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Isaiah 1

1
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.”

Isaiah 1

1
1The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem, in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah.
2Hear, heavens,
and listen, earth; for Yahweh#“Yahweh” is God’s proper Name, sometimes rendered “LORD” (all caps) in other translations. has spoken:
“I have nourished and brought up children,
and they have rebelled against me.
3The ox knows his owner,
and the donkey his master’s crib;
but Israel doesn’t know,
my people don’t consider.”
4Ah sinful nation,
a people loaded with iniquity,
offspring#or, seed of evildoers,
children who deal corruptly!
They have forsaken Yahweh.
They have despised the Holy One of Israel.
They are estranged and backward.
5Why should you be beaten more,
that you revolt more and more?
The whole head is sick,
and the whole heart faint.
6From the sole of the foot even to the head there is no soundness in it:
wounds, welts, and open sores.
They haven’t been closed, neither bandaged, neither soothed with oil.
7Your country is desolate.
Your cities are burned with fire.
Strangers devour your land in your presence,
and it is desolate,
as overthrown by strangers.
8The daughter of Zion is left like a shelter in a vineyard,
like a hut in a field of melons,
like a besieged city.
9Unless Yahweh of Armies had left to us a very small remnant,
we would have been as Sodom;
we would have been like Gomorrah.
10Hear Yahweh’s word, you rulers of Sodom!
Listen to the law of our God,#The Hebrew word rendered “God” is “אֱלֹהִ֑ים” (Elohim). you people of Gomorrah!
11“What are the multitude of your sacrifices to me?”, says Yahweh.
“I have had enough of the burnt offerings of rams,
and the fat of fed animals.
I don’t delight in the blood of bulls,
or of lambs,
or of male goats.
12When you come to appear before me,
who has required this at your hand, to trample my courts?
13Bring no more vain offerings.
Incense is an abomination to me;
new moons, Sabbaths, and convocations:
I can’t bear with evil assemblies.
14My soul hates your New Moons and your appointed feasts.
They are a burden to me.
I am weary of bearing them.
15When you spread out your hands, I will hide my eyes from you.
Yes, when you make many prayers, I will not hear.
Your hands are full of blood.
16Wash yourselves, make yourself clean.
Put away the evil of your doings from before my eyes.
Cease to do evil.
17Learn to do well.
Seek justice.
Relieve the oppressed.
Judge the fatherless.
Plead for the widow.”
18“Come now, and let us reason together,” says Yahweh:
“Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.
Though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.
19If you are willing and obedient,
you shall eat the good of the land;
20but if you refuse and rebel, you shall be devoured with the sword;
for the mouth of Yahweh has spoken it.”
21How the faithful city has become a prostitute!
She was full of justice; righteousness lodged in her,
but now murderers.
22Your silver has become dross,
your wine mixed with water.
23Your princes are rebellious, and companions of thieves.
Everyone loves bribes, and follows after rewards.
They don’t judge the fatherless,
neither does the cause of the widow come to them.
24Therefore the Lord,#The word translated “Lord” is “Adonai.” Yahweh of Armies,
the Mighty One of Israel, says:
“Ah, I will get relief from my adversaries,
and avenge myself on my enemies;
25and I will turn my hand on you,
thoroughly purge away your dross,
and will take away all your tin.#tin is a metal that is separated from silver during the refining and purification process.
26I will restore your judges as at the first,
and your counselors as at the beginning.
Afterward you shall be called ‘The city of righteousness,
a faithful town.’
27Zion shall be redeemed with justice,
and her converts with righteousness.
28But the destruction of transgressors and sinners shall be together,
and those who forsake Yahweh shall be consumed.
29For they shall be ashamed of the oaks which you have desired,
and you shall be confounded for the gardens that you have chosen.
30For you shall be as an oak whose leaf fades,
and as a garden that has no water.
31The strong will be like tinder,
and his work like a spark.
They will both burn together,
and no one will quench them.”