Bad Jerusalem is in for a change
God’s kids turn out bad1 Isaiah was the son of Amoz. This is what he had to say about Jerusalem and the nation of Judah during the reigns of four kings: Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah.
Everyone listen, from earth to heaven.
The LORD is about to talk:
The children I raised
Have turned against me.
A donkey knows where the master feeds it.
But Israel knows nothing about its master.
4 What a nation of sinful people,
Overloaded in guilt.
What a depraved family.
How evil can they get?
They turned their backs on the LORD,
And told Israel’s Holy One to get lost.
They have nothing to do with him now.
5 Why do you invite the punishment?
That’s what you’ll get if you keep this up.
You’ve become a heartless people,
Sick in the head.
6 You’re sick from head to toe.
There’s nothing healthy about you.
Bruised and banged,
Oozing with sores.
You ignore it all, skip the treatment.
No oil to soften your skin.
No bandages to cover your wounds.
You’re a broken nation in ruins7
Your nation lies broken in ruins
With your cities blackened in fire.
You watch invaders take everything,
Leaving nothing behind
But the wasteland they destroyed.
Like an empty shelter in vineyard,
A lonely hut in a field of melons,
A city alone in a siege.
9 If the LORD of all
Hadn’t left survivors
We would have been erased
Like Sodom and Gomorrah.
Skip the pretend religious stuff10
The LORD’s talking now, and you’d better listen
You good-for-nothing bosses of Sodom.
God told you what to do, and you’d better do it
You bottom-feeders of Gomorrah.
“Big whopper of a deal.
I’m fed up with your burnt sheep
And the bloody fat of your bulls.
I don’t want the blood of your bulls
And I don’t want your lambs or goats.
12 Who invited you to come to my place
And go through the motions of worship?
Get off my property and don’t trespass.
13 Your offerings are a waste of time,
And the incense you burn makes me sick.
So you can stop acting religious
On the Sabbath, New Moon, and holy days.
I can’t take your holy moly garbage anymore.
14 Clear down to my soul,
I hate your religious holidays.
I wear them like a ball and chain.
I’m sick and tired of it.
15 Reach out for me.
I won’t be there.
Pray to me.
I won’t listen.
Your hands are covered in blood.
16 Take a bath. Wash yourself.
Get rid of the dirt in your life.
Stop doing what you know is wrong.
Just stop it.
17 Study goodness.
Rescue the beaten.
Protect the orphan.
Defend the widow.
Sin washed white as snow18
“Come on,” says the LORD, “let’s talk it through.
Though your sins are red as blood
They’ll become white as snow.
Though they’re the reddest of red
They’ll be the whitest of wool.
If you choose to obey,
The land will feed you.
20 If you chose to refuse
The sword will feed on you.”
That’s from the LORD himself.
Good Jerusalem goes bad21
Look what happened to Jerusalem.
Now a city of corruption,
She used to love justice.
She used to be home to good folks.
Now she’s home to murderers.
Now she’s the scum of the earth.
She waters her wine, as well.
23 Her rulers are on the take.
They’re buddies with crooks.
Is there anyone left who doesn’t love a bribe
Or who barters a gift for a favor?
Is there anyone left who defends the orphan
Or comes to the rescue of a widow?
24 Because of this, says the LORD of all,
The Mighty God of Israel:
“I’m going to put a stop to my enemies.
They owe me big and I’m going to collect.
25 I’ll grab them and hold them.
Then melt them down and skim the scum.
I’ll clean them like I’m washing with lye.
26 I’ll give them judges like they had before
And advisors they can trust.
Then the world will call Jerusalem
City of Goodness and People of God.
Justice to the rescue27
Justice is coming to save Jerusalem,
Goodness to save people sorry for sinning.
With those who abandoned the LORD.
29 They’ll be ashamed
of worshiping idols under sacred trees
and in gardens of the gods.
30 Their lives will wither
Like a dying tree
And a parched garden.
31 The timber in this forest
Will become straw for the fire.
They will burn, with all they own.
And no one will put out the fire.”
Nothing more is said about Amoz. Many Bible scholars say his family may have had some royal blood. One clue is that Isaiah seemed to have easy access to the kings. This first verse isn’t part of the original collection of prophecies, some say. It was written later, like the titles of many Psalms.
The Hebrew word hazon is more literally “vision.” But scholars debate what kind of vision. The word shows up 36 times in the Book of Isaiah. But many scholars say there’s no indication these refer to the kind of visual experience Isaiah has in chapter 6. Instead, many scholars say the insight comes from God in some other form of revelation. The same is true of the 48 times the Hebrew word for “saw” appears. When Isaiah “sees” something, it doesn’t necessarily mean he sees it with his eye or in a dream or a vision. It means he recognizes it as truth, coming from God.
Judah was the name of the southern Jewish nation after Israel split in two. The northern nation became known as Israel. The southern nation took the name of the dominate southern tribe.
Uzziah reigned about 767-740 BC. Jotham reigned 750-735 BC. Ahaz reigned 735-715 BC. Hezekiah reigned 715-686 BC. Some scholars say they wonder why the person who wrote this title to the book included the first two kings. Isaiah didn’t start his 40-year ministry until the year Uzziah died (6:1). And the Book of Isaiah never mentions Jotham.
Literally “Zion,” an endearing nickname for Jerusalem, perhaps a bit like Big Apple for New York City or City of Angels for Los Angeles.
Literally “LORD of Hosts.” A host can refer to an army, a lot of angels, stars, or all of creation.
- Sorry, there are currently no questions for this chapter.