1The vision concerning Judah and Jerusalem that Isaiah son of Amoz saw during the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah.
A rebellious nation
2Hear me, you heavens! Listen, earth!
For the Lord has spoken:
‘I reared children and brought them up,
but they have rebelled against me.
3The ox knows its master,
the donkey its owner’s manger,
but Israel does not know,
my people do not understand.’
4Woe to the sinful nation,
a people whose guilt is great,
a brood of evildoers,
children given to corruption!
They have forsaken the Lord;
they have spurned the Holy One of Israel
and turned their backs on him.
5Why should you be beaten anymore?
Why do you persist in rebellion?
Your whole head is injured,
your whole heart afflicted.
6From the sole of your foot to the top of your head
there is no soundness –
only wounds and bruises
and open sores,
not cleansed or bandaged
or soothed with oil.
7Your country is desolate,
your cities burned with fire;
your fields are being stripped by foreigners
right before you,
laid waste as when overthrown by strangers.
8Daughter Zion is left
like a shelter in a vineyard,
like a hut in a cucumber field,
like a city under siege.
9Unless the Lord Almighty
had left us some survivors,
we would have become like Sodom,
we would have been like Gomorrah.
10Hear the word of the Lord,
you rulers of Sodom;
listen to the instruction of our God,
you people of Gomorrah!
11‘The multitude of your sacrifices –
what are they to me?’
says the Lord.
‘I have more than enough of burnt offerings,
of rams and the fat of fattened animals;
I have no pleasure
in the blood of bulls and lambs and goats.
12When you come to appear before me,
who has asked this of you,
this trampling of my courts?
13Stop bringing meaningless offerings!
Your incense is detestable to me.
New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations –
I cannot bear your worthless assemblies.
14Your New Moon feasts and your appointed festivals
I hate with all my being.
They have become a burden to me;
I am weary of bearing them.
15When you spread out your hands in prayer,
I hide my eyes from you;
even when you offer many prayers,
I am not listening.
Your hands are full of blood!
16Wash and make yourselves clean.
Take your evil deeds out of my sight;
stop doing wrong.
17Learn to do right; seek justice.
Defend the oppressed.1:17 Or justice. / Correct the oppressor
Take up the cause of the fatherless;
plead the case of the widow.
18‘Come now, let us settle the matter,’
says the Lord.
‘Though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red as crimson,
they shall be like wool.
19If you are willing and obedient,
you will eat the good things of the land;
20but if you resist and rebel,
you will be devoured by the sword.’
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.
21See how the faithful city
has become a prostitute!
She once was full of justice;
righteousness used to dwell in her –
but now murderers!
22Your silver has become dross,
your choice wine is diluted with water.
23Your rulers are rebels,
partners with thieves;
they all love bribes
and chase after gifts.
They do not defend the cause of the fatherless;
the widow’s case does not come before them.
24Therefore the Lord, the Lord Almighty,
the Mighty One of Israel, declares:
‘Ah! I will vent my wrath on my foes
and avenge myself on my enemies.
25I will turn my hand against you;1:25 That is, against Jerusalem
I will thoroughly purge away your dross
and remove all your impurities.
26I will restore your leaders as in days of old,
your rulers as at the beginning.
Afterwards you will be called
the City of Righteousness,
the Faithful City.’
27Zion will be delivered with justice,
her penitent ones with righteousness.
28But rebels and sinners will both be broken,
and those who forsake the Lord will perish.
29‘You will be ashamed because of the sacred oaks
in which you have delighted;
you will be disgraced because of the gardens
that you have chosen.
30You will be like an oak with fading leaves,
like a garden without water.
31The mighty man will become tinder
and his work a spark;
both will burn together,
with no-one to quench the fire.’
1Here is the vision about Judah and Jerusalem that Isaiah saw. It came to him when Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah were ruling. They were kings of Judah. Isaiah was the son of Amoz.
The Nation Refuses to Obey the Lord
2Listen to me, you heavens! Pay attention to me, earth!
The Lord has said,
“I raised children. I brought them up.
But they have refused to obey me.
3The ox knows its master.
The donkey knows where its owner feeds it.
But Israel does not know me.
My people do not understand me.”
