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I am Isaiah, the son of Amoz.

And this is the message[a] that I was given about Judah and Jerusalem when Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah were the kings of Judah:[b]

A Guilty Nation

The Lord has said,
    “Listen, heaven and earth!
The children I raised
    have turned against me.
Oxen and donkeys know
    who owns and feeds them,
but my people won’t ever learn.”

Israel, you are a sinful nation
    loaded down with guilt.
You are wicked and corrupt
and have turned from the Lord,
    the holy God of Israel.
Why be punished more?
    Why not give up your sin?
Your head is badly bruised,
    and you are weak all over.
From your head to your toes
    there isn’t a healthy spot.
Bruises, cuts, and open sores
go without care
    or oil to ease the pain.

A Country in Ruins

Your country lies in ruins;
    your towns are in ashes.
Foreigners and strangers
take and destroy your land
    while you watch.
Enemies surround Jerusalem,
alone like a hut
in a vineyard[c]
    or in a cucumber field.
Zion would have disappeared
    like Sodom and Gomorrah,[d]
if the Lord All-Powerful
had not let a few
    of its people survive.

Justice, Not Sacrifices

10 You are no better
    than the leaders and people
of Sodom and Gomorrah!
    So listen to the Lord God:
11 “Your sacrifices
    mean nothing to me.
I am sick of your offerings
    of rams and choice cattle;
I don’t like the blood
    of bulls or lambs or goats.

12 “Who asked you to bring all this
when you come to worship me?
    Stay out of my temple!
13 Your sacrifices are worthless,
    and incense is disgusting.
I can’t stand the evil you do
    on your New Moon Festivals
or on your Sabbaths
    and other times of worship.
14 I hate your New Moon Festivals
    and all others as well.
They are a heavy burden
    I am tired of carrying.

15 “No matter how much you pray,
I won’t listen.
    You are too violent.
16 Wash yourselves clean!
I am disgusted
    with your filthy deeds.
Stop doing wrong
17     and learn to live right.
See that justice is done.
Defend widows and orphans
    and help those in need.”[e]

An Invitation from the Lord

18 I, the Lord, invite you
    to come and talk it over.
Your sins are scarlet red,
but they will be whiter
    than snow or wool.
19 If you willingly obey me,
the best crops in the land
    will be yours.
20 But if you turn against me,
your enemies will kill you.
    I, the Lord, have spoken.

The Lord Condemns Jerusalem

21 Jerusalem, you are like
    an unfaithful wife.
Once your judges were honest
    and your people lived right;
now you are a city
    full of murderers.
22 Your silver is fake,
and your wine
    is watered down.
23 Your leaders have rejected me
    to become friends of crooks;
your rulers are looking
    for gifts and bribes.
Widows and orphans
    never get a fair trial.

24 I am the Lord All-Powerful,
the mighty ruler of Israel,
    and I make you a promise:
You are now my enemy,
and I will show my anger
    by taking revenge on you.
25 I will punish you terribly
    and burn away everything
that makes you unfit
    to worship me.
26 Jerusalem, I will choose
judges and advisors
    like those you had before.
Your new name will be
    “Justice and Faithfulness.”

The Lord Will Save Jerusalem

27 Jerusalem, you will be saved
    by showing justice;[f]
Zion’s people who turn to me
will be saved
    by doing right.
28 But those rebellious sinners
who turn against me, the Lord,
    will all disappear.

29 You will be made ashamed
of those groves of trees
    where you worshiped idols.
30 You will be like a grove of trees
    dying in a drought.
31 Your strongest leaders
will be like dry wood
    set on fire by their idols.[g]
No one will be able to help,
    as they all go up in flames.

Peace That Lasts Forever

This is the message[h] that I was given about Judah and Jerusalem:

In the future, the mountain
with the Lord’s temple
    will be the highest of all.
It will reach above the hills;
    every nation will rush to it.
Many people will come and say,
    “Let’s go to the mountain
of the Lord God of Jacob
    and worship in his temple.”

The Lord will teach us his Law
from Jerusalem,
    and we will obey him.
He will settle arguments
    between nations.
They will pound their swords
and their spears
    into rakes and shovels;
they will never make war
    or attack one another.
People of Israel, let’s live
    by the light of the Lord.

Following Sinful Customs

Our Lord, you have deserted
    your people, Israel,
because they follow customs
    of nations from the east.
They worship Philistine gods
and are close friends
    of foreigners.[i]
They have endless treasures
    of silver and gold;
they have countless horses
    and war chariots.
Everywhere in the country
they worship the idols
    they have made.
And so, all of them
will be ashamed and disgraced.
    Don’t help them!

A Day of Judgment

10 Every one of you,
go hide among the rocks
    and in the ground,
because the Lord is fearsome,
    marvelous, and glorious.
11 When the Lord comes,
everyone who is proud
    will be made humble,
and the Lord alone
    will be honored.
12 The Lord All-Powerful
    has chosen a day
when those who are proud
and conceited
    will be put down.

13 The tall and towering
cedars of Lebanon
    will be destroyed.
So will the oak trees of Bashan,
14 all high mountains and hills,
15     every strong fortress,
16 all the seagoing ships,[j]
    and every beautiful boat.
17 When that day comes,
everyone who is proud
    will be put down.
Only the Lord will be honored.
18     Idols will be gone for good.

