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Isaiah 1-6 Common English Bible (CEB)

The vision about Judah and Jerusalem that Isaiah, Amoz’s son, saw in the days of Judah’s kings Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah.

Rebels condemned

Hear you heavens, and listen earth,
        for the Lord has spoken:
I reared children; I raised them,
    and they turned against me!
An ox knows its owner,
    and a donkey its master’s feeding trough.
    But Israel doesn’t know;
        my people don’t behave intelligently.

Doom! Sinful nation, people weighed down with crimes,
    evildoing offspring, corrupt children!
They have abandoned the Lord,
    despised the holy one of Israel;
    they turned their backs on God.

Why do you invite further beatings?
    Why continue to rebel?
Everyone’s head throbs,
    and everyone’s heart fails.
From head to toe, none are well—
    only bruises, cuts, and raw wounds,
        not treated, not bandaged,
        not soothed with oil.

Your country is deserted,
    your cities burned with fire;
    your land—strangers are devouring it in plain sight.
    It’s a wasteland, as when foreigners raid.
Daughter Zion is left like a small shelter in a vineyard,
    like a hut in a cucumber field,
    like a city besieged.[a]
If the Lord of heavenly forces had not spared a few of us,
    we would be like Sodom; we would resemble Gomorrah.

Hands filled with bloodshed

10 Hear the Lord’s word, you leaders of Sodom.
    Listen to our God’s teaching,
        people of Gomorrah!
11 What should I think about all your sacrifices?
    says the Lord.
I’m fed up with entirely burned offerings of rams
    and the fat of well-fed beasts.
    I don’t want the blood of bulls, lambs, and goats.
12 When you come to appear before me,
    who asked this from you,
    this trampling of my temple’s courts?
13 Stop bringing worthless offerings.
    Your incense repulses me.
New moon, sabbath, and the calling of an assembly—
    I can’t stand wickedness with celebration!
14 I hate your new moons and your festivals.
    They’ve become a burden that I’m tired of bearing.
15 When you extend your hands,
    I’ll hide my eyes from you.
Even when you pray for a long time,
    I won’t listen.
Your hands are stained with blood.
16     Wash! Be clean!
Remove your ugly deeds from my sight.
    Put an end to such evil;
17     learn to do good.
Seek justice:
    help the oppressed;[b]
    defend the orphan;
    plead for the widow.

18 Come now, and let’s settle this,
    says the Lord.
Though your sins are like scarlet,
    they will be white as snow.
If they are red as crimson,
    they will become like wool.
19 If you agree and obey,
    you will eat the best food of the land.
20 But if you refuse and rebel,
    you will be devoured by the sword.
The Lord has said this.

Zion will be redeemed

21 This faithful town has become a prostitute!
She was full of justice;
    righteousness lived in her—
    but now murderers.
22 Your silver has become impure;
    your beer is diluted with water.
23 Your princes are rebels,
    companions of thieves.
Everyone loves a bribe and pursues gifts.
    They don’t defend the orphan,
    and the widow’s cause never reaches them.
24 Therefore, says the Lord God of heavenly forces,
    the mighty one of Israel:
Doom! I will vent my anger against my foes;
    I will take it out on my enemies,
25     and I will turn my hand against you.
I will refine your impurities as with lye,
    and remove all your cinders.
26 Then I will restore your judges as in earlier times,
    and your counselors as at the beginning.
After this you will be called Righteous City, Faithful Town.

27 Zion will be redeemed by justice,
    and those who change their lives by righteousness.
28 But God will shatter rebels and sinners alike;
    those who abandon the Lord will be finished.

29 You will be ashamed of the oaks you once desired,
    and embarrassed by the gardens you once chose.
30 You will be like an oak with withering leaves,
    like a garden without water.
31 The strong will be like dry twigs,
        their deeds like sparks;
    the two will burn together,
    with no one to extinguish them.

The Lord’s mountain

This is what Isaiah, Amoz’s son, saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.

