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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
Superscription
1The vision of Isaiah son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah.
Rebellious Judah
2Hear, heavens,
and listen, earth,
for Yahweh has spoken:
“I reared children
and I brought them up,
but they rebelled against me.
3An ox knows its owner
and a donkey the manger of its master.
Israel does not know;
my people do not understand.
4Ah, sinful nation,
a people heavy with iniquity,
offspring of evildoers,
children who deal corruptly.
They have forsaken Yahweh;
they have despised the holy one of Israel.
They are estranged and gone backward.
5Why do you want to be beaten again?
You continue in rebellion.
The whole of the head is sick,
and the whole of the heart is faint.
6From the sole of the foot and up to the head
there is no health in it;
bruise and sore and bleeding wound have not been cleansed,
and they have not been bound up
and not softened with the oil.
7Your country is desolate,
your cities are burned with fire;
As for your land, aliens are devouring it in your presence,
and it is desolate, like devastation by foreigners.
8And the daughter of Zion is left like a booth in a vineyard,
like a shelter in a cucumber field,
like a city that is besieged.#Or “preserved”
9If Yahweh of hosts had not left us survivors,#Hebrew “survivor”
we would have been as few as Sodom,
we would have become like Gomorrah.
10Hear the word of Yahweh, rulers of Sodom!
Listen to the teaching of our God, people of Gomorrah!
11What is the abundance of your sacrifices to me? says Yahweh.
I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams
and the fat of fattened animals
and I do not delight in the blood of bulls
and ram-lambs and goats.
12When you come to appear before me,
who asked for this from your hand:
you trampling my courts?
13You must not continue#Literally “increase” or “add to” to bring offerings#Hebrew “offering” of futility,
incense—it is an abomination to me;
new moon and Sabbath, the calling of a convocation—
I cannot endure iniquity with solemn assembly.
14Your new moons and your appointed festivals my soul hates;
they have become to me like a burden,
I am not able to bear them.
15And when you stretch out your hands,
I will hide my eyes from you;
even though you make many prayers,#Hebrew “prayer”
I will not be listening.
Your hands are full of blood. 16Wash! Make yourselves clean!
Remove the evil of your doings from before my eyes!
Cease to do evil! 17Learn to do good!
Seek justice! Rescue the oppressed!
Defend the orphan! Plead for the widow!
18“Come now, and let us argue,” says Yahweh.
“Even though your sins are like scarlet, they will be white like snow;
even though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.
19If you are willing and you are obedient,
you shall eat the good of the land.
20But if you refuse and you rebel, you shall be devoured by the sword.
For the mouth of Yahweh has spoken.”
Purifying Jerusalem
21How has a faithful city become like a whore?
Full of justice, righteousness lodged in her, but now murderers.
22Your silver has become as dross;
Your wine is diluted with waters.
23Your princes are rebels
and companions of thieves.
Every one loves a bribe
and runs after gifts.
They do not defend the orphan
and the legal dispute of the widow does not come before them.
24Therefore, the declaration of the Lord Yahweh of hosts, the Mighty One of Israel:
“Ah, I will be relieved of my enemies,
and I will avenge myself on my foes.
25And I will turn my hand against you;
I will purify your dross like lye,
and I will remove all of your tin.
26And I will restore your judges, as at the first,
and your counselors, as at the beginning.
After this you will be called#Literally “it will be called for you” the city of righteousness,
faithful city.
27Zion will be redeemed by justice,
and those of her who repent, by righteousness.
28But the destruction of rebels and sinners shall be together,
and those who forsake Yahweh will perish.
29For you#Literally “they,” but a few manuscripts read “you,” which fits the context better will be ashamed of the oaks in which you delighted,
and you will be disgraced because of the gardens that you have chosen.
30For you shall be like an oak withering its leaves,
and like a garden where there is no water for her.
31And the strong man shall become like tinder,
and his work like a spark.
And both of them shall burn together,
and there is not one to quench them.”