A Cottage in the Vineyard

An Orientalism:
A Custom or Mannerism in the Bible Times

Read Time: 4 Minutes

There are several references in God's Word to a cottage, lodge or tower in the vineyards, or gardens. These are used as metaphors, comparisons, to give the reader a mind picture of a situation.

Isaiah 1:
:8 And the daughter of Zion is left as a cottage in a vineyard,
    as a lodge in a garden of cucumbers, as a besieged city.

We understand the phrase "as a besieged city" but what is the significance of the cottage and lodge? In the East farmers would build temporary structures of bamboo with hay roofs. They are used to house the guard. A person would stay with the cucumbers and grapes to guard them against animals that would come in and eat the crops. Foxes would eat the new tender grapes and dig up the roots of the vines, they are especially destructive. A cottage or tower is built in a vineyard, it needs to be taller so the guard can view the vines. A lodge in a garden of cucumbers does not need to be so tall; cucumbers grow close to the ground.

These structures are temporary. After the crops are harvested they are abandoned; they are not even worth disassembling. Since they are uninhabited they are subject to the rains and wind and fall in disarray. Their bamboo poles are strewn asunder by the winds and the hay roofs are scattered. It is the end of the growing season and the vines turn brown and die back for the winter. They are a picture of chaos, misery and despair.

The daughter of Zion is used in reference to God's people, the Israelites. Here is the context of the verse:

Isaiah 1:
:1 The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz,
    which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz,
Hezekiah, kings of Judah.
:2 Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth:
    for the LORD hath spoken, I have nourished and brought up children,
    and they have rebelled against me.
:3 The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master's crib:
Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider.
:4 Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters:
    they have forsaken the LORD, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger,
    they are gone away backward.
:5 Why should ye be stricken any more?
    ye will revolt more and more:
    the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint.
:6 From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it;
wounds, and bruises, and putrifying sores:
    they have not been closed, neither bound up, neither mollified with ointment.
:7 Your country is desolate, your cities are burned with fire:
    your land, strangers devour it in your presence, and it is desolate, as overthrown by strangers.
:8 And the daughter of Zion is left as a cottage in a vineyard,
    as a lodge in a garden of cucumbers, as a besieged city.
:9 Except the LORD of hosts had left unto us a very small remnant,
    we should have been as Sodom, and we should have been like unto Gomorrah.

God told Isaiah to liken His people to these temporary structures that have collapsed and been scattered across the fields. It is a vivid mind picture. God's people have forsaken Him. He has not forsaken them; they turned their backs on God. The result is a nation in chaos, misery and despair.

The same spiritual truth is applicable today. When we forsake God and walk in our own way by our own will we reap the consequences. Our lives dissolve into chaos, misery and despair. We can see this among the nations,  races/cultures, and individuals today. Without God and the light of His Word darkness creeps in and corrupts.

In the Song of Solomon there is a phrase referencing little foxes.

Song of Solomon 2
:15 Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes.

The little foxes were instantly recognized as destructive creatures that can spoil the vineyards. The word 'take' in the KJV can also be understood as grasp or catch. This would be for the purpose of removing them. The little foxes would be anything that undermines your relationship with your spouse and God. Seize them and remove them quickly so they don't spoil your relationships. It can even be the little things, little foxes.

We must be diligent to cultivate our relationship with God. Be ever mindful of His presence and power in your lives. With God all things are possible. Do not forsake Him, he has not left you. God is revealed in His Word and manifested in His spoken Word.

Our countries have become like cottages in the vineyard and a lodges in gardens of cucumbers. The people have forsaken God and turned to idols or themselves as their ability and sufficiency. We must come wholly unto the Lord and worship Him. We must make known the gospel of salvation so that the light of God's glorious Word can shine forth in our nations and God's people can be delivered from the evil wicked one. We must pray to the Lord of harvest for more laborers. We must pray for boldness to speak God's Word.