World Wide Study Bible
a Bible passage
1The 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.
The Wickedness of Judah
2Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth;
for the Lord has spoken:
“Children11Or Sons; also verse 4 have I reared and brought up,
but they have rebelled against me.
3The ox knows its owner,
and the donkey its master's crib,
but Israel does not know,
my people do not understand.”
4Ah, sinful nation,
a people laden with iniquity,
offspring of evildoers,
children who deal corruptly!
They have forsaken the Lord,
they have despised the Holy One of Israel,
they are utterly estranged.
5Why will you still be struck down?
Why will you continue to rebel?
The whole head is sick,
and the whole heart faint.
6From the sole of the foot even to the head,
there is no soundness in it,
but bruises and sores
and raw wounds;
they are not pressed out or bound up
or softened with oil.
7Your country lies desolate;
your cities are burned with fire;
in your very presence
foreigners devour your land;
it is desolate, as overthrown by foreigners.
8And the daughter of Zion is left
like a booth in a vineyard,
like a lodge in a cucumber field,
like a besieged city.
9If the Lord of hosts
had not left us a few survivors,
we should have been like Sodom,
and become like Gomorrah.
10Hear the word of the Lord,
you rulers of Sodom!
Give ear to the teaching22Or law of our God,
you people of Gomorrah!
11“What to me is the multitude of your sacrifices?
says the Lord;
I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams
and the fat of well-fed beasts;
I do not delight in the blood of bulls,
or of lambs, or of goats.
12“When you come to appear before me,
who has required of you
this trampling of my courts?
13Bring no more vain offerings;
incense is an abomination to me.
New moon and Sabbath and the calling of convocations—
I cannot endure iniquity and solemn assembly.
14Your new moons and your appointed feasts
my soul hates;
they have become a burden to me;
I am weary of bearing them.
15When you spread out your hands,
I will hide my eyes from you;
even though you make many prayers,
I will not listen;
your hands are full of blood.
16Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean;
remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes;
cease to do evil,
17learn to do good;
bring justice to the fatherless,
plead the widow's cause.
18“Come now, let us reason33Or dispute together, says the Lord:
though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red like crimson,
they shall become like wool.
19If you are willing and obedient,
you shall eat the good of the land;
20but if you refuse and rebel,
you shall be eaten by the sword;
for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
The Unfaithful City
21How the faithful city
has become a whore,44Or become unchaste
she who was full of justice!
Righteousness lodged in her,
but now murderers.
22Your silver has become dross,
your best wine mixed with water.
23Your princes are rebels
and companions of thieves.
Everyone loves a bribe
and runs after gifts.
They do not bring justice to the fatherless,
and the widow's cause does not come to them.
24Therefore the Lord declares,
the Lord of hosts,
the Mighty One of Israel:
“Ah, I will get relief from my enemies
and avenge myself on my foes.
25I will turn my hand against you
and will smelt away your dross as with lye
and remove all your alloy.
26And 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,
the faithful city.”
27Zion shall be redeemed by justice,
and those in her who repent, by righteousness.
28But rebels and sinners shall be broken together,
and those who forsake the Lord shall be consumed.
29For they55Some Hebrew manuscripts you shall be ashamed of the oaks
that you desired;
and you shall blush for the gardens
that you have chosen.
30For you shall be like an oak
whose leaf withers,
and like a garden without water.
31And the strong shall become tinder,
and his work a spark,
and both of them shall burn together,
with none to quench them.
16. Wash you, make you clean He exhorts the Jews to repentance, and points out the true way of it, provided that they wish to have their obedience approved by God. Hence we conclude that nothing can please God, unless it proceed from a pure conscience; for God does not, like men, judge of our works according to their outward appearance. It frequently happens that some particular action, though performed by a very wicked man, obtains applause among men; but in the Sight of God, who beholds the heart, a depraved conscience pollutes every virtue. And this is what is taught by Haggai, holding out an illustration drawn from the ancient ceremonies, that everything which an unclean person has touched is polluted; from which he concludes that nothing clean proceeds from the wicked. Our Prophet has already declared, that in vain do they offer sacrifices to God, in vain do they pray, in vain do they call on his name, if integrity of heart do not sanctify the outward worship. For this reason, in order that the Jews may no longer labor to no purpose, he demands that cleanness; and he begins with a general reformation, lest, after having discharged one part of their duty, they should imagine that this would be a veil to conceal them from the eyes of God.
Such is the manner in which we ought always to deal with men who are estranged from God. We must not confine our attention to one or a few sores of a diseased body but if we aim at a true and thorough cure, we must call on them to begin anew, and must thoroughly remove the contagion, that they who were formerly hateful and abominable in the sight of God may begin to please God. By the metaphor washing, he unquestionably exhorts to remove inward pollution, but shortly afterwards he will also add the fruits of actions.
When he bids them wash, he does not mean that men repent by their own exercise of free-will; but he shows that there is no other remedy but this, that they shall appear pure in the sight of God. Now, we know that the sacred writers attribute to men what is wrought in them by the Spirit of God, whom Ezekiel calls clean water, because to him belongs the work of repentance. (Ezekiel 36:25.)
Put away the evil of your doings The Prophet now comes to describe the fruits of repentance; for not only does he explain without a metaphor what it is to wash and to be cleansed, but he enjoins them to exhibit in their whole life, and in every action, the evidence of their being renewed. Yet he confirms the former statement, that the pollution of the people is before the eyes of God, that it stains and debases all their actions, and thus makes it impossible that they shall be pleasing in his sight. And he particularly mentions the eyes of God, lest, when they employed a veil to hinder themselves from seeing, they should vainly imagine that God shared with them in their blindness.
Cease to do evil He still proceeds to reprove their manner of life. This passage is commonly interpreted as if by doing ill the Prophet meant loving ill; but it ought strictly to be understood as denoting those crimes by which a neighbor is injured; so that in the exhortation, Learn to do well, which occurs in the next verse, the expression to your neighbor ought to be supplied; for he speaks of the injuries and kind offices which Eve perform to our neighbors. Now since repentance has its seal in the heart of man, he describes it by those outward appearances by means of which it is, in some measure, brought before the eyes of men. There is no man who does not wish to be reckoned a good man; but the true character of every man is manifested by his actions. He therefore calls them to the performance of those outward actions by which they may give evidence of their repentance.
He comprehends under two heads the fruits of repentance, ceasing to do evil, and doing well. First, we must cease to commit every act of injustice; for we must not imitate those spendthrifts who wish to be thought bountiful, and fraudulently take from one person what they bestow on another. Again, we must not resemble those idle people who think that they have done enough, if they have kept themselves from doing harm, and from invading the property of their neighbors, but are not careful to perform acts of kindness. He intended, therefore, to include both; for under those two heads the keeping of the second table of the law is comprehended.