a Bible passage

Click a verse to see commentary
Select a resource above


The vision of Isaiah 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


Hear, O heavens, and listen, O earth;

for the L ord has spoken:

I reared children and brought them up,

but they have rebelled against me.


The ox knows its owner,

and the donkey its master’s crib;

but Israel does not know,

my people do not understand.



Ah, sinful nation,

people laden with iniquity,

offspring who do evil,

children who deal corruptly,

who have forsaken the L ord,

who have despised the Holy One of Israel,

who are utterly estranged!



Why do you seek further beatings?

Why do you continue to rebel?

The whole head is sick,

and the whole heart faint.


From the sole of the foot even to the head,

there is no soundness in it,

but bruises and sores

and bleeding wounds;

they have not been drained, or bound up,

or softened with oil.



Your country lies desolate,

your cities are burned with fire;

in your very presence

aliens devour your land;

it is desolate, as overthrown by foreigners.


And daughter Zion is left

like a booth in a vineyard,

like a shelter in a cucumber field,

like a besieged city.


If the L ord of hosts

had not left us a few survivors,

we would have been like Sodom,

and become like Gomorrah.



Hear the word of the L ord,

you rulers of Sodom!

Listen to the teaching of our God,

you people of Gomorrah!


What to me is the multitude of your sacrifices?

says the L ord;

I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams

and the fat of fed beasts;

I do not delight in the blood of bulls,

or of lambs, or of goats.



When you come to appear before me,

who asked this from your hand?

Trample my courts no more;


bringing offerings is futile;

incense is an abomination to me.

New moon and sabbath and calling of convocation—

I cannot endure solemn assemblies with iniquity.


Your new moons and your appointed festivals

my soul hates;

they have become a burden to me,

I am weary of bearing them.


When you stretch 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.


Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean;

remove the evil of your doings

from before my eyes;

cease to do evil,


learn to do good;

seek justice,

rescue the oppressed,

defend the orphan,

plead for the widow.



Come now, let us argue it out,

says the L ord:

though your sins are like scarlet,

they shall be like snow;

though they are red like crimson,

they shall become like wool.


If you are willing and obedient,

you shall eat the good of the land;


but if you refuse and rebel,

you shall be devoured by the sword;

for the mouth of the L ord has spoken.


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 L ord 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.



Zion shall be redeemed by justice,

and those in her who repent, by righteousness.


But rebels and sinners shall be destroyed together,

and those who forsake the L ord shall be consumed.


For you shall be ashamed of the oaks

in which you delighted;

and you shall blush for the gardens

that you have chosen.


For you shall be like an oak

whose leaf withers,

and like a garden without water.


The strong shall become like tinder,

and their work like a spark;

they and their work shall burn together,

with no one to quench them.


23. Thy princes are rebellious There is here an elegant allusion or play on words. 2828     Our author illustrates it by the alliteration of primi pravi. “The word סוררים (sorerim) is here equivalent,” says Jarchi, “to סרים, (sarim,) that is, persons departing from the right path.” “In this word סוררים, (sorerim,)” says his annotator Breithaupt, which our Commentator here explains by סרים, (sarim,) departers, “there is an allusion to the word שרים, (princes,) which we here find in the sacred text.” — Ed He does not speak of princes in such a manner as if the common people were holy and needed no reproof, but he points out the source of the evil; for as no disease is more injurious than that which spreads from the head into the whole body, so no evil is more destructive in a commonwealth than a wicked and depraved prince, who conveys his corruptions into the whole body both by his example and by the liberty which he allows. Hence, too, comes the proverb, ὁποῖα ἡ δέσποινα, τοῖαι καὶ αἱ θεραπαινίδες, like mistress, like maids. The meaning, therefore, is as if the Prophet had said that there was no one vice more than another that reigned among the people, but that an unbounded commission of crimes prevailed among the nobles themselves, and that in this manner the whole body was stained with pollution. Something which gives additional force to the statement is implied in the word princes; for it is deeply to be lamented when an evil arises from that very quarter in which the remedy for it ought to be expected. He next mentions a particular instance.

Companions of thieves By these words he means that they are so far from restraining theft and false dealing, that, on the contrary, they draw gain from them; and he justly calls those persons companions of thieves, who, by receiving part of the booty, grant permission to commit theft. And, indeed, when a judge is corrupted by a bribe, it is impossible but that crimes shall abound and pass unpunished, with the perpetrators of which we must consider him to be in collusion.

Every one loveth a gift He next points out the reason why princes have made themselves companions of thieves, and have bound themselves by a wicked conspiracy to lend countenance to crimes. It is avarice. When judges are devoted to the love of money, justice is utterly destroyed; for if the acceptance of persons be a corruption of judgment, so that no room is left for justice, every man who is under the dominion of covetousness will assuredly regard the person rather than the cause. The consequence is, that he will not be able to perceive what is just and right, but, as one expresses it, will make laws and unmake them.

This reminds us how great a virtue it is in a magistrate to disregard money; for unless he keep his mind, his hands, and his eyes under restraint, he will never be able to judge justly. It is absurd to say, as some men do, that they keep their heart pure and uncorrupted, even though they receive bribes. What the Lord saith must be true, that a gift blindeth the eyes of the wise, and perverteth the words of the righteous. (Exodus 23:8.) No man is so upright, no man is so clearsighted and sagacious, that his mind shall resist the enchantment, and his eyes the blinding influence, of gifts. Such judges, therefore, he justly declares to be companions of thieves; for, hurried along by a blind desire of money, they overturn all law both of God and man, and leave no room for justice or modesty.

We must likewise observe that the Prophet, in order to convince hypocrites, brings forward their actions which were open and universally known; for otherwise they would not submit. And yet there can be no doubt that there were at that time many who objected, when he thus called them thieves, as even in the present day most men impudently and obstinately exclaim that they are not thieves on account of receiving the rewards and gifts which are offered to them, because their do not prevent them from passing a just judgment. But these replies being frivolous, the Prophet, after having exposed their wicked actions, satisfies himself with the reproof which he has given, and argues with them no longer. And, indeed, nature declares that it is impossible to give just judgment, when judges are so eager for gain and regard; because they cannot but absolutely expose to sale their honesty and reputation.

They judge not the fatherless As the Lord specially recommends to us the fatherless and widows, because they have been deprived of the protection of men, so we need not wonder if he is displeased when they are abandoned by the judges, who ought to have been their guardians and defenders; for since they have neither foresight, nor industry nor strength if no one comes forward to render assistance they must be exposed without redress to every kind of violence and injustice. Now, when no regard is paid to them, it follows that the sway is held, not by justice, but by covetousness and plunder.

VIEWNAME is study