Exit Parallel Mode
 

Isaiah 1

1
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

1
1#The title, or inscription, of the book is an editorial addition to identify the prophet and the circumstances of his ministry. Isaiah: meaning “the salvation of the Lord,” or “the Lord is salvation.” Amoz: not Amos the prophet. Judah: the Southern Kingdom of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin. Uzziah: also called Azariah; cf. 2 Kgs 15:1; 2 Chr 26:1. The vision which Isaiah, son of Amoz, saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah.
Accusation and Appeal
2#This chapter is widely considered to be a collection of oracles from various periods in Isaiah’s ministry, chosen by the editor as a compendium of his most characteristic teachings. Hear, O heavens, and listen, O earth,
for the Lord speaks:
Sons have I raised and reared,
but they have rebelled against me!#Dt 32:1, 5–6, 18.
3An ox knows its owner,
and an ass,#Ox…ass: Isaiah uses animals proverbial for their stupidity and stubbornness to underline Israel’s failure to respond to God. Israel: a term Isaiah (and other prophets) frequently applies to Judah, especially after the fall of the Northern Kingdom (which Isaiah normally calls Ephraim, as in 7:2, 9, 17; 9:8), but sometimes applies to the entire chosen people, as in 8:14. its master’s manger;
But Israel does not know,
my people has not understood.#Jer 8:7; Lk 2:12.
4Ah!#Ah: see note on 5:8–24. Holy One of Israel: a title used frequently in the Book of Isaiah, rarely elsewhere in the Old Testament (see 5:19, 24; 10:20; 12:6; 17:7; 29:19; 30:11, 12, 15; 31:1; 37:23; 41:14, 16, 20; 43:3, 14; 45:11; 47:4; 48:17; 49:7; 54:5; 55:5; 60:9, 14). Sinful nation, people laden with wickedness,
evil offspring, corrupt children!
They have forsaken the Lord,
spurned the Holy One of Israel,
apostatized,#Is 5:24; Dt 32:15.
5Why#The Hebrew expression translated “Why?” may also be translated “Where?” The ambiguity is probably intentional: “Why, O Israel, would you still be beaten, and where on your bruised body do you want the next blow?” The bruised body is a metaphor for the historical disaster that has overtaken Israel (see v. 7) because of its sins. would you yet be struck,
that you continue to rebel?
The whole head is sick,
the whole heart faint.
6From the sole of the foot to the head
there is no sound spot in it;
Just bruise and welt and oozing wound,
not drained, or bandaged,
or eased with salve.
7Your country is waste,
your cities burnt with fire;
Your land—before your eyes
strangers devour it,
a waste, like the devastation of Sodom.#Sodom: Sodom and Gomorrah (see vv. 9–10; cf. Gn 19) were proverbial as wicked cities completely overthrown and destroyed by God. Judah, more fortunate, survives at least as a remnant. The devastation of the land and the isolation of Jerusalem suggest the time of Sennacherib’s invasion of 701. #Is 13:19; Dt 29:22; Jer 49:18; 50:40; Am 4:11.
8And daughter Zion#Daughter Zion: Jerusalem, as isolated as a little hut erected in a field for the shelter of watchmen and laborers. is left
like a hut in a vineyard,
Like a shed in a melon patch,
like a city blockaded.
9If the Lord of hosts#Lord of hosts: God, who is the Creator and Ruler of the armies of Israel, the angels, stars, etc. had not
left us a small remnant,
We would have become as Sodom,
would have resembled Gomorrah.#Rom 9:29.
10#A powerful indictment of the religious hypocrisy of rulers and others who neglect just judgment and oppress the weaker members, yet believe they can please God with sacrifices and other external forms of worship. The long list of observances suggests the Lord’s tedium with such attempts. Sodom…Gomorrah: the names are picked up from v. 9, but now to emphasize their wickedness rather than the good fortune of escaping total destruction. Hear the word of the Lord,
princes of Sodom!
Listen to the instruction of our God,
people of Gomorrah!
11What do I care for the multitude of your sacrifices?
says the Lord.
I have had enough of whole-burnt rams
and fat of fatlings;
In the blood of calves, lambs, and goats
I find no pleasure.#Ps 50:8–13; Sir 34:23; Mi 6:7.
12When you come to appear before me,
who asks these things of you?
13Trample my courts no more!
To bring offerings is useless;
incense is an abomination to me.
New moon and sabbath, calling assemblies—
festive convocations with wickedness—
these I cannot bear.#Prv 15:8; Jer 6:20.
14Your new moons and festivals I detest;#Am 5:21–24.
they weigh me down, I tire of the load.
