Isaiah 5:8-30

The Lord Judges His Vineyard

How terrible it will be for you who get too many houses!
    How terrible for you who get too many fields!
Finally there won’t be any space left in the land.
    Then you will live all alone.

I heard the Lord who rules over all announce a message. He said,

“You can be sure that the great houses will become empty.
    The fine homes will be left with no one living in them.
A ten-acre vineyard will produce only six gallons of wine.
    360 pounds of seeds will produce only 36 pounds of grain.”

How terrible it will be for those who get up early in the morning
    to start drinking!
How terrible for those who stay up late at night
    until they are drunk with wine!
They have harps and lyres at their banquets.
    They have tambourines, flutes and wine.
But they don’t have any concern for the mighty acts of the Lord.
    They don’t have any respect for what his power has done.
So my people will be taken away as prisoners.
    That’s because they don’t understand what the Lord has done.
Their nobles will die of hunger.
    The rest of the people won’t have any water to drink.
So Death opens its jaws to receive them.
    Its mouth is open wide to swallow them up.
Their nobles and the rest of the people will go down into it.
    They will go there together with all those who have wild parties.
So people will be brought low.
    Everyone will be made humble.
    Those who brag will be brought down.
But the Lord who rules over all will be honored
    because he judges fairly.
The holy God will prove that he is holy
    by doing what is right.
Then sheep will graze as if they were in their own grasslands.
    Lambs will eat grass among the destroyed buildings
    where rich people used to live.

How terrible it will be for those who continue to sin
    and lie about it!
How terrible for those who keep on doing what is evil
    as if they were tied to it!
How terrible for those who say,
    “Let God hurry up and do what he says he will.
    We want to see it happen.
Let us see the plan of the Holy One of Israel.
    We want to know what it is.”

How terrible it will be for those who say
    that what is evil is good!
How terrible for those who say
    that what is good is evil!
How terrible for those who say
    that darkness is light
    and light is darkness!
How terrible for those who say
    that what is bitter is sweet
    and what is sweet is bitter!

How terrible it will be for those who think they are wise!
    How terrible for those who think they are really clever!

How terrible it will be for those
    who are heroes at drinking wine!
How terrible for those
    who are heroes at mixing drinks!
How terrible for those
    who take money to set guilty people free!
How terrible for those
    who don’t treat good people fairly!
Flames of fire burn up straw.
    Dry grass sinks down into those flames.
Evil people will be like plants whose roots rot away.
    They will be like flowers that are blown away like dust.
That’s because they have said no to the law of the Lord who rules over all.
    They have turned against the message of the Holy One of Israel.
So the Lord is angry with his people.
    He raises his hand against them and strikes them down.
The mountains shake.
    The bodies of dead people lie in the streets like trash.

Even then, the Lord is still angry.
    His hand is still raised against them.

He lifts up a banner to gather the nations that are far away.
    He whistles for them to come
    from the farthest places on earth.
Here they come.
    They are moving very quickly.
None of them grows tired.
    None of them falls down.
    None of them sleeps or even takes a nap.
All of them are ready for battle.
    Every belt is pulled tight.
    Not a single sandal strap is broken.
The enemies’ arrows are sharp.
    All their bows are ready.
The hooves of their horses are as hard as rock.
    Their chariot wheels turn like a twister.
The sound of their army is like the roar of lions.
    It’s like the roar of young lions.
They growl as they capture what they were chasing.
    They carry it off.
    No one can take it away from them.
At that time the enemy army will roar over Israel.
    It will sound like the roaring of the ocean.
If someone looks at the land of Israel,
    there is only darkness and trouble.
    The clouds will make even the sun become dark.

Read More of Isaiah 5

Isaiah 6

The Lord Appoints Isaiah to Speak for Him

In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord. He was seated on his throne. His long robe filled the temple. He was highly honored. Above him were seraphs. Each of them had six wings. With two wings they covered their faces. With two wings they covered their feet. And with two wings they were flying. They were calling out to one another. They were saying,

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord who rules over all.
    The whole earth is full of his glory.”

The sound of their voices caused the stone doorframe to shake. The temple was filled with smoke.

“How terrible it is for me!” I cried out. “I’m about to be destroyed! My mouth speaks sinful words. And I live among people who speak sinful words. Now I have seen the King with my own eyes. He is the Lord who rules over all.”

A seraph flew over to me. He was holding a hot coal. He had used tongs to take it from the altar. He touched my mouth with the coal. He said, “This has touched your lips. Your guilt has been taken away. Your sin has been paid for.”

Then I heard the voice of the Lord. He said, “Who will I send? Who will go for us?”

I said, “Here I am. Send me!”

So he said, “Go and speak to these people. Tell them,

“ ‘You will hear but never understand.
    You will see but never know what you are seeing.’
Make the hearts of these people stubborn.
    Plug up their ears.
    Close their eyes.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes.
    They might hear with their ears.
    They might understand with their hearts.
And they might turn to me and be healed.”

Then I said, “Lord, how long will it be like that?”

He answered,

“It will last until the cities of Israel are destroyed.
    It will last until no one is living in them.
It will last until the houses are deserted.
    The fields will be completely destroyed.
It will last until the Lord has sent everyone far away.
    The land will be totally deserted.
Suppose only a tenth of the people remain there.
    Even then the land will be completely destroyed again.
But when oak trees and terebinth trees
    are cut down, stumps are left.
And my holy people will be like stumps
    that begin to grow again.”

