the Isaiah LXX translators fairly literal strategy in the phrase, xal irapcu|uv0)] r a 6'pr), see
Ronald L. Troxel, LXX-Isaiah as Translation and Interpretation: The Strategies o f the Translator o f the
Septuagint o f Isaiah (JSJSup 124; Leiden; Boston: Brill, 2008), 105-7. The literal strategy for this phrase
may corroborate the view that Isa 5:25 reflects a past not future perspective. Still, Isa 5:26 LXX also
rendered the same kind of Heb. preterite verbs (RtftO . . . P"]#D as third person futures: he will raise
(dpsT) and he will whistle (oupieT). Thus, Isa 5:25-26 LXX evinces in its translation a shift in perspective
from previous to future.
145 Smith, Isaiah 1-39, 180; cf. Motyer, Isaiah, 73; Hayes and Irvine, Isaiah, 106-7. For the
figurative view, see Wildberger, Isaiah 1 -1 2 ,238-9.
146 See Isa 2:11,17, 20; 3:7, 18; 4:1,2; 5:30; 7:18, 20-21,23; 10:20,27; 11:10, 11; 12:1,4; 17:4,
7, 9; 19 :1 6 ,1 8 ,1 9 ,2 1 ,2 3 ,2 4 ; 20:6; 22:8,12,20,25; 23:15; 24:21; 25:9; 26:1; 2 7 :1 ,2 ,1 2 ,1 3 ; 28:5; 29:18;
30:23; 31:7; 52:6. Cf. Wildberger, Isaiah 1-12, 239, on the verbs in Isa 5:26-29.
147 Isaiah 5:26 LXX reads the nations (rot? I 0 v e < tiv ; cf. CJB, ESV, NIV). The NASB and TNK
versions render it singular the nation. It does not seem necessary to resort to a scribal error to explain the
plural (see Hayes and Irvine, Isaiah, 107). The third person singular object (Y?) o f Yahwehs whistling

82

Yet the text does not require a specific answer at this point. The image o f
Yahwehs military summons148 o f the nations paints a general picture. As Isa 5:27-28
indicate, the physical condition, attire, weapons, and tactics o f the army (or armies) will
be precise and merciless.149 As such, Isa 5:29 compares it to a lion (X1^ ? ) that will
growl over and seize its prey (tY $ TriX') D'H}1)). This general picture becomes much more
specific in Isaiah 7-8. That is, the unknown nation(s) o f Isa 5:26-30, the hand o f
Yahweh (Isa 5:25), emerges as Assyria (Isaiah 7-8; 36-37).150 At this point, the audience
and subsequent readers learn the awful news, The protector and savior o f Judah will
now oversee the destruction of his vineyard. 151 The land that was meant to be fruitful in
that day will instead be dark and distressed (Isa 5:30).

Summary o f the Vineyard Judged


Like other OT metaphorical vineyard texts (e.g., Ps 80:8-16; Jer 2:21), Isa 5:1-7 tells the
story of Gods people under judgment. Isaiah 5:8-30, then, promises in more plain
prophetic speech what Isa 5:1-7 tells in metaphor. Within the context o f Isaiah 1-12, Isa
5:1-30 points to the judgment o f the whole nation o f Israel, as the interpretation o f Isa
5:7 showed. The vineyard song, then, serves to begin the process Isaiah hears about at Isa
6:13. That is, the fires of judgment will fall upon the people and the land in order to bring
about the repentance by which Zion will be redeemed (Isa 1:27). Tellingly, the promised

and he will whistle to it from the ends o f the earth ( f "Ijjn HSj??? i1? p l^ ] ) and the third person singular
verb it will come (X1^) o f the next line likely tilt the interpretation toward a single foe.
148 On the use o f the signal flag (OpJ in connection with ANE, especially Assyrian, military
practices, see Wildberger, Isaiah 1 -1 2 ,239. Cf. the messianic reversal at Isa 11:10-12; Smith, Isaiah 1-39,
181, n. 178.
149 Wildberger, Isaiah 1 -1 2 ,239-41.
150 Cf. Hayes and Irvine, Isaiah, 107.
151 Smith, Isaiah 1 - 3 9 ,181.

83

judgment for the vineyard follows a promise for the restored branch o f Yahweh, which
results in the fruiting o f the remnant in Zion (Isa 4:2-6). Such restoration and fruiting will
only take place, though, on an eschatological day. That day is described in the second
vineyard song at Isa 27:2-6, to which we now turn.

Isaiah 27: The Vineyard Restored


Isaiah scholars generally agree that Isa 27:2-6 reprises the vineyard image o f Isa 5:1-7 in
a fresh way.152 The two texts share formal, lexical, and conceptual similarities. In terms
of form, both evince poetic features153 and both begin with a term for singing (let me
sing [ n ^ S ] at Isa 5:1; sing o f it! [nb- )3y] at Isa 27:2). Lexically, both feature the
lexeme vineyard(D"J^; Isa 5:1; 27:2) and the word pair thorns and thistles (rp $ and
T3$; Isa 5:6; 27:4).154 The lexemes root(s) ($*}$) and sprout(s) (rn) at Isa 5:24
appear in verbal forms at Isa 27:6Jacob will root (Un$-) and Israel will blossom
and sprout (n^jjl fJ O - Both use the vineyard image to describe people (Isa 5:7; 27:6);
both call for a restored social orderjustice and righteousness at Isa 5:7 and peace at

152 See especially Edmund Jacob, Du premier au deuxieme chant de la vinge du prophete Esaie,
Reflexions sure Esaie 27,2-5, in Wort-Gebot-Glaube: Beitrage zur Theologie des Alien Testaments:
Walter Elchrodt zum 80. Geburtstag (eds., H. J. Stoebe et. a!.; ATANT 59; Zurich: Zwingli, 1970), 325-30;
Nielsen, There is Hope fo r a Tree, 117-20; Marvin A. Sweeney, New Gleanings from an Old Vineyard:
Isaiah 27 Reconsidered, in Early Jewish and Christian Exegesis: Studies in Memory o f William Hugh
Brownlee (eds., C. A. Evans and W. F. Steinspring; Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1987), 51-66; Wallace,
Harvesting the Vineyard, 117-22.
BHS prints both texts as poetic units inset from the surrounding context. On the poetic meter of
both texts see Wildberger, Isaiah 1 - 1 2 ,179; Isaiah 1 3 -2 7 ,584. Wildberger limits the second text at Isa
27:2-5. But see Harm W. M. van Grol, who includes Isa 27:6. Grol observes one stanza with three strophes
o f the following meter: 3 (2+3,3+2,2+3) [vv. 2-3], 3 (2, 3+3+2,3+3+2) [vv. 4-5], 1 (3+3+3) [v. 6]. H. W.
M. van Grol, An Analysis o f the Verse Structure o f Isaiah 24-27, in Studies in Isaiah 24-27: The Isaiah
Workshop - D eJesaja Werkplaats (OtSt 43; eds., Hendrick Jan Bosman, Harm van Grol; Leiden: Brill,
2000), 77.
154 The use o f these two lexemes provides at least some verbal correspondence between the two
texts. Contra Wallace, Harvesting the Vineyard, 121.

84

Isa 27:5; and both feature Yahweh as a speaker.155 So Edmund Jacob states, One
discovers in this second song an intensity, an emotion, a pathos that easily supports the
comparison with the first.156 The comparison, however, quickly turns to contrast.
Various notes of contrast to Isa 5:1-7 sound throughout Isa 27:2-6. At Isa 5:1, the
prophet sings o f the vineyard of the mysterious beloved (Yahweh). Yet at Isa 27:2, the
prophet calls the audience to sing o f it! (H^Hay), that is, the vineyard. At Isa 5:3, the
audience in Judah hears a call to judge the vineyard, and the identity o f the vineyard is
kept secret until the end (Isa. 5:7). Thus, the first song conceals identities and frustrates
expectations157 until the audience ironically judges itself. Yet at Isa 27:2-3, the
interpretation is up front, the vineyard is well and Yahweh is its keeper ( n ^ ) ) . This
second song replaces frustration with elation. Most notably, at Isa 5:7 the vineyard is
identified as the house o f Israel, the producer of foul fruit (cf. Isa 5:2,4). Yet at Isaiah
27, the fruitful Jacob and Israel (v. 6) is described as a pleasant vineyard (TTpfl D"$; v.
2). These contrasts establish the intertextual relationship between Isa 5:1-7 and Isa 27:26.

To discern the meaning o f this interrelationship the literary and historical context
for Isa 27:2-6 must first be established. Just as Isa 5:1-7 was considered in light o f Isa
5:1-30 in particular and Isaiah 1-12 in general, Isa 27:2-6 will be considered in light of
Isa 27:1-13 and Isaiah 24-27. These chapters are among the most debated by Isaiah
scholars. Thus, a brief survey o f the main questions and views will set the literary and

155 Though they differ in the length o f Yahwehs speech. Jacob, Du Premier, 326, notes that
Yahweh speaks only at Isa 5:3 but throughout Isa 27:2-5.
lj6 Jacob, Du Premier, 325.
157 So Williams, Frustrated Expectations, 459-65.

85

historical parameters o f Isa 27:2-6 within Isaiah 24-27. The meaning of Isa 27:2-6
emerges from this context. Its connections to Isa 5:1-7 and other key texts (e.g., Isa 11:1;
37:31; 65:21) further illuminates Isaiahs vineyard narrative. The inner-Isaiah
connections illustrate how the vineyard narrative tells the story of Isaiah in miniature.
With these steps in mind, the context o f Isaiah 27 within Isaiah 24-27 is now considered.

The Context o f Isaiah 27 within Isaiah 24-27


Since Bernard Duhms seminal commentary158 the dominant approach to Isaiah 24-27
has been to investigate its so-called apocalyptic imagery with implications for its date.
Dan Johnson notes three key issues that emerged from this approach.159 First, proposals
abound on the identity o f the city (or cities), the identity o f which often corroborate
views of the origin and date of Isaiah 24-27. Second, the structure is contested. Third, the
perspective o f the four chapters is debated: are the referenced events past or future?
As to the first issue, Wildberger summarizes how Isaiah scholarship seeks to
discern the setting and date of Isaiah 24-27 on the basis three factors, its word usage
(e.g., the city), the eschatological concepts (e.g., resurrection; see Isa 26:19), and its
dependence on earlier writings (e.g., Isa 27:2-6 on 5 :l-7 ).160

158 Bernard Duhm, Das Buck Jesia (HKAT; 2d. ed.; Gottingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprect, 1902),
143-64; see esp. pp. 143-44.
159 Dan G. Johnson, From Chaos to Restoration: An Integrative Reading o f Isaiah 24-27
(JSOTSupp 61; Sheffield: Sheffield University, 1988), 11-16.
Wildberger, Isaiah 1 3 -2 7 ,460-67. See Isa 24:10, 12; 25:2; 26:1,5; 27:10. Options include
Moab, Jerusalem, Samaria, and a symbolic/universal city. Cf. D. G. Johnson, Chaos to Restoration, 11-14;
J. Todd Hibbard, Intertextuality in Isaiah 24-27: The Reuse and Evocations o f Earlier Texts and Traditions
(FAT 16; Ttibignen: Mohr Siebeck, 2006), 20-26. While significant in the literature, this discussion is not
germane to this dissertation. A consensus on the date and origin o f Isaiah 24-27 will not likely be reached.
Moreover, the thesis o f this chapter does not depend on a particular answer to this debate. Whether
authored by Isaiah in the 8th c. B.C. or added by others much later, Isaiah 24-27 was part o f the book o f
Isaiah available to the Qumran community, and post-biblical Jewish and NT authors. See for example
lQIs*; 4Q161-65; and 2 Bar. 29:4; T, Ash. 7:3; Sib. Or. 8:88, which allude to Isaiah 27. Cf. Wildberger,
Isaiah 13-2 7 ,462. It should be noted that the NT authors regularly equate the book Isaiah with the prophet,
Isaiah. See, for example, Matt 1:23 (the prophet; Isa 7:14); Matt 3:3 (the prophet Isaiah saying, Isa

86

Recent scholarship has sought to understand the distinctive feel o f Isaiah 24-27
by reading it in concert with the rest o f the book. For instance, the cosmic imagery of
Isaiah 24-27 aligns well with Isaiah 13-23, which focus on particular nations. Hence,
Isaiah 24-27 and its imagery can be read as the cosmic, eschatological goal o f Isaiah 1323.161 As William Millar notes, even critical scholarship has moved beyond simply
observing apocalyptic imagery in Isaiah 24-27 to ask the question, How was the
imagery used?162 This study follows this approach without resorting to previously held
assumptions about apocalyptic. The investigation below proceeds upon the basis that
the language o f Isaiah 24-27 fits comfortably within the eschatological worldview
evidenced elsewhere in Isaiah (e.g., Isa 2:1-5; 4:2-6), and in the prophets as a whole.163
The second and third issues noted above are also germane to the present study. As
to its structure, debate exists on whether Isa 27:5 or 27:6 closes this new vineyard song.

40:3); Mark 1:3 (written in Isaiah the prophet; Isa 40:3); Luke 3:4 (written in the book o f the words o f
Isaiah;*' Isa 40:3); John 1:23 ( . . . as the prophet Isaiah said; Isa 40:3); John 12:38 (the word spoken by
the prophet Isaiah; Isa 53:1); Acts 28:25-26 (the Holy Spirit spoke through the prophet Isaiah . . . Isa
6:9-10); Rom 9:27-28 (Isaiah cries out concerning Israel; Isa 10:22-23; 28:22). Luke 4:17 and Acts
8:28,30 give evidence o f an Isaiah scroll, and copies thereof, in the l c. A.D. See Bart J. Koet, Isaiah in
Luke-Acts, in Isaiah in the New Testament (eds., Steve Moyise and Maarten J. J. Menken; New York;
London: T & T Clark, 2005), 79-100.
161 See, e.g., Wildberger, Isaiah 13 -2 7 ,446, who states, The collection o f oracles against the
nations concludes with chap. 23, and chap. 28 opens a new section o f the book, one that plainly has no
connection with chaps. 24-27 . . . In spite o f this, these chapters were certainly placed here intentionally,
into a position immediately following the materials connected with the nations in the book o f Isaiah
certainly not with the intention o f integrating them into the oracles against the nations, but for just the
opposite reason, in order to put the previous oracles into their own proper eschatological context. For a
defense o f the unifled authorship o f these sections, see Anthony Thomas Minear, A Sequential Analysis of
Isaiah 24-27 (PhD Diss; University o f St. Michaels College: Toronto, 2008).
162 William R. Millar, Isaiah 24-27 and the Origin o f Apocalyptic (HSM 11; Missoula, Mont.:
Scholars Press, 1976), 8-9. This approach should be followed whether or not apocalyptic accurately
describes the genre o f the text.
163 Following Johnson, Chaos to Restoration; Smith, Isaiah 1 -3 9 ,405-12. As Walther Eichrodt,
Theology o f the Old Testament (trans J. A. Barker; 2 vols., OTL; Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1961)
1:385, states, [T]o try to see in eschatology an indifferent or inferior appendix to the prophetic system of
thought is a fundamental misunderstanding o f prophetism. Hayes and Irvine, Isaiah, 295-99, however
think that Isaiah 24-27 celebrates in festive songs a past eventthe defeat o f Assyria ca. 704 B.C.

87

The relation between Isa 27:2-5(6), the rest o f the chapter, and Isaiah 24-27 affect this
discussion. As to its temporal perspective, the relation between the coming (days)
(b 1K3n) at Isa 27:6 and in that day (K1HH Di3) at Isa 27:2,12, and 13 provides an
interpretive key. The answer to the question how is the imagery used? at Isa 27:2-6
will be pursued in the light of these structural and temporal questions. With this in mind,
the literary context and structure o f Isa 27:2-5(6) are now investigated.
Isaiah 27:2-5(6) introduces the final eschatological vision (Isa 27:2-13) o f Isaiah
24-27. These chapters follow the oracles o f judgment against specific nations (Isa 1323), putting these judgments into a cosmic, eschatological key.164 At the internal level,165
Isa 24:1-23 pronounces Yahwehs end-time judgment over all the earth, for it is under
curse (Isa 24:6).166 Isaiah 25:1-27:1 then applies this theology to the situation in Judah
(cf. Isa 26:10,16-18) in anticipation o f Yahwehs visitation from his own dwelling place
to judge all the earth (Isa 26:21). Isaiah 27:1 concludes the section with the promise that
Yahweh will judge all disobedient nationsdepicted as the Leviathanwho mock his
kingship (cf. Isa 24:21).167 The final section, Isa 27:2-13, gives a promise o f future
restoration for Yahwehs people (Isa 27:6, 12-13). If read in its final form, Isa 27:2-13
gives hope despite Yahwehs coming judgment on Ephraim and Jerusalem (Isaiah 28).

IA8

164 See Smith, Isaiah 1 -3 9 ,405-6; Wildberger, Isaiah 1 3 -2 7 ,445-46.


165 Different views on the structure depend upon the method o f investigation. Wildberger, Isaiah
13 -2 1 ,440-45, takes a redaction-critical approach and organizes the section on according to the so-called
original level (Isa 24:1-20; 26:7-21), the eschatological images (Isa 24:21-23; 25:6-12;), the songs about
the city (Isa 25:1-5; 26:1-6), and later additions (Isa 27:1-13).
166 Smith, Isaiah 1 -3 9 ,411 observes how the grammar o f Isa 24:1-3 casts this eschatological
vision. Note the emphasis on the earth (TT{$n) at Isa 24:1, 3 ,4 , 5, and 6.
167 Oswalt, Isaiah 1 -3 9 ,490-91.
168 This hope applies to Israel whether the judgment will come from invasions by Sennacharib
(701 B.C.), Nebuchadnezzer (586 B.C.), or others. Smith, Isaiah 1 -3 9 ,410 argues for a date o f 701 B.C.;
Hayes and Irvine, Isaiah, 295-99, argue for Judahs revolt against Sargon in 705 B.C. Dan G. Johnson,
Chaos to Restoration, argues for a setting after the destruction o f Jerusalem in 587/6 but before the fall of

88

In this context, Isa 27:2-13 offers a message o f restoration by way o f a wondrous


reversal o f the first vineyard song at Isa 5:1-7. The boundary of the second song,
however, is not as evident as in the first. D. G. Johnson notes, There is universal
agreement that the next unit is modeled on the song o f the vineyard in Isa 5:1-7. But
there is disagreement as to where the unit ends. 169 Yet, syntactic and thematic reasons
exist for seeing Isa 27:2-6 as the proper boundary o f this second vineyard song. Johnson
presents four reasons: 1) the dramatic change in subject matter from Yahwehs protection
of the vineyard at Isa 27:6 to his striking o f peoples at verse 7; 2) the shift in perspective,
from future (Isa 27:2-6) to past (Isa 27:7); 3) the use o f the interrogative, which often
marks a new beginning, at verse 7; and 4) the consistent endings o f Isa 5:7 and Isa
27:6.170 Also, the temporal marker at Isa 27:6, the coming (b KIiri), corresponds
synonymously to in that day (KWH Dl3) at Isa 27:2. Thus, Isa 27:6 shares the same
literary and temporal perspective as Isa 27:2-5. This perspective is investigated below.

Babylon (for him the city o f Isa 24-27) in 539 B.C. The textual and contextual evidence for an 8lh c.
situation is just as compelling as for that o f a 6th c., or especially later, setting.
169 Johnson, Chaos to Restoration, 85. Edmund Jacob recognizes the song o f Isaiah 27 as . . . a
reply to the one o f chapter 5. Yet on the basis of a different rhythm in verse 6, he sees Isa 27:5 as the end
o f the new song. Edmond Jacob, Du premier, 325,327. Wildberger, Isaiah 13-27, 590, follows Jacobs
approach, with Isa 27:6 serving as a superscript for Isa 27:6-11. See also H. J. Bosman, Syntactic
Cohesion in Isaiah 24-27, in Studies in Isaiah 24-27: The Isaiah Workshop - De Jesaja Werkplaats (OtSt
43; eds., Hendrick Jan Bosman, Harm van Grol; Leiden: Brill, 2000), 34-5, who argues that Isa 27:2-5,
which has Yahweh speaking to the people, interrupts the main line o f discourse in Isaiah 24-27, which has
the speaker speaking to the people. Such an approach seeks to maintain, in general, the coherence between
the restoration imagery at Isa 27:6 and 27:12-13.
170 Johnson, Chaos to Restoration, 85. Johnson agrees with Kaiser, Isaiah 13-39, 224, who claims
that Isa 27:6 serves as the postscript to the song (Isa 27:2-5). Syntactical reasons support Johnsons
rationale. See van Grol, Verse Structure o f Isaiah 24-27, 77.

89

The Vineyard o f Yahweh In That Day (Isa 27:2)


At Isa 27:2, the second vineyard song immediately contrasts the first: In that day, a
pleasant vineyard, sing o f it! (n^H357

$ NIHH DV3). Whereas Isa 5:1-2 points the

reader back in time to the beloveds (Yahwehs) tender care for his vineyard (people),
this song looks forward. The familiar refrain in that day (KIHH Dl?) puts Isa 27:2-6
into the same eschatological key as the rest o f Isaiah 2427.171 As Simon DeVries notes,
Mnri 0 i,3 [I]s the [Hebrew] locution that is demanded as a time-designative.172
DeVries also observes that this time-designative refers to near future or eschatological
future events.173 Thus, in that day is significant because, as Hendrik Leene notes, in .
.. verses 2-5 there is nothing that refers to the future. Only the introduction [in] that
day in v. 2a repositions w . 2b-5, as it were, into the future.174 The phrase may also
provide a structuring device for Isaiah 24-27.
Each usage o f Sinn Di3 in Isaiah 24-27 expands some aspect o f the situation
sketched at Isa 24:1-20, the introductory unit to Isaiah 24-27.175 Following Yahwehs
creation o f this situation, in that day at Isa 24:21 looks toward a day when Yahweh will
judge the host o f heaven and kings o f the earth. In this way, Yahweh will show his reign
171 See Isa 24:21; 25:9; 26:1; 27:1,2, 12, 13. The phrase is essential to Isaiahs idiolect. See also
Isa 2:11,17,20; 3:7, 18; 4:1,2; 5:30; 7:18, 20,21,23; 10:20,27; 11:10,11; 12:1,4; 17:4,7,9; 19:16,18,
19, 21, 23, 24; 20:6; 22:8, 12,20, 25; 23:15; 28:5; 29:18; 30:23; 31:7; 52:6.
172 Simon J. DeVries, Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow: Time and History in the Old Testament
(Grand Rapids: Gerdmans, 1975), 342.
Ibid., 281-331. See also p. 285, where DeVries finds wanting Munchs thesis that beyom
hahu" always means a non-eschatological then in contrast to the older thesis o f Hugo Gressmann.
Gressmann had argued that beyom hahu functioned as a terminus technicus with specific eschatological
content. With many scholars, e.g., Wildberger, DeVries views the in that day passages o f Isaiah 24-27 as
late additions. There is, however, no textual or contextual evidence for this claim apart from a previously
held commitment to a redaction-critical approach to the text. See Motyer, Isaiah, 206.
174 Hendrik Leene, Isaiah 27:7-9 as a Bridge between Vineyard and City, in Studies in Isaiah
24-27: The Isaiah Workshop - De Jesaja Werkplaats (OtSt 43; eds., Hendrick Jan Bosman, Harm van
Grol; Leiden: Brill, 2000), 206.
175 Motyer, Isaiah, 205.

90

on Mount Zion and his glory among his elders (Isa 24:23). Yahweh then promises a feast,
the destruction o f death, and salvation for his people (Isa 25:6-9), which correspond to
his judgment on Moab (Isa 25:10-12). Also, in that day at Isa 26:1 promises that a song
will be sung in Judah.176 As DeVries notes, both Isa 24:21 and 26:1 look forward to a
salvation that in turn expands Yahwehs judgment upon the nations.177 Therefore, in that
day links together key sections to establish a main line o f discourse o f Isaiah 24-27,
which [Describes YHWHs coming dealings with the earth, with the powers of heaven,
earth and sea and with his own people.178 In that day at Isa 27:1 and 2 serves a similar
function.
As the conclusion of Isa 25:1-27:1, in that day at 27:1 announces Yahwehs
judgment on Leviathan, the mythical chaos monster who represents . . . all his mortal
enemies.179 This event concretizes Yahwehs visitation (Isa 26:21) that will result in
Israels national resurrection and the dawn of the eschatological age (Isa 26:19-21).
Then, Isa 27:2 looks forward to the day when Yahweh judges the nations, the Leviathan,
and brings end-time renewal for Israel. As Johnson notes, [T]he prophet brings the
notion o f the triumph of Yahweh to its logical conclusion with the theme o f the
reunification o f Israel.180 On this day, the effects o f Isa 5:1-7 (cf. Isa 5:25-30) will be
reversed. Thus, Isa 27:2-5 contains the song to be sung by those who anticipate
Yahwehs day o f salvation. That song is examined in detail in the next section.

176 For other songs, see Isa 5:1; 30:29; 42:10. Motyer, Isaiah, 213, notes that the song motif
includes [RJesponse to and enjoyment o f benefits freely bestowed - here [Isa 26:1] salvation, security,
peace, etc. as the Lords free gifts.
177 DeVries, Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow, 305.
178 Hendrik Jan Bosman, Syntactic Cohesion, 30-31, cf. 34-35.
179 DeVries, Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow, 316.
180 Johnson, Chaos to Restoration, 17.

91

The Pleasant Vineyard o f Yahweh (Isa 27:2-5)


The first line of Isa 27:2 indicates that the new vineyard will be totally productive. In
that day, a pleasant vineyard, sing o f it!

Hinn V3)- The verse features

a text critical issue. Either pleasant (7$n) or wine (1?jn) describes the vineyard.
Though both readings contrast Isa 5:1-7, good reasons exist for reading pleasant (Tjn)
with the BHS.181 Moreover, a pleasant vineyard can connote the production o f wine.
The main point is its stark contrast to the Isaiah 5 vineyard. Despite the beloved vintners
care, that vineyard produced only stink fruit (CP^K^; Isa 5:2,4).
A second significant contrast can be noted. Isaiah 5:1-7 features the prophet as
the primary singer of the first vineyard song, and Yahwehs still unidentified voice breaks
in only at Isa 5:3. At Isa 27:2, and throughout the song (vv. 2-5), Yahweh himself
sings.182 As Leene rightly notes, Yahweh speaks from the stance o f the future about the
status o f the vineyard.183 Therefore, the song Isa 27:2-5 gives Yahwehs evaluation of his
pleasant vineyard on the day of salvation that follows his judgment pictured at Isa 5:3-6,
25-30.

181 The BHS reads

(pleasant) though multiple manuscripts read

(wine; cf. Isa 24:7-

11).
agrees with the LXX and Isa Tg and makes sense o f the imagery in context, especially if it is a
renewal o f earlier vineyards (c f Amos 5:11). See Sweeney, New Gleanings, 56, n. 24. Oswalt, Isaiah
1 -3 9 ,493, notes however that lQIs* agrees with Leningradis P ^ H ) and accords well with Isaiah 5. As
stated, the different readings do not greatly affect the sense. The LXX witnesses to the pleasant reading:
in that day a good, desirable vineyard, sing about it (T j t\p.ipa Ixelvf) dpireXuv xaX6? ImSupjjia dpxlv
tear aiWj;)- The LXX o f Isa 27:2-6 is very difficult; key differences from the MT, especially at Isa 27:3
and 4, will be discussed below. In general, this discussion proceeds on the view that the MT is reliable and
ought not be subjected to emendations. Cf. Donald C. Polaski, Authorizing an End: The Isaiah Apocalypse
& Intertextuality (Biblical Interpretation Series 50; Boston: Brill, 2001), 331 n. 123. On the LXX o f Isaiah
see most recently, Ronald L. Troxel, LXX-Isaiah; Arie van der Kooij and Michael N. van der Meer, eds.,
The Old Greek o f Isaiah: Issues and Perspectives (CBET 55; Leuven: Peeters, 2010).
182 Polaski, Authorizing, 333-34; also pointed out by Jacob, Du Premier, 326.
183 Leene, Isaiah 27:7-9, 207.

92

At Isa 27:3, the reader learns that those called to sing (Isa 27:2) will join in the
song o f Yahweh, the creator and sustainer o f the vineyard. I, Yahweh am its keeper;
every moment I water it; lest anyone should visit against it, night and day I keep it
DTI nftjz r r jy TJ??? 1?,

r q # h ir r ^ ) . 184 The verse contrasts Isa

5:5-6, where Yahweh promises to remove the vineyards protections and prevent the
clouds from raining on it. Instead, on the day of renewal Yahweh will personally water
and protect his vineyard.
Donald Polaksi observes how this song differs from Isaiah 5 in its portrayal of
Yahwehs character in relation to the vineyard. At Isa 5:2, 5 Yahweh uses tools to act
against the vineyard. Yet, at Isa 27:3 Yahweh gives unmediated care. Polaski states,
[T]the vineyard is always the object o f the verbs. The mediation o f watchtowers and
hedges is gone. Indeed Yahwehs activity on behalf of the vineyard is perpetual.185 The
verse indicates an eschatological reversal of the Deuteronomic curse on vineyards (Deut
28:23-24; cf. Lev 26:19). Now, though, the vineyard represents the people o f Yahweh.
The verse also recalls the language and imagery o f Isaiah 26. The twofold use of
the lexeme

at Isa 27:3, I am its keeper. . . I keep it, emphasizes Yahwehs

sovereign care. The same root appears at Isa 26:3 where Yahweh keeps (T^l)) in perfect
peace his people who trust in him. Isaiah 27:3 promises that Yahweh will keep it so

184 The verse presents some textual issues. At Isa 27:3b, instead o f the qal visit/punish Oj?!p?)
Vulgate reads the passive, be visited/punished
This compares favorably to the very free
translation o f the LXX: I am a strong city, a city besieged in vain (iyu miXi; io^upd iriXi? 7roXtopxou(*iv>)
furnjv). The Greek translators apparently interpreted 1, Yahweh (TtyT ptj) in the light o f the fate o f the
city o f Isaiah 24-27 (cf. Isa 24:10, 12; 25 :2-4; 26:1,5) Yahweh is its stronghold, thus himself a strong
city. Yet, outside the Vulgate and LXX, no reasons (mss or otherwise) exist for emending the MT,
especially since there are no issues with the preceding particle, lest ()). See Wildberger, Isaiah 13-27,
582. Also, the editors o f the BHS suggest the reading njy instead o f
185 Polaski, Authorizing, 335.

93

yet give no mss support.

that no outsider might visit against it (rP^V

1$).186 The lexeme *Tj?$, which can

connote destruction and/or punishment,187 also appears at Isa 26:21,where Yahweh will
soon visit punishment upon the earths inhabitants

Tjpip1? inipZpB

cf. Isa 24:21,22; 27:1). Any such visitation on the vineyard, especially from outsiders,
is contingent upon Yahwehs protection. The allusions to Isaiah 26 and the combined
contrasts to Isaiah 5 . . . build confidence in Gods love and care for his people.188
Yahweh continues to sing at verses 4-5. Three parallel lines declare his actions in
and for the vineyard.
27:4a IT# T 0 3

Jg Hn

27:4b-Tft n j j r o n?TnyTm
27:5

PXH- w '89

A literal translation reads, Wrath, there is none to me. Who will give to me thorns and
thistles [?]; in battle I will march against her/it, I will bum her/it completely [v. 4]. Or let
him/it take hold o f my protection, let him/it make peace with me, peace let him make
with me [v. 5]. Again, Yahwehs actions contrast the description o f Isaiah 5. The

186 The use o f ken + impf. Oi?? 1^) at Isa 27:3 refers either to the prevention o f a possible or
impossible event (see Holladay 6844, p. 293). Oswalt, Isaiah 1 -3 9 ,494, notes that the verb frequently
takes an object with *7V as in these verses, T?? at Isa 27:3b is likely a modal imperfect. See GKC 107q;
cf. Smith, Isaiah 1-39, 459.
187 See BDB,
87.
188 Smith, Isaiah 1 -3 9 ,459.
189 This structure reflects the BHS. According to its accent, the MT divides the text after n!Jlf?Q3.
Note the text critical issues at 27:4. lQIs* and the Syriac, Vulgate, Targum and Aquila versions apparently
read and thorns (71$ )) instead o f the MT,
As Wildberger (Isaiah 13-27, 582) notes, there is no
reason however to emend the MT. As to the next issue, the BHS editors suggest following Isa. Tg., which
eliminates in battle (HJJlYpBa). Yet again, though, Wildberger (Isaiah 13-27, 582) helpfully notes the
contextual sense the MT makes. Finally, the translation o f the LXX evinces the free interpretive style o f its
translators. The use o f roivuv (accordingly) without an identifiable MT equivalent, for example, shows
this style. See Troxel, LXX-lsaiah, 93.

94

opening phrase of Isa 27:4, I have no wrath

IKHgn), directly counters Isa 5:5-6.

Though the lexeme wrath (nan)190does not appear at Isa


vineyard protections and acts against it (Isa
wrath for the Isaiah

5:1-7, Yahweh removes the

5:6) the unfruitful vineyard. Clearly, he has

5 vineyard.191 Now, on that day (Isa 27:2), there is none.

The literal translation above shows that interpreters must make decisions on the
following issues: whether God wishes for thorns and thistles; to what/whom the thorns
and thistles refer (v. 4); and the relationship between the feminine suffixes o f verse 4 and
masculine suffixes of verse 5.192
The first two issues interrelate, and scholars vary on a solution. The function o f
the particle plus imperfect verb,

in verse 4 creates the initial difficulty. Most

scholars render this as an optative, O that I had, 193 or conditional, If I had.194 Those
who follow either translation agree that God wishes for enemies to threaten his vineyard,
but differ on whether these are external or internal to the vineyard. Wildberger interprets
or let him take hold of my protection in verse 5 as a reference to asylum in the temple
(cf. 1 Kings 1:51; 2:28). The thorns and thistles o f verse 4 thus refer to the internal
enemiesestranged Samaritans called to return to temple worship in Jerusalem (Isa
27:5).195 Motyer though sees the lexeme Tiyn (my protection; foy???) as reference not

190 Often used o f Yahwehs anger toward his people (cf. Deut 9:19).
191 And, it should be noted, for large chunks o f the known world, including Israel (see Isaiah 17 in
context o f chs. 13-23). Paul R. House, from personal correspondence.
192 See Smith, Isaiah 1 -3 9 ,459.
193 For example, Oswalt, Isaiah 1 -3 9 ,494; Smith, Isaiah 1 -3 9 ,458; Polaski, Authorizing, 332. On
the optative, see Williams, Hebrew Syntax, 547.
194 For example, Kaiser, Isaiah 1 3 -3 9 ,224; Wildberger, Isaiah 1 3 -2 7 ,581-2. Cf. Waltke and
O Connor, 18.2.g, p. 322 on the rhetorical function o f the ip. See also, GKC 117x on the function o f the
suffix (3) in this double accusative form.
195 Wildberger, Isaiah 13-27, 584; cf. Jacob, Du Premier, 328-29; Kaiser, Isaiah 1 3 -3 9 ,225;
Johnson, Chaos to Restoration, 87, follows Wildberger but sees this as evidence o f a much earlier text
(parallel to the 6th c. return from exile) than allowed by Wildberger.

95

to the Jerusalem temple but to Yahweh himself (cf. Ps 27:1; 37:39; Jer 16:19). Thus,
Gods offer for peace extends to all peoples, including external enemies o f the
vineyard.196
In a recent article, Benjamin Johnson evaluates three possible renderings of the
phrase

and argues that it should be read as simple indefinite interrogative, . . .

whoever gives me.197 He defends this translation in concert with the likely antecedents
for the suffixes o f verses 2-4 and verse 5.198 He claims that the feminine suffixes at
verses 2-4 refer to the vineyard, while the masculine verbal forms at verse 5 refer to the
internal or external enemies of the vineyard.199 He concludes that Isa 27:2-6, [Tjells
Israel not to be complacent; even though YHWH is reversing his judgment, his purpose
for Israel requires that he fights any who would threaten that purpose, whether that is
Israel herself or external enemies (cf. Jer 18:1-11).200 This analysis plausibly explains
all three interpretive issues noted above.
B. Johnsons reading also allows for a general, undetermined imagery for the
thorns and thistles o f verse 4. This word pair appears elsewhere in Isaiah. At Isa 7:2325, it describes the desolate land after Yahweh judges Ahaz and his kingdom. At Isa 9:17,
the sins o f the nation will consume even the metaphorical thorns and thistles that have

196 Motyer, Isaiah, 223; cf. Nielsen, There is Hope, 118.


197 Benjamin J. M. Johnson, Whoever Gives Me Thoms and Thistles: Rhetorical Ambiguity and
the Use o f in 1 D in Isaiah 27.2-6, JSO T 36.1 (2011), 105-26.
198 Ibid., 119, esp. notes 48-49.
199 Isaiah 27:2-4 reads,
. . . tfp a y ,
while Isa 27:5 has,
. . . ptTJ\ See B. Johnson, Whoever Gives Me, 119-22,125. Johnson notes (p.
125, n. 68) that the indefinite use of 0 should be understood as grammatically masculine. Thus the
masculine whoever could refer to anyone outside or inside the vineyard (her/it).
200 B. Johnson, Whoever Gives Me, 123.

96

grown up in it. At Isa 10:17, Yahweh will bum up his thorns and his thistles, that is,
judge his enemies the Assyrians (Isa. 10:5-19).201 Thus, the word pair can refer to
enemies o f Yahweh internal (Isa 9:17) or external (Isa 10:17) to the nation, Israel. The
text or context o f Isa 21:2-6, however, does not offer a particular historical referent for
the thorns and thistles.202 Indeed, at Isa 27:4, the undefined quality o f the referent
remains key. Whereas Yahweh once stood against his vineyard, even removing its source
o f life (cf. Isa 5:6), in the eschatological day (Isa 27:2) Yahweh will take on all enemies,
all thorns and thistles, for his delightful vineyard.
In support of this view, Isa 27:4-5 differentiates between the vineyard and the
thorns and thistles. The 3ms hiphil verb, let him take hold (pTTJ-)>an^ 3ms qal verbs,
let him ma k e . . . let him make with me (^"71^5?,'.

at verse 5 function as

collective singulars and refer back to the enemies represented by the thistles and thorns
(n % T p $ ) at verse 4.203 The thorns and thistles are the enemy, not the vineyard. As
enemies o f the pleasant, obedient vineyard, they are enemies o f Yahweh.204 Yet even
enemies do not fall outside the purview o f Yahwehs redemptive justice. According to
verse 5, Yahweh offers them peace. As Polaski states, The vintner offers a simple choice
201 On Isa 10:15-19, see Merrill, Kingdom o f Priests, 440-441. He argues this section refers to
Sennacharibs advance through Judah in 701; Smith, Isaiah 1 -3 9 ,253-254, argues the Syro-Ephramite
War (734-732 B.C.) is in view.
202 This observation contrasts the view o f many scholars. Commentators since Duhm have
speculated on the referent for the thorns and briers. Oswalt, Isaiah 1 -3 9 ,495, rightly notes, [T]hese
suggestions are the result o f hypotheses resting upon hypotheses concerning the date and locus o f the text.
Cf. B. Johnson, Whoever Gives Me, 124, n. 68.
203 Most translate these as jussives. Smith, Isaiah 1 -3 9 ,460, argues the verbs are better understood
as modal imperfects; cf. GKC 107 m, r.
204 Contra Sweeney and Hibbard, who see an offer of peace for the vineyard, it is the thistles and
thorns in Yahwehs reconciling view. See Sweeney, New Gleanings, 59; Hibbard, Intertextuality, 180. If
Yahweh here offers reconciliation to Israel (with the north particularly in view), would not a pre-exilic
setting, on the eve o f Sennacharibs invasion in 701 B.C. make such an offer even more powerful? An
exilic or post-exilic setting for this verse and the rest o f Isa 27:2-13 would thus limit the eschatological
purview o f the in that day language o f the passage.

97

to the imagined thorns in this metaphorical vineyard: become a grape-vine (i.e. become
part of YHWHs protective order) or become ash.205 Yahwehs reconciliation will
extend even to those who oppose him (Isa 27:5), just as Isaiah 13-23 teaches.206 This
second vineyard song concludes with a promise regarding the global effects o f Yahwehs
restoration o f his vineyard.

The Restored and Fruitful Vineyard o f Yahweh (ha 27:6)


The eschatological perspective o f Isa 27:2-5 continues at 27:6, though from a different
voice. As Leene observes, now the poet (prophet?) speaks about the future from the
stance o f the present.207 The new vineyard song concludes in two parallel lines:

n*np3

aj?5

bsan

A literal translation reads, The coming, Jacob will take root, Israel will blossom and bud
and they will fill the face o f the world with fruit. The unusual masculine plural
participle, b San, has a debatable meaning. Motyer notes three possibilities: It may be
exclamatory, They are coming!, matching the exclamations with which the vineyard
song began (v. 2). The phrase might be designedly vague (the days are coming) or be a
reference to people who have just been invited to come into the Lords peace (v. 5).208 A
temporal reference seems most likely in the light o f the context o f Isa 27:2-6,209 Isaiahs

205 Polaski, Authorizing an End, 349.


206 Paul R. House, Isaiah (Feam Ross-shire, Scotland: Christian Focus, forthcoming), writes, As
Isaiah 13-23 has discussed in great detail, Yahweh reaches out to peoples who oppose his will.
207 Leene, Isaiah 27:7-9, 207.
208 Motyer, Isaiah, 223.
209 Given the eschatological, in that day
Di3) at verse 2, a similar referent f o r b NJin, in
the coming days, would provide a balanced perspective to conclude the song and accord well with the
eschatological thrust o f Isaiah 24-27.

98

idiolect,210 and the use o f the coming days (KJH D ^H ) at Eccl 2:16.211 Therefore,
the poet o f Isa 27:6 looks forward to the eschatological day about which Yahweh has just
sung (Isa 27:2-5).
The first cola o f Isa 27:6, Jacob will take root (3'piP $ T $ ),212 parallels the
second, Israel will blossom and sprout

P ) 0 - The parallel use of Jacob

and Israel at this stage in the book is significant. Some scholars see a reference to the
inhabitants of the northern kingdom.213 Yet this observation depends upon the (unlikely)
backdrop o f the Jewish/Samaritan schism (ca. 400-300 B.C.). There is no indication in
the text of such a setting.214 Moreover, as Kratz rightly notes, [WJhen the contexts do
not relate to the monarchies of Israel (Ephraim) and Judah or to their respective capitals,
Samaria and Jerusalem (Zion), these names designate the people o f God.

Such is the

case at Isa 27:6.216


More likely, then, Jacob and Israel at Isa 27:6, refers to the people o f God. As
with Isa 5:7, this vineyard song concerns the destiny o f the people Yahweh aims to make
210 The feminine participial form (D i^ H ) appears at Isa 41:22: Let them bring forth . . . or cause
us to hear what is coming
n i^ E J i X . . . ^ttbV|). The tem poral" . . . what is coming highlights
the idols inability to declare the future, in stark contrast to Yahweh.
211 Wildberger points out that the coming
at Isa 27:6 is likely a shorthand way of
expressing the days are coming when
(Eccl 2:16). Wildberger, Isaiah 1 3 -2 7 ,588; cf. Joiion
126i on the accusative o f time.
212 On the use o f the hiphil
see Waltke and O Connor, Hebrew Syntax, 443. lQls*, Aquila,
Symmachus, and Theodotian read the jussive may he take root
as an indicative: he will take
root (ttHW and ^t^dtoGi, respectively). The indicative sense works well here.
213 As Wildberger states, a suggestion supported by the fact that Jacob is never mentioned
anywhere else in chaps. 24-27. Jacob at Isa 27:9, then, refers to those Samaritans who return to
Jerusalem and make peace with Yahweh. See Wildberger, Isaiah 1 3 -2 7 ,593. Cf. Jacob Du Premier,
328-29.
214 To import such a context, readers must speculate on the identity o f the fortified city at Isa
27:10, its relation to the city elsewhere (e.g., Isa 25:2; 26:1), and the (late) date for Isa 24-27. Only then
does a possible north/south parallel arise at Isa 27:6 for Jacob and Israel. See also, Christopher R.
Seitz, Isaiah 1-39 (Louisville: John Knox Press, 1993), 197; D. G. Johnson, Chaos to Restoration, 92-93.
215 Kratz, Israel, 111-12.
216 Later prophets such as Jeremiah and Zechariah also promise the unification o f both segments.
Noted by Paul R. House in personal correspondence.

99

his faithful worshipers and servants. Elsewhere in Isaiah the usage of Jacob
terminology,217 evokes the concept of the unified people of God, especially when
paralleled to Israel. The parallel stems from the renaming of Jacob (Gen 32:29 and
35:10). As the OT story progresses, Jacobs offspring end up enslaved in Egypt. They are
known in Exodus as Israel, Yahwehs people (Exod 3:7; cf. Ps 105:10,23). For
Isaiah, Jacob functions to remind his audience of the days when Gods people were one
in the land God had promised them (cf. Gen 12:1-3). This unified people preceded the
division o f the kingdom ca. 930 B.C. This unified people remained before the exiles of
Israel (Ephraim) in 732, 722, 701, 670,605, 597 and 587, and the exiles o f Judah in 701,
605, 597, and 587 B.C.218 Thus, the terms Jacob-Israel came to refer to Israel
(Ephraim) and Judah in the one people, Israel.
This phenomenon can be seen throughout Isaiah, in prophecies o f promise and
doom.219 Beginning at Isa 1:3, Israel, my people places the whole book (Isaiah 1-66)
under the comprehensive motto o f Yahwehs covenant lawsuit with the descendants of
Jacob.220 Doom will come upon the sinful nation including Zion (e.g., Isa 1:4 -8 ,21-26),
so that it might be redeemed (Isa 1:27). The people redeemed in the latter days will
worship the God o f Jacob (Isa 2:3). Thus, the prophet appeals to the house o f Jacob
to walk in his light (Isa 2:5). This is because to this point in history the house o f Jacob
has not walked in his light (Isa 2:6; ca. 745-40 B.C.). Instead, the prideful people practice

217 See Isa 2 :3,5-6; 8:17; 9:7; 10:20-21; 14:1; 17:4; 27:6,9; 29:22-23; 40:27; 41:8, 14,21; 42:24;
43:1,22, 28; 44:1-2, 5 ,2 1 ,2 3 ; 45:4, 19; 46:3; 48:1, 12,20; 49:5-6, 26; 58:1, 14; 59:20; 60:16; 65:9.
218 See House, Isaiah, on discussion o f Isa 27:8.
219 Kratz, Israel, 113, n. 42,43.
220 Ibid., 118; cf. Dumbrell, Purpose, 112.

100

idolatry and so are rejected by Yahweh, subject to his vengeful day (Isa 2:6-22). Other
texts tell the same story.
At Isa 8:17-18, the house o f Jacob parallels Israel, for whom Isaiah and his
family are a sign and portent o f the remnant. Isaiahs trust is paradigmatic o f the
remnants trust (Isa 8:17). At Isa 9:7, The Lord sends a word against Jacob and it falls
on Israel

*7p_3)

g j) . Isaiah 10:20-21 describe that day

(Nlfin Dij3) when the remnant of Israel and the escapees o f the house of Jacob
(3j?ir!"n,J n,1?9;l

1$$) will return to Yahweh and no longer lean on Assyria.

Yahweh will judge Assyria after he refines his people from Jacob-Israel (Isa 10:12). Like
Isaiah (cf. Isa 8:7), the faithful can look forward to that day until it comes (Isa 10:20) and
trust Yahweh for their provision even unto exile (cf. Isa 11:16). At Isa 14:1-2, Jacob
parallels Israel as both constitute the house of Jacob, and even strangers will join
themselves to this group. Yahweh will restore them to the land and they will enslave
those who enslaved them (Isa 14:323).221
Therefore, in Isaiah 1-39 the terms Jacob, the house o f Jacob, Israel, and
the house of Israel are mutually interpretive. Together they stress Yahwehs purposes
for his true people, the remnant he will restore. The terms also function over against the
enemies Yahweh will judge, such as the remnant of Babylon he will destroy (Isa 14:22
23). When this occurs the 12 tribes o f Jacob-Israel will one day be restored in the land,
and will be joined by sojourners who together become the one house o f Jacob. The
Jacob-Israel parallel at Isa 27:6 thus points readers forward to expect the reunification
231 See Oswalt, Isaiah 1-39, 312-313; cf. Isa 46:3, which uses remnant language.

101

of this one people by reminding them o f the time when they were unified as one (cf. Isa
63:17-19; 65:8-9).
Spiritual renewal in the people would bring about national redemption and
reunification for the nation. D. G. Johnson puts it succinctly, National restoration
implies national reunification.222 Moreover, this vision fits the context. As Isa 27:12-13
indicate, one eschatological day the sons o f Israel will be restored back to the land,
gleaned (Dj?^) from the scourge o f exile. And yet, national restoration is not for all
regardless of relationship with Yahweh. Isaiah stresses that only the remnant that
faithfully repent and worship Yahweh alone will enjoy the fullness o f such realities.
Those who repent form the group gleaned from the whole nation (Isa 27:12) that will
render Yahweh the worship that he alone deserves.
Jacob-Israel at Isa 27:6 also links this text with the terminology and theology
found in Isaiah 40-66. The prophet, for instance, emphasizes renewal o f the tribes, the
heritage of Yahweh, Jacob (see Isa 63:17-19; 65:8-10, 13-16). And the remnant theme
reaches full expression in chapters 56-66. It is my people who will enjoy the blessings
o f redemption from exile and restoration to Yahweh (Isa 65:10); those who forget my

222 D. G. Johnson, Chaos to Restoration, 87. Isaiah, like other 8th c. prophets and Jeremiah and
Ezekiel o f the late 7th c., considered the spiritual destiny o f Israelall Israel as both reflective o f and
determinative for the geopolitical destiny o f Israel. See House, Isaiah, p. 8-9. House notes other OT
prophets and kings who shared this same vision: Jeremiah 3:6-18, 31:31-34, and 34:14-26, Ezekiel 37:21,
Hosea 1:11, and Obadiah 20-21 do as well. Second Chronicles 30:1-12 describes Hezekiahs efforts to
include the northern tribes in a Passover commemoration, and 2 Chronicles 34:33 indicates that Josiah
extended his reforms to the northern tribal areas. Several Old Testament figures and writers refuse to give
up the notion that Yahweh has made a covenant with all the children o f Jacob. They do not believe
sectional rivalry and religious dissension is Israels final destiny.
223 See especially Gerhard F. Hasel, The Remnant: The History and Theology o f the Remnant Idea
From Genesis to Isaiah (Andrews University Monographs V; Berrien Springs, Mich.: Andrews University
Press, 1972), 216-372; esp. 315-18 (on Isa 1:8-9). Hasel (pp. 315-16) states, The promises connected
with Zion preserve their hopeful meaning only on the condition that Israel will return to Yahweh in faith.

102

holy mountain forget Yahweh and so will not share in his blessings (Isa 65:11).224 The
vineyard metaphor illuminates Isaiahs Jacob-Israel theology, and Jacob-Israel theology
is remnant theology. Remnant theology extends from the judgment and salvation dialectic
of the book.225 Thus, the restored remnant will one day bear fruit in the world. The link
between Isa 27:6 and Isaiah 40-55, where Yahweh reveals himself as the I am, will
also prove instructive for the interpretation o f John 15:1-17 in chapter 4 below.

The Fruiting of Jacob-Israel according to Isaiah


In order for the remnant to bear fruit it must first take root and blossom. As 27:6 states,
Jacob will take root (ILHjfT), Israel will blossom ( f JP) and bud (rHD)) and they will fill
the face o f the world with fruit. The verbs denote a progression o f growth for
Jacob and Israel. The cluster o f verbs and their use elsewhere in Isaiah are key to
discerning the purpose and function o f the metaphor and the passage (Isa 27:2-6).
The grammatically first and most significant lexeme, root/take root (tfH$), and
its related nominal form, root ($"]$), play a key figurative role in Isaiah. As elsewhere
in the OT, it appears in people as plant(s) metaphors, and often in syntagmatic relation to
terms for fruit (esp. 'H?).226 Like in other OT vineyard texts, root at Isa 27:6 appears
as part of a motif regarding the destiny o f Gods people (cf. Ps 80:9-10; Ezek 17:7-9).

224 See Dumbrell, Purpose o f Isaiah, 126-27.


225 See Hasel, The Remnant, 22425.
226 On the verbal form (tthl^), see for example: Ps 52:7; Ps 80:9 [10]; Jer 12:12. For the nominal
($")$), see for example: Amos 2:9; Hos 9:16; 14:6; Ezek 17:6,7,9 (cf. BDB, 1057). For a discussion of
the term syntagmatic, see T. Stordalen, Echoes o f Eden: Genesis 2-3 and Symbolism o f the Eden Garden in
Biblical Hebrew Literature (CBET 25; Leuven: Peeters, 2000), 40-46.

103

In Isaiah, the only other use o f the verb comes at Isa 40:24, where the prophet
compares the rulers o f the earth (Isa 40:23) to a plant barely rooted before Yahweh blows
them away. The nominal form, root ( $ )$), is much more prominent. At Isa 5:24, the
land and people of Judah under judgment are compared to dry grass such that their
roots (b$"]$) will be rotten and their buds (0(11?)

blow away like dust.227 At Isa

11:1, the shoot from Jesse will spring forth, and a branch from his roots will bear fruit
(Hip?

lLD- Then at Isa 11:10, in that day the nations will seek the root o f Jesse

0$? $"]$) who stands as a signal to the peoples. Similarly, at Isa 53:2, the Servant grew
up before Yahweh like a root from dry ground (n*X

'$"1$?). Thus, the root

(tfh $ ) lexeme depicts either the people o f Judah or the Suffering Servant.
The nominal root

also appears in syntagmatic relation with remnant

(JYHX^), wherein the renewal of the land pictures the renewal o f the people.228 For
example, after proclaiming Yahwehs impending defeat o f the Assyrian army, Isaiah
gives Hezekiah a sign that vineyards will again be enjoyed in the land (Isa 37:30), [A]nd
the surviving remnant of the house o f Judah will again take root and bear fruit upward

(npv^ n ? n&yi nipa1? un# rrixipan rmrrTra np.^p npp?i; 37:31; cf. 2 Kings 19:30).
Motyer rightly observes that the remnants rooting (npjjp $ ]$) connotes security,
while its fruiting

nyw) connotes prosperity.229 Isaiah, then, promises Hezekiah

227 That judgment is further explicated as exile (Isa 5:25-30). See Smith, Isaiah 1 -3 9 ,179.
228 The lexeme can also appear in contexts o f judgment, which makes sense given the concept o f a
remnant. See, e.g., the oracle against Philistia, where the prophet compares the root ($")$) Yahweh will
kill with famine to the remnant (n HNlf?) he will slay (Isa 14:30).
229 Motyer, Isaiah, 284.

104

that through the defeat o f Assyria (701 B.C.), Yahweh would establish a remnant (cf. Isa
6:13). This work will result in an era o f security and prosperity radiating outward from
Zion (Isa 37:32). Such prosperity will not be only material, though the renewal of
viticulture indicates it is at least as much. Rather, in light o f the real threat of Assyrian
exile, prosperity primarily means life and the multiplication o f life, as indicated by
reference to the surviving remnant at Isa 37:31.
The next lexeme blossom

(fix) appears in Isaiah only at Isa 27:6. Elsewhere in

the OT it denotes a range o f meanings that stem from this agricultural notion o f
growth.230 As here, though, it often refers to the actions or growth o f people (e.g., Ps

72:16; 103:15). The synonym bud (m_3), as here, often appears in the OT in
conjunction with blossom (pX; e.g., Hos

14:6; Ps 92:8).231Yet bud (ni$) is more

prominent than its partner in Isaiah. It can connote the judgment (e.g., Isa

5:24; 17:11;

18:5) or restoration (e.g., Isa 27:6; 35:1-2; 66:14) o f a people in a land.


The final verb, fill (x'pJJ), has a range of meanings in various contexts in
Isaiah.232 At Isa 27:6, of course, the meaning is determined by its relation to these other
agricultural terms. The group o f people indicated by Jacob-Israel will one day (Isa
27:2,6) fill the face of the world with fruit (njJWfl ^jrHJlp). Though the lexeme fruit
( n ^ n ) differs from the term at Isa 11:1 and 37:31 C l?), they are synonymous.233 The
fruit o f Isa 27:6 refers to the people who will populate the land after the return from
exile (Isa 27:12-13). The Targum o f Isaiah reflects this understanding:
230 See Num 17:23 (of Aarons staff); Pss 72:16; 90:6; 92:8; 103:15; 132:18; Isa 27:6; Ezek 7:10.
231 See BDB, 171*1, 827.
232 See Isa 1:15,21; 2:6-8; 6:1,3-4; 8:8; 11:9; 13:21; 14:21; 15:9; 21:3; 22:2, 7; 23:2; 27:6; 28:8;
30:27; 31:4; 33:5; 34:1,6; 40:2; 42:10; 51:20; 65:11,20. Cf. BDB,
569.
233 See Ezek 36:30 for the synonymous use; cf. BDB, njfU13, 626.

105

They shall be gathered from among their exiles and they shall return to
their land, there those o f the house ofJacob will receive (children), those
o f the house o f Israel will grow and increase, and sons sons will fill the
face o f the world (7g. Isa. 27:6).234
The translator interprets the MT fruit (HJlllljl) with the Aramaic sons sons (H } p ) .
Fruit, then, likely means the prosperity o f the people in the land (cf. Gen 12:3).
The point of this lexical discussion is to show that Isa 27:6 fits the idiolect o f the
book, Isaiah 1-39.235 In particular, Isa 27:6 culminates the story o f the vineyard, which
figuratively tells the story o f the remnant that runs throughout Isaiah 1-39. In particular,
the rooting o f Jacob and budding o f Israel reverses the judgment o f the vineyard
conveyed earlier in the book (Isa 5:24). A day will come when the winds of judgment
will not detach Gods people from his place. That day will occur because the stump of
Jesse will one day bear fruit (Isa 11:1) such that the nations will seek his root (Isa
11:10). As Seitz observes, [T]he royal oracle [Isa 11:1-9] provides a unitary picture of
Gods governance of Israel and the nations under the authority o f the shoot o f Jesse
following an end to the hostility that had been directed at the vineyard.236 And as Isa
37:31-32 indicates, in 701 B.C. Yahweh rescued the royal house o f Hezekiah in order to
protect the remnant that would soon enjoy protection (root) and prosperity (fruit) in
the land.237

234 Bruce D. Chilton, The Isaiah Targum: Introduction, Translation, Apparatus and Notes, The
Aramaic Bible, vol. 11 (Wilmington, Del.: Michael Glazer, Inc., 1987), 52-3. Italics original.
235 See also, Motyer, Isaiah, 131-34,222-23; Seitz, Isaiah 1-39, 196-98; Conrad, Reading Isaiah,
115-16; and especially, Nielsen, There is Hope fo r a Tree, 87-222.
236 Seitz, Isaiah 1 - 3 9 ,107.
237 Cf. Nielsen, There is Hope, 175: [I]n 37:31, the symbiosis is restored, the tree puts down roots
again and fulfills its function, just as Israel is to do according to Isa 27:6.

106

The story o f the vineyard also extends into Isaiah 40-66, where the remnant is
identified with new creation.238 For example, at Isa 65:1-16 the prophet describes the
judgment Yahweh will bring on the idolatrous people o f Judah (w . 2-7 ,1 1 -1 2 ) in order
to identify and gather the offspring o f Jacob, likened to the new wine collected from a
cluster o f grapes (vv. 8-10). This is the remnant, the servants of Yahweh who eat, drink,
rejoice, and sing to Yahweh (w . 13-14) in the new heavens and new earth he will create
(Isa 65:17-18). In this new creation the restored offspring o f Jacob will enjoy the security
and prosperity required to plant vineyards and enjoy their fruit (Isa 65:21). In the context
o f Isaiah 24-27, which tells of Yahwehs universal judgment, then, the new vineyard
song o f Isa 27:2-6 looks forward to this same day o f new creation. Conrad rightly states,
What is envisioned here is what is said about the survivors at the end of
the book. Like the survivors in the days o f Hezekiah, they will bear much
fruit (37:30-32) and will be sent out to all nations
This vision is o f a
new vineyard that will produce good grapes, so that righteousness and
justice will prevail. This condition w ill occur, however, only after the
L o rd carries out his judgments against the whole earth.239

The fruit o f the redeemed and restored vineyard is the fruit o f the remnant of Yahweh. On
the day o f new creation that fruit will fill the world because the world itself will be
Yahwehs vineyard.

