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Isaiah 1 Contemporary English Version (CEV)

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.

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.”

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