Isaiah 1

1 The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem, in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah. 2 Hear, heavens, and listen, earth; for the LORD has spoken: “I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me. 3 The ox knows his owner, and the donkey his master’s crib; but Israel doesn’t know, my people don’t consider.” 4 Ah sinful nation, a people loaded with iniquity, offspring of evildoers, children who deal corruptly! They have forsaken the LORD. They have despised the Holy One of Israel. They are estranged and backward. 5 Why should you be beaten more, that you revolt more and more? The whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint. 6 From the sole of the foot even to the head there is no soundness in it: wounds, welts, and open sores. They haven’t been closed, neither bandaged, neither soothed with oil. 7 Your country is desolate. Your cities are burnt with fire. Strangers devour your land in your presence, and it is desolate, as overthrown by strangers. 8 The daughter of Zion is left like a shelter in a vineyard, like a hut in a field of melons, like a besieged city. 9 Unless the LORD of Armies had left to us a very small remnant, we would have been as Sodom; we would have been like Gomorrah. 10 Hear the LORD’s word, you rulers of Sodom! Listen to the law of our God, you people of Gomorrah! 11 “What are the multitude of your sacrifices to me?”, says the LORD. “I have had enough of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed animals. I don’t delight in the blood of bulls, or of lambs, or of male goats. 12 When you come to appear before me, who has required this at your hand, to trample my courts? 13 Bring no more vain offerings. Incense is an abomination to me; new moons, Sabbaths, and convocations: I can’t bear with evil assemblies. 14 My soul hates your New Moons and your appointed feasts. They are a burden to me. I am weary of bearing them. 15 When you spread out your hands, I will hide my eyes from you. Yes, when you make many prayers, I will not hear. Your hands are full of blood. 16 Wash yourselves, make yourself clean. Put away the evil of your doings from before my eyes. Cease to do evil. 17 Learn to do well. Seek justice. Relieve the oppressed. Judge the fatherless. Plead for the widow.” 18 “Come now, and let us reason together,” says the LORD: “Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow. Though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. 19 If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land; 20 but if you refuse and rebel, you shall be devoured with the sword; for the mouth of the LORD has spoken it.” 21 How the faithful city has become a prostitute! She was full of justice; righteousness lodged in her, but now murderers. 22 Your silver has become dross, your wine mixed with water. 23 Your princes are rebellious, and companions of thieves. Everyone loves bribes, and follows after rewards. They don’t judge the fatherless, neither does the cause of the widow come to them. 24 Therefore the Lord, the LORD of Armies, the Mighty One of Israel, says: “Ah, I will get relief from my adversaries, and avenge myself on my enemies; 25 and I will turn my hand on you, thoroughly purge away your dross, and will take away all your tin. 26 I will restore your judges as at the first, and your counselors as at the beginning. Afterward you shall be called ‘The city of righteousness, a faithful town.’ 27 Zion shall be redeemed with justice, and her converts with righteousness. 28 But the destruction of transgressors and sinners shall be together, and those who forsake the LORD shall be consumed. 29 For they shall be ashamed of the oaks which you have desired, and you shall be confounded for the gardens that you have chosen. 30 For you shall be as an oak whose leaf fades, and as a garden that has no water. 31 The strong will be like tinder, and his work like a spark. They will both burn together, and no one will quench them.”

(Next Chapter)

Questions about today’s reading? See if Matthew Henry can help.
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, 1706

Verses 1-9

Isaiah signifies, “The salvation of the Lord;” a very suitable name for this prophet, who prophesies so much of Jesus the Saviour, and his salvation. God’s professing people did not know or consider that they owed their lives and comforts to God’s fatherly care and kindness. How many are very careless in the affairs of their souls! Not considering what we do know in religion, does us as much harm, as ignorance of what we should know. The wickedness was universal. Here is a comparison taken from a sick and diseased body. The distemper threatens to be mortal. From the sole of the foot even to the head; from the meanest peasant to the greatest peer, there is no soundness, no good principle, no religion, for that is the health of the soul. Nothing but guilt and corruption; the sad effects of Adam’s fall. This passage declares the total depravity of human nature. While sin remains unrepented, nothing is done toward healing these wounds, and preventing fatal effects. Jerusalem was exposed and unprotected, like the huts or sheds built up to guard ripening fruits. These are still to be seen in the East, where fruits form a large part of the summer food of the people. But the Lord had a small remnant of pious servants at Jerusalem. It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed. The evil nature is in every one of us; only Jesus and his sanctifying Spirit can restore us to spiritual health.

Verses 10-15

Judea was desolate, and their cities burned. This awakened them to bring sacrifices and offerings, as if they would bribe God to remove the punishment, and give them leave to go on in their sin. Many who will readily part with their sacrifices, will not be persuaded to part with their sins. They relied on the mere form as a service deserving a reward. The most costly devotions of wicked people, without thorough reformation of heart and life, cannot be acceptable to God. He not only did not accept them, but he abhorred them. All this shows that sin is very hateful to God. If we allow ourselves in secret sin, or forbidden indulgences; if we reject the salvation of Christ, our very prayers will become abomination.

Verses 16-20

Not only feel sorrow for the sin committed, but break off the practice. We must be doing, not stand idle. We must be doing the good the Lord our God requires. It is plain that the sacrifices of the law could not atone, even for outward national crimes. But, blessed be God, there is a Fountain opened, in which sinners of every age and rank may be cleansed. Though our sins have been as scarlet and crimson, a deep dye, a double dye, first in the wool of original corruption, and afterwards in the many threads of actual transgression; though we have often dipped into sin, by many backslidings; yet pardoning mercy will take out the stain, Ps. 51:7. They should have all the happiness and comfort they could desire. Life and death, good and evil, are set before us. O Lord, incline all of us to live to thy glory.

Verses 21-31

Neither holy cities nor royal ones are faithful to their trust, if religion does not dwell in them. Dross may shine like silver, and the wine that is mixed with water may still have the colour of wine. Those have a great deal to answer for, who do not help the oppressed, but oppress them. Men may do much by outward restraints; but only God works effectually by the influences of his Spirit, as a Spirit of Judgment. Sin is the worst captivity, the worst slavery. The redemption of the spiritual Zion, by the righteousness and death of Christ, and by his powerful grace, most fully accord with what is here meant. Utter ruin is threatened. The Jews should become as a tree when blasted by heat; as a garden without water, which in those hot countries would soon be burned up. Thus shall they be that trust in idols, or in an arm of flesh. Even the strong man shall be as tow; not only soon broken, and pulled to pieces, but easily catching fire. When the sinner has made himself as tow and stubble, and God makes himself as a consuming fire, what can prevent the utter ruin of the sinner?

Back to Top