1 This is the vision of Isaiah son of Amoz. God showed Isaiah what would happen to Judah and Jerusalem. Isaiah saw this during the time when Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah were kings of Judah.
God’s Case Against Israel
2 Heaven and earth, listen! This is what the Lord says:
“I raised my children and helped them grow up,
but they have turned against me.
3 A bull knows its master,
and a donkey knows where its owner feeds it.
But Israel does not know me.
My people do not understand.”
4 Oh, what a sinful nation! Their guilt is like a heavy weight that they must carry. They are evil, destructive children.[a] They left the Lord and insulted the Holy One of Israel. They turned away and treated him like a stranger.
5 What good will it do to keep punishing you? You will continue to rebel. Your whole head and heart are already sick and aching.[b] 6 From the bottom of your feet to the top of your head, every part of your body has wounds, cuts, and open sores. You have not taken care of them. Your wounds have not been cleaned and bandaged.
7 Your land is in ruins, and your cities are in flames. Your enemies have taken your land, and foreigners are taking what it produces. It looks like some foreigners destroyed it.[c]
Warnings for Jerusalem
8 The city of Jerusalem[d] is now like an empty shed left in a vineyard. It is like an old straw hut abandoned in a field of cucumbers or like a city surrounded by enemies. 9 If the Lord All-Powerful had not allowed a few people to live, we would have been destroyed completely like the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. And that almost happened!
10 You officers of Sodom, listen to the Lord’s message. You people of Gomorrah,[e] listen to God’s teaching. 11 The Lord says, “Why do you continue giving me all these sacrifices? I have had enough of your sacrifices of rams and the fat from well-fed animals. I don’t want the blood of those bulls, sheep, and goats. 12 When you people come to meet with me, you trample everything in my yard. Who told you to do this?
13 “Don’t keep bringing me those worthless sacrifices. I hate the incense you give me. I cannot stand your festivals for the New Moon, the Sabbath, and other special meeting days. I hate the evil you do during those holy times together. 14 I hate your monthly meetings and councils. They have become like heavy weights to me, and I am tired of carrying them.
15 “When you raise your arms to pray to me, I will refuse to look at you. You will say more and more prayers, but I will refuse to listen because your hands are covered with blood.
16 “Wash yourselves and make yourselves clean. Stop doing the evil things I see you do. Stop doing wrong. 17 Learn to do good. Treat people fairly. Punish those who hurt others. Speak up for the widows and orphans. Argue their cases for them in court.
18 “I, the Lord, am the one speaking to you. Come, let’s discuss this. Even if your sins are as dark as red dye, that stain can be removed and you will be as pure as wool that is as white as snow.
19 “If you listen to what I say, you will get the good things from this land. 20 But if you refuse to listen and rebel against me, your enemies will destroy you.”
The Lord himself said this.
21 Look at Jerusalem. She was a faithful city. What made her become like a prostitute? In the past, Jerusalem was filled with justice, and goodness should live there now. Instead, there are murderers.
22 Once you were like pure silver, but now you are like the impurities that people throw away when the silver is purified. You are like good wine that has been weakened with water. 23 Your rulers are rebels and friends of thieves. They demand bribes and accept money for doing wrong. They take money to cheat people, and they don’t speak up for widows and orphans. They will not even listen to their cries for help.
24 Because of this, the Lord God All-Powerful, the Mighty One of Israel, says, “Look, I will get relief from my enemies. You will not cause me any more trouble. 25 People use lye to clean silver. In the same way, I will clean away all your wrongs. I will remove all the impurities from you. 26 I will bring back the kind of judges you had in the beginning. Your counselors will be like those you had long ago. Then you will be called ‘The Good and Faithful City.’”
27 God is good and does what is right, so he will rescue Zion and the people who come back to him. 28 But all the criminals and sinners will be destroyed. Those who stopped following the Lord will be removed.
29 In the future, you will be ashamed of the oak trees and special gardens[f] you chose to worship, 30 because you will be like an oak tree whose leaves are dying. You will be like a garden dying without water. 31 Powerful people will be like small, dry pieces of wood, and what they did will be like the sparks that start a fire. These people and their works will both burn up, and no one will be able to put out that fire.
- Isaiah 1:4 They … children Or “They are destructive children of evil parents.”
- Isaiah 1:5 Your whole … aching Or “Every head and heart is already sick and aching.”
- Isaiah 1:7 It looks … destroyed it Or “It looks like the land of the foreigners that was destroyed.” This might refer to civil war in Israel or to some time when God destroyed foreign nations, such as Sodom and Gomorrah.
- Isaiah 1:8 city of Jerusalem Literally, “daughter Zion.” See “Zion” in the Word List.
- Isaiah 1:10 officers of Sodom … Gomorrah Here, this refers to leaders and people from Judah.
- Isaiah 1:29 special gardens Gardens where people worshiped false gods.