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Isaiah 1

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I
1THE VISION OF ISAIAH THE SON OF AMOZ, WHICH HE SAW CONCERNING JUDAH AND JERUSALEM; IN THE DAYS OF UZZIAH, JOTHAM, AHAZ, HEZEEIAH, KINGS OF JUDAH.
2 Hear, O ye heavens; and give ear, O earth:
For Jehovah speaketh.
I have nourished and brought up children;
And they have rebelled against me.
3The ox knoweth his owner,
And the ass his master's crib:
But Israel doth not know;
My people doth not consider.
4Wo to the sinful nation, people laden with iniquity,
Seed of evil-doers, children that are corrupters:
They have forsaken Jehovah,
They have despised the Holy One of Israel;
They are gone away backward.
5Upon what part will ye be smitten any more, should you still revolt?
The whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint:
6From the sole of the foot even unto the crown of the head, there is no soundness;
But wounds, and lashes, and fresh stripes:
They have not been pressed out, neither bound up,
Nor mollified with oil.
7Your country is desolate, your cities are burned with fire;
Your land, strangers devour it before your eyes;
It is desolate, as overthrown by strangers.
8And the daughter of Zion is left alone, as a shed in a vineyard;
As a lodge in a garden of cucumbers, as a city that is saved.
9Except Jehovah of hosts had left unto us the smallest remnant,
We had been as Sodom, we had become like unto Gomorrah.
10Hear ye the word of Jehovah, O ye princes of Sodom!
Give ear unto the law of our God, ye people of Gomorrah!
11Why to me is the multitude of your sacrifices? saith Jehovah:
I am cloyed with the burnt-offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts;
And in the blood of bullocks, and of lambs, and of he-goats, I have no delight.
12When ye come to appear before me,
Who hath required this at your hand, to tread my courts?
13Bring no more insincere oblation,
Incense! it is an abomination unto me;
The new moon, the sabbath, and the proclaiming of an assembly,
I cannot endure: it is iniquity, even the solemn assembly.
14Your new moons, and your appointed festivals, my soul hateth:
They are a burden unto me; I am weary of bearing them.
15And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you;
Even when ye multiply prayer, I will not hear:
Your hands are full of blood.
16Wash ye, make ye clean;
Remove ye far away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes;
Cease to do evil:
17Learn to do good; seek after justice; correct the evil-doer;
Do justice to the orphan; plead for the widow.
18Come now, and let us reason together, saith Jehovah:
Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow;
Though they be red as crimson, they shall be as wool.
19If ye be willing and obedient,
Ye shall eat the good of the land;
20But if ye refuse and rebel,
Ye shall be devoured with the sword:
For the mouth of Jehovah hath spoken it.
21How is the faithful city become an harlot!
She that was full of judgment; righteousness lodged in her;
But now murderers!
22Thy silver is become dross;
Thy wine mixed with water.
23Thy princes are rebellious, and associates of robbers;
Every one of them loveth a bribe, and hunteth after rewards:
For the orphan they procure no justice;
And the cause of the widow cometh not before them.
24Wherefore saith the Lord, Jehovah of hosts, the mighty One of Israel:
Ah! I will ease me of mine adversaries,
And avenge me of mine enemies.
25And I will direct mine hand against thee,
And entirely melt out thy dross,
And remove all thy tin:
26And I will restore thy judges, as at the first;
And thy counsellors, as at the beginning: Afterward thou shalt be called,
The town of righteousness, the faithful city.
27Zion shall be redeemed with judgment,
And those that return unto her, with righteousness.
28But the destruction of revolters and of sinners shall be together;
And they that forsake Jehovah shall perish.
29Then shall men be ashamed of the grove of teberinths, which are your delight;
And ye shall blush for the gardens, which ye have loved:
30For ye shall be as the teberinth, whose leaves are withered;
And as a garden, wherein there is no water.
31The powerful shall become as tow,
And his work as a spark of fire;
And they shall burn both of them together; and none shall quench them.