In the days to come
    the mountain of the Lord’s house
    will be the highest of the mountains.
    It will be lifted above the hills;
        peoples will stream to it.
Many nations will go and say,
“Come, let’s go up to the Lord’s mountain,
    to the house of Jacob’s God
        so that he may teach us his ways
        and we may walk in God’s paths.”
Instruction will come from Zion;
    the Lord’s word from Jerusalem.
God will judge between the nations,
    and settle disputes of mighty nations.
Then they will beat their swords into iron plows
    and their spears into pruning tools.
Nation will not take up sword against nation;
    they will no longer learn how to make war.

Come, house of Jacob,
    let’s walk by the Lord’s light.

Everyone is brought low

You have abandoned your people,
        house of Jacob.
    They are full of sorcerers from the east and fortune-tellers like the Philistines;
        they hold hands with foreigners’ children.[c]
Their land is full of silver and gold;
    they have countless treasures.
Their land is filled with horses;
    they have countless chariots.
Their land is filled with idols;
    they worship their handiwork,
    what their own fingers have made.

Humanity will be brought down;
    each person laid low—don’t lift them up![d]
10 Go into the rocks,
    and hide yourself in the dust from the terror of the Lord,
    from the splendor of God’s majesty!
11 People’s proud gazing will be stopped
    and humanity’s arrogance brought down;
    the Lord alone will be exalted on that day.

12 The Lord of heavenly forces has planned a day:
    against all that is prideful and haughty;
    against all that is lofty, and it will be laid low;[e]
13     against all the cedars of Lebanon, high and lofty;
    against all the oaks of Bashan;
14     against all the high mountains;
    against all the lofty hills;
15     against every tall tower;
    against every fortified wall;
16     against all the ships of Tarshish;
    against all the wonderful boats.[f]
17 People’s pride will be brought down
    and human arrogance humiliated.
The Lord alone will be exalted on that day;
18     the idols will completely pass away.

19 Go into caves in the rocks
    and holes in the dust
        before the terror of the Lord
        and the splendor of God’s majesty,
        when he arises to terrify the earth.
20 On that day, people will toss
        to the rodents[g] and to the bats
    their idols of silver and idols of gold,
        which they made for themselves to worship.
21 They will hide in fissures of rocks and in crevices of cliffs
    before the terror of the Lord
    and the splendor of God’s majesty
    when he arises to terrify the earth.

22 Quit admiring the human race,
    who breathe through their nostrils.
    Why should they be admired?

Your leaders mislead you

Now the Lord God of heavenly forces is removing from Jerusalem and from Judah every form of support:

    all rations of food and water;
    soldier and warrior;
    judge and prophet;
    fortune-teller and elder;
    commander and celebrity;
    counselor, clever craftsman, and cunning charmer.
I will make youths their commanders;
    mischief makers will rule over them.
The people will oppress each other,
    each one against the other, neighbor against neighbor.
    The young will bully the old,
    the rogue, and the respectable.

Someone will seize a family member, saying, “You have clothing! You be our leader!
This mess will be your responsibility!”
Someone else will cry out on that day,
    “I’m no healer!
    I have neither food nor clothing in my house!
    Don’t make me the leader of the people!”

Yes, Jerusalem has stumbled
    and Judah has fallen,
        because the way they talk and act in word and deed insults the Lord,
        defying his brilliant glory.
Their bias in judgment gives them away;
    like Sodom, they display their sins in public.
    Doom to them, for they have done themselves in!
10 Tell the righteous how blessed they are;
    they will eat the fruit of their labors.
11 Doom to the wicked; they are evil.
    What they have done will be done to them.
12 As for my people—oppressors strip them
    and swindlers[h] rule them.
My people—your leaders mislead you and confuse your paths.

13 The Lord arises to accuse;
    he stands to judge the peoples.
14 The Lord will enter into judgment
    with the elders and princes of his people:
You yourselves have devoured the vineyard;
    the goods stolen from the poor are in your houses.
15 How dare you crush my people
    and grind the faces of the poor?
    says the Lord God of heavenly forces.

