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Accusation and Appeal

[a]Hear, O heavens, and listen, O earth,
    for the Lord speaks:
Sons have I raised and reared,
    but they have rebelled against me!(A)
An ox knows its owner,
    and an ass,[b] its master’s manger;
But Israel does not know,
    my people has not understood.(B)
Ah![c] Sinful nation, people laden with wickedness,
    evil offspring, corrupt children!
They have forsaken the Lord,
    spurned the Holy One of Israel,
    apostatized,(C)

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Footnotes

  1. 1:2–31 This chapter is widely considered to be a collection of oracles from various periods in Isaiah’s ministry, chosen by the editor as a compendium of his most characteristic teachings.
  2. 1:3 Ox…ass: Isaiah uses animals proverbial for their stupidity and stubbornness to underline Israel’s failure to respond to God. Israel: a term Isaiah (and other prophets) frequently applies to Judah, especially after the fall of the Northern Kingdom (which Isaiah normally calls Ephraim, as in 7:2, 9, 17; 9:8), but sometimes applies to the entire chosen people, as in 8:14.
  3. 1:4 Ah: see note on 5:8–24. Holy One of Israel: a title used frequently in the Book of Isaiah, rarely elsewhere in the Old Testament (see 5:19, 24; 10:20; 12:6; 17:7; 29:19; 30:11, 12, 15; 31:1; 37:23; 41:14, 16, 20; 43:3, 14; 45:11; 47:4; 48:17; 49:7; 54:5; 55:5; 60:9, 14).

12 Go, proclaim these words toward the north, and say:

Return, rebel Israel—oracle of the Lord
    I will not remain angry with you;
For I am merciful, oracle of the Lord,
    I will not keep my anger forever.(A)

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