Summary o f the Vineyard Restored


The second vineyard song, Isa 27:2-6, anticipates the eschatological reversal o f the
historical judgment upon Yahwehs vineyard (Isa 5:1-30), the fulfillment o f which was
hinted, if only briefly, at Isa 37:30-32. The cluster o f lexemes at Isa 11:1, 10 further
indicate that the Davidic figure there will be key to this eschatological fulfillment. The
238 See especially, William P. Brown, The Ethos o f the Cosmos: The Genesis o f Moral Imagination
in the Bible (Grand Rapids: Eerdtnans, 1999), 229-69.
239 Conrad, Reading Isaiah, 116.

107

story o f the vineyard renewed also reaches into Isaiah 40-66, which identifies the
remnant with the new creation that follows judgment. As William Brown states, The
redeemed Israel is not created with an instantaneous flash out o f the blue, but is cultivated
in due season.240 Isaiah 27:2-6 promise the eschatological fruit o f such cultivation.

Conclusion
This chapter contains a defense o f the thesis that the story o f the vineyard is the story of
Isaiah in miniature, a story of judgment for salvation and renewal o f the remnant of
Israel. Hence, the story o f the vineyard judged (Isa 5:1-7) is the story o f all Israel (cf. Isa
1:3), not only the north or south, under Yahwehs judgment. The story o f the vineyard
renewed (Isa 27:2-6) refers to the promise of the eschatological renewal o f the true
people of Yahweh, which is called Jacob-Israel (Isa 27:6; cf. 14:1-2). Other texts in
Isaiah confirm this logic o f the vineyard story, which is Isaiahs concern for the
redemption of Yahwehs faithful remnant (e.g., Isa 6:13; 10:20-21; 11:1-10; 37:31-32;
65:1-25). This story continues into the NT at John 15:1-17 where, it will be argued,
Jesus announces the inauguration o f what has been promised at Isa 27:2-6. Yahwehs
vineyard will be renewed in his Messiah, Jesus, and the disciples who abide in him.
Before that argument can be presented, however, the socio-cultural and literary context
for Johns Gospel in relation to this Isaiainic vineyard story must be established. That is
the burden of the next chapter.

240 Brown, Ethos, 269.

108

CHAPTER 3
THE VINEYARD NARRATIVE IN EARLY POSTBIBLICAL JUDAISM

As noted in chapter 1, numerous OT prophets and writers told the story of Gods ways
with his people Israel by way o f vineyard imagery (e.g., Hos 10:1; 14:7-9; Jer 2:21; Ezek
15; 17; 19; Ps 80:8-16). In chapter 2, the argument was advanced that Isaiah, more than
any other OT text, tells the vineyard story o f Gods judgment and restoration o f his
people. This is the people that will take root, blossom, and bear fruit in the world after
Yahweh gathers them from the ends of that world (Isa 27:6,12-13). If Jesus at John
15:1-17 has this vineyard story in mind then he refers to the long-awaited restoration o f
Gods people. That restoration is found in him, and it extends outward to the world by the
fruit bearing o f his disciples (John 15:16).
In order to pursue this argument, though, the vast period of time between Isaiah
and John must be considered. While the links between Isaiah and John have been studied
at the literary and theological levels,1 such links are not merely textual. Johns Gospel
shares a religious and cultural milieu with Isaiah. As Craig Keener summarizes, John ..
. communicates in a hermeneutic particularly intelligible in his Jewish milieu. His use of

1 The classic study is by F. W. Young, A Study o f the Relation o f Isaiah to the Fourth Gospel,
ZN W 46 (1955), 215-33. See also Catrin H. Williams, Isaiah in Johns Gospel, in Isaiah in the New
Testament (eds., Steve Moyise and Maarten J. J. Menken; The New Testament and the Scriptures o f Israel;
New York: T & T Clark, 2005), 101-16; idem, The Testimony o f Isaiah and Johannine Christology, in
As Those Who are Taught The Interpretation o f Isaiah from the LXX to the SBL (eds., Claire Mathews
McGinnis and Patricia K. Tull; SBLSymS 27; Atlanta: Scholars Press, 2006), 107-24; James Hamilton,
The Influence o f Isaiah on the Gospel o f John, Perichoresis 5 (2007), 139-62.

109

exodus typology . . . and Isaiah are rooted in Judaism and most easily recognized there.2
This chapter, then, contains an investigation o f the Isaiah vineyard narrative in early
postbiblical Judaism3 in order to understand better the milieu o f Johns Gospel.
The goal for the chapter is a hermeneutical, indeed historical, one. The
examination o f early postbiblical Jewish literature and the history from which it arose
represents some of the expectations o f Johns Gospels first hearers and readers. Though
such analysis cannot determine the meaning o f Johns Gospel, it assists in the
understanding of what Jesus disciples and subsequent hearers and readers thought when
they heard him say I am the true vine (John 15:1). N. T. Wright states, History . . .
includes the study of aims, intentions and motivations.4 Study o f the vineyard imagery
and narrative in Early Judaism and its literature may illuminate the aims, intentions, and
motivations o f those who heard Jesus, then heard and read Johns Gospel about him.
The thesis of this chapter is that OT vineyard imagery, especially the Isaiah
vineyard narrative, appears prominently in Second Temple Jewish literature because it
communicates election theology. The thesis will be argued in four stages. First, the scope
o f the Second Temple period and literature will be established. Second, the ubiquity o f
vineyard and fruit imagery in the Jewish culture of this period will be demonstrated by
way of archeological and literary evidence. Third, in the main section o f the chapter, the
employment o f the vineyard imagery and connections to the Isaiah vineyard narrative

2 Craig Keener, The Gospel o f John: A Commentary (2 vols.; Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson,
2003), 1:173.
3 This term serves in place o f Second Temple Judaism, though they are synonymous elsewhere
in the chapter. On these definitions see, Shaye D. Cohen, From the Maccabees to the Mishnah (2d ed.
Louisville: WJK, 2006), 1-12; James H. Charlesworth, The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha and the New
Testament (Cambridge: Cambridge, 1985), 58-62.
4 N. T. Wright, The New Testament and the People o f God (Christian Origins and the Question of
God, vol. 1; Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1992), 111.

110

will be explored.5 This section is arranged diachronically according to the major


segments of the literature. For instance, the pertinent non-biblical Dead Sea Scrolls are
studied before the OT Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha, which in general came later than
the DSS. Within these sub-sections, then, tables show references in the texts to vine(s)
or vineyard(s) according to their literal (lit.) or metaphorical (fig.) usage, and the
figurative use of fruit.6 Finally, the implications of these findings for the historicalreligious and cultural milieu o f Johns Gospel will be considered. In particular, the
following question will be raised, if the vineyard narrative o f Isaiah was embraced by
Israel, why would they have embraced an image that evoked only judgment? With this
question in mind, the scope o f the period and its literature is examined below.

The Scope of the Second Temple Period and the Literature


The Second Temple period began ca. 520 B.C. with the construction o f the second temple
and ended in A.D. 70 with its destruction.7 Whether restored to the land or still in exile,
after the destruction o f Jerusalem and the first temple (586 B.C.) the question o f Israels
election became acute for Jews during this period. Scott Hahn describes the attitude in the
early stages o f the post-exilic period, as seen in the first readers o f Chronicles:
Even after the exile and the beginnings o f the restoration, they lived every
day with the political and theological implications o f the split [of the
Davidic kingdom]. They knew that the breakup o f the kingdom and the
subsequent exile called into question not only Gods covenant promises to
5 Rainer Borig provides a good model by categorizing the figurative uses o f vineyard and fruit
terminology in the OT Apocrypha, Philo, Odes o f Solomon, and the Qumran texts. See Rainer Borig, Der
wahre Weinstock. Untersuchungen zu Jo 15, /-/0 (S A N T 16; MOnich, KOsel, 1967), 112-28.
6 Texts marked with an asterisk (*) indicate literal references to vine or vineyard that function
as part o f a larger comparison. E.g., literal vineyards connote eschatological plenty at Isa 65:21. References
to fruit are restricted to figurative usage due to the abundance o f such terminology in the literature.
7 The temple was one o f the key symbols o f the Jewish worldview. See Wright, New Testament
and the People o f God, 224-26.

Ill

David, but also the purposes o f Gods election o f Israel to be his chosen
people and the source of blessings to all the nations.8
The question of Gods election o f Israel continued into the postbiblical period. Though
many Jews were back in the land, questions continued due to the dominance o f foreign
powers like Rome. The audience o f Chronicles serves as the terminus a quo of the period
under investigation.
Though the actual second temple ended in A.D. 70, the literature o f this period
did not. Pseudepigrapha such as 2 Baruch, 4 Ezra, and Pseudo-Philo engage the question
of Israels election, and their way o f life under Torah, after the disaster o f A.D. 70. The
emergence o f apocalyptic literature (e.g., 1 Enoch, 4 Ezra) coincides with the question of
theodicy, i.e., has God abandoned Israel? Yet, the question was not reserved only for
apocalyptic texts. Wisdom texts (e.g., Sirach and the Odes o f Solomon), biblical retellings
(e.g., Jubilees and Pseudo-Philo), and the voluminous non-biblical Dead Sea Scrolls,
which contain these and other genres (e.g., pesharim), ask this question too.
The diverse literature of this period seeks an answer to this question by way o f the
vineyard imagery and narrative, for the imagery was ubiquitous to the period itself.

Viticulture and Vineyard Imagery in Early Postbiblical Judaism


Vineyard imagery was imprinted on all areas o f life. The imagery o f the texts surveyed
below makes sense for its first hearers and readers because of the shared life setting o f the
audience and authors. That life setting was one in which viticulture was represented on
the second temple itself, in the economy and art of the period, and, obviously, in the

8 Scott W. Hahn, The Kingdom o f God as Liturgical Empire: A Theological Commentary on 1-2
Chronicles (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2012), 161-62.

112

viticulture practices. Thus, archeological evidence for viticulture and its symbolic
significance is briefly noted before surveying the vineyard terminology found in texts.
The temple stood amidst vines and had a decorative vine on its gate. Though an
idealized presentation, the Letter o f Aristeas describes the vine-dotted land around the
temple.9 Josephus, writing in the last half o f the first-century A.D.,10 describes the
presence of vine imagery in and on Herods temple.11At Ant. 12.75-82, he details how
the table and cups in the temple were adorned with decorative vines (cf. Let. Aris. 70),
connoting the blessings of the land. Most significant, at J. W. 5.210, he describes how the
gate opening of the temple was completely overlaid with gold and " . . . above it those
golden vines

(tc is

xpucras untp au-rfj? dfzuiXou;), from which descended grape-clusters as tall

as a man; and it had golden doors fifty-five cubits high and sixteen broad (cf. Ant.
15.395).12 As will be explored below, the vine on the temple likely communicated a
worldview consistent with Israels election by Yahweh.13 Texts such as 4Q500, PseudoPhilo, and Tg. Isa. 5:1-7 make a vine-temple connection.

9 Letter o f Aristeas 112. See Victor Tcherikover, The Ideology o f the Letter o f Aristeas, HTR
51:2(1958), 78-89.
10 Josephus wrote most o f his works in Rome and had interesting if not infamous motives for his
historiography. See Steve Mason, Josephus and the New Testament (2d ed.; Grand Rapids: Baker, 2002);
idem, Josephus, Judea, and Christian Origins: Methods and Categories (Grand Raids: Baker, 2008).
11 For his part, Josephus uses the terms vine(s) at least 19 times and vineyard(s) five times in
his works. For vine(s), see Ant. 1:140; 2:64-5; 4:228; 5:236-7; 5:308-10; 11:50; 12:75; 12:80, 82; 12:151;
14:34-35; 15:395; J. 1F.5:210. For vineyard(s), see Ant. 4:298; 5:172; 6:40; 8:359-60. The only
metaphorical use occurs in the description o f Jothams parable (Ant. 5:236-37; cf. Judg 9:7-20).
12 Goodenough notes that this vine likely took the place of, and presumably covered, a gift dating
back to Aristobuluss father in Alexanders time. E. R. Goodenough, Jewish Symbols in the Greco-Roman
Period: Fish, Bread, and Wine (13 vols.; Boll ingen Series; Pantheon Books, 1956), 5:102, n. 49.
13 Goodenough describes the significance o f the vine on the temple, despite Josephuss lack of
exposition on this point: All we can conclude from the golden vine in the Temple is that by the time o f the
construction o f the Temple . . . and probably at least a half century earlier, the vine had already been
accepted in Judaism to the point that it was thus lavishly represented.. . . That Josephus does not hint at a
Jewish meaning or at any meaning for it by no means precludes the possibility that it had a meaning, since
his exoteric account o f Judaism is in general so superficial. Goodenough, Jewish Symbols, 5:107.

113

In addition to the temple, various artifacts witness to the ubiquity o f viticulture in


Israel. Numerous coins, lamps, sarcophagi, ossuaries, tombs, and synagogues indicate the
significance o f the vineyard image in the period.14 Artwork, such as paintings in the Dura
synagogue (Syria, ca. A.D. 245), also speaks to the symbolic power o f the vine. These
paintings tell the story o f Gods relationship with his people.15
Finally, and not surprisingly, numerous texts witness to the practice o f viticulture
in and around the land. Several DSS describe the appropriate forms o f viticulture within
the Qumran community (ca. 2d1st c. B.C.).16 4QDa (4Q266), the earliest o f the
Damascus Document manuscripts (CD; ca. 100-150 B.C.),17 contains laws for the proper
harvesting o f vineyards and offerings to the priests.18 The laws provide instruction for the
elect community, now separated from sinful Israel, and their ethics in the period before
the judgment of God comes on the wicked.19 4QMMT, which dates to the early-to-mid
Herodian period, shares with CD the eschatological ethos and covenantal telos for its

14 E. R. Goodenough, Jewish Symbols, 3. See especially, coins: figs. 677 (ca. Herod Archelaus, 4
B.C.-A.D. 6), 687,694-97; ossuaries: figs. 153,155, 157, 173; sarcophagi: figs. 232,235, 820;
synagogues: figs. 487-88,502, 511,549-50,563-64, 616,619-20,654,666, 887; and tombs: figs. 2 1 ,2 3 4,3 1 , 87. Goodenough, Jewish Symbols, 5:99, describes these objects as from the period o f the years of
Pharisaic dominance-that is, from the early Maccabees to the fall o f Jerusalem in A.D. 70 . . . . Moreover,
he continues (p. 101), [AJfter the middle o f the second century wine symbols were put everywhere.
15 See Goodenough, Jewish Symbols, 5:103-11, figs. 117-19. Joseph Gutmann, The Dura
Europos Synagogue Paintings and Their Influence on Later Christian and Jewish Art, Artibus et Historiae
9:17 (1988), 25, notes that these [Pjaintings represent the earliest continuous narrative cycle o f biblical
images known in art.
16 See, e.g., 4Q266, fr. 6,3:4-10; 4Q266, fr. 6,4:1-5; 4Q393 fr. 3 ,7 -9 ; 4QMMT 77-82.
17 Cf. the discussion on its date in Joseph M. Baumgarten with Charlesworth et al., Damascus
Document 4Q266-273 (4QD'h)1, in The Dead Sea Scrolls: Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek Texts with
English Translations, Vol. 3: Damascus Document II, Some Works o f the Torah, and Related Documents
(ed., James H. Charlesworth; Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2006), 1-3.
18 See 4Q266 frg. 6 III, 1-8 in Baumgarten, Damascus Document, 42-44; 4Q266 frg. 6, IV, 1-5
in Baumgarten, Damascus Document, 44-47. These laws provide halakic positions not found in Scripture
(cf. 4Q395), though many o f the CD laws do provide such basis.
19 See Baumgarten, Damascus Document, 3-4. CD views its interpretation as the final
interpretation o f the Torah.

114

laws.20 4QMMTC78-82 (4Q396, frgs. 1-2, IV, 7) conflates the laws prohibiting the
mixing of two kinds of seed in a vineyard (Lev 19:19) and linens (Deut 22:11).21
Various rabbinic texts reflect similar legal concerns for the details of viticulture.
Though the rabbinic period proper did not begin until well after A.D. 70, a few texts from
the Mishnah (ca. 200 A.D.) may illuminate traditions that pre-date A.D. 70. Tractate
Peah governs the harvesting o f leftovers from a vineyard (cf. Lev 19:23-25), and
indicates the rabbinical debates about such harvesting (m. Pea. 7.6, 8; cf. t. Pea. 3.15).22
Tractate Shebiit contains discussion of the proper time to gather Sabbath year fruit,
including the right time for cutting off branches (m. Shebi. 4.10).23 Just as in the OT
period, then, viticulture was ubiquitous in the Second Temple and Rabbinic periods. As
E. R. Goodenough claims, [T]he symbolism o f the vine [was] everywhere an important
part of Jewish observance and thinking.24 Since viticulture was ubiquitous in the Second
Temple period and beyond, it would be natural, then, for vine imagery to appear in the
texts o f this period. But, what worldview or theology does this vineyard imagery
communicate? The answer(s) to this question is the burden o f the remainder o f the
chapter. For that answer the literature of the period is examined below.

20 See Elisha Qimron with Charlesworth et al., Some Works o f the Torah, in The Dead Sea
Scrolls: Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek Texts with English Translations, Volume 3: Damascus Document II,
Some Works o f the Torah, and Related Documents (ed., James H. Charlesworth; Louisville: Westminster
John Knox, 2006), 187-94; cf. Baumgarten, Damascus Document, 4.
21 Qimron, Some Works o f the Torah, 212-13, 244-45, n. 41.
22 David Instone-Brewer, Traditions o f the Rabbis from the New Testament Era, Volume I: Prayer
and Agriculture (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2004), 153-57.
23 Ibid., 235-36.
24 Goodenough, Jewish Symbols, 5:102.

115

The Vineyard Narrative in the Literature


As noted above, the study of the vineyard narrative proceeds, in general, diachronically
through the major classifications o f the literature. Identification of explicit vineyard
and/or fruit terminology leads into consideration of more implicit usages. The point,
though, is to consider the presence, if not prominence, of the Isaiah vineyard narrative
within these usages. The Dead Sea Scrolls, then, are considered first.

The Vineyard Narrative in the Dead Sea Scrolls


Besides the discussion of laws concerning viticulture, several DSS employ metaphorical
use o f the OT vineyard imagery. The following table provides the references to vine(s),
vineyard(s), and fruit in the DSS.25

Text
lQapGen"
1QH

Tab e 1: Vineyard Imagery in the Dead Sea Scrolls


Vineyard - fig.
Vine Vineyard - lit. Vine - fig.
lit.
XII, 13-14
X IV ,17-19;
XVI, 22-24, 26

XVI, 12-14, 21
IV, 7(?); X, 8,
22

IQS
4QD*
(4Q266)
4QMMT
(4Q396)
4QpIsab
(4Q162)
4Q88
4Q381
4Q393
4Q500
6Q11

Fruit - fig.

frg. 6 III, 1-8;


frg. 6, IV, 1-5
78 (frgs. 1-2,
IV, 7)
i, 1-6;
II, 1-10
IX, 10

IX, 10

frg. 1, 6-7
frg. 3, 7-9
frg. 1, line 7
Line 6

25 The numbering system follows Patrick Alexander et al., eds., The SBL Handbook o f Style: For
Ancient Near Eastern, Biblical, and Christian Studies (Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson, 1999), 76-77, 177
234.

116

Most references to vines or vineyards are literal, for they appear in legal discussions
about the practice o f viticulture in the community (e.g., 4QDa; 4QMMTC).26 Both 4Q500
and 6Q11, however, utilize figurative Isaiah vineyard language.
The Benediction text (4Q500)27 reads, 1 [...]... [...] 2 may your [mulberry tr]ees
blossom and [...] 3 ... [...] your winepress, [bu]ilt with stones [...] 4 [...] at the gate o f the
holy height [...] 5 [...] your planting and the streams o f your glory [...] 6 [...] the branches
o f your delights [...] 7 [...] y o u r. . . [vine]yard.28 Baumgarten argues that the benediction
is for God, as indicated by the repeated second person suffix, your (HD).29 Its basic
framework recalls Isa 5:1-7. With the mention o f the winepress built with stones (line 3;
cf. Isa 5:2), the delightful branches (line 6), and the planting (line 5; cf. Isa 5:7), 4Q500
likely contains a . . . a triplet o f allusions to Isa. 5 :l-7 .30 Although there is no mention
of delightful branches at Isa 5:1-7, it is not difficult to see an allusion to this text,
especially with explicit mention o f your vineyard in line 7 o f 4Q500. Thus,
Baumgarten rightly asks if 4Q500 . . . can throw any light on the ancient exegesis o f the
prophetic metaphor?31 Two points can be made.

26 See the discussion above on the practice o f viticulture.


27 The text has received attention in recent years from DSS experts and NT scholars. See J. M.
Baumgarten, 4Q500 and the Ancient Exegesis o f the Lords Vineyard, JJS 40 (1989), 1-6; G. J. Brooke,
4Q500 1 and the Use o f Scripture in the Parable o f the Vineyard, DSD 2 (1995), 268-94; W. J. C. Weren,
The Use o f Isaiah 5,1-7 in the Parable o f the Tenants (Mark 12,1-12; Matthew 21,33-46), Bib 79 (1998),
1-26.
28 For the text see, M. Baillet, DJD VII, 78-9; F. G. Martinez and E. J. C. Tigchelaar, DSSSE, vol.
2,992-93; Baumgarten, 4Q500 and the Lords Vineyard, 1; Brooke, 4Q500 1 and the Use of Scripture,
269. Consideration o f this text, which dates to the Herodian period (ca. 50-100 B.C.), in this study depends
on the restoration o f line 7. For in his original study Maurice Baillet does not include [vine]yard in the
text. Yet combined with the imagery from lines 3-6 and the presence o f rei (i) in line 7, Joseph
Baumgarten argues for the restoration o f [vine]yard. Whether or not the original text included this term,
the imagery o f 4Q500 lines 3-6 compares favorably with the vineyard song o f Isaiah 5:1-7.
29 Baumgarten, 4Q500 and the Lords Vineyard, 2; cf. Brooke, 4Q500 1 and the Use of
Scripture, 270.
30 Brooke, 4Q500 1 and the Use o f Scripture, 270.
31 Baumgarten, 4Q500 and the Lords Vineyard, 2.

117

First, your planting (TD^IM) at 4Q500, 5 likely corresponds to his pleasant


plant

y $ ) o f Isa 5:7. This is because the Qumran community saw itself as the

true plant o f Yahweh, over against their Jerusalem contemporaries. This language most
likely comes from Isa 60:21 and 61:3, which describes the righteous remnant o f Yahweh
as his planting.32 Isaiahs language, in turn, evokes the exodus-Israel logic first
established at Exod 15:17, where Moses sings o f Gods plan to bring his redeemed
people into the land and plant (yUJ) them on his mountain (in ), his sanctuary (UTTpB).
The mountain o f the Lord will be the locus o f his temple and his people.
Second, the progression o f lines 3-5, winepress, gate, planting, and streams o f
glory, may evoke an Eden-temple typology. The winepress built with stones sounds
like Isa 5:2, yet the addition o f the gate o f the holy height (line 4) introduces a new
idea. Baumgarten notes two later Jewish texts that associate the winepress (line 3) with
the temple. Targum Isaiah 5:2 translates (interprets) the watchtower (*7f^) and the
winepress (3p3) o f Isa 5:2 (MT) as my sanctuary

and my altar ('(1570): /

built my sanctuary in their midst, and I even gave my altar to atone fo r their sins.34
Tosefta Sukkah 3:15 follows the winepress-altar concept but expands the winepress idea

32 Patrick Tiller, The Eternal Planting, DSD 4:3 (1997), 312-35, esp. 313. See the discussion
below on 1QH XIV and XVI.
33 See Douglas Stuart, Exodus (NAC 2; Nashville: B&H, 2006), 360-61; and especially G. K.
Beale, The Temple and the Church's Mission: A Biblical Theology o f the Dwelling Place o f God (NSBT
17; Downers Grove, 111: IVP, 2004), 63, 73,109-10,235,237. Psalm 80:8 and 15 associate the people with
the vine ()31) the Lord planted (57133) in the land after the exodus. See also Jer2:21; Ezek 17:6-10. For
the notion o f planting see esp. 2 Sam 7:10; Jer 32:41. Cf. Ps 92:12-13 (MT: 13-14), which speaks,
synonymously, o f the righteous being planted pflltf) in the house o f YHWH. Jubilees 1:16-18 refers to
Gods people Israel as his righteous plant whom will be a blessing and will enjoy the sanctuary in their
midst. See Brooke, 4Q500 1 and the Use o f Scripture, 274.
34 Bruce D. Chilton, The Isaiah Targum: Introduction, Translation, Apparatus and Notes (The
Aramaic Bible, vol. 11; Wilmington, Del.: Michael Glazer, Inc., 1987), 10.

118

to include the channel that ran underneath the temple, carrying off the sacrificial fluids
from the altar.35 This interpretation may reflect an exegetical tradition stemming from
Ezekiel, which describes the temple with memories o f Eden (Ezek 28:12-16; 47:1-12).36
Benediction, then, uses the vineyard as people metaphor in a positive context. If the
connections to Ezekiel are plausible, then 4Q500 may show the integration o f the
vineyard narrative into the temple typology (cf. Tg. Isa. 5:2).
The second text, the Allegory o f the Vine (6Q11), reads, 1 [...]... [...] 2 [...] with
[...] 3 [...] and at the time of harvest [you/I] came [...] 4 [... from morjning to evening [...]
5 [...] a girl [has ra]vaged, a boy has ravaged, a n d ... [...] 6 [...] and you shall say: I
shall gua[rd] the planted vine [~.].37 It is unclear who speaks in this text, but line 5 may
allude to the results o f Gods eschatological judgment of the nations in gathering his
people (Joel 3:3; Zech 8:5).38 The phrase planted vine (115713371 10371), however, clearly
corresponds to Isa 5:7 and/or Ps 80:8,15 and 4Q500 in the metaphorical use o f vine-

35 Baumgarten, 4Q500 and the Lords Vineyard, 2. Cf. 1 En. 89:50, which associates the temple
and tower, as discussed in Brooke, 4Q500 1 and the Use o f Scripture, 272.
36 At Ezek 28:12-16, Eden is remembered as a place o f precious stones associated with the mount
o f God and guardian cherub, all aspects o f the Jerusalem temple according to other OT texts. For stones see
1 Chr 29:2-9; Exod 28:17-20; Isa 54:11-12; cf. Isa 4:2-6 preceding the vineyard song (Isa 5:1-7). See
Allen Ross, Recalling the Hope o f Glory: Biblical Worship from the Garden to New Creation (Grand
Rapids: Kregel, 2006), 91-104. Cf. Jub. 8:19, which associates the Garden o f Eden with the holy o f holies
(see Beale, Temple and the Churchs Mission, 78). This association may inform the interpretation earlier in
Jub. 3:9-12, which gives the laws for purification after childbirth in the Garden as if in the sanctuary. See
also, Brooke, 4Q500 1 and the Use o f Scripture, 277, n. 29; 4QIsaiah Pesherb 1 ,1-6 and II, 1-10 which
may confirm Isaiahs concern at Isa 5:1-7 with Jerusalem and temple (cited in Brooke, 4Q500 1 and the
Use o f Scripture, 279, n. 36). At Ezek 47:1-12, water flows from underneath the eschatological temple
and its altar down to the surrounding lands (vv. 1, 8) making them abundantly fruitful (vv. 9-12; cf. Pss
36:8-9; 46:45). See Baumgarten, 4Q500 and the Lords Vineyard, 2; cf. Allen P. Ross, Recalling the
Hope o f Glory, 93-96; Beale, Temple and the Church's Mission, 72-73. Brooke, 4Q500 1 and the Use of
Scripture, especially discusses this possible Eden-temple Urzeit/Endzeit typology. Cf. Baumgarten,
4Q500 and the Lords Vineyard, 3-5.
37 For the text see, M. Baillet, J. T. Milik, R. de Vaux, DJD III, 125-26; pi. XXVI; Martinez,
DSSSE, vol. 2,1150-51. The translation follows Martinez except for the verbs o f line 5, which follows
Baillets French translation.
38 Baillet, et al., DJD III, 126.

119

plant. A person who is able to protect (God?) asserts his plan to guard the planted vine.
Therefore, both 4Q500 and 6Q11 make use o f the OT association o f Gods people put in
the land and/or temple as his planted vine.
Although 4Q500 and 6Q11 refer explicitly to the vineyard or vine o f God,
these are not the only Qumran texts that appear to take part in the OT vineyard narrative.
Indeed, the Isaiah vineyard narrative features prominently in several DSS. Chief among
these are the Isaiah Pesher and Hodayot scrolls.39
The Isaiah Pesher (4QpIsab) provides evidence o f the Qumran communitys selfunderstanding and biblical interpretation.40 Two texts, 4Q 1621,1-6 and 4Q162II, 1-10,
interpret sections o f Isa 5:5-30 and thus show how the community interpreted the
judgment plot o f the vineyard narrative o f Isaiah. 4Q 1621,1-6 quotes Isa 5:5-6 as,
apparently, referring to their enemies God has deserted: The interpretation o f the word:
that has deserted them [ ...] and as for what he says: Brambles will grow, [and
th istles : its interpretation concerns. . . ] and what [it says:. . . ] o f the path [...] their
eyes.41 The fragmentary text cuts off the second pesher.
More clearly, though, 4Q162 II, 1-10 cites and interprets Isa 5:10, 11-14,24-25.
The interpretation . . . concerns the last days . . . at the time o f the visitation o f the la n d .
.. (4Q162II, 1-2), which are characterized by the drunkards o f Isa 5:11-14 (lines 3-6).
At lines 6-10, the drunkards are identified as . . . the arrogant men who are in Jerusalem
. . . the Congregation o f the arrogant m en

Interpreted in light o f Isa 5:24-25, they

39 See especially Francis J. Morrow, The Text o f Isaiah at Qumran (PhD Diss., The Catholic
University o f America, 1973).
0 See especially Maurya P. Horgan, Pesharim: Qumran Interpretation o f Biblical Books (CBQMS
8; Washington: Catholic Biblical Association o f America, 1979).
41 Martinez, DSSSE vol. 1, 316-17.

120

have rejected the law of Yahweh.42 Isaiah Pesher, like many other DSS, associates the
latter days with the Qumran communitys present day, which was marked by stark
division between it and Jerusalem.43 4Q162II, 1-10, then, applies Isa 5:1-7, or at least
the interpretation of that text at Isa 5:8-30, to the wicked congregation o f Jerusalem. It
may be that the Qumran community thought o f themselves as an alternative vineyard
(i.e., Isa 27:2-6), though no textual evidence exists for this interpretation. Short o f this
suggestion, Isaiah Pesher still shows the power of the vineyard narrative for the selfunderstanding of the Qumran community. It also shows that this vineyard narrative was
read eschatologically for such understanding.
In the same vein, the Thanksgiving Hymns, or Hodayot (lQ H a), contain
indications o f the Qumran communitys self-understanding and worship by way o f a key
metaphor. The phrase eternal planting appears in several DSS (4Q415-18; IQS XVII,
5; XI, 8; lQHa XIV, 15; XVI, 6 ) 44 According to Tiller, the metaphor serves as,
. . . a designation for the righteous: the righteous at the time of Noah, the
nation of Israel, the righteous within Israel, or a particular community. It
interprets and applies a biblical tradition (especially Isa. 60:21 and 61:3)
that describes the restored people o f God in the land and lovingly tended
so that it produces righteous deeds, glory to God, and future growth.45

42 Martinez, DSSSE vol. 1, 318-19.


43 See Henry W. Morisada Reitz, The Qumran Conception o f Time, in The Bible and the Dead
Sea Scrolls (3 vols.; ed., James H. Charlesworth; Waco: Baylor University Press, 2006), 2:203-34. The
phrase the time o f the visitation (4Q162 II, 1) appears elsewhere in similar polemical contexts. See for
example, IQS 4 ,1 8 -1 9 , And God, in the mysteries o f his understanding and in the wisdom o f his glory,
set a time for the existence o f deceit. And at the appointed time o f visitation (HTIpD TV1D31) he will destroy
it forever. See Reitz, The Qumran Conception o f Time, 226.
44 Tiller, The Eternal Planting, DSD 4:3 (1997), 312-35. He examines its connection with the
plant o f truth/eternal seed ( / En 10:16; 93:5/84:6), righteous plant (Jub 1:16; 16:26; 21:24; 36:6),
plant root (CD 1:7), and plant o f truth (1QH" XVI, 10). See the discussion below, especially on 1QH*
XIV; XVI; and 1 Enoch 10:16 (on Noah). Cf. Emil SchUrer, The History o f the Jewish People in the Age o f
Jesus Christ (175 B.C.-A.D. 135) (2 vols.; ed., G6za Vermfes and Fergus Millar; rev. ed.; New York: T & T
Clark, 2000), 2:586.
45 Tiller, The Eternal Planting, 313. Footnotes added.

121

The motif is pertinent, for it often utilizes imagery that resembles Isaiahs vineyard
narrative at Isa 27:6; 37:31-31; and the shoot OS3) language at Isa 60:21 and 61:3.
Hodayot (1QH8) XIV, 18-1946 features imagery and vocabulary similar to Isa
27:6 and 37:31-32. According to lQHa, the DSS community is the planted, righteous
remnant God will soon purify and restore. The psalmist declares confidence in Gods
justice and goodness to this end (lQ H a XIII, 22-XV, 8).47 At 1QH8 XIV, 18, either the
remnant (see lQHa XIV, 11-13) or the men of the council (see 1QH8 XIV, 1416), or
both together, . . . opens as a flower [blooms, for] everlasting fragrance, making a
sprout grow into the branches o f an eternal planting. And it will cast shade over all the
w orld... .48 Swarup rightly notes three parallels to Isa 27:6 49 First, the vocabulary,
opens a flower ( f XD mD) at 1QH8 XIV, 18 resembles [Jacob] will take root, [Israel]
will blossom (n^jpl f J P ) at Isa 27:6. Second, both texts speak o f fruit, though 1QH
has the more familiar "HD, while Isa 27:6 uses the less common,

Third, both texts

refer to a worldwide destiny for this plant-community. The phrase, . . . it will cast shade
over all the world (^Dfi

*?57 *7X bxr l)50 at lQHa XIV, 18, parallels the promise at Isa

27:6 that the vineyard . . . will fill the whole world with fruit (n^l3n

46 The numbering follows that found in Hartmut Stegmann, Eileen Schuller, and Carol Newsom,
Qumran Cave I.Ul: IQ H odayof: With Incorporation o f 4Q H odayof and lQHodayoth (DJD XL; Oxford:
Oxford University Press, 2009), 182-197.
47 See Paul Swarup, The Self-Understanding o f the Dead Sea Scrolls Community: An Eternal
Planting, A House o f Holiness (Library o f Second Temple Studies 59; New York: T & T Clark, 2006), 16.
Swarups numbering differs slightly from that in Stegmann et al, DJD XL, 182.
48 Unless otherwise noted, the text and translation follows Stegmann and Schuller, DJD XL.
49 Swarup, Self-Understanding, 22.
50 The reading o f world (*73/1) in this line has been debated. For example, see it translated as a
lacuna [earth] in Geza Vermes, The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls in English (rev. 15th ed.; London; New
York: Penguin, 2011), 277. Cf. Swarup, S e lf Understanding, 22. Stegman and Schuller, however, note the
correctness o f the reading confirmed by 4QHb 8 ,3 . See Stegmann et al, DJD XL, 189.

122

Also, Hodayot s notion o f roots going downward and bearing fruit to the clouds (lQ H a
XIV, 19) sounds like the description o f the remnant at Isa 37:31-32.
The language and logic o f lQHa XIV follows the restorative plot o f the Isaiah
vineyard narrative, which moves from Isa 27:2-6 through 37:30-31 and to Isa 61:3.51 As
Swarup comments, The remnant going out from Mount Zion is replaced by the eternal
plant which covers the earth. The restoration, fruitfulness, and universal influence
expressed in Isaiah have been represented in 1QH8with similar vocabulary.. . . They will
be the shoot o f Gods planting and through them God will be glorified.52 Hodayot XVI
follows a similar logic with language and imagery drawn from Isaiah.
Hodayot XVI, 5-27 features the language o f planting, rooting, and fruit in
perhaps the most expansive way o f any DSS text. The psalm (lQ H a XVI, 5-XVII, 36)53
refers to the psalmist as the I (1QH3 XVI, 5, 15)54 who has been planted by waters (cf.
Ps 1:3; Jer 17:8). The waters provide him life that results in a shoot that might be . . .
made to sprout into an eternal planting (Q*?iy IWOE1? "1S3 m a n 1?; 1QH3 XVI, 5-7). The
eternal planting, the h[o]ly shoot (u n[l]p *7X3) that sprouts into a planting o f truth
(7173N nytDB1?; lQHa XVI, 11), can thus bear fruit (YHS) protected from its enemies by
God (1QH8 XVI, 11-14). The fruit trees will endure, and even resemble Eden, so long as
the I does not remove his hand from the plant (1QH8 XVI, 21-27).55

51 Isaiah 61:3 reads, the planting o f Yahweh (H p S?J3Q) to describe the faithful remnant.
52 Swarup, Self-Understanding, 22-23. The eternal planting and its branches, watered by the rivers
o f Eden, will then move throughout the world, bringing blessing to it (1QH XIV, 19-21).
53 See Stegmann et al, DJD XL, 218.
54 Scholars debate whether the I refers to an individual such as the Teacher o f Righteousness,
or if it refers collectively to the Qumran community. See Swarup, Self-Understanding, 34-40.
55 The psalm concludes with the psalmists suffering (1Q H \ XVI, 28-XVII, 6) followed by a note
o f thanksgiving for his vindication by God (XVII, 6-36). The psalmists role in the creation and cultivation

123

The psalm has verbal and conceptual similarities to the Isaiah vineyard story. The
psalmists hoeing and clearing o f stones at 1QH XVI, 22-24 resembles the way the
beloved (Yahweh) dug out stones in order to plant the vine (Isa 5:2).56 Also, the psalmist
knows that if he removes his hand, then thorns and thistles (rPUTI

at lQHa XVI,

26) will come up, just as when Yahweh cut off protection from his vineyard (Isa 5:6).
Similar to Isa 27:6, the psalm refers to the worldwide impact of the eternal planting
(lQ H a XVI, 5-7). The psalm evinces even stronger lexical continuity to Isa 41:18-20,57
which depicts Yahwehs work to restore the remnant o f Israel as the abundant watering of
a wilderness that sprouts fruitful trees. As Swarup observes, The new creation motif is
taken up by the psalmist. There is a making new o f the old.58 The Qumran community
saw themselves in Isaianic terms, as the new Israel who one day will be righteous and
inherit the land.
The Hodayot parallels to the vineyard narrative o f Isaiah are plausible due to
shared imagery and vocabulary, and the concern for the destiny o f the remnant.
Contextually, this seems clear enough (esp. 1QH8 XIV, 11-13). Yet, lexical evidence also
supports this view. Both texts at lQHa XIV, 16-17 and lQHa XVI, 7-11 refer to the
remnant as the shoot (1X3) that grows into the eternal planting. The Qumran
community associated itself with the restored people that stems from the Messiah, the
shoot o f Jesse (Isa 11:1; 60:21 ).59 Along with allusions to Isaiah 5,27, and 41, then,

of the everlasting plant bears on the interpretation of the hymn. See especially, Tiller, The Eternal
Planting, 332.
56 Swarup, Self-Understanding, 40, n. 135.
57 Ibid., 41-42.
58 Ibid., 42.
59 Ibid., 44-49.

124

Hodayot XIV and XVI share in the positive, restorative logic o f the Isaiah vineyard
narrative, which presents the faithful as those who will soon be restored to a fruitful
existence that blesses the world on Gods behalf. Both hymns rework the vineyard
narrative so that the Qumran community, not Jerusalem, is that faithful remnant of
Yahweh.
Several other texts picture restoration in language similar to Isaiah. The eternal
blessing of the true community, the Sons o f Light, evokes the language o f Isa 11:1-5.
For, their end will be . . . great peace in a long life, multiplication o f progeny (SHT)
together with all everlasting blessings, endless joy in everlasting life, and a crown of
glory.. . (IQS IV, 7).60 The community will enjoy such restoration because they are the
eternal plant of the Lord (IQS VIII, 5; cf. Isa 60:21).61 Elsewhere, if the reconstruction
for fruit is accurate, then the Messianic Apocalypse (4Q521) describes the messianic
age as one marked by the Spirit when . . . the fr[uit. . . ] will not be delayed for anyone .
.. He will lead the uprooted and make the hungry rich . . . (4Q521 2 ii, 10, 13).62
Though there are some key differences between it and the Gospels (e.g., Luke 4:16-19),
this scroll shows the prominence of Isaiah in both Jesus self-understanding and the
Gospels presentation of him. As Stuckenbruck states, . . . Jesus catalogue o f activities
provides evidence for his messianic identity by taking up Isaianic tradition in a re

60 E. Qimron and J. Charlesworth, Rule o f the Community (IQ S), in The Dead Sea Scrolls:
Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek Texts with English Translations (7 vols.; ed., James H. Charlesworth et al;
Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 1994), 1:17.
61 Ibid., 35; cf. G. K. Beale, The Old Testament Background o f Pauls Reference to the Fruit of
the Spirit in Galatians 5:22, BBR 15:1 (2005), 16-19.
62 For the text see Emile Peuch, Qumran Grotte 4: XVIII, Textes Hebreux (4Q521-4Q528,
4Q576-4Q579) (DJD XXV; Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1998), 10-11; cf. Martinez, DSSSE, 2:1044-45;
Vermes, Complete Dead Sea Scrolls, 4 12-13. Peuch, DJD XXV, 15, observes similarities to fruit
language from lsa3:10; 27:9; Jer6:19; 17:10,and Ps 104:13.

125

presented form that 4Q521 has also preserved.63 Finally, in language akin to Isaiah 65,
4Q88 appears to depict the restoration o f the poor and the earth after a judgment: And
the earth shall [give] its fruit in its time and its [prod]uct shall not fail. The fruit trees
shall. . . of its vineyards and its . . . shall not lie. The poor shall eat and the God-fearers
shall be sated.64 Therefore, the Isaiah vineyard narrative informed the self-understanding
of the Qumran community as the fruitful end-time remnant o f God.

Summary
The scrolls surveyed in this section participate in the vineyard narrative o f Isaiah. The
Isaiah Pesher applies the judgment plot o f this narrative (Isa 5:1-7) to its enemies, the
wicked congregation in Jerusalem. Other texts, which refer to the Qumran community
itself, favor the restorative plot o f Isa 27:2-6, 37:31-31, 60:21, and 61:3. The Hodayot
texts typify what Beale calls . . . a penchant to describe eschatological Israel as
spiritually fruitful, often in connection to the dynamic work o f Gods Spirit that has
reinstituted the primordial conditions o f fertility, occasionally even referring explicitly to
Eden.65 The eschatological age, dawning in the time o f Qurman, is one characterized by
fruitful people and lands. The vineyard narrative o f Isaiah and its prophecies concerning
historical and eschatological Israel made for rich material for Qumran.

63 Loren Stuckenbruck, The Dead Sea Scrolls and the New Testament, in Qumran and the Bible:
Studying the Jewish and Christian Scriptures in Light o f the Dead Sea Scrolls (eds., N6ra Ddvid and Armin
Lange; CBET 57; Leuven: Peeters, 2010), 155. Stuckenbruck observes how 4Q521 likely cites Psalm 142
and Isaiah 61. The evangelists uniform use o f Isa 40:3 at the outset o f each Gospel provides corroborating
evidence for this view.
64 See Isaiah 65:17,21. See also 4Q374, frg. 2, And he made a plantation for u[s] his elect in the
land that is the most desirable o f all the lands . . . .
65 G. K. Beale, The OT Background o f the Fruits of the Spirit, 19.

126

The Vineyard Narrative in the OT Apocrypha


The following table provides the few references to vine/vineyard language in the
Apocrypha.66

Text
Wis

Table 2: Vineyard Imagery in the OT Apocrypha


Vine - lit. Vineyard - lit.
Vine - fig.
Vineyard - fig.

Sir

1 Macc
2 Esd/6 Ezra

24:17

14:12*
16:30*

Fruit - fig.
3:13, 15; 4:3-5;
10:7; 16:22
1:16; 6:19;
23:25; 24:19;
37:22; 50:10

3:56
16:43

Though explicit references to a vine or vineyard appear only here in the Apocrypha,67 the
texts are replete with fruit, root, and plant imagery. Wisdom, not surprisingly, features
fruit imagery in description of the wise life before God. For example, Wis 3:15 states,
For the fruit of good labors is renowned, and the root of understanding does not fail.
The similarity to biblical wisdom literature, e.g., Proverbs, is apparent. The author o f 1
Maccabees uses the familiar biblical idiom,68 All the people sat under their own vines
and fig trees, and there was none to make them afraid (1 Macc. 14:12), to describe the
social, political, and religious realities o f rest and peace in the land in Simons day.

66 The relationship between the Apocrypha and the OT Pseudepigrapha is at times difficult to
discern, especially since R. H. Charles, The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha o f the Old Testament (2 vols;
Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1913). The two, however, are distinguished in this dissertation. The distinction
follows that o f Charlesworth, who notes that the Apocrypha . . . should include only the additional
writings preserved in almost all Septuagint manuscripts and not the additional documents in the V ulgate...
. The Apocrypha, therefore, includes thirteen documents: 2 Ezra ( - 1 Esdras), Tobit, Judith, Additions to
Esther, Wisdom o f Solomon, Sirach, 1 Baruch, Letter o f Jeremiah, Prayer o f Azariah with the Song o f the
Three Young Men, Susanna, Bel and the Dragon, 1 Maccabees, and 2 Maccabees. See James H.
Charlesworth, Introduction to the General Reader, in OTP 1:xvii. Though it appears as 2 Esdras in the
Apocrypha, 4 Ezra is considered below with the OT Pseudepigrapha.
67 Six Ezra, or 2 Esdras 15-16, has a late (ca. A.D. 3 - 4 c.) Christian character and origin.
Thus it is not necessarily pertinent to the discussion. See Theodore Bergen, 2 Esdras, in The New Oxford
Annotated Apocrypha: NRSV Version (ed., Michael D. Coogan; 4th ed.; Oxford: Oxford, 2010), 317-18.
68 See Isa 36:16; 1 Kgs 4:25; Micah 4:4; Zech 3:10; cf. Elmer Martens, Reading the Earth Story
in Both Testaments, in The Old Testament in the Life o f G ods People: Essays in Honor o f Elmer Martens
(ed., John Isak; Winona Lake, Ind.: Eisenbrauns, 2009), 233.

127

The chief example and key text for this section, however, appears in Sirachs
great poem on Wisdom personified (Sir 24:133).69 The poem follows and contrasts the
example of the unwise, adulterous woman (Sir 23:22-27), narrating Wisdoms search for
its home. The poem addresses Israel (Sir 24: l)70 about her journey in search o f that
dwelling place. Wisdom asks, . . . in whose territory should I abide? (Sir 24:7).71
Verses 8-12 o f the poem clarify that at Gods command Wisdom should " . . . make a
dwelling in Jacob and in Israel receive your inheritance (tv Iaxw|3 xaTa<nojvcotrov xal iv
IcrpaqX xaTaxXjjpovo^flrjTi; Sir 24:8). Thus, Wisdom was established in Zion, making its
home in the temple (Sir 24:10-11), and took root among an honored people (xal
Ippl^uaa iv Xaai 5e$o^aap.iv(i); Sir 24:12).
The next section, verses 13-17, explores the benefits o f Wisdoms dwelling in the
temple by way of 11 agricultural similes.72 Verse 17 contains the final comparison: I,
like a vine, budded forth favor, and my blossoms were the fruit o f glory and wealth (dyco
cos tffnreXos i(3Xd<ro]<ra xdptv xal t & &v6rj (iov xapitb<; 5<5|>js xal 7 t X o i j t o u ) . 73 The term vine

69 Sirach 24:1-33 is the fifth o f six wisdom poems that provide the skeleton of the book. See
Daniel J. Harrington, Sirach, in The New Oxford Annotated Apocrypha, 100. Although Sirach was
originally written in Hebrew by Jesus ben Sira (Sir 50:27) around 190 B.C. and later translated by his
grandson into Greek (ca. 117 B.C.), no Hebrew fragments o f Sir 24 remain. C. T. R. Hayward, Targums
and the Transmission o f Scripture into Judaism and Christianity (Studies in the Aramaic Interpretation of
Scripture. Leiden: Brill, 2010), 343, notes the different context for the translation. He states, Sirach 24 is a
Greek version o f a Hebrew text composed in a political and religious condition very different from those
which confronted Jesus ben Sira.
70 Thus Wisdom speaks from Gods company (Sir 24:2). Cf. Patrick Skeehan, The Wisdom o f Ben
Sira: A New Translation with Notes (AB 39; Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1987), 332.
71 Harrington, Sirach, 131. Hayward, Targums, 347, sees the journey o f the Ark as a possible
analogue: It seems that Sirach modeled Wisdoms journeys to her place, which he probably derived from
exegesis o f Job 28 and Prov 8, on Israels journeys through the desert seeking the rest which, with the Ark,
she finds in Jerusalem in a tent pitched by David, and finally in Solomons temple. It may, then, answer
the question from where does wisdom come?
72 Each comparison uses the conjunction, cb?.
73 This translation renders the fronted I in the LXX. See Harrington, n. d., Sirach, 131, for
discussion o f the addition o f Sir 24:18 in other versions.

128

(fiftjreXos) appears only here in Sirach.74 The use o f fruit (ttapubq), however, is common
in Sirach, referring most often to the benefits o f wisdom (e.g., Sir 1:16; 6:19; 24:19;
37:22). Yet, fruit can also refer to offspring (e.g., Sir 50:10) or the absence o f offspring
due to covenant disobedience (e.g., Sir 23:25). At Sir 24:17, Wisdom is the I (lyu)
compared affectively to a vine that produces wonderful benefits, lit. grace (xapiv), such
that its flowering fruits (to dvfy fiou xapitbq) are identified as glory and wealth (5<5|>)s xal
ttXoutou).75 The function o f the vine metaphor, and its relation to the OT (esp. Isaiah)
vineyard narrative, in the context and goal of the poem is now considered.
Hayward argues that Sirach presents the temple as . . . the axis mundi, the
central point o f the universe. . . 76 in order to counter growing negative opinions on the
splendor and effectiveness o f the second temple. Thus, Sirach aims to prove [T]hat the
Second Temple, built on Sion [sic] in Jerusalem, was in truth the place chosen by God as
His earthly residence . . . 77 Hayward may accurately describe the Sitz im Leben o f the
original or the translation by ben Siras grandson. However, as Beale observes and Sir
24:32-33 indicates, The goal is that divine wisdom in Israels temple should fill the
whole earth, a goal not yet achieved.78 Moreover, the poems final line states that

74 Though it is the common term employed in the LXX, and often used when referring figuratively
to Israel (Isa 5:21; Jer 2:21). For all uses, see Gen 40:9-10; 49:11; Lev 25:3-4; Num 6:4; 20:5; 22:24; Deut
8:8; 32:32; Judges 9:12-13; 13:14; 1 Kgs 2:46; 2 Kgs 4:39; 18:31; 1 Macc 14:12; Pss 77:47; 79:9,15;
104:33; 127:3; Odes 2:32; 4:17; 10:2; Cant 2:13,15; 6:11; 7:9, 13; Sir 24:17; Hos2:14; 10:1; 14:8; Mic
4:4; Joel 1:7,12; 2:22; Hab 3:17; Hag 2:19; Zech 3:10; 8:12; Mai 3:11; Isa 5:2; 7:23; 16:8-9; 24:7; 32:12;
34:4; 36:16; Jer 2:21; 6:9; 8:13; 31:32; Lam 2:6; Ezek 15:2,6; 17:6-8; 19:10.
75 Skeehan notes these are the classical fruits o f Wisdom (cf. Sir 4:21; Prov 3:16; 8:18-19,21).
Skeehan, The Wisdom o f Ben Sira, 335.
76 Hayward, Targums, 351.
77 Ibid., 356. Hayward cites Mai 1:6-14 and 1 En. 89:73 as examples o f the negative opinions
regarding the second temple for its lack . . . o f the Ark and the alleged disappearance o f other items
essential for its service. Cf. Sir. 50:26 against the Samaritans.
78 Beale, Temple and the Church's Mission, 163.

129

Wisdom labors for those who seek her (v. 34). That is, Wisdom roots in the Lords
people (v. 12) and then flourishes like the vine (v. 17). In this wider context, then, the
vine image looks back to the promise o f Exod 15:17 and forward to its fulfillment. One
day faithful Israel will rightly worship God at the temple. In so doing, Israel will have
laid hold o f the best wisdom, Wisdom herself.
Like 1QH8 and 4Q500 above, Sirach 24 employs vine and fruit imagery to
connote the positive, restorative aspects o f Israels destiny. Specifically, Sirach envisions
a faithful Israel at temple, full of wisdom, spiritually fruitful like a vine (us gpreXos) that
produces blossoms. Thus, also like 1QH8 and 4Q500, Sirach 24 depicts the life o f faithful
Israelas opposed to rebellious Israelgathered for worship. Unlike the DSS texts,
however, Sirach presents a positive view on the Jerusalem temple. The provenance o f this
Jewish text, especially in its Greek version, is different from the Qumran texts. The telos
o f Sirach 24, therefore, is much more like the restorative plot o f the vineyard narrative
(Isa 27:2-6), harking back to the blessing o f the remnant and the glory o f God in
Jerusalem, at Mount Zion (Isa 4:2-6). Such a connection between Isaiah 4 and 27 and
Sirach, though, is only suggestive, for Sirach differs in its explicit concern for the role of
wisdom in the life o f Gods people.

The Vineyard Narrative in the OT Pseudepigrapha


The following table identifies vineyard and fruit imagery in the OT Pseudepigrapha.

Text
1 En.
2 En.
3 En.
Sib. Or.

T able 3: V ineyard Im agery in the O T Pseudepigrapha


V ineyard
V ine - fig.
V ineyard V ine - lit.
-lit.
fig10:19*

4 :1 3 -1 8 ;

130

F ruit - fig.
32:4;* 82:16
8:7;* 30:1
43:2
1 :2 9 7 ;2 :1 3 ,3 0 ,

7:148*

4 E zra
2 Bar.

10:9-10*;
29:5*

320*; 3:263,
280*,621*, 74554*; 7:148; 8:210
22:6*

3 Bar. (SI.

or Gk.
text)
Apoc. Ab.
T. Sim.
T. L evi
T .J o b
T. Naph.
T. Ab.
Let. Aris.
Jub.

5:23
36:3, 6-7; 37:1,
39:7-8
4:7, 8, 9, 10, 12,
13, 15 (SI.); 4:8,
9,10 (Gk.)
23:6

10:9; 29:4-5;
84:2
1:2 (SI. and
Gk.)

6:2
2:12

70; 112
7:1; 13:6*;
23:18*

Jos. Asen.
L.A.B.

25:2
23:11

4 Bar.
Pss. Sol.
O des Sol.

3:14

Hist.
Rech.
A h iq a r

11:5*

18:9
12:8,9; 18:10,
11; 23:12; 37:2,
3; 39:7

28:4; 37:2

1:2 (?);
38:17-18

2:12
32:6
3:5*
6:5; 8:6
63;* 232; 260
7:34-36*
5:9*
3:10; 9:5; 42:1

3:10*; 9:16*
15:3
1:5; 4:4; 7:1; 8:2;
10:2; 11:1, 12,
16; 12:2; 14:7;
17:14; 37:3;
38:18
3:5; 7:3; 11:4

40

The OT Pseudepigrapha (hereafter OTP) consist of apocalyptic literature (e.g., 4 Ezra),


testaments (e.g., T. Levi), OT expansions (e.g., Jubilees), and various prayers, psalms,
and odes (e.g., Psalms o f Solomon and Odes o f Solomon). The use o f vineyard and/or
fruit imagery is common, for these texts are steeped in the language and imagery o f the
OT. After a brief survey of this imagery throughout the OTP, the section contains a

131

discussion o f key texts79 in general chronological order. These texts further illuminate the
presence and significance of the vineyard narrative in the Second Temple period.
According to 1 En 24:4,25:5 the tree o f life was resplendent with fruit, which the
elect get for life. The Sibylline Oracles and History o f Rechabites make vast usage o f
vine and especially fruit imagery to represent the judgment and, especially, restoration of
the earth (esp. Sib. Or. 3:745-54; 7:148; 8:209-10; Hist. Rech. 3:5-6; 7:3). Some texts
apply such imagery to the rewards o f the righteous (e.g., Sib. Or. 2:319-21) or special
status of the Jews (e.g., Sib. Or. 3:263). The Testaments reflect the Deuteronomic logic of
blessing for obedience and curse for disobedience (e.g., T. Levi 2:12). Several texts
continue the fruit o f the womb metaphor common to the OT (e.g., T. Ab. 6:5; 8:6;
L.A.B. 3:10; 42:1). As noted above, the author of Letter o f Aristeas takes pleasure in
describing the use o f vine and fruit imagery on the temple, its adornments and utensils,
and its surroundings (e.g., 63; 112).80 As in the OT, literal vine(s) and vineyard(s) or
fruit(s) often connote blessing (e.g., 1 En. 10:19; 2 Bar. 29:5; Jub. 7:34-36; 13:6).81
Hence, the biblical associations between the life of Gods people, the temple, and the
land continued into the literature surveyed here. The key texts for this study, however, are
those that make use of the vineyard narrative o f Isaiah.
There are only a few citations o f Isa 5:1-7 and/or Isa 27:2-6 in the OTP.
Delamater lists only Isa 5:1 cited at 3 Bar. 1:2, and Isa 5:2 possibly cited at T. Jos.

79 Unless noted otherwise, the translations in this dissertation follow those given in OTP. For a
description o f the five characteristics o f the OTP, see Charlesworth, Introduction to the General Reader,
OTP 1:xxv.
80 Though the letter also evinces a more strictly metaphorical usage, discussing the fruits o f
righteousness (Lei. Aris. 232) and fruits o f wisdom (Lei. Aris. 260). The wisdom o f law-keeping, then,
resulted in fruit or blessing for many Jews in the postbiblical period.
81 As indicated in the table by the asterisk (*), this literal usage within a figurative context
represents an important middle category between the literal and figurative.

132

19:12.82 He also notes Isa 5:10, which alludes to the covenant futility curse on vineyards,
at / En. 10:19.83 As for Isaiah 27, only verse 1, specifically the Leviathan (see 3 En. 32:1;
Sib. Or. 8:88;2 Bar. 29:4; T. Ash. 7:3; cf. Apoc. Ab. 10:9), and verse 13 (see Apoc. Ezra
4:36)84 appear in citations. Citations o f other OT vineyard texts also appear in the OTP.85
The citation at 3 Bar. 1:2, for example, shows how the vineyard image as the
people of God continued to be understood. Specifically, the city o f Jerusalem is called the
Lords vineyard ( t 6 v dp.iteXQvd) that has been destroyed by Nebuchadnezzer. The
Babylonian destruction of Jerusalem in 586 B.C. provides an analogue for the Roman
destruction o f Jerusalem in A.D. 70. Similar to 2 Baruch and 4 Ezra, considered below,
this text shows the typological interpretation o f history common to the literature.
Moreover, the key theme o f theodicy provides a significant context in which various
authors reflect on the (supposed) primacy o f Israels election in Gods plans. The
deployment of vineyard imagery within these and other contexts, however, is not limited
to citations o f OT texts.
Citations represent the least prominent use o f the OT and its imagery within the
OTP. Along with 2 Baruch and 4 Ezra, Pseudo-Philo for instance, makes great use of the
vineyard imagery from Isaiah 5 and Psalm 80, but Delamater does not list these usages in

82 Steve Delamater, A Scripture Index to Charlesworth's The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha


(London; New York: Sheffield Academic, 2002), 26. The citation at T. Jos. 19:12 is actually an allusion to
the guard tower in a vineyard mentioned at Isa 1:8 and 5:2. While the Messiahs will be an everlasting
kingdom, Josephs . . . will come to an end among you, like a guard in an orchard who disappears at the
end o f summer. See H. C. Kee, Testaments o f the Twelve Patriarchs, in OTP, 1:825, n. d.
83 See Delamater, Scripture Index, 26.
84 The citation is also really an allusion to the trumpet o f Isa 27:13, which announces Gods
restoration, thus vindication, o f his people. The trumpet at Apoc. Ezra 4:36 announces the vindication of
resurrection.
ts See 3 Bar. l:2(E zek 15:1); T.Naph. 5:6(Ezek 17:3); 2 Bar. 36:2 (Ezek 17:3-9); Jos. Asen. 2:5
(Hos 10:1); Pss. Sol. 15:3; Odes Sol. 8:2 (Hos 14:2); Pss. Sol. 5:7 (Ps 80:7, 19); 4 Ezra 5:23 (Ps 80:8); 4
Ezra 15:30 (Ps 80:13) 3 Bar. 1:2(80:8-16).

