1This is the vision Isaiah son of Amoz saw about what would happen to Judah and Jerusalem. Isaiah saw these things while Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah were kings of Judah.
God’s Case Against His Children
2Heaven and earth, listen,
because the Lord is speaking:
“I raised my children and helped them grow up,
but they have turned against me.
3An ox knows its master,
and a donkey knows where its owner feeds it,
but the people of Israel do not know me;
my people do not understand.”
4How terrible! Israel is a nation of sin,
a people loaded down with guilt,
a group of children doing evil,
children who are full of evil.
They have left the Lord;
they hate God, the Holy One of Israel,
and have turned away from him as if he were a stranger.
5Why should you continue to be punished?
Why do you continue to turn against him?
Your whole head is hurt,
and your whole heart is sick.
6There is no healthy spot
from the bottom of your foot to the top of your head;
you are covered with wounds, hurts, and open sores
that are not cleaned and covered,
and no medicine takes away the pain.
7Your land is ruined;
your cities have been burned with fire.
While you watch,
your enemies are stealing everything from your land;
it is ruined like a country destroyed by enemies.
8Jerusalem is left alone
like an empty shelter in a vineyard,
like a hut left in a field of melons,
like a city surrounded by enemies.
9The Lord All-Powerful
allowed a few of our people to live.
Otherwise we would have been completely destroyed
like the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah.
10Jerusalem, your rulers are like those of Sodom,
and your people are like those of Gomorrah.
Hear the word of the Lord;
listen to the teaching of our God!
11The Lord says,
“I do not want all these sacrifices.
I have had enough of your burnt sacrifices
of male sheep and fat from fine animals.
I am not pleased
by the blood of bulls, lambs, and goats.
12You come to meet with me,
but who asked you to do
all this running in and out of my Temple’s rooms?
13Don’t continue bringing me worthless sacrifices!
I hate the incense you burn.
I can’t stand your New Moons, Sabbaths, and other feast days;
I can’t stand the evil you do in your holy meetings.
14I hate your New Moon feasts
and your other yearly feasts.
They have become a heavy weight on me,
and I am tired of carrying it.
15When you raise your arms to me in prayer,
I will refuse to look at you.
Even if you say many prayers,
I will not listen to you,
because your hands are full of blood.
16Wash yourselves and make yourselves clean.
Stop doing the evil things I see you do.
Stop doing wrong.
17Learn to do good.
Punish those who hurt others.
Help the orphans.
Stand up for the rights of widows.”
18The Lord says,
“Come, let us talk about these things.
Though your sins are like scarlet,
they can be as white as snow.
Though your sins are deep red,
they can be white like wool.
19If you become willing and obey me,
you will eat good crops from the land.
20But if you refuse to obey and if you turn against me,
you will be destroyed by your enemies’ swords.”
The Lord himself said these things.
Jerusalem Is Not Loyal to God
21The city of Jerusalem once followed the Lord,
but she is no longer loyal to him.
She used to be filled with fairness;
people there lived the way God wanted.
But now, murderers live there.
22Jerusalem, you have become like the scum left when silver is purified;
you are like wine mixed with water.
23Your rulers are rebels
and friends of thieves.
They all accept money for doing wrong,
and they are paid to cheat people.
They don’t seek justice for the orphans
or listen to the widows’ needs.
24So the Lord God All-Powerful,
the Mighty One of Israel, says:
“You, my enemies, will not cause me any more trouble.
I will pay you back for what you did.
25I will turn against you
and clean away all your wrongs as if with soap;
I will take all the worthless things out of you.
26I will bring back judges as you had long ago;
your counselors will be like those you had in the beginning.
Then you will be called the City That Is Right with God,
the Loyal City.”
27By doing what is fair,
Jerusalem will be free again.
By doing what is right,
her people who come back to the Lord will have freedom.
28But sinners and those who turn against him will be destroyed;
those who have left the Lord will die.
29“You will be ashamed,
because you have worshiped gods under the oak trees.
You will be disgraced,
because you have worshiped idols in your gardens.
30You will be like an oak whose leaves are dying
or like a garden without water.
31Powerful people will be like small, dry pieces of wood,
and their works will be like sparks.
They will burn together,
and no one will be able to put out that fire.”