New English Translation
10 Listen to the Lord’s message,
you leaders of Sodom![a]
Pay attention to our God’s rebuke,[b]
people of Gomorrah!
11 “Of what importance to me are your many sacrifices?”[c]
says the Lord.
“I have had my fill[d] of burnt sacrifices,
of rams and the fat from steers.
The blood of bulls, lambs, and goats
I do not want.[e]
12 When you enter my presence,
do you actually think I want this—
animals trampling on my courtyards?[f]
- Isaiah 1:10 sn Building on the simile of v. 9, the prophet sarcastically addresses the leaders and people of Jerusalem as if they were leaders and residents of ancient Sodom and Gomorrah. The sarcasm is appropriate, for if the judgment is comparable to Sodom’s, that must mean that the sin which prompted the judgment is comparable as well.
- Isaiah 1:10 tn Heb “to the instruction of our God.” In this context, which is highly accusatory and threatening, תּוֹרָה (torah, “law, instruction”) does not refer to mere teaching, but to corrective teaching and rebuke.
- Isaiah 1:11 tn Heb “Why to me the multitude of your sacrifices?” The sarcastic rhetorical question suggests that their many sacrifices are of no importance to the Lord. This phrase answers the possible objection that an Israelite could raise in response to God’s indictment: “But we are offering the sacrifices you commanded!”sn In this section the Lord refutes a potential objection that his sinful people might offer in their defense. He has charged them with rebellion (vv. 2-3), but they might respond that they have brought him many sacrifices. So he points out that he requires justice in society first and foremost, not empty ritual.
- Isaiah 1:11 tn The verb שָׂבַע (savaʿ, “be satisfied, full”) is often used of eating and/or drinking one’s fill, to have had fully enough and want no more. See BDB 959 s.v. שָׂבַע. In some cases it means to have had more than enough of something and to want to not have any more (cf. Prov 25:17). The word picture builds on the Near Eastern viewpoint of sacrifices as food for the deity. God essentially says, “enough of that already;” what he wants is not more of that.
- Isaiah 1:11 sn In the chiastic structure of the verse, the verbs at the beginning and end highlight God’s displeasure, while the heaping up of references to animals, fat, and blood in the middle lines hints at why God wants no more of their sacrifices. They have, as it were, piled the food on his table and he needs no more.
- Isaiah 1:12 tn Heb “When you come to appear before me, who requires this from your hand, trampling of my courtyards?” The rhetorical question sarcastically makes the point that God does not require this parade of livestock. The verb “trample” probably refers to the eager worshipers and their sacrificial animals walking around in the temple area.