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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.

Isaiah 1

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1 # 2 Kgs 15.1–7; 15.32—16.20; 18.1—20.21; 2 Chr 26.1—32.33 This book contains the messages about Judah and Jerusalem which God revealed to Isaiah son of Amoz during the time when Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah were kings of Judah.
God Reprimands his People
2The LORD said, “Earth and sky, listen to what I am saying! The children I brought up have rebelled against me. 3Cattle know who owns them, and donkeys know where their master feeds them. But that is more than my people Israel know. They don't understand at all.”
4You are doomed, you sinful nation, you corrupt and evil people! Your sins drag you down! You have rejected the LORD, the holy God of Israel, and have turned your backs on him. 5Why do you keep on rebelling? Do you want to be punished even more? Israel, your head is already covered with wounds, and your heart and mind are sick. 6From head to foot there is not a healthy spot on your body. You are covered with bruises and sores and open wounds. Your wounds have not been cleaned or bandaged. No ointment has been put on them.
7Your country has been devastated, and your cities have been burnt to the ground. While you look on, foreigners take over your land and bring everything to ruin. 8Jerusalem alone is left, a city under siege — as defenceless as a guard's hut in a vineyard or a shed in a cucumber field. 9#Gen 19.24; Rom 9.29If the LORD Almighty had not let some of the people survive, Jerusalem would have been totally destroyed, just as Sodom and Gomorrah were.
10Jerusalem, your rulers and your people are like those of Sodom and Gomorrah. Listen to what the LORD is saying to you. Pay attention to what our God is teaching you. 11#Amos 5.21–22He says, “Do you think I want all these sacrifices you keep offering to me? I have had more than enough of the sheep you burn as sacrifices and of the fat of your fine animals. I am tired of the blood of bulls and sheep and goats. 12Who asked you to bring me all this when you come to worship me? Who asked you to do all this tramping about in my Temple? 13It's useless to bring your offerings. I am disgusted with the smell of the incense you burn. I cannot stand your New Moon Festivals, your Sabbaths, and your religious gatherings; they are all corrupted by your sins. 14I hate your New Moon Festivals and holy days; they are a burden that I am tired of bearing.
15“When you lift your hands in prayer, I will not look at you. No matter how much you pray, I will not listen, for your hands are covered with blood. 16Wash yourselves clean. Stop all this evil that I see you doing. Yes, stop doing evil 17and learn to do right. See that justice is done — help those who are oppressed, give orphans their rights, and defend widows.”
18The LORD says, “Now, let's settle the matter. You are stained red with sin, but I will wash you as clean as snow.#1.18 sin, but… snow; or sin; do you think I will wash you as clean as snow? Although your stains are deep red, you will be as white as wool.#1.18 Although your… wool; or Your stains are deep red; do you think you will be as white as wool? 19If you will only obey me, you will eat the good things the land produces. 20But if you defy me, you are doomed to die. I, the LORD, have spoken.”
The Sinful City
21The city that once was faithful is behaving like a whore! At one time it was filled with righteous people, but now only murderers remain. 22Jerusalem, you were once like silver, but now you are worthless; you were like good wine, but now you are only water. 23Your leaders are rebels and friends of thieves; they are always accepting gifts and bribes. They never defend orphans in court or listen when widows present their case.
24So now, listen to what the LORD Almighty, Israel's powerful God, is saying: “I will take revenge on you, my enemies, and you will cause me no more trouble. 25I will take action against you. I will purify you just as metal is refined, and will remove all your impurity. 26I will give you rulers and advisers like those you had long ago. Then Jerusalem will be called the righteous, faithful city.”
27Because the LORD is righteous, he will save Jerusalem and everyone there who repents. 28But he will crush everyone who sins and rebels against him; he will kill everyone who forsakes him.
29You will be sorry that you ever worshipped trees and planted sacred gardens.#1.29 sacred gardens: People believed that dedicating a garden to a fertility god would cause him to bless their crops. 30You will wither like a dying oak, like a garden that no one waters. 31Just as straw is set on fire by a spark, so powerful people will be destroyed by their own evil deeds, and no one will be able to stop the destruction.