These visions concerning Judah and Jerusalem came to Isaiah son of Amoz during the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah -- all kings of Judah.
Hear, O heavens! Listen, O earth! This is what the LORD says: "The children I raised and cared for have turned against me.
Even the animals -- the donkey and the ox -- know their owner and appreciate his care, but not my people Israel. No matter what I do for them, they still do not understand."
Oh, what a sinful nation they are! They are loaded down with a burden of guilt. They are evil and corrupt children who have turned away from the LORD. They have despised the Holy One of Israel, cutting themselves off from his help.
Why do you continue to invite punishment? Must you rebel forever? Your head is injured, and your heart is sick.
You are sick from head to foot -- covered with bruises, welts, and infected wounds -- without any ointments or bandages.
Your country lies in ruins, and your cities are burned. As you watch, foreigners plunder your fields and destroy everything they see.
Jerusalem a stands abandoned like a watchman's shelter in a vineyard or field after the harvest is over. It is as helpless as a city under siege.
If the LORD Almighty had not spared a few of us, we would have been wiped out as completely as Sodom and Gomorrah.
Listen to the LORD, you leaders of Israel! Listen to the law of our God, people of Israel. You act just like the rulers and people of Sodom and Gomorrah.
"I am sick of your sacrifices," says the LORD. "Don't bring me any more burnt offerings! I don't want the fat from your rams or other animals. I don't want to see the blood from your offerings of bulls and rams and goats.
Why do you keep parading through my courts with your worthless sacrifices?
The incense you bring me is a stench in my nostrils! Your celebrations of the new moon and the Sabbath day, and your special days for fasting -- even your most pious meetings -- are all sinful and false. I want nothing more to do with them.
I hate all your festivals and sacrifices. I cannot stand the sight of them!
From now on, when you lift up your hands in prayer, I will refuse to look. Even though you offer many prayers, I will not listen. For your hands are covered with the blood of your innocent victims.
Wash yourselves and be clean! Let me no longer see your evil deeds. Give up your wicked ways.
Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the orphan. Fight for the rights of widows.
"Come now, let us argue this out," says the LORD. "No matter how deep the stain of your sins, I can remove it. I can make you as clean as freshly fallen snow. Even if you are stained as red as crimson, I can make you as white as wool.
If you will only obey me and let me help you, then you will have plenty to eat.
But if you keep turning away and refusing to listen, you will be destroyed by your enemies. I, the LORD, have spoken!"
See how Jerusalem, once so faithful, has become a prostitute. Once the home of justice and righteousness, she is now filled with murderers.
Once like pure silver, you have become like worthless slag. Once so pure, you are now like watered-down wine.
Your leaders are rebels, the companions of thieves. All of them take bribes and refuse to defend the orphans and the widows.
Therefore, the Lord, the LORD Almighty, the Mighty One of Israel, says, "I will pour out my fury on you, my enemies!
I will turn against you. I will melt you down and skim off your slag. I will remove all your impurities.
Afterward I will give you good judges and wise counselors like the ones you used to have. Then Jerusalem will again be called the Home of Justice and the Faithful City."
Because the LORD is just and righteous, the repentant people of Jerusalem b will be redeemed.
But all sinners will be completely destroyed, for they refuse to come to the LORD.
Shame will cover you when you think of the times you offered sacrifices to idols in your groves of sacred oaks. You will blush when you think of all the sins you committed in your sacred gardens.
You will wither away like an oak or garden without water.
The strongest among you will disappear like burning straw. Your evil deeds are the spark that will set the straw on fire, and no one will be able to put it out.
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved. (New Living Translation - The Bible Online)