133

his index.86 According to Charlesworth, The works o f the Pseudepigrapha thence are
almost always exegetical expansions and hermeneutical reflections on earlier scriptures
or scriptural passages. Thus, to ask if these works cite scripture is to miss the point that
they echo scripture and were considered a part o f scripture by many Jews and
Christians.87 The texts can be studied for how they might allude to a vineyard narrative
just as much as they might quote OT texts that use the vineyard image. Whether in an
apocalyptic or wisdom frame, the OTP . . . placard a human truth: story displays how
wisdom and vision transcend time.88 Thus, the texts that utilize a vineyard narrative,
even if they do not cite Isaiah 5 or 27, are studied below. The first pertinent text is 1
Enoch.

First Enoch 10:18-19


First Enoch 10:18-19 feature vineyard imagery along the lines o f that seen at Isaiah 5,
27, and 65. The text reads,
And in those days the whole earth will be worked in righteousness, all of
her planted with trees, and will find blessing [v. 18]. And they shall plant
pleasant trees upon her-vines. And he who plants a vine upon her will
produce wine for plentitude. And every seed that is sown on her will yield
a thousand (measures) and one measure of olives will yield ten measures
of presses o f oil [v. 19].89

86 See Delamater, Scripture Index, 24,26-28, 81,85. Charlesworth notes that the original
Scripture citations given in the margins and footnotes o f OTP stemmed from a minimialist approach. See
Charlesworth, Biblical Stories and Quotations Reflected and Even Adumbrated in the Old Testament
Pseudepigrapha, in Delamarter, Scripture Index, 4.
Charlesworth, Biblical Stories and Quotations, 3. In this, Charlesworth (p. 2) notes that
several OTP resemble the exegetical and narrative approach taken by the Chronicler. For examples, The
Chronicler rewrote history with concerns and tendencies found later in the compiler o f Pseudo-Philo."
88 Ibid., 6.
89 E. Isaac, 1 (Ethiopic Apocalypse of) Enoch, in OTP, 1:18.

134

The text appears in the context o f one o f the oldest apocalyptic texts in this survey, the
Book o f Watchers (/ Enoch 1-36).90 The book distinguishes the evil from the righteous.
Rebellious angels caused sin (1 Enoch 6-8; cf. 1 En. 10:8; Genesis 6) and brought
oppression upon the earth (1 En. 9:1,6,9-10). According to Larry Helyer, . . . evil has
invaded the earth from the heavenly realms.91 Thus, 1 Enoch 10:11-11:2 recounts the
judgment upon the rebellious watchers (7 En. 10:1116a), which in turn leads to rescue
o f the righteous. Typified by Noah who, along with his descendants, is the plant of
righteousness and truth (cf. 1 En. 10:2-3),92 the righteous will enjoy the restoration of
the earth (1 En. 10:16b-l 1:2).93
First Enoch 10:18-19, then, coordinates the rescue o f the righteous with the
restoration of the whole world. Though the verses reference the literal planting o f vines
that produce plenty of fruit (wine), they connote a greater reality: the blessing o f the
whole earth and the righteous in the last days. Accordingly, verse 19 features the familiar
biblical idiom, wine . . . grain . . . oil, which connotes the blessing o f all the agriculture

90 Though 1 Enoch is a composite book, our text within the Book o f Watchers (7 En. 1-36) likely
dates to the second-to-first century B.C. See Isaac, 1 Enoch, 7, who describes the scholarly debate about
1 Enoch, which centers on the date o f the Similitudes (7 En. 37-71). Nicklesburg posits the wars o f the
Diadochi and their terrible effects upon Palestine as a possible Sitz im Leben for Book o f Watchers. See G.
W. E. Nicklesburg, Jewish Literature Between the Bible and the Mishnah: A Historical and Literary
Introduction (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1981), 52.
91 Larry R. Helyer, Exploring Jewish Literature o f the Second Temple Period: A Guide fo r New
Testament Students (Downers Grove, III: I VP, 2002), 84. He notes that characteristic o f apocalyptic
literature, then, the Book o f Watchers explains human experience-in this case evil-by way o f cosmic,
angelic realities. Interestingly, 7 Enoch blames A zaz'el for all sin (7 En. 10:8); cf. G. W. Nickelsburg, 7
Enoch, 222-23.
92 Nickelsburg, 7 Enoch, 226. Nicklesburg states, Noah in vv. 2-3 is a type o f the righteous, who
will escape judgment and be the patriarch(s) o f a new order. See 7 En 10:17-11:2.
Ibid., 224: Noah is a type o f the righteous o f the end time, and his deliverance from the flood
parallels the escape o f these righteous from the imminent judgm ent. . . . Cf. 1 Pet 3:18-22.

135

in the land.94 The yields of a thousand (measures) and ten measures, moreover,
describe . . . miraculous proportions, and are appropriate to the eschaton.95
This language stems from Isa 5:10, which reads, for ten acres o f a vineyard will
yield one b ath . . . (nnx

n-1

I)).96 In the context o f the

interpretation o f his prophetic song (Isa 5:1-7), Isaiah warns Israel and Judah o f their
coming judgment with language o f depleted vineyards. Like the bad fruit they bore for
Yahweh (Isa 5:2,4), Judahs vineyards will bear little and poor fruit in keeping with the
covenant curses (Deut 28:30,39). As noted in the previous chapter, Isaiah 5 raises the
question of Israels election with the images of the judgment plot o f the vineyard
narrative.
First Enoch 10:19 employs the language o f Isaiah 5:10 in an opposite way. The
low yields o f judgment are overturned in a description o f fruitful renewal in those days,
the days o f new creation. Unlike Isaiah 5, the elect status and restoration o f the righteous
plant Israel is assured in 1 Enoch (cf. 1 En. 10:16).97 Gods work on behalf o f Noah and
the righteous will result in a fruitful land just as it was post-flood (Gen 9:20), post exile
(Isa 27:6), and in the new creation (Isa 65:21). As Nickelsburg notes, [Bjecause the
earth is tilled by the righteous . . . Gods blessing, in the form o f the earths fecundity will

94 See Nicklesburg, I Enoch, 227, n. 45. He cites Deut 28:51; 2 Chr 3:15; Joel 2:19; Hos 2:10,24,
though the idiom may have begun with Isaacs blessing o f Jacob (cf. Gen 27:28).
95 Ibid. Nicklesburg notes these measures are exponentially expanded in 2 Bar. 29:5 (see below).
96 One bath was equivalent to about six gallons, a measly yield for such a large plot o f land. See
Isaac, 1 (Ethiopic Apocalypse of) Enoch, 19; cf. Nicklesburg, I Enoch, 227.
9 As Fujita states, T h e lineage o f the plant o f righteousness is . . . based on the divine election of
the righteous. Shozo Fujita, The Metaphor o f Plant in Jewish Literature o f the Intertestamental Period,
J S J 1 (1976), 34. This metaphor emerges as a motif in 1 Enoch. At 1 En. 84:6 the plant is Noah, seedling of
a new race. In the Apocalypse o f Weeks ( / En. 93:2,5, 8,10) the plant represents historic Israel, descended
from Abraham: it is a chosen, eternal plant o f righteousness (7 En. 93:5,10). Moreover God reveals the
Son o f Man for the planted elect: The congregation o f the holy ones shall be planted, and all the elect
ones shall stand before him ( / En. 62:8).

136

follow . . . .98 Thus, the author of 1 Enoch compares the eschatological restoration o f the
earth and the righteous to fruitful vineyards. The reversal o f Isa 5:10, then, raises the
possibility that the restoration plot o f the Isaiah vineyard narrative (esp. Isa 65:21)
informs this comparison.

Fourth Ezra
Fourth Ezra99 likewise explores the constancy o f Gods election o f Israel. Within a
section where Ezra compares Gods choice o f Israel to one thing chosen from its kind
or genus, Israel is compared to a special, chosen vine. The key text reads,
And I said, O sovereign Lord, from every forest o f the earth and from all
its trees you have chosen one vi ne . . . (4 Ezra 5:23).
Israel is then compared to one region, one lily, one river, one dove, one sheep, and one
people; and this one people was put in the consecrated city Zion (4 Ezra 5:23-30). As
Stone observers, the comparisons . . . operate on two levelsboth as premier
representatives o f their kind and as indications of the election o f Israel.100 The

98 Nicklesburg, 1 Enoch, 227, and the prophetic texts cited there: Amos 9:13-14; Ezek 34:26-27.
An apparent allusion to the covenantal language o f Deut 28:12 at 1 En. 11:1 supports this interpretation.
And in those days I shall open the storerooms o f blessing which are in the heavens . . . . See Isaac, 1
(Ethiopic Apocalypse of) Enoch, 19; Cf. Nicklesburg, 1 Enoch, 227.
99 The apocalyptic text Fourth Ezra, which dates ca. A.D. 100, appears as chapters 3-14 o f the
longer apocryphal book, 2 Esdras. 2 Esdras includes later Christian additions (Chs. 1-2: 5 Ezra; Chs. 1516: 6 Ezra) that bookend 4 Ezra. See Bruce Metzger, T he Fourth Book o f Ezra, in OTP, 2:520. M. E.
Stone, Fourth Ezra (Hermenia; Minneapolis, Fortress, 1990) 9-10, argues for a composition in the time of
Domitian (81-96 A.D.). Stone (p. 9) notes that the terminus adquem o f 190 A.D. for the Gk. translation of
the book is established by a quotation in Clement o f Alexandria, Stromateis (ca. 190-200 A.D.). Yet,
[t]here is no other external evidence for the date o f the book; consequently, internal evidence must be used
for the dating. The use o f internal evidence is burdened by the pseudepigraphic framework o f the book and
by its apocalyptic literary characteristics. Stone relies on the fifth vision (4 Ezra 11-12) and its
apocalyptic periodization o f the Roman emperors as the primary internal evidence for his argument. On the
textual history see Theodore A. Bergren, Christian Influence on the Transmission History o f 4, 5, and 6
Ezra, in The Jewish Apocalyptic Heritage in Early Christianity (eds., James VanderKam and William
Alder; CR1NT 3; Van Gorcum: Fortress, 1996), 102-127.
100 Stone, Fourth Ezra, 127.

137

comparison to Israels election is clear. The question is, why this comparison? Two
reasons may be given.
First, the vine language o f 4 Ezra 5:23 in particular parallels Ps 80:8-10 and Isa
5:1-7, where the vine (Ps 80:8) or vineyard (Isa 5:1,7) represents Gods careful choice of
Israel. The value o f a vintner selecting a single vine out o f all trees compares to how
much God valued Israel. The steps one would undertake to select the vine (cf. 4 Ezra
9:21) compares to the way God chose Israel.101 Both Psalm 80 and Isaiah 5 refer to Gods
cultivation efforts for Israel (Ps 80:9-10; Isa 5:2). Both texts also stress the present and
future effects of Gods punishment through exile due to Israels covenant unfaithfulness
(Ps 80:12-13; Isa 5:5-6). Thus, the author of Fourth Ezra accessed a biblical story told in
biblical imagery in order to explain the present situation o f Israel. That situation provides
the second reason.
Second, the genre and purpose o f Fourth Ezra informs the rationale for the vine
imagery at 4 Ezra 5:23. The book consists of seven apocalyptic visions, which
communicate a theodicy regarding the destruction o f Jerusalem and temple in A.D. 70.102
The main concern o f the author is, [W]hy has Israel been given over to the gentiles as a
reproach . . . ? (see 4 Ezra 3:23; cf. 3:32-33; 6:55-59). So after his vision o f the
apocalyptic signs o f the end (5:2,10-11), which prompts his distress and a fast (vv. 1421), Ezra addresses God at the head o f the second vision (4 Ezra 5:21-6:34).103 Like one
vine chosen among all the trees o f the forest, God selected Israel to be his beloved people

101 What is true o f the vine image is true o f the others.


102 He does so in typological fashion. The first verse (4 Ezra 3:1) describes the vision that came to
Ezra (Saltahiel) as he lay on his bed in Babylon (cf. 2 Kings 25:1; Ezek. 1:1).
103 Stone, 4 Ezra, 126-27. Stone notes that this section parallels 3:3-36, which recounts Gods
history with Israel and culminates in Ezras questioning: why is Babylon better than Zion?

138

(cf. Deuteronomy 7). He gave them the land, the law, and especially the temple. For Ezra
it makes no sense why God would give Israel over to the gentiles, his special one over
to the many (4 Ezra 5:28-29).
Therefore, vine imagery at 4 Ezra 5:23 follows the logic of lament implicit at
Isaiah 5 and explicit at Psalm 80. Though specially chosen by God at the time o f Isaiah 5
(ca. 740 B.C.) Israel was coming under his judgment for their disobedience. At the time
of Psalm 80 (ca. 722-586 B.C.), Israel was in need o f restoration, whether from foreign
invaders or from exile itself. The vineyard narrative carries within it the plot o f Israels
judgment and the need for restoration. In context, 4 Ezra 5:23 tells the same story, but
from a different time period. In keeping with the typological nature o f 4 Ezra, the author
utilizes the vineyard metaphor, once descriptive o f Israels election and exile (ca. 722586 B.C.), to describe his understanding of the meaning of destruction o f the second
temple (A.D. 70).104 In the wake of this event, a theodicy emerged. If the chosen place for
Gods dwelling in Zion among his chosen people was destroyed, what then for Israel?
Were they still his chosen people? The imagery and logic of this OT metaphor reused and
reapplied raises the question of Gods election o f Israel. In particular readers will ask, is
Babylon better than Zion? Second Baruch asks similar questions.

Second Baruch
Like 4 Ezra, questions o f theodicy and Judaism post-A.D. 70 provide the primary topic
for the author of 2 Baruch.105 In response to Gods revelation that he will destroy

104 Moreover, Ezra does not mention Israels sinfulness, which Isaiah stresses (Isa 5:2).
109 In keeping with the tradition o f Jewish apocalypticism. Several scholars have investigated the
links. See, e.g., Matthias Henze, Jewish Apocalypticism in Late First Century Israel: Reading Second
Baruch in Context (TSAJ 142; Tilbignen: Mohr Siebeck, 2011), 148-86, especially 149-59 for discussion

139

Jerusalem because of Israels sins (2 Bar. 1:1-5), Baruch asks, How will Israel survive?
What will be the future o f the world? Are Gods words to Moses about Israel still
efficacious? 106 Within the contexts o f these questions, the author o f 2 Baruch makes
greater use o f vine and fruit imagery than 4 Ezra. As indicated in table three above, there
are at least eight instances o f this language.107 Each instance is discussed below, while
special attention is given to Baruchs vision and its interpretation at 2 Bar. 36:1-40:4.
The first instance, 2 Bar. 10:9-10 states,
And you, O earth, why do you give the fruit o f your harvest? Keep within
you the sweetness o f your sustenance. And you, vine, why do you still
give your wine? For an offering will not be given again from you in Zion,
and the first fruits will not again be offered.
This literal reference to vines and their fruits (cf. 1 Macc 14:12) evokes something
beyond mere fruit o f the harvest. The verse comes in a section (2 Bar. 6-20) that
introduces first, the paradoxical relationship between the destruction o f Jerusalem and
Gods justice to Israel and the nations, and second, the contrast between the righteous
and the wicked within Israel.108 The verse follows Baruchs lamentation at the temple
doors (10:5) with all o f creation (10:8-12) over the destruction o f Jerusalem (Zion),
which God had already described regarding the end o f days (10:3). Baruch laments,
Why does the vine still give wine . . . where the light of Zion is darkened? (10:10-12).

on the state o f the question. Both are Jewish books written after A.D. 70 by an author driven by the desire
to understand why God allowed a Gentile nation to destroy the Holy City, demolish its central religious
symbols, and strip Israel o f land and autonomy. Henze, Jewish Apocalypticism, 9. Rivka Nir, The
Destruction o f Jerusalem and the Idea o f Redemption in the Syriac Apocalypse o f Baruch (Atlanta: SBL,
2003) argues, however, that 2 Baruch was written from and for a primarily Christian context.
106 Gwendolyn B. Sayler, Have the Promises Failed?: A Literary Analysis o f 2 Baruch (SBLDS;
Chico, Cal.: Scholars Press, 1984), 14. See 2 Bar. 3:4-9.
107 Eight instances does not mean there are only eight uses o f the word vine or vineyard," or
certainly fruit. Rather the language appears in at least eight different sections o f the book.
108 Sayler, Have the Promises Failed?, 19. Syler notes that the first aspect o f chapters 6-20 thus

140

Contextually, then, 2 Baruch 10:10 evokes a paradox. On one hand, it implies a


contrast with the logic o f Deut 28:11-12: normally the presence o f fruit and vines in the
land evinces Gods blessing of his people in the land. On the other hand, all is not blessed
in Jerusalem. A vine that still gives wine in the context o f Zions destruction fits the logic
of Deut 28:39. The wasting o f vines and their wine represents their covenant curse.109
At 2 Bar. 22:6, God replies to Baruchs impatient prayer (21:4-25) over Gods
apparent lack o f control over the wicked. God replies, Or does he who plants a
vineyarddoes the planter expect to receive fruit from it, unless it grows until its
appointed time? (2 Bar. 22:6). In its context (2 Bar. 22:3-8), the comparison carries
notions o f the patient life that works best in the land, and the work o f God to make that
life work.110 Though the author does not quote any OT text, the image resembles the
patience o f the divine vintner at Isa 5:1-2. The kind o f patience displayed there compares
to the patience God requires o f Baruch, especially for answers he cannot know (2 Bar.
23:2). The narrative of 2 Baruch continues to press its readers to trust Gods timing.
At 2 Bar. 29:3-5, the author records Gods words to him concerning the end of
time, especially the coming o f the Messiah:
And it will happen that when all that which should come to pass in these
parts has been accomplished, the Anointed One will begin to be revealed.
And Behemoth will reveal itself from its place, and Leviathan will come
from the sea, the two great monsters which I created on the fifth day o f
creation and which I shall have kept until that time. And they will be
explicates 2 Bar. 1:2 -4 :1. Note 2 Bar. 11:2 and its similarities to 4 Ezra 3:3-36, specifically Babylon is
happy but Zion is destroyed.
109 The echo o f storehouse language (Deut 28:12) in the next verse (2 Bar. 10:11) supports this
interpretation. 2 Bar. 10:11 states, And you, heaven, keep your dew within you, and do not open the
treasuries o f rain. Baruch also laments that wives should not seek children, children are no blessing (2
Bar. 10:13-16); there is no place to speak o f beauty because Israels beauty has be defaced (2 Bar. 10:17),
and the priests are now jobless and they are guilty as false stewards (2 Bar. 10:18).
110 Again, the initial harvest o f vineyards took four-to-five years, so patience was required. See
Walsh, The Fruit o f the Vine, 20-21.

141

nourishment for all who are left. The earth will also yield fruits ten
thousandfold. And on one vine will be a thousand branches, and one
branch will produce a thousand clusters, and one cluster will produce a
thousand grapes, and one grape will produce a core o f wine.
Like 2 Bar. 10:10 and 22:6 above, 29:5 references the literal production o f one vine.112 In
context, however, the comparison serves a greater purpose. Second Baruch 21-30 . . .
introduce the problem o f the perceived delay in the manifestation o f Gods power to the
nations. Baruchs impatience is countered by a description o f Gods plan for mankind.113
When the dialogue shifts to the nature o f the eschaton, Baruch asks about its duration (2
Bar. 26:1), and its geographical scope (2 Bar. 28:7). As to the duration, the Anointed One
will begin to be revealed following the judgment announced in the division o f time (2
Bar. 27:1-15).114 As to the scope, the whole earth will be affected but God will protect
only those in this land (2 Bar. 29:1-2). In this setting, the Messiah will be revealed, the
chaos monsters, Behemoth and Leviathan, will be defeated and given as food to the
remnant, and the earth itself will be restored (2 Bar. 29:3-5).
The mention at 2 Bar 29:4 o f the Leviathan alludes to the same creature
mentioned at Isa 27:1}15 The mention at 2 Bar 29:5 of the astronomical yields from one
vine, like at 1 En. 10:19, reverses the measures o f Isa 5:10.116 Together, the imagery
resembles the plot of the Isaiah vineyard narrative from Isaiah 5 to 27. That is, Isaiah tells
the story o f Gods judgment o f his people (Isa 5:1-7) in order to renew them (Isa 27:26). As Isaiah 24-27 indicate, this renewal will follow Gods judgment o f his, and his true

111 Klijn, 2 Baruch, in OTP, 1:630.


112 See Josephus, Ant. 15.14; Klijn, 2 Baruch, 630, n. f.
113 Sayler, Have the Promises Failed?, 21-22.
1H The weeks o f seven weeks (2 Bar. 28:2). Cf. Dan 12:10; Matt 24:15; Klijn, 2 Baruch, 630.
115 Klijn, 2 Baruch, 630.
116 As the repetition o f ten thousandfold . . . thousand demonstrates. Nickelsburg, / Enoch, 227.
See above the discussion o f / Enoch 10:18-19.

142

peoples, enemies. The eschatological meal provided by the defeated chaos monsters (2
Bar 29:4) resembles Isa 25:6-10, where Yahweh will feed on his holy mountain (Zion)
all peoples who worship him. As noted, Isa 27:1 depicts the chaotic opponents of
Yahweh as the Leviathan, which he will punish on an eschatological day. Yahweh will do
this so that he might, on that same day, make his people faithful like a fruitful vineyard
that blesses the world (Isa 27:6). Indeed, Isaiah later depicts this same people as those
who tend especially fruitful vines in the new creation (Isa 65:21).
Though the author o f 2 Baruch does not quote this vineyard narrative, the logic of
the book follows the eschatological plot o f Isaiah. The literal vine language functions
affectively: the feel and value o f the Messianic age compares to an abundant earth replete
with enormous amount o f food and wine for those saved by the Messiah.117 The prophetic
logic o f judgment yet Messianic restoration o f the land and a remnant in the land is in full
view in 2 Baruch.116 Nir rightly notes, [T]he passage refers to a feast to be conducted
after the apocalypse, at the end o f times, after the beginning o f the Messiahs appearance,
in which those fe w who remain until his coming will take part, at which the Behemoth
and Leviathan will serve as food. 119 Such is the character o f the Messianic age according
to 2 Baruch. The subsequent vision expands the view of this age.
Following his dialogue with the heavenly revealer, Baruch calls the people to
sow into them [your minds] the fruits of the law (2 Bar 32:1) so that they will be

117 See Nir, The Destruction o f Jerusalem, 138, n. 53. Cf. the Messianic age in 4 Ezra 6:25; 7:28;
9:8; 12:34; 13:24, 26.
118 Henze, Jewish Apocalypticism, 295, n. 152.
119 Nir, The Destruction o f Jerusalem, 133. The time o f this renewal is clear, the age o f restoration
is the age o f the Messiah: And it will happen at that time that the treasury o f manna will come down again
from on high, and they will eat o f it in those years because these are they who will have arrived at the
consummation o f time (29:8), also the time o f the Messiahs appearance and the resurrection o f the saints

143

protected following the temples destruction and before its renewal (2 Bar 32:2-7).120
After his interaction with the people (2 Bar 32:8-34:1), Baruch sits and laments on the
ruins of the temple (2 Bar 35:1-4). There he sleeps and has a vision o f a forest, vine,
fountain and sprig (2 Bar 36:1-37:1).
The vision has two parts.121 Verses 1-6 describe Baruchs vision o f a great forest
against which a vine arises and, along with a fountain that becomes great waves, destroys
the forest. Verses 7-11 describe Baruchs vision o f the vines speech to the cedar of the
forest. In sum, the vine tells the cedar: But now your time has hastened and your hour
has come (2 Bar 36:9). Baruch then sees the cedar burning, but the vine growing (2 Bar
37:1). In answer to his prayer (2 Bar 38:1-4), Baruch receives the interpretation from
G odin 39:1-40:4.
The vision stems from OT paradigms, especially Ezek 17:3-8,122 where Yahweh
commands Ezekiel to tell Israel a parable concerning two great eagles. The first eagle
plants a sprig that becomes a spreading vine (nniO

l^V?) that sends out shoots toward

him (Ezek 17:6), but later bends toward the second eagle (Ezek 17:7). The interpretation
clarifies that the vision tells of the punishment of Zedekiah by Nebuchadnezzar (Ezek
17:11-15; cf. 2 Kings 25). Ezekiel, then, foretells the destruction o f Jerusalem in 586/7

(30:1). Cf. Henze, Jewish Apocalypticism, 293-98 for a discussion o f the two phases o f Messiahs
visitation in this text.
120 Baruch associates this time with the renewal o f creation: For greater than the two evils will be
the trial when the Mighty One will renew his creation (32:6). C f 2 Bar. 32:1-2 where the shaking o f
creation parallels that o f the building o f Zion.
121 Henze, Jewish Apocalypticism, 263. Henze notes (p. 259) how both major visions o f 2 Baruch
follow a pattern: vision (2 Bar. 36:137; 52:8-53:12); request for explanation (2 Bar. 38:1-4; 54:1-22);
and interpretation that leads to dialogue with the heavenly revealer (2 Bar. 39:1-43:3; 55:1-76:5).
' 22 See Kiljn, 2 Baruch, 632.

144

B.C.,123 whereas Baruch describes destruction in A.D. 70. Unlike Ezekiel, however, 2
Baruch does not apply the vine imagery (vision) to Zedekiah.
The author o f 2 Baruch bends the biblical metaphor to his purposes, describing
the Messiah of the messianic age.124 In the interpretation o f Baruchs vision, 2 Baruch
39:7 is key:
And it will happen when the time o f its fulfillment is approaching in
which it will fall, that at that time the dominion o f my Anointed One
which is like the fountain and the vine, will be revealed. And when it has
revealed itself, it will uproot the multitude o f its host.
Thus, the vine o f the vision represents the dominion of the Anointed One who will
destroy the last wicked ruler (40:1-2) o f the fourth kingdom (39:5-6) and protect the
righteous remnant in Jerusalem (40:3). Contextually, then, the vision describes the end of
this age. Henze summarizes its scope and purpose:
The vision o f the forest deals with the last installment o f history,
beginning with the Babylonian destruction of Jerusalem and coming to an
end when the last rulerthe Roman emperor at the time o f 2Barwill be
defeated by the Messiah. The purpose o f the vision, then, is to give an
account of the eschatological transferal o f power. . . from the last
kingdom of wickedness to the messianic kingdom . . . 125
123 Zedekiah was installed as puppet ruler in Jerusalem after Jehoiachin was deported, along with
Ezekiel and others, to Babylon. Zedekiah revolted against Nebucahdnezzer, looking to Egypt for help
(Ezek. 17:15). Yet Yahweh promised that this would not succeed, indeed it did not (Ezek 17:11-18). Cf.
Eugene Merrill, Kingdom o f Priests: A History o f Old Testament Israel (2d ed.; Grand Rapids: Baker,
2008), 465. Zedekiah will be and was punished for his insurrection (Ezek 17:19-21). This parable explains
Gods judgment o f Jerusalem, which is compared to the burning o f a vine from the forest (Ezek 15:1-6).
Second Baruch 44:5-7 offers a good summary o f the effect o f the vision when it will happen in
history. See Henzes general comment regarding Baruchs imagery: The images in Baruchs dreams, like
all metaphors, have multiple meanings, which they obviously derive from the fact that they are taken from
the Hebrew Bible. They point as much back to their original literary context as they point forward. It is this
reference back to their familiar origin that enables the reader to comprehend the vision immediately without
any problems. Henze, Jewish Apoclypticism, 261.
125 Henze, Jewish Apocalypticism, 299.

145

God promises that the kingdom that destroyed Zion will, in turn, be destroyed and
subjected to Zion (2 Bar 39:3). Again, this logic resembles that o f Isaiah 27:1-13 even
though the vision is clearly inspired by the same imagery in Ezekiel 17.
To summarize, vineyard imagery in 2 Baruch functions in various contexts to
address two interrelated issues, . . . the vindication o f God as just and powerful in the
wake o f the destruction; and the survival o f the faithful Jewish community in the
aftermath o f the destruction. 126 Thus, the vine (and fruit) image performs on two levels.
First, God . . . vindicates himself vis-a-vis Baruchs questions by revealing to Baruch
that his justice and power are effective in this world, although they will be manifest only
in the eschaton. 127 Second, with the vision and interpretation o f the vine overwhelming
him, Baruch encourages the lamenting people to remain obedient to Torah throughout
their period of suffering (Ch. 44; cf. 2 Bar. 32:1).

Pseudo-Philo (L.A.B.)
As indicated by the table above, Pseudo-Philo makes use o f the vineyard image more
than any other postbiblical Jewish text. The purpose o f Pseudo-Philo (L.A.B.), evidenced
by its genre, was to retell Israels history in order to effect covenant obedience in the
Jewish people who read it. In several passages, L.A.B. 12:8-9; 18:10; 23:12; and 39:7, the
author employs the vineyard image to reflect upon Israels status as Gods elect people. A
vineyard motif within the story o f Israel emerges. The significance o f this m otif for the
author provides another piece o f evidence o f a vineyard narrative in Jewish minds (and
texts) o f the Second Temple period. The key passages are examined in turn.

126 Sayler, Have the Promises Failed?, 38.


127 Ibid., 42.

146

At L.A.B. 12:8-9 the author retells Moses prayer o f intercession after Israels sin
o f the golden calf, following the giving of the law and exposition of the Decalogue
{L.A.B. 11:1-12:7). As such Moses prays:128
Behold now, you O God, who have planted this vine and set its roots into
17 0
the abyss and stretched out its shoots to your most high seat, look upon
it in this time, because that vine has lost its fruit and has not recognized130
its cultivator. And now, if you are angry at your vine and you uproot it
from the abyss and dry up its shoots from your most high and eternal seat,
the abyss will come no more to nourish it, nor will your throne come to
cool that vine o f yours that you have burned up. For you . . . have adorned
your house with precious stones and gold; and you have sprinkled your
house with perfumes and spices . . . Therefore, if you do not have mercy
on your vine, all things, LORD, have been done in vain . . . For even if
you plant another vine,131 this one will not trust you,132 because you have
destroyed the former one. For if indeed you forsake the world, then who
will do for you what you say as God? And now let your anger be
restrained from your vi ne. . . and do not let your inheritance be pulled
apart in humiliation.133
The author uses the historical setting of Exodus 32 but with extra-biblical language to
describe the events. As Jacobsen notes, LAB routinely contains, themes, language and
elements o f plot that are not present in the corresponding biblical narrative, but which he
has borrowed from analogous biblical contexts. 134 Such is the case here. In context, the
author has Moses refer to Israel as the vine that God planted yet may also uproot from the

128 Translation from Harrington, Pseudo-Philo, OTP, vol. 2, 320. Footnotes added. Cf. 1QH
6:15; Exod. Rab. 43:9.
129 Howard D. Jacobsen, A Commentary on Pseudo-Philos Liber Antiquitatum Biblicarum: With
Latin Text and English Translation (2 vols.; AGJU 31; Leiden: Brill, 1996), 1:497 observes, The notions
o f the [metaphorical] vine (or tree) spreading aloft to great heights is present at Ps 80:11, Ezek 31:5, 8 and
[1QH* 6:14-15]. But the notion o f ascending to Gods site is LAB's.
130 Either it failed to produce or the grapes died. Jacobsen, Pseudo-Philo, 498, sees produce
(emisit) as the correct reading. Cf. Deut 32:15; the parable in Ezekiel 31; Si/re Deut. 318; Isa 5:1-8 and Jer
2:21 all as thematic parallels.
131 Jacobsen, Pseudo-Philo, 1:503: planting another vine stems from Gods threat in Exod 32:10.
132 Possibly an allusion to Exod. 24:3, 7, where Israel agrees to the terms o f the covenant (Exod
20-23). See Jacobsen, Pseudo-Philo, 1:503.
133 Jacobsen, Pseudo-Philo, 1:503-4, thinks humiliation {in vilbus) should read cheaply (cf. Ps
44:13; Isa 52:3).
134 Ibid., 1:225.

147

land because o f its sin. The language and the post-exodus setting mirror that o f Ps 80:815.135 Again, the psalms language has its antecedents in Exod 15:17,136 and may pre- or
post-date Isaiah 5 and 27.
In addition, L.A.B. likely sees Gods house (domum) as a microcosm o f the
universe,137 since he argues that God should not destroy the vine (Israel) because he has
adorned his house. L.A.B. therefore emphasizes a point central in the book: as Israel and
the temple go, so creation goes. C. T. R. Hayward summarizes,
Israel, Gods vine, is the unifying force in the created order. . . . This
imagery is bound up with the sanctuary, since God has planted Israel on
His mountain, the sanctuary which His hands have made according to
Exod. 15: 17. . . And the language which the author o f LAB XII. 8-9
employs to speak of Gods house refers not only to His heavenly dwelling,
but to the earthly sanctuary. . . The vine symbol belongs firmly in the
realm o f beliefs about the Temple: if the author of LAB lived in the last
days o f the second Temple, he would have known, and possibly have seen,
the golden vine which decorated the entrance to the sanctuary . . . The
earthly sanctuary, which Moses was shown in a pattern, is inextricably
bound up with Israel as vine, holding together the component parts o f the
universe. 138
Because the vine refers to Israel, and the templeadorned with a vine, according to
Josephuswas seen as a microcosm o f the universe, the vine image evokes Gods
permanent purposes for and through Israel. As Hayward states, For God to forsake this
vine is tantamount to his forsaking creation; by showing mercy to the vine, He ensures

135 Exodus Rabbah 43:9 uses this analogy in this same context, but both retain the purpose o f the
intercession. As Jacobsen, Pseudo-Philo, 497 states, If there was some reason to introduce this analogy
here, both in LAB and the Midrash it is not apparent. It is nonetheless clear that, although LAB turns
Moses pleas into an elaborate metaphor, the essence o f the argument is just what it is at Exod. 32:11-13.
136 See also 2 Sam 7:10; Jer. 32:41; Ps 92:12-13, which speaks o f the righteous being planted in
the house o f YHWH. Cf. Beale, Temple and the Church's Mission, 110: Exodus 15 and 2 Samuel 7 and
subsequent prophets foresaw an eschatological temple, the ideal descriptions o f which both the first and
second temples fell short (followed by 2 Maccabees 1:27-29; cf. 2 Maccabees 2:17-18).
13 Jacobsen, Pseudo-Philo, 1:500; cf. Harrington, Pseudo-Philo, 320, n. h.
138 C. T. R. Hayward, The Jewish Temple: A non-biblical sourcebook (New York: Routledge,
1996), 160-61. Cf. Beale, The Temple and the Churchs Mission, 155, n. 65.

148

that His work has not been in vain.139 The imagery of L.A.B. 12:8-9 tells the story of
Gods purposes in and for creation through Israel and the temple.
The next text shares in this perspective. Pseudo-Philo 18:10-11 occurs in the
context of the retelling o f the Balaam and Balak narrative (Numbers 23-24).140 It is
difficult from the immediate context to determine who is speaking, though on balance it
appears Balaam continues his speech to Balak:141
And [Balaam] said to [Balak], It is easier to take away the foundations
and the topmost part o f the earth142 and to extinguish the light o f the sun
and to darken the light o f the moon143 than for anyone to uproot the
planting o f the Most Powerful or to destroy his vine . . . . For behold I see
the heritage that the Most Powerful has shown me by night. . . Behold an
overshadowing144 and highly desirable vine, and who will be jealous
because it does not wither? But if anyone says to himself that the Most
Powerful has labored in vain or has chosen them for no purpose, behold
now I see the salvation and liberation that will come upon them.
Balaam subsequently learns that he will perish because he listened to Balak and tried to
curse Israel but could not {L.A.B. 18:12). In the biblical text, Balaam does not refer to the
vine (vineam)l4S but uses arboreal similes with reference to Jacob and Israel (Num
24:5-7). It may be that the plant language o f Num 24:6 sparked a connection to the

139 Ibid., 1:161.


140 L.A.B. compounds Balaams four oracles into one. See Jacobsen, Pseudo-Philo, 1:594.
141 Translation from Harrington, Pseudo-Philo, OTP, 2:326. Footnotes added. The difficulty lies
in identifying who, at verse 10, enters the land o f Moab and offers sacrifices. Harrington, Pseudo-Philo,
325, n. n.
142 As Jacobsen, Pseudo-Philo, 1:596, notes, it is unclear what the foundations and all the
topmost part o f them (Jacobsens trans) means. Is it the idea o f the firmament? See, e.g., L.A.B. 16:6.
143 Compare Isa. 13:10 for apocalyptic language similar to extinguish the light o f the sun and to
darken the light o f the moon. Jacobsen, Pseudo-Philo, 1:596.
144 Jacobsen, Pseudo-Philo, 600: The overshadowing (obumbrans) likely means shady, or
protective, not overshadowed (cf. Num 24:6 LXX). The point o f the entire sentence is: here is a
lovely shady vine and no one could be envious that it does not whither. At another level, it may mean that,
like a vine that provides shade, Israel provides protection for the existence o f the rest o f humanity (cf.
Exod. Rab. 2:5). See L.A.B. 23:12 below.
145 Likely a translation o f 013; see Jacobsen, Pseudo-Philo, 1:596.

149

vine metaphor.146 Clearly, though, L.A.B. compares Balaams attempt to curse Israel to
trying to uproot the planting of the Most Powerful or destroy his vine. Like L.A.B.
12:8-9 the image evokes Gods lasting covenant with Israel. With this covenant comes
his protection.
In the same line o f thought, L.A.B. 23:11-12 occurs in the context of Yahwehs
covenant renewal with Israel (cf. Josh. 24). Yahweh gives the following words for Joshua
to speak to Israel, now in the land:
And I brought you into this land and gave you vineyards (vineas). Cities
that you did not build you inhabit. And I fulfilled my covenant that I
promised your fathers.147 And now, if you listen to your fathers148. . . your
land will be renowned over the earth and your seed special among all the
peoples, who will say, Behold a faithful people! Because they believed in
the LORD, therefore the LORD freed them and planted them. And so I
will plant you like a desirable vine (plantabo vos tamquam vineam
desiderii) and tend you like a lovable flock; and I will command the rain
and the dew and they will be abundant for you during your lifetime.
Blessing, according to L.A.B., means the renown o f Israels land into which God brought
them (v. 11; cf. Josh 24:13), and its good reputation among the nations (v. 12; cf. Deut.
4:6-8). Israel is the desirable vine that God freed and will plant in the land (again, cf.
Exod 15:17). Jacobsen notes Amos 5:11 as a possible source for the expression,
desirable vine.149 However, Amos refers to literal pleasant vineyards (l^rpZT]?)
Israel had planted but now will not enjoy.150 A better antecedent may be Isa 27:2, where a

146 Ibid., 1:596-97.


147 Jacobsen, Pseudo-Philo, 2:726, comments extensively on the different scenarios in which this
verse was incorrectly transcribed or copied from the Heb. to Gk. to Latin. He argues, LABs original text
was very close to Josh. 24:13 and Deut. 6:10-11 and that our texts are largely the result of the loss o f part o f
the original.
148 Ibid., 2:726 notes, [Presumably this refers to adherence to the covenant as agreed upon by the
Patriarchs and the people at Sinai.
149 Ibid., 2:727-28. Amos 5:11 Vulgate reads, . . . you will plant delightful vineyards.. . (eis
vineas amantissimas plantabitis).
150 Amos is delivering the futility curse (cf. Deut 28:30,39).

150

pleasant vineyard (77J>{] D$ ) that Yahweh planted and keeps refers to the restored
remnant, Jacob and Israel (Isa 27:6).151 This context matches the context o f L.A.B. 23:12,
which refers to a faithful people as the vine Yahweh freed and planted. That is, since in
Yahwehs command of the rain and dew L.A.B. references the common blessing152 of
Deut 28:11-12 (cf. L.A.B. 13:10), which contrasts the curse version at Isa 5:6, both Isa
27:2 and L.A.B. 23:12 foresee a clear reversal of Isa 5:1-7.153 Though these texts are not
quoted, the restorative logic o f the Isaiah vineyard narrative better fits the context of
Pseudo-Philo than the Amos 5:11 text.
The next text, L.A.B. 28:4, occurs in the context a non-biblical addition set in the
period o f Judges (Chs. 25-28). Specifically, the author recounts Kenazs154 rule over
Israel and his covenant with the faithful, whom Kenaz exhorts not to sin {L.A.B. 28:5,
10).155 In this context Phineas, son o f Elezar, recalls how his father recounted to him
Gods words about Israel:
And I would plant a great vineyard {vineam grandem), and from it I would
choose a plant (plantationem); and I would care for it156 and call it by my
151 Isaiah 27:2 Vulgate reads, . . . there will be singing to a vineyard o f unmixed wine (vinea
meri cantabit el).
152 Jacobsen, Pseudo-Philo, 2:728, states, . . . particularly appropriate in a passage where Israel is
compared to a vine and sheep.
153 The language also resembles Ps 80:8-16, but that text does not forecast the reversal of
judgment. It only contains the lament and call for restoration o f the sinful people, Israel. The thrust of
L.A.B. 23:11-12 is much more positive (cf. Isa 27:2-6).
154 He is father of Othniel, identified by the first Judge (Judg 3:9). Jacobsen Pseudo-Philo, 2:739,
states, It is one o f the great mysteries o f LAB how the (biblically) insignificant Cenez (sic) came to
occupy so large and important a role in this wo rk. . . . All we hear of Cenez is that he was Othniels father.
Nor do post biblical texts build up Cenez, with the exception o f Josephus (AJ 5.182-4) who simply
substitutes Cenez for Othniel. . . . The passage in the Lives o f the Prophets makes it clear that Cenez was
more than just a name in the Bible, but how much more is impossible to tell. Perhaps, then, Kenaz was a
blank character onto which LABs author could narrate these events, which were his main interest.
155 Pseudo-Philo 28:1, 3 notes Jabis and Phineas and other prophets. See Jacobsen, Pseudo-Philo,
2:801.
156 Instead o f I would care for it, Jacobsen, Pseudo-Philo, 2:807, argues that the verb disponam
(from disponere), which is used in agricultural contexts o f sowing and planting, may connote that God

151

name,157 and it would be mine forever. When I did all the things that I
said, nevertheless my plant that was called by my name did not recognize
me as its planter, but destroyed its own fruit and did not yield up its fruit
to me. 158
This text adds a new element to the vine story o f L.A.B. That is, God plants a great
vineyard and from within the vineyard chooses a single plant. The vineyard, then, is not
Israel, but all creation. His chosen plant is Israel, which God promises to protect and to
give it his very name (cf. Isa 43:7). The text also evokes the logic o f Isa 5:2,4 where the
vineyard, Israel, did not render the good fruit (obedience) worthy o f the planter. Again,
Isaiah 5 tells the negative side of the narrative, the covenant disobedience o f Israel and
resultant judgment o f Yahweh. Although L.A.B. 28:4 does not explicitly compare Israel
to a vine (vineas), as at Isa 5:1-7, Pseudo-Philo tells the story o f Israels covenant
disobedience in the same fashion, reworked with the now familiar plant motif (cf. Isa
60:21; 61:3).
The final reference,159 L.A.B. 39:7, also occurs in the context o f Judges,
specifically under Jephthah (cf. Judges 11). After worthless men recruit Jephthah to help

chooses a vine and transplants it in new soil. This is the same metaphor used of God and Israel in Exod.
Rab. 44:1 (cf. Ezek 17:3,22).
Cf. Isa 43:7; Jer 14:9; Dan 9:19.
158 Harringon, Pseudo-Philo, OTP, 2:341, assumes corruption and translates these verbs past
tense, vaticanus ex eventu. Yet, Jacobsen argues that these verbs, future tense in the Latin (Non agnoscel..
. corrumpet. . . non reportabil) should remain with the future sense. First, there is no inherent problem with
the future here. Second, this is Kenazs recounting o f Eleazars vision, which looks forward to a day after
his own; e.g., he notes that the people will sin (v. 4). This forward-looking element is a common one in
patriarchical visions.
159 Before this text, vineyard imagery also appears at L.A.B. 37:2-3, where the allegory following
Abimelechs conspiracy (Judg 9:1, 7-21) is presented as narrated, historical fact, in which all the trees of
the field simply gather and request the fig tree, the vine, and apple tree to reign over them. After all three
decline (L.A.B. 37:2), all the trees hear from the bramble-bush, which states, that among the three, the
vine signifies those who were before us a statement not in the biblical version. (In the biblical version,
Jothams parable compares favorably to Nathans in 2 Samuel 11. Here, Jotham is not mentioned. Only the
trees speak.) Since the parable (retold) intends to show the proper candidates for leadership in the wake of
Abimelechs murderous conspiracy, those before us (precessores) likely refers to the seventy sons killed
by Abimelech (Judg 9:5; L.A.B. 37:1), who can claim their vindication. See Jacobsen, Pseudo-Philo, 2:936.

152

rescue Israel from Ammon (L.A.B. 39:3-5), he exhorts all the people to set their hearts on
the Law o f Yahweh for deliverance, and thus calls Israel to repent o f its idolatry. In
response the people pray:
Look, LORD, upon the people that you have chosen, and may you not
destroy the vine that your right hand has planted, in order that this nation,
which you have from the beginning and always preferred and for which
you made dwelling places and brought into the land as you promised,
may be for you as an inheritance; may you not hand us over before those
who hate you, LORD.
Though in a different historical context this passage resembles L.A.B. 12:8-9. Both
refer to the vine, Israel, as Gods inheritance and result in God mercifully averting his
wrath from Israel (L.A.B. 12:10; 39:8). Moreover, by identifying the vine as that which
your right hand has planted (quam plantavit dextera tua), Pseudo-Philo likely quotes Ps
80:15.161 This psalm remembers Gods original exodus o f the vine (Ps 80:8) so that he
would look upon (Ps 80:14) and restore that same vine, Israel (Ps. 80:19). Similar to
L.A.B. 12:8-9,18:10-11, and 23:12, then, 39:7 utilizes the vine-plant metaphor
affectively: the value and permanence o f a well planted vine compares to the value and
permanence o f Gods covenant, which roots in Gods election and exodus o f Israel.
Pseudo-Philo, then, relies up on the vineyard as Israel image o f the OT in order to
retell its history, to encourage Israels covenant obedience in the Second Temple period.
The author does not rely on one OT text for this image. Rather, he seems indebted to the
image o f the vineyard itself, and reuses the imagery found at Isaiah 5 and 27, Ezekiel 17,

160 Jacobsen, Pseudo-Philo, 2:953, thinks for which you made dwelling places {pro qua fecisti
habitabilia) may mean, for whom you created the habitable world as an allusion to the Rabinnic theme
that God created the world for Israel. See Gen. Rab. 1:4; 4 Ezra 6:55.
161 Matching Ps 79:16 Vulgate, which reads quam plantavit dextera tu a " translating Ps 79:16
LXX, Jjv itpuxevaev i\ 8e|id crou. The MT (Ps 80:16) reads and regard that which your right hand planted
njDfl. Cf. Jacobsen, Pseudo-Philo, 2:952.

153

and Psalm 80. Moreover, this OT imagery has its antecedent in the plant promise of
Exod 15:17 with its attendant dwelling place theology. Thus, Pseudo-Philo cannot be
read as unqualified support o f the thesis o f this dissertation. But his retelling certainly
offers clear evidence of the vineyard image in use as a narrative motif in postbiblical
Jewish literature. He tells the story o f Israel as Gods special vineyard plant in order to
remind them that, No matter how much the Jewish people suffer. . . God will never
completely abandon His people and in the end salvation and triumph will be the lot o f the
Jews.162 As with 4 Ezra and 2 Baruch, according to Pseudo-Philo, God can no more turn
away from his vine than he can from all o f his creation.

Odes o f Solomon
The Odes o f Solomon, as a collection o f early Jewish-Christian hymns (ca. A.D. 125),163
differ from the other literature investigated in this chapter. Though the author, like those
o f 2 Baruch or Pseudo-Philo, was clearly indebted to the worldview, language, and
imagery of the OT,164 the author (or final editor) was likely Christian.165 Although lines
o f direct influence cannot be proved,166 the Odes share many verbal and conceptual
parallels with Johns Gospel.167 One parallel to John 15 is the use o f fruit imagery. The
Odes witness to the pervasive influence o f the vineyard and fruit imagery o f the OT on

162 Jacobsen, Pseudo-Philo, 1:241-42.


163 The genre o f hymn fits Odes indebtedness to the Psalms. See Michael Lattke, Odes o f
Solomon: A Commentary (trans. Marianne Ehrhardt; Hermeneia; Minneapolis: Fortress, 2009), 12-13. Yet,
Michael Anthony Novak argues that they ought to be considered apocalyptic, too. See Michael Anthony
Novak, The Odes o f Solomon as Apocalyptic Literature, VC 66 (2012), 527-50.
164 See Charlesworth, Odes o f Solomon, in OTP, 2:731.
165 Ibid., 725. The rejoicing at the advent o f the Messiah is one key indicator in this regard.
156 Ibid., 731-32.
167 See Charlesworth, Odes o f Solomon, OTP, 2:728-32; James H. Charlesworth and R. A.
Culpepper, The Odes o f Solomon and the Gospel o f John, CBQ 35 (1973), 298-322.

154

postbiblical Jewish and Christian literature.168 Though this imagery runs throughout Odes
only key texts are examined in this section, in keeping with the method followed above.
The first Ode, an address o f the redeemed,169 instructs the reader in the way o f the
Lord and its benefits with vineyard imagery: The Lord is on my head like a crown, and I
shall never be without him. Plaited for me is the crown o f truth and it caused your
branches to blossom in me . . . . Your fruits are full and complete; they are full of
salvation {Odes Sol. 1:1-2, 5). The text compares the Lord to a crown, or wreath, who is
the glory of his people (cf. Isa 28:5 LXX; 1 Pet 5:4),170 and his branches blossom in the
redeemed. The Lords fruits from those branches convey the salvation, or its benefits,
that he alone gives his people (cf. Odes Sol. 4:4; 7:1; 17:4). As Lattke points out, [T]he
I of this Ode . . . . must be an outstanding personage, very close to the Lord. 171 Odes o f
Solomon 17:14 observes that salvation comes from the work of the Christ. So those
especially close to him, abiding in him as John writes (John 15:1-5), find fruit.
Especially pertinent to this discussion is Ode 11, which again features a redeemed
one speaking of the Lords work. Fruit imagery refers, first, to the work o f God within
the believer. At Odes Sol. 11:1, My heart was circumcised and its flower appeared, then
grace sprung up in it, and it produced fruits for the Lord (cf. Odes Sol. 14:7).

1T)

The

168 The function o f fruit(s) in the Odes is by no means uniform. As Lattke points out, the terms
for fruit(s) can refer to different subjects such as humans or what comes from themby way o f various
verbs (e.g., bring in, to bear, etc.). Lattke, Fruit and Fruits in the Odes o f Solomon," in Odes o f
Solomon, 155. See the table above for all the texts. Borig, Weinstock, 123-27, also catalogues the pertinent
texts, especially Odes Sol. 11:1-4 and 38:16-20.
169 Lattke, Odes o f Solomon, 29, cf. 15.
170 Ibid., 30,33.
171 Ibid., 34.
172 Following Lattke, Odes o f Solomon, 149-50, who rightly reads circumcised instead of
pruned as in Charlesworth, Odes o f Solomon, 744. Indeed, at Odes Sol. 11:1, the Greek version has
circumcise (ireprcifrvu), which parallels the same verb at 11:2, for the Most High circumcised
(ireptiTEf^v) me by his Holy Spirit.

155

metaphor is mixed, associating the OT imagery o f heart circumcision (esp. Deut 10:16;
30:6) with fruit production that comes explicitly by the work o f the Holy Spirit (Odes Sol.
11:2). Lattke rightly comments, The redeemed person, in witnessing that his
metaphorical circumcision was the consequence of the sacred spiritual power o f the Most
High (cf. 3:10 etc.), acknowledges that the existential hardness o f heart cannot be erased
by emotional thrills or rationally moral boosting.173 Such is the character of life lived on
the Way of the Lord (11:3; cf. John 14:6).
According to Ode 11, however, fruit is not only an internal quality or result of
salvation for the redeemed. The eternal salvation o f the believer compares to a land " . . .
which blossoms and rejoices in its fruits {Odes Sol. 11:12; cf. Ps. Sol. 14:3).174 The
referent o f the fruits is unclear. But, as in 2 Baruch and Syballine Oracles, the Odes o f
Solomon portray the new creation as a fruitful one in which Gods people dwell {Odes
Sol. 11:16; cf. Isa 65:17-21). Also, similar to Pseudo-Philo and 1QH discussed above,
Ode Sol. 11:2122 stresses the planting o f Gods faithful people, his remnant, planted in
that restored new creation (Isa 60:21).
Finally, Ode 38 features fruit language like Ode 1 and 11, but also makes much of
the root-plant motif seen elsewhere (e.g., IQS XVII, 5; XI, 8; 1QH8 XIV, 15; XVI, 6;
Ode Sol. 11:21-22). Verses 16-21 read,
Then I was established/firmly fixed and revived and was redeemed, and
my foundations were laid by the hand o f the Lord, because he planted me
[v. 16]. For he set the root, and watered, fixed, and blessed it, and its fruits
are forever [v. 17]. It went deep, grew upward, and spread out, and
became frill and large [v. 18]. And the Lord alone was glorified/praised by
his planting and by his cultivation [v. 19], by his care and by the blessing
173 Lattke, Odes o f Solomon, 156.
174 Ibid., 167, points out the parallel to Ps. Sol. 14:3.

156

o f his lips [v. 20], by the beautiful planting o f his right [hand] and by the
existence o f his plantingand by the understanding o f his mind [v. 2 1].175
The I of this Ode is personified wisdom, a redeemed figure who dwelled with Truth,
{Ode Sol. 38:1,15), and may be the redeemed Redeemer (cf. Odes Sol. 41:11-16).176 The
Redeemer was planted by the Lord (Odes Sol. 38:16), then cared for as a precious plant
that later grew and bore eternal fruits. Though a vine is nowhere mentioned, the
imagery is very similar to Psalm 80.177 The description at verse 18 fits the development
of . . . a healthy vine from the carefully planted root.178 The stress at verses 19-21 on
the planting of the Lord, which glorifies him, integrates and comments upon Isa 60:21;
61:3 and Ps 80:15.179 The Ode pictures a divine vinedresser (yeupyiq) tending his root
that has sprouted and grown into a productive vine (cf. John 15:1).

180

Explicit links to such vineyard imagery comes, however, from the term fruits at
verse 17. The fruits of the root likely represents humans, not necessarily moral qualities
(e.g., the fruit of wisdom). Indeed, the clearest connection between the biblical vineyard
image and this text is the fruitful growth o f that group o f persons.

181

Like Isaiahs

vineyard narrative the fruits o f the restored vineyard represent the faithful remnant, those
who worship Yahweh (Isa 27:6; 37:31-32). The description o f the plants growth {Ode
Sol. 38:18) compares favorably to the upward growth o f the Lords remnant (Isa 37:31
LXX). The metaphor does not match exactly that at John 15, for the Messiah is a root not

175 So Lattke, Odes o f Solomon, 511, differing from Charlesworth, Odes o f Solomon, 767-68.
176 Ibid., 531-32.
177 Ibid., 532.
178 Ibid., 534.
179 Richard Bauckham, T he Parable o f the Vine: Rediscovering a Lost Parable o f Jesus, NTS 33
(1987), 89; Lattke, Odes o f Solomon, 535. The action o f the Lords right hand (Odes Sol. 38:20) makes
the connection to Ps 80:15 (80:16 MT; 79:16 LXX) explicit.
180 Lattke, Odes o f Solomon, 537.
181 Ibid., 535.

157

a vine at Ode 38. But as Lattke states, [T]he fruits of the personified root are, as in
John 15, meant for persons redeemed and belonging to the Messiah. 182
The Odes o f Solomon, then, share similar vine and fruity imagery as John 15:1
17. Yet, they differ in that only the redeemed speak at Odes 1,11, and 38. At John 15, the
Christ speaks (cf. John 20:31). Originating after and from a similar milieu as Johns
Gospel, then, Odes o f Solomon witnesses to the continuity o f the biblical view of
salvation wrought by Godin the Christ by the power o f the Spiritthat results in fruit
in the people of God.

Summary
The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha make prominent usage of biblical texts and images.
The vineyard image is an especially powerful image within this catalog. With this image,
1 Enoch, 2 Baruch, 4 Ezra, and Pseudo-Philo convey the special status o f Israel, or the
Messiah, as chosen by God. An emphasis on election makes sense in the context o f books
that deal with a theodicy. That is, after the destruction of the second temple (A.D. 70)
these texts ask, has God abandoned Israel? The vineyard image supplies the implied
answer no to this question. The Odes o f Solomon, though from a milieu later than the
other texts, shares in this logic albeit applied to the Christ and his people. Significantly,
these people are seen as the fruits o f the Messianic root. The vineyard image was not only
an image o f judgment for these authors. The vineyard image, along with fruit, conveys
the hopefulness of restoration seen in the development of the Isaiah vineyard narrative.

182 Ibid., 533-34. The metaphor here carried into John 15 would read, 1 am the root, you are the
vine.

158

Vineyard Imagery in Philo


Although Philo writes something along the lines o f biblical retellings, his works
provide a very different take on vine imagery than most o f the other literature surveyed in
this chapter.183 Philo uses vine(s) at least 39 times and vineyard(s) at least 33 times in
his works. In keeping with his Hellenistic setting, Philo devotes much ink to allegorical
discussion o f the nature o f wine and drinking. He writes apologetically on such topics in
order to convey the admirable qualities o f Jewish Scripture and culture.184
Most of Philos vine/vineyard references occur in his discussions o f husbandry
(De Agricultural and Noah's Work as a Planter (De Plantatione), and On Dreams {De
Somniis). Each evinces his allegorical method. On Deut 20:5-7,'85 Philo remarks that this
law is not about houses or vineyards, . . . but the question is rather about the faculties o f
the soul, to which the beginnings, and progress, and perfection o f all praiseworthy actions
are owing (Agr. 1:157). Moreover, Philo interprets the vine (thus wine) as a symbol for
either folly or gladness (Somn. 2:155-63). He argues from Isa 5:7 that Israel (so Jewish
culture) was the locus o f such happiness, that is, good philosophy. He states, Israel is the
mind inclined to the contemplation o f God and o f the w orld. . . and the abode o f the
mind is the whole soul; and this is the most sacred vineyard, bearing as its fruit the divine

183 Though his exegetical method differs greatly from the authors o f the literature in this chapter,
there is a long (though now waning) tradition o f comparing Philo to John. Their similar setting as Jewish
authors in the diaspora writing from leading Hellenistic cities (Alexandria and Ephesus, respectively)
warrants some comparison. See, Keener, Gospel o f John, 1:175-80. Thus, brief mention o f Philos use of
the vineyard (and fruit) imagery is pertinent to this chapter.
184 In defense o f the Deut 24:19, for example, Philo writes, And who is there who can avoid
admiring the proclamation or commandment about reapers and gatherers o f the fruit o f the vineyard?
( Viri. 1:90). Cf. Spec. 4:203-212, which discusses the reasons God prohibited the sowing together of two
kinds o f seed (cf. Deut 22:9). For Philo, this law demonstrates Gods desire for order, protection, and
especially justice in his creation.
These verses deal with the right o f Israelites to share in the blessings o f the land even during
wartime. See J. G. McConville, Deuteronomy (AOTC 5; Downers Grove, 111.: IVP, 2002), 318-19.

159

shoot, virtue . . . (Somn 2:171-73). As his interpretation o f Isa 5:7 shows, Philo helped
foster an allegorical method o f biblical interpretation186 that deviates from the typical
functions of the vineyard metaphor in the literature studied.