16 The Lord says:
Because Zion’s daughters applaud themselves,
    walking with their chins in the air,
    flirting with their eyes,
    tiptoeing as they walk, feet jingling—
17     the Lord will shave the heads of Zion’s daughters,
    and will expose their scalps.
18 On that day, the Lord will remove:
    the splendid ankle chains; headbands and moon-shaped pendants;
19     the earrings, bracelets, and veils;
20     the hats, bangles, and sashes;
    the amulets and charms;
21     the signet rings and nose rings;
22     the robes and capes;
    the shawls and handbags;
23     the mirrors and linen garments;
    the turbans and the veils.
24 Instead of perfume there will be a disgusting odor;
    instead of a sash, a rope;
    instead of styled hair, shaved heads;
    instead of expensive clothes, rags as mourning clothes;
    instead of beauty, shame.[i]

25 Your men will fall by the sword,
    your warriors in battle!
26 Her gates will lament and mourn;
    desolate, she will sit on the ground.

Seven women will grab one man on that day, saying, “We will eat our own bread and wear our own clothes—only let us take your name; take away our disgrace.”

Zion’s glorious future

On that day, the Lord’s branch will become beautiful and glorious. The earth’s fruit will be the pride and splendor of Israel’s survivors. Whoever remains in Zion and is left in Jerusalem will be called holy, everyone who is on the list of those living in Jerusalem. When the Lord washes the filth from Zion’s daughters, and cleanses Jerusalem’s bloodguilt from within it by means of a wind of judgment and a searing wind, then the Lord will create over the whole site of Mount Zion and over its assembly a cloud by day and smoke and the light of a blazing fire by night. Over all the glory there will be a canopy, which will be a booth by day for shade from the heat and a hiding place and shelter from a stormy downpour.

Song of the vineyard

Let me sing for my loved one
    a love song for his vineyard.
My loved one had a vineyard on a fertile hillside.
He dug it,
    cleared away its stones,
    planted it with excellent vines,
    built a tower inside it,
    and dug out a wine vat in it.
He expected it to grow good grapes—
    but it grew rotten grapes.
So now, you who live in Jerusalem, you people of Judah,
    judge between me and my vineyard:
What more was there to do for my vineyard
    that I haven’t done for it?
When I expected it to grow good grapes,
    why did it grow rotten grapes?
Now let me tell you what I’m doing to my vineyard.
I’m removing its hedge,
    so it will be destroyed.
I’m breaking down its walls,
    so it will be trampled.
I’ll turn it into a ruin;
    it won’t be pruned or hoed,
    and thorns and thistles will grow up.
I will command the clouds not to rain on it.
The vineyard of the Lord of heavenly forces is the house of Israel,
    and the people of Judah are the plantings in which God delighted.
God expected justice, but there was bloodshed;
    righteousness, but there was a cry of distress!

Sayings of doom

Doom to those who acquire house after house,
    who annex field to field until there is no more space left
    and only you live alone in the land.
I heard the Lord of heavenly forces say this:[j]
Many houses will become total ruins,
    large, fine houses, with no one living in them.
10 Ten acres of vineyard
    will produce just one bath,[k]
    and a homer of seed
        will produce only an ephah.

11 Doom to those who wake up early in the morning to run after beer,
    to those who stay up late, lit up by wine.
12 They party with lyre and harp, tambourine, flute, and wine;
    but they ignore the Lord’s work;
        they can’t see what God is doing.

13 Therefore, my people go into exile since they didn’t understand—
    their officials are dying of hunger;
    so many of them are dried up with thirst.
14 Therefore, the grave[l] opens wide its jaws,
    opens its mouth beyond all bounds,
    and the splendid multitudes will go down, with all their uproar and cheering.
15 Humanity will be humiliated;
    each person laid low,
    the eyes of the exalted laid low.
16 But the Lord of heavenly forces will be exalted in justice,
    and the holy God will show himself holy in righteousness.
17 Lambs will graze as if in their pasture;
    young goats[m] will feed among the ruins of the rich.[n]

18 Doom to those who drag guilt along with cords of fraud,
    and haul sin as if with cart ropes,
19     who say, “God should hurry and work faster so we can see;
    let the plan of Israel’s holy one come quickly, so we can understand it.”

