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Isaiah 1

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1This is the vision that Isaiah, son of Amoz, saw about Judah and Jerusalem in the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah.
2Heavens, listen! Earth, pay attention! For the Lord has spoken!#1:2. Since the prophet is speaking for the Lord, it is not always easy to determine exactly who is speaking. This version therefore does not use quotation marks in these circumstances, as it can be rather arbitrary to determine where the direct “quotation” begins and ends. Only when it is helpful and explicit are quotation marks used in prophetic material, since all prophets spoke as directed by God. I brought up children, I cared for them, but they have rebelled against me. 3An ox knows its owner, and a donkey knows its feeding trough; but my people don't know me, they don't understand me.
4What a sinful nation—a people carrying such a load of guilt, an evil generation, corrupt children! They have abandoned the Lord. They have despised Israel's Holy One. They have become strangers. They have gone backwards. 5Are you wanting to be punished? Are you going to continue to rebel? The whole of your head is damaged, and your heart is totally giving out. 6You're injured from head to toe, bruised and sore, with open wounds that haven't been cleaned or bandaged or treated with olive oil.
7Your country has been devastated, your towns burned down, your fields stripped bare by foreigners right in front of you, as they turn it all into a wasteland. 8The daughter of Zion is left like a shack in a vineyard, like a hut in a cucumber field, like a city under attack. 9If the Lord Almighty hadn't let a few of us survive, we would have become like Sodom and Gomorrah.
10Listen to what the Lord has to say, you rulers of Sodom! Pay attention to the instructions of our God, you people of Gomorrah! 11What use are all your many sacrifices to me? asks the Lord. I am sick and tired of your burnt offerings of rams and the fat of sacrificial animals. I don't delight in the blood of bulls and lambs and goats! 12When you come to appear before me in worship, who asked you to proudly tramp around my courts? 13Don't bring me any more meaningless offerings; your incense is offensive to me. Your new moon festivals and Sabbath observations and your calling of special religious meetings—I can't stand them because they're evil, as are your solemn assemblies. 14I detest your new moon and yearly festivals with my whole being! They've become just a burden to me—I can't bear them anymore!
15When you hold up your hands to me in prayer, I'll look away. Even though you pray many prayers, I won't pay attention to them, because your hands are full of blood.#1:15. Meaning they are guilty of committing violence, even murder. 16Wash yourselves and clean yourselves up. Get rid of your sins—I don't want to see them! Stop doing evil! 17Learn to do good; strive for justice, condemn those who oppress others; support the rights of orphans, take up cases to defend widows.
18Come on, let's argue this out, says the Lord. Even though your sins are like scarlet, they will become white like snow. Even though they are red like crimson, they will become like wool. 19If you really want this, and if you do as you're told, then you yourselves will eat the best things that the land produces.#1:19. “You yourselves will eat all the good things the land produces”: this means that there will be peace in the country—no invaders would come to steal the crops etc. 20But if you are defiant, and if you are rebellious, you'll be killed by the sword. This is what the Lord has declared!
21The city that used to be faithful has turned into a prostitute! Once she operated on principles of justice and followed what was right, but now only murderers live there. 22Your silver has become worthless waste; your wine has been watered down. 23Your leaders are rebels, friends of thieves. They all love bribes and want to get kickbacks. They don't defend the rights of orphans, and refuse to take cases to help widows.
24So this is what the Lord says, the Lord Almighty, the Mighty One of Israel: Ha! I will take satisfaction in punishing my enemies, by paying back those who hate me! 25I will turn against you. I will refine you in a furnace, removing all impurities. 26I will give you good leaders as you used to have before, wise counselors as you had in the beginning. After that you will once again be called the City of Integrity, the Faithful City.
27Zion will be rescued by justice, those who repent by doing right. 28But rebels and sinners will be destroyed together, and those who abandon the Lord will die.
29You will be ashamed about how you enjoyed your pagan worship among the oak trees; you will be embarrassed because you chose the pleasure gardens of idols. 30As a result you will become like an oak whose leaves have withered, a dried-out garden that has no water. 31Your strong people will become like tinder, and their work will become like a spark. They will burn together, and nobody will be able to put out the flames.