The Vineyard Narrative and the Socio-Religious Terrain of Johns Gospel


Despite the diversity o f early postbiblical Judaism and its literature,187 the vineyard
imagery within that literature and throughout the media culture (e.g., coinage) conveys a
central tenet of Judaism: the lasting election of Israel. As argued above, the imagery was
established in the OT and especially prominent in the vineyard narrative o f Isaiah. The
evidence presented in this chapter suggests that Jews of the Second Temple period picked
up on the vineyard imagery, especially from Isaiah, to recall the divine basis for their
existence.
Among the DSS, 4Q500 and the Hodayot scrolls (esp. 1QH8 XIV, 18; cf. Isa
27:6) anticipate the restoration of the faithful remnant of Yahweh. The Qumran
community understood themselves as that remnant, the fruitful vineyard in the last days.
The author o f Sirach 24 compared the presence and growth o f divine wisdom among the
people o f God to a fruitful vine (Sir 24:17). The OTP, such as 2 Baruch, 4 Ezra, and
especially Pseudo-Philo, reference the lasting election o f Israel by way o f the vineyard

186 In this, Philo followed prevailing Greek (esp. Stoic) philosophy. See Manlio Simonetti, Biblical
Interpretation in the Early Church (trans. John A. Hughes; Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1994), 4-7.
187 Bruce D. Chilton, Judaism and the New Testament, DNTB (eds., Craig A. Evans and Stanley
E. Porter; Downers Grove, 111.: IVP, 2000), 608-12, identifies the period as one o f radical pluralization.
The debate continues regarding Judaism or Judaisms in this period, and especially into the rabbinic period.
Jacob Neusner describes four major approaches to the question, 1) nominalist (e.g., Shaye Cohen); 2)
harmonistic (e.g., later E. P. Sanders); 3) theological (e.g., G. F. Moore and early E. P. Sanders); and 4)
historical (e.g., Neusner). Though Neusner treats Rabbinic Judaism in particular, his discussion illumines
well the debate referred to here. See Jacob Neusner, Rabbinic Judaism: Structure and System (USF Studies
in the History o f Judaism; Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1999), 1-27.

160

metaphor. At least one author associated hope in the messiah with the metaphor (2 Bar
39:7). Thus, Jews o f this period tried to make sense o f Israels identity and worship after
the destruction of A.D. 70 by recalling the permanence o f the vineyard.
The author and first audience o f Johns Gospel, then, would be well aware o f the
vineyard narrative o f Isaiah. The historical evidence (e.g., coins, temple entrance; cf.
Josephus, J. W. 5:210) and numerous texts surveyed above indicate the prominence o f that
narrative within the Second Temple Jewish milieu. Though Judaism was not uniform in
this period, there are shared beliefs across the various sects and sectors o f Judaism. One
of those fundamental beliefs was the permanent election o f Israel. As Bruce Chilton
states, Judaism in every period is rooted in the notion that Israel is chosen.188 Despite
the diversity o f authors, texts, and circumstances o f this period, the use o f the vineyard
imagery is remarkably uniform. The vineyard image is an election image.
This conclusion thus anticipates the details o f the next chapter. The predominant,
if not consensus, view o f NT scholarship has been that vineyard imagery in the OT
generally or always connotes the coming judgment o f Israel. This view then carries over
into the analysis of John 15:1-17.189 Often, though, this view discounts the presence of
the vineyard narrative of Isaiah, especially the restorative plot from Isa 27:2-6. This point
was addressed above in chapters 1-2. Moreover, the view that vineyard imagery connotes
only the judgment o f Israel also overlooks the application o f that imagery within the
Second Temple period literature. This point was addressed in the present chapter.

188 Chilton, Judaism and the New Testament, 603. See also the discussion o f Israel as the
comprehensive metaphor for most (though not, e.g., Philo) in postbiblical Judaism in Neusner, Rabbinic
Judaism, 82-103.
189 See e.g., Bernard, John, 2:477-78; Hoskyns, The Fourth Gospel, 474-75; Lightfoot, St. John's
Gospel, 281; Westcott, John, 216-17; Marsh, John, 519-20; Schnackenburg, John, 3:105-6; Barrett, John,

161

Therefore, if early postbiblical Jewish authors saw the vineyard image as one of
judgment, why did they continue to use it? Especially after the destruction o f Jerusalem
and the second temple (A.D. 70), an image that conveyed only judgment would do little
to comfort or encourage Torah faithfulness in the readers o f these texts. Even later
rabbinic texts maintain the use of the vineyard image.190 More likely, then, the authors of
these texts employed the vineyard image within the logic similar to that found in the
Isaiah vineyard narrative. That is, God had judged his vineyard, Israel, but in order to
renew them. Indeed, the very hope for restoration lay in their status as the chosen
vineyard of God.
Johns Gospel emerged from a milieu similar to many o f the texts studied above.
Most likely written by a Jew and for a primarily Jewish audience, the Gospel deals in the
same worldview and imagery as the literature studied in this chapter. If, as most scholars
hold,191 the Gospel was written after the destruction o f the second temple, it shares a
similar historical-religious context as several texts studied above. For instance, Second
Baruch, Fourth Ezra, and Pseudo-Philo function as theodicies. They seek to explain the
fate of Israel and its way o f living after the temple had been destroyed.

472, who includes Isa 27:2-6 into a parenthetical Scripture reference supporting this view; Carson, John,
513; Beasely-Murray, John, 272; Burge, John, 417.
190 See Keener, John, 2:992. For the vineyard see Exod. Rab. 30:17; 34:3; Song Rab. 2:16, 1;
7:13, \\P esiq. Rab Kah. 16:9; cf. M e t Pisha 1.162 and Sipre Deut. 15.1.1, both o f which connect the
vineyard and flock image (cf. 4 Ezra 5:23-24; John 10). For the vine see b. Hul. 92a; Gen. Rab. 88:5; 98:9;
Exod. Rab. 44:1; Num. Rab. 8:9; Esth. Rab. 9:2. Though rabbinic literature emerged much later than the
literature studied in this chapter, it may still shed light on interpretive traditions that pre-date the destruction
o f the temple in A.D. 70, and so the Gospel o f John. That is, rabbinic literature provides further indication
o f the milieu in which the Gospel o f John was written, which is the hermeneutical target o f this chapter. See
Keener, John, 1:185-94; cf. Chilton, Judaism and the New Testament, 616.
191 See for example, Raymond E. Brown, The Gospel According to John 1-XIl (AB 29; Yale: Yale
University Press, 2008), LXXX-LXXXVI; Keener, John, 1:140-42; Andreas J. Kfistenberger, A Theology
o f Jo h n s Gospel and Letters (BTNT; Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2009), 60-72. A notable exception, o f
course, is the view o f J. A. T. Robinson, Redating the New Testament (London: SCM Press, 1976), 254311.

162

Johns Gospel presents a related but transformed explanation for the questions
that emerged after this event.192 The differences o f the postbiblical Jewish literature, as
much as their similarities, to the Gospels highlight the burden o f the evangelists. With
regard to the DSS, the Gospels have greater continuity with the OT than the pesharim, for
instance. As Stuckenbruck argues,
Whereas the Dead Sea sectarian texts reflect an unquestioned inner-Jewish
discourse which could assume continuity with sacred tradition shared by
other groups, the presentation of Jesus in Matthews Gospel was battling
against suspicions that Jesus and the movement which sprang from him
had exceeded acceptable boundaries; in their references to prophetic
figures such as David and Isaiah, the Gospels could not afford to
undermine continuity with biblical tradition o f contemporary Jews.193
Johns Gospel may be compared analogically to Matthew in Stuckenbrucks comment.
Johns presentation heightens the conflict due to his use o f the Jews who increasingly
oppose Jesus. One o f the key plots of the Gospel engages the question, who are the true
children o f Abraham? (cf. John 1:11-13; 8:39-59), or who is a true Israelite? (cf. John
1:51). In Johns Gospel, Jesus many I am statements and the festival and temple
typology, not to mention numerous OT quotations and verbal allusions, demonstrate his
continuity with the OTespecially Moses, David, and Isaiahand the Father, over
against the invalid claims o f his Jewish opponents.
Without preempting the argument o f the remainder o f this study, then, it is clear
that the author o f Johns Gospel focuses upon Jesus as the Christ (John 20:31) and the

192 On the historical, religious, and sociological transformations o f the Jewish diaspora in the wake
o f A.D. 70, see especially Martin Goodman, Diaspora Reactions to the Destruction o f the Temple, in
Jews and Christians: The Parting o f the Ways A.D. 70-135 (ed., James D. G. Dunn; Tflbingen: J.C.B.
Mohr, 1992; repr., Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1999), 27-38.
193 Stuckenbruck, The Dead Sea Scrolls and the New Testament, 145.

163

responses of belief or unbelief to Jesus. This focus impacts the application o f the
vineyard narrative at John 15:1-17, which is the focus o f the next chapter.

164

CHAPTER 4
THE FRUITFUL VINEYARD OF GOD ANNOUNCED AT JOHN 15:1-17

The previous chapters o f this study provide the foundation for an investigation into
Johns appropriation o f the complete vineyard narrative o f Isaiah. This narrative includes
not only Isa 5:1-7 but also especially Isa 27:2-6 at John 15:1-17. In chapter 1, the
precedent literature for John 15:1-17 was traced. The most influential proposals for the
OT background revealed a strong preference for, indeed dependence upon, those texts
that convey the judgment o f Israel by way of vineyard imagery (e.g., Isa 5:1-7; Hos 10:1;
Jer 2:21; Ezek 15:1-8; 17:1-10; 19:10-14; Ps 80:8-16). An investigation into these
allusions showed that none o f the texts, on their own, sufficiently explain the language,
imagery, and theology of John 15:1-17. A preliminary look at Isaiah chapters 5 and 27
together, however, illustrated the possibility that an allusion to this vineyard narrative
better captures the story that John tells through Jesus words.1
In chapter 2, the vineyard narrative o f Isaiah 5 and 27 was investigated. The thesis
was defended that this vineyard narrative tells the story o f Yahwehs judgment and
restoration of his true people, the remnant o f Israel, and thus communicates the story of
the book o f Isaiah in miniature. In chapter 3, the Isaiah vineyard narrative was traced into
the literature o f the Second Temple period. Isaiahs vineyard language appears
1 The mention o f Jesus words here is intentional. See the discussion below on the narrators
purpose in Johns Gospel.

165

prominently in this period because it communicates election theology. The findings of


chapter 3 led to a question: If early postbiblical Jewish authors saw the vineyard image
exclusively as one of judgment, why did they continue to use it? The evidence in chapter
3 shows that the authors o f 4Q500 and the Hodayot scrolls (esp. lQHa XIV, 18), Sirach
24,2 Baruch, 4 Ezra, and especially Pseudo-Philo used such imagery because it connotes
hope in spite, or in light, o f judgment. These texts convey the belief that though God had
judged Israel, he would one day restore faithful Israel to himself.
By the time o f the Johns Gospel (ca. A.D. 85),2 then, the image o f the vineyard
clearly conveyed Gods special relationship with Israel. Thus, John or any other Jewish
writer in the first-century A.D. could deploy this image to connote the story o f Israels
election and hoped-for restoration. Yet at John 15:1-17, the evangelist goes beyond a
discussion o f Israels fate. John includes unique language such as Jesus I am the true
vine statement and the frequent use o f abide in the context of the Farewell Discourse
(John 13:31-16:33). Thus, the question of this chapter is, how does the Isaiah vineyard
narrative help explain the language and theology o f John 15:1-17? In reply, if Jesus at
John 15:1-17 has this vineyard story o f Isaiah, especially Isa 27:2-6, in mind then he
refers to the long-awaited restoration of Gods people. That restoration is found in him
through his disciples covenant relationship with him, and it extends outward to the world
by the fruit they will bear (John 15:16). Hence, the thesis o f the chapter is that at John
15:1-17 Jesus announces the inauguration o f the vineyard promised at Isa 27:2-6.
2 This date represents a majority position among Johannine scholarship. Note again, however, the
argument for a pre-A.D. 70 date by J. A. T. Robinson, Redating the New Testament (London: SCM Press,
1976), 254-311.

166

In order to demonstrate this thesis, the chapter includes a discussion o f the literary
and historical context of John 15:1-17. Attention is given to the genre and structure o f
John 15:1-17 within the Farewell Discourse (John 13:31-17:26). The next section
contains a demonstration o f the allusion to the Isaiah vineyard narrative at John 15:1-17.
In this section, the verbal and conceptual links between the Isaiah vineyard narrative and
John 15:1-17 are established. With this allusion in mind, the next section contains an
exegesis o f John 15:1-17 to corroborate the thesis of the chapter. Within this section,
Johns conception of abiding and fruit bearing is considered in the light o f the Isaiah
vineyard narrative appropriated at John 15. The goal o f the chapter, then, is to further
demonstrate the plausibility of an allusion to the Isaiah vineyard narrative as the primary,
though not necessarily only, background for the imagery o f John 15.

Setting the Literary and Historical Context


John 15:1-17 features language, imagery, and theology that contributes to but also stands
out from its wider literary context in the Farewell Discourse (John 13:31-16:33) and the
whole Gospel. Johns Gospel unfolds in a prologue, two main books, and an epilogue.
The prologue, John 1:1-18, describes the origin o f and varied responses to the Word
(X<5yog) identified as Jesus Christ. Book 1, John 1:19-12:50, narrates Jesus earthly
ministry by way o f his signs, primarily to Israel, who largely reject him (John 12:37-50).
Book 2, John 13:1-20:31, narrates Jesus words to his inner circle o f 11, his own (John
13:1), before describing his death and resurrection as the fulfillment o f Scripture. The

167

epilogue, John 21, confirms the resurrection o f Jesus, Peters restoration, and a note on
the veracity o f the beloved disciples testimony.3
Set within the Gospels second book (John 13-20), the Farewell Discourse
contains Jesus words to his disciples on the night before his betrayal and arrest. After
Jesus eats his last meal with his own disciples (John 13:1) and washes their feet, he
speaks words of comfort, warning, and exhortation in the light o f their confusion at his
impending departure back to the Father (John 13:36). As L. Scott Kellum summarizes,
Even though Jesus has presented himself to Israel, they have, by and large, rejected him
. . . . From John 13 forward, Jesus is concerned with the establishment and the life o f the
messianic community. . . . The Johannine farewell discourse is the main substance of
that teaching.4 The Farewell Discourse, then, is an eschatological discourse for the
purpose o f teaching and consolation.5 Within this context, Jesus utters the discourse of
John 15:1-17. In order to discern the meaning and function of John 15:1-17, the setting,
genre, and structure of the text must be considered briefly. This consideration will allow
for a contextual reading o f the text in concert with the Isaiah vineyard narrative.
As to the setting, much o f Johannine scholarship follows a two-level reading of
the Gospel. On this view, the evangelists words, including those o f Jesus, narrate the
3 Though the authorship o f the Gospel is not a major tenet o f this dissertation, older assumptions
about the origins o f this Gospel and, thus, the late and non-eyewitness authorship have been appropriately
questioned in recent years. See especially Martin Hengel, The Johannine Question (trans. John Bowden;
Philadelphia: Trinity Press International, 1989), 74-108; Richard Bauckham, Jesus and the Eyewitnesses:
The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2006), 358-471. Finally, Charles E. Hill,
The Johannine Corpus in the Early Church (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004), shows that Johns
Gospel did not need to be rescued from the heterodox (Gnostics) by Irenaeus, but that its reception in the
late first and second centuries A.D. was orthodox from the outset.
4 L. Scott Kellum, Farewell Discourse, in DJG (2d ed.), 268.
5 Within this eschatological setting the discourse (John 13:31-16:33) contains elements of
consolation, exhortation, and warning. See Fernando Segovia, The Farewell o f the Word: The Johannine
Call to Abide (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1991), 5-20; Ernst Bammel, The Farewell Discourse o f the
Evangelist John and Its Jewish Heritage TynBul 44 (1993), 111-19.

168

history o f the community that spawned the Gospel.6 The method has even been applied to
John 15:1-17. As Segovia states, Each subsection o f this discourse may be seen as
presenting a different aspect o f inner-Christian or intra-Church controversy.7 Thus, John
15:1-17, especially verses 2 and 6, betray a crisis of belief within the Johannine
community. Though highly influential, this method has recently come under considerable
attack.8 In light of recent counter-proposals, the argument in this dissertation eschews the
two-level method. Rather than theorize about the status o f a community behind the words
o f John 15:1-17, the focus will be on Jesus words to his disciples.
Indeed the narrator, evangelist or otherwise, presents the text as Jesus point of
view. David Mark Ball defends the plausibility o f reading Jesus words in Johns Gospel
and not, for example, those o f an ecclesial redactor. The disciples in the text and the
narrator of the text are both silent. So,
Such silence on the part o f both the narrator and the narrative audience
therefore serves to emphasize the importance o f Jesus words. It is Jesus
who speaks. Any characterization is thus filtered through the words of
Jesus. Because the conceptual point o f view of the narrator coincides with
the point of view of the character o f Jesus, this discourse not only
addresses the disciples but also the implied reader. Jesus words thus show
6 The two-level reading was initiated by J. Louis Martyn, History and Theology in the Fourth
Gospel (2d ed.; Nashville: Abingdon, 1979; 3d ed.; NTL; Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2003).
Raymond Brown provided a detailed, though somewhat speculative, account to support Martyns thesis.
See Raymond E. Brown, The Community o f the Beloved Disciple: The Life, Loves, and Hates o f an
Individual Church in New Testament Times (New York: Paulist Press, 1979). Note the updated proposal,
with an extended excursus from Francis J. Moloney (pp. 69-89) in Raymond E. Brown, An Introduction to
the Gospel o f John (ed., Francis J. Moloney; New York: Doubleday, 2003), 40-89.
7 Segovia, Theology and Provenance o f John 15:117," JBL 10 (1982), 125.
8 See Richard Bauckham, ed., The Gospels fo r A ll Christians: Rethinking the Gospel Audiences
(Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1998); idem, The Testimony o f the Beloved Disciple: Narrative, History, and
Theology in the Gospel o f John (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2007), 9-31; Andreas J. KOstenberger, A Theology
o f Jo h n s Gospel and Letters: The Word, The Christ, The Son o f God (BTNT; Grand Rapids: Zondervan,
2009), 56-60, offers a historical tracing o f the undermining o f Martyns thesis, which relied upon the much
debated birkat ha-minim (curse o f the heretics). See P. L. Mayo, The Role o f the Birkath Haminim in
Early Jewish-Christian Relations: A Reexamination o f the Evidence, BBR 16 (2006), 325-44, for a
convincing undermining o f Martyns thesis.

169

the conceptual point o f view, which the reader, as well as the narrative
audience, is encouraged to adopt.9
The hermeneutical focus of this study, then, is on the structure, conceptual background,
and function o f Jesus words to his disciples at John 15:1-17.
As to the structure, the structure and unity o f the Farewell Discourse and the
structure of John 15:1-17 are considered. The structure and literary unity o f the Farewell
Discourse has been the topic o f much debate. Kellum traces the evolution from a single
discourse to several discourses.10 Due to the work o f Wellhausen and Bultmann, among
others, John 15-17 came to be seen as a misplaced, misarranged section. The abrupt
comment, Rise, let us go from here at John 14:31 is read as evidence o f such
misplacement, the chief aporia.u On this view, John 15:1-17 is a text finally located
(i.e., moved) outside o f its original context.12 There are, however, reasons to avoid such
reconstructions.
First, the comment Rise, let us go from here (14:31) can indicate the motion of
Jesus and his disciples.13 Second, the abrupt transition is dramatic not chaotic. As Ball
points out, Although chs. 15-17 seem to be an interruption in the light o f the finality of
Jesus words in Jn 14.31 and although the narrative comment which marks Jesus actual
departure (18.1) fits smoothly with the last words o f ch. 14, the dramatic tension is
9 David Mark Ball, 7 am in John's Gospel: Literary Function, Background and Theological
Implications (JSNTSup 124; Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1996), 131.
10 L. Scott Kellum, The Unity o f the Farewell Discourse: The Literary Integrity o f John 13:3116:33 (JSNTSup 256; London: T&T Clark, 2004), 10-78.
11 See Kellum, Unity o f the Farewell Discourse, 10-77, and esp. 205-33.
12 For example, see Raymond Brown, The Gospel According to John, XU1-XX1 (AB 29A; New
Haven: Yale University Press, 2008), 666-67; Rudolf Bultmann, The Gospel o f John: A Commentary
(trans. G. R. Beasley-Murray, et al; Philadelphia: Westminster, 1971), 456-61, 522-23. As Bultmann,
John, 459, states, The conclusion is unavoidable that chs. 15-17 are either a secondary insertion or not in
their right place.
13 So Kellum, Unity o f the Farewell Discourse, 229-32.

170

heightened by the fact that Jesus, on the point of departure, delays in order to give his
disciples some final teaching. 14 The function of the transition, then, is to slow the act of
reading. After Jesus washes his own (John 31:1) disciples feet (John 13:2-11) and
speaks about his betrayer (John 13:12-29), Jesus speaks to them about the ministry they
will carry on after he is exalted (cf. John 14:12,28). Thus, after the first speech o f the
Farewell Discourse (John 13:3114:3la), Jesus rises and departs the upper room with his
disciples (John 14:31b). As they do so, Jesus pauses and delivers John 15:1-17. In the
words o f Chrysostom, Jesus allows the disciples a little breathing time.15 For this and
other reasons, then, the text may be identified as the peak o f the Farewell Discourse.16
Ulrich Wilckens believes it is key to understanding the whole discourse.17 The unique
genre of John 15:1-17 also contributes to its significance.
Various proposals or definitions are given for the genre o f John 15:1-17.

ft

Those

who see the text as in some way dependent upon Synoptic material (e.g., Mark 12:1-11)

14 Ball, I A m " in John's Gospel, 129.


15 John Chrysostom, Homilies on St. John, 76:1 (NPNF1 14:279).
16 See Kellum, Unity o f the Farewell Discourse, 193-96, who defends this view on the basis o f the
mental pause at John 14:31, rhetorical underlining (e.g., the repetition o f pivu), an embedded genre
(allegory), and the change from the rest o f the discourse in verb tenses. The boundary o f the text is most
certainly verse 17, due to the change in topic at John 15:18, but also due to the concluding remark, These
things I have commanded you that you love one another (John 15:17). Cf. the function o f the phrase
These things I have sa id . . . at John 14:25; 15:11; 16:1,4a, 6 ,2 5,33.
17 Ulrich Wilkens, D er Sohn Gottes undsein Gemeinde: Aufsatzezur Theologie der
Johanneischen Schriften (FRLANT 200; Gottingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2003), 64. This point does
not imply an argument for John 15:1-17 as the most important section o f the Farewell Discourse much less
the Gospel.
18 See the chart in J. G. Van der Watt, Family o f the King: Dynamics o f Metaphor in the Gospel
According to John (Biblical Interpretation, 47; Leiden, Boston: Brill, 2000), 29, fig. 1. As proposals he
lists, Gleichnis, Parabel, Image/imagery or Bildredefwort, Allegory, Figure, Symbolic Speech, maSal, and
Metaphor. Genre consideration provides a key hermeneutical step, not merely for categorization or less to
identify the Sitz im Leben behind a particular form. Rather, the point is to discern the function o f the text
according to the genre or genres employed. See Ruth Sheridan, Johns Gospel and Modem Genre Theory:
The Farewell Discourse (John 13-17) as a Test Case, 1TQ 75 (2010), 295.

171

tend to identify it as a masal or an allegoiy.19 Carson argues forcefully against this view.
Instead, he thinks John 15:1-8 is best described as, [A]n extended metaphor without
plot, an illustrative comparison... .20 German scholarship typically prefers the
identifications Bildrede (figurative discourse)21 or metaphorische Sprache (metaphorical
speech).22 These views respect the metaphorical nature o f the text (esp. John 15:1-6),
although they may not account for the nature o f the entire discourse at 15:1-17.23 Segovia
regards John 15:1-8 as a sustained metaphor taken from the field of viticulture. For him,
the image o f Jesus as the vine serves as the grounding metaphor, which then exhibits a
high degree of development and correspondence.24
Van der Watt, however, gives a more integrative description of the genre.25 He
identifies the text as a narrative told by way of metaphors. As he summarizes,
A Father has a vineyard. The vine in the vineyard has branches, which
bear fruit. It can only bear fruit if they stay pruned in the vine. The Father,
who is also the Gardner, pruned the branches. Those who bear fruit are
pruned in such a way that they can bear even more fruit. Those branches
without fruit are cut off, thrown away and burned. The vine supplies the
branches with everything they need. The Gardner will be honored by a
good harvest.26
19 A masal is a Semitic form o f metaphorical speech with interpretation included. Compare e.g.,
Ezek 17:1-24. See, e.g., Brown, John X lll-X X l, 668-69, and the discussion in Segovia, Farewell, 132-33.
20 D. A. Carson, The Gospel According to John (PNTC; Leicester: Apollos; Grand Rapids:
Eerdmans, 1991), 511-13; the quote is found on p. 513.
21 See, e.g., Rainer Borig, Der wahre Weinstock. Untersuchungen zu Jo 15:1-10 (SANT 16;
Munich, K6sel, 1967), 21-33; Jean Zumstein, Bildersprache und Relektilre am Beispiel von Joh 15,1-17,
in Imagery in the Gospel o f John: Terms, Forms, Themes and Theology o f Johannine Figurative Language
(eds., Jdrg Frey, Jan G. van der Watt, and Ruben Zimmermann; WUNT 200; Tubingen: Mohr Siebeck,
2006), 139-56.
22 See, e.g., Silke Petersen, Brot, Licht und Weinstock: Intertextuelle Analysen johanneischer Ichbin-Worte (NovTSup 127; Leiden: Brill, 2008), 115^*2.
23 Segovia, Farewell, 134. Jesus explicates the metaphor in the remainder o f his speech. This
speech includes John 15:18-16:4a, for the metaphor controls the thought through that section. See Kellum,
Unity o f the Farewell Discourse, 169. The present study focuses upon John 15:1-17 due to the
investigation o f the connection to Isaiah 5 and 27.
24 Segovia, Farewell, 134-35. In terms o f development, other elements o f viticulture like branches
are used. In terms of correspondence, the branches are identified as the disciples, for example.
25 Integration is necessary due to the mixing o f figurative and literal elements within the discourse.
26 Van der Watt, Family o f the King, 54.

172

Contrary to the view that this text has no plot, a narrative or plot movement is the very
function of the metaphors at John 15. Thus, [T]he reader becomes aware o f a double
narrative, namely a literal narrative and a figurative narrative which are developed in
analogy.. . . It is done by constantly blending the two levels o f the narrative so that it
forms a merged whole. In this way the individual metaphors are bound together.27 Such
story telling by way o f metaphor is a mark o f Johns Gospel. For example, John 10 picks
up on the story of Israels blind shepherds (cf. Ezekiel 34) in Jesus Good Shepherd
discourse. It is plausible, then, to identify the genre of John 15:1-17 as a story told by
way o f metaphors. Following Segovia, John 15:1 provides the grounding metaphor, that
Jesus is the true vine, for the text that tells a story. Within this genre a particular structure
unfolds at John 15:1-17.
There are, for the most part, two major views on the structure o f this text. Many
commentators divide the text at verse 8 (John 15:1-8, 9-16), primarily on the basis o f the
shift in topic from abiding to love.28 Though this break makes some sense conceptually,
better reasons exist for seeing verse 11 as the dividing point. As Kellum argues, three
reasons suggest this view. First, abide in my love (nelvats tv -rfj dy&irn rfj |x>]) at verses
9-10 is a restatement, not new topic, of the key phrase abide in me at verses 4-7.
Second, verse 11 concludes the first paragraph with the common concluding phrase,
These things I have said to you . . . (Taura XeXaXrjxa OfiTv). Third, verses 1217 feature

27 Ibid.
28 See, e.g., Bultmann, John, 529; Carson, John, 510-11; Segovia, Farewell, 132; Herman
Ridderbos, The Gospel o f John: A Theological Commentary (trans. J. Vriend; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans,
1991), 514; Ulrich Wilckens, D erSohn Gottes undsein Gemeinde: Aufsatze zur Theologie der
Johanneischen Schriften (FRLANT 200; Gttttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2003), 64-65. Cf. Kellum,
Unity o f the Farewell Discourse, 171. Brown, John X llI-X X l, 665-67, however divides the text at verse 6
with the maSal given at 15:1-6, and its interpretation at verses 7-17.

173

an inclusio regarding Jesus command, which is not present if the text is divided at verse
8.29 Thus, this chapter contains a study of John 15 assuming a division at verse 11.
Within this two-part structure, John 15:1-11,12-17, there are levels o f semantic
organization.30 In the first paragraph, verses 1-2 contain the grounding metaphor o f the
textJesus as the true vine. Verses 3-10 develop the metaphor, from notions o f fruit
bearing (or not) to the love command, in a concise exhortation that mixes the literal and
figurative objects with persistent verbs (e.g., pdvco).31 Verse 11 concludes the first
paragraph with a summary o f Jesus purpose for the speech. In the second paragraph, the
command and qualification o f Jesus love for his disciples . . . defines the rest o f the
paragraph.32 Accordingly, verses 12-16 explicate Jesus love, which makes him friends
with the disciples and provides the basis for their mutual love. Verses 13 and 16 provide
the concrete examples of Jesus love. Verse 17 aptly concludes the paragraph with a
reiteration of the force o f Jesus teaching; it is a command. The text, then, will be
investigated according to this structure within genre stated above.
In sum, John 15:1-17 contains the speech of Jesus to his remaining 11 disciples
on the night before he was arrested. Within the Farewell Discourse, the speech stands out
due to its genre as a metaphorical narrative. But it also fits, if the text is read
sympathetically, as a didactic discourse following John 14:31. With this context in mind,
the proposed allusion to the Isaiah vineyard narrative can now be examined in detail.

29 Kellum, Unity o f the Farewell Discourse, 171-72. Cf. Ball, "I Am in John's Gospel, 129-30.
30 The structure follows that o f Kellum, Unity o f the Farewell Discourse, 171-74.
31 Within this section verses 3-8 contain four grounds that explicate the metaphor o f verses 1-2.
Verses 9-10 shift the text to the more literal level, though it remains connected to the metaphor on the basis
o f the sustained use o f pivw. Cf. Kellum, Unity o f the Farewell Discourse, 171.
32 Ibid., 172.

174

The Isaiah Vineyard Narrative at John 15:1-17


This section contains four primary reasons for the argument o f an allusion to the Isaiah
vineyard narrative, especially Isa 27:2-6, at John 15:1-17. First, John 15:1-17 shares
language and a similar context with the Isaiah vineyard narrative (Isa 5:1-7; 27:2-6).
Second, both texts present Yahwehs word to his people spoken by the covenant God
himself. Third, the eschatological horizon o f Isaiah 27:2-6 anticipates the realized
eschatology o f Johns Gospel in general and John 15:1-17 in particular. Fourth, an
allusion to Isaiah 5 and 27 fits the evangelists strategic use o f Isaiah elsewhere in the
Gospel. It will also be shown that such use reflects Johns penchant for OT allusions.
The criteria by which the verbal and contextual connections between Isaiah 5 and
27 and John 15 are made must be noted before analyzing the connections. With the
growth in recent years of studies in intertextuality, or inner-biblical exegesis, varying
methods for this work have also emerged.33 Richard Hays leads the way in the
methodological discussion. Building on the work of Michael Fishbane,34 Hays delineates
33 This study has no commitment to either term, given the amount of debate surrounding both,
especially intertextuality. Two streams o f literary criticism source the ever-growing river o f intertextuality
in biblical studies. The first stream originates in the work o f French literary critic Julia Kristeva, a member
o f a radical social-literary group in France. She first coined the term intertextuality in 1967. For Kristeva
intertextuality is the Intersection o f textual surfaces rather than a point (a fixed meaning). Julia
Kristeva, Desire in Language: A Semiotic Approach to Literature and Art (New York: Columbia
University Press, 1980), 65. Kristevas point was not to show influence between texts, but rather to show
the relationship between text, reader, and culture. On her approach applied to postmodern biblical studies
see, George Aichele and Gary A. Phillips, Introduction: Exegesis, Eisegesis, Intergesis, Semeia 69/70
(1995), 7-19. The second stream comes from the work o f Harold Bloom and John Hollander. Bloom
sought to explain (psychoanalytically) what poet(s) influenced another even though such influence is
inappropriate. For Bloom, every poem is a misinterpretation o f a parent poem. (Harold Bloom, Anxiety o f
Influence [New York: Oxford University Press, 1973], 194 cited in Richard Hays, Echoes o f Scripture in
the Letters o f Paul [New Haven: Yale, 1989], 17). More positively, John Hollander argues that later poets
charitably allude to or echo others in order to make a new point. (John Hollander, The Figure o f Echo: A
Mode o f Allusion in Milton and After [Berkley: University o f California Press, 1981], ix cited in Hays,
Echoes o f Scripture, 19). On the use of the term intertextuality, see G. K. Beale, Handbook on the New
Testament Use o f the Old Testament: Exegesis and Interpretation (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2012), 39-40.
34 Michael Fishbane, Biblical Interpretation in Ancient Israel (Oxford: Oxford University Press,
1985). Fishbane (pp. 1-19) distinguishes between an original scriptural traditum and its unfolding traditio

175

three kinds o f intertextuality: quotation, allusion, and echo. Hays sees the three as . . .
points along a spectrum o f intertextual reference, moving from the explicit to the
subliminal.35 Since quotations are easier to identify, Hays provides seven criteria for
identifying allusions and echoes: availability, volume, recurrence, thematic coherence,
historical plausibility, history o f interpretation, and satisfaction.36 The study below
depends especially on the first five of these criteria. It is hoped that the historical
plausibility o f the allusion emerges from reading chapters 2-4 o f this dissertation
together. As shown in chapter 1 above, the history o f interpretation has focused upon
Isaiah 5, and other OT texts, at the neglect o f Isaiah 27 when considering the allusion(s)
at John 15, thus presenting one o f the main problems addressed in this study. As for
satisfaction, readers are the determiners o f this point making it a less than universally
accepted and reliable criterion.37
As far as availability, chapter 3 above contains the evidence that the Isaiah
vineyard narrative shows up prominently in the literature and even the media o f early
Judaism. Texts contemporary to the time o f Johns Gospel especially make use o f this
narrative (esp. 2 Baruch, Pseudo-Philo). These Jewish texts do so because vineyard
imagery connotes the lasting election o f Israel as Gods people. Such a connotation was
and thus argues that the varying and expanding traditio-legal, aggadic, and mantalogical exegesis-of the
traditum coalesced in the exile so that Jewish exegesis has its origin in a very ancient tradition.
35 Hays, Echoes o f Scripture, 23.
36 Ibid., 29-32. Beale, Handbook, 32-33, adopts and slightly adapts Hayss criteria. Not all,
however, agree with Hayss approach. See, e.g., Aichele and Phillips, Introduction: Exegisis, Eisegesis,
Intergesis, 7,12, n. 5 who charge Hays with seeking conservative ideals such as literary influence and
authorial intent. Note, however, Hayss own words in Echoes o f Scripture, 33, that seeking Pauls intent
would . . . impose a severe and arbitrary hermeneutical restriction.
37 See Beale, Handbook, 33.

176

especially valuable for the Qumran community, which postulated their identity as the
eternal planting, the true eschatological vineyard (cf. 1QH XIV, 18-19).
Moreover, Isaiah 5 and 27 were clearly available to John and other NT writers.
NA28 notes at least 17 instances o f Isaiah 5 and Isaiah 27 in the NT.38 Since Johns
Gospel was most likely written after Matthew, Mark, Luke, Romans, and James, all texts
that allude to or quote from Isaiah 5 or 27, it is beyond comprehension that he would not
have access to and knowledge of Isaiah 5 and 27. Furthermore, the strategic use o f Isaiah
elsewhere in the Gospel (e.g., Isa 53:1 and 6:10 at John 12:38,40) indicates that the
evangelist had read, or even remembered, the book Isaiah as a whole.39 An allusion to the
Isaiah vineyard narrative ably fulfills the criterion of availability.
As for the other criteria, a recent study by Jeffery Leonard sharpens Hayss
criteria of volume, recurrence, and thematic coherence with eight more. Leonard
integrates the work of Fishbane and others to clarify the process for discovering OT
allusions.40 Leonard writes,
(1) Shared language is the single most important factor in establishing a
textual connection. (2) Shared language is more important than non-shared
language. (3) Shared language that is rare or distinctive suggests a stronger
connection than does language that is widely used. (4) Shared phrases
suggest a stronger connection than do individual shared terms. (5) The
accumulation o f shared language suggests a stronger connection than does
a single shared term or phrase. (6) Shared language in similar contexts
suggests a stronger connection than does shared language alone. (7)
38 See Isa 5:1 (Luke 20:9; Mark 12:1); Isa 5:1-7 (Matt 21:33; Luke 13:6); Isa 5:4 (Luke 20:13); Isa
5:8 (Matt 23:13); Isa 5:9 (Acts 11:22; James 5:4); Isa 5:11-18 (Matt 23:13); Isa 5:11-13 (Luke 21:34); Isa
5:16 (Luke 11:2); Isa 5:21 (Rom 12:16); Isa 27:1 (Rev 12:3); Isa 27:9 (Rom 11:27); Isa 27:12 (Matt 9:37,
Luke 10:2); and Isa 27:13 (Matt 24:31). (Italics indicate quotations; others are allusions.) See NA28, 857
58. The editors o f NA28 do not, however, suggest an influence o f either on John 15:1-17. This absence is
addressed below.
39 F. W. Young, A Study o f the Relation o f Isaiah to the Fourth Gospel, ZNW 46 (1955), 22426. This point is discussed in detail below.
40 Jeffery M. Leonard, Identifying Inner-Biblical Allusions: Psalm 78 as a Test Case, JBL 127:2
(2008), 241-65. Leonard works with OT allusions in the OT, but his criteria also fit NT use o f the OT.

177

Shared language need not be accompanied by shared ideology to establish


a connection. (8) Shared language need not be accompanied by shared
form to establish a connection.4
Leonard obviously emphasizes shared language as the key to identifying allusions. His
emphasis, however, is helpful for it points us to the importance o f verbal (criteria 1-5)
and contextual (criteria 6-8) links42 Both are key to the thesis o f this chapter because the
heuristic advantage o f Johns allusion to the Isaiah vineyard narrative depends upon both
links. Indeed, verbal links suggest a contextual link. Contextual links are important
because the argument of this study is not that John makes an allusion to a single text, but
rather to the vineyard narrative o f Isaiah 5 and 27. The proposed allusion to the Isaiah
vineyard narrative will prove plausible, then, only if both verbal and contextual links can
be shown. Such is the burden o f the next section.

Shared Language and Contexts


Verbal links between two texts are easier to show than conceptual links. But verbal links
can also indicate conceptual links between two texts. This is the case because two texts
can share literary and theological contexts. Such is the case for John 15:1-17 and the
Isaiah vineyard narrative. In this section, then, the shared language and contexts o f the
two texts are examined in some detail.
Hans Hiibner provides an excellent starting point for establishing verbal links. In
his study o f the OT in Johns Gospel, Hiibner bolds and/or underlines the lexemes that
appear in both the Gospel and the OT text. Bolded and underlined words indicate
41 Ibid., 246.
42 In criteria 7-8, Leonard shows that contextual links need not relate identically, as an image in a
mirror, but rather as recognizable similarities, as a reflection in a clear pool.

178

verbatim links, while underlined only words indicate conceptual links. From this method,
the interpreter can discern the strength o f the possible allusion. The following table,
adapted from Hiibners original, shows the verbal links between vineyard imagery at
John 15:1-8,16 and Isaiah 5 and 27.43
Table 1: Verbal Links Between John 15:1-17 and Isaiah 5:1-7; 27:2-6
LXX Isaiah 5
MT Isaiah 5
John 15
LXX Isaiah 27
(v. 1) (v. 2) rfj ^ftlpa
(v. 1)
8fj rfi
(v. 1) Eyco elpt
rjyanrjfiivcp dcrpa
ip ireX o c ^ dX>]0tv>)
l i T D T T l 1!? Ixefvfl dpireXwv
xal 6 itazrip (too 6
xaX6$ Iirt0up>)pa
t o O dya7r)Tou r&
l^apyeiv x a r
yea pyis lortv
dpircXfivl pou
r e
T r t ? aurrj?
dpirgXwv iyevi/jOtj
W ri?
t u tfyaTrrjftlvw iv

M T Isaiah 27
(v. 2)
13 s in n

o 1 ;a

n;naa2M?

(v. 2) iriv xXffpa Iv


Ipol (xyj 4>lpov
xapir4v afpet auT4,
jcol 7rav t4 xapiriv
4>lpov xa0a(pet aur4
tva xapnbv nXelova
<piPn.

(v. 3) j5r) ip s t;
xa0apo( lore 8t i t4v
Xiyov 8v XeXdXrjxa
upTv-

xlpaxt tv Tiitcp irfovt


(v. 2) xal <|>payp4v
7rptl0>]xa xal
lyapixciKra xal
ItpvTtvca ipireX ov
cruprjX xal
<pxo56p>)<ra 7n)pyov
Iv plow auroO xal
7rpoX^vtov &pua Iv
auTU xal fpetva toO
mifjtrai crra^uX^v
lirolrjaev 8k dxdv0a$
(v. 7) i y ip
dpireX&v xuplou
a-a(3aco0 otxog roO
IaparjX iorlv xal
iv0pc<mo; t o O Ionia
veitpvTov
YjyairrjpLivov Ipgiva
t o O Trotrjaai xpfcnv
imlrjaev 8k dvoplav
xal ou iixaioovvrjv
dXXi xpauy^v

(v. 2)

piiizAnV^i

P 'l

1 3 :13m a g r o i l
n fy y b

p js ?

i? ;i

(v. 3)

(v. 3) ly u 7r6Xi5
layupa iriXts
iroXtopxoup.lv>]
pdrrjv irorifi a iiT ^ v
iXaxrerat y ip
v u x t 8? i ^ p l p a ? 8k
ireoretrat t 4 t e ix o ?

Q i n n 1? ? ).

:d T O t o y i

(v. 7)

n '- f n i t q *

n p ?

jS l b x i ? ?
y p jn -T irr
ii? ;i

v y w y y

n -in i

m f ?
o

\ n m

n s t^ Q
n ;n i

(v. 4) oux k o T iv rj
oux ImeXdpeTO
aOrij? t (? pe 0>)o-i

(v. 4)
$

*,? 5 r i7 *

tpuX do'C E tv

xaXdprjv Iv dyp#
5 ti ryjv 7roXgp(av
rauT>]v ^0lT>)xa
aun)v t o Ivuv i t i
t o u t o iirobjaev
xtipto? 4 0e4;
w ivra 4'aa
ovvtra^ev
x a ra x lx a u p a t

i?rnj?TO

43 Table slightly adapted from Hans HUbner, Vetus Testamentum in Novo, vol. 1,2. Evangelium
secundum Johannem (GOttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2003), 486-89. HQbner uses NA27 whereas I
have used NA28, and highlights branch (xXfjpa) for the connection to, e.g., Ezek 15:1-8.1 have removed
that highlight since neither Isaiah 5 or 27 refers to branch(es). On this point see chapter 1 above. Also an
asterisk (*) indicates additional highlighted terms, which HQbner originally did not.

179

n ^n

John 15
(V . 4) fielvttX6 iv
i[iol, xdyw iv ufnv.
xa0cbs x8 xXfjjza ou
Suvaxai xaprcbv
<piptiv &<p iauxoO
i&v (i) fiivfl iv r f j
dfliriXtp. OUTUC Ou5i
Vpt-ds ikv (xj) iv ifxoi
(xivrjre.
(v. 5) iy&> elfti ^
fi|7reXoc. ufxetc xd
xXjjfxara. 6 (xivaiv iv
ifxol xdyob iv aiixffl
ouxoc 4>ipei xapiriv
7ToXuV, 6'xi Xu pl?
ifioC ou Suvaotie
Trotetv oii5iv.
( v . 6 ) idv yL
Yj Tl$
(zivfl iv iftol, i|3X^0>]
c!>s xi> xXfjfia xal
i>jpdv8)j xal
ffuvdyouaiv auxd xal
el? x i 7rCp f3dXXou<riv
xal xalexat.
(v. 7) i&v fxelvjjxe iv
ifiol xal xa fii^axd
(xou iv OfiTv fxelvj), 8
i&v 0iX)]xe
alx^cra(r0e, xal
yevjjcrexai uptiv.
(v. 8) iv TOUTOi
i5o|dtr0>] 6 T rax^p
(xou. i'va xapm iv
TroXiv 4>ip>)xe xal
yiv>]a0e ijxol
|xa0)jxal. (*)
(v. 16) ouy ufxeT? fie
i|eXi|ao-0e, dXX iyw
ieXe|dp]v u(xa; xal
0>}xa u(xas I'va ufxets
imdyrjxe xal
xapTriv 4>iprjxe xal

LXX Isaiah 5

MT Isaiah 5

LXX Isaiah 27
(v. 5) |3o)j<xovxai ol
ivoixoOvxe? iv
auxfj Troi^ffMfxev
elp^vrjv auxw
7ron)<ru|xev eip^vrjv

(v. 6) oi ipyijxevot
xixva Iaxa>(3
(3Xaaxi)<rei xal
i|av0j)aei IcrpayjX
xal ifiTrXrjcrOjIo-exat
i) olxou(xiv>] xoO
xapirou aiixoO (*)

(v. 6) ol ipyifxevoi
xixva Iaxa>|3
fiXaorrjcei xal
ifavO^aei IapaijX
xal i{MrX>ja,0j)a'exai
fl olxoujxiv)] xoO
xapiroO auxoO (*)

6 xpjri>s tyfiv
(xivj), I'va 0 xi Sv
aix))o7]xe x&v iraxipa

180

M T Isaiah 27
(v. 5)
pxp: IK,
5 nW

r fe

(V. 6)
izh # 2 b s a n

r x : iPvz
:n ^ jn ^ 3 9

i v T& i v i f i t t Tl (10V 5 $

uutv. (*)
Hiibner highlights shared roots between LXX-Isaiah 5,27 and John 15.
Vineyard (djyreXfivQ at Isa 5:1, 2, and 7 links with vine (gpireXoc) at John 15:1,4,
and 5. Vineyard

also appears at Isa 27:1 and links with vine (gprrfiXoc) at

John 15:1,4, and 5. Hiibner also notes a connection between the root for burning up
(x a r a x ix a u fju u )

at Isa 27:4 and the same root (xaffrai) at John 15:6. Hiibner does not

mark fruit (xaprrou) at Isa 27:6 nor the same (e.g., xaprrM at John 1 5 :1 ,4 ,5 ,6 ,8 , and
16.44 This semantic link, however, establishes a close connection between the two texts.
At Isa 27:2-6, Yahweh will restore the vineyard so that the offspring o f Jacob and Israel
. . . will bear its fruit in the world (dfwrXijdiija-eTai ^ oixou^vrj toO xapffoO auroO). At John
15, Jesus emphasizes the disciples purpose to bear fruit and so glorify the Father. As
Ball notes, The emphasis of the parable [John 15:1-8] on fruit-bearing, rather than life,
suggests that any background material should involve this concept.45 That Isa 27:2-6
presents such a fruit-bearing connection with John 15:1-17 distinguishes the Isaiah
vineyard narrative from other possible OT allusions.
Both Isaiah texts use the etymologically related synonym vineyard (dfmXwv),
not the exact term, vine (fifwreXo?), found at John 15:1,4, and 5. Thus a question arises,
is the allusion to Isaiah 5 and 27 legitimate on the basis o f a synonym? Some
commentators think n o t46 However, the lexical difference is not as great so as to discount
the connection.

44 An asterisk (*) is included in the table above where Hiibner does not highlight fruit (xapmk).
45 Ball, "I Am in John's Gospel, 136.
46 See, e.g., Annie Jaubert, Limage de la Vigne (Jean 15), in Oikonomia: Heilsgeschichte
Cullmann zum 65ien Geburtstag (Hamburg-Bergstedy: Herbert Reich Gvang Verlag, 1967), 93.

181

Ball observes that three reasons exist for making less, not more, o f the difference
between vineyard (d(t7reXwv) and vine (ifineXog).47 First, LXX-Isa 5:2 reads, [H]e
planted a choice vine (icp&reuaa dfwreXov <rap>jx), wherein the choice vine refers to the key
plant in the beloveds vineyard o f LXX-Isa 5:1. So a single vine refers contextually to a
vineyard.48 Other early versions and readers understood the synonyms as mutually
inclusive, not exclusive.49 Second, the distinction in John 15 between Jesus as the vine
and the disciples as the branches comes from the particular role the author ascribes to
Jesus. The very presence of multiple branches, then, connotes something more than a
single vine.50 Third, the point of the OT vineyard texts, especially Isaiah 5 and 27, was to
stress the fruit that Yahweh expected from his people. As Ball notes, Israel was neither a
true vine nor a true vineyard because it did not bear the fruit despite the care of the
gardener.. . . The allusion to the Old Testament is thus not only concerned with the vine
but with the context in which that vine imagery occurs.51 Thus, the context in which the
mention of a metaphorical vine or vineyard appears should guide our understanding o f
the imagery, as with any metaphor.
As seen in chapter 1, various OT writers employ the term vine (e.g., Jer 2:21;
Ps 80:8) and vineyard (Isa 5:1; 27:2) with metaphorical reference to Israel. Well before
Johns Gospel was written, then, there was biblical precedent for conceiving o f Gods
47 Ball, "I Am in John's Gospel, 244-6
48 Isaiah 5:2 MT also states, he planted it (the vineyard) a choice vine (pTtP inVlp'D. referring to
the vineyard (D U ) o f Isa 5:1 as a collective singular noun, indicated by the 3ms suffix (VI) on the verb
plant (yUl). Cf. Ball, I Am " in John s Gospel, 245, n. 1.
49 Brown, John X lll-X X l, 660 cites the Old Latin, Old Syriac (Curetonian mss.), and Ethiopic
versions, as well as Tatian, which all read vineyard instead o f vine at John 15:1. Cf. Ball, 1 A m " in
John's Gospel, 245, n. 2.
50 See Ball, I Am " in John's Gospel, 245. First noted by Borig, Weinstock, 95.
51 Ball, I Am " in John's Gospel, 246.

182

people with the locution, vine or vineyard. Related to this point, the OT writers,
especially Isaiah, evince an exegetical presupposition regarding Gods relationship to his
people. That is, the concept of corporate personality or corporate solidarity. As was seen
in chapter 2, Isaiah uses various singular terms such as the vineyard o f Yahweh of
hosts (e.g., Isa 5:7), Jacob (e.g., Isa 27:6; 44:1-2), and the Servant (e.g., 44:1-2; cf.
49:3, 5) to denote the corporate entity, Israel or Yahwehs people (cf. Isa 1:3). The one,
therefore, represents the many.
As seen in chapter 3, the logic o f corporate solidarity also informed early postbiblical Jewish exegesis and was applied to the use o f vineyard imagery. For example, the
author o f 2 Barucha text contemporaneous to Johns Gospelconnects the image of
the vine to the anointed one. As 2 Bar 39:7 reads, [A]t that time the dominion o f my
Anointed One which is like the fountain and the vine, will be revealed.52 The writers of
Pseudo-Philo (e.g., L.A.B. 23:11-12; 28:4) and 4 Ezra (e.g 4 Ezra 5:23), as well as the
Qumran community (e.g., lQHa XIV, 18), exhibit a similar conception o f corporate
personality. Richard Longenecker thus reasonably argues that this presupposition was
also operative for the NT writers.53 Matthew and John both apply, for example, the
concept of the Servant to Jesus (e.g., Matt 8:17; John 12:38).54 Johns Gospel also
contains numerous typologies in which Jesus fulfills the purpose of, for example, the
Passover (John 1:29) or the temple (John 2:19-22). It is more than reasonable, then, to
infer that the writer of the Gospel could do the same with the term vine at John 15:1.
52 A. F. J. Klijn, 2 Baruch, in OTP 1:633. It is for this reason that the editors o f NA28 list 2 Bar
39:7 as a possible allusion at John 15:1.
Richard N. Longenecker, Biblical Exegesis in the Apostolic Period (2d ed.; Grand Rapids:
Eerdmans, 1999), 77. Cf. Beale, Handbook, 52-3,95-102.
54 See ibid., 131, 138.

183

If the context o f the Isaiah vineyard narrative is kept in mind, including the
inherent element o f corporate solidarity, then an allusion to Isaiah 5 and 27 at John 15
becomes even more plausible. The context o f the vineyard imagery at Isaiah 5 leads us to
consider the Isaiah vineyard narrative as a whole, not only Isaiah 5, as the likely allusion.
Moreover, an allusion to Isaiah 5 alone meets only four o f the eight principles
adduced by Leonard. The proposed allusion to the Isaiah vineyard narrative (Isaiah 5 and
27) meets six out of the eight principles.55 The difference comes at principles five and six
in Leonards method. As to principle five, Isaiah 27 accumulates shared language,
whereas Isaiah 5 shares only one key term. An allusion to Isaiah 5 alone rests upon one
shared root, vineyard (dpreX-), whereas an allusion to Isaiah 27 rests upon three shared
roots, vineyard (dft7reX-), burning up (xaraxixa(u), and fruit (xap7r-). As to principle
six, an allusion to Isaiah 5 alone requires a change in contexts. At Isaiah 5 the vineyard is
under judgment whereas at John 15 the vineyard is not. Yet, an allusion to Isaiah 27
enjoys a shared context with John 15. In both texts the audience hears about a vineyard
that is protected and fruitful. The appearance o f fruit (xapir-) at Isa 27:6, and its
predominance within John 15, along with the shared contexts between these passages
make for a more plausible allusion. Thus, an allusion to the vineyard narrative o f Isaiah
makes better sense than an allusion to Isaiah 5 alone.
On the basis of this shared language, then, the contexts o f the Isaiah vineyard
narrative and John 15:1-17 can be compared. Two major comparisons may be made.
First, the fruit-bearing story of the Isaiah vineyard narrative connects to the story of John
55 It does not meet Leonards principles 3 and 4: (3) Shared language that is rare or distinctive
suggests a stronger connection than does language that is widely used. (4) Shared phrases suggest a
stronger connection than do individual shared terms. The texts only share terms, not phrases, and the

184

15:1-17. At Isa 27:2-6, Yahweh clearly overturns his previous verdict regarding his
people at Isa 5:1-7. Whereas they once bore stinking fruit (Isa 5:2,4,7), in his
eschatological day (Isa 27:2) they will bear fruit in the world. That fruit corresponds to
the justice and righteousness that Yahweh has always required from his people (Gen
18:19; Isa 1:27; 5:16). As to John 15, some think the focus on fruit is, like the mention of
branches, only an extension o f the vineyard imagery rooted in first-century Jewish
viticulture.56 Chapter 3 above contains sufficient evidence o f this reality. However, if the
fruit o f John 15, especially verses 8 and 16, allude to the fruit referred to at Isa 27:6, then
the text also corresponds to the fruit God has always expected from his people. That is,
the emphasis on fruit at John 15 may be both a historical-cultural and biblical-theological
emphasis. Unlike Israel and Judah, but in fulfillment o f their original purposes, Jesus
disciples will produce the fruit that Yahweh expects and prepares. Thus, an allusion to Isa
5:1-7 and 27:2-6 better explains the fruit-bearing emphasis present in John 15:117.57
An allusion to the Isaiah vineyard narrative at John 15, therefore, fits the criteria
of availability, volume, recurrence and thematic coherence. The criterion o f thematic
coherence, though, requires further consideration. The concepts conveyed at John 15:1
17 overlap with the Isaiah vineyard narrative more than has typically been noticed, and in
at least three ways. Those ways constitute the next three sections o f the chapter.
shared terms, vineyard, fruit, and bum are by no means rare to biblical vocabulary. Note, however,
that none o f the proposed OT allusions in John 15:1-8 meet these criteria. See discussion below.
56 See, e.g., Van der Watt, Family o f the King, 28.
57 The referent for fruit at John 15 is discussed below.

185

Yahweh Speaks to His People


In both the Isaiah vineyard narrative and John 15, Yahweh speaks to his people. At Isa
5:1-2, the prophet sings on behalf o f his beloved, later identified as Yahweh o f hosts (Isa
5:7). Yet at Isa 5:3-6, Yahweh indicts his covenant people for the lack o f fruit they bore
him, despite his deeply personal and patient efforts to the contrary (Isa 5:1-2). The
prophet summarizes Yahwehs indictment o f all Israelnorth and southwho practiced
bloodshed and produced outcries instead of the justice and righteousness (Isa 5:7).58
At Isa 27:2-6, however, Yahweh promises a hopeful future for his vineyard.
Included in the eschatological section o f Isaiah 24-27, Isa 27:2-6 functions as Yahwehs
speech to his covenant people awaiting their restoration to him and the land (Isa 27:12
13). Yahweh teaches that, on the eschatological day o f his choosing, he will make and
keep a pleasant, protected, and fruitful vineyard (Isa 27:34). He will even extend peace
to his enemies (Isa 27:5). In so doing, his renewed vineyardthe faithful remnantwill
bear fruit throughout the world (Isa 27:6). Both key texts o f the Isaiah vineyard narrative,
then, present Yahweh speaking to his people.
Within Isaiah, it becomes clear that Yahweh who speaks at Isa 5:3-6 and Isa
27:2-6 is the I am (lyco ei^t) o f Isaiah 40-55.59 Isaiah associates Yahweh with the
control of history. At Isa 41:4, Yahweh proclaims, I, Yahweh, the first and with the last,
I am he (MIT^X

littftn hyr

LXX-Isaiah interprets Yahweh as God,

I God, the first and with the coming things, I am he (iyio 0ei? 7rpo>Tos xal elq r i inepxSfieva

58 Indeed, Yahweh in part chose Israel for that purpose (cf. Gen 18:19).
59 See Isa 41:4; 43:10,25; 45:8,18-19,22; 46:4,9; 47:8,10; 48:12,17; 51:12; 52:6; 56:3. If Isaiah
is read a unifled book, then Yahweh o f Isaiah 5 and 27 must be Yahweh o f Isaiah 46-55. The words o f
Yahweh to his people cohere, whatever may be the exact historical context o f that people.

186

iya elm). At Isa 43:1-12, Yahweh exhorts Israel to recall their identity as his witness and
servant to the nations. His purpose is so that they will know him, believe his words, and
understand that I am he (MH

Isa 43:10). Later, Isaiah reminds them that only

Yahweh created and can save them. Yahweh reminds the house of Jacob and remnant of
the house of Israel, [T]o your old age I am he (&o? yrfpoug iyu effzt). . . I have made (ycb
imlrjcra) . . . I will carry and will save you (yw dvaX^fxvpogai xal trdtcru up.a$) (LXX-Isa
46:4). Thus, Yahweh says there is no other god like him, for I am God (Sti lyu elm &
8e6$) (LXX-Isa 46:9). Isaiah (MT and LXX) thus coordinates Yahweh with God. Johns
Gospel in turn applies this language to Jesus .60
Johns Gospel presents Jesus as speaking for Yahweh, indeed revealing God to
man (cf. John 1:1418).61 The integral use o f the I am (iyA elm) sayings throughout the
Gospel clarifies Jesus identity and role in relation to the Father and Spirit, Israel, his
disciples, and the world. The I am sayings connect Yahwehs speech in Isaiah with
Jesus speech in John. The use o f Isaiah 40-55 in the Gospel indicates as much .62
60 Craig Keener, The Gospel o f John: A Commentary (2 vols.; Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson,
2003), 2:318, states, The ideal, most informed members o f Johns audience would recognize the biblical
roots o f his I am images.
61 Extensive discussion of this point lies beyond the scope o f this study. For consideration of the
concepts that comprise this theology see John Ashton, Understanding the Fourth Gospel (2d ed.; Oxford:
Oxford University Press, 2007), 141-298, esp. 195-232 on Son o f God. Richard Bauckham, Jesus and
the God o f Israel: God Crucified and Other Studies on the New Testament's Christology o f Divine Identity
(Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2008), 1-59, researches the early Jewish roots (esp. Isaiah 40-55) for the NT
portrayal o f Jesus as divine (see esp. pp. 46-51 on Johns Gospel).
62 On this point see especially, Andrew Lincoln, Truth on Trial: The Lawsuit M otif in the Fourth
Gospel (Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson, 2000), 36-56; Petersen, Brot, Licht, und Weinstock, 5-28; Catrin H.
Williams, Isaiah in Johns Gospel, in Isaiah in the New Testament (eds., Steve Moyise and Maarten J. J.
Menken; The New Testament and the Scriptures o f Israel; New York: T & T Clark, 2005), 101-16; idem,
The Testimony o f Isaiah and Johannine Christology, in "As Those Who are Taught": The Interpretation
o f Isaiah from the LXX to the SBL (eds., Claire Mathews McGinnis and Patricia K. Tull; SBLSymS 27;
Atlanta: Scholars Press, 2006), 107-24; James M. Hamilton, The Influence o f Isaiah on the Gospel of
John, Perichoresis 5 (2007), 139-62.

