The prophetic message frequently is designated as a vision (see 6.1–13; Ezek. 1.1–3; Amos 1.1
) to indicate that it was a revelation from God. On the kings of Judah, see Introduction. Uzziah: compare
Diverse speeches from different periods in Isaiah's life. They are a compendium of the prophet's thought.
The prophetic message takes the form of a lawsuit in which God is both plaintiff and judge with the heavens and earth as witnesses. The indictment is lack of knowledge.
A woe (v. 4
) indictment is elaborated into a warning to the people of Judah and Jerusalem. First comes the people's sinfulness, then
the results of their rebellion, and finally, they are reminded that the LORD has stopped short of total destruction.
The verse begins with the Heb. word hoi elsewhere translated “woe betide” (see 5.8–23 n.
This description of the destruction probably refers either to the invasion of Tiglath-pileser III in 734–732 B.C.E. (see 7.1–9 n.
) or Sennacherib in 701 B.C.E. (see 36.1
In Palestine stones gathered in a vineyard are made into a small tower from which the watchman protects the fruit by warding off thieves and destructive animals. This shelter is useless when the vines are destroyed; just so is Zion, Jerusalem, in a land which will be devastated. The description here of Jerusalem's isolation is similar to Sennacherib's
report of his siege of the city.
Judah is compared to Sodom and Gomorrah both in their depravity (Gen. 18.20–33
) and in their total destruction (Gen. 19.24–29
Instructions on the relationship between ritual and social justice (see Amos 5.21–27
Teaching: that is, “Torah,” or “Law.”
The LORD rejects the rituals of the cult.
The fat and the blood of animals were not to be eaten but used only for sacrifices, the former because it was considered a choice morsel, the latter
because it was the vehicle of life; see Lev. 3.12–16
My presence: the temple.
New moons occurred on the first day of each month; these days, like the sabbaths, were days of rest; see Num. 28.11–15
Turn away my eyes: refuse to look at. Hands held out in prayer do not draw God's benevolent gaze because there is blood on them.
Instructions concerning the LORD's expectations.
If Israel repents it will be saved; if it continues to rebel, it will be punished.
The corruption of Jerusalem (vv. 21–23
) and judgment which will purge and purify the city (vv. 24–28
The faithful city: Jerusalem; see also v. 26
After a period of purification Judah will be restored. Justice, the quality by which a king rescues the oppressed, and righteousness, the state of right order and harmony in relationships, will be given by God.
Zion was originally the mount where the temple was built; it became another name for Jerusalem.
The sacred oaks (lit. “oaks”), the garden-shrines (lit. “gardens”), and the terebinth are the sacred places and symbols of fertility religion. This is one of the few passages in Isa. chs. 1–39
where judgment is announced on Israel because of pagan practices.
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