Isaiah 1

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Chapter 1
1This is a vision that God showed to Isaiah, the son of Amoz. It was a message about his country, Judah, and Jerusalem city. #1:1 Jerusalem was the capital city of Judah. God showed it to Isaiah at the time when Uzziah, then Jotham, then Ahaz and then Hezekiah were kings of Judah.
God's people are guilty #1:2 In chapters 1-5, Isaiah describes the people who live in Judah and in its capital city, Jerusalem. They have problems because they are not obeying God. God says that he will punish them.
2Hear the Lord, those who live in heaven! Listen to him, you people on the earth! Listen carefully because the Lord has spoken! He says, ‘I have helped my children to grow. I took care of them but now they have turned against me!
3An ox knows its master. A donkey knows the place where its master feeds it. But Israel's people do not know me. My people do not understand me.’
4Oh! Israel, you are a nation of people who do not obey me. The people are guilty of many evil things. Their sins are like a heavy weight on their backs. They are a family of people who do wicked things. They have turned away from the Lord, the Holy God of Israel. They have turned their backs against him.
5You continue to fight against God. Why do you do that? God will continue to punish you. You are weak and you hurt all over. Your mind and your body have great pain. 6From the bottom of your feet, to the top of your head, everywhere hurts! There are wounds all over your body that are still bleeding. Nobody has cleaned your wounds or covered them. Nobody has put olive oil on them to make them better.
7Your land has become useless. Fire has destroyed your towns and cities. Foreign people have taken the crops from your fields, while you stood there and watched. Strangers have destroyed everything in your country.
8Jerusalem city is now like a hut in a vineyard or in a field of crops. It stands there alone, with its enemies all round it.
9Unless the Lord Almighty had left some of us alive, we would have become like Sodom. We would have been completely destroyed, like Gomorrah.
10Yes, you are like the rulers of Sodom, so listen to the Lord's message! You are no better than the people in Gomorrah! So listen to what our God is saying to you.
11The Lord says, ‘All your sacrifices are not important to me. I have received too many sacrifices that you have burned as gifts to me. I have received too many sheep and fat animals. I do not want any more blood from bulls, goats and lambs that you have offered to me as sacrifices. They do not give me any pleasure.
12You come to worship me in my temple. But are you doing what I want? Did I ask you to march round the temple yards with all your animals?
13Do not bring any more useless gifts to offer to me! I do not like your incense. You like to have feasts at new moons, or on Sabbath days. But because of your sins, I hate all your holy meetings.
14I hate your new moon feasts and your holy meetings. They have become like a heavy load for me. I cannot carry it any longer!
15When you lift up your hands to pray to me, I have to look away. Even if you pray very many times to me, I do not listen to you, because your hands are full of blood. #1:15 your hands are full of blood means that they have killed people, and they have done many bad things.
16Wash yourselves and make yourselves clean! Remove your sins, so that I no longer see them. Stop doing evil things!
17Instead, learn to do what is right. Be honest and fair in what you do. Help people who are in pain. Make sure that widows and children who have no family receive justice.’
18The Lord says, ‘Please come, so that we talk about this together. Even if your sins are like a red stain, they will become as white as snow. Even if they are bright red, they will become like white wool. #1:18 God is saying that he will forgive them, even if their sins are very bad. A stain is a strong mark that spoils something that is nice.
19I will forgive you if you agree to obey me. If you are ready to do that, you will again eat plenty of good food from the land. 20But if you refuse to obey me and you turn against me, you will die in war.’
That is what the Lord himself has said.
Jerusalem is guilty
21Oh Jerusalem! Once you loved the Lord, as a wife loves her husband. But now you have become like a prostitute! At one time, the city was full of justice and honest people lived there. But now you are full of murderers!
22Your pure silver has become dirt. You have mixed water with your best wine.
23Your rulers have turned against God. They are friends of robbers. They all accept bribes and they love to receive gifts. But they do not help widows or children who have no family. They do not make sure that they receive justice.
24So the Lord says this. He is the Lord Almighty, Israel's powerful God. He says, ‘Oh! I will punish my enemies as they deserve. I will pay them back!
25I will turn against you, Jerusalem. I will make you pure again. But you will be like metal that burns in a very hot fire to remove all the dirt.
26Then I will again give you honest judges, as you had a long time ago. I will also give you wise officers, as you had before. After that, you will be called “The Righteous City” and “The Faithful City”.’
27God will use justice to make Zion free. He will do what is right for those who return to serve him.
28But he will destroy people who turn against him, and those who continue to do wrong things. People who no longer trust the Lord will live no more.
29You will become ashamed because you trusted special oak trees to help you. You worshipped idols in your special gardens, and you will be ashamed because of that.
30You will be like an oak tree with leaves that have become dry. You will be like a garden that has no water.
31Even your most powerful men will disappear. They will be like a piece of string that burns in a fire. Their sins will be the fire that destroys them. They and their sins will burn together, and nobody will put out the fire.