187

The evangelist uses two types o f I am sayings. Those without a predicate, e.g.,
Before Abraham was I am (John 8:58), and others with a predicate, e.g., I am the true
vine (John 15:1).63 Ball establishes the likelihood o f Isaiah 40-55 as the primary biblical
roots o f these images. He notes that it is the whole phrase o f the Johannine sayings, not
only the use o f lyu dyu, which points back to the context o f Isaiah 40-55. He states,
The formulation and context of the words in John points back to the whole
context o f the words in Isaiah. This means that the context o f the Isaianic
passages has direct implications for the understanding o f Jesus I am
sayings in John. The words in Isaiah were spoken in an eschatological and
soteriological context and continue to have this force when applied to the
person o f Jesus. Furthermore the words in Isaiah were spoken exclusively
by the LORD. By the application o f such words to the Johannine Jesus, an
identification with the words and salvation of the God o f Isaiah is
implied .64
As with the other I am sayings, when Jesus says, I am the true vine, John associates
the person Jesus o f Nazareth with Yahweh o f Israel.
John typologically relates Jesus to Yahweh by way o f his statement I am the true
vine. The I am saying is thus the source and foundation for other themes in the John
15 discourse .65 This observation fits with the Christological emphasis and purpose o f the
Gospel (John 20:30-31). Again Ball states, In these sayings it is not the words I am

63 See John 4:26; 6:20, 35,41,48, 51; 8:12, 18,24,28, 58; 9:9; 10:7,9,11, 14; 11:25; 13:19; 14:6;
15:1,5; 18:5-6, 8. See Ball, I A m " in Johns Gospel, 162-76. On predicated sayings see, recently
Petersen, Brot, Licht, und Weinstock, 110-14. On unpredicated sayings, see Richard Bauckham, John for
Readers o f Mark, in The Gospels fo r All Christians: Rethinking the Gospel Audiences (ed., Richard
Bauckham; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1998), 147-71. He proposes Johns I am sayings expand Marks
absolute usage o f ly u eipi (Mark 6:50; cf. John 6:20): For readers/hearers o f Mark, this series would not
only develop the christological significance o f the 1 am sayings they already knew in Mark 6:50 but also
inform their understanding o f the 1 am saying in Mark 14:62. In ways such as this, it would be possible to
argue that John provides readers/hearers who already know Mark with a much fuller and more developed
christological and soteriological interpretation o f the Gospel story, but one which had clear continuity with
the Markan Christology and soteriology they already knew. They would not perceive Johns interpretation
o f Jesus as correcting or invalidating Marks, but as extending and deepening it. Bauckham, John for
Readers o f Mark, 169.
64 Ball, I A m in Jo h n s Gospel, 258.
65 Ibid., 136.

188

which are found in the Old Testament, but the images which accompany them. The words
yci elfu thus act as a formula which applies Old Testament and Jewish concepts to the
person of Jesus who embodies and fulfills them .. . . The Old Testament images serve as
types pointing to the reality which is found in Jesus.66 The typological connection, then,
is not only verbal but also contextual. That context includes the concept of corporate
solidarity discussed above .67 Therefore, John 15:1-17 links with the contexts and thus the
concepts of the Isaiah vineyard narrative.

The Eschatological Horizon of Isaiah 27 Announced at John 15


Another key concept of the Isaiah vineyard narrative at work in John 15 is the
eschatological horizon o f Isaiah 27. As shown in chapter 2 of the present study, Isa 27:2
6 introduces the final vision (Isa 27:2-13) o f the eschatological section Isaiah 24-27.68

Whereas the first vineyard song (Isa 5:1-7) reflected upon Yahwehs past care for his
vineyard, and lamented the vineyards lack o f fruit in spite o f that care, the second song
looks forward to the vineyards renewal. That is, Yahweh speaks (Isa 27:2-5) from a
future perspective about the quality o f his eschatological day and its effects on his people
(Isa 27:3-4) and enemies (cf. Isa 27:1, 5).69 At Isa 27:6, the prophet speaks about the
fruitful status of Yahwehs people, his vineyard, in that day. Thus, Yahwehs redemption

66 Ibid., 259.
67 John displays this presupposition in not only scriptural quotations but also his allusions. The
approach here differs, then, from Longenecker, Biblical Exegesis, 137, who focuses on Johns citations.
68 Isaiah 24:1-23 pronounces Yahwehs end-time judgment over all the earth, for it is under curse
(Isa 24:6). Isaiah 25:1-27:1 then apply this theology to the situation in Judah (cf. Isa 26:10,16-18) in
anticipation o f Yahwehs visitation from his own dwelling place to judge all the earth (Isa 26:21). Isaiah
27:1 concludes the section with the promise that Yahweh will judge all disobedient nations depicted as
the Leviathanwho mock his kingship (cf. Isa 24:21). The final section, Isa 27:2-13, then promises a
future restoration for Yahwehs people (Isa 27:6, 12-13). If read in its final form, this section in turn gives
hope to Israel in the light o f Yahwehs coming judgment on Ephraim and Jerusalem (Isaiah 28).
69 See chapter 2 above on the perspective o f Isa 27:2.

189

follows his judgment. After he judges the rebellious nations (Isaiah 13-23),70 then he will
renew his vineyard (Isa 27:2-6). The eschatological day o f Yahweh includes judgment
and salvation.
The interpretation of Isa 27:6 in chapter 2 is key to the argument in this section.
The MT reads, In the days to come, Jacob will take root, Israel will blossom and bud
and they will fill the face of the world with fruit. It was demonstrated in chapter 2 that,
for Isaiah, the terms Jacob-Israel came to refer to Israel (Ephraim) and Judah in the one
people, Israel.71 The rooting ( f JO o f Jacob and budding (rnDI) o f Israel reverses
the judgment o f the vineyard early in the book (Isa 5:24). The fruit (HJUlp) of the
vineyard refers specifically to the restoration and multiplication o f the faithful remnant.
Isaiah 27:6, therefore, refers to the renewal and flourishing o f the people of God,
identified as the faithful remnant o f Israel.72
Various Jewish interpretations reflect and corroborate this reading. The LXX
translators) o f Isa 27:6 interpret the fruit as the children of Jacob. The text reads, Those
coming are the children o f Jacob. Israel shall sprout and blossom and the whole world
will be filled with its fruit (ol ipxipevoi rIxva laxufi filaarrjaei xal i^avB^aet IcrparjX xal
dfi7rX>)o,9)]o,Toi ^ olxovfiivrj t o O xapirou autoO). In the same way, the Isaiah Targum read Isa
27:6 as a reference to the multiplication o f the people o f God after their restoration.
They shall be gathered from among their exiles and they shall return to
their land, there those o f the house o f Jacob will receive (children), those
70 Symbolized by the Leviathan (Isa 27:1). See also Isa 24:21 and 26:1, which present Yahwehs
judgment that proceeds redemption.
71 See above, pp. 66-76,98-107 in the present study.
72 This view was corroborated with evidence elsewhere in Isaiah. See especially Isa 8:17-18;
10:20-21; cf. Isa 63:17-19; 65:8-10,13-16. And its renewal in particular refers to the reunification of
Israel. See D. G. Johnson, From Chaos to Restoration: An Integrative Reading o f Isaiah 24-27 (JSOTSup
61; Sheffield: Sheffield University Press, 1988), 17.

190

o f the house o f Israel will grow and increase, and sons sons will fill the
face o f the world (Tg. Isa. 27:6).73
The interpretation of the MT fruit (n^Uljl) with the Aramaic sons sons QJ} IQ)
likely connotes the prosperity o f the people returned to the land after exile.
Several DSS show the power o f the vineyard narrative as it was read
eschatologically for the Qumran communitys self-understanding (esp. 4Q162 II, 1-10;
lQHa XIV, 18-19). The Hodayot features fruit imagery similar to Isa 27:6 and 37:31-32.
Namely, that in the last days the faithful remnant of Israel will bear fruit with a
worldwide impact (esp. 1QH8 XIV, 18-19; XVI, 11-14). According to these texts, the
last days are days of worldwide fruitfulness because of the fruitfulness o f the restored
remnant of Israel. Such fruitfulness accords with Gods long-standing intention for his
people to bless the world as he blessed them (cf. Gen 12:1-3).
The presentation o f Jesus and his disciples at John 15:1-17 parallels but goes
beyond these other Jewish interpretations o f Isaiah 27. Whereas these texts keep the
promises of Isaiah 27 in the future, Jesus announces the inauguration o f those promises in
the relationship between him and his disciples. In particular, the mention o f fruit
(xapnig) at John 15:4, 5, 8 and 16 announces the initial fulfillment o f Isa 27:6. It is likely
that fruit refers to the mutual love and future growth o f the newly established messianic
community. The exegesis below seeks to demonstrate this point. At this stage, the
argument is that Johns presentation o f Jesus in John 15 connects his speech to Isaiah
27:2-6 at the level o f Isaiahs eschatology. Two reasons demonstrate the point.
73 Bruce D. Chilton, The Isaiah Targum: Introduction, Translation, Apparatus and Notes (The
Aramaic Bible, 11; Wilmington, Del.: Michael Glazer, Inc., 1987), 52-3. Italics original.

191

First, the non-eschatological character o f John 15:1-17 means it serves as the


anti-type for Isaiah 27. Or better, the non-eschatological character o f Jesus words at John
15 serve as the anti-type for Yahwehs words at Isaiah 27. In the setting o f the Farewell
Discourse, Jesus speaks to his disciples about his life with them in the present and
especially after his glorification. John 15:1-17 functions as an explication o f the ideal life
of Jesus disciples after his glorification.74 Yet, unlike the rest o f the discourse, the text
does not contain numerous promises about the future. As Kellum observes, There is an
almost complete absence of the future tense in 15.1-17. The text is both a hortatory and
an eschatological discourse. Future tenses abound in 14.1-31 and 16.18-33, but 15.1-17
shows only two .75 The absence of promissory statements marks John 15:1-17, then, as
the deposit o f other promises. In its near context, the passage refers to Jesus new
command at John 13:34-35; love will mark this community o f Jesus disciples .76 From a
typological perspective, John 15:1-17 identifies the speaker (Jesus) and the hearers (the
11 disciples) as the fruitful vineyard o f Yahweh promised at Isa 27:2-6.
Second, Jesus I am saying (John 15:1) provides the Christological and
eschatological context for his teaching on the fruitfulness o f his disciples. As noted
above, the I am sayings occur either with or without a predicate. The saying at John
15:1 occurs with a predicate, true vine. Bultmann held that the I am statements with
predicates function in contrast to other claimants. Thus, Jesus is the true vine over against
74 See Fr6d6ric Louis Godet, Commentary on the Gospel o f John: With An Historical and Critical
Introduction (trans. Timothy Dwight; 2 vols. New York: Funk & Wagnalls, 1886), 2:292.
75 Kellum, Unity o f the Farewell Discourse, 194.
76 Ibid.

192

all other vines. Ball however argues for a different literary and theological function o f the
I am sayings with or without a predicate. Ball states,
[T]he I am sayings with an image should be seen as emphasizing Jesus
identity in relation to his role (for others), while the other I am sayings
should be seen as emphasizing Jesus identity in itself. In other words,
while the I am sayings without a predicate are primarily concerned with
who Jesus is [e.g., John 4:26; 8:58], those with a predicate are primarily
concerned with what Jesus does. . . . It is only because of who Jesus is that
he is able to fulfill the role which he has
Jesus role as the Vine means
that those who remain in him will bear fruit (15.5). On the other h an d ,. . .
[for example] Jesus is the messiah whom the woman expects (4.26).77
The predicated I am sayings, therefore, need not always imply contrast. As argued
below, this affects the interpretation o f John 15:1, for Jesus statement and subsequent
explication has a positive and not merely contrastive function.
Jesus role at John 15:1-17, then, is to announce his identity as the one through
whom the promises o f Isa 27:2-6 have come about. Jesus words explicate his role as the
one through whom the disciples will live and serve as the fruitful vineyard of God in the
world. As Ball states, If the images of the vineyard in Isaiah are in mind in Jesus claim
to be the true vine, it follows that Jesus is not only taking on the role which Israel should
have fulfilled in the past, but is also claiming that the day when the LORD would restore

Israel as a fruitful vineyard is fulfilled in him .78 Jesus words explicate how the disciples
fulfill the promise and expectation o f Isa 27:6. Before turning to Jesus words in John 15,
though, the presence o f Isaiah elsewhere in Johns Gospel is examined below. This
examination will offer corroborating evidence for the Isaiah vineyard narrative allusion at
John 15 by showing the pervasive presence o f Isaianic language in Johns Gospel.
77 Ball, "I A m " in Jo h n s Gospel, 174-75. Italics original.
78 Ibid., 244.

193

Isaiah in Johns Gospel


Johns Gospel makes strategic and varied use of the OT to tell the story o f Jesus Christ
and call for belief in him (John 20:30-31 ).79 Though John cites the OT twelve times, he
also makes consistent use of allusion. For example, the Gospel begins with an allusion to
the creation narrative at John 1:1-4 (Gen 1:1). Other allusions to significant people (e.g.,
Abraham; John 8:53), events (e.g., Passover; John 1:29), or places (e.g., the temple; John
2:19-22; 14:2) provide the salvation historical or typological basis for Johns
presentation o f Jesus as the Christ (John 20:30-31).
Within this presentation, John makes strategic use o f the prophet Isaiah. John cites
Isaiah four times (John 1:23 [Isa 40:3]; 6:45 [Isa 54:13]; 12:38 [Isa 53:1]; 12:40 [Isa
6:10]), and Isaiah is the only major writing prophet named in the Gospel.80 Moreover, the
author appeals to Isaiah to tell o f the glory o f Jesus and the responses o f belief or unbelief
to his glory. In so doing, John quotes from Isa 6 :10 and 53:1 to point to the larger story of
Israels rejection o f Gods word and his messenger. This OT story provides the biblical
logic for Johns explanation o f the rejection o f Jesus (John 12:37-41).
Beyond the quotations and mention o f Isaiah, though, John also alludes to texts
from Isaiah. As examined above, John explains the identity and role o f Jesus by way of
several I am sayings that stem from Isaiah 40-55. Andrew Lincoln argues that, at a
deeper plot level, the trial of Jesus throughout the Gospel reflects the covenant lawsuit
79 See A. T. Hanson, The Prophetic Gospel: A Study o f John and the Old Testament (London: T &
T Clark, 1991), 234-53, on the various methods used by John. The question o f midrash within Johns
exegetical techniques is beyond the scope o f the discussion here.
80 See John 1:23; 12:41. John 5:45-46 mentions Moses, whose identity as a prophet was well
established in Jewish tradition and expectations. John 6 (esp. v. 14) provides evidence o f this.

194

motif o f Isaiah 40-55.81 It is possible that Johns logos Christology stems from Isa 55:11
such that Jesus Christ is the Word o f God sent to accomplish his purpose.82 Jesus, then, is
the messenger and content o f the message rejected by many in Israel (John 12:38-40; Isa
53:1; 6:10).
The quotations of Isaiah in Johns Gospel thus point to his penchant for alluding
to Isaiah .83 Again, John cites Isa 53:1 and 6:10 in order to point to the larger story of
Israels rejection of Yahwehs word and messenger. As F. W. Young observes, Passages
are not quoted and specifically related to their fulfillment in the life o f Christ. Instead, the
metaphors and figures of Isaiah are interpreted symbolically and spiritually and become
the media for expression o f the meaning o f Jesus Christ and his words.84 Youngs quote
can be amended slightly; John in fact quotes Isaiah (John 1:23; 12:38-40). But Young
accurately notes that Isaiah provides an important, though not the only, media for
expression for Johns presentation of Jesus. Johns Christology and his use o f Isaiah are
mutually interpretive.85 Yet, John also alludes to Scripture to interpret other figures in his
story. As argued below, his use o f Isaiah applies to Jesus disciples, too.
An allusion to the Isaiah vineyard narrative at John 15, then, can make sense in
light of Johns preference for Isaiah elsewhere in the Gospel. Moreover, part o f the
argument in this study is that Isaiahs vineyard narrative fits with the story o f Isaiah 4 081 Andrew Lincoln, Truth on Trial, 38-43. The covenant lawsuit motif is evident elsewhere in
Isaiah. See Isaiah 3, for instance, and on this motif in the prophets, Kirsten Nielsen, Yahweh as Prosecutor
and Judge: An Investigation o f the Prophetic Lawsuit (Rib-pattem) (JSOTSup 9; Sheffield: University of
Sheffield, 1978). This fact suggests a unity o f presentation, if not a single author, for the book o f Isaiah.
82 See Carson, John, 115; Andreas J. Kttstenberger, The Missions o f Jesus and the Disciples
According to the Fourth Gospel (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1998), 75; idem, John, in Commentary on the
New Testament Use o f the O ld Testament (eds., D. A. Carson and G. K. Beale; Grand Rapids: Baker,
2007), 421.
83 So Ball, I Am in John's Gospel, 264-65.
84 Young, Influence, 231.
85 So Ball, "I A m " in John's Gospel, 268.

195

55. As was shown in chapter 2, the vineyard narrative continues beyond Isaiah 27,
featuring at key points in the historical (Isa 37:30-31) and eschatological (Isa 65:21)
sections o f Isaiah. If Isaiah is read as a whole, then the vineyard narrative is one o f
several motifs that feature across the sections o f Isaiah .86 This contextual reading of the
Isaiah vineyard narrative seems the best way to understand its function within Isaiah.
Therefore, on the basis of the verbal and contextual links at John 15:1-17 established
above, the Isaiah vineyard narrative offers a plausible background for Jesus words to his
disciples. The heuristic advantage of the Isaiah vineyard narrative as the primary OT
background is tested below, within an exegesis of John 15:1-17.

The Call to Abide in Jesus, the True Vine (John 15:1-11)


As noted above, the first paragraph of John 15 divides into three sections. Verses 1-2
contain the grounding metaphor o f the textJesus as the true vine. Verses 3-10 develop
the metaphor, from notions of fruit bearing (or not) to the love command, in a concise
exhortation for the disciples to abide ( ^ voj) in Jesus. Verse 11 concludes the first
paragraph with Jesus stated purpose for the speech, his disciples eschatological joy. The
present section includes an exegesis o f each section in turn. Johns conception o f abiding,
fruit bearing, and the Isaianic allusions to joy at verse 11 receive special attention.

The Grounding Metaphor: Jesus, the True Vine (John 15:1-2)


The metaphorical nature o f the text, which stands out in comparison to its context, is
clear from Jesus opening statement, I am the true vine and my Father is the gardener
86 Others include, for example, Israel as blind (Isa 29:18; 35:5; 42:16, 18, 19; 43:8; 56:10) and
d eaf (Isa 29:18; 35:5; 42:18-19; 43:8) recalling Isa 6:9-10, and the remnant (e.g., Isa 8:17-18; 10:20-21;
63:17-19; 65:8-10,13-16; cf. 35:10; 51:11).

196

(*Eyci eipt ij H y L iitX o g dX>]0iv) xal 6 wanjp [iou 6 yeupy6g la tiv ) .87 The metaphor o f verse

grounds and informs the rest o f the text (John 15:1-17). Van der Watt describes the
function o f the metaphor, / and true correspond semantically. . . . Since I is the tenor of
the metaphor, I am the true vine, true is determined by some quality of I. This adjective,
therefore, attributes specific qualities to the vine, which correspond to the qualities o f I.
These qualities are related to the divinely authentic and true as opposed to the
inauthentic, in comparison to the divine.88 The adjective true ( 1^ dXtjOtvij) plays a
significant role in the interpretation o f not only this verse but the whole o f John 15:1-17.
Similar to Van der Watt, many interpreters argue for Jesus identity as the true
vine in contrast to some other vine for two reasons. First, it is thought that the placement
o f the attributive articular adjective true after the articular noun vine, ^ &p.iteXog ij
dX)0ivi), emphasizes contrast. Jesus, not something or someone else, is the true or real
vine .89 Second, the true vine is the predicate o f Jesus I am statement. So Bultmann
argues that the I am saying with the predicate the true vine denotes contrast, as do the
other I am sayings with a predicate. For example, the true bread (John 6:32) contrasts
the bread that was given in the wilderness.90 Thus, I am the true vine is a statement of

87 The noun yeupy6g refers to one who works the soil, not only to one who tends vines. Thus, the
more general term gardener here instead o f vine-dresser. See L&N, 43.2; cf. Matt 21:33.
88 Van der Watt, Family o f the King, 33-4.
89 Rudolf Schnackenburg, The Gospel According to St. John (3 vols.; New York: Crossroad,
1982), 3:97, compares John 4:23; 6:32; B. F. Westcott, The Gospel According to St. John: The Greek Text
with Introduction and Notes (2 vols.; London: Murray, 1908), 216-17; John C. Hutchinson, The Vine in
John 15 and Old Testament Imagery in the I Am Statements, BibSac 168 (2011), 66-7. Cf. Daniel B.
Wallace, Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics: An Exegetical Syntax o f the New Testament (Grand Rapids:
Zondervan, 1996), 306. The use o f the adjective also stems from the logic o f Johns emphasis on truth in
his Gospel. See also John 1:9; 4:37; 7:28; 8:16; 17:3; 19:35. John 1:9 includes the only other use of
dXt}6iv<fc in an articular attributive phrase, the true light ( r i
ah dX*)0iv<5v).
90 Bultmann, John, 225-26; Ridderbos, John, 515. See also the shepherd discourse at John 10:1 -

18.

197

contrast. Jesus is the true or real locus o f Gods election that replaces the degenerate,
false vine Israel.91
As discussed in chapter 1, this argument is not necessarily wrong. Indeed, much
of the narrative of Johns Gospel builds upon this replacement logic. For instance, Jesus
is the new locus of worship in place o f the temple (John 2:19-22). Yet, the contrast
between Jesus as the true vine and Israel as the un-true (false, degenerate) vine may be
overstated. Both reasons in support o f such a stark contrast may be questioned.
First, as to the meaning o f dX))0tv6s, its semantic range certainly requires a
rendering of true or real.92 Yet, words derive their meaning from context, and the
usage of dX>)0iv<5s elsewhere in the Gospel indicates that a stark contrast to Israel at John
15:1 may be an over-reading. Keener thinks that dX]0iv6? can also contrast with mere.
He states, True bread does not contrast Jesus with Torah but does contrast him with
mere manna (6:32, 55); true light contrasts with an inferior though accurate witness
(1:9).93 Thus, the emphatic placement o f the articular adjective may emphasize a
different sort of contrast than the Israel-Jesus contrast often posited. As John the Baptist
was an accurate but incomplete witness to the truth, perhaps the vine that Jesus contrasts
is similar.
Second, the I am statement at John 15:1 functions such that a contrast between
Jesus and some other vine is secondary, not primary, to the meaning o f the text. As noted
91 See, e.g., J. H. Bernard, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Gospel o f John (2 vols.;
ICC; Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1928), 478; Westcott, John, 216-17; George R. Beasley-Murray, John (2d
ed.; WBC 36; Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1999), 271-72.
92 See L&N, 70.3; BDAG, 43, which explicitly connect this text to the real bread o f the
Eucharist. The Eucharistic connection, however, is by no means clear from the text or the context.
93 Keener, John, 2:993. The historical origin o f the Gospel may be in view o f these contrasts and
comparisons. Such passages may respond to opponents o f the Johannine communitys witness who claim
that Jesus way is not true (cf. 5:31-32; 7:18; 8:13-17; 19:35; 21:24).

198

above, Ball has shown the contextual function o f the I am sayings. At John 15:1, Jesus
statement, I am the true vine functions to stress his role in the life o f his disciples now
and especially after his glorification. He is the true vine so that his disciples may produce
fruit that glorifies the Father (John 15:1-8). This function is very positive, not negative
*

and contrastive.

94

Furthermore, when Jesus says, I am the true vine, he identifies with the
vineyard imagery that, as chapter 3 showed, was so prominent in the first century A.D.
before he contrasts himself with someone or something. This phenomenon is not unlike
his teaching at John 6 . Before contrasting himself with the manna in the wilderness, and
that epoch, Jesus identifies with contemporary Jewish understandings. As Ball states,
Although there is a contrast between Jesus and the bread that came down from heaven at
the time o f Moses (6.49,50), it is clear that the function o f the I am sayings in Jn. 6.35,
41,48,51 is to identify Jesus with that bread o f which the Jews spoke (cf. 6.34).95 Thus,
just like the manna in the wilderness was typologically fulfilled in Jesus, John presents
Jesus as the typological fulfillment o f OT and contemporary Jewish expectations
regarding the vineyard o f Yahweh. The typological fulfillment o f these OT metaphors
also shows how they function to evoke a constellation o f ideas.96 It is less likely, then,
that the vineyard image at John 15 only evokes judgment and contrast.
The second half of John 15:1, and my Father is the gardener (xai 6 iranjp p.ou 6
ytapy6q icrrtv), confirms this background. By calling his Father the gardener, Jesus

94 Ball, I A m " in John's Gospel, 174. There are at least two positive I am sayings in the Gospel
(John 4:26; 14:6).
95 Ibid.
96 Peder Borgen, Bread from Heaven: An Exegetical Study o f the Conception o f Manna in the
Gospel o f John and the Writings o f Philo (NovTSup 10; Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1965), 147-92, shows the

199

metaphorically97 associates himself and his Father with the broad background o f OT
passages that show Yahweh as the gardener over and within Israel. How this background
functions within the context o f John 15, though, is not yet clear. Similar to Isaiah 5, the
purpose becomes clear only as we read the whole discourse .98 What is clear, however, is
the analogical relationship between the vineyard imagery and Jesus and the Father.
Johns concise syntax indicates the close relationship Jesus and the Father have in
themselves and their unfolding roles in the text.99 The metaphor announced at John 15:1
continues and develops in verse 2 .
At John 15:2, Johns analogy to the vineyard begins to come clear with the
narration of the role o f the gardener-Father. He takes away every branch in me not
bearing fruit, and he prunes every branch bearing fruit so that it might bear more fruit
(irov xXfj|ia Iv {tol pr) <plpov xapitbv afpei axn6, xal nav t J xapirbv tpipov xaOalpei aiiri I'va xapitbv
7rXe(ova <ppn).100 Segovia notes the three elements developed from the metaphor at John

15:1.
connection between Jewish conceptions o f the bread and Torah and Sinai, wisdom, the commissioned agent
(or prophet), and eternal life.
97 The metaphorical thrust o f the text continues. So Van der Watt, Family o f the King, 34.
98 Contra Segovia, Farewell, 136, it is not yet clear that John intends a contrast between Jesus and
the Jews in keeping with the sustained conflict o f John 5-12.
99 The xal functions as a forward pointing device, indicating the close coordination o f the two
elements. This is especially the case for Johns Gospel, which normally associates two subjects by
asyndeton. See Steven E. Runge, Discourse Grammar o f the Greek New Testament: A Practical
Introduction fo r Teaching and Exegesis (Logos Bible Software; Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson, 2010), 2327. Runge states, [T]he use xa\ constrains the connected element to be closely associated to what comes
before, regardless o f whether there is semantic continuity or not. The implication is that elements joined by
xetl are o f equal status. In contexts where asyndeton is the default means o f coordination, as in most o f the
Epistles and reported speeches, the use o f xal signals a closer connection o f the elements than using 0
[asyndeton]. (Runge, Discourse Grammar, 26).
100 Both clauses feature the resumptive pronoun a u T < 5 , which indicates the pendent nominative, ttav
xXfjpa as the logical, though not grammatical, subject. See Maximilian Zerwick, Biblical Greek: Illustrated
by Examples (trans. Joseph Smith; Scripta Pontificii Instituti Biblici 114; Rome: Editrice Pontificio
Instituto Biblico, 2005) 25; Segovia, Farewell, 138.

200

1. The branches of the vine, introducing thereby a formal distinction and an


indirect relationship between the vine itself and the branches (between
Jesus and the disciples).
2. The bearing o f fruit of the branches, thus introducing the proper role of
the branches in relation to the vine (of the disciples as disciples o f Jesus).
3. The removing or pruning o f the branches by the vinedresser, further
introducing thereby a direct relationship between the branches and the
vinedresser (between the disciples and the Father).101
The literal and figurative elements o f the text switch back and forth, analogically related
to one another. The introduction o f branches (xXrjfza) as somehow in me (tv dpi)
evidences the switching of the literal and figurative. It also indicates a personification of
the branches.102 Furthermore, John conveys the metaphor with antithetical parallelism.
Van der Watt shows this structure as follows,
(2a) 7rov xXfffta tv dpi
(2 b) xal ttov
(2c)

(irj <ptpov xapirbv


t 6 xapitbv <ptpov

afpei atk<5,
xaQalpei aurb
fva xapnbv nXelova epdpfl103

Thus, the gardener-Father acts in two distinct ways toward the two types o f branches.
Either he takes away (aipei)104 branches that do not bear fruit or he prunes (xa0a(pet) those
that do .105 Given the predominance o f viticulture, both actions were well known in
Palestine. As Hepper describes,
Pruning of the vines takes place during winter dormancy, and, except for
side shoots, not at the height of development (Isaiah 18:5). The previous
seasons growth is cut back and the long leafless twigs are used for fuel
(John 15:6). Pruning helps to ensure that the fruit is o f good quality, for
101 Segovia, Farewell, 137.
102 Van der Watt, Family o f the King, 36, states, The literal phrases (vine, gardener, etc.) have the
function o f drawing the figurative objects (Jesus, Father, etc.) into a comparison . . . The relationship
between the different aspects o f the image (vine-branches-gardener etc.) is analogous to that o f the literal
aspects (Jesus-those who belong to him-God etc.). Cf. Segovia, Farewell, 136.
103 Van der Watt, Family o f the King, 35.
104 It is most unlikely that afpet refers to the lifting o f branches. Such an argument runs against the
evidence o f common viticultural practice and the thrust of the passage (esp. v. 6). See Carson, John, 518;
contra BDAG, afpet, 205.
105 The use o f irav in both clauses introduces and esmphasizes a contrast. The paranomasia
(aXpufxa&aipt) creates a further contrast for those hearing the text. Segovia, Farewell, 137-38.

201

otherwise during the following season there would be too many clusters of
fruit to be nourished by the roots, resulting in only poor grapes .106
The subordinate clause, I'va xapitbv nXelova <pipn, indicates the purpose o f such action. It is
so that abundant (nXeiova) fruit comes from the branches. It is necessary, as Segovia
notes, [F]or all branches in the vine to bear fruit unceasingly or otherwise face the
certainty of removal from the vine.107 The Father takes no middle course of action, and
his action is, in part, determined by the presence or absence o f fruit.
At this point the hearer or reader wonders, what exactly do pruning and bearing
fruit mean? The figurative referent, though, is not yet clear. While a personification for
the branches is indicated by in me (John 15:2a),108 the metaphor is suspended and is not
fully clarified until John 15:5. The clarification awaits the information supplied by the
context (esp. John 15:3-7).109 That context is examined in the next section.

The Metaphor Developed and Applied:


Abide in Jesus, the True Vine (John 15:3-10)
The second subsection o f John 15:1-11 (w . 3-10) develops and applies the grounding
metaphor of John 15:1. Thus, it begins to answer the questions created by the tension
introduced at John 15:2. The author continues to move freely between the literal and
figurative worlds. On one hand, Jesus speaks directly to the disciples about their present
status with him (John 15:3). On the other hand, Jesus interprets that status by way o f the
imagery introduced at John 15:1-2 (vv. 4-5). The topic, however, remains consistent.
106 F. Nigel Hepper, Baker Encyclopedia o f Bible Plants: Flowers and Trees, Fruits and
Vegetables, Ecology (London: Angus Hudson, 1992), 98. Cf. Keener, John, 2:994-96.
107 Segovia, Farewell, 138.
108 Van der Watt, Family o f the King, 36, n. 64.
109 So at this point, then, the question o f whether an unfruitful branch is a believer or unbeliever in
Jesus seems premature. Though this tension is implied, not enough contextual information is provided to
answer this question.

202

Jesus speaks about his branches (disciples) bearing fruit (v. 8). To do this, the author
repeatedly uses the verb, abide (pdvu). The verb explicates the relation between the
literal (e.g., branches) and figurative (e.g., disciples) elements o f Jesus speech, and links
to the apparent change in topic at verses 9-10. Thus, the exegesis below includes an
examination of the term abide and its influence on the meaning o f the passage.

Abide in Jesus, the True Vine (John 15:3-7)


At John 15:3, Jesus speaks directly to his disciples, Already you are clean because of the
word which I have spoken to you (ff5>) ufieis xaQapol lo r e $i& t 6v Xdyov Sv XeXdXtjxa upuv).
The figurative elements o f the discourse recede for the moment. The only apparent
connection to verses 1-2 is the use o f clean (xaBapol), which shares a root with he
prunes (xaQafpei).110 The nominal clean (xaflapfc) was already used at John 13:10-11 in
the context o f the foot washing. Keener notes, [T]he disciples in the story world and
Johns ideal audience might recall 13:10, which implies that the disciples are mostly
clean but their feet must still be washed .111 The stress at John 15:3 rests on the realized
nature o f the disciples cleanliness. Already (fj5>)) conveys their basic status as rightly
belonging to Jesus.112
They belong to him, Jesus tells them, because o f his word spoken to them. This
statement implies that they have believed his word. The word ( t o v X6yov) refers to the
whole of Jesus teaching (cf. John 14:23-24), which includes the hour o f Jesus life and
110 See Klaus Scholtissek, In ihm sein und bleiben: Die Sprache der Immanenz in den
johanneischen Schriften (Herders Biblische Studien 21; Freiburg; New York: Herder, 2000), 287.
111 Keener, John, 2:996. Keeners discussion o f John 15:3 includes a good survey o f the potential
background for the term clean (xa0ap<5s).
1,2 Segovia, Farewell, 139.

203

ministry now coming to pass (John 13:1; 16:21,25,32).113 Though they do not fully
understand Jesus words (John 16:17-18), the disciples have accepted him and his word.
They are already his own (John 13:1), contrary to many o f the Jews who rejected him
(John 12:37-50).
Thus, the lexical connection to John 15:2 becomes clear. The word can clean
(x a fia p o Q

( x a S a fp e t)

a person so that they bear more fruit in the same way a branch can be pruned
for the same purpose.114 Within the discourse, the remaining disciples are

already clean and in the process o f being pruned by the words o f Jesus. As
Schnackenburg comments, [Tjhrough the discourse of Jesus, which contains life and
spirit (6:63), the disciples, who have received it in faith into themselves, have been made
clean .115 Because of who Jesus is (John 15:1), his word makes clean those who receive
him. It also reveals the intentions o f those who do not truly receive him (John 13:10-11).
The reception or rejection of Jesus word determines ones place within or without the
true people of God (cf. John 8:31).
At John 15:4-6, Jesus commands the disciples to abide on the basis o f his word.
He also clarifies the disciples status because of that word. Verse 4 contains the basic
exhortation of the text, while verses 5-6 include the positive (v. 5) and negative (v. 6 )
results o f the exhortation applied.116 At verse 4, Jesus states, Abide in me and I in you.

113 Keener, John, 2:997.


114 Van der Watt, Family o f the King, 39.
115 Schnackenburg, John, 3:98.
116 Ibid., 100. Kellum, Unity o f the Farewell Discourse, 173, identifies John 15:3-4 as a
circumstance-Head relationship that functions as the primary exhortation o f John 15:1-11. Four grounds at
15:5,6,7, and 8 explicate this exhortation. Segovia, Farewell, 140, notes that this verse begins a subsection
(vv. 4-7), which contains three components: (1) the call propter (15:4a-b); (2) a description o f what such
abiding in Jesus entails (bearing fruit as the proper role o f the disciples as disciples o f Jesus [15:4c6));
and (3) a promise to the disciples who respond to the call and abide in Jesus, who bear fruit and thus fulfill
their correct role as disciples o f Jesus (15:7).

204

Just as the branch is not able to bear fruit from itself except it abides in the vine, thus
neither can you unless you abide in me (fielvare iv
Juvarat mp'nbv <piptv i p iavtou tkv

pi)

xiyi) iv Ciptv. xaScbs t6

ou

filvfl tv rfj dp.niXcp, outw? ovSt upeTg av p) tv ipol

nivrjre). The verse continues the direct address of verse 3 while now emphasizing the
disciples role .117 It also contains an implied promise, abide in me and I (will abide) in
you .118 So while the disciples are already Jesus disciples, clean by his word, they must
abide. Segovia notes well, Such a rapid succession of affirmation [v. 3] and a call to
abide [v. 4] implies that a certain role is expected and required of the disciples as
disciples of Jesus, the fulfillment o f which ultimately insures their status as disciples,
their relationship with Jesus.119 The second half o f verse 4 begins the explanation of
what abiding in Jesus entails, which is continued through the rest of the section (John
15:3-10).
Picking up on the metaphor of John 15:1-2, the evangelist again utilizes analogy
and substitution within the metaphor. The objects o f the texte.g., Jesus, the disciples,
the vine and branchesinteract by substitution. The verbs o f the textabide (pefvare)
and bear fruit (<f>peiv)interact by analogy .120 The adverbs just as (xaflcb?) and thus
( outoj?)

indicate the analogy. Abiding in Jesus is like a branch remaining in a vine. Yet,

117 Although continuing Jesus direct address to his disciples, verse 4 introduces and emphasizes
the exhortation, Abide in me and 1 in you (pelvars iv ipot, xdyd) iv iipiv). The construction is normally
identified as an independent nominative or nominativus pendens, which indicates emotion or emphasis.
See, e.g., Wallace, Greek Grammar, 51-53. Runge, however, calls this construction a left-dislocation
that functions to 1) streamline the introduction o f an entity into one clause instead o f two and 2)
thematically highlight that entity because o f its significance to the discourse. See Runge, Discourse
Grammar, 287-313, especially 290-91. Thus, at John 15:4, John uses left-dislocation to emphasize the
introduction o f the disciples into the discourse and their relationship with Jesus. Runge, Discourse
Grammar, 300-01.
118 Segovia, Farewell, 140.
119 Ibid., 141.
120 Van der Watt, Family o f the King, 42-43.

205

the figurative elements cannot be stretched to their logical end, for that would require a
large vine staying in a smaller branch in the same way the branch stays in the vine. But
that is not the point. By switching between the literal and figurative, then, the author
begins to unfold the purpose o f this text. The message has to do with the close
relationship between Jesus and his disciples, the theme o f John 15:117.121
At John 15:5, Jesus reiterates his identity and role and clarifies the role o f the
disciples, (a) I am the vine, you are the branches, (b) Whoever abides in me and I in
him, this one bears much fruit (c) because apart from me you can do nothing (yco eifit t)
<2g7reXos,

nit xXtjgara. 6 pivuv iv ipol xdyu iv auraj ouro? <pipei xapiriv ttoXtiv, Sti x&ipis

ip.ou ou SiivatrBe mieiv oiiSiv). Jesus I am statement, now without the adjective true,
repeats verse 1. As Ball notes, The first I am saying introduces the theme o f the vine,
while the second re-introduces it in order to explain the implications o f Jesus claim for
discipleship .122 The verse makes explicit what has so far been implied. Jesus speaks to

his disciples about their collective and individual identity and role as his disciples.

1 7 "!

The use o f the plural you ( 6|zeT) in you are the branches (15:5a) indicates that
their identity is shared (cf. John 15:4). Together they are branches in the vine.
Meanwhile, at John 15:5b, Jesus uses singulars, whoever abides (6 fdvwv) and this
one (outos), to stress each disciples role within this identity. To be a disciple requires
that each one abides and bears fruit. Yet, at John 15:5c, Jesus switches back to the plural,
you can do nothing (ou 5uvao-0g iroietv oiiSiv). This phrase should be interpreted in light of
121 Segovia, Farewell, 140.
122 Ball, 1 Am " in Jo h n s Gospel, 131.
123 Cf. Schnackenburg, John, 3:100, who states, This is a fundamental statement for the
Christians understanding o f himself and his function and activity.

206

15:5b. The opposite of fruit is not bad fruit, but no fruit.124 The collective identity of the
disciples as Jesus branches requires each disciple to abide and bear fruit. Thus, lack o f
individual action reveals the unhealthy state of the disciples as a group.
Verse 6 serves to describe the negative consequences of neither abiding nor
bearing fruit. Jesus states, If anyone does not abide in me, he is thrown out like a branch
and withers; and they gather them and throw them into the fire and they are burned (tiv
foj Tt$

(livfl

Iv

i[Lol, I(3X)]0j] liju

t & xXijpict xal >jpdv0i5 xal cruvayoutnv a u r a xal

el; rb nup

fidXXouatv xal xalerai). This verse forms a counterpart with and development of the
thought at verse 2. Jesus now describes what happens after unfruitful branches are cut off
the vine. Though he describes a process,125 Jesus speaks o f a completed situation as
indicated by the aorist verbs ipx^0>] and i^rjpavdrj.'26
The mention o f fire in the context of vineyard imagery evokes OT prophetic
tradition. Isaiah 27:4 may provide the background since it refers to how God bums up
(xaraxixaupuii) thorns and thistles that antagonize his vineyard. The same root bum
(xa(ETeu) appears at John 15:6.127 Much o f Johannine scholarship, however, looks to
Ezekiel for the imagery. At Ezek 15:1-8, the prophet refers to the wood o f fruitless vines
as good only for fire. He compares the wood to the inhabitants o f Jerusalem under Gods
judgment. And at Ezek 19:10-13, the prophet compares Israel to a vine in a vineyard,
once fruitful but now fruitless and subject to the fire. An allusion to one or both of these
124 Cf. Van der Watt, Family o f the King, 45; Schnackenburg, John, 3:100; Hoskyns, John, 476,
alludes to the missionary yield, reading this verse in light o f his take on John 15:16.
125 Indicated by the use of sequential xal. See Runge, Discourse Grammar, 26.
126 Carson, John, 519. It is possible that in themselves the verbs thrown away (l|3X)j0)) and
wither (l>jpdv0>]) are proleptic aorists, wherein in vivacious speech what is enunciated as a consequence
o f the condition is expressed as if it had already come to pass, the condition [l&v p q t i $ filvfl Iv Ijiol] being
regarded as fulfilled. So Zerwick, Biblical Greek, 257. Cf. Brown, John XIII-XXI, 661.
127 See the table above.

207

texts is plausible.128 Whatever the exact OT background o f this verse, the imagery serves
to sketch out the negative consequences o f not abiding.
The details o f the imagery, however, should not be allegorized.129 The
relationship between the branches as depicted at John 15:6 and later Christians, including
modem interpreters, cannot be gleaned from the near discourse (John 15:1-11). Despite
speculation otherwise,130 John 15:6 on its own terms cannot tell us whether or not a
person can be cut off from Jesus after first believing in him. Other contextual information
from the Gospel must be included to discern to whom the branches refer, if indeed that is
plausible. At this point it can be said, however, that those who do not abide in Jesus are
cut off (John 15:2) and thrown into the fire (John 15:6). This action precludes any fruit
bearing, which means these branches do not perform the role o f a disciple. That role was
clearly described at verses 4-5. Thus, the function of the verse in its near context is to
warn Jesus disciples, his own, to truly abide in him.131
At John 15:7, Jesus moves from a warning to an invitation with a promise. If you
abide in me and my words abide in you, ask whatever you desire and it will be done for
you (Hlv (JLe(vrjT tv tfzol xa\ za (nljpLazd (iov tv uptiv ftefvfl, S iiv dtXtjze alzijoaaQe, xal yevijoezat
uiu.iv). The opening conditional if you abide (iiv (uelvrjze) links this verse with but also
contrasts the previous negative example, if anyone does not abide (iiv ^ rt? ptivj]), at

128 John 15:6 uses the shared lexemes, branch (xXfjfia) fire (trup). See especially Gary T.
Manning, Jr., Echoes o f a Prophet: The Use o f Ezekiel in the Gospel o f John and in Literature o f the
Second Temple Period (JSNTSup 270; London: T & T Clark, 2004), 140-41; Httbner, Johannem, 490-91.
Cf. Carson, John, 517.
129 Ridderbos, John, 518; Schnackenburg, John, 3:101.
130 See especially, Carl J. Laney, Abiding is Believing: The Analogy o f the Vine in John 15:1-6,
BibSac 146, no. 581 (1989), 55-66; Joseph C. Dillow, Abiding is Remaining in Fellowship: Another Look
at John 15:1-6, BibSac 147, no. 585 (1990), 44-53; Keener, Gospel o f John, 1002.
131 Cf. Keener, Gospel o f John, 1002; Carson, John, 517, who emphasizes the message for Johns
diaspora Jewish readers.

208

John 15:6.132 Yet, the number and person o f the verb changed from third person singular
(John 15:6) to second person plural (John 15:7).133 The effect is similar to verses 2-3.
After a string o f singular nouns (wSv xAfjpia) and verbs (e.g., <f>^pov) at verse 2, which
describes the Fathers actions toward fruitful or fruitless branches in general, John at
verse 3 uses the second person plural (ugeT?) to indicate Jesus direct speech to his
disciples. Likewise, at John 15:7, Jesus speaks directly to his disciples. His statement also
corresponds to and explicates the primary command at verse 4. After the command
abide in meimplied at verse 7however, Jesus replaces and I in you (xdyto lv ufav)
with and my words abide in you (xal t it ^(lard fiov lv 6gTv jxefvjj). Already, Jesus has
shared this teaching with others who do not abide in his word and so do not abide in him
(John 8:31; cf. 5:38). The words o f Jesus are the basis for his promise and its effect in the
disciples lives. This is why the disciples who receive his words are already clean (cf.
John 15:3).
Jesus invitation for the disciples, ask whatever you desire, comes with a
promise, and it will be done for you. The language is similar to the previous discourse
at John 14:13-14, where prayer is linked explicitly with the name o f Jesus. At John 15:7,
prayer is linked with the words o f Jesus, which represent him.134 In both texts, Jesus
132 Cf. van der Watt, Family o f the King, 46. Both verbs are in the subjunctive mood. On this see
Wallace, Greek Grammar, 463-80. See Segovia, Farewell, 145, n. 33, on the function at John 15:7.
133 On this basis and the supposed absence o f vine imagery at vv. 7-8, some commentators argue
for a division at verse 6. See, e.g., Brown, John XIll-XXl, 662. However, the use o f abide links this verse
with the whole o f John 15:1-11, and the presence o f fruit at verse 8 indicates the persistence o f the vine
imagery. Cf. Carson, John, 517.
134 Scholtissek, In ihm sein, 296, suggests, The Johannine name theology is formally equivalent
to the Johannine immanence speech [at John 15:7]. (Die joh Namens-Theologie ist deshalb bestimmbar
als praformierendes Aqui valent zur joh Immanenz-Sprache.)

209

invites the disciples to ask for realities in keeping with his words, not for any selfish gain.
Schnackenburg captures the sense,
The man who assimilates Jesus words into himself accepts him as the one
sent by God and also at the same time commits himself to keeping his
words and realizing them (cf. 12:47f; 17:8). The assurance that prayer will
be heard applies particularly to him because he will, on the basis o f his
union with Jesus, ask for what will make Jesus work fruitful (cf.
14:13).135
In this way, Jesus promise further explicates the role of the disciples. Prayer in keeping
with and on the basis of Jesus words characterizes the disciple who abides. Those who
do so bear fruit for the glory o f God.

Abundant Fruit for the Father's Glory (John 15:8)


At John 15:8, Jesus delineates the purpose and goal for the disciples role as his disciples.
By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples (lv
to 6 to >

ISo^daBrj 6 7raTi5p fi o v , I'va xapniv noXuv (p lp y jT e xal ylvrjade IpLol (iadt]Tal).136 A textual

variant, ylvt]<re<rde (future indicative) instead o f yivt]a6e (aorist subjunctive) raises the
possibility that bearing fruit results in becoming Jesus disciple. Whether the future or
aorist is original, the sense is very similar in either reading. Bearing fruit is not the cause
but rather the appropriate and necessary consequence o f discipleship.137 The action of
bearing fruit is intrinsic to discipleship as Jesus disciple.

135 Schnackenburg, John, 3:102.


136 The translation o f the first clause is straight forward, but the dependent Tvcc-clause creates
challenges. The Xva is likely epexegetical, explaining how the Father is glorified. See Zerwick, Biblical
Greek 410.
137 The editors o f UBS4 and NA28 prefer yivrjcrSe (aorist subjunctive), which is attested in P66, B,
0 , and Augustine. The variant yivrjcredJe (future indicative) is attested in Siniaticus, A, A, *F, a majority of
Byzantine witnesses. The translation above reflects the yivrjcrfie reading, paralleling the previous verb
(tplprptt). The variant, future indicative yields, . . . and you will become my disciples. Brown, John XIIIXX, 662, favors the future reading but sees bearing much fruit and you will become my disciples as
coordinate ideas. Carson, John, 519, notes on the future reading, we might paraphrase, Bearing fruit is to

210

The Fathers glory is the goal o f bearing fruit and, thus, discipleship. Johns
Gospel contains detailed reflection on the glory o f God.138 John presents Jesus life as the
revelation o f that glory (John 1:14), and the entire Farewell Discourse as Jesus speech to
his disciples in the light o f his glorification o f God, who in turn glorifies Jesus (John
13:31-32). Later, Jesus prays for his glory to show in his disciples (John 17:10). As
Scholtissek comments, God the Father is the origin and goal of salvation. Jesus whole
work (cf. e.g., 13:31-32; 14:13; 17:1), and through him the work of his disciples (cf.
17:10), is given solely for the glory o f God.139 At John 15:8, then, John explicates the
disciples role according to the same glory. If Gods glory is the origin and goal o f the
disciples salvation and bearing fruit, the question is, to what does such fruit refer?

John's Conception o f Bearing Fruit


The frequent mention o f bearing fruit, or not, at John 15:117140 makes sense in the
context o f a metaphorical narrative about a vineyard. Fruit is the natural expectation for a
planted vine (cf. Isa 5:2,4). Commentators agree that fruit refers to the results o f the
disciples abiding in Jesus. This interpretation is the prima facie reading o f John 15:2, 5 6. If the disciples abide in Jesus they bring forth fruit, if they do not abide they can do
nothing. But the text itself gives no apparent answer as to the referent for the metaphor.141
my fathers glory, and [thus] you will be my disciples, i.e. fruit-bearing is so bound up with genuine
discipleship that the one stands by metonymy for the other.
138 The verbal form 8od&) appears at John 7:39; 8:54 (x2); 11:4; 12:16,23,28 (x3); 13:31 (x2),
32 (x3); 14:13; 15:8; 16:14; 17:1 (x2), 4 ,5 ,1 0 ; 21:19. The nominal 5i!;a appears at John 1:14 (x2); 2:11;
5:41,44 tx2); 7:18 (x2); 8:50, 54; 9:24; 11:4,40; 12:41,43 (x2); 17:5,22, 24.
39 Scholtissek, In ihm Sein, 298. Gott, der Vater, ist Ursprung und Ziel des Heilsgeschehens.
Jesuganzes W erk(vgl. nur: 13,31-32; 14,13; 17,1) und durch ihn das Wirken seiner Jttnger (vgl. 17,10)
dienen allein der Verherrlichung Gottes.
140 See John 15:2 (3x), 4, 5, 8 and 16 (2x).
141 Borig, Weinstock, 237.

211

Thus, Johannine scholars posit two differing views with some presenting a middle
ground.142 Either fruit represents the missionary activity of the disciples143 or it refers to
the moral-spiritual characteristics o f the disciples.144 Those who see fruit referring to both
mission and morality take the middle ground.145 O f course, verse 16 becomes key to this
discussion since it may indicate the disciples mission with fruit bearing language. Yet,
analysis o f the metaphor there is deferred until exegesis o f the text (cf. John 15:12-16).
At this point, the use o f fruit elsewhere in Johns Gospel and the biblical and
historical background as discussed in chapters 2 and 3 is considered. As for the Gospel,
fruit appears elsewhere at John 4:36 and 12:24. At John 4:36, fruit refers to people
gathered for eternal life.146 At John 12:24, the narrative context is key. After some Greeks
seek Jesus he tells his disciples that the Son o f Mans hour has come (John 12:23). He
explains this cryptic statement with an agricultural truism, only when a grain o f wheat
dies will it . . . bear much fruit ( t t o X u v

x a p 7 r6 v

cf. John 15:5). Bolt argues that

John 12:32 interprets the imagery with the reality. Jesus death will bring fruit, all men, to
himself. As Bolt comments, The first half o f the G ospel. . . ends with the expectation
that Jesus death will issue in all men being drawn to him, the bearing of much fruit. 147

142 Cf. Borig, Weinstock, 237-42, for a similar survey. Borig (p. 238) refers to the latter view as
Fruit as a religious-moral fact. Again Segovia, Farewell, 140, 160-61, reads wholly synchronically and
thinks fruit-bearing means heeding the call to abide.
143 So Wescott, John, 219; Kfistenberger, Missions, 184-85; Beasley-Murray, John, 275; Hoskyns,
John, 479; Barrett, John, 478; Peter Bolt, What Fruit Does the Vine Bear? Some Pastoral Implications of
John 15:1-8, /?77J 51 (1992), 11-19.
144 So Bultmann, John, 545-46; Schnackenburg, John 3:100,111-12; Keener, John, 2:998;
Ridderbos, John, 521-22.
145 So Carson, John, 519; Brown, John XUI-XXl, 675,680.
146 So Brown, John I-X Il, 182; J. Ramsey Michaels, The Gospel o f John (NICNT; Grand Rapids:
Eerdmans, 2010), 264-5.
147 Bolt, Fruit, 17.

212

With this context in mind, and in light o f Jesus statements about his death (John 15:13)
and fruit bearing (John 15:16), fruit could be read as people at John 15:1-8.
At John 15:1-8, the metaphor is indeed open to interpretation throughout. Yet, as
verse 5 indicates, the opposite o f bearing fruit is nothing. Whoever abides in me and I in
him, this one bears much fruit because apart from me you can do nothing (ouJv). When
considered in light of verse 6, which describes the consequences o f not abiding and so
being apart from Jesus, fruit seems to indicate the total life that results from abiding. At
verse 7, Jesus teaches the disciples to ask whatever they desire in keeping with his words,
which denote his whole teaching, not only his exhortations to mission. For this reason
Schnackenburg argues, We have therefore obviously to think here of all the fruits of a
Christian lived in close union with Christ and especially o f a fruitful community life
which bears witness to itself in faith and love.148 The wording o f John 15:1-7, then,
seems to indicate a wider scope for fruit than people. That scope is fleshed out at verses
9-10 below.
The biblical and historical context, sketched in chapters 2-3 above, likewise
presents two possible referents for fruit. Bolt is right that the vineyard texts of the OT
routinely compare people to a vine or vineyard. The image is a corporate one that
connotes the election, judgment, and renewal o f Israel.149 Within the context of such
vineyard imagery, the mention o f fruit (xapn6<;) occurs in the LXX versions of Isa 27:6;
Hos 10:1, 12,13; Jer 12:2 (cf. Jer 17:8); and Ezek 17:8,9, 23; 19:10. Except for Hos
10:12 and 13, each of these instances seems to refer to the people, or offspring, o f Israel.
148 Schnackenburg, John, 3:100.
149 Bolt, Fruit, 14-15. He notes Isa 5:1-7; 27:2-6; Ps 80:8-16; Hos 10:1; Jer 2:21; 5:10; 6:9;
12:10-13; Ezek 15:1-8; 17:1-24; 19:10-14.

213

Elsewhere in the LXX, other figurative uses o f fruit exist.150 Fruit can also refer to
deeds, whether righteous or evil (e.g., Hos 10:12; Jer 6:19; Micah 7:13), or even the soul
itself (e.g., Jer 38:12). This evidence points toward a people connotation when fruit is
used in the context o f vineyard imagery.
However, synonyms for fruit also exist. At Isa 5:1-7 the gardener does his careful
work with the expectation of a bunch of grapes (<rra4>uX>$; cf. Isa 5:2,4). Though the
lexeme xapmk does not appear, the concept of fruit is clearly present with the lexeme
0Ta$uX)$. And according to the prophets vineyard metaphor, the bunch o f grapes

figuratively represents the justice and righteousness that Yahweh expected from Israel
(Isa 5:7). That is, the fruit Yahweh required from his people was of a moral quality.
Moreover, the corporate quality o f the vineyard metaphor is not lost. Israel was chosen to
produce a bunch o f grapes o f righteousness and justice throughout the community. The
prophet indicts Israel for doing the opposite (Isa 5:7b-30). Borig sees the fruit of John
15:1-10 as corresponding to Yahwehs covenant demands for Israel to bear fruits of
justice and righteousness among the people (Isa 5:2,4, 7). The fruit o f Jesus disciples
refers to their love for him and one another as they keep his commands (John 15:9-10).
Such is the mark o f the new people o f God.151 In light of John 15:5 and Jesus command
for mutual love that fulfills his command, the disciples are called to carry out the justice
and righteousness Yahweh always expected of his vineyard.

150 The term fruit (xafn6?) appears in the LXX at least 128 times. The significant figurative uses
appear at Gen 30:2; Deut 7:13; 2 Kgs 19:29-30; Pss 1:3; 20:11; 57:12; 71:16; 77:46; 103:13; 126:3; 127:2;
131:11; Prov 1:31; 10:16; 11:30; 12:14; 13:2; 15:6; 18:20-21; 19:22; 31:16,31; Song 2:3; 4:13,16; 8:1112; Job 22:21; Wis 3:13, 15; 4:5; Sir 1:16; 6:3,19; 11:3; 23:25; 24:17; 27:6; 37:22-23; 50:10; Pss. Sol.
15:3; Hos 9:16; 10:1,12-13; 14:3,9; Amos 2:9; 6:12; Mic 6:7; 7:13; Isa 27:6; Jer 2:7; 6:19; 12:2; 17:8, 10;
38:12; Lam 2:20; Ezek 17:8-9,23; 19:10; 25:4. Chapter and verse numbers correspond to the LXX, not the
MT.
151 Borig, Weinstock, 242.

214

Borigs take is partially accurate. He does not, however, consider the rest of the
Isaiah vineyard narrative as possibly informing Johns conception o f fruit. As argued in
chapter 2, Isa 27:2-6 promises the day when fruit would come to bear in Gods people. In
the context o f a text about the restoration o f the remnant (cf. Isa 27:12-13), the fruit of
Isa 27:6 likely refers to the multiplication o f the remnant in the land (cf. Isa 37:30-31).
As chapter 3 showed, Targum Isaiah reflects a tradition that interpreted the text in
exactly this way. And other Jewish texts associate Israels eschatological fruitfulness with
its numerical, not only spiritual, growth (e.g., lQHa XVI, 7-11). If Jesus at John 15:1-17
announces the inauguration of the promises of Isa 27:6, then fruit at John 15:1-8 can also
refer to peoplethe people who come to believe in Jesus on the basis o f the disciples
witness (cf. John 15:27).
In the light o f all the evidence, and especially the Isaiah vineyard narrative (Isa
5:1-7; 27:2-6), a middle way seems the most prudent. In the context o f vineyard
imagery, the fruit of Israel can refer to either its people or its actions. Fruit at John 15:1-8
most likely refers to the communal life o f the disciples who abide in Jesus as he
commands. That is, fruit refers to their love for one another as they persevere in the total
life that Jesus commands and provides. Their fruit also must be on display in the mission
for which Jesus chose and appointed them (cf. John 15:16).'52 Fruit, then, refers to the
morality and mission o f the disciple who abides in Jesus.153 With this stress on the
152 Cf. Carson, John, 517; Brown, John Xlll-X X I, 676.
153 Influenced by Johns Gospel, the Jewish Christian author of Odes o f Solomon reflects this dual
meaning for fruit. He can likewise refer to fruit as people {Ode Sol. 38:16-21), but he also retains the use of
fruit as good deeds {Ode Sol. 11:1-3). See chapter 3 above.

215

disciples production o f fruit for the glory o f the Father, the text at John 15:9-10 includes
an apparently abrupt change in topic.

Abide in Jesus*Love (John 15:9-10)


At John 15:9-10, John indeed introduces a new topic, love. But, the topic is an expansion
or explication o f the previous subsection (vv. 48). While the vineyard imagery of verses
1-8 recedes (though it is picked up again at verses 1617), verse 9 continues the
conceptual effects of the imagery. John reiterates and develops Jesus command, abide
in me (John 15:4), with abide in my love.154 Jesus states, Just as the Father has loved
me, so I have loved you. Abide in my love (Ka0w? rjydtirjtriv pe 6 7rarijp, xayu upa;
iiya'KYiaa- [Ltivare tv

rfi d y d itri

r fj

ififj). Johns Gospel evinces a logic of reciprocal

relationships between the Father and the Son, the Father and Son and the Holy Spirit, the
Son and the disciples, and thus the disciples and the Father and the Holy Spirit (see esp.
John 14:20). Brown observes how at John 6:57, life was passed from the Father to the
Son and thus to others. Now, love is the object of transmission.155
The abide command requires the disciples to abide in Jesus love for them. Yet,
such abiding is an expression o f the disciples love for Jesus (John 14:15).156 Thus, their
love for Jesus glorifies the Father. Just as the Fathers glory is the origin and goal of
Jesus and the disciples mission, so too is the Fathers love. Scholtissek states, The
comparison in v. 9ab binds all that has come before to the Fathers love: His love is the
source and the target point (see 15:8).157 In the abide command of verse 9, John
154 See Kellum, Unity o f the Farewell Discourse, 171-72; cf. Borig, Weinstock, 19.
155 Brown, John XlU -XXl, 680.
156 Ibid., 663.
157 Scholtissek, In ihm Sein, 299. Der Vergleich in V 9ab bindet alles Geschehen an die Liebe des
Vaters zurflck: Seine Liebe ist der Ausgangs- und derZielpunkt (vgl. 15,8).

