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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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1Here is the vision about Judah and Jerusalem that Isaiah saw. It came to him when Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah were ruling. They were kings of Judah. Isaiah was the son of Amoz.
The Nation Refuses to Obey the Lord
2Listen to me, you heavens! Pay attention to me, earth!
The Lord has said,
“I raised children. I brought them up.
But they have refused to obey me.
3The ox knows its master.
The donkey knows where its owner feeds it.
But Israel does not know me.
My people do not understand me.”
4How terrible it will be for this sinful nation!
They are loaded down with guilt.
They are people who do nothing but evil.
They are children who are always sinning.
They have deserted the Lord.
They have turned against the Holy One of Israel.
They have turned their backs on him.
5Israel, why do you want to be beaten all the time?
Why do you always refuse to obey the Lord?
Your head is covered with wounds.
Your whole heart is weak.
6There isn’t a healthy spot on your body.
You are not healthy from the bottom of your feet to the top of your head.
You have nothing but wounds, cuts
and open sores.
They haven’t been cleaned up or bandaged
or treated with olive oil.
7Your country has been deserted.
Your cities have been burned down.
The food from your fields is being eaten up by outsiders.
They are doing it right in front of you.
Your land has been completely destroyed.
It looks as if strangers have taken it over.
8The city of Zion is left like a shed
where someone stands guard in a vineyard.
It is left like a hut in a cucumber field.
It’s like a city being attacked.
9The Lord who rules over all
has let some people live through that time of trouble.
If he hadn’t, we would have become like Sodom.
We would have been like Gomorrah.
10Rulers of Sodom,
hear the Lord’s message.
People of Gomorrah,
listen to the instruction of our God.
11“Do you think I need any more of your sacrifices?”
asks the Lord.
“I have more than enough of your burnt offerings.
I have more than enough of rams
and the fat of your fattest animals.
I do not find any pleasure
in the blood of your bulls, lambs and goats.
12Who asked you to bring all these animals
when you come to worship me?
Who asked you and your animals
to walk all over my courtyards?
13Stop bringing offerings that do not mean anything to me!
I hate your incense.
I can’t stand your worthless gatherings.
I can’t stand the way you celebrate your New Moon feasts,
Sabbath days and special services.
14Your New Moon feasts and your other appointed feasts
I hate with my whole being.
They have become a heavy load to me.
I am tired of carrying it.
15You might spread out your hands toward me when you pray.
But I do not look at you.
You might even offer many prayers.
But I am not listening to them.
Your hands are covered with the blood of the people you have murdered.
16So wash and make yourselves clean.
Get your evil actions out of my sight!
Stop doing what is wrong!
17Learn to do what is right!
Treat people fairly.
Help those who are treated badly.
Stand up in court for children whose fathers have died.
And do the same thing for widows.
18“Come. Let us settle this matter,”
says the Lord.
“Even though your sins are bright red,
they will be as white as snow.
Even though they are deep red,
they will be white like wool.
19But you have to be willing to change and obey me.
If you are, you will eat the good things that grow on the land.
20But if you are not willing to obey me,
you will be killed by swords.”
The Lord has spoken.
21See how the faithful city of Jerusalem
has become like a prostitute!
Once it was full of people who treated others fairly.
Those who did what was right used to live in it.
But now murderers live there!
22Jerusalem, your silver isn’t pure anymore.
Your best wine has been made weak with water.
23Your rulers refuse to obey the Lord.
They join forces with robbers.
All of them love to accept money from those who want special favors.
They are always looking for gifts from other people.
They don’t stand up in court for children whose fathers have died.
They don’t do it for widows either.
24The Lord is the Mighty One of Israel.
The Lord who rules over all announces,
“Israel, you have become my enemies.
I will act against you in my anger.
I will pay you back for what you have done.
25I will turn my power against you.
I will make you completely ‘clean.’
I will remove everything that is not pure.
26I will give you leaders like the ones you had long ago.
I will give you rulers like those you had at the beginning.
Then you will be called
the City That Does What Is Right.
You will also be called the Faithful City.”
27Zion will be saved when justice is done.
Those who are sorry for their sins will be saved
when what is right is done.
28But sinners and those who refuse to obey the Lord will be destroyed.
And those who desert the Lord will die.
29“Israel, you take delight in worshiping among the sacred oak trees.
You will be full of shame for doing that.
You have chosen to worship in the sacred gardens.
You will be dishonored for doing that.
30You will be like an oak tree whose leaves are dying.
You will be like a garden that doesn’t have any water.
31Your strongest men will become like dry pieces of wood.
Their worship of other gods will be the spark that lights the fire.
Everything will be burned up.
No one will be there to put the fire out.”