19 You had better hide
    in caves and holes—
the Lord will be fearsome,
    marvelous, and glorious
when he comes to terrify
    people on earth.

20 On that day everyone will throw
    to the rats and bats
their idols of silver and gold
    they made to worship.
21 The Lord will be fearsome,
    marvelous, and glorious
when he comes to terrify
    people on earth—
they will hide in caves
    and in the hills.

22 Stop trusting the power
    of humans.
They are all going to die,
    so how can they help?

Judgment on Jerusalem and Judah

The mighty Lord All-Powerful
is going to take away
    from Jerusalem and Judah
everything you need—
    your bread and water,
soldiers and heroes,
judges and prophets,
    leaders and army officers,
officials and advisors,
fortunetellers
and others
    who tell the future.
He will let children and babies[k]
    become your rulers.
You will each be cruel
    to friends and neighbors.
Young people will insult
    their elders;
no one will show respect
    to those who deserve it.

Some of you will grab hold
    of a relative and say,
“You still have a coat.
Be our leader
and rule
    this pile of ruins.”
But the answer will be,
“I can’t do you any good.
    Don’t make me your leader.
There’s no food or clothing
    left in my house.”

Jerusalem and Judah,
you rebelled against
    your glorious Lord
your words and your actions,
    made you stumble and fall.
The look on your faces shows
that you are sinful as Sodom,
    and you don’t try to hide it.
You are in for trouble,
and you have brought it all
    on yourselves.

The Wrong Kind of Leaders

10 Tell those who obey God,
“You’re very fortunate—
    you will be rewarded
    for what you have done.”
11 Tell those who disobey,
“You’re in big trouble—
    what you did to others
    will come back to you.”
12 Though you are God’s people,
you are ruled and abused
    by women and children.
You are confused by leaders
who guide you
    down the wrong path.

13 The Lord is ready to accuse
    and judge all nations.
14 He will even judge
you rulers and leaders
    of his own nation.
You destroyed his vineyard[l]
and filled your houses
    by robbing the poor.
15 The Lord All-Powerful says,
“You have crushed my people
    and rubbed in the dirt
    the faces of the poor.”

The Women of Jerusalem

16 The Lord says:
    The women of Jerusalem
are proud
and strut around,
    winking shamelessly.
They wear anklets that jingle
and call attention
    to the way they walk.
17 But I, the Lord, will cover
    their heads with sores,
and I will uncover
    their private parts.

18-23 When that day comes, I will take away from those women all the fine jewelry they wear on their ankles, heads, necks, ears, arms, noses, fingers, and on their clothes. I will remove their veils, their belts, their perfume, their magic charms, their royal robes, and all their fancy dresses, hats, and purses.

24 In place of perfume,
    there will be a stink;
in place of belts,
    there will be ropes;
in place of fancy hairdos,
    they will have bald heads.
Instead of expensive clothes,
    they will wear sackcloth;
instead of beauty,
    they will have ugly scars.
25 The fighting men of Jerusalem
    will be killed in battle.
26 The city will mourn
and sit in the dirt,
    emptied of its people.

When this happens, seven women will grab the same man, and each of them will say, “I’ll buy my own food and clothes! Just marry me and take away my disgrace.”[m]

The Lord Will Bless His People Who Survive

The time is coming when the Lord will make his land fruitful and glorious again, and the people of Israel who survive will take great pride in what the land produces. Everyone who is left alive in Jerusalem will be called special, after the Lord sends a fiery judgment to clean the city and its people of their violent deeds.

Then the Lord will cover the whole city and its meeting places with a thick cloud each day and with a flaming fire[n] each night. God’s own glory will be like a huge tent that covers everything. It will provide shade from the heat of the sun and a place of shelter and protection from storms and rain.

Footnotes

  1. 1.1 message: Or “vision.”
  2. 1.1 kings of Judah: Uzziah (783-742 B.C.); Jotham (742-735 B.C.); Ahaz (735-715 B.C.); Hezekiah (715-687 B.C.).
  3. 1.8 a hut in a vineyard: When it was almost time for grapes to ripen, farmers would put up a temporary shelter or hut in the field or vineyard and stay there to keep thieves and wild animals away.
  4. 1.9 Sodom and Gomorrah: Two ancient cities of Palestine that God destroyed because the people were so wicked (see Genesis 19.1-29).
  5. 1.17 and help those in need: Or “and punish cruel people.”
  6. 1.27 by showing justice: Or “by my saving power.”
  7. 1.31 Your. . . idols: Or “Your wealth will be like dry wood, set on fire by its owners.”
  8. 2.1 message: See the note at 1.1.
  9. 2.6 because. . . foreigners: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  10. 2.16 seagoing ships: The Hebrew text has “ships of Tarshish,” which may have been a Phoenician city in Spain. “Ships of Tarshish” probably means large, seagoing ships.
  11. 3.4 babies: Or “worthless nobodies.”
  12. 3.14 his vineyard: The nation Israel (see 5.1-7).
  13. 4.1 take away my disgrace: If a woman did not have a husband or children, it was thought that God was punishing her.
  14. 4.5 thick. . . fire: This is how the Lord led the people of Israel during the forty years they were in the desert (see Exodus 13.20-22; 40.36-38).

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