216

integrates abiding, bearing fruit, and love into one reality. Just as verse 7 develops the
abide command (John 15:4), so that Jesus words stand in for his presence in the
disciples, verse 9 develops the abide command so that Jesus love represents his person
and words .158 The disciples abide in Jesus as they abide in his words and his love.
At verse 10, Jesus explains how ,159 If you keep my commandments, you will
abide in my love just as I have kept my Fathers commandments and I abide in his love
(&v r&s ivroXd? fiou r>]p^(n]TE, (xeveTre lv Tfl dyditfl ptou, xaflug ly u rag dvroXa? roO ttarpiq |xou
TT>jpr]Ka xai filva avrou iv rfj dydtrji). The disciples abide in Jesus as they keep his

commandments, revealing their love for him (John 14:15). Later, Jesus connects his
friendship with the disciples to their obedience to his commands (John 15:14). For John,
the words and commandments o f Jesus are functionally equivalent. Accordingly, John
presents the Farewell Discourse as a record o f Jesus words in the form o f a command.
John 15:1-17 in particular and the rest of the discourse in general explicate the love
command at John 13:31-35, which begins the discourse .160 Verses 9-10, then, clarify the
meaning of abide within the unit (John 15:1-17). To understand the term within that unit,
however, Johns conception o f abiding must be considered in some detail.

Johns Conception o f Abiding (pdvu)


Johns conception o f (ilvco is a debated point within Johannine scholarship. Whether
translated abide, remain, or stay, the term is an important entree into Johns
158 Cf. Kellum, Unity o f the Farewell Discourse, 172, Thus, keeping his word/commandment
seems to be the bridge in the semantic overlap between abiding in Christ and abiding in his love.
159 Cf. Scholtissek, In ihm Sein, 300.
160 See Kellum, Unity o f the Farewell Discourse, 149-56, on John 13:31-38 as the introduction.

217

theology .161 Bultmann thinks the term referred to the disciples loyal decision for Christ
in the relationship of faith .162 Borig argues for a Christological and ecclesiological
componentin context \Uvu conveys salvation in its fullness.163 Many scholars prefer the
term union to convey the intimate relationship between Jesus and his disciples.164 Some
think the disciples perseverance is the primary referent for the term .165 Still others argue
that (iivu serves as a metaphorical equivalent for believe (mtrretiu) in John .166 A few
interpret it synchronically, wherein to abide means to bear fruit.167 Finally, several
scholars think the term connotes new covenant realities applied from the OT .168
Each o f these interpretations is not necessarily mutually exclusive, as shown in
the section below. Thus, the function o f (iivu at John 15:1-11 is considered in the light o f
appropriate background material. The semantic range o f the term in Johns Gospel is

161 See, e.g., Edward Malatesta, Interiority and Covenant: A Study o f eivai en and menein en in the
First Letter o f Saint John (AntBib 69; Rome: Biblical Institute Press, 1978); Klaus Scholtissek, In Ihm
Sein; Borig, Weinstock, 199-236; Christopher D. Bass, A Johannine Perspective o f the Human
Responsibility to Persevere in the Faith through the Use o f MENfl and Other Related Motifs, WTJ 69
(2007), 305-25. The English term abide is chosen here since it is less easily interpreted a priori than
remain or stay in the English language. That is, to understand the meaning o f abide requires further
investigation o f its context and function.
162 Bultmann, John, 535-36.
163 Borig, Weinstock, 204.
164 See, e.g., Beasley-Murray, John, 272; Westcott, John, 217; Robert Peterson, Union with
Christ in the Gospel o f John, Presb 39 (2013), 9-29. Thomas L. Brodie, The Gospel According to John: A
Literary and Theological Commentary (New York; Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993), 479-81, sees a
progression from initial mutual indwelling (v. 4) to an increasing union o f wills (v. 7) to a result o f bearing
fruit (v. 8), which is characterized by mutual love (vv. 9-10). Others align with this view though they do
not use the term, union. See Peter D. Akpunonu, The Vine, Israel, and the Church (Studies in Biblical
Literature 51; New York: Peter Lang Publishing, 2004), 146; Urban von Wahlde, The Gospel and Letters o f
John: Commentary on the Gospel o f John (3 vols; Eerdmans Critical Commentary; Grand Rapids:
Eerdmans, 2010), 2:668.
165 Though the source for such perseverance is external to the disciples (cf. John 14:20-23). See
Keener, John, 2:999; Schnackenburg, John, 3:99; cf. Bernard, John, 481; Bass, Johannine Perspective.
Dillow, Abiding is Remaining, 48-50, prefers fellowship rather than (organic) relationship to convey
what he thinks refers to the Christian life o f a disciple after he has believed. Cf. Brown, John XIII-XXI,
678; Michaels, John, 803-4.
166 So Andreas J. KOstenberger, Abide in DJG (2d ed.), 2; cf. Laney, Abiding, 64-5.
167 See, e.g., Segovia, Farewell, 141; cf. 160-61.
168 Chiefly, Malatesta, Interiority and Covenant. Cf. John Pryor, Covenant and Community in
Johns Gospel, RTR 47 (1988), 44-51; Carson, John, 516-17.

218

investigated before looking back to the LXX for potential antecedent concepts. After
these steps, the function of {iivu in the near context o f John 14 and at John 15:1-17 is
sketched .169 It will be argued that Johns vineyard imagery connotes OT new covenant
promises. Indeed, the evidence from LXX-Isaiah and Johns Gospel will show that the
disciple who abides in Jesus dwells in a covenant relationship with God, a relationship
underwritten by covenant love.
John uses the verb fiivco 40 times in the Gospel.170 The evangelist employs f^vco to
refer to the act o f someone or something remaining in a particular geographical place
(e.g., John 1:38-39).171 Yet he also uses fiivu with reference to theological concepts. For
example, the wrath of God remains (ft&ei) on the person who does not obey the Son
(John 3:36).172 The term can also convey the endurance or permanence o f a person or
thing (e.g., John 12:34).173 Finally, John refers to the mutual dwelling or abiding o f one
person in another (e.g., John 6:56). This use is prominent in the Farewell Discourse (John
14:10, 17,25). The connotation o f mutual indwelling is closest to the use o f (iivu at John

169 The forward-reading methodology followed here, therefore, eschews a purely synchronic
reading of John 15. To discern the meaning and function o f abide totally on the basis o f its use within
John 15 requires an interpreter to press the imagery beyond its proper function. Van der Watt observes that
the figurative elements o f the text cannot be stretched to their logical end, for that would require a large
vine staying in a smaller branch in the same way the branch stays in the vine (John 15:4a). Thus, whether
abide has mystical, functional, ontological or other connotations cannot be determined only by the
comparisons with the imagery in the chapter. The mutual abiding between Jesus and the disciples is similar
to but different from this imagery. Thus, van der Watt concludes, The point o f comparison [to a vine and
branches] should be carefully noted (i.e. the intimate relationship between Jesus and his followers), but the
point o f difference should be semantically filled in by the restraints o f the context, o f the whole Gospel (i.e.
how this Gospel visualizes the intimate relation). (Van der Watt, Family o f the King, 43, n. 90.) As argued
above, the whole Gospel makes strategic and varied use o f the OT, such that the conception o f abiding is
likely to relate to if not stem from OT conceptions o f the same term
170 John 1:32-33, 38-39; 2:12; 3:36; 4:40; 5:38; 6:27, 56; 7:9; 8:31, 35; 9:41; 10:40; 11:6, 54;
12:24, 34,46; 14:10,17,25; 15:4-7,9-10,16; 19:31; 21:22-23.
171 See also John 1:32, 33; 2:12; 4:40; 7:9; 8:35; 10:40; 11:6,54; 12:24; 14:25 (?); 19:31; 21:22,
23. Cf. L&N 85.55.
172 Cf. John 9:41; 12:46. The word o f God can also abide in a person. See John 5:38; 8:31.
173 Cf. John 6:27.

219

15:1-17, where it appears 11 times, seven of which at John 15:4-7.174 With it, John
explicates the relationship between the image (vine, vinedresser, branches) and the reality
(Jesus, Father, disciples).
Due to the concept of mutual indwelling in Johns Gospel and the influence o f
German scholarship on the topic, discussion o f iiivw has often focused on immanence
(Immanenz).175 That is, God is near and present in Jesus and so likewise in those who
abide in Jesus. Yet the notion o f immanence applied to p iv u may (wrongly) lead to a
contrast to transcendence. For this and other reasons, Edward Malatesta eschews the term
immanence in favor o f interiority, which he argues better captures the Jewish,
especially OT, background for (iva. For him, interiority concerns the new covenant
promises Yahweh made to Israel regarding his presence, or remaining, with them .176 The
following survey of {iivu within the LXX indicates the plausibility of this view.
The LXX features (iiv u frequently, occurring 90 times in translation o f 16
different Hebrew verbs .177 The verb normally refers to a person or group staying in a
place or with another person, but it can also occur in theological contexts. Malatesta notes
instances where God, his word, decisions, truth, justice, or anger remain .178 He also
notes particular LXX passages that, he thinks, prepare Johannine usage o f (i i v u . The texts

174 See John 15:4 (3x), 5 ,6 , 7 (2x), 9, 10 (2x), 16.


175 The term is related to the Latin, immanere. Maltaesta, Interiority and Covenant, 10. For
German works, see, e.g., Borig, Weinstock, 199-203; and especially Scholtissek, In Ihm Sein, who sees
John 15:1-8 as T h e center o f Johannine immanence theology. Scholtissek, In Ihm Sein, 281.
176 See Malatesta, Interiority and Covenant, 11,21-24, and esp. 42-77.
177 See, e.g., Gen 24:55; 45:9; Exod 9:28; Lev 13:5,23,28,37; Num 30:5,9-10, 13; 1 Sam 20:11;
2 Sam 18:14; 2 Kings 7:9; 9:3; Pss 9:8; 32:11; 88:37; 101:13; 110:3, 10; 111:3,9; 116:2; Prov 15:22;
19:21; Eccl 7:15; Job 15:23,29; 21:11; 36:2; Zech 14:10; Jer. 26:15; Dan 6:13,27; 8:19; 11:6.
178 Malatesta, Interiority and Covenant, 58.

220

typically deal with the covenant relationship between Yahweh and Israel.179 Notably, the
verbal root pev- appears in LXX-Isaiah more than any other OT book .180 Though the
primary usages, again, refer to a person or group staying in a place, theological
connotations are not absent. Two passages are especially notable for the present study.
First, LXX-Isa 30:18 reads, And again God waits to have compassion on you,
and will therefore be exalted to have mercy on you because the Lord our God is a judge.
Blessed are those who wait in/on him (xal naXtv pave16 6ebs t o O oixnpfjaat upa? xal Sid
to

Ot o

u^cofl^treTai roC IXei}<rai upas 5 i 6 t i xpiTyjs xupios 6 0e6? ^pfflv [dcrnv xal iroO xaTaXd'tytre t t jv

$6%av uptov] paxdpioi ol pp&ovT6c lv aurfij).181 This text is the only instance in the LXX

where the root pev- refers both to God and his faithful people .182 The text appears in the
context of Isaiah warning Israel not to pursue geopolitical assistance from Egypt. As God
has waited (peveT) upon Israel in order to be compassionate to them, so his people are
blessed if they remain or wait for/in him (Ipplvovrei; lv aural). The covenantal logic and
message o f Isaiah seems to be latent in this expression of mutual waiting.
Second, at Isaiah 5, the translator uses p^vco three times to convey the beloveds
(Yahwehs) patient care for his vineyard. At LXX-Isa 5:2 and 4, the verb appears in
reference to Yahwehs wait for grapes, [A]nd I waited for it to produce a bunch of

179 Ibid., 60-63. He lists Deut 27:26 (pp&a>); Sir 28:6-7; Isa 30:18 (ippivw); with the fear o f the
Lord in Sir 2:10; Ps 5:5-12 (Siapivoj at v. 5); Ps 60:5, 8 (Siaplvu); Sir 11:20-21; Wis 7:27-28; Sir 6:20;
Jer 38:31-32 (31:31-32 MT), which states, . . . they did not remain (Ivipuvav) in my covenant. See also
Isa 10:31-32 (pivoi); Dan 6:13; Prov 15:22; Eccl 7:15. Again, these texts (except for Ps 60:5) use the pavroot in the compounds Stapivw or lp.yJvu, not necessarily pivw.
180 See Isa 5:2,4, 7,11; 8:17; 10:32; 14:20,24; 27:9; 30:18; 32:8; 40:8; 46:7; 59:9; 66:22. Again,
reference to the root pav- includes compounds such as diapivoi and i/i^lvu.
181 The bracketed text is included in R ahlfs edition (Alfred Rahlfs, ed., Septuaginta [Editio altera;
rev. Robert Hanhart; Stuttgart: Deutche Bibelgesellschaft, 2006]) but not in the Gottingen LXX (Joseph
Ziegler, ed., Isaias, Septuaginta: Vetus Testamentum Graecum 14 [Gottingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht,
1952]). My translation excludes the bracketed text. Cf. Malatesta, Interiority and Covenant, 61.
1 2 Malatesta, Interiority and Covenant, 61.

221

grapes but it produced thorns (xal gpteiva T0 iroiJjaat crra^uX^v inolyjaev St dxdvQag).

And

at LXX-Isa 5:7, \d v a again refers to Yahwehs patience, I waited for it to bring a


judgment but instead iniquity, and not righteousness but an outcry (gpieiva t o G 7roifj<rat
xplaiv tnolrjaev St dvo\iiav xal ou 5ixaioauv>jv dXXa xpauy^v). Though he had practiced the best
viticulture and patiently waited for the best grapesjustice and righteousnessYahweh
received thornsiniquity and an outcry. At least at LXX-Isaiah 30 and 5, then, Isaiah
makes use of

to convey the patience and compassion of Yahweh for his people.

Though the lexeme itself does not denote a covenant between Yahweh and Israel, its
function within the context of Isa 5:1-7 and 30:18 indicates that piivu can connote the
filial relationship that underlies the covenant.184
As shown in chapter 2, Yahwehs love for his people is akin to a most careful
gardener in his precious vineyard (Isa 5:1-2; 27:2-6). Yahwehs discipline upon his
sinful people is akin to the gardener removing the vineyard protections (Isa 5:1-7) and
throwing out unfruitful vines (cf. Ezek 15:1-8). The use of nivu within Isaiah 5 suggests
a positive connection between abide, vineyard imagery, and the underlying covenant
realities.185 Furthermore, the language o f waiting or remaining (fievel. . . dpipi&ovres) at Isa
30:18 exposits that covenant relationship. The use o f fitvu at LXX-Isaiah 5 may provide
further evidence for the presence o f an allusion to the Isaiah vineyard at John 15. The
183 The citation is from Isa 5:2, though Isa 5:4 is identical, tfietva roO Troifjaai ara^uXtjv inolrjcrev
Sk dxdvfla?. The LXX interprets the stink fruit
o f the MT as thorns (dxdvGa?), possibly to align
with the mention o f thorns at Isa 5:6.
184 On the covenant as filial relationship, see especially Scott W. Hahn, Kinship By Covenant: A
Canonical Approach to the Fulfillment o f God's Saving Promises (New Haven: Yale University Press,
2009), esp. 37-48, 59, 194-95,238-77.
85 The lexeme also appears in the near context o f the second vineyard song, at Isa 27:9, in
reference to the idolatrous trees of Judah that will not remain (ou ptr) pelvj]) when Yahweh restores his
people to right worship.

222

argument, then, is not that John alludes to LXX-Isaiah 5 and 30 in his use of (iivu, though
he may. Rather, the argument is that the antecedent use o f nlvu in LXX-Isaiah 5 and 30
prepared and informed Johns concept of (ilvai along covenant lines.
Johns use o f abide terminology elsewhere in the Farewell Discourse supports this
view. Scholtissek observes that the vineyard imagery o f John 15 allows the author to
continue earlier statements about his relationship with the disciples at a now deeper level.
Specifically, Jesus teaching at John 14:20-23 previews and informs his use o f abide at
John 15.1-7.186 Jesus comforts the disciples with the promise, In that day, you will
know that I am in my Father and, and you in me, and I in you (v ixeivfl rfj fifilpa yvelxreaQe
ufzets &n iyu lv t <2 7rarp( (iou xal upteTs lv iptol xdyu lv upuv; John 14:20). Jesus also promises
his love and presence with his disciples who love him by keeping his commands (John
14:21). The future mutual dwelling o f Jesus and the Father with the disciples is their
reward for such love (John 14:23). Jesus makes this promise while clarifying who will
see him and so receive his life after his return (John 14:19). Though in that day (lv
dxefvfl Tfj ^pipa) at verse 20 can have end-time connotations, Jesus likely refers to his postresurrection appearances.187 In the context of promising the Paracletes presence in them
(John 14:16-17), Jesus anticipates the post-resurrection blessings for his disciples. They
will be given his and his Fathers presence (John 14:20) by the abiding (j^vet) o f the
Spirit (John 14:17).188
186 Scholtissek, In Ihm Sein, 309. Again, Scholtissek prefers the term, immanence.
187 See, e.g., Keener, John, 2:974.
188 The text (John 14:16-23) is part of a larger unit, which deals with Jesus impending departure
and his subsequent promises (John 14:1-31).

223

The use o f abide and in (dv) at John 14:17 and the threefold use o f in (tv) at
John 14:20 informs the use o f the same terms at John 15. That is, (iivu appears in
syntagmatic relation with tv in all but two occurrences.189 The point is to identify the
content, or rather person of the abiding. At John 15:1-11, then, Jesus describes the time
when his disciples will abide in him, the covenant God revealed in the flesh .190 Verse 4
gives the command, abide in me. Verses 5-6 depict those disciples who do and those
who do not, and the respective results fruit or burning. The one who obeys Jesus
command and continues to abide in him thus bears fruit.191 Verse 7 then exposits the
means by which his disciples can abide in him, that is in his words by prayer. Verses 9 10 develop the concept by equating abiding in Jesus with abiding in his love; a disciple
then abides in his love by keeping his commands. Moreover, Jesus explicit connection
between love and keeping the commandments recalls and renews a fundamental OT
covenant idea (John 14:15,23; 15:10, 12; cf. Deut 6:4-6).
The new covenant realities connoted by abide in (fiefveiv v) language,192 in
concert with the Isaiah vineyard imagery, argues strongly for Jesus announcement o f the
eschatological day when Yahwehs people will bear fruit in him because o f his presence
with them (so Isa 27:2-6). The association between the eschatological temple and the
vineyard among the Qumran community (esp. 4Q500) shows some historical plausibility
for this view. That is, at least some in the first-centuries B.C. and A.D. correlated Gods
presence among his people with OT vineyard imagery. As the data from LXX-Isaiah and
189 See John 15:4,5,6, 7 ,9 , 10a for the positive use, and verses 10b and 16 for the two exceptions.
190 Again, though there are few future tenses within John 15:1-17 (See John 15:10, If you keep
my commandments you will abide [ftevetTe] in my love), Jesus describes the post-Easter situation for his
disciples. See Scholtissek, In Ihm Sein, 314; Godet, John, 2:292.
191 The present tense is used at John 15:5-6.
192 See especially Malatesta, Interiority and Covenant, 42-77.

224

Johns Gospel (esp. John 14) indicate, the use o f fi&w within the same imagery at John 15
calls up covenant verities. Jesus announces that he is now the locus o f Gods dwelling
with his people.193 The new covenant promises are coming to fruition in the life and
speech o f Jesus, especially in that day after his resurrection (John 14:20).
Johns conception of abiding can, then, be summarized as follows. First, Jesus
commands the disciples to abide in him (John 15:4) and his love (John 15:9). So to abide
in Jesus is to abide in his love for them. Second, in order to abide in Jesus love the
disciples must keep his commands (John 15:10). Third, the disciples keep Jesus
commands, his word, by loving him (John 14:21) and one another (John 15:12, 17; cf.
13:34). Therefore, as these three steps imply, to abide in Jesus means to love Jesus. And
love is a covenant term such that Yahweh has always required his people to obey his
commands, his word, if they truly love him who first loved them (Deut 6:4-6; 7:7-8). In
Jesus, the realities of the new covenant love dawn. He commands and gives love that
manifests the mutual indwelling o f the Father and Son among his disciples (John 14:20).
Finally, Johns conception o f abiding thus includes, but is not equivalent to,
believing. Indeed, the author writes to evoke and strengthen belief in Jesus (John 20:3031). Johns Gospel contains stories o f various characters who may initially believe Jesus
but do not abide in him. They might appreciate Jesus works but they do not abide in his
words (John 8:31). That is, they do not keep his commands and so reveal that they do not
love Jesus. Thus, they do not actually believe him. On the other hand, those who do
receive Jesus words (John 15:3, 7), that is keep his commands (John 15:10), reveal their
193 Thus, the typological fulfillment o f Isaiahs vineyard imagery parallels the same fulfillment of
other OT people, places, and events in Johns Gospel. Note especially the temple motif (John 2:19-22;
14:2).

225

love for him as they abide in him. Thus, they truly believe in him. Related to belief
(7ri<rreuu) then, abide ([zdvto) must include connotations o f perseverance.

Johns conception of abiding incorporates and explicates true belief. The


evangelist wrote in order to instill such belief in Jesus Christ (John 20:30-31). Thus, as a
major element o f the meaning o f John 15, Johns theology o f abiding informs the purpose
for which the Gospel was written. To understand better this purpose, the purpose of
Jesus vineyard metaphor for his disciples is first considered.

The Purpose of the Speech: The Disciples Full Joy in Jesus (John 15:11)
At John 15:11, John gives the purpose o f Jesus speech in verses 1-10. Jesus states,
These things I have spoken to you that my joy would be in you and your joy would be
full (TaOra XeXdXrjxa ujxTv ha ^ xap& ^ d p ] dv ufztv fl xal yapi ufifiv 7rX)paj0fj). These
things marks the end o f Jesus vineyard discourse, though the imagery returns at verse
16.194 Jesus spoke about his (v. 1), the Fathers (v. 2), and the disciples roles (w . 3-10)
so that the disciples would know the joy o f Jesus. Moreover, Jesus wants his joy to be in
his disciples, just as he wanted for his presence (John 15:4) and for his words (John 15:7).
The question, then, is to what does joy refer?
Hoskyns thinks my joy refers to Jesus happiness in submission to his Fathers
will, including his death (cf. John 15:13). So Jesus joy will be in the disciples and their
joy full as they extend Jesus mission in their life together.195 Schnackenburg argues, It
is the joy of the time after Easter and therefore o f Christs lasting presence. Thus, the joy
194 Schnackenburg, John, 3:103. Cf. John 14:25; 16:1, 33.
195 Hoskyns, John, All-, cf. Beasley-Murray, John, 274; Ridderbos, John, 519.

226

o f Jesus, mediated to his disciples, approaches the fullness o f eschatological salvation .196
Michaels observes that though they already know joy in their life with Jesus and one
another (cf. John 15:12-17), they do not yet experience the fullness o f joy. So their joy
will not be immediately fulfilled (irX>)pw0fi) until after Jesus glorification .197 Keener
connects joy here to other early Christian testimony (cf. Gal 5:22; Rom 5:17).

1 Qfi

Since, as has been argued, John frequently draws upon OT concepts to express his
own, it is prudent to consider the same possibility for joy. Hiibner observes several LXXIsaiah texts that refer to joy in God with the same or similar vocabulary as John 15:11,
TaOra XeXdXrjxa ufxTv Iva xaP^

$ xal r) x^pa upt&v irXtjpwflfi. Hiibner identifies

verbatim links at Isa 55:12 and 66:10, and synonymous links at Isa 25:9; 35:10; 51:3 and
61:10.199 Isaiah 55:12 summarizes the results o f Yahwehs purposeful and redemptive
word (Isa 55:11). Israel will go out o f exile with gladness (ey^poffuy#) and be taught in joy
<Xttp?l- which will bring joy fyapff') to the mountains and hills. At Isa 66:10, the
audience200 is encouraged to rejoice greatly (ydpqre y a pffl with Jerusalem at the
promise o f her eschatological salvation. As J. A. Motyer states, This identification with
Jerusalem will issue in participation in the blessings concentrated in her, both present and
eschatological.201 Joy will reign for the redeemed.
196 Schnackenburg, John, 3:104.
197 Michaels, John, 811.
198 Keener, John, 2:1004.
199 Hiibner, Johannem, 492-95. Again, the bold and underlined words indicate verbatim links,
while the underlined only words indicate synonymous links. Cf. KOstenberger, John, 492. Both Isa 55:12
and 66:10 use joy(xap4) twice and a synonym, gladness (eu^pomivj)), once.
200 The LXX identifies Jerusalem as the audience, Rejoice, O Jerusalem (E u < t> p d v 0 > jT i
IepoucraXnu). The MT calls to outsiders (exiles?), Rejoice with Jerusalem
lljPjtP).
J. Alec Motyer, The Prophecy o f Isaiah: An Introduction and Commentary (Downers Grove,
111.: IVP, 1993), 538.

227

O f the synonymous links, Isa 25:9 and 61:10 are the most pertinent. According to
Isa 25:9, on the eschatological day of Yahweh202 the redeemed exult f^yaXXttofieflg) and
will rejoice (eiKppavSqo-tSpefia) at his salvation (o-wnjp^) becuase they waited for it (him). At
Isa 61:10, the Anointed One speaks203 o f his abundant joy in the Lord, Let my soul
rejoice in the Lord for he has clothed me with the robe o f salvation and the garment of
joy (dyaXXtdo-Qco ^

V-ou

T$ Kupfy IviSvaev ydp pe ipcfriov crunjplou xal ymSva

eu4>po(njv)]c). Interestingly, the prophet then compares the righteous work o f the Anointed
One to a fruitful earth (Isa 61:12). The righteous salvation o f Yahweh accomplished by
his Anointed One brings fruit. The faithful covenant people o f Yahweh, then, look
forward to a day of eschatological salvation characterized by mutual rejoicing and
fruit.204 That day of Yahweh is the same day on which he will create his restored, fruitful
vineyard (Isa 27:2-6).
While the audience o f John 15:11 might not be expected to make connections to
each text mentioned above, the eschatological notion of joy found in LXX-Isaiah fits
well the context of John 15:1-11. Jesus expectation (and promise) o f fruit and joy within
the life o f his disciples due to his abiding presence in them evokes Yahwehs promise of
his eschatological presence in the midst faithful Israel. Through the things he has spoken

202 See chapter 2 above for discussion o f on that day (Xtnri Di*3).
203 See Motyer, Isaiah, 505.
204 Other OT texts contain the same joyful hope as Isaiah. At Ps 16:11 (LXX 15:11), the writer
claims that Yahweh . . . will fill me with joy with your presence (7rX>|p a cretc pe eu4>potnjv>)c pe-ra toO
irpocrciTrou). The MT reads, fullness o f joy in your presence (T jl?-n $ ninijtj? W3^)- Zephaniah also
describes the day o f Yahweh when he will be in Jerusalems presence, ready to save them. He will bring
joy upon you (iirl ak u<f)poffuv]v), that is Israel, which in turn will cause Yahweh to rejoice over you
(u4>pav0>j<TTai litl at) (Zeph 3:16-17). Cf. Bar 4:22, For I have put my hope in the Everlasting to save
you, and joy (yap&) has come to me from the Holy One, because o f the mercy that will soon come to you
from your everlasting savior. The translation follows the NRSV. See Matthew Goff, Baruch, in The New
Oxford Annotated Apocrypha: New Revised Standard Version (ed., Michael D. Coogan; 4th ed.; Oxford:
Oxford University Press, 2010), 177.

228

to them (TaOra XeXaXijxa Ofiiv Iva), Jesus announced the inauguration o f Yahwehs
eschatological joy within his disciples

xapa ^

iv ufiiv). In this way Jesus disciples

are the appropriate end-time recipients o f the promises o f joy from Isaiah. Even though
Jesus will soon depart, the reality o f his eschatological joyhis very presencewill
result in full joy for his people (cf. John 16:24; 17:13; 1 John 1:4; 2 John 12).205
At John 15:1-11, then, Jesus instructs his disciples on the mutually interpretive
roles o f their gardener-Father, the true vine-Jesus, and the branches-disciples. The verbal
and contextual links to the Isaiah vineyard narrative suggest an allusion to that narrative.
The implication o f this link is that, in his words to his disciples, Jesus inaugurates the
promises of Isa 27:2-6 regarding the eschatological vineyard of Yahweh. Jesus abide
command, with its new covenant overtones, explicates how that inauguration will unfold
in the disciples lives. As such, Jesus as true vine fulfills the role o f Israel and therefore
incorporates his disciples into this new, true Israel. Jesus disciples become the fruitful
vineyard o f God.

The Love of the Vineyard:


Jesus Disciples Bear Fruit in the World (John 15:12-17)
After stating the purpose for Jesus metaphorical narrative o f the vine, John then narrates
Jesus love command re-applied. Earlier, Jesus had demonstrated his love for the
disciples in the foot-washing action (John 13:1-38). Now, he teaches the disciples about
their love for one another in light of their identity and role as his branches in the restored
vineyard. As Francis Moloney points out, Jesus has shown love in 13:1-38. He now tells
them of the need for their response to that love (15:12,17), built on his prior love for
205 Cf. Keener, John, 2:1004.

229

them .206 At John 15:12-16, Jesus refers to his disciples as his friends, exhorts them to
keep his commands, then defines his election o f them according to their role as his
disciples, which is to bear fruit that abides (John 15:16). All this, according to Jesus,
exhibits his love for the disciples and their love for one another. At John 15:17, Jesus
concludes the section, reiterating the command from verse 12. His disciples must love
one another to be his disciples. John records his commands at verses 12-17 so that they
will do so.

Mutual Love: Jesus Friends and Fruit-Bearing Disciples (John 15:12-16)


Just as John 15:4 provides the primary exhortationabide in me of the first section
(John 15:1-11), John 15:12 states the main command of the second section (John 15:12
17). Jesus commands his disciples to love one another. This is my commandment, that
you love one another just as I have loved you (AOrrj dorlv ^ ivroX^) rj dpi}, I'va dyairare
dXX^Xou? xa0ws ^ydmjcra upas). The i'va-clause explains the content o f Jesus command .207
Jesus disciples must love one another as he has loved them.
John 15:12, then, functions as an apt transition between the major sections. The
topic introduced at John 15:9-10, the divine love for the disciples, is maintained at John
15:12 in Jesus statement, As I have loved you. Moreover, the mention of Jesus
commandment binds the two sections together (John 15:10, 12). The topic explored at
John 15:12-17, the mutual love between the disciples, is grounded in the divine love for
206 Francis Moloney, Love in the Gospel o f John: An Exegetical, Theological, and Literary Study
(Grand Rapids: Baker, 2013), 117. Italics original. Moloney identifies John 13:1-38 as Love in Action
and John 15:12-17 as Love in Discourse. See ibid., 99-121.
207 The Iva is epexegetical. See Zerwick, Biblical Greek, 410.

230

the disciples. Verses 13-15 contain the explication o f that love in terms o f divine-human
friendship.
At John 15:13, Jesus describes the historical and theological basis o f the disciples
mutual love. No one has love greater than this, that someone should lay down his life for
his friends (fteiova tccutjjs dtyamjv ouSel? xei>*va Tl? )v 4,uxV a^-roO 9fj vnkp twv 4>Xa>v
atiroO).208 The lexeme t (0 > ]|z i denotes the placing or laying aside o f something .209 The
utterance should lay down (0fj), then, connotes an active sacrifice for the sake of ones
friends (Ontp twv <J>iXwv aurou). So the disciples mutual love will be grounded in Jesus
coming death. As Schnackenburg states, Jesus love is presented as a love o f his friends
that cannot be transcended and his giving of his life is presented as a paradigm and call to
the disciples to be ready to do the same .210 Jesus death indicates his ultimate friendship
with the disciples, and in turn informs their friendship with one another.211 Indeed, Jesus
whole ministry has been moving toward his death (cf. John 10:17). Jesus speaks these
words to his disciples at Passover on the night before his passion unfolds (John 18-20).
Thus, love takes its cue from Jesus self-sacrifice on their behalf.
Though a Hellenistic background for the discussion of friendship is plausible,212 it
is also likely that the OT notion o f Gods friendship with his covenant partners informs

208 Again, the Vva-clause is epexegetical, explaining the demonstrative, this (rauT>]$). Zerwick,
Biblical Greek, 410.
209 L&N, 85.32.
210 Schnackenburg, John, 3:109.
211 See S. J. Kim, Friendship and Discipleship in John 15:1-17, Yonsei Review o f Theology <6
Culture 7 (2002), 129-36.
212 Dying for another was the greatest act of friendship in antiquity, especially in Greco-Roman
literature. F ora thorough discussion o f friendship, see Keener, Gospel o f John, 2:1004-15. For an example
o f the Hellenistic interpretation see Schnackenburg, John, 3:109-10, who states, We are therefore bound
to conclude that this gnomic pronouncement was taken from that literature, developed into a reflection
about Jesus love and used to express an obligation for his disciples.. . . This statement about Jesus love
for his friends shows that Hellenistic thought was influential in Johannine Christianity.

231

Jesus thought. Abraham was called Gods friend (Isa 41:28; 2 Chron 20:7),213 and the
mention of Moses friendship with God at Exod 33:11 supports his role as recipient of
Yahwehs revelation and as intercessor to Israel. This revelatory role parallels Jesus
work at John 15:15. Moreover, the text betrays a covenant logic that indicates a biblical
(OT), not Hellenistic, background. That logic emerges clearly at John 15:14-15.
At John 15:14, Jesus communicates a covenant logic rooted in obedience to his
commands. You are my friends if you do what I command you (ujxeT? <pfXoi (io<i itrre kitv
woiyjTe & tyw ivrXXop.ai ufziv). Echoing John 15:12, Jesus coordinates his disciples identity

as his friends with their obedience. And their obedience reflects their love for him and his
word (cf. John 15:3, 7,9; 13:34). Love, then, grounds the call for obedience.
At John 15:15, Jesus reiterates that the disciples are in fact his friends. He states,
No longer do I call you servants, because a servant does not know what his master is
doing. But I have called you friends, because everything that I have heard from my
Father I make known to you (ouxn Xiym upaq SouXouq, Sri 6 SoOXos oux o!5ev t( 7roiet auroO 6
xtipt05- u[i&q Sk eiprjxa 4>(Xou$, Sri ndvra &fjxouaa tiapk rou iraTpiq ptov kyvtbpiaa upuv). Both the
Greco-Roman and Jewish worlds demarcated clearly slaves and friends.214 Jesus applies
this demarcation to his disciples, but not for ethnic or economic reasons. As Keener
notes, When Jesus declares that he no longer (ovxirt) calls them slaves (15:15), he
signals a new era in salvation history, the transition point being Jesus departure to, and
return from, the Father in chs. 18-20 (16:16; cf. 14:19, 30; 16:10,21,25; 17:11).215 This
salvation-historical reading makes sense in the light o f both 8n clauses in the verse.
213 Thus, Jewish literature refers to Abraham extensively. See Keener, John, 2:1012, n. 257.
214 Both conceptions o f slavery were likely available to Johns Diaspora Jewish audience.
215 Keener, John, 2:1014; cf. Schnackenburg, John, 3:111.

232

First, Jesus calls the disciples his friends because (Sti) they, unlike a servant,
know what he, their master (6 xiipios), is doing. Second, Jesus claims that they are his
friends because (Sti) he has revealed the Fathers will to them. This claim rests on the
mission o f Jesus as the one sent by God to reveal the Father to the people (cf. John 1:11
18). Jesus was faithful to this mission as he revealed everything (navra) he heard from the
Father (cf. John 17:68).216 Hence, though the disciples do not fully understand all of
Jesus words (e.g., John 16:16-18), they know that he speaks the words o f God to them
(cf. John 15:3). As Carson states, The distinction Jesus draws between a servant and a
friend is not the distinction between obeying and not obeying, but the distinction between
not understanding and understanding.217 The disciples are no longer servants because
they gladly receive the revelation o f Jesus.
The new relationship Jesus announces with his disciples provides the basis for
their obedience to his love command (John 15:12,14), which is the revelation o f God
(John 15:15). The new command that characterizes the relationship with his disciples
(John 13:34) rests upon Jesus prior love in laying down his life for them (John 15:13).
The divine-human friendship explicated at John 15:13-15 originates from the particular
life and death of Jesus. Thus, the disciples love for one another also originates from
Jesus.
216 Cf. Kfistenberger, Missions, 195-96.
217 D. A. Carson, The Farewell Discourse and the Final Prayer o f Jesus (Grand Rapids: Baker,
1980), 105-6; cf. Keener, John, 2:1014.

233

The Fruitful New Covenant Friends o f Jesus (John 15:16)


According to the evangelist, Jesus identifies his disciples with covenant language. At
John 15:10, Jesus taught the disciples that they abide in him and his love if they keep his
commands. At John 15:14-15, Jesus no longer calls his disciples servants but friends if
they do what he commands. Thus, Chennattu states,
By using these conditional clauses and the command to keep the
commandments, the evangelist parallels the abiding relationship and
friendship between Jesus and the disciples with the OT covenant
relationship between Yahweh and Israel. One needs to obey Gods voice
and keep Gods covenant commandments in order to be Gods vine (cf.
Jer 2:21; 3:13) and Gods treasured possession (Exod 19:5; see also Josh
7:11; 24:25). According to the Johannine Jesus, the disciples are expected
to keep the commandments in order to establish and maintain their
friendship with Jesus and their covenant status in the community.218
Chennattu rightly interprets the love command (John 15:12) and its explanation in the
light of OT covenant formulae. Yet, her point can be sharpened.
The vineyard imagery o f the OT conveys the realities o f the covenant relationship
between Yahweh and Israel. Most texts point to the covenant failure, and thus judgment,
o f Israel as the vine (e.g., Ps 80:8-16; Isa 5:1-7; Jer 2:21). Since most Johannine scholars
point to these texts as the background for the imagery at John 15:1-17, most (implicitly)
read the story o f the covenant relationship between Israel and Yahweh as a story of
failure. Yet, as argued in chapter 2, the story o f the vineyard also contains a restoration
plot. Though the vineyard, Israel, persistently bore bad fruit (Isa 5:1-7), Yahweh
promises a day when the healed vineyardwhich is faithful, repentant Israelwill bear
fruit (Isa 27:2-6). As shown, the fruit refers to Israels multiplication in the land, in
218 Rekha M. Chennattu, Johannine Discipleship as a Covenant Relationship (Peabody, Mass.:
Hendrickson, 2006), 117.

234

fulfillment of the Abrahamic covenant (cf. Isa 27:12-13; Gen 12:1-3). In order to
produce such fruit, Israel must again keep their covenant obligations (see Isa 5:2,4,7).
Isaiah envisions a day when this occurs (Isa 27:6,9). Thus, Yahweh promises a day when
his covenant people will keep his covenant. The Isaiah vineyard narrative anticipates a
day when the vineyard will bear fruit. That day is announced at John 15:16.
At John 15:16, Jesus tells his disciples that their presence with him originates
from his choice, You did not choose me but I chose you and appointed you that you
should go and bear fruit and your fruit should abide, such that whatever you ask the
Father in my name he may give it to you (oi>x V ets fie l|eX^acr0, dXX lyu> eXedp>jv tyas
xal 0>))ea ufia? I'va upeT? vitayrprt xal xapiriv <ptpr\re xal 6 xapir&s upfflv pivfl, I'va 6 n Sv aiT^arjTE
riv m 'tipa tv

iviiiari pou 5<3 uplv). In light o f the disciples status as Jesus friends (John

15:15), Jesus reiterates their role: They are disciples who bear fruit.219 Jesus explicates
this role by reminding them of their beginnings with him.
The fronted particle ovx in the independent clause, You did not chose me,
emphasizes the disciples lack o f initiative in becoming his disciples.220 Also the verb,
choose (&eXyopai), connotes a choice from something. John narrates how Jesus called
them (John 1:35-51), and in several places mentions their election (John 6:70; 13:18;
15:19).221 Jesus choice also implies the purpose of his choice222 as the second clause,
beginning with dXX tyu, makes clear. He chose them and appointed (0rjxa) them. Two
219 See Segovia, Farewell, 158-62.
220 Segovia notes, [T]he contrast clarifies that although the disciples became friends o f Jesus
and members o f the chain o f love through their own acceptance o f Jesus teaching and revelation, they
were chosen by Jesus for such a status. Segovia, Farewell, 160.
221 The same verb as at John 15:16, txXtyopai, appears in each instance.
222 See L&N 30.86, In a number of languages the choice o f terms or expressions for choosing
or selecting often depends upon either (1) what is chosen or selected or (2) the purpose for such a choice,
for example, personal pleasure, rational evaluation, or outright prejudice.

235

I'va-clauses then state the purpose for the disciples election and appointment, and the
means by which they can fulfill that appointment. Their purpose for going, in turn, has its
own purposethey are to bear fruit that abides.
Following the debate on fruit at John 15:1-8, most scholars think fruit at John
15:16 refers to either, 1) moral fruits o f the Christian life, whether in concert with other
early Christian testimony (e.g., Gal 5:22) or in light of the contextual emphasis on love
(John 15:1215);223 or 2) Jesus commission for his disciples worldwide mission
following his exaltation (cf. John 14:12).224 Carson, for example, argues that aapithv
^ptjre refers to new converts (cf. John 12:24).225 As also noted above, the two positions
are not mutually exclusive.
The disciples commission to mission seems anticipated here, but it is not made
clear until John 17:18, 20:21. The focus here is on the relationships in the restored
vineyard, and what its mission looks like, after its true vine, Jesus, departs (John 14:12).
The thrust o f the text is on the mutual love of the disciples (John 15:12-17) in light of
their bond with Jesus, the true vine (John 15:1-11). In closest context, the command to go
and bear fruit relates to the purpose statement at John 15:17, fruit expressed in love for
one another.226 Thus, mpitbv <pipr\Tt does not yet mean new converts. The relation of
John 15:16 to the Isaiah vineyard narrative illustrates this point.

223 Schnackenburg, John, 3:112, The fruit o f the disciples activity is not men, but Gods life
and love in men (see 1 Jn 3:14f; 4:16).
224 Kttstenberger, Missions, 184-85; Brown, John XUl-XXl, 683; Beasley-Murray, John, 275;
Carson, John, 523; Barrett, John, 478. Keener, John, 2:1016, delimits a mission focus in place o f
discussion on an Abraham allusion (Gen. 17:2,5). Yet, the purpose o f Abrahams election is for the
blessing o f the nations in Christ, as Paul makes clear (Gal. 3:8-9,14).
225 Carson, John, 523, These closing allusions to the vine imagery ensure that, however
comprehensive the nature o f the fruit that Christians bear, the focus on evangelism and mission is truly
central.
226 Van der Watt, Family o f the King, 49.

236

At John 15:16, Jesus announces the inauguration, not the consummation, o f the
fulfillment o f Isa 27:6, In that day Jacob and Israel will bear fruit in the world. Jesus
announcement stresses how that fulfillment will begin to take placeby way o f the
disciples love for one another. Mutual love is the fruit that will be the way o f their
mission. As Wilckens states, [T]he brotherly love is the way o f their missionary witness
which corresponds to the nature of the church at its purest.227 That mission will, in turn,
lead to more fruit or offspring of the new people of God.
This interpretation maintains a greater consistency with the immediate contextual
references to bearing fruit, abiding, and love (John 15:9-15). As the disciples go on
mission as Jesus emissaries they should remember these words and ask the Father for aid
in Jesus name (cf. John 15:7). The mutual love among the disciples is the immediate
fruit, which in turn informs their mission on Jesus behalf after his glorification.
John 15:16, then, suggests further connections with the Isaiah vineyard narrative.
That is, Israels election was always meant to be for the blessing o f the nations (Gen
12:1-3) and Yahweh set his love on Israel for that purpose (Deut 7:6-11). Israels
disobedience to Yahwehs covenant, however, resulted in covenant curses depicted at
times with vivid vineyard imagery (Isa 5:1-7; Hos 10:1). And yet, because Yahweh still
loved his elect, true Israel, he promised that a day would come when true Israel would
blossom and fill the whole world with its fruit (Isa 27:6; cf. Hos 14:8). If John 15:16
indicates the coming apostolic worldwide mission but, by the phrase and your fruit
should abide (xal 6 xap7ri?

fivfl), also emphasizes the fruit (love) characteristic o f

227 Wilckens, Der Sohn Gottes, 63. Darum ist die Bruderliebe die Weise ihres missionarischen
Zeugnisses, die dem Wesen der Kirche am deutlichsten entspricht.

237

the messianic community, then Jesus likely commissions his disciples to live out Isa 27:6
as the renewed Israel, fruitful for her God, Jesus Christ.

The Purpose o f Jesus Command: The Disciples Mutual Love (John 15:17)
The text under investigation concludes with another summative statement about Jesus
teaching. These things I command to you so that you will love one another (TaOra
vrXXofiai v[itv, I'va iyam re aXX^Xous). The purpose of Jesus command is the disciples
mutual love for one another. Such is their role in light o f their identity as the fruitful
vineyard of God. Jesus speaks o f himself as the heir o f Yahwehs promises to the faithful
remnant and he inaugurates those promises in the life o f his disciples. Indeed, Jesus
speaks to his disciples as Yahweh spoke to the remnant (Isa 27:2-6).
Everything Jesus has told his disciples about his and his Fathers role and their
role is for their joy and love. Jesus concerns himself with the perpetual fruitfulness of his
vineyard.228 For this is their purpose, to love one another. They can accomplish this
purpose by abiding in Jesus. They can abide in Jesus as they dwell in his words through
prayer and obey his commands to love one another. In so doing, the disciples will begin
to live out their identity as the restored vineyard o f Yahweh. Subsequent disciples, then,
could understand the message of John 15:1-17 according to this identity (cf. John 17:20
26), which comes only through the life, death, and resurrection o f the true vine, Jesus.
228 The purpose o f Jesus speech should, then, influence the interpretation o f abiding and fruit
bearing in the previous verses.

238

Summary and Conclusions


Johns metaphorical narrative at John 15:1-17 tells the story of Jesus new covenant
relationship with his disciples initiated by their Father. The argument in this chapter
traced the context, background, and meaning o f Jesus words. After setting the text in its
literary and historical context (John 13-17), the verbal and contextual links between John
15:1-17 and the Isaiah vineyard narrative (Isaiah 5 and 27) were established. The
implication of this link is that, in his words to his disciples, Jesus inaugurates the
promises of Isa 27:2-6 regarding the eschatological vineyard of Yahweh. Jesus abide
command, with its new covenant overtones, and his discussion o f fruit bearing explicates
how the inauguration will unfold in the disciples lives. As such, Jesus as true vine
fulfills the role of Israel and therefore incorporates his disciples into this new, true Israel.
The analysis o f John 15:1-17 showed how Jesus disciples would, after his glorification,
become the fruitful vineyard o f God.
Four themes, or key elements, o f John 15:1-17 emerge from this study. First,
Jesus, the true vine, and his words play a revelatory, salvation-historical, and salvific
role in the life o f his disciples. That role extends from his divine identity as the Christ.
Second, his true disciples are indicated by their submission to his words (John 15:3).
Third, the disciples obey Jesus word as they abide in him, bear fruit, and love one
another. Such abiding, it was argued, evidences the new covenant relationship with God
promised by the prophets and inaugurated by Jesus (cf. John 14:20). Fourth, the mutually
interpretive identities and roles o f Jesus and his disciples represent the renewal of Israel
in Jesus by way o f typological fulfillment o f the OT stories, in this case, the Isaiah
vineyard story.
239

These four themes have implications for the meaning and further study of both
John 15 and Johns Gospel. They may also aid in the construction o f a plausible, if not
persuasive, biblical theology by way of the vineyard story traced from Isaiah to John.
Such implications are considered in the next and final chapter o f this study.

240

CHAPTER 5
CONCLUSION:
RESULTS AND IMPLICATIONS

The task of this study was to contribute to the discussion, indeed pursuit, o f the unity o f
the Bible within the discipline o f biblical theology. The stated goal o f this study was to
make such a contribution by providing an exercise in biblical theology through a case
study from John 15:1-17. To complete this task the history of interpretation o f the text
and the proposed OT and Jewish backgrounds for the text were investigated. Among
those texts, Isa 5:1-7 and 27:2-6 was shown to be a rare example in the OT of vineyard
narrative that moves from negative to positive connotations. This narrative influenced
several Jewish writers including the author of Johns Gospel. In defense o f the thesis of
the study, then, the conclusion was reached that at John 15:1-17 Jesus announces the
inauguration o f the fruitful eschatological vineyard promised at Isa 27:2-6. In so doing,
he refers to the long-awaited restoration o f Gods people now found in him as his
disciples abide in and bear fruit for him.
If this conclusion proves to be plausible, then numerous implications follow from
it. Such implications can be sketched for at least John 15, Johns Gospel, and biblical
theology. The implications sketched below lead to diverse yet, it is hoped, integrative
avenues for future research in all three areas. These avenues are discussed throughout the
implications section.

241

Summary and Results of the Study


The conclusion reached in this study relies upon the cumulative findings o f each chapter.
In chapter 1, the problem addressed in the study was illustrated from the history of
interpretation of John 15:1-17, especially the vine imagery that informs Jesus statement,
I am the true vine. The survey o f literature showed an early and consistent tendency to
interpret John 15:1-17 against the backdrop of a specific though limited set o f evidence.
From Irenaeus to the 20th-century, interpreters focus on OT vineyard texts that tell the
story o f Israels judgment. With this backdrop in place, the judgment o f the false
vine/vineyard, Israel (e.g., Isa 5:1-7; Jer 2:21), provides the foil to the salvation brought
by Jesus, the true vine.
The consensus interpretation o f John 15, however, presents a problem in that it
ignores other relevant data, namely positive OT vineyard imagery found especially at Isa
27:2-6. Rarely is Isa 27:2-6 mentioned except in a list of verses and never as the
1

narrative o f the vine/vineyard. This is surprising since, as many OT scholars recognize,

Isaiah 5 and 27 constitute a single vineyard story. It was also shown that, though a few
scholars suggest a positive influence from Isaiah 27 on John 15, recent studies do not

1 In the 20Ul-century, Rainer Borig, Der wahre Weinstock. Untersuchungen zu Jo 15, 1-10 (SANT
16; MOnich, Kttsel, 1967), proves an exception, though he does not attend to the vineyard story constituted
by Isaiah 5 and 27.
2 See, e.g., Edmund Jacob, Du premier au deuxieme chant de la vinge du prophete Esaie,
Reflexions sure Esaie 27,2-5, in Wort-Gebot-Glaube: Beitrage zur Theologie des Allen Testaments:
Walter Eichrodt zum 80. Geburtstag (eds. H. J. Stoebe et. al.; ATANT 59; Zurich: Zwingli, 1970), 325-30;
Kirsten Nielsen, There is Hope fo r a Tree: The Tree as Metaphor in Isaiah (JSOTSup 65; Sheffield, Eng.:
JSOT, 1989), 117-20; John N. Oswalt, The Book o f Isaiah: Chapters 1-39 (NICOT; Grand Rapids:
Eerdmans, 1986), 493; Gary V. Smith, Isaiah 1-39 (NAC 15A; Nashville: B & H, 2007), 458-59; Marvin
A. Sweeney, New Gleanings from an Old Vineyard: Isaiah 27 Reconsidered, in Early Jewish and
Christian Exegesis: Studies in Memory o f William Hugh Brownlee (eds., C. A. Evans and W. F.
Steinspring; Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1987), 51-66; Hans Wildberger, Isaiah 13-27 (trans. Thomas A.
Trapp; CC; Minneapolis: Fortress, 1997), 583-87.
3 See David Mark Ball, "I A m " in John's Gospel: Literary Function, Background and Theological
Implications (JSNTSup 124; Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1996), 243-44; Peter Bolt, What Fruit

242

necessarily alleviate this problem. That is because no older or recent study investigates
the connection between Isaiahs vineyard story (Isa 5:1-7; 27:2-6) and John 15:1-17.
The scope o f the study and thus the warrant for such an investigation was also
established in chapter 1. It was shown that no single OT proof text commonly posited as
the background for Jesus statement at John 15:1 sufficiently explains the language,
imagery, and theology of John 15:1-17 (see Hos 10:1; 14:7; Isa 5:1-7; 16:8-10; 27:2-6;
Jer 2:21; Ezek 15:1-8; 17:1-10; 19:1-14; and Ps 80:8-18). Thus, it was argued that
though it is possible that the allusion at John 15 is broad enough to include Jer 2:21 or Ps
80:8-16, or the total impression o f OT vineyard imagery, it is highly probable that
Isaiahs vineyard narrative serves as the primary linguistic and theological backdrop for
Jesus statement at John 15:1-17. The integrative, forward reading methodology for
biblical theology and assumptions o f the study were then outlined. Together the
methodology and assumptions provided the framework and procedure by which the thesis
of the study was demonstrated. The subsequent chapters took up that task.
In chapter 2, the vineyard story at Isaiah 5 and 27 was studied in the context o f the
book Isaiah, but especially in the light o f Isaiah 1-12 and 24-27. Special attention was
given to 1) the function of the vineyard imagery in both texts, 2) the terms house of
Israel and men of Judah at Isa 5:7 and Jacob and Israel at Isa 27:6, and 3) the
connection of the vineyard story to other texts in Isaiah (e.g., Isa 37:31-32).
Does the Vine Bear: Some Pastoral Implications of John 15:18, i?77f 51:1 (1992), 14-15; Kirsten
Nielsen, Old Testament Imagery in the Gospel o f John, in New Readings in John (eds., Johannes Nissen
and Sigfred Pedersen; JSNTSup 182; Sheffield: Sheffield Academic, 1999), 72-76; Alan R. Kerr, The
Temple o f Jesus' Body: The Temple Theme in the Gospel o f John (JSNTSup, 220; Sheffield: Sheffield
Academic Press, 2002), 343-45.

243

The exegesis o f Isaiah 5:1-30 showed that verses 1-7 contain a metaphorical
narrative, cast in song form (see Isa 5:1), about Yahwehs relationship with his vineyard.
The text develops in such a way as to frustrate the expectations o f the hearers or readers.4
The beloveds vineyard is well cared for (Isa 5:l-2a), but then it is unfruitful (Isa 5:2b4), and finally abandoned and destroyed (Isa 5:5-6). Within this plot, the vineyard
imagery functions, along with the direct address at verse 3, to involve the audience in the
story being told. In contrast to some interesting but insufficient proposals,5 it was shown
that the identity of the vineyard, revealed at Isa 5:7 in the parallel terms house of Israel
and men o f Judah, refers to the covenant people of Israel. Therefore all Israel, not only
the north or south, has breached Yahwehs covenant and given him bloodshed and an
outcry instead o f justice and righteousness (Isa 5:7b). Isaiah 5:8-30, then, promises in
more plain prophetic speech what Isa 5:1-7 tells in metaphor; Israel breached the
covenant (Isa 5:8-24) and will therefore go into exile (Isa 5:25-30). As such, the
vineyard song illuminates the problem addressed throughout Isaiah 1-12 and begins the
process that Isaiah heard about at Isa 6:13. Israel will be laid waste until only the seed of
a stump, the remnant, remains.
The exegesis of Isa 27:2-6 showed that, in the context o f Isaiah 2427, it contains
the promise of eschatological restoration for that remnant. As such, Isa 27:2-6 continues
and reverses the story of Isa 5:1-7 as the verbal connections between the texts indicate.
Thus, the vineyard imagery functions in Isaiah 27 to both evoke and contrast Isa 5:1-7.
4 See Gary Roye Williams, Frustrated Expectations in Isaiah V 1-7: A Literary Interpretation,
FT XXXV 4 (1985), 459-65.
5 Gale E. Yee, A Form-Critical Study o f Isaiah 5:1-7 as a Song and a Juridical Parable, CBQ 43
(1981), 30-40; Marvin L. Chaney, Whose Sour Grapes? The Addresses o f Isaiah 5:1-7 in the Light o f
Political Economy, Semeia 87 (1999), 105-22.

244

Rather than an unfruitful vineyard (Isa 5:2,4) subject to judgment (Isa 5:5-6), Yahweh
sings o f a pleasant, fruitful vineyard that he will keep and protect (Isa 27:3-5). Also, the
rooting o f Jacob and budding o f Israel (Isa 27:6) reverses the judgment o f the
vineyard conveyed earlier in the book (Isa 5:24).
Moreover, it was shown that just as Isa 5:7 refers to all Israel, so Jacob-Israel at
Isa 27:6 refers to the faithful remnant within Israel. The use o f this terminology
elsewhere in Isaiah indicates Yahwehs persistent concern for redeeming his remnant (cf.
Isa 8:17-18; 10:12; 14:1-2; Isa 63:17-19; 65:8-10,13-16). The use o f vineyard-related
lexemes at Isa 11:1,10 and 37:30-32 corroborates the interpretation o f Isa 27:2-6 and
incorporates a Messianic element in the promises (esp. Isa 11:1, 10).6 In the context o f Isa
27:1-13, then, verses 2-6 metaphorically convey Gods restoration that will bring about
Israels national reunification.7 The vineyard metaphor illuminates Isaiahs Jacob-Israel
theology, and Jacob-Israel theology is remnant theology. Such remnant theology informs
and stems from Isaiahs messianic theology.
Therefore, the vineyard story o f Isaiah 5 and 27 tells the story o f Yahwehs
judgment and restoration of his true people, the remnant o f Israel. In this way, the
vineyard story communicates the story o f the book o f Isaiah in miniature. Like the rest of
the book, Isaiahs vineyard story tells o f judgment and punishment (Isa 5:1-7) so that
Yahwehs true Israel, his faithful remnant, will trust in him and, thus, one day enjoy
restoration and fructification as his vineyard (Isa 27:2-6; cf. Isa 37:30-31; 65:21). Other
6 The mention o f the Branch o f Yahweh at Isa 4:2-6 may do likewise for the vineyard song at
Isa 5:1-7.
7 See especially, Dan G. Johnson, From Chaos to Restoration: An Integrative Reading o f Isaiah
24-27 (JSOTSup 61; Sheffield: Sheffield University, 1988), 87.

245

texts in Isaiah confirm this logic of the vineyard story, which is Isaiahs concern for the
redemption o f Yahwehs faithful remnant (e.g., Isa 6:13; 10:20-21; 11:1-10; 37:31-32;
65:1-25).
In chapter 3, the thesis was argued that OT vineyard imagery, especially the
Isaiah vineyard narrative, appears prominently in Second Temple, or early postbiblical,
Jewish literature because it communicates election theology. After setting the scope o f
the period and showing the ubiquity o f vineyard imagery in the culture (e.g., on the
temple and coinage), the major segments o f literature in the period were investigated for
their use o f vine/vineyard and fruit terminology. Among the DSS, 4Q500 and the
Hodayot scrolls (esp. 1QH8 XIV, 18; XVI, 5-7) anticipate the restoration of the faithful
remnant of Yahweh.8 The Qumran community understood themselves as that remnant,
the fruitful vineyard in the last days. From the OT Apocrypha, the author o f Sirach 24
compared the presence and growth o f divine wisdom among the people o f God to a
fruitful vine (Sir 24:17). The OTP such as 2 Baruch, 4 Ezra, and especially Pseudo-Philo
reference the lasting election o f Israel by way of the vineyard metaphor (e.g., / En.
10:18-19; 4 Ezra 5:23; L.A.B. 12:8-9; 28:4). At least one author associated hope in the
messiah with the metaphor (2 Bar 39:7). Possible allusions to Isaiah 27 within these texts
were also observed (e.g., lQHa XIV, 18; L.A.B. 23:11-12; cf. Isa 27:6). Finally, the
appearance of vineyard imagery in Philo demonstrates his thorough use o f the allegorical
method he helped foster. Thus, the chapter demonstrated that Jews o f this period tried to
8 The judgment plot o f the vineyard narrative (Isa 5:1-7) is also prominent, but typically applied to
the enemies outside the Qumran congregation. See e.g., Isaiah Pesher (4Q 162 II, 1-10).

