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The Degenerate City


How the faithful city

has become a whore!

She that was full of justice,

righteousness lodged in her—

but now murderers!


Your silver has become dross,

your wine is mixed with water.


Your princes are rebels

and companions of thieves.

Everyone loves a bribe

and runs after gifts.

They do not defend the orphan,

and the widow’s cause does not come before them.



Therefore says the Sovereign, the Lord of hosts, the Mighty One of Israel:

Ah, I will pour out my wrath on my enemies,

and avenge myself on my foes!


I will turn my hand against you;

I will smelt away your dross as with lye

and remove all your alloy.


And 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.


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21. faithful—as a wife (Isa 54:5; 62:5; Ho 2:19, 20).

harlot—(Eze 16:28-35).

righteousness lodged—(2Pe 3:13).

murderers—murderous oppressors, as the antithesis requires (see on Isa 1:15; 1Jo 3:15).

22. Thy princes and people are degenerate in "solid worth," equivalent to "silver" (Jer 6:28, 30; Eze 22:18, 19), and in their use of the living Word, equivalent to "wine" (So 7:9).

mixed—literally, "circumcised." So the Arabic, "to murder" wine, equivalent to dilute it.

23. companions of thieves—by connivance (Pr 29:24).

gifts—(Eze 22:12). A nation's corruption begins with its rulers.

24. Lord … LordAdonai, Jehovah.

mighty One of Israel—mighty to take vengeance, as before, to save.


ease me—My long tried patience will find relief in at last punishing the guilty (Eze 5:13). God's language condescends to human conceptions.

25. turn … hand—not in wrath, but in grace (Zec 13:7), "upon thee," as Isa 1:26, 27 show; contrasted with the enemies, of whom He will avenge Himself (Isa 1:24).

purely—literally, "as alkali purifies."

thy dross—not thy sins, but the sinful persons (Jer 6:29); "enemies" (Isa 1:24); degenerate princes (see on Isa 1:22), intermingled with the elect "remnant" of grace.

tinHebrew, bedil, here the alloy of lead, tin, &c., separated by smelting from the silver. The pious Bishop Bedell took his motto from this.

26. As the degeneracy had shown itself most in the magistrates (Isa 1:17-23), so, at the "restoration," these shall be such as the theocracy "at the first" had contemplated, namely, after the Babylonish restoration in part and typically, but fully and antitypically under Messiah (Isa 32:1; 52:8; Jer 33:7; Mt 19:28).

faithful—no longer "an harlot."