Isaiah 1

1 This is a vision that Isaiah, the son of Amoz, saw. It was a message about his country, Judah, and Jerusalem city. God showed it to Isaiah at the time when Uzziah, then Jotham, then Ahaz and then Hezekiah were kings of Judah.

1:1Jerusalem was the capital city of Judah.

The sins of the people who live in Judah

1:2In Part 1 (chapters 1-5), Isaiah describes the people who live in the country called Judah and in its capital city, Jerusalem. They have problems because they are not obeying God. God says that he will punish them.

2 Hear the Lord, those who live in heaven! And listen to him, you people on the earth, because the Lord has spoken! He says, ‘I have helped my children to grow. I took care of them but they have turned against me!

3 An ox knows its master. A donkey knows the place where its master feeds it. But Israel's people do not know me. My people do not understand me.’

4 Oh! Israel is a nation of people who do not obey me. The people are guilty of many wrong things. Their sins are like a heavy weight on their backs. They are a family of people who do wicked things. They have turned away from the Lord, the Holy God of Israel. They have turned their backs against him.

5 You people of Israel continue to fight against God. Why do you do that? God will continue to punish you. You are weak and you hurt all over. Your mind and your body have much pain. 6 From the bottom of your feet, to the top of your head, everywhere hurts! There are wounds all over your body that are still bleeding. Nobody has cleaned your wounds or put bandages on them.

7 Your land has become useless. Fire has destroyed your towns and cities. Foreigners have taken the crops from your fields while you stood there and watched. Strangers have destroyed everything in your country.

8 Jerusalem city is now like a hut in a vineyard or in a field of crops. It is alone, with its enemies all round it.

9 Unless the Lord of Many Armies had left some people alive, we would have been like Sodom. We would have been like Gomorrah.

The problems of the religion of the country called Judah

10 Hear what the Lord says, you rulers of Sodom. Listen to our God. He is saying what you must do, you people in Gomorrah.

11 ‘All your sacrifices do not matter to me.’ The Lord is saying, ‘I have had enough sacrifices that you have burned as gifts to me. I have had enough male sheep and the best bits of fat animals. I have had enough of the blood of bulls, goats and young sheep. They do not give pleasure to me.

12 You come to appear in front of me at certain times. But nobody asked you to do that. Do not walk heavily round my temple.

13 Do not bring gifts to me that do not mean anything! I do not like your incense. I do not like your new moons, your Sabbaths and your special meetings. Those meetings are bad.

14 I really do not like your new moon meetings and your holy days. They have become like a heavy thing for me. I am tired because I have to carry them.

15 I will hide my eyes from you, when you lift up your hands to me. I will not listen to you, even if you pray often. Your hands are full of blood.

16 Wash yourselves and make yourselves clean! Take away the bad things that you are doing. Then I will not see them. Do not continue to do what is wrong.

17 Learn to do what is right. Your purpose must be justice. Do not let masters be very cruel to people. Do not let people hurt children who have no father. Say good things on behalf of widows.

18 Come, now,’ the Lord is saying. ‘We should talk about this together. Even if your sins are as bright red, they will be as white as snow. Even if they are as dark red, they will be like wool.

19 Agree with me. And obey me. If you do those things, you will eat the best food in the country.

20 But if you do not do those things, the sword will kill you. It will kill you if you do not obey me. It will kill you if you continue to fight against me.’ That is what the Lord himself has said.

The problems of the people who live in the country called Judah

21 Oh! The City that loved the Lord (as a wife) has become like a prostitute! The city was full of justice. Good people lived in her. But now there are people who murder other people there.

22 Your silver has become dirt and you have mixed water with your best wine.

23 Your rulers are fighting against God. And they are friends of robbers. They all accept gifts from people. And then they help people that they should not help because of those gifts. And they all hope for gifts like those. But they do not help children who have no father. They do not help those children when people hurt them. The widows have problems. But nobody tells the rulers about those problems.

24 So the Lord says this. He is the Lord of Many Armies and he is the Powerful God of Israel. ‘Oh! I will get rest from my enemies. And I will punish those people who fight against me.

25 And I will turn my hand against you. And I will burn with very hot fire everything that makes you not clean. So then you will be clean.

26 And I will give back to you your judges, as you had them a long time ago. And I will give back to you your advisors, as you had them at the beginning. After that, you will be called The Good City, and The City that Loves Me.’

27 God will use justice to make Zion free. He will make things right for the people who return to him.

28 But he will kill people who sin. And he will kill those people who continue to fight against him. The Lord will kill everybody who goes away from him.

29 Really, they will be ashamed of their special trees called oaks. You have found a lot of pleasure in them. The gardens that you have chosen will make you really ashamed.

30 You will be like an oak tree with dying leaves. You will be like a garden without water.

31 The strong man will become like something that burns easily. His work will be like something that causes things to burn. They will both burn together and nobody will put out the fire.