246

make sense o f Israels identity and worship after the destruction o f A.D. 70 by recalling
the permanence of the vineyard.
That is, after the destruction o f the temple (A.D. 70) texts such as 4 Ezra and
Pseudo Philo ask, Has God abandoned Israel? The vineyard image supplies the implied
answer, no. The findings of this chapter thus led to another question: If, as Johannine
scholarship often assumes, OT vineyard imagery always conveys Israels judgment why
did early postbiblical Jewish writers continue to use it? The answer can only be that they
did not intend to evoke their own judgment. More likely, they picked up on the vineyard
imagery, especially from Isaiah, to recall the divine basis for their existence.
Johns Gospel shares a similar historical-religious context as the texts studied in
chapter 3. Yet John presents a related but transformed explanation for the questions that
emerged after A.D. 70. The appropriation o f vineyard imagery at John 15:1-17 provides
an example o f that explanation, which coordinates Yahwehs election and restoration of
Israel with Jesus Christ and his disciples.
In chapter 4, then, the cumulative argument of chapters 1-3 informed the
exegesis o f John 15:1-17. The thesis o f the chapter, and indeed the whole study, was
defended. The thesis was that at John 15:1-17, Jesus, with the vineyard story o f Isaiah
(Isa 5:1-7; 27:2-6) in mind, announces the inauguration o f the fruitful eschatological
vineyard promised at Isa 27:2-6. This was shown to be the case in three steps. First, the
context of John 15:1-17 in the setting of the Farewell Discourse (John 13:31-16:33), its
genre as a metaphorical narrative, and the boundary and structure of the text were

247

established.9 Next, the verbal and conceptual (or contextual) links between John 15 and
the vineyard story at Isaiah 5 and 27 were demonstrated. Hans Htibners work illustrated,
in table form, the lexical connections between the texts. Then it was shown that an
allusion to Isaiahs vineyard story fits Richard Hayss criteria o f availability, volume,
recurrence and thematic coherence and meets six out of eight o f Jeremy Leonards
criteria for shared language.10 The shared language between John and Isaiah indicated the
following shared, or appropriated, concepts: Yahweh speaks to his people, the
eschatological horizon of Isaiah 27 is announced at John 15, and the broader use o f Isaiah
in Johns Gospel. That is, the lexical connections between John 15:1-17 and Isa 5:1-7;
27:2-6 illuminated deeper contextual and conceptual connections that bear on the
meaning o f John 15.
The meaning o f John 15 was the focus o f the third step o f the chapter. An
exegesis of verses 1-17 gave special attention to Jesus statement at John 15:1 and the
function of the vineyard metaphor, and the meaning o f abide ((i&w) and fruit
(xapiris)- As for Jesus statement, I am the true vine, the use o f true (dXqStvd?)
elsewhere in Johns Gospel (John 1:9 6:32, 55)11 and the contextually positive function of
John 15:1 (cf. John 4:26; 14:6)12 indicated that the notion o f stark contrast with another
vine, i.e., Israel, was not necessarily required. Rather, it was argued, just as he shows
9 The investigation o f John 15:12-17 with verses 1-11 marks the study, among other markers, as
unique from Borigs investigation o f John 15:1-10. See Borig, Weinstock, 19-78.
10 See Hans Httbner, Vetus Testamentum in Novo. Vol. 1,2: Evangelium secundum Johannem
(Gottingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2003); Richard Hays, Echoes o f Scripture in the Letters o f Paul
(New Haven: Yale, 1989); Jeffery M. Leonard, Identifying Inner-Biblical Allusions: Psalm 78 as a Test
Case"JB L 127:2 (2008), 241-65.
11 See Craig S. Keener, The Gospel o f John: A Commentary (2 vols.; Peabody, Mass.:
Hendrickson, 2003), 2:993.
12 Following Ball, "I A m " in John's Gospel, 174.

248

Jesus to be the fulfillment of the manna in the wilderness, John represents Jesus as the
typological (thus real) fulfillment of Isaiahs vineyard promises. So, it is less likely that
the vineyard image at John 15 only evokes judgment, contrast, and replacement.
Something even better, the restoration o f Israel in Jesus and his disciples, is in mind.
Johns conception of fruit bearing and abiding fills out that picture. With the
findings of chapters 2 and 3 in mind, it was shown, first, that fruit likely refers to both the
to the morality (esp. love) and mission of the disciples who abide in Jesus. That is, the
disciples who abide in Jesus (begin to) fulfill the promise o f Isa 27:6 that Israel will bear
fruit throughout the world on an eschatological day. As to abiding, it was argued that the
antecedent use o f (livu in LXX-Isaiah 5 and 30 prepared and informed Johns use o f fdvu
at John 15 along covenant lines. Such lines are seen in the mutual indwelling terminology
(v) of John 14:20-23. In the exegesis of John 15:1-10, then, to abide in Jesus means to
love Jesus, which is now possible because of the new covenant realities dawning in the
person, words, and death of Jesus. Abiding thus explicates but does not equal believing
for John. Thus, Johns conception o f fruit bearing and abiding provided further
confirmation that he presents Jesus and his disciples as the inauguration o f the promises
of Isaiah 27. The mention of eschatological joy at verse 11, full o f Isaianic echoes,
supports the view that Johns vineyard imagery should be seen positively wherein Jesus,
the true vine, incorporates his disciples into the fruitful vineyard o f God, the true Israel.
Finally, the exegesis o f verses 12-17 further supports the thesis. The disciples
mutual love (John 15:12) on the basis o f Jesus death for them (John 15:13), which
establishes them as his new covenant friends (John 15:14-15), informs their role as those
who bear fruit in and for Jesus (John 15:16). It was argued that Jesus commission in
249

verse 16, then, likely empowers his disciples to live out their role as the renewed, fruitful
Israel (Isa 27:6). Their love for one another (John 15:17) is the modus operandi, or the
pure way,13 o f their mission to the world. The chapter concluded with a summary
statement on the four themes o f the chapter, yielding implications for the theology of
Johns Gospel.

Implications of the Present Study


It is hoped that this study will make a contribution to the interpretation o f John 15:1-17,
Johns Gospel, and, perhaps, biblical theology at large. The results on John 15:1-17
inform and expand the consensus interpretation o f the text (or at least its vineyard
imagery), discussion of salvation, perseverance, and discipleship in the text, and the
conception o f abiding throughout Johns Gospel. As for the Gospel, the conclusions of
this study illuminate Johns purpose and theology, specifically the content o f belief, as
well as the study o f the Jews and the function of the OT. Finally, implications for
biblical theology include the unity of the Bible and the methods for demonstrating that
unity; the place and function o f non-canonical (e.g., Second Temple) literature within the
practice o f biblical theology; and the explication o f three key themes in biblical theology:
Christological monotheism, the people o f God, and covenant.
13 See Ulrich Wilckens, Der Sohn Gottes undsein Gemeinde: AufsStze zur Theologie der
Johanneischen Schriften (FRLANT 200; Gottingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2003), 63, Darum ist die
Bruderliebe die Weise ihres missionarischen Zeugnisses, die dem Wesen der Kirche am deutlichsten
entspricht.

250

Implications for John 15


It is the opinion here that the consensus interpretation o f John 15:1-17 should be revisited
and revised. The recent commentary literature, for example, evidences the strong
preference for reading Jesus statement I am the true vine at John 15:1, and thus John
15:2-17, against the negative foil that was Israel, the false vine (Jer 2:21) or unfruitful
vineyard (Isa 5:1-7; Ps 80:816).14 Though it is not incorrect that Jesus fulfills the
intentions for Israel as the true vine (John 15:1), it is only partially correct that he
therefore replaces Israel in toto. If the first-hearers o f Johns Gospel were aware of
Isaiahs vineyard story and, like many other Jews of the first-century, conversant with
connotations o f Gods lasting election o f Israel in contemporary vineyard imagery, then
the first-hearers o f John 15 were most likely primed to hear Jesus words in the light of
those connotations rather than as a statement o f contrast and judgment. The evidence o f
chapter 3 indicates this to be the case. Therefore, if at John 15, Jesus has Isaiahs
vineyard story (Isa 5:1-7; 27:2-6; 37:30-32) and Israels restoration in light of that story
in mind, then Jesus and the disciples represent the fulfillment and restoration o f Israel. If
interpreters first see Jesus and his disciples continuity with Israel then they can better see
their difference from the Jews in Johns Gospel. It is this difference and not a total
rejection o f Israel that illuminates Jesus and his disciples significance for Israel, and
therefore the world, in Johns Gospel. It may be, then, that the well-established Johannine
replacement motif, seen for example in the temple theology,15 should be reconfigured as
a fulfillment-replacement motif.
14 See chapter 1 above.
15 See, e.g., Andreas J. KOstenberger, A Theology o f John's Gospel and Letters: The Word, the
Christ, the Son o f God (BTNT; Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2009), 42235; Mary L. Coloe, God Dwells with

251

The findings o f chapter 4 also bear on the discussion o f salvation and


perseverance from John 15. It was shown, first, that Jesus purpose in John 15 is not to
raise, or answer, the question if salvation can be lost. Debates about whether one can lose
his or her salvation go beyond the function o f the text within its context. Studies that
address this debate are not inappropriate (they are helpful), but the application of that
debate to John 15:2,6 misses the purpose of Jesus stem warning to his own (cf. John
13:1). Indeed, a stem warning to its first-hearers is the purpose of the text. Jesus uttered
these words to his already cleansed and pruned disciples; the fruitless branch, Judas, had
already left the group. A warning to true disciples, the fruitful vineyard o f God, makes
sense in the light of Jesus instruction that the world will hate them because it hated him
(John 15:18-16:4). Perseverance is required in the fruit-bearing mission to which they are
called (John 15:16). Systematic theological questions such as the possibility o f losing
salvation require systematization beyond one text (e.g., John 15:2,6).
Another implication from John 15:1-17 relates to the importance o f Jesus own
disciples in that text. The consensus interpretation of John 15:1-17 often . . . looses
sight o f the disciples as branches. 16 That is, while Jesus, not the nation Israel, is the true
vine in whom the people o f God find life, there is more to the text than the first (though
surely important) words, I am the true vine. It is incontrovertible that Johns Gospel is
Us: Temple Symbolism in the Fourth Gospel (Collegevilie, Minn.: The Liturgical Press, 2001); Kerr, The
Temple o f Jesus' Body, Stephen T. Um, The Theme o f Temple Christology in John's Gospel (LNTS 312; T
& T Clark, 2006).
16 J. G. van der Watt, Family o f the King: Dynamics o f Metaphor in the Gospel According to John
(Biblical Interpretation, 47; Leiden, Boston: Brill, 2000), 54, in a critique o f Eduard Schweitzer, The
concept o f the Church in the Gospel and Epistles o f St. John, in New Testament Essays: Studies in
Memory ofT. W. Manson (ed. A. J. B. Higgins; Manchester, 1959), 230-45 (p. 234).

252

primarily concerned with Christology.17 Such is the nature o f a Gospel. But, because
Johns Gospel, like the other canonical Gospels, is about Christology it is also therefore
about discipleship, or nascent ecclesiology.18 A fundamental question for John 15 and the
entirety o f Johns Gospel is, who are the true children o f God (see esp. John 1:11-13)?
The Gospel answers, it is those who believe that Jesus is the Christ and by believing have
life in his name (John 20:30-31). John 15:1-17 explicates the identity o f those who truly
believe as those who abide in Jesus and his love (John 15:4, 9). Thus, future studies that
focus specifically on the nature o f Christology or discipleship in Johns Gospel in general
and John 15 in particular should not lose sight of the other theme, for one is intrinsic to
the other.
Finally, chapter 4 concluded that Johns conception o f abiding connotes the
promises of new covenant between Yahweh and his people. Those promises come to
fruitful fruition at John 15 as Jesus relates in new covenant friendship with his disciples.
As Paul Rainbow states, The Johannine universe is essentially personal; it consists of
persons divine and human in their relationships. 19 The meaning o f abide, then, helps sort
out the relationship between Jesus and his true disciples throughout the Gospel.

17 See, however, Paul A. Rainbow, Johannine Theology: The Gospel, The Epistles and the
Apocalypse (Nottingham: Apollos; Downers Grove: IVP, 2014), 72-114, who argues that Johns
Christology is penultimate to the ultimate theme o f theology. He states (p. 114), New Testament
Scholarship rightly recognizes Christology as the center o f Johannine theology, but it has not always
emphasized that the doctrine o f God is the sphere that has such a center: the Christology is inextricable
from the theology proper and serves it.
18 See the comments o f Jonathan T. Pennington, Reading the Gospels Wisely: A Narrative and
Theological Introduction (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2012), 162-64, following Timothy Wiarda, Interpreting
Gospel Narratives: Scenes, People, Theology (Nashville: B&H, 2010).
19 Rainbow, Johannine Theology, 31. Thus, Rainbow organizes his theology around such personal
relationships, rather than by thematic or literary approaches.

253

Implications for Johns Gospel


Chapter 4 concluded with a summary statement on the four themes of John 15:1-17,
which have implications for the theology and purpose of Johns Gospel. First, Jesus, the
true vine, and his words play a revelatory, salvation-historical, and salvific role in the
life o f his disciples. That role extends from his divine identity as the Christ. Second, his
true disciples are indicated by their submission to his words (John 15:3). Third, the
disciples obey Jesus word as they abide in him, bear fruit, and love one another. Such
abiding, it was argued, evidences the new covenant relationship with God promised by
the prophets and inaugurated by Jesus (cf. John 14:20). Fourth, the mutually interpretive
identities and roles o f Jesus and his disciples represent the renewal o f Israel in Jesus by
way of typological fulfillment o f the OT stories, in this case, the Isaiah vineyard story.
These four themes of John 15 illuminate the purpose and theology o f Johns
Gospel insofar as they explicate the content o f belief in Jesus Christ (John 20:30-31).

few examples are included here to sketch out the implications o f these four themes on the
Gospel.
First, at John 6:22-71, Jesus reveals his divine identity as the bread from heaven
that gives resurrection life (John 6:39,40,44, 58),21 an identity that Peter affirms in his
confession (John 6:69). The thrust of the passage illuminates, second, the identity of

20 The text critical issue and its supposed implications, t t io t e u c t j t e (aorist subjunctive; to initiate
belieQ or m o r e u r j T e (present subjunctive; to strengthen belief), and the syntax o f verse 31 are debated in
scholarship such that Johns purpose is either evangelistic or pastoral. See esp. D. A. Carson, Syntactical
and Text-Critical Observations on John 20:30-31: One More Round on the Purpose o f the Fourth Gospel,
JBL 124 (2005), 693-714. Rainbow, Johannine Theology, 70, notes well that the text-critical point . . .
cannot and need not be decided, since the Gospel serves both purposes. The question also relates to the
origin (Ephesus or elsewhere) and audience (primarily Jewish or primarily Gentile) o f Johns Gospel.
See Peder Borgen, Bread from Heaven: An Exegetical Study o f the Conception o f Manna in the
Gospel o f John and the Writings o f Philo (NovTSup 10; Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1965), 165-72.

254

Jesus true disciples; they are the ones who submit to his words of eternal life (John
6:68), while many false disciplesthose who seem to believe but actually do notreject
him because they reject his word (John 6:60,66). Eternal life requires belief in Jesus and
his word(s) (X<5yo$), which correspond to the word(s) of the Father who sent him (e.g.,
John 5:24, 38; 6:60; 8:31, 37,47, 51, 52, 55; cf. John 4:50).22 The content of Jesus words
points to the third theme, namely the call to abide in him by feeding on his flesh and
drinking his blood (John 6:56), likely a metaphor for partaking in Jesus death.23 Abiding
in Jesus, then, is the means to eternal life (John 6:57-58). The contrasting responses o f
the Jewish crowd and the Twelve at John 6:60-71 illustrate the fourth theme. As Jesus
typologically fulfills (and so surpasses) the purpose o f the bread from heaven, so the
identity of the true Israel is revealed in its response to him. At this stage, Peter and the
Twelve (except Judas) represent that true Israel (John 6:67-69)24 because they abide in
him25 by submitting to his words and so affirm his divine identity.
Another example o f the four themes is found at John 8:31-59. First, Jesus reveals
his divine identity as the eternal I am who precedes Abraham (John 8:58). And he is

22 In John, the term X6yo? can refer to the eternal divine Word (John 1:1 [3x], 14; cf. L&N
33.100), a particular saying (John 2:22; 4:37; 19:8, 13; 21:23), a testimony or report (John 4:39), the
Fathers word or Scripture (John 5:38; 10:35; 12:38; 15:25; 17:6, 14,17), the disciples word (John 17:20),
but especially Jesus teaching (John 4:41, 50; 5:24; 6:60; 7:36,40; 8:31, 3 7,43,51, 52, 55; 10:19 12:48;
14:23,24; 15:3,20,25; 18:9, 32; cf. L&N 33.98). The final use can parallel the synonym, >jpa (e.g., John
12:47-48).
3 See, e.g., Keener, John, 1:687-89.
24 Cf. Borgen, Bread from Heaven, 172-79. He notes (p. 177), The people o f Israel has been
divided into two groups. They are Jews insofar as they make the scriptural event o f the manna miracle
and the giving o f Torah at Sinai self-sufficient in themselves and therefore reject their true spiritual
meaning, the Son o f God. They have seen, and yet they do not believe (John 6:36). On the other hand are
the true Israelites, typified in Nathanael, who recognize the right meaning to which the scriptural events
point, and therefore also accept the Son o f God. They are given to the Son by the Father and they see the
Son and believe in him (6:37-40; cf. 6:44-46). All Gods chosen ones outside Israel join together with the
true Israelites to have the same vision.
25 Here Peter and the Twelve physically remain with Jesus while many leave him. See chapter 4
above on the semantic range and development o f abide (plvco) within Johns Gospel.

255

the true prophet who speaks on behalf o f God.26 Second, throughout the narrative
discourse it becomes clear that the Jews27 provide a stark picture o f false disciples.
Though they listen to (i.e., debate) Jesus teaching, they do not believe his words (John
8:40,43,47) and so will not receive eternal life (John 8:51,52; cf. John 6:58). They
reject Jesus words because they are not o f God ( i x

to

5 0 e o O ;

John 8:47); they are o f

their father the devil (John 8:44). Third, therefore, they obviously do not abide in Jesus
because they do not first abide in his word (John 8:31). Such is the mark o f his true
disciples.28 The fourth theme, then, flows naturally from the first three. As Jesus fulfills
the expectations for freedom for the children of Abraham (John 8:34-38), only those who
abide in his word are truly his disciples (John 8:31). And only those who recognize the
legitimacy o f Jesus word on the grounds o f his identity accept his word. As Stephen
Motyer states, [Their] gap is not between acceptance of the teaching and the necessary
consequent obedience, but between acceptance o f Jesus as prophet, and the consequent
acceptance o f his teaching.29 Like at John 6, those who reject Jesus word reject his
divinity and do not abide in him, revealing their identity as false disciples, unbelievers
outside true Israel. They are, unfortunately, still rooted in the unfruitful vineyard o f Isaiah
5. Conversely, those who accept Jesus identity accept his teaching as they believe him,
26 See Stephen Motyer, Your Father the Devil? A New Approach to John and 'the Jews
(Paternoster Biblical and Theological Monographs; Carlisle, U.K.: Paternoster, 1997), 160-210; cf. Ball, "I
Am " in Jo h n 's Gospel, 185-98.
27 The collocation most likely refers to a distinct group within Judaism, the Judea-based, Torahloyal adherents o f the Yavneh ideals, the direct heirs o f pre-70 Pharisaism. Motyer, Your Father, 213.
28 True is a fitting adjective for Jesus own language since he states (John 8:31), you are truly
my disciples (dXi)0fi)? pafyral pou ferre).
29 Motyer, Your Father, 171. Emphasis original.

256

abide in his word, and join in the true Israel. They are graciously growing in the renewed,
fruitful vineyard of Isaiah 27.30
A third example of these four themes is seen at John 12:37-50.31 First, the divine
identity o f Jesus comes through in Johns claim that Isaiah saw Jesus glory (John 12:41),
and in the tight correlation between the mission and words o f Jesus and the Father (John
12:44-45,49-50). The second theme, the identity of Jesus true disciples, follows from
his divine identity and from the signs he performed. The narrator explains that Jesus
signs ministry brought about outright rejection (John 12:37) as well as initial though
halting belief (John 12:42-43). Yet, Jesus also implies that his ministry will provide
salvation for the world, for those who believe in him (John 12:44-47). Thus, true
disciples are those who receive his signs, hear (and do) his words, and see him. Third, the
true disciples who truly believe in him will not, therefore, remain or abide (pivai) in the
darkness.32 Like at John 6 and 8, the theme o f abiding or remaining explicates Johns
concept of true belief.
Finally, Johns citation of Isa 53:1 and 6:10 at John 12:38 and 40, respectively,
further illuminates the theme o f the restoration o f Israel found in the vineyard story at
John 15.33 The citation of Isa 53:1 and 6:10, which participate in Isaiahs hardening
30 See Kirsten Nielsen, Old Testament Imagery in the Gospel o f John, in New Readings in John
(eds., Johannes Nissen and Sigfred Pedersen; JSNTSup 182; Sheffield: Sheffield Academic, 1999), 72-76.
31 Different from the previous two examples, this text includes the authors editorial evaluation o f
Jesus ministry to the Jews (John 12:37-43) in addition to discourse from Jesus. The different genre,
though, supports the plausibility o f these themes throughout the Gospel and not only at John 15.
32 The verb here is an aorist subjunctive ((relvj]). The theological connotation o f Johns use o f pivw
here parallels the same at John IS, though the precise sense differs. Here a person does not abide in a
theological state connoted by darkness (cf. light at 1 John 2:10), whereas at John 15:4-10 the usage refers
to abiding in a person that impacts ones theological state (as the vineyard metaphor illustrates). See L&N
68.11 and chapter 4 above on the discussion o f Johns conception of abiding.
33 The indication o f the theme at John 12:38-40 is due not to typological but direct fulfillment, as
indicated by the citation o f (not allusion to) Isaiah.

257

motif, lends further support to the claim that John could allude to a Isaianic narrative at
John 15. The citations, as John 12:41 indicates, also relate the glory of Jesus with the God
whom Isaiah saw high and lifted up (Isa 6:1).34 A cursory reading o f John 12:38-40,
though, makes difficult the claim that Johns Jesus intends to restore Israel. The largescale rejection o f Jesus by the Jews does not indicate a restoration o f Israel (John 12:37).
Craig Evans, however, argues that John most likely cites Isaiah 53 and 6 to show that
Scripture predicted Israels rejection o f Christ and that God intended such rejection so
that Jesus the Son would be lifted up on the cross.35 The rejection of Jesus was due to
divine intent and served the divine purpose of bringing about belief in Jesus and salvation
for the true people of God.
The context o f the text suggests this to be the case. John, in subsequent verses,
notes that many in Israel did believe, though they did not persevere in that belief due to
socio-religious pressures (John 12:42-43). The next major section of Johns Gospel (John
13:1-17:26), however, treats Jesus relationship with his own disciples (John 31:1), the
eleven who remain with him after the large-scale Jewish rejection and Judass departure.
In his ministry, then, Jesus fulfills Scripture and so winnows the true people o f God
among the Jews even as he provides salvation for the world (John 12:47). Thus, when he
turns to his own, Jesus moves to equip the remnant, specifically its leaders, within new
34 The association o f Jesus with the God who is high and lifted up (Isa 6:1) may be implied, if not
intended, by the broader context o f Isaiah 6. Catrin H. Williams, The Testimony o f Isaiah and Johannine
Christology, in As Those Who Are T a u g h t T h e Interpretation o f Isaiah from the LXX to the SBL (eds.,
Claire Mathews McGinnis and Patricia K. Tull; SBLSymS 27; Atlanta: Society o f Biblical Literature,
2006), 114-22, examines the verbal and contextual linkages o f this claim. If true, this point serves as
further indication o f Jesus divine identity according to John.
35 Craig A. Evans, To See and Not Perceive: Isaiah 6:9-10 in Early Jewish and Christian
Interpretation (JSOTSup 64; Sheffield: JSOT Press, 1989), 134. Evans also notes (pp. 133-34) that the
obduracy motif is integral to Johns Gospel, especially the larger motif o f misunderstanding. Cf. idem,
Obduracy and the Lords Servant: Some Observations on the Use o f the Old Testament in the Fourth

258

Israel (John 13:1). He restores Israel but not in the way most expected (cf. Acts 1:6-8).
The logic o f restoration, then, fits the wider context and function o f John 12:37-50.
The three examples o f the four themes o f John 15 in Johns Gospel have
implications for the unity and authorship of the Gospel. If, that is, John 15 fits with the
thematic emphases o f the author o f the first half o f the Gospel, it is plausible that fit
evinces a unity o f authorship and not only theme. Redaction-critical theories about the
late inclusion of John 15 into the Farewell Discourse are further called into question.36
One o f the reasons this is so is the subtle, almost subconscious, nature o f the themes.
These four themes of John 15 also have implications for the purpose o f the
Gospel. The connection between abiding and believing in Jesus in each o f the three texts,
John 6, 8, and 12, suggests that these themes help explicate the content o f belief. That
suggestion runs as follows: Johns purpose statement makes clear that his readers have
life in Jesus name by believing in him (John 20:30-31). Belief, then, is a process.37 The
narratives of John 6 and 8, like the metaphorical discourse at John 15, show that the
process of believing in Jesus must move to abiding in him. Some o f the Jewish leadership
started in belief, but they did not abide (John 12:42-43). As shown in chapter 4, John 15
clarifies that abiding requires believing and believing requires abiding. There is a
reciprocal, but not equivalent, relationship between abiding and believing in Johns
Gospel, in Early Jewish and Christian Exegesis: Studies in Memory o f William Hugh Brownlee (eds., C.
A. Evans and W. F. Steinspring; Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1987), 221-36.
36 L. Scott Kellum, The Unity o f the Farewell Discourse: The Literary Integrity ofJohn 13:3116:33 (JSNTSup 256; New York; London: T & T Clark, 2004), demonstrates the stylistic and structural
unity o f the discourse over against a number o f critical theories (e.g., displacement) regarding the discourse
that follows John 14:31. See especially the cohesion o f topics between John 15:1-17 and the remainder o f
the discourse (p. 203).
37 This point depends on the likelihood that the present subjunctive 7ri<mu>]T is the original
reading at John 20:31. See Carson, John 20:30-31: One More Round, 697,704.

259

Gospel. (If John intended to equate the two he could have easily used believe instead of
abide at John 15:1-17.) Thus, Jesus even exhorts his own disciples to abide in him, to
finish the process o f belief. And abiding involves loving and obeying Jesus, i.e., keeping
his commands. That is, to abide in Jesus is to love him, which is displayed by submitting
to his words. Only those who abide in Jesus complete the process o f belief. As also
shown in chapter 4, abiding in Jesus therefore connotes the new covenant relationship
that God makes active in a disciple o f Jesus by the Holy Spirit. The vineyard imagery at
John 15 evokes that new covenant relationship between Yahweh and his restored Israel.
The new covenant motif evident in John 15 also has implications for the import of
that same motif throughout the Farewell Discourse, which stresses the presence o f God
among his people (e.g., John 14:13).38 It has been suggested that, for John, covenant
relationship comprises the fundamental aspects of discipleship.39 This study supports and
advances that conclusion. Future studies on discipleship can therefore integrate the
Christology and ecclesiology of Johns Gospel along such covenant lines.
The four themes of John 15 that illuminate Johns purpose may also have
implications for further study o f the Jews in Johns Gospel. The authors comments at
John 12:39, that the Jews did not believe in Jesus because Isaiah prophesied their
blindness (Isa 6:10), raise a couple questions. Did God intend to blind all the Jews? Does
Johns Gospel, then, indicate a rejection and total replacement o f Israel in the impending
death of Jesus? The findings o f the present study, along with recent research into John
38 See James McCaffrey, The House with Many Rooms: The Temple Theme o f John 14:2-3
(Rome: Biblical Institute, 1988); Steven M. Bryan, The Eschatological Temple in John 14, BBR 15
(2005), 187-98.
39 See Rekah M. Chennattu, Johannine Discipleship as a Covenant Relationship (Peabody, Mass.:
Hendrickson, 2006), esp. 50-139.

260

11:47-53 and the term IouSaioi,40 indicate the answer to these questions must be no. God
sought through the signs and words o f Jesus to blind many but not all in Israel. As with
the remnant motif of Isaiah 6, the blinding of many was the divine tool by which the
death of Jesus, and thus the restoration o f Israel, came about (John 11:49-53).
Moreover, the inclusion in the Gospel o f Jesus Farewell Discourse (John 13:3116:33) to his Jewish disciples, the exegesis o f John 15:1-17 above, and statements such
as salvation is from the Jews (John 4:22) evince a divine irony at work in the Gospel.
Through Jesus God blinded many so that salvation and restoration might come to others
through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. The first readers of Johns Gospel were
most likely diaspora Jews, whether converts to Christ or not, who likely mourned (or at
least knew of) the destruction o f the temple. A message o f the total replacement of
Judaism, told by way o f the wholesale Jewish rejection o f Jesus, would not convince
post-A.D. 70 Jewish readers to believe and then abide in Jesus, the purported replacement
o f the temple (John 2:20-22). A message o f fulfillment of their hopes and expectations in
Jesus the Christ (John 20:31), however, would. S. Motyer describes well how the imagery
o f Johns Gospel, including John 15, may have functioned in this way. He states,
Many Jews would be willing to agree that slavery to sin had led to the
disaster. And to such the Gospel addresses its presentation o f the Christ
who provides real freedom, by his death and resurrection which portend
the rebuilding o f the Temple, through the reformation o f the scattered
people o f God around him (11:52), the re-rooting o f the Vine (15:1-10).
That Vine is already growing again in the company o f those who confess
this Christ as they experience together the inner, spiritual reality o f all that
Israel thought she had and now has lost.41
40 See esp. John A. Dennis, Jesus Death and the Gathering o f True Israel: The Johannine
Appropriation o f Restoration Theology in the Light o f John 11.47-52 (WUNT 217; Tubingen: Mohr
Siebeck, 2006); cf. Graham Harvey, The True Israel: Uses o f the Names Jew, Hebrew and Israel in Ancient
Jewish and Early Christian Literature (AGAJU 35; Boston: Brill, 2001), 245-50.
41 Motyer, Your Father, 214. Cf. Severino Pancaro, The Relationship o f the Church to Israel in St
Johns Gospel, NTS 21 (1975), 396-405.

261

The story of the fruitful vineyard o f God fulfilled in Jesus and his disciples at John 15,
then, has implications that reach into the present day.
Isaiahs story of the vineyard and the appreciation for that story and vineyard
imagery within early post-biblical Jewish literature sketches what those hopes may have
looked like. The perpetual appeal to vineyard imagery in order to understand Gods
lasting election of his people, in spite of their tumultuous circumstances in the wake o f
A.D. 70, shows that Jews had hope for restoration, not necessarily fear of utter rejection.
In this context, John 15:1-17 explicates Johns purpose to his Jewish audience. That is,
John announces that his readers hopes had been met, but even more that their actual
restoration had been provided for in the life (signs and words), death, and resurrection of
Jesus Christ. In accordance with and fulfillment of the Isaiah vineyard narrative (esp. Isa
27:2-6), Jesus words at John 15:1-17 announce the inauguration o f that restoration for
his Jewish disciples and others who would believe and abide in him (cf. John 17:20-26).
Though many Jews were blinded by Jesus and in fulfillment of Scripture, other Jews
found long-awaited restoration and life in Jesus name. Modem readers o f John, then,
ought to be led away from sweeping claims that God intended to blind all the Jews
through Jesus ministry. Instead, modem readers ought to see the power Johns Gospel
holds for the evangelism and discipleship o f Jewish people to this day.42
42 In the history o f biblical interpretation, Johns Gospel and its portrayal o f the Jews, esp. John
8:31-59, has been deemed anti-Semitic. See, e.g., Lillian C. Freudmann, Antisemitism in the New
Testament (Lanham, Md.: University Press o f America, 1993); Erich GrfiBer, Die antijOdische Polimek im
Johannesevangelium, NTS 11 (1964), 74-79; J. E. Leibig, John and the Jews: Theological Antisemitism
in the Fourth Gospel, JES 20 (1983), 209-34; cf. Motyer, Your Father, 2-3, for the historical roots in John
Chrysostom and Martin Luther. See also the essays that debate the legitimacy o f this view in R. Bieringer,
D. Pollefeyt, and F. Vandecasteele-Vanneuville, eds., Anti-Judaism and the Fourth Gospel. Papers o f the
Leuven Colloquium, 2000 (Assen: van Gorcum, 2001). Motyer, Your Father, shows that the anti-semitic
interpretation o f John runs not only against the grain o f Christian theology, but the text and theology of
John itself.

262

Finally, the conclusions on John 15:1-17, and the implications already mentioned,
have implications for Johns use o f the OT, especially Isaiah.43 Since at least the works of
C. H. Dodd and Barnabas Lindars, NT scholars have debated whether the NT writers
quote or allude to the OT contextually.44 The present study supports the conclusion that
John appropriates the OT, specifically Isaiah, with the context in view. As this study
showed, shared vocabulary (e.g., vine, fruit) indicates shared concepts between OT and
NT authors. In future studies, Isaiahs concepts o f the restoration o f Israel in the remnant
because o f the Messiah could be traced through the narrative o f Johns Gospel. Such
work would take up Mary Coloes call to enter the beyond o f narrative treatments o f
the Gospel by considering the hermeneutical implications o f Isaiah, and the first-century
people shaped by that book, on Johns narrative.45
The impact o f the OT in general and Isaiahs vineyard narrative in particular on
first-century Jews (chapter 3) and on Jesus and his disciples (chapter 4) shows, as others
have observed, that Johns Gospel is most Christian where it is most Jewish and vice
versa46 Therefore, Johns appeal to the OT is not simply as a negative foil for the

43 For recent studies see especially, Andrew Lincoln, Truth on Trial: The Lawsuit M otif in the
Fourth Gospel (Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson, 2000), 36-56; Petersen, Brot, Licht, und Weinstock, 5-28;
Catrin H. Williams, Isaiah in Johns Gospel, in Isaiah in the New Testament (eds., Steve Moyise and
Maarten J. J. Menken; The New Testament and the Scriptures o f Israel; New York: T & T Clark, 2005),
101-16; idem, The Testimony of Isaiah and Johannine Christology, in As Those Who are Taught": The
Interpretation o f Isaiah from the LXX to the SBL (eds., Claire Mathews McGinnis and Patricia K. Tull;
SBLSymS 27; Atlanta: Scholars Press, 2006), 107-24; James M. Hamilton, The Influence o f Isaiah on the
Gospel o f John, Perichoresis 5 (2007), 139-62.
44 See C. H. Dodd, According to the Scriptures: The Sub-Structure o f the New Testament (London:
Nisbet, 1952); Barnabas Lindars, New Testament Apologetic: The Doctrinal Significance o f the Old
Testament Quotations (London: SCM, 1961); G. K. Beale, ed., The Right Doctrine From the Wrong Texts:
Essays on the Use o f the Old Testament in the New (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1994).
45 See Mary Coloe, The Beyond Beckons, in What We Have Heard From the Beginning: The
Past, Present, and Future o f Johannine Studies (ed. Tom Thatcher; Waco, Tex.: Baylor Press, 2007), 21113. Coloes essay is a response to Francis J. Moloney, Into Narrative and Beyond, in What We Have
Heard, 195-210.
46 See Motyer, Your Father, 71. Motyer observes that the Jewishness o f the Gospel is exactly that
which makes it comprehensible to its intended (or implied) readers. Motyer takes this point as one reason,

263

positive revelation and work o f God the Father in Jesus Christ and the Spirit. Rather, this
study shows that John shares the worldview, presuppositions, and even theology o f the
OT and Isaiah. Thus, he develops and expands the theology o f God, the Messiah, the
people o f God and their restoration along Isaiahs lines o f thought, among others (e.g.,
the Davidic Psalms).47 Hence, just as the OT was never meant to stand on its own as the
complete revelation o f Gods will over against Jesus Christ and the NT, so Johns Gospel
cannot be understood and the God to whom it bears witness cannot be worshipped apart
from or over against the revelation of the OT.48 Without the NT, the OT is a grand story
in search o f a conclusion. But without the OT, the NT is the culmination of an unknown
story.

Implications for Biblical Theology


The methodology o f this study and the conclusions that stem from it suggest that biblical
theology can proceed, as Ebeling suggested over 50 years ago,49 to demonstrate the inner
unity o f the Bible. However, as Nicholas Perrin catalogues, in the history of biblical
theology there are diverse suggestions on how such unity is best demonstrated.50 For him,
approaches include an emphasis on historical (i.e., salvation-history) unity, the promiseamong others, that John writes to evangelize Jews. However, see above for the view o f Johns purpose in
the present study.
47 See Margaret Daly-Denton, David in the Fourth Gospel: The Johannine Reception o f the
Psalms (AGJU, 47; Leiden & Boston: E. J. Brill, 2000).
48 As Paul Rainbow, Johannine Theology, 90, states, Moses writings were never meant to stand
on their own in such a way as to judge and negate Gods final word (as the Jews suppose in Jn 9:28-29);
that would be to miss not only Gods greatest communication but also the meaning o f Torah itself. Peoples
response to Moses and their response to Christ are one and the same. Believing Moses leads to belief in
Christ; unbelief toward Christ betrays unbelief toward Moses and toward God (Jn 5:46-47).
49 See chapter 1.
50 Nicholas Perrin, Dialogic Conceptions and the Problem o f Biblical Unity, in Biblical
Theology in Retrospect and Prospect (ed. Scott J. Hafemann; Downers Grove, III.: IVP, 2002), 212-14.

264

fulfillment schema, typological structures, and intertextuality.51 Canonical, thematic or


central theme(s), and storyline approaches should also be noted.52
If the conclusions o f the present study prove convincing, the methodology
described in chapter 1 and followed in chapters 2-4 suggests that an integrative approach
may be best to demonstrate the unity of the Bible. Such an approach makes sense because
there are sections o f Scripture that often do not fit, for example, the promise-fulfillment
scheme (e.g., Wisdom literature). Also, there are sections or books o f Scripture that
evince elements of most, if not all, o f the approaches just listed. Such is the case for
Jesus announcement o f the inauguration o f Isaiahs vineyard story at John 15:1-17.
Aspects o f salvation-history, promise-fulfillment, typology, intertextuality, and key
themes were observed throughout the vineyard story traced from Isaiah through early
postbiblical Jewish literature and into John 15. Thus, when read together the diverse

51 For salvation-historical approaches see, e.g., Gerhard von Rad, Old Testament Theology (2
vols., trans. D. Stalker; Edinburgh: Oliver & Boyd, 1962, 1965); Oscar Cullman, Christus und die Zeit: Die
urchristliche Zeit- und Geschichtsaufassung (Zollikon-ZOrich: Evangelische, 1946); Herman Ridderbos,
Redemptive History and the New Testament Scriptures (trans. H. De Jongst; 2d ed.; Phillipsburg:
Presbyterian and Reformed, 1988). Robert W. Yarbrough, The Salvation Historical Fallacy? Reassessing
the History o f New Testament Theology (History o f Biblical Interpretation Series 2. Leiden: Deo, 2004),
acquits the approach o f the charge that it caused the crisis in biblical theology. On promise-fulfillment see,
e.g., Claus Westermann, The Old Testament and Jesus Christ (Minneapolis: Augsburg, 1970); Walter C.
Kaiser, The Promise-Plan o f God: A Biblical Theology o f the Old and New Testaments (Grand Rapids:
Zondervan, 2008). For typological investigations see, e.g., Leonard Goppelt, Typos: Typological
Interpretation o f the New Testament (trans. Donald H. Madvig; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1982); G. W. H.
Lampe and K. J. Woolcombe, Essays on Typology (SBT; London: SCM Press, 1957). And for an emphasis
on intertextuality see esp., Richard Hays, Echoes o f Scripture in the Letters o f Paul (New Haven: Yale
University Press, 1989); idem, The Conversion o f the Imagination: Paul as Interpreter ofIsrael's
Scriptures (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2005); Hflbner, Johannem; idem, Biblische Theologie des Neuen
Testaments (3 vols; Gottingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1990).
52 For example, Brevard S. Childs, Biblical Theology o f the Old and New Testaments: Theological
Reflection on the Christian Bible (Minneapolis: Fortress, 1992), founded the canonical approach.
Christopher J. H. Wright, The Mission o f God: Unlocking the Bible's Grand Narrative o f the Bible
(Downers Grove, 111.: IVP, 2006), applies a missional hermeneutic to the storyline o f the Bible. Scott J.
Hafemann and Paul R. House, eds., Central Themes in Biblical Theology: Mapping Unity in Diversity
(Downers Grove, 111.: IVP, 2007), gather a team o f scholars who treat themes such as atonement and
covenant. New Testament theologies often, but not only, focus on the relationship between unity and
diversity. See, e.g., James D. G. Dunn, Unity and Diversity in the New Testament: An Inquiry into the
Character o f Earliest Christianity (3d ed.; London: SCM Press, 2006).

265

genres, structures, and concepts o f biblical texts require methods that integrate these
diverse features into a picture that reflects, but does not overgeneralize, their witness.
The forward reading (storyline) method o f the present study has particular
implications for the practice o f biblical theology, especially by NT scholars. In a
forthcoming volume, Richard Hays argues for reading Scripture backwards, that is in
light of the resurrection, a process that requires figuration.53 Certainly, those who read
Scripture in the 21st-century read it with an advantage. We know the end o f the story and
have some indications on how that end relates to the beginning, the points in between,
and the key characters within the story. The thesis o f the present study would not be
possible without such an advantage. Indeed, the presence o f vineyard imagery in Johns
Gospel was the occasion for investigating its roots in Isaiah.
Still, the present study sought to read Isaiah before reading relevant Second
Temple literature and then Johns Gospel in order to see how the vineyard imagery
develops and incorporates themes that may have influenced John and his readers. There is
a hermeneutical advantage to sharing, as best we can, the expectations and
presuppositions o f the biblical writers and readers. This point is likely but one implication
of reading Scripture forward in the search for and demonstration o f biblical unity in
biblical theology. The character o f Scripture may require, as Christopher Seitz suggests,
that it be read in both directions, respecting both Isaiah and John, for example, as
Christian Scripture.54
53 Richard Hays, Reading Backwards: Figural Christology and the Fourfold Witness (Waco, Tex.:
Baylor University Press, 2014). This volume was scheduled for release on November 1, 2014, which was
too late for the present author to incorporate into this study.
54 Christopher Seitz, The Character o f Christian Scripture: The Significance o f a Two-Testament
Bible (Studies in Theological Interpretation; Grand Rapids: Baker, 2011) esp. 53-62,93-113. Seitz

266

Moreover, a methodology that is congenial to the inner unity o f the Bible holds
more promise for showing the heuristic advantage o f biblical theological proposals than
one that castigates the discipline because various authors wrote diverse books o f
Scripture over several centuries. That is, the implication of biblical unity from this study
invites future work on the assumptions that (ought to) govern hermeneutical
commitments. Commitments that lead one to bracket out the possibility o f biblical unity
obviously precludes explorations into the legitimacy o f connections between biblical
books, authors, and the historical epochs in which they arose.
The second implication that flows from the first is that the study of biblical
metaphors within an integrative method has promise for the production o f biblical
theologies that demonstrate the diverse unity of Scripture. Kirsten Nielsen argues for the
prominence o f metaphor study in the practice of biblical theology. As she states,
Biblical Theology could be the title o f a book but to me it is even more relevant to see
Biblical Theology as a process and a way o f thinking. She then wonders how the
function o f personal and impersonal metaphors in the OT and NT might serve as . . .
markers o f important changes from the Old to the New Testaments?55 The present study
supports and may advance Nielsens proposal with respect to the vineyard metaphor as an
entry point into biblical theological study o f some of the key themes o f the Bible. For
instance, the findings o f chapter 4 point to the significance o f Christological monotheism,
describes (pp. 173-90) the present implications on the church and (Western) culture at targe that come from
treating the OT as a second-rate, lower grade version o f Gods revelation.
55 Kirsten Nielsen, Metaphors and Biblical Theology, in Metaphor in the Hebrew Bible (ed. P.
van Hecke; BETL 187; Leuven: University Press, 2005), 273. The study by Laniak, Shepherds After My
Own Heart, serves as a good model for this approach. Cf. Peter W. Macky, The Centrality o f Metaphors to
Biblical Thought: A Method fo r Interpreting the Bible (Studies in the Bible and Early Christianity;
Lewiston, N.Y.: Edwin Mellen, 1990).

267

the people of God, and covenant as key themes.56 These key themes operate together
within the vineyard metaphor of Isaiah and John. And, related to the first implication
above, these themes and the vineyard metaphor unfold along a storyline, which invites
consideration of the unity o f God, his people, and their relationships throughout the
diversity of the times and texts o f Scripture. This implication invites future study into the
unity between John 15 and the vineyard imagery o f the Synoptic Gospels, especially the
wicked tenants parable, which also alludes to Isaiah 5 (Matt 21:33-44; Mark 12:1-11;
Luke 20:9-18). Such work would constitute NT theology on the way toward whole-Bible
biblical theology.
A third implication o f the present study relates to the presence and function of
Second Temple, or early postbiblical, Jewish literature in the practice o f biblical
theology. The purpose of chapter 3 in this study was to sketch the expectations and
presuppositions of first-century Jews by way o f their conception o f the vineyard
metaphor, especially Isaiahs vineyard story. In concert with chapters 1-2, it was shown
that their largely positive conception o f that metaphori.e., Gods election o f Israeldid
not align with the consensus interpretation o f the vineyard imagery at John 15, i.e., Gods
replacement of Israel. Without the study o f the relevant Second Temple Jewish literature,
then, this conclusion would have been unlikely, or at least much less demonstrable.
Second Temple Jewish literature, then, serves as a relevant set o f data for the
production o f biblical theology that seeks to be historically and not merely narratively
sensitive. That is, such literature provides a picture o f the socio-religious assumptions and
expectations o f the writers and first-hearers o f the NT. The practice o f biblical theology
56 See the fourth implication for biblical theology below.

268

by Protestants and Catholics alike, and their respective use o f the Second Temple
literature, illustrates the different weight accorded to this literature. This point has
implications for the important criterion o f canon in biblical theology.57 Indeed, the
growth in recent years o f canonical approaches to biblical theology necessitates a reevaluation of the place o f extra-biblical literature, such as Second Temple Jewish
literature, within that approach.58 The present study did not weigh this literature (e.g.,
Sirach) as equal to Scripture (e.g., Johns Gospel). But it did show the hermeneutical
value of that literature for understanding the worldview o f Scripture, or at least of Johns
Gospel. This strategy allows interpreters o f Johns Gospel to, as stated in the first
implication above, share the expectations and presuppositions of the biblical writers and
readers.
Fourth, some key biblical-theological themes, which offer evidence o f the unity of
the Bible, emerged from and are impacted by the findings o f this study. The first o f these
themes is the coherence o f early Jewish monotheism and NT Christology. The
appropriation of Isaiahs vineyard story and I am language (Isaiah 40-55) at John 15
evinces the Christological monotheism that marks Johns Gospel (esp. John 1:14-18;
10:30) and characterizes NT Christology.
In chapter 4 o f this study, the point was made that John 15 and Isaiahs vineyard
narrative share a conceptual link in that Yahweh speaks to his people in both texts. In
Isaiahs vineyard narrative, Yahweh either indicts (Isa 5:7) or promises to renew (Isa
57 See Peter Stuhlmacher, How To Do Biblical Theology (PTMS 38; Allison Park, Pa.: Pickwick,
1995), 6-12.
58 For recent efforts see, e.g., Scott W. Hahn, Kinship By Covenant: A Canonical Approach to the
Fulfillment o f God's Saving Promises (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2009); James M. Hamilton,
G ods Glory in Salvation Through Judgment: A Biblical Theology (Wheaton, 111.: Crossway, 2010). See

269

27:6) his people, Jacob-Israel. On a unified reading o f Isaiah, this is the same Yahweh
who later addresses his people as I am (Isa 41:4; 43:10; 46:4). At John 15:1, Jesus
states, I am the true vine. Like elsewhere in Johns Gospel, John presents Jesus as the
I am59 and so one with the Father (John 10:30). In the light o f the monotheism of
Second Temple Judaism, Richard Bauckham shows the impact o f Isaiah 40-55 and its I
am statements on Johns presentation o f Jesus.60 Like other NT appropriations of Isaiah
40-55, Johns Gospel evinces a novelty from but consistency with the OTs
monotheism.61 Jesus, the glory made flesh, is the exegesis of God the Father (John 1:18).
Jesus is, as John A. T. Robinson remarks, God spelt out in human terms.62 If the
Johannine Father can be associated with Yahweh, and there is evidence in Isaiah that
such is the case (Isa 63:16; 64:8), then Jesus speech represents Yahwehs speech.
This point was made to strengthen the plausibility o f an allusion to Isaiahs
vineyard narrative at John 15, but it has implications beyond this point. Rainbow argues
that in its Christology, Johns Gospel provides us with the high point o f theology proper,
which actually fulfills, rather than overturns, the beliefs o f Jewish monotheism.63 The
allusion to Isaiahs vineyard story (Isa 5:1-7; 27:2-6) and his I am theology (Isaiah 4 0 55) at John 15, then, clarifies Jesus role and identity as the divine agent o f God, the

also, Richard Schultz, Brevard Childs Contribution to Old Testament Interpretation: An Evangelical
Appreciation and Assessment, Princeton Theological Review 14 (2008), 69-94.
59 I am occurs with and without a predicate. See Ball, / A m " in John's Gospel, 162-254.
60 Richard Bauckham, Jesus and the God o f Israel: God Crucified and Other Studies on the New
Testament's Christology o f Divine Identity (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2008), 46-50.
61 Ibid., 51-57; 104-6.
62 John A. T. Robinson, The Priority o f John (ed. J. F. Coakley; London: SCM, 1985), 396.
63 Rainbow, Johannine Theology, 90-114. He states (p. 108), Johns idea o f God stands in
continuity with that o f prerabbinic Jewish monotheism, from which it drew all its elements. Undoubtedly,
when the Son o f God was distinguished as a second subject within the unity o f the divine, a configuration
o f monotheism emerged, the full like o f which had not been seen. But it was a blooming o f commingled
tendrils that had been growing in the soil o f Judaism for centuries. When the Tannaim and Amoraim later
decided to define themselves as Unitarians, they chopped away ancient branches o f their own heritage.

270

Christ who gives life to those who believe in him. Therefore, the Christology o f John 15
and Johns Gospel has implications for its theology but also for the unity o f the Bible.
That is, the unity o f God in ChristChristological monotheismmay prove to be the
fundamental key theme for biblical theological expression o f the Bibles inner unity.
Tightly related to this theme are implications for the themes o f the people of God
and covenant.64 That is, the Christological monotheism o f Johns Gospel illuminates the
theological realities behind Jesus command to abide in him. And, as chapter 4
demonstrated, to abide in Jesus means to love him in a relationship made possible by and
demonstrative o f the new covenant. Abiding in Jesus evokes covenant relationship with
God because Jesus reveals God in the flesh. Moreover, the new covenant is marked by
the mutual indwelling o f the Father and Son, the presence o f God, in the true believer
(John 14:20-23). As Rainbow states, To be in the Son is to be in the Father; such is the
means o f abiding in God, because the Father himself is in the Son and the Son in the
Father (cf. Jn 17:21).65 This point has implications for biblical theological study of the
people o f God because it relates abiding in Jesus to covenant relationship with God.
The new covenant (esp. Jer 31:31-33) promised a renewed, intensified
relationship with Yahweh for those who exercised faith in him. If union with Christ is
the right terminology for the abide theology of John 15,66 and in light o f the contextual
connections to Isaiahs I am language, then it may be reasonable to assert that union
64 The now classic defense o f the covenant as the central theme was given by Walther Eichrodt,
Theology o f the Old Testament (trans. J. A. Barker; 2 vols.; OTL; Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1961
1967). Recently, Robin Routledge, Old Testament Theology: A Thematic Approach (Downers Grove, 111.:
IVP, 2008), 159-260, made the people o f God a focus o f his thematic approach under the rubric, God and
his people.
65 Rainbow, Johannine Theology, 108.
66 The present study makes no claim that this is necessarily the case.

271

with Christ means union with Yahweh. That is, as the disciples abide in Jesus Christ and
Jesus abides in them (cf. John 14:20), the disciples participate in the people o f God who
have abided in Yahweh through the ages (see LXX-Isa 30:18). This observation, built on
the conclusions o f the present study, may provide fruitful ground for the fresh
investigation of both the people of God and covenant in biblical theology. Moreover, it
may also impact the presentation and application of Union with Christ in systematic
theology.67 That is, the theology o f the people o f God in union with Christ may be served
by the demonstration o f the unity o f God across the testaments, not only in dependence
upon the NT presentation o f Christ.

Conclusion
The implications just described may impact future discrete studies o f John 15, Johns
Gospel, and biblical theology. Yet, it is hoped that one fruit o f the present study will be
the continued integration o f the three. Integrative biblical theology, the kind attempted in
this study, holds promise for the inner unity o f the manifold witness o f the Bible.68 Such
integration requires generalization and systemization often eschewed in the contemporary
scene o f scholarly atomization. But generalities and systems can aid the evaluation o f
specific texts such as John 15:1-17 and disciplines such as OT and NT studies. If this
study has shown a possible way forward on this path, one o f its goals will have been met.
67 Recently, see Robert Peterson, Union with Christ in the Gospel o f John, Presbyterion 39
(2013), 9-29; J. Todd Billings, Union with Christ: Reframing Theology and Ministry fo r the Church
(Grand Rapids: Baker, 2011); Robert Letham, Union with Christ: In Scripture, History, and Theology
(Phillipsburg, N.J.: P&R Publishing, 2011).
68 Gerhard Ebeling, The Meaning o f Biblical Theology, in Word and Faith (trans. James W.
Leitch; Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1960), 96.

272

The subject matter o f the present study, however, calls for grander goals. This is
because integrative biblical theology also holds promise for integrated living before God
in Christ. If the arguments concerning the unity o f the OT and NT, Israel and Jesus, the
remnant and the disciples, and the unity of God in Jesus Christ prove plausible, then
anyone who considers the texts investigated must grapple with not only the hermeneutical
but also the human implications. The vineyard story o f Isaiah and John 15 bears witness
to the need for a response to the God who speaks, as the texts claim for themselves,
through this story. The proper response has not changed since God became flesh. Belief
in God through Jesus Christ is the fitting response to the subject matter o f these texts.
Those who respond in this way receive the promise o f eternal life in his name as they
abide in him and bear fruit for the God who speaks and saves. Such a response is the goal
o f integrative biblical theology that bears witness to the possibility o f integrative life
before God. Such is life lived in the fruitful vineyard o f God.

273

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Adam, A. K. M. Making Sense o f New Testament Theology: "Modem Problems and


Prospects. Studies in American Biblical Hermeneutics 11. Macon, Ga.: Mercer
University Press, 1995.
Aichele, George and Gary A. Phillips. Introduction: Exegesis, Eisegesis, Intergesis.
Semeia 69/70 (1995): 7-19.
Akala, Adesola Joan. The Son-Father Relationship and Christological Symbolism in the
Gospel o f John. Library o f New Testament Studies 505. New York: Bloomsbury
T & T Clark, 2014.
Akpunonu, Peter D. The Vine, Israel, and the Church. Studies in Biblical Literature 51.
New York: Peter Lang Publishing, 2004.
Aland, Kurt and Barbara, Johannes Karavidopoulos, Carlo M. Martini, and Bruce M.
Metzger, eds. Novum Testamentum Graece 28th Edition. Institute for New
Testament Textual Research. Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 2012.
Aquinas, Thomas. Commentary on the Gospel o f John. 3 Vols. Translated by James A.
Weisheipl and Fabian Larcher. Washington, D.C.: Catholic University Press,
2010 .
--------- . Catena Aurea: Commentary on the Four Gospels Collected out o f the Works o f
the Fathers. 4 Vols. Translated by John Henry Newman. London: Saint Austin
Press, 1997.
Aristotle. The Poetics. Translated by W. Hamilton Fyfe. London: William Henemann;
Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1927. Reprinted 1953.
Ashton, John. Understanding the Fourth Gospel. Second Edition. Oxford: Oxford
University Press, 2007.
Baillet, M., J. T. Milik, and R. de Vaux. Les "petites grottes de Qumran. Discoveries in
the Judean Desert III. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1961.
Baillet, M. Qumran grotte 4.111 (4Q482-4Q520). Discoveries in the Judean Desert VII.
Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1982.
274

Baker, David L. Two Testaments, One Bible: The Theological Relationship Between the
Testaments. Third Edition. Downers Grove, 111.: IVP, 2010.
Ball, David Mark. "I Am in Johns Gospel: Literary Function, Background and
Theological Implications. Journal for the Study of the New Testament
Supplement Series 124. Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1996.
Balia, Peter. Challenges to New Testament Theology: An Attempt to Justify the
Enterprise. Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson, 1997.
Bammel, John E. The Farewell Discourse o f the Evangelist John and Its Jewish
Heritage. Tyndale Bulletin 44 (1993): 111-19.
Barr, James. The Concept o f Biblical Theology: An Old Testament Perspective.
Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1999.
Barrett, C. K. The Gospel According to St. John: An Introduction with Commentary and
Notes on the Greek Text. Second Edition. Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1978.
Bartholomew, Craig G. and Mike W. Goheen. Story and Biblical Theology. Pages
144-171 in Out o f Egypt: Biblical Theology and Biblical Interpretation. Scripture
and Hermeneutics 5. Edited by Craig Bartholomew, Mary Healy, Karl Moller,
and Robin Parry. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2004.
Bass, C. D. A Johannine Perspective o f the Human Responsibility to Persevere in the
Faith through the Use o f MEND and Other Related Motifs. Westminster
Theological Journal 69 (2007): 305-25.
Bauckham, Richard. Jesus and the Eyewitnesses: The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony.
Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2006.
. Jesus and the God o f Israel: God Crucified and Other Studies on the New
Testaments Christology o f Divine Identity. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2008.
. John for Readers of Mark. Pages 147-71 in The Gospels fo r All Christians:
Rethinking the Gospel Audiences. Edited by Richard Bauckham. Grand Rapids:
Eerdmans, 1998.
. The Parable o f the Vine: Rediscovering a Lost Parable o f Jesus. New
Testament Studies 33 (1987): 84101.
. The Testimony o f the Beloved Disciple: Narrative, History, and Theology in the
Gospel o f John. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2007.
Bauckham, Richard, ed. The Gospels fo r All Christians: Rethinking the Gospel
Audiences. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1998.
275

Baumgarten, J. M. 4Q500 and the Ancient Exegesis o f the Lords Vineyard. Journal o f
Jewish Studies 40 (1989): 1-6.
Baumgarten, Joseph M. with James H. Charlesworth, L. Novakovic, and Henry W. M.
Rietz. Damascus Document 4Q266-273 (4QDah) \ Pages 1-186 in The Dead
Sea Scrolls: Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek Texts with English Translations, Vol.
3: Damascus Document II, Some Works o f the Torah, and Related Documents.
Edited by James H. Charlesworth. Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2006.
Beale, G. K. A New Testament Biblical Theology: The Unfolding o f the Old Testament in
the New. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2011.
. The Old Testament Background o f Pauls Reference to the Fruit of the Spirit
in Galatians 5:22. Bulletin fo r Biblical Research 15:1 (2005): 1-38.
. The Temple and the Churchs Mission: A Biblical Theology o f the Dwelling
Place o f God. New Studies in Biblical Theology 17. Downers Grove, 111.: IVP,
2004.
. Handbook on the New Testament Use o f the Old Testament: Exegesis and
Interpretation. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2012.
Beasley-Murray, George Raymond. John. Second Edition. Word Biblical
Commentary 36. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1999.
Becker, Jtirgen. Die Herde des Hirten und die Reben am Weinstock: ein Versuch zu Joh
10,1-18 und 15,1-17. Pages 149-78 in Gleichnisreden Jesu 1899-1999. Edited
by Ulrich Mell. Beihefte zur Zeitschrift fur die neutestamentilische Wissenschaft
103. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 1999.
Bede, Venerable. Homilies on the Gospels: Book Two, Lent to Dedication o f the Church.
Translated by Lawrence T. Martin and David Hurst. Cistercian Christian Studies
111. Kalamazoo, Mich.: Cistercian Publishers, 1991.
Bengel, John Albrect. Gnomon o f the New Testament. Translated by Andrew Fausset. 5
Vols. Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1860.
Bentzen, Agae. Zur Erlauterung von Jesaja 5.1-7. Archivfur Orientforschung
4 (1927): 209-10.
Berges, Ulrich F. The Book o f Isaiah: Its Composition and Final Form. Hebrew Bible
Monographs 46. Sheffield: Sheffield Phoenix, 2012.