20 Doom to those who call evil good and good evil,
    who present darkness as light and light as darkness,
    who make bitterness sweet and sweetness bitter.

21 Doom to those
who consider themselves wise,
    who think of themselves as clever.

22 Doom to the wine-swigging warriors,
    mighty at mixing drinks,
23     who spare the guilty for bribes,
    and rob the innocent of their rights.
24 Therefore, as a tongue of fire devours stubble,
    and as hay shrivels in a flame,
        so their roots will rot,
        and their blossoms turn to dust,
    for they have rejected the teaching of the Lord of heavenly forces,
        and have despised the word of Israel’s holy one.

God’s powerful hand

25 This is why the Lord’s anger burned against the people:
    he extended his hand to strike them,
    the mountains trembled,
    and their corpses lay in the middle of the streets like dung.
Even then God’s anger didn’t turn away;
    God’s hand was still extended.

26 God will raise a signal to a nation from far away
    and whistle to them from the end of the earth—
    now look—hurrying, swiftly they come!
27 Not one is tired; not one stumbles;
    they don’t rest or sleep;
    no belt is loose; no sandal broken;
28     their arrows are sharp;
    all their bows drawn;
    their horses’ hooves are like flint;
    their wheels like the whirlwind.
29     Their roaring is like the lion;
    they roar like young lions;
    they growl, seize their prey,
    and carry it off, with no one to rescue.
30 On that day, they will roar over it like the roaring of the sea.
And if one looks toward the land, there’s darkness.
    Tyre and the Nile will be darkened by the clouds.[o]

The divine throne room

In the year of King Uzziah’s death, I saw the Lord sitting on a high and exalted throne, the edges of his robe filling the temple. Winged creatures were stationed around him. Each had six wings: with two they veiled their faces, with two their feet, and with two they flew about. They shouted to each other, saying:

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of heavenly forces!
All the earth is filled with God’s glory!”

The doorframe shook at the sound of their shouting, and the house was filled with smoke.

I said, “Mourn for me; I’m ruined! I’m a man with unclean lips, and I live among a people with unclean lips. Yet I’ve seen the king, the Lord of heavenly forces!”

Then one of the winged creatures flew to me, holding a glowing coal that he had taken from the altar with tongs. He touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips. Your guilt has departed, and your sin is removed.”

Then I heard the Lord’s voice saying, “Whom should I send, and who will go for us?”

I said, “I’m here; send me.”

God said, “Go and say to this people:

Listen intently, but don’t understand;
    look carefully, but don’t comprehend.
10 Make the minds of this people dull.
    Make their ears deaf and their eyes blind,
    so they can’t see with their eyes
    or hear with their ears,
    or understand with their minds,
    and turn, and be healed.”

11 I said, “How long, Lord?”

And God said, “Until cities lie ruined with no one living in them, until there are houses without people and the land is left devastated.” 12 The Lord will send the people far away, and the land will be completely abandoned. 13 Even if one-tenth remain there, they will be burned again, like a terebinth or an oak, which when it is cut down leaves a stump. Its stump is a holy seed.

Footnotes:

  1. Isaiah 1:8 LXX, Vulg; MT spared
  2. Isaiah 1:17 LXX, Vulg; MT lead the oppressor
  3. Isaiah 2:6 Heb uncertain
  4. Isaiah 2:9 Or don’t forgive them
  5. Isaiah 2:12 LXX and high
  6. Isaiah 2:16 Heb uncertain
  7. Isaiah 2:20 Heb uncertain
  8. Isaiah 3:12 LXX; MT women
  9. Isaiah 3:24 DSS (1QIsaa); MT lacks shame.
  10. Isaiah 5:9 Heb lacks say this.
  11. Isaiah 5:10 One bath is approximately twenty quarts, the same as an ephah; one homer contains ten ephahs (or baths) of grain.
  12. Isaiah 5:14 Heb Sheol
  13. Isaiah 5:17 Or strangers
  14. Isaiah 5:17 Or Calves and young goats will feed on the ruins; Heb uncertain
  15. Isaiah 5:30 Heb uncertain
Common English Bible (CEB)

Copyright © 2011 by Common English Bible

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