Read More of Isaiah 6

Isaiah 7

The Sign of Immanuel

Ahaz was king of Judah. Rezin was king of Aram. And Pekah was king of Israel. Rezin and Pekah marched up to fight against Jerusalem. But they couldn’t overpower it. Ahaz was the son of Jotham and the grandson of Uzziah. Pekah was the son of Remaliah.

The royal family of Ahaz was told, “The army of Aram has joined forces with Ephraim’s army.” So the hearts of Ahaz and his people trembled with fear. They shook just as trees in the forest shake when the wind blows through them.

The Lord said to Isaiah, “Go out and see Ahaz. Take your son Shear-Jashub with you. Meet Ahaz at the end of the channel that brings water from the Upper Pool. It is on the road to the Washerman’s Field. Tell Ahaz, ‘Be careful. Stay calm. Do not be afraid. Do not lose hope because of the great anger of Rezin, Aram and the son of Remaliah. After all, they are nothing but two pieces of smoking firewood. Aram, Ephraim and Remaliah’s son have planned to destroy you. They said, “Let’s march into Judah and attack it. Let’s tear everything down. Then we can share the land among ourselves. And we can make Tabeel’s son king over it.” But I am the Lord and King. I say,

“ ‘ “That will not happen.
    It will not take place.
The capital of Aram is Damascus.
    And the ruler of Damascus is only Rezin.
Do not worry about the people of Ephraim.
    They will be too crushed to be considered a people.
    That will happen before 65 years are over.
The capital of Ephraim is Samaria.
    And the ruler of Samaria is only Remaliah’s son.
If you do not stand firm in your faith,
    you will not stand at all.” ’ ”

The Lord spoke to Ahaz through Isaiah again. He said, “I am the Lord your God. Ask me to give you a sign. It can be anything in the deepest grave or in the highest heaven.”

But Ahaz said, “I won’t ask. I won’t test the Lord.”

Then Isaiah said, “Listen, you members of the royal family of David! Isn’t it enough for you to test the patience of human beings? Are you also going to test the patience of my God? The Lord himself will give you a sign. The virgin is going to have a baby. She will give birth to a son. And he will be called Immanuel. He will still be very young when he can decide between right and wrong. Even before then, the lands of the two kings you fear will be ruined. The Lord will also bring the king of Assyria against you. And he will bring him against your people and the whole royal family. That will be a time of trouble. It will be unlike any since the people of Ephraim broke away from Judah.”

The Lord Uses Assyria to Judge Judah

At that time the Lord will whistle for the Egyptians. They will come like flies from the Nile River in Egypt. He will also whistle for the Assyrians. They will come from their country like bees. All of them will come and camp in the deep valleys. They will camp in caves in the rocks. And they’ll camp near bushes and water holes. At that time the Lord will use the Assyrians to punish you. Ahaz had hired them earlier from east of the Euphrates River. Now their king will be like a razor in the Lord’s hand. He will shave the hair from your head and private parts. He will also shave off your beards. At that time a person may only be able to keep alive one young cow and two goats. But they will give plenty of milk to live on. In fact, everyone left in the land will only have milk curds and honey to eat. The land used to have vineyards with 1,000 vines worth 25 pounds of silver. But soon the whole land will be covered with thorns and bushes. Hunters will go there with bows and arrows. That’s because it will be covered with bushes and thorns. All the hills used to be plowed with hoes. But you won’t go there anymore. That’s because you will be afraid of the thorns and bushes. Cattle will be turned loose on those hills. Sheep will also run there.

Read More of Isaiah 7

Isaiah 8:1-10

Isaiah and His Children Are Signs

The Lord said to me, “Get a large sheet of paper. Write ‘Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz’ on it with a pen.” So I sent for Zechariah and Uriah the priest. Zechariah is the son of Jeberekiah. Zechariah and Uriah were witnesses for me whom I could trust. Then I went and slept with my wife, who was a prophet. She became pregnant and had a baby boy. The Lord said to me, “Name him Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz. The king of Assyria will carry off the wealth of Damascus. He will also carry away the goods that were taken from Samaria. That will happen before the boy knows how to say ‘My father’ or ‘My mother.’ ”

The Lord continued,

“I am like the gently flowing stream of Siloam.
    But the people of Judah have turned their backs on me.
They are filled with joy because of the fall of Rezin
    and the son of Remaliah.
So I am about to bring against these people
    the king of Assyria and his whole army.
The Assyrians will be like the mighty Euphrates River
    when it is flooding.
    They will run over everything in their path.
They will sweep on into Judah like a flood.
    They will pass through Judah and reach all the way to Jerusalem.
Immanuel, they will attack your land like an eagle.
    Their wings will spread out and cover it.”

Sound the battle cry, you nations!
    But you will be torn apart.
    Listen, all you lands far away!
Prepare for battle! But you will be torn apart.
    Prepare for battle! But you will be torn apart.
Make your battle plans! But you won’t succeed.
    Give your orders! But they won’t be carried out.
    That’s because God is with us.

Read More of Isaiah 8