Isaiah 1

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Messages of Judgment
Quit Your Worship Charades
1The vision that Isaiah son of Amoz saw regarding Judah and Jerusalem during the times of the kings of Judah: Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah.
2-4Heaven and earth, you’re the jury.
Listen to God’s case:
“I had children and raised them well,
and they turned on me.
The ox knows who’s boss,
the mule knows the hand that feeds him,
But not Israel.
My people don’t know up from down.
Shame! Misguided God-dropouts,
staggering under their guilt-baggage,
Gang of miscreants,
band of vandals—
My people have walked out on me, their God,
turned their backs on The Holy of Israel,
walked off and never looked back.
5-9“Why bother even trying to do anything with you
when you just keep to your bullheaded ways?
You keep beating your heads against brick walls.
Everything within you protests against you.
From the bottom of your feet to the top of your head,
nothing’s working right.
Wounds and bruises and running sores—
untended, unwashed, unbandaged.
Your country is laid waste,
your cities burned down.
Your land is destroyed by outsiders while you watch,
reduced to rubble by barbarians.
Daughter Zion is deserted—
like a tumbledown shack on a dead-end street,
Like a tarpaper shanty on the wrong side of the tracks,
like a sinking ship abandoned by the rats.
If God-of-the-Angel-Armies hadn’t left us a few survivors,
we’d be as desolate as Sodom, doomed just like Gomorrah.
10“Listen to my Message,
you Sodom-schooled leaders.
Receive God’s revelation,
you Gomorrah-schooled people.
11-12“Why this frenzy of sacrifices?”
God’s asking.
“Don’t you think I’ve had my fill of burnt sacrifices,
rams and plump grain-fed calves?
Don’t you think I’ve had my fill
of blood from bulls, lambs, and goats?
When you come before me,
whoever gave you the idea of acting like this,
Running here and there, doing this and that—
all this sheer commotion in the place provided for worship?
13-17“Quit your worship charades.
I can’t stand your trivial religious games:
Monthly conferences, weekly Sabbaths, special meetings—
meetings, meetings, meetings—I can’t stand one more!
Meetings for this, meetings for that. I hate them!
You’ve worn me out!
I’m sick of your religion, religion, religion,
while you go right on sinning.
When you put on your next prayer-performance,
I’ll be looking the other way.
No matter how long or loud or often you pray,
I’ll not be listening.
And do you know why? Because you’ve been tearing
people to pieces, and your hands are bloody.
Go home and wash up.
Clean up your act.
Sweep your lives clean of your evildoings
so I don’t have to look at them any longer.
Say no to wrong.
Learn to do good.
Work for justice.
Help the down-and-out.
Stand up for the homeless.
Go to bat for the defenseless.
Let’s Argue This Out
18-20“Come. Sit down. Let’s argue this out.”
This is God’s Message:
“If your sins are blood-red,
they’ll be snow-white.
If they’re red like crimson,
they’ll be like wool.
If you’ll willingly obey,
you’ll feast like kings.
But if you’re willful and stubborn,
you’ll die like dogs.”
That’s right. God says so.
Those Who Walk Out on God
21-23Oh! Can you believe it? The chaste city
has become a whore!
She was once all justice,
everyone living as good neighbors,
And now they’re all
at one another’s throats.
Your coins are all counterfeits.
Your wine is watered down.
Your leaders are turncoats
who keep company with crooks.
They sell themselves to the highest bidder
and grab anything not nailed down.
They never stand up for the homeless,
never stick up for the defenseless.
24-31This Decree, therefore, of the Master, God-of-the-Angel-Armies,
the Strong One of Israel:
“This is it! I’ll get my oppressors off my back.
I’ll get back at my enemies.
I’ll give you the back of my hand,
purge the junk from your life, clean you up.
I’ll set honest judges and wise counselors among you
just like it was back in the beginning.
Then you’ll be renamed
City-That-Treats-People-Right, the True-Blue City.”
God’s right ways will put Zion right again.
God’s right actions will restore her penitents.
But it’s curtains for rebels and God-traitors,
a dead end for those who walk out on God.
“Your dalliances in those oak grove shrines
will leave you looking mighty foolish,
All that fooling around in god and goddess gardens
that you thought was the latest thing.
You’ll end up like an oak tree
with all its leaves falling off,
Like an unwatered garden,
withered and brown.
‘The Big Man’ will turn out to be dead bark and twigs,
and his ‘work,’ the spark that starts the fire
That exposes man and work both
as nothing but cinders and smoke.”