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.