276

Bergren, Theodore A. Christian Influence on the Transmission History o f 4 ,5 , and 6


Ezra. Pages 102-27 in The Jewish Apocalyptic Heritage in Early Christianity.
Edited by James VanderKam and William Alder. Compendia rerum iudaicarum
ad Novum Testamentum 3. Van Gorcum: Fortress, 1996.
Bernard, J. H. A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Gospel o f John. 2 vols.
International Critical Commentary. Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1928.
Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia. Edited by K. Elliger and W. Rudolph. Stuttgart: Deutsche
Bibelgesellschaft, 1997.
Bieringer, R., D. Pollefeyt, and F. Vandecasteele-Vanneuville, eds. Anti-Judaism and the
Fourth Gospel. Papers o f the Leuven Colloquium, 2000. Assen: van Gorcum,
2001 .
Billings, J. Todd. Union with Christ: Reframing Theology and Ministry fo r the Church.
Grand Rapids: Baker, 2011.
Bird, Michael F. Evangelical Theology: A Biblical and Systematic Introduction. Grand
Rapids: Zondervan, 2013.
. The Gospels o f the Lord: How the Early Church Wrote the Story ofJesus. Grand
Rapids: Eerdmans, 2014.
Black, Max. Models and Metaphors: Studies in Language and Philosophy. Ithaca, N.Y.:
Cornell University Press, 1962.
Blenkinsopp, Joseph. Isaiah: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary. 3
vols. Anchor Bible 19-19B. New York: Doubleday, 2000-2003.
Bloom, Harold. Anxiety o f Influence. New York: Oxford University Press, 1973.
Bolt, Peter. What fruit does the vine bear: Some pastoral implications o f John 15:1-8.
Reformed Theological Review 51 (1992): 11-19.
Borchert, Gerald R. John. 2 Vols. New American Commentary 25A-B. Nashville:
Broadman & Holman, 2002.
Borgen, Peder. Breadfrom Heaven: An Exegetical Study o f the Conception o f Manna in
the Gospel o f John and the Writings o f Philo. Supplements to Novum
Testamentum 10. Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1965.
Borig, Rainer. Der wahre Weinstock. Untersuchungen zu Jo 15, 1-10. Studien zum Alten
und Neuen Testament 16. Mfinchen, KOsel, 1967.

277

Borowski, Oded. Agriculture in Iron Age Israel. Winona Lake, Ind.: Eisenbrauns, 1987.
Bosman, H. J. Syntactic Cohesion in Isaiah 24-27. Pages 19-50 in Studies in Isaiah
24-27: The Isaiah Workshop (De Jesaja Werkplaats). Edited by Hendrick Jan
Bosman and Harm van Grol. Oudtestamentische Studign d. 43. Leiden; Boston:
Brill, 2000.
Brodie, T. L. The Gospel According to John: A Literary and Theological Commentary.
New York: Oxford University Press, 1993.
Brongers, H. A. Bemerkungen zum Gebrauch des adverbialen we 'atah im Alten
Testament. Vetus Testamentum 15 (1965): 289-99.
Brooke, A. E., ed. The Fragments o f Heracleon. Texts and Studies 1. Cambridge:
Cambrige, 1896.
Brooke, G. J. 4Q500 1 and the Use of Scripture in the Parable o f the Vineyard. Dead
Sea Discoveries 2 (1995): 268-94.
Brown, Raymond E. An Introduction to the Gospel o f John. Edited by Francis J.
Moloney. New York: Doubleday, 2003.
. The Gospel According to John, 1-XII. Anchor Bible 29. New Haven: Yale
University Press, 2008.
. The Gospel According to John, XIII-XXI. Anchor Bible 29A. New Haven: Yale
University Press, 2008.
--------- . The Community o f the Beloved Disciple: The Life, Loves, and Hates o f an
Individual Church in New Testament Times. New York: Paulist Press, 1979.
Brown, William P. The Ethos o f the Cosmos: The Genesis o f Moral Imagination in the
Bible. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1999.
Brunson, Andrew C. Psalm 118 in the Gospel o f John: An Intertextual Study on the New
Exodus Pattern in the Theology o f John. Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum
Neuen Testament 158. Tubingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2003.
Bryan, Steven M. The Eschatological Temple in John 14. Bulletin o f Biblical Research
15 (2005): 187-98.
Bullinger, E. W. Figures o f Speech Used in the Bible: Illustrated and Explained. London:
Messrs, Eyre, Spottiswoode, 1898. Repr., Grand Rapids: Baker, 2008.
Bultmann, Rudolf. The Gospel o f John: A Commentary. Translated by G. R. BeasleyMurray, R. W. N. Hoare, and J.K. Riches. Philadelphia: Westminster, 1971.
278

Burge, Gary. John. NIV Application Commentary. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2000.
Caird, G. B. The Language and Imagery o f the Bible. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1997.
Calvin, John. Commentary on the Gospel According to John. Translated by William
Pringle. 2 Vols. Calvins Commentaries 18. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2009.
Carson, D. A. Syntactical and Text-Critical Observations on John 20:30-31: One More
Round on the Purpose o f the Fourth Gospel. Journal o f Biblical Literature 124
(2005): 693-714.
. Systematic Theology and Biblical Theology. Pages 89-104 in New Dictionary
o f Biblical Theology. Edited by T. Desmond Alexander, Brian S. Rosner, D. A.
Carson, and Graeme Goldsworthy. Downers Grove, 111.: IVP, 2000.
. The Farewell Discourse and the Final Prayer o f Jesus. Grand Rapids: Baker,
1980.
. The Gospel According to John. Pillar New Testament Commentary. Leicester:
Apollos; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1991.
Chaney, Marvin L. Whose Sour Grapes? The Addresses o f Isaiah 5:1-7 in the Light o f
Political Economy. Semeia 87 (1999): 105-22.
Charles, R. H. The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha o f the Old Testament. 2 Vols.
Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1913.
Charlesworth, James H. and R. A. Culpepper. The Odes o f Solomon and the Gospel o f
John. Catholic Biblical Quarterly 35 (1973): 298-322.
Charlesworth, James H. The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha and the New Testament.
Cambridge: Cambridge, 1985.
Charlesworth, James H., ed. The Dead Sea Scrolls: Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek Texts
with English Translations, Vol. 3: Damascus Document II, Some Works o f the
Torah, and Related Documents. Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2006.
Charlesworth, James H., ed. The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha. 2 vols. Second Edition.
Peabody, Mass: Hendrickson, 2011.
Chilton, Bruce D. The Isaiah Targum: Introduction, Translation, Apparatus and Notes.
The Aramaic Bible, vol. 11. Wilmington, Del.: Michael Glazer, Inc., 1987.
. The Glory o f Israel: The Theology and Provenience o f the Isaiah Targum.
Journal o f Old Testament Supplement Series 23. Sheffield: JSOT Press, 1983.
279

. Judaism and the New Testament. Pages 608-12 in Dictionary o f New


Testament Background. Edited by Craig A. Evans and Stanley E. Porter. Downers
Grove, 111.: IVP, 2000.
Chennattu, Rekha M. Johannine Discipleship as a Covenant Relationship. Peabody,
Mass.: Hendrickson, 2006.
Childs, Brevard S. Biblical Theology o f the Old and New Testaments: Theological
Reflection on the Christian Bible. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1992.
. Isaiah. Old Testament Library. Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2001.
--------- . The Struggle to Understand Isaiah as Christian Scripture. Grand Rapids:
Eerdmans, 2004.
Choi, P. R. I am the Vine: An Investigation of the Relations between John 15:1-6 and
Some Parables o f the Synoptic Gospels. Biblical Research 45 (2000): 51-75.
Clark, David J. The Song o f the Vineyard: love lyric or comic ode? A study o f the oral
and discourse features o f Isaiah 5.1-7. Pages 131-46 in Discourse perspectives
on Hebrew Poetry in the Scriptures. Edited by Ernst R. Wendland. New York:
United Bible Societies, 1994.
Clark-Soles, Jaime. Scripture Cannot Be Broken: The Social Function o f the Use o f
Scripture in the Fourth Gospel. Leiden: Brill, 2003.
Clements, R. E. Isaiah 1-39. New Century Bible. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1980.
. The Unity o f the Book o f Isaiah. Interpretation 36 (1982): 117-29.
Coloe, Mary L. God Dwells with Us: Temple Symbolism in the Fourth Gospel.
Collegeville, Minn.: The Liturgical Press, 2001.
. The Beyond Beckons. Pages 211-13 in What We Have Heard From the
Beginning: The Past, Present, and Future o f Johannine Studies. Edited by Tom
Thatcher. Waco, Tex.: Baylor Press, 2007.
Cohen, Shaye D. From the Maccabees to the Mishnah. Second Edition. Louisville: WJK,
2006.
Conrad, E. W. Reading Isaiah. Overtures to Biblical Theology. Minneapolis: Fortress,
1991.
Coogan, Michael D. The New Oxford Annotated Apocrypha: New Revised Standard
Version. Revised. Fourth Edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010.
280

Cotterell, Peter and Max Turner. Linguistics & Biblical Interpretation. Downers Grove,
111.: IVP, 1989.
Culpepper, R. Alan. Anatomy o f the Fourth Gospel: A Study in Literary Design.
Foundations and Facets: New Testament. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1983.
Cullman, Oscar. Christus und die Zeit: Die urchristliche Zeit- und Geschichtsaufassung.
Zollikon-Zurich: Evangelische, 1946.
Dahood, Mitchell. Psalms 51-100. Anchor Bible 17. Garden City, N.J.: Doubleday,
1968.
Daly-Denton, Margaret. David in the Fourth Gospel: The Johannine Reception o f the
Psalms. Arbeiten zur Geschichte des antiken Judentums und des Urchristentums,
47. Leiden & Boston: Brill, 2000.
Danker, F. W., W. Bauer, W. R. Arndt, and F. W. Gingrinch. Greek English Lexicon o f
the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature. Third Edition. Chicago:
Chicago University Press, 2000.
Davidson, Richard M. Typology in Scripture: A Study o f Hermeneutical twto<; Structures.
Andrews University Seminary Doctoral Dissertation Series, Vol. II. Berrien
Springs, Mich.: Andrews University Press, 1981.
Davis, Ellen. Scripture, Culture, and Agriculture: An Agrarian Reading o f the Bible.
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009.
Delamater, Steve. A Scripture Index to Charlesworths The Old Testament
Pseudepigrapha. London; New York: Sheffield Academic, 2002.
Delitzsch, K. Biblical Commentary on the Prophecies o f Isaiah. Edinburgh: Clark, 1898.
Dennis, John A. Jesus Death and the Gathering o f True Israel: The Johannine
Appropriation o f Restoration Theology in the Light o f John 11.47-52.
Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament 217. Tiibingen: Mohr
Siebeck, 2006.
Derickson, Gary W. Viticulture and John 15:1-6. Bibliotheca Sacra 153 (1996): 3452.
DeVries, Simon J. Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow: Time and History in the Old
Testament. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1975.
Dillow, Joseph C. Abiding is remaining in fellowship: another look at John 15:1-6.
Bibliotheca Sacra 147 (1990): 44-53.
281

Dodd, C. H. According to the Scriptures: The Sub-Structure o f New Testament Theology.


London: Nisbet, 1952.
. The Interpretation o f the Fourth Gospel. Cambridge: Cambridge University
Press, 1953.
Doh, Hyunsok. The Johannine Paroimia. PhD diss., Andrews University, 1992.
Duguid, I. M. Israel. Pages 391-97 in Dictionary o f the Old Testament Prophets: A
Compendium o f Biblical Scholarship. Edited by Mark J. Boda and Gordon J.
McConville. Downers Grove, 111.: IVP, 2012.
Duhm, Bernard. Das BuchJesia. Handkommentar zum Alten Tetstament. Second
Edition. GQttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1902.
Dumbrell, William. The Purpose o f the Book of Isaiah. Tyndale Bulletin 36 (1985):
111-28.
Dunn, James D. G. Unity and Diversity in the New Testament: An Inquiry into the
Character o f Early Christianity. Third Edition. London: SCM Press, 2006.
Ebeling, Gerhard. Word and Faith. Translated by James W. Leitch. Philadelphia: Fortress
Press, 1960.
Ehrman, Bart D., ed. The Apostolic Fathers I. Loeb Christian Library 24. Cambridge,
Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2003.
Eichrodt, Walther. Theology o f the Old Testament. 2 Vols. Old Testament Library.
Translated by J. A. Barker. Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1961-1967.
Ephrem the Syrian. Hymns. Translated by Kathleen E. McVey. Classics o f Western
Spirituality. New York: Paulist Press, 1989.
Erasmus, Desiderius. Paraphrase on John. Translated by Jane E. Phillips. Collected
Works of Erasmus 46. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1991.
Evans, C. A. Obduracy and the Lords Servant: Some Observations on the Use o f the
Old Testament in the Fourth Gospel. Pages 221-36 in Early Jewish and
Christian Exegesis: Studies in Memory o f William Hugh Brownlee. Edited by C.
A. Evans and W. F. Steinspring. Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1987.
. To See and Not Perceive: Isaiah 6:9-10 in Early Jewish and Christian
Interpretation. Journal for the Study o f the Old Testament Supplement Series 64.
Sheffield: JSOT Press, 1989.

282

Firth, D. G. and H. G. M. Williamson, eds. Interpreting Isaiah: Issues and Approaches.


Downers Grove, 111.: IVP, 2009.
Freed, E. D. Old Testament Quotations in the Gospel o f John. Suppplements to Novum
Testamentum 11. Leiden: Brill, 1965.
Freudmann, Lillian C. Antisemitism in the New Testament. Lanham, Md.: University
Press o f America, 1993.
Frey, J5rg, Jan G. van der Watt, and Ruben Zimmermann, eds. Imagery in the Gospel o f
John: Terms, Forms, Themes and Theology o f Johannine Figurative Language.
Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament 200. Tiibingen: Mohr
Siebeck, 2006.
Fishbane, Michael. Biblical Interpretation in Ancient Israel. Oxford: Oxford University
Press, 1985.
Fujita, Shozo. The Metaphor o f Plant in Jewish Literature of the Intertestamental
Period. Journal fo r the Study o f Judaism in the Persian, Hellenistic, and Roman
Periods 7:1 (1976): 30-45.
Gabler, Johann P. On the Proper Distinction Between Biblical and Dogmatic Theology
and the Specific Objectives o f Each, 1789. In John Sandys-Wunsch and
Laurence Eldredge, J. P. Gabler and the Distinction Between Biblical and
Dogmatic Theology: Translation, Commentary, and Discussion o f His
Originality. Scottish Journal o f Theology 33 (1980): 133-58.
Gemiinden, Petra von. Larbre et son fruit: Analyse d un corpus dimages comme
mdthode exeg&ique. Etudes theologiques et religieuses 69 (1994): 315-27.
Giurisato, Giorgio. Der Weinstock und die Reben: Struktur und Botschaft von Joh 15,1
8. Pages 111-24 in Lebendiges Kloster. Festschrift fiir Abt Georg Holzherr zum
70 Geburtstag. Fribourg, Switzerland: Paulusverlag Freiburg Schweiz, 1997.
Glasson, T. F. Moses in the Fourth Gospel. Studies in Biblical Theology 40. London:
SCM Press, 1963.
Godet, Fr6d6ric Louis. Commentary on the Gospel o f John: With An Historical and
Critical Introduction. Translated by Timothy Dwight. 2 Vols. New York: Funk &
Wagnalls, 1886.
Goldstein, Jonathan A. I Maccabees. Anchor Bible 41. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday,
1976.
Goppelt, Leonard. Typos: Typological Interpretation o f the New Testament. Translated
by Donald H. Madvig. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1982.
283

Goodenough, E. R. Jewish Symbols in the Greco-Roman Period. 13 Vols. Bollingen


Series. New York: Pantheon Books, 1953.
Goodman, Martin. Diaspora Reactions to the Destruction o f the Temple. Pages 27-38
in Jews and Christians: The Parting o f the Ways A.D. 70-135. Edited by James
D. G. Dunn. Ttibingen: J.C.B. Mohr, 1992; Repr., Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1999.
Gourgues, Michel. La vigne du Pire (Jn 15,1-17) ou le rassemblement des enfants de
Dieu. Pages 265-81 in Communion et reunion: melanges Jean-Marie Roger
Tillard. Edited by G. R. Evans and M. Gourgues. Bibliotheca ephemeridum
theologicarum lovaniensium 121. Louvain: Leuven University Press, 1995.
GrSfier, Erich. Die antijiidische Polimek im Johannesevangelium. New Testament
Studies 11 (1964): 74-79.
Gray, G. B. A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Book o f Isaiah 1-XXV1I.
International Critical Commentary. Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1912.
Gutmann, Joseph. The Dura Europos Synagogue Paintings and Their Influence on Later
Christian and Jewish Art. Artibus et Historiae, 9 (1988): 25-9.
Haenchen, Emst. A Commentary on the Gospel o f John. Translated by Robert W. Funk. 2
vols. Hermeneia. Philadelphia: Fortress, 1984.
Hafemann, Scott J. Biblical Theology: Retrospect and Prospect. Pages 15-21 in
Biblical Theology: Retrospect and Prospect. Edited by Scott J. Hafemann;
Downers Grove, 111.: IVP, 2002.
Hafemann, Scott J. and Paul R. House, eds. Central Themes in Biblical Theology:
Mapping Unity in Diversity. Downers Grove, 111.: IVP, 2007.
Hahn, Scott W. Kinship By Covenant: A Canonical Approach to the Fulfillment o f God's
Saving Promises. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2009.
. The Kingdom o f God as Liturgical Empire: A Theological Commentary on 1-2
Chronicles. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2012.
Hall, Christopher A. Reading Scripture with the Church Fathers. Downers Grove, 111.:
IVP, 1998.
Hamilton, James M. G ods Glory in Salvation Through Judgment: A Biblical Theology.
Wheaton, 111.: Crossway, 2012.
. The Influence o f Isaiah on the Gospel o f John. Perichoresis 5 (2007): 139-62.

284

Hanson, A. T. The Prophetic Gospel: A Study o f John and the Old Testament. Scholars
Editions in Biblical Studies. London: T&T Clark, 1991.
. Johns Use of Scripture. Pages 358-79 in The Gospels and The Scriptures o f
Israel. Edited by C. A. Evans and W. R. Stenger. Journal for the Study of the New
Testament Supplement Series 104. Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1994.
Hanson, P. D. The Dawn o f Apocalyptic: The Historical and Sociological Roots o f Jewish
Apocalyptic Eschatology. Philadelphia: Fortress, 1979.
Harrington, D. The Biblical Text of Pseudo-Philos Liber Antiquitatum Biblicarum.
Catholic Biblical Quarterly 33 (1971): 1-17.
Harvey, Graham. The True Israel: Uses o f the Names Jew, Hebrew and Israel in Ancient
Jewish and Early Christian Literature. Arbeiten zur Geschichte des Antiken
Judentums und des Urchristentums 35 Boston: Brill, 2001.
Hasel, Gerhard F. The Remnant: The History and Theology o f the Remnant Idea From
Genesis to Isaiah. Andrews University Monographs V. Berrien Springs, Mich.:
Andrews University Press, 1972.
Hayes, John H. and Stuart A. Irvine. Isaiah The Eighth Century Prophet: His Times and
His Preaching. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1987.
Hayes, E. R. Justice, Righteousness. Pages 466-72 in Dictionary o f the Old Testament
Prophets: A Compendium o f Biblical Scholarship. Edited by Mark J. Boda and
Gordon J. McConville. Downers Grove, 111.: IVP, 2012.
Hays, Richard B. Echoes o f Scripture in the Letters o f Paul. New Haven: Yale University
Press, 1989.
. Reading Backwards: Figural Christology and the Fourfold Witness. Waco, Tex.:
Baylor University Press, 2014.
. The Conversion o f the Imagination: Paul as Interpreter o f Israels Scriptures.
Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2005.
Hayward, C. T. R. The Jewish Temple: A non-biblical Sourcebook. New York:
Routledge, 1996.
. Targums and the Transmission o f Scripture into Judaism and Christianity.
Studies in the Aramaic Interpretation o f Scripture. Leiden: Brill, 2010.
Helyer, Larry R. Exploring Jewish Literature o f the Second Temple Period: A Guide fo r
New Testament Students. Downers Grove, 111.: IVP, 2002.
285

Hengel, Martin. The Johannine Question. Translated by John Bowden. Philadelphia:


Trinity Press International, 1989.
. The Old Testament in the Fourth Gospel. Pages 380-95 in The Gospels and
the Scriptures o f Israel. Edited by C. A. Evans and W. R. Stenger. Journal for the
Study of the New Testament Supplement Series 104. Sheffield: Sheffield
Academic, 1994.
Hengstenberg, E. W. Commentary on the Gospel o f John. 2 Vols. Clarks Foreign
Theological Library 4:3. Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1868.
Henze, Matthias. Jewish Apocalypticism in Late First Century Israel: Reading Second
Baruch in Context. Texte und Studien zum antiken Judentum 142. Ttibignen:
Mohr Siebeck, 2011.
Hepper, F. N. Baker Encyclopedia o f Bible Plants: Flowers and Trees, Fruits and
Vegetables, Ecology. London: Angus Hudson, 1992.
Hibbard, J. Todd. Intertextuality in Isaiah 24-27: The Reuse and Evocations o f Earlier
Texts and Traditions. Forschungen zum Alten Testament 16. Ttibignen: Mohr
Siebeck, 2006.
Hill, Charles E. The Johannine Corpus in the Early Church. Oxford: Oxford University
Press, 2004.
Hollander, John. The Figure o f Echo: A Mode o f Allusion in Milton and After. Berkley:
University o f California Press, 1981.
Hoope, Mary Anne. Vineyard: An Ecclesiological Model. PhD Diss., Saint Louis
University, 1981.
Horgan, Maurya P. Pesharim: Qumran Interpretation o f Biblical Books. Catholic Biblical
Quarterly Monograph Series 8. Washington: Catholic Biblical Association of
America, 1979.
Hoskyns, E. C, The Fourth Gospel. Edited by Francis Noel Davey. Second Edition.
London: Faber & Faber, 1947.
House, Paul R. Isaiah. 3 Vols. Ross-Femshire, Scotland: Christian Focus, forthcoming.
Htibner, Hans. Vetus Testamentum in Novo. Vol. 1, 2: Evangelium secundum Johannem.
Gdttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2003.
. Biblische Theologie des Neuen Testaments. 3 Vols. Gottingen: Vandenhoeck &
Ruprecht, 1990.
286

Huffmon, Herbert B. Covenant Lawsuit in the Prophets. Journal o f Biblical Literature


78 (1959): 285-95.
Hutchinson, John C. The Vine in John 15 and Old Testament Imagery in the I am
statements. Bibliotheca Sacra 168 (2011): 63-80.
Instone-Brewer, David. Traditions o f the Rabbis from the New Testament Era, Volume 1:
Prayer and Agriculture. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2004.
Itoh, Ryo. Literary and Linguistic Approach to Isaiah 24-27. PhD Diss., Trinity
Evangelical Divinity School, 1995.
Jacob, Edmund. Du premier au deuxieme chant de la vinge du prophete Esaie,
Reflexions sure Esaie 27,2-5. Pages 325-30 in Wort-Gebot-Glaube: Beitrage
zur Theologie des Alten Testaments. Walter Eichrodt zum 80. Geburtstag. Edited
by H. J. Stoebe, J. J. Stamm, and E. Jenni. Abanhandlung zur Theologie des Alten
und Neuen Testaments 59. Zurich: Zwingli, 1970.
Jacobsen, Howard D. A Commentary on Pseudo-Philos Liber Antiquitatum Biblicarum:
With Latin Text and English Translation, 2 vols. Arbeiten zur Geschichte des
Antiken Judentums und des Urchristentums 31. Leiden: Brill, 1996.
Jaubert, Annie. Limage de la Vigne (Jean 15). Pages 93-99 in Oikonomia;
Heilsgeschichte Cullmann zum 65ten Geburtstag. Hamburg-Bergstedy: Herbert
Reich Evang Verlag, 1967.
Jenner, Konrad D. The Big Shofar (Isaiah 27:13): A Hapax Legomenon. Pages 157
182 in Studies in Isaiah 24-27: The Isaiah Workshop (De Jesaja Werkplaats).
Edited by Hendrick Jan Bosman and Harm van Grol. Oudtestamentische Studign
43. Leiden; Boston: Brill, 2000.
Jobes, Karen H. and Moises Silva. Invitation to the Septuagint. Grand Rapids: Baker,
2000.
Johnson, Benjamin J. M. Whoever Gives Me Thoms and Thistles: Rhetorical
Ambiguity and the Use of'|rp D in Isaiah 27.2-6. Journal fo r the Study o f the
Old Testament 36.1 (2011): 105-26.
Johnson, Dan G. From Chaos to Restoration: An Integrative Reading o f Isaiah 24-27.
Journal for the Study o f the Old Testament Supplement Series 61. Sheffield:
Sheffield University Press, 1988.
Josephus. Translated by H. St. J. Thackery et al. 10 vols. Loeb Classical Library.
Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1926-1965.

287

Joiion, P. A Grammar o f Biblical Hebrew. Translated and Revised by T. Muraoka. 2


Vols. Subsidia biblica 14/1-2. Pontifical Biblical Institute: Rome, 1991.
Kaiser, Otto. Isaiah 1-12: A Commentary. Old Testament Library. Philadelphia:
Westminster, 1972.
Kaiser, Walter C. The Promise-Plan o f God: A Biblical Theology o f the Old and New
Testaments. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2008.
Kealey, Sean P. John's Gospel and the History o f Biblical Interpretation. 2 Vols. Mellen
Biblical Press 60. Lewiston, N.Y.: Edwin Mellen Press, 2002.
Keener, Craig S. The Gospel o f John: A Commentary. 2 vols. Peabody, Mass.:
Hendrickson, 2003.
Keller, David S. Vineyard imageries in the Old Testament prophets. PhD Diss.,
University of Minnesota, 1995.
Kellum, L. Scott. The Unity o f the Farewell Discourse: The Literary Integrity o f John
13:31-16:33. Journal for the Study of the New Testament Supplement Series 256.
New York; London: T & T Clark, 2004.
. Farewell Discourse. Pages 266-69 in Dictionary o f Jesus and the Gospels.
Edited by Joel B. Green, Jeannine K. Brown, and Nicholas Perrin. Second
Edition. Downers Grove, 111.: IVP, 2013.
Kerr, Alan R. The Temple o f Jesus' Body: The Temple Theme in the Gospel o f John
Journal for the Study o f the New Testament Supplement Series 220. Sheffield:
Sheffield Academic Press, 2002.
Kim, S. J. Friendship and Discipleship in John 15:1-17. Yonsei Review o f Theology &
Culture 1 (2002): 129-36.
Kldppenborg, John. The Tenants in the Vineyard Ideology, Economics, and Agrarian
Conflict in Jewish Palestine. Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen
Testament 195. Tubingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2006.
van der Kooij, Arie and Michael N. van der Meer, eds. The Old Greek o f Isaiah: Issues
and Perspectives. Contributions to Biblical Exegesis and Theology 55. Leuven:
Peeters, 2010.
Koester, Craig R. Symbolism in the Fourth Gospel: Meaning, Mystery, Community.
Second Edition. Minneapolis: Fortress, 2003.

288

Koet, Bart J. Isaiah in Luke-Acts. Pages 79-100 in Isaiah in the New Testament. Edited
by Steve Moyise and Maarten J. J. Menken. New York; London: T & T Clark,
2005.
KOstenberger, Andreas J. Abide. Pages 1-2 in Dictionary o f Jesus and the Gospels.
Second Edition. Edited by Joel B. Green, Jeannine K. Brown, and Nicholas
Perrin. Downers Grove, 111.: IVP, 2013.
. John. Pages 415-512 in Commentary on the New Testament Use o f the Old
Testament. Edited by D. A. Carson and G. K. Beale. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2007.
. The Missions o f Jesus and the Disciples According to the Fourth Gospel. Grand
Rapids: Eerdmans, 1998.
Kratz, R. G. Israel in the Book of Isaiah. Journalfo r the Study o f the Old Testament
31.1 (2006): 103-28.
Kraus, H. J. Psalms 60-150: A Commentary. Translated by Hilton C. Oswald.
Continental Commentaries. Minneapolis: Fortress, 1993.
Kristeva, Julia. Desire in Language: A Semiotic Approach to Literature and Art. New
York: Columbia University Press, 1980.
Lagrange, M. J. Evangile selon Saint Jean. Paris: Gabalda, 1927.
Lampe, G. W. H. and K. J. Woolcombe. Essays on Typology. Studies in Biblical
Theology. London: SCM Press, 1957.
Laney, J. Carl. Abiding is Believing: The Analogy o f the Vine in John 15:1-6.
Bibliotheca Sacra 146 (1989): 55-66.
Laniak, Timothy. Shepherds After My Own Heart: Pastoral Traditions and Leadership.
New Studies in Biblical Theology 20. Downers Grove, 111.: IVP, 2006.
Lattke, Michael. Odes o f Solomon: A Commentary. Translated by Marianne Ehrhardt.
Hermeneia. Minneapolis: Fortress, 2009.
Lee, D. A. Flesh and Glory: Symbolism, Gender and Theology in the Gospel o f John.
New York: Crossroad, 2002.
Leene, Hendrik. Isaiah 27:7-9 as a Bridge between Vineyard and City. Pages 199-225
in Studies in Isaiah 24-27: The Isaiah Workshop (DeJesaja Werkplaats). Edited
by Hendrick Jan Bosman and Harm van Grol. Oudtestamentische Studien 43.
Leiden; Boston: Brill, 2000.

289

Leibig, J. E. John and the Jews: Theological Antisemitism in the Fourth Gospel.
Journal o f Ecumenical Studies 20 (1983): 209-34.
Leonard, Jeffery M. Identifying Inner-Biblical Allusions: Psalm 78 as a Test Case.
Journal o f Biblical Literature 127:2 (2008): 241-65.
Letham, Robert. Union with Christ: In Scripture, History, and Theology. Phillipsburg,
N.J.: P&R Publishing, 2011.
Levenson, John D. Resurrection and Restoration o f Israel: The Ultimate Victory o f the
God o f Life. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006.
Lightfoot, R. H. St. John's Gospel: A Commentary. Oxford: Oxford University Press,
1956.
Lim, Lilian Hui-Kiau. Christ and Community in the Fourth Gospel: Pastoral symbols as
symbolic relationship. PhD Diss., The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary,
1996.
Lincoln, Andrew T. Truth on Trial: The Lawsuit M otif in the Fourth Gospel. Peabody,
Mass.: Hendrickson, 2000.
Lindars, Barnabas. New Testament Apologetic: The Doctrinal Significance o f the Old
Testament Quotations. London: SCM, 1961.
. The Gospel o f John. New Century Bible 34. London: Oliphants, 1972.
Litwak, K. D. Echoes o f Scripture in Luke-Acts: Telling the History o f G ods People
Intertextually. Journal for the Study o f the New Testament Supplement 282.
London: T & T Clark, 2005.
Longenecker, Richard N. Biblical Exegesis in the Apostolic Period. Second Edition.
Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1999.
Louw, J. P. and Eugene Nida. Greek-English Lexicon o f the New Testament: Based on
Semantic Domains. New York: United Bible Societies, 1989.
Luther, Martin. Sermons on the Gospel o f St. John: Chapters 14-16. Volume 24 of
Luthers Works. Edited by Jaroslav Pelikan and Daniel E. Poellot. Translated by
Martin E. Betram. St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1961.
Manning, Jr., Gary T. Echoes o f a Prophet: The Use o f Ezekiel in the Gospel ofJohn and
in Literature o f the Second Temple Period. Journal for the Study o f the New
Testament Supplement Series 270. London: T & T Clark, 2004.

290

Macky, Peter W. The Centrality o f Metaphors to Biblical Thought: A Methodfor


Interpreting the Bible. Studies in the Bible and Early Christianity. Lewiston,
N.Y.: Edwin Mellen, 1990.
Malatesta, Edward. Inferiority and Covenant: A Study o f eTvat tv and (xivetv tv In the First
Letter o f Saint John. Analecta Biblica 69. Rome: Biblical Institute Press, 1978.
Marsh, John. The Gospel o f Saint John. Baltimore: Penguin, 1968.
Mason, Steve. Josephus and the New Testament. Second Edition. Grand Rapids: Baker,
2002 .
--------- . Josephus, Judea, and Christian Origins: Methods and Categories. Grand
Rapids: Baker, 2008.
Martens, Elmer. Reading the Earth Story in Both Testaments. Pages 231-41 in The Old
Testament in the Life o f G ods People: Essays in Honour o f Elmer Martens.
Edited by John Isak. Winona Lake, Ind.: Eisenbrauns, 2009.
Martinez, Florentino Garcia and Eibert J. C. Tigchelaar. The Dead Sea Scrolls Study
Edition. 2 vols. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1997-98.
Martyn, J. Louis. History and Theology in the Fourth Gospel. Second Edition. Nashville:
Abingdon, 1979. Third Edition. New Testament Library. Louisville: Westminster
John Knox, 2003.
Matthews, Victor H. Treading the Winepress: Actual and Metaphorical Viticulture in
the Ancient Near East. Semeia 86 (1999): 19-32.
Mayo, P. L. The Role of the Birkath Haminim in Early Jewish-Christian Relations: A
Reexamination o f the Evidence. Bulletin fo r Biblical Research 16 (2006): 325
44.
McCaffrey, James. The House with Many Rooms: The Temple Theme o f John 14:2-3.
Rome: Biblical Institute, 1988.
McConville, J. G. Deuteronomy. Apollos Old Testament Commentary 5. Downers Grove,
111.: IVP, 2002.
McKinion, Steven A. ed., Isaiah 1-39. Ancient Christian Commentary 10. Downers
Grove: IVP, 2004.
Meeks, Wayne A. The Prophet-King: Moses Traditions and Johannine Christology.
Leiden: Brill, 1967.

291

Menken, M. J. J. Old Testament Quotations in the Fourth Gospel: Studies in Textual


Form. Contributions to Biblical Exegesis and Theology 15. Kampen: Kok, 1996.
Merrill, Eugene H. Kingdom o f Priests: A History o f Old Testament Israel. Second
Edition. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2008.
Michaels, J. Ramsey. The Gospel o f John. New International Commentary on the New
Testament. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2010.
Millar, William R. Isaiah 24-27 and the Origin o f Apocalyptic. Harvard Semitic
Monographs 11. Missoula, Mont.: Scholars Press, 1976.
Minear, Anthony Thomas. A Sequential Analysis o f Isaiah 24-27. PhD Diss.,
University o f St. Michaels College, 2008.
Moloney, F. J. Love in the Gospel o f John: An Exegetical, Theological, and Literary
Study. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2013.
. The Gospel o f John. Sacra Pagina 4. Collegeville, Minn.: Liturgical Press, 1998.
Morgan, Robert. The Nature o f New Testament Theology: The Contribution o f William
Wrede and A dolf Schlatter. Studies in Biblical Theology 25. London: S. C. M.
Press, 1973.
Morris, Leon. The Gospel According to John. New International Commentary on the
New Testament. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1995.
Morrow, Francis J. The Text of Isaiah at Qumran. PhD Diss., The Catholic University
of America, 1973.
Motyer, J. A. The Prophecy o f Isaiah: An Introduction and Commentary. Downers
Grove, 111. IVP: 1993.
Motyer, Stephen. Your Father the Devil? A New Approach to John and the Jews .
Paternoster Biblical and Theological Monographs. Carlisle, U. K.: Paternoster,
1997.
Moysie, Steve and M. J. J. Menken, eds., Isaiah in the New Testament. London: T & T
Clark, 2005.
Murray, Robert. Symbols o f Church and Kingdom: A Study in Early Syriac Tradition.
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1975.

292

Naaman, Nadav. Historical and Chronological Notes on the Kingdoms o f Israel and
Judah in the 8th Century B.C.E. Pages 236-55 in Ancient Israels History and
Historiography: The First Temple Period, Vol. 3. Winona Lake, Ind.:
Eisenbrauns, 2006.
Neusner, Jacob. Rabbinic Judaism: Structure and System. USF Studies in the History of
Judaism. Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1999.
Ng, Wai-Yee. Water Symbolism in John: An Eschatological Interpretation. Studies in
Biblical Literature 15. New York: Peter Lang, 2001.
Nickelsburg, G. W. E. 1 Enoch 1: A Commentary on the Book o f I Enoch Chapters 1-36;
81-108 Hermenia. Minneapolis, Fortress, 2001.
--------- . Jewish Literature Between the Bible and the Mishnah: A Historical and Literary
Introduction. Philadelphia: Fortress, 1981.
Nielsen, Kirsten. From Oracles to CanonAnd the Role o f Metaphor. Scandinavian
Journal o f the Old Testament 17:1 (2008): 22-33.
. Metaphors and Biblical Theology. Pages 263-73 in Metaphor in the Hebrew
Bible. Edited by P. van Hecke. Bibliotheca Ephemeridum Theologicarum
Lovaniensium 187. Leuven: University Press, 2005.
. Old Testament Imagery in the Gospel o f John. Pages 72-76 in New Readings
in John. Edited by Johannes Nissen and Sigffed Pedersen. Journal for the Study of
the New Testament Supplement Series 182. Sheffield: Sheffield Academic, 1999.
. There is Hope fo r a Tree: The Tree as Metaphor in Isaiah. Journal for the Study
o f the Old Testament Supplement Series 65. Sheffield: JSOT Press, 1989.
. Yahweh as Prosecutor and Judge: An Investigation o f the Prophetic Lawsuit
(Rlb-pattem). Journal for the Study of the Old Testament Supplement Series 9.
Sheffield: University o f Sheffield, 1978.
Nir, Rivka. The Destruction o f Jerusalem and the Idea o f Redemption in the Syriac
Apocalypse o f Baruch. Atlanta: Society o f Biblical Literature, 2003.
Norris, Laurie L. The Function o f New Testament Warning Passages: A Speech Act
Theory Approach. PhD Diss., Wheaton College, 2011.
Novak, Michael Anthony. The Odes o f Solomon as Apocalyptic Literature. Vigiliae
christianae 66 (2012): 527-50.
OBrien, Mark, ed. Seeing Signals, Reading Signs: The Art o f Exegesis. New York: T &
T Clark, 2004.
293

Ollenburger, Ben C., ed. Old Testament Theology: Flowering and Future. Second
Edition. Winona Lake, Ind.: Eisenbrauns, 2004.
Origen. Commentary on the Gospel According to John. Books 1-10. Translated by
Ronald E. Heine. The Fathers o f the Church 80. Washington, D.C.: Catholic
University of America Press, 1989.
Oswalt, John N. The Book o f Isaiah: Chapters 1-39. New International Commentary on
the Old Testament. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1986.
. The Book o f Isaiah: Chapters 40-66. New International Commentary on the Old
Testament. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1998.
Pancaro, Severino. The Relationship o f the Church to Israel in St Johns Gospel. New
Testament Studies 21 (1975): 396-405.
Patte, Daniel. Early Jewish Hermeneutic in Palestine. Society o f Biblical Literature
Dissertation Series 22. Missoula, Mont.: Society o f Biblical Literature, 1975.
Pennington, Jonathan. Reading the Gospels Wisely: A Narrative and Theological
Introduction. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2012.
Peligro, J. D. Johannine Ecclesiology in the Light o f the Parable o f the Vine and the
Branches (Jn. 15:1-6). Quaerens 1 (1997): 119-72.
Perrin, Nicholas. Dialogic Conceptions and the Problem o f Biblical Unity. Pages 212
24 in Biblical Theology in Retrospect and Prospect. Edited by Scott J. Hafemann.
Downers Grove, 111.: IVP, 2002.
Petersen, Silke. Brot, Licht, und Weinstock: Intertextuelle Analysen johanneischer Ichbin-Worte. Supplements to Novum Testamentum 127. Leiden; Boston: Brill,
2008.
Peterson, Robert. Union with Christ in the Gospel of John. Presbyterion 39 (2013): 9 29.
Petit, O. La vigne: les 6chos theologiques dune figure biblique. Semiotique et Bible
109(2003): 56-61.
Peuch, Emile. Qumran Grotte 4: XVIII, Textes Hebreux (4Q52I-4Q528, 4Q576-4Q579).
Discoveries in the Judean Desert XXV. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1998.
Philo o f Alexandria. Translated by F. H. Colson et al. Loeb Classical Library. 10 vols.
Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1929-1962.

294

Pisarek, Stanisfaw. Christ the son and the father-farmer in the image o f the vine (Jn
15.1-11,12-17). Pages 240-46 in Testimony and Interpretation: Early
Christology in Its Judeo-Hellenistic Milieu. Studies in Honor o f Petr Porkorny.
Edited by Jiff Mr&zek and Jan Roskovec. Journal for the Study o f the New
Testament Supplement Series 272. London: T & T Clark, 2004.
Polaski, Donald C. Authorizing an End: The Isaiah Apocalypse & Intertextuality. Biblical
Interpretation Series 50. Boston: Brill, 2001.
Porter, Stanley E. Allusions and Echoes. Pages 29-40 in As It Is Written: Studying
Pauls Use o f Scripture. Edited by S. E. Porter and C. D. Stanley. Society of
Biblical Literature Symposium Series 50. Atlanta: Society o f Biblical Literature,
2008.
Pryor, John W. Covenant and Community in Johns Gospel. Reformed Theological
Review 47(1988): 44-51.
--------- . John: Evangelist o f the Covenant People: The Narrative & Themes o f the Fourth
Gospel. Downers Grove, 111.: IVP, 1992.
Qimron, Elisha with James Charlesworth et al. Some Works o f the Torah, in The Dead
Sea Scrolls: Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek Texts with English Translations, Vol.
3: Damascus Document II, Some Works o f the Torah, and Related Documents.
Edited by James H. Charlesworth. Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2006.
Qimron, Elisha and J. Charlesworth. Rule of the Community (IQS), in The Dead Sea
Scrolls: Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek Texts with English Translations, Vol. I:
Rule o f the Community and Related Documents. Edited by James H. Charlesworth
et al. Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 1994.
Rad, Gerhard von. Old Testament Theology. 2 Vols. Translated by D. Stalker. Edinburgh:
Oliver & Boyd, 1962,1965.
Rahlfs, Alfred, ed., Septuaginta. Editio altera. Revised by Robert Hanhart. Stuttgart:
Deutche Bibelgesellschaft, 2006.
Rainbow, Paul A. Johannine Theology: The Gospel, The Epistles and the Apocalypse.
Nottingham: Apollos; Downers Grove: IVP, 2014.
RSisanen, Heikki. Beyond New Testament Theology: A Story and a Programme. Second
Edition. London: SCM, 2000.
Ramsey, G. W. Speech-Forms in Hebrew Law and Prophetic Oracles. Journal o f
Biblical Literature 96 (1977): 45-58.

295

Reitz, Henry W. Morisada. The Qumran Conception of Time. Pages 203-34 in The
Bible and the Dead Sea Scrolls, Vol. 2: The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Qumran
Community. Edited by James H. Charlesworth. Waco: Baylor University Press,
2006.
Reventlow, H. G. and Y. Hoffman, eds. Justice and Righteousness: Biblical Themes and
Their Influence. Journal for the Study o f the Old Testament Supplemental Series
137. Sheffield: JSOT Press, 1992.
Richards, I. A. The Philosophy o f Rhetoric. London: Oxford University, 1936.
Ridderbos, H. The Gospel o f John: A Theological Commentary. Translated by J. Vriend.
Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1991.
. Redemptive History and the New Testament Scriptures. Translated by H. De
Jongst. Second Edition. Phillipsburg: Presbyterian and Reformed, 1988.
Ritt, Hubert. Der christologische Imperativ: zur Weinstock-Metapher in der
testamentarischen Mahnrede Joh 15,1-17. Pages 136-50 in Neues Testament und
Ethik. Edited by H. Merklein. Freiburg i. Br: Herder, 1989.
Robinson, H. Wheeler. Corporate Personality in Ancient Israel. Revised Edition. New
York: T &T Clark, 1992.
Robinson, J. A. T. Redating the New Testament. London: SCM Press, 1976.
. The Priority o f John. Edited by J. F. Coakley. London: SCM, 1985.
Ross, Allen P. Introducing Biblical Hebrew. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2001.
. A Commentary on the Psalms: Volume 1 (1-41). Grand Rapids: Kregel, 2011.
. A Commentary on the Psalms: Volume 2 (42-89). Grand Rapids: Kregel, 2013.
. Recalling the Hope o f Glory: Biblical Worship from the Garden to New
Creation. Grand Rapids: Kregel, 2006.
Rosscup, James. Abiding in Christ: Studies in John 15. Eugene, Ore.: W ipf & Stock,
2003.
Routledge, Robin. Old Testament Theology: A Thematic Approach. Downers Grove, 111.:
IVP, 2008.
Runge, Steven E. Discourse Grammar o f the Greek New Testament: A Practical
Introduction fo r Teaching and Exegesis. Logos Bible Software; Peabody, Mass.:
Hendrickson, 2010.
296

Ryken, Leyland, ed. Dictionary o f Biblical Imagery. Downers Grove, 111.: IVP, 1998.
Sayler, Gwendolyn B. Have the Promises Failed?: A Literary Analysis o f 2 Baruch.
Society of Biblical Literature Dissertation Series. Chico, Calif.: Scholars Press,
1984.
Schlatter, Adolf. Der Evangelist Johannes: Wie er spricht, er denkt und glaubt; ein
Kommentarzum vierten Evangelium. Second Edition. Stuttgart: Calwer, 1948.
Schnackenburg, Rudolf. The Gospel According to St. John. 3 vols. New York: Crossroad,
1982.
Schreiner, Thomas R. The King in His Beauty: A Biblical Theology o f the Old and New
Testaments. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2013.
Schuchard, Bruce G. Scripture Within Scripture: The Interrelationship o f Form and
Function in the Explicit Old Testament Citations in the Gospel o f John. Society o f
Biblical Literature Dissertation Series 133. Atlanta, Ga.: Scholars Press, 1992.
Scobie, Charles H. The Ways o f Our God: An Approach to Biblical Theology. Grand
Rapids: Eerdmans, 2003.
Scholtissek, Klaus. In ihm sein und bleiben: Die Sprache der Immanenz in den
johanneischen Schriften. Herders Biblische Studien 21. Freiburg; New York:
Herder, 2000.
Schultz, Richard L. Brevard Childs Contribution to Old Testament Interpretation: An
Evangelical Appreciation and Assessment. Princeton Theological Review 14
(2008): 69-94.
. Nationalism and universalism in Isaiah. Pages 122-44 in Interpreting Isaiah:
Issues and Approaches. Edited by David G. Firth and H. G. M. Williamson.
Downers Grove, 111.: IVP, 2009.
Schiirer, Emil. The History o f the Jewish People in the Age ofJesus Christ (175 B.C. A.D. 135). 2 vols. Revised and Edited by G6za Verm&s and Fergus Millar.
Revised Edition. New York: T & T Clark, 2000.
Schweitzer, Eduard. Ego Eimi: Die religionsgeschitliche Herkunft und theologische
Bedeutung der johanneischen Bildreden, zugleich ein Beitrag zur Quellenfrage
des vierten Evangeliums. Forschungen zur Religion und Literatur des Alten und
Neuen Testaments 38. Gottingen: Vandenhoeck und Ruprecht, 1939.
. The concept of the Church in the Gospel and Epistles of St. John. Pages 23045 in New Testament Essays: Studies in Memory o f T. W. Manson. Edited by A. J.
B. Higgins. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1959.
297

Schwank, B. Ich bin der wahre Weinstock (Joh 15,1) Erbe undAuftrag 74 (1998):
241-43.
Segovia, Fernando. The Farewell o f the Word: The Johannine Call to Abide.
Philadelphia: Fortress, 1991.
. The theology and provenance o f John 15:1-17. Journal o f Biblical Literature
101 (1982): 115-28.
Seitz, Christopher R. Isaiah 1-39. Interpretation. Louisville: John Knox Press, 1993.
. Prophecy and Hermeneutics: Toward a New Introduction to the Prophets.
Studies in Theological Interpretation. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2007.
. The Character o f Christian Scripture: The Significance o f a Two-Testament
Bible. Studies in Theological Interpretation. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2011.
. Zions Final Destiny: The Development o f the Book o f Isaiah: A Reassessment o f
Isaiah 36-39. Minneapolis: Fortress, 1991.
Sheppard, Gerald T. More on Isaiah 5:1-7 as a Juridical Parable. Catholic Biblical
Quarterly 44 (1982): 45-47.
Sheridan, Ruth. Johns Gospel and Modern Genre Theory: The Farewell Discourse
(John 13-17) as a Test Case. Irish Theological Quarterly 75 (2010): 287-99.
Sivla, Moists. Biblical Words and Their Meaning: An Introduction to Lexical Semantics.
Revised Edition. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1994.
Simonetti, Manlio. Biblical Interpretation in the Early Church. Translated by John A.
Hughes. Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1994.
Skeehan, Patrick. The Wisdom o f Ben Sira: A New Translation with Notes. Anchor Bible
39. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1987.
Smith, Gary V. Isaiah 1-39. New American Commentary 15A. Nashville: B & H, 2007.
. Isaiah 40-66. New American Commentary 15B. Nashville: B & H, 2009.
Smoak, Jeremy D. Building Houses and Planting Vineyards: The Inner Biblical
Discourse o f an Ancient Israelite Curse. Journal o f Biblical Literature 127
(2008): 19-35.
Snodgrass, Klyne R. The Parable o f the Wicked Tenants. Wissenschaftliche
Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament 27. Tubingen: Mohr-Siebeck, 1983.
298

Stamper, Meda A. A. Performing Love: Entering the Future Through the Ending of
John. PhD Diss., Princeton Theological Seminary, 2008.
Stegmann, Hartmut, Eileen Schuller, and Carol Newsom. Qumran Cave I.Ill:
lQ H odayof: With Incorporation o f 4QHodayof'*and lQ H odayof. Discoveries
in the Judean Desert XL. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009.
Sternberg, Meir. The Poetics o f Biblical Narrative. Bloomington, Ind.: Indiana University
Press, 1987.
Stibbe, Mark W. G. John as Storyteller: Narrative Criticism and the Fourth Gospel.
Society for New Testament Studies Manuscript Series 73. Cambridge; New York:
Cambridge University Press, 1992.
Stone, M. E. Fourth Ezra: A Commentary on the Book o f Fourth Ezra. Hermeneia.
Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1990.
Stordalen, T. Echoes o f Eden: Genesis 2-3 and Symbolism o f the Eden Garden in
Biblical Hebrew Literature. Contributions to Biblical Exegesis and Theology 25.
Leuven: Peeters, 2000.
Story, John Lyle. Biblical Agrarian Imagery: A Salvation Historical Perspective on the
People o f God. PhD Diss., Fuller Theological Seminary, 1984.
Streett, Andrew D. The Vine and the Son o f Man: Eschatological Interpretation o f Psalm
80 in Early Judaism. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2014.
Stuart, Douglas. Exodus. New American Commentary 2. Nashville: B&H, 2006.
. Hosea-Jonah. Word Biblical Commentary 31. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1987.
Stuckenbruck, Loren. The Dead Sea Scrolls and the New Testament. Pages 131-70 in
Qumran and the Bible: Studying the Jewish and Christian Scriptures in Light o f
the Dead Sea Scrolls. Edited by N6ra Ddvid and Armin Lange. Contributions to
Biblical Exegesis and Theology 57. Leuven: Peeters, 2010.
Stuhlmacher, Peter. How to Do Biblical Theology. Princeton Theological Monograph
Series 38. Allison Park, Pa.: Pickwick, 1995.
Swarup, Paul. The Self-Understanding o f the Dead Sea Scrolls Community: An Eternal
Planting, A House o f Holiness. Library o f Second Temple Studies 59. New York:
T & T Clark, 2006.

299

Sweeney, Marvin A. New gleanings from an Old Vineyard: Isaiah 27 Reconsidered.


Pages 51-66 in Early Jewish and Christian Exegesis: Studies in Memory o f
William Hugh Brownlee. Edited by C. A. Evans and W. F. Steinspring. Atlanta:
Scholars Press, 1987.
. Isaiah 1-39: With an Introduction to Prophetic Literature. Forms o f the Old
Testament Literature 16. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1996.
. Isaiah 1-4 and the Post-Exilic Understanding o f the Isaianic Tradition.
Zeitschrift fur die neutestamentliche Wissenschaft und die Kunde der Slteren
Kirche 171. Berlin; New York: de Gruyter, 1988.
Tabb, Brian J. Johannine Fulfillment o f Scripture: Continuity and Escalation. Bulletin
fo r Biblical Research 21 (2011): 495-505.
Tasker, R. V. G. The Gospel According to John: An Introduction and Commentary.
Tyndale New Testament Commentaries 4. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1960.
Tate, Marvin E. Psalms 51-100. Word Biblical Commentary 20. Dallas: Word Books,
1990.
Tcherikover, Victor. The Ideology of the Letter o f Aristeas. Harvard Theological
Review 51 (1958): 78-89.
Teachout, Robert Paul. The Use o f wine in the Old Testament. ThD Diss., Dallas
Theological Seminary, 1979.
The Ante-Nicene Fathers. Edited by Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson. 1885
1887. 10 vols. Repr. Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson, 1994.
The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers. First Series. Edited by Philip Schaff. 1886. 14 vols.
Repr. Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson, 1994.
The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers. Second Series. Edited by Philip Schaff and Henry
Wace. 1890. 14 vols. Repr. Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson, 1994.
Tholuck, Augustus. Commentary on the Gospel o f John. Translated by Charles P. Karuth.
Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1859.
Tilborg, Sjef van. Ideology and Text: John 15 in the Context o f the Farewell Discourse.
Pages 259-70 in Text and Interpretation: New Approaches in the Criticism o f the
New Testament. Edited by P. J. Hartin and J. H. Petzer. Leiden: Brill, 1991.
Thomas, Heath A. Building House to House (Isaiah 5:8): Theological Reflection on
Land Development and Creation Care. Bulletin fo r Biblical Research 21 (2011):
189-212.
300

Tiller, Patrick. The Eternal Planting in the Dead Sea Scrolls. Dead Sea Discoveries 4
(1997): 312-35.
Troxel, R. L. LXX-Isaiah as Translation and Interpretation: The Strategies o f the
Translator o f the Septuagint o f Isaiah. Supplements to the Journal for the Study of
Judaism 124. Leiden: Brill, 2008.
Um, Stephen T. The Theme o f Temple Christo logy in Johns Gospel. Library o f New
Testament Studies 312. New York: T & T Clark, 2006.
Van der Watt, J. G. Die gebruik van die metafore in Psalm 80 (79-LXX) in vergelyking
met Johannes \5 :l-S . Skrif en Kerk 20 (1999): 455-64.
. Family o f the King: Dynamics o f Metaphor in the Gospel According to John.
Biblical Interpretation Series 47. Leiden: Brill, 2000.
. Metaphorik in Joh 15,1-8. Biblische Zeitschrift 38 (1994): 67-80.
van Grol, H. W. M. An Analysis o f the Verse Structure o f Isaiah 24-27. Pages 51-80
in Studies in Isaiah 24-27: The Isaiah Workshop - DeJesaja Werkplaats. Edited
by Hendrick Jan Bosman and Harm van Grol. Oudtestamentische Studign 43.
Leiden; Boston: Brill, 2000.
Vanhoozer, Kevin J. Is There a Meaning in this Text? The Bible, The Reader, and The
Morality o f Literary Knowledge. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1998.
Vermes, Geza. The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls in English. Revised. 15th Edition.
London; New York: Penguin, 2011.
Wahlde, Urban von. The Gospel and Letters o f John: Commentary on the Gospel o f John.
3 vols. Eerdmans Critical Commentary. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2010.
Wallace, Daniel B. Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics: An Exegetical Syntax o f the New
Testament. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1996.
Wallace, Howard N. Harvesting the Vineyard: The Development o f Vineyard Imagery
in the Hebrew Bible. Pages 117-129 in Seeing Signals, Reading Signs. Edited by
Mark O Brien. New York: T & T Clark, 2004.
Walsh, Ellen Cary. Fruit o f the Vine: Viticulture in Ancient Israel. Harvard Semitic
Monographs 60. Winona Lake, Ind.: Eisenbrauns, 2000.
Waltke, Bruce K. An Old Testament Theology: An Exegetical, Canonical, and Thematic
Approach. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2006.

301

Waltke, Bruce K. and M. O Connor. An Introduction to Biblical Hebrew Syntax. Winona


Lake, Ind.: Eisenbrauns, 1990.
Watson, Francis. Text and Truth: Redefining Biblical Theology. Grand Rapids:
Eerdmans, 1997.
Watts, John D. W. Isaiah. Word Biblical Commentary 24. Revised Edition. Nashville:
Thomas Nelson, 2005.
Westcott, B. F. The Gospel According to St. John: The Greek Text with Introduction and
Notes. 2 vols. London: Murray, 1908.
Westermann, Claus. The Old Testament and Jesus Christ. Minneapolis: Augsburg, 1970.
Wiarda, Timothy. Interpreting Gospel Narratives: Scenes, People, and Theology.
Nashville: B&H Academic, 2010.
Wildberger, Hans. Isaiah 1-12. Continental Commentaries. Translated by Thomas H.
Trapp. Minneapolis: Fortress, 1991.
. Isaiah 13-27. Continental Commentaries. Translated by Thomas H. Trapp.
Minneapolis: Fortress, 1997.
Wilckens, Ulrich. Der Sohn Gottes und seine Gemeinde: Aufsdtze zur Theologie der
Johanneischen Schriften. Forschungen zur Religion und Literatur des Alten und
Neuen Testaments 200. GOttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2003.
Wiles, Maurice F. The Spiritual Gospel: The Interpretation o f the Fourth Gospel in the
Early Church. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1959.
Williams, Catrin H. Isaiah in Johns Gospel. Pages 101-16 in Isaiah in the New
Testament. Edited by Steve Moyise and Maarten J. J. Menken. The New
Testament and the Scriptures o f Israel. New York: T & T Clark, 2005.
. The Testimony of Isaiah and Johannine Christology. Pages 107-24 in As
Those Who are Taught The Interpretation ofIsaiah from the LXX to the SBL.
Edited by Claire Mathews McGinnis and Patricia K. Tull. Society o f Biblical
Literature Symposium Series 27. Atlanta: Scholars Press, 2006.
Williams, David S. The Structure o f 1 Maccabees. Catholic Biblical Quarterly
Manuscript Series 31. Washington D.C.: Catholic Biblical Association, 1999.
Williams, Gary Roye. Frustrated Expectations in Isaiah V 1-7: A Literary
Interpretation. Vetus Testamentum XXXV 4 (1985): 459-65.

302

Williams, Ronald J. Hebrew Syntax: An Outline. Second Edition. Toronto: University of


Toronto Press, 1976.
Williamson, H. G. M. Isaiah 1-27: Volume 1 (Isaiah 1-5). International Critical
Commentary. London: T & T Clark, 2006.
Witherington, Ben. Johns Wisdom. Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 1995.
Wright, Christopher J. H. The Mission o f God: Unlocking the B ibles Grand Narrative.
Downers Grove, 111.: IVP, 2006.
Wright, N. T. The New Testament and the People o f God. Christian Origins and the
Question o f God, vol. 1. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1992.
. Jesus and the Victory o f God. Christian Origins and the Question o f God, vol. 2.
Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1996.
Yang, Kon Hwon. Theological Significance o f the Motif o f the Vineyard in the Old
Testament. PhD Diss., Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary, 1996.
Yarbrough, Robert W. The Salvation Historical Fallacy? Reassessing the History o f New
Testament Theology. History o f Biblical Interpretation Series 2. Leiden: Deo,
2004.
Yee, Gale E. A Form-Critical Study o f Isaiah 5:1-7 as a Song and a Juridical Parable.
Catholic Biblical Quarterly 43 (1981): 30-40.
Young, E. J. The Book o f Isaiah. 3 vols. New International Commentary on the Old
Testament. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1965-72.
Young, F. W. A Study o f the Relation o f Isaiah to the Fourth Gospel. Zeitschrift fu r die
neutestamentliche Wissenshcaft und die Kunde der alteren Kirche 46 (1955):
215-33.
Zerwick, Maximilian. Biblical Greek: Illustrated by Examples. Translated by Joseph
Smith. Scripta Pontificii Instituti Biblici 114. Rome: Editrice Pontificio Institute
Biblico, 2005.
Ziegler, Joseph. Isaias. Septuaginta: Vetus Testamentum Graecuml4. G6ttingen:
Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1952.
Zumstein, Jean. Bildersprache und RelektUre am Beispiel von Joh 15,1-17. Pages 139
56 in Imagery in the Gospel o f John. Edited by J8rg Frey, Jan G. van der Watt,
and Ruben Zimmermann. Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen
Testament 200. Tubingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2006.
303