15When you spread out your hands,
I will close my eyes to you;
Though you pray the more,
I will not listen.
Your hands are full of blood!#Hands…blood: oppression of the poor is likened to violence that bloodies the hands, which explains why the hands spread out in prayer (v. 15) are not regarded by the Lord. This climax of the accusations is followed by positive admonitions for reversing the evil situation. #Prv 1:28; Sir 34:25–31.
16Wash yourselves clean!
Put away your misdeeds from before my eyes;
cease doing evil;
17learn to do good.
Make justice your aim: redress the wronged,
hear the orphan’s plea, defend the widow.#Ex 23:6; Dt 24:17; Sir 4:9–10; Jer 22:3; Ez 22:7; Am 5:14–15; Zec 7:9–10.
18Come now, let us set things right,#Let us set things right: the Hebrew word refers to the arbitration of legal disputes (Jb 23:7). God offers to settle his case with Israel on the basis of the change of behavior demanded above. For Israel it is a life or death choice; life in conformity with God’s will or death for continued disobedience.
says the Lord:
Though your sins be like scarlet,
they may become white as snow;
Though they be red like crimson,
they may become white as wool.#Ps 51:9.
19If you are willing, and obey,
you shall eat the good things of the land;
20But if you refuse and resist,
you shall be eaten by the sword:
for the mouth of the Lord has spoken!
The Purification of Jerusalem
21How she has become a prostitute,
the faithful city,#Faithful city: the phrase, found in v. 21 and v. 28, forms an inclusio which marks off the passage and also suggests three chronological periods: the city’s former ideal state, its present wicked condition (described in vv. 21b–23), and the future ideal conditions intended by God. This will be brought about by a purging judgment directed primarily against the leaders (“judges…counselors”). so upright!
Justice used to lodge within her,
but now, murderers.#Jer 3:8; Hos 2:7.
22Your silver is turned to dross,
your wine is mixed with water.
23Your princes are rebels
and comrades of thieves;
Each one of them loves a bribe
and looks for gifts.
The fatherless they do not defend,
the widow’s plea does not reach them.#Ex 23:8; Dt 16:19.
24Now, therefore, says the Lord,
the Lord of hosts, the Mighty One of Israel:
Ah! I will take vengeance on my foes
and fully repay my enemies!#Dt 32:41.
25I will turn my hand against you,
and refine your dross in the furnace,
removing all your alloy.
26I will restore your judges#Judges: the reference must be to royal judges appointed by David and his successors, not to the tribal judges of the Book of Judges, since the “beginning” of Jerusalem as an Israelite city dates only to the time of David. The Davidic era is idealized here; obtaining justice in the historical Jerusalem of David’s time was more problematic (see 2 Sm 15:1–6). as at first,
and your counselors as in the beginning;
After that you shall be called
city of justice, faithful city.#Jer 33:7–11; Zec 8:8.
27#These verses expand the oracle that originally ended at v. 26. The expansion correctly interprets the preceding text as proclaiming a purifying judgment on Zion in which the righteous are saved while the wicked perish. The meaning of “by justice” and “by righteousness” is ambiguous. Do these terms refer to God’s judgment or to the justice and righteousness of Zion’s surviving inhabitants? Is 33:14–16 suggests the latter interpretation. Zion shall be redeemed by justice,
and her repentant ones by righteousness.
28Rebels and sinners together shall be crushed,
those who desert the Lord shall be consumed.
Judgment on the Sacred Groves
29#These verses were secondarily inserted here on the catchword principle; like v. 28 they pronounce judgment on certain parties “together” (v. 31). The terebinths and gardens refer to the sacred groves or asherahs that functioned as idolatrous cultic symbols at the popular shrines or high places (1 Kgs 14:23; 2 Kgs 17:10). Hezekiah cut down these groves during his reform (2 Kgs 18:4); they were a religious issue during Isaiah’s ministry (cf. Is 17:7–11). Isaiah threatens those who cultivate these symbols with the same fate that befalls trees when deprived of water. You shall be ashamed of the terebinths which you desired,
and blush on account of the gardens which you chose.
30You shall become like a terebinth whose leaves wither,
like a garden that has no water.
31The strong tree shall turn to tinder,
and the one who tends it shall become a spark;
Both of them shall burn together,
and there shall be none to quench them.