4How terrible it will be for this sinful nation!
They are loaded down with guilt.
They are people who do nothing but evil.
They are children who are always sinning.
They have deserted the Lord.
They have turned against the Holy One of Israel.
They have turned their backs on him.
5Israel, why do you want to be beaten all the time?
Why do you always refuse to obey the Lord?
Your head is covered with wounds.
Your whole heart is weak.
6There isn’t a healthy spot on your body.
You are not healthy from the bottom of your feet to the top of your head.
You have nothing but wounds, cuts
and open sores.
They haven’t been cleaned up or bandaged
or treated with olive oil.
7Your country has been deserted.
Your cities have been burned down.
The food from your fields is being eaten up by outsiders.
They are doing it right in front of you.
Your land has been completely destroyed.
It looks as if strangers have taken it over.
8The city of Zion is left like a shed
where someone stands guard in a vineyard.
It is left like a hut in a cucumber field.
It’s like a city being attacked.
9The Lord who rules over all
has let some people live through that time of trouble.
If he hadn’t, we would have become like Sodom.
We would have been like Gomorrah.
10Rulers of Sodom,
hear the Lord’s message.
People of Gomorrah,
listen to the instruction of our God.
11“Do you think I need any more of your sacrifices?”
asks the Lord.
“I have more than enough of your burnt offerings.
I have more than enough of rams
and the fat of your fattest animals.
I do not find any pleasure
in the blood of your bulls, lambs and goats.
12Who asked you to bring all these animals
when you come to worship me?
Who asked you and your animals
to walk all over my courtyards?
13Stop bringing offerings that do not mean anything to me!
I hate your incense.
I can’t stand your worthless gatherings.
I can’t stand the way you celebrate your New Moon feasts,
Sabbath days and special services.
14Your New Moon feasts and your other appointed feasts
I hate with my whole being.
They have become a heavy load to me.
I am tired of carrying it.
15You might spread out your hands toward me when you pray.
But I do not look at you.
You might even offer many prayers.
But I am not listening to them.
Your hands are covered with the blood of the people you have murdered.
16So wash and make yourselves clean.
Get your evil actions out of my sight!
Stop doing what is wrong!
17Learn to do what is right!
Treat people fairly.
Help those who are treated badly.
Stand up in court for children whose fathers have died.
And do the same thing for widows.
18“Come. Let us settle this matter,”
says the Lord.
“Even though your sins are bright red,
they will be as white as snow.
Even though they are deep red,
they will be white like wool.
19But you have to be willing to change and obey me.
If you are, you will eat the good things that grow on the land.
20But if you are not willing to obey me,
you will be killed by swords.”
The Lord has spoken.
21See how the faithful city of Jerusalem
has become like a prostitute!
Once it was full of people who treated others fairly.
Those who did what was right used to live in it.
But now murderers live there!
22Jerusalem, your silver isn’t pure anymore.
Your best wine has been made weak with water.
23Your rulers refuse to obey the Lord.
They join forces with robbers.
All of them love to accept money from those who want special favors.
They are always looking for gifts from other people.
They don’t stand up in court for children whose fathers have died.
They don’t do it for widows either.
24The Lord is the Mighty One of Israel.
The Lord who rules over all announces,
“Israel, you have become my enemies.
I will act against you in my anger.
I will pay you back for what you have done.
25I will turn my power against you.
I will make you completely ‘clean.’
I will remove everything that is not pure.
26I will give you leaders like the ones you had long ago.
I will give you rulers like those you had at the beginning.
Then you will be called
the City That Does What Is Right.
You will also be called the Faithful City.”
27Zion will be saved when justice is done.
Those who are sorry for their sins will be saved
when what is right is done.
28But sinners and those who refuse to obey the Lord will be destroyed.
And those who desert the Lord will die.
29“Israel, you take delight in worshiping among the sacred oak trees.
You will be full of shame for doing that.
You have chosen to worship in the sacred gardens.
You will be dishonored for doing that.
30You will be like an oak tree whose leaves are dying.
You will be like a garden that doesn’t have any water.
31Your strongest men will become like dry pieces of wood.
Their worship of other gods will be the spark that lights the fire.
Everything will be burned up.
No one will be there to put the fire out.”