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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.

Isaiah 1

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Rebellion of God’s People
1The vision of [the prophet] Isaiah the son of Amoz concerning [the kingdom of] Judah and [its capital] Jerusalem, which he saw [as revealed by God] during the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah.
2Hear, O heavens, and listen, O earth;
For the Lord has spoken:
“I have reared and brought up sons,
But they have rebelled against Me and have broken away.
3The ox [instinctively] knows its owner,
And the donkey its master’s feeding trough,
But Israel does not know [Me as Lord],
My people do not understand.”
4Ah, sinful nation,
A people loaded down with wickedness [with sin, with injustice, with wrongdoing],
Offspring of evildoers,
Sons who behave corruptly!
They have abandoned (rejected) the Lord,
They have despised the Holy One of Israel [provoking Him to anger],
They have turned away from Him.
5Why should you be stricken and punished again [since no change results from it]?
You [only] continue to rebel.
The whole head is sick
And the whole heart is faint and sick.
6From the sole of the foot even to the head
There is nothing healthy in the nation’s body,
Only bruises, welts, and raw wounds,
Not pressed out or bandaged,
Nor softened with oil [as a remedy].
7Your land lies desolate [because of your disobedience],
Your cities are burned with fire,
Your fields—strangers are devouring them in your very presence;
It is desolate, as overthrown by strangers.
8The Daughter of Zion (Jerusalem) is left like a [deserted] shelter in a vineyard,
Like a watchman’s hut in a cucumber field, like a besieged city [isolated, surrounded by devastation].
9If the Lord of hosts
Had not left us a few survivors,
We would be like Sodom,
We would be like Gomorrah.
God Has Had Enough
10Hear the word of the Lord [rulers of Jerusalem],
You rulers of [another] Sodom,
Listen to the law and instruction of our God,
You people of [another] Gomorrah.
11“What are your multiplied sacrifices to Me [without your repentance]?”
Says the Lord.
“I have had enough of [your] burnt offerings of rams
And the fat of well-fed cattle [without your obedience];
And I take no pleasure in the blood of bulls or lambs or goats [offered without repentance].
12When you come to appear before Me,
Who requires this of you, this trampling of My [temple] courts [by your sinful feet]?
13Do not bring worthless offerings again,
[Your] incense is repulsive to Me;
[Your] New Moon and Sabbath [observances], the calling of assemblies—
I cannot endure wickedness [your sin, your injustice, your wrongdoing] and [the squalor of] the festive assembly.
14I hate [the hypocrisy of] your New Moon festivals and your appointed feasts.
They have become a burden to Me;
I am weary of bearing them.
15So when you spread out your hands [in prayer, pleading for My help],
I will hide My eyes from you;
Yes, even though you offer many prayers,
I will not be listening.
Your hands are full of blood!
16“Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean;
Get your evil deeds out of My sight.
Stop doing evil,
17Learn to do good.
Seek justice,
Rebuke the ruthless,
Defend the fatherless,
Plead for the [rights of the] widow [in court].
“Let Us Reason”
18“Come now, and let us reason together,”
Says the Lord.
#There was a legend among the rabbis that on the Day of Atonement a scarlet woolen thread was tied to the door of the temple, and when the scapegoat reached the wilderness (Lev 16:10), if the sins of Israel were forgiven the thread would miraculously turn white.Though your sins are like scarlet,
They shall be as white as snow;
Though they are red like crimson,
They shall be like wool.
19If you are willing and obedient,
You shall eat the best of the land;
20But if you refuse and rebel,
You shall be devoured by the sword.”
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.
Zion Corrupted, to Be Redeemed
21How the faithful city has become a prostitute [idolatrous, despicable],
She who was full of justice!
Right standing with God once lodged in her,
But now murderers.
22Your silver has turned to #Lit galena.lead,
Your wine is diluted with water.
23Your rulers are rebels
And companions of thieves;
Everyone loves bribes
And chases after gifts.
They do not defend the fatherless,
Nor does the widow’s cause come before them [instead they delay or turn a deaf ear].
24Therefore the Lord God of hosts,
The Mighty One of Israel, declares:
“Ah, I will be freed of My adversaries
And avenge Myself on My enemies.
25And I will turn My hand against you,
And will [thoroughly] purge away your dross as with lye
And remove all your tin (impurity).
26Then I will restore your judges as at the first,
And your counselors as at the beginning;
Afterward you will be called the city of righteousness,
The faithful city.”
27Zion will be redeemed with justice
And her repentant ones with righteousness.
28But rebels and sinners will be crushed and destroyed together,
And those who abandon (turn away from) the Lord will be consumed (perish).
29For you will be ashamed [of the degradation] of the oaks in which you took [idolatrous] pleasure,
And you will be ashamed of the gardens [of passion] which you have chosen [for pagan worship].
30For you will be like an oak whose leaf withers and dies
And like a garden that has no water.
31The strong man will become tinder,
And his work a spark.
So both will burn together
And there will be none to quench them.