We go on to Isaiah 1:2-9
v2: Heavens…earth: There is a hint of creation in these words – not of the first creation found in Genesis 1, but of the second…that of the establishment of the Kingdom of G-d.
- I have nourished and brought up children: G-d had brought the Jewish people into existence. He had chosen them and looked after them.
- And: Although many translate this word as ‘and’ it should be interpreted as ‘but’ because it shows a contrast.
- Rebelled: Transgressed. Sinned against (broken spiritual laws) and committed a crime against (they did not only break the spiritual laws, but they also broke the civil laws. They violated the laws of G-d as well as the laws of man).
v3: Knows: The ox knows, completely and utterly, what the owner expects of him.
- The donkey (knows) its master’s crib (trough): The donkey knows where its food comes from. Both the donkey and the ox know who they belong to and who nourishes them. They recognize the authority of their owner over them.
- Know…consider: Although G-d is Israel’s master and owner, they do not care to know Him and nor do they pay attention to (consider, think about) Him. Isaiah begins this prophecy by letting the people know that G-d is not important to them – they do not know, and are not studying, His Word; they are not paying any attention to G-d.
v4: Alas: This is a word most often translated ‘woe’. G-d is not pleased with the people and therefore there are going to be horrible consequences to their actions if they do not repent.
- Laden (heavy)with iniquity: They have violated the Word of G-d in a very serious manner.
- They have forsaken the L-rd: G-d did not abandon Israel. Through their choice of sin, iniquity and transgression they left Him.
- Turned away backward: They have moved away from G-d. Instead of going toward Him, they have turned their backs on Him and are walking in the opposite direction, the wrong direction.
v5: Why should you be stricken (bruised, struck) again?: G-d is asking them a question. He wants to know if they understand the reason for why they are experiencing punishment.
- Revolt more and more: They are being punished because they have rebelled against the L-rd G-d.
- Head is sick…whole heart faints (literally: diseased/sick): This is an example of parallelism. Head….heart. Sick…diseased. Throughout this prophecy there is poetic parallelism…heavens…earth/land, ox…donkey etc. The head (and heart – Prov 23:7) is synonymous with thinking, a thought process. Israel is thinking incorrectly (in a diseased way) and as a result they are making poor decisions. Their thought process was not pleasing to G-d.
v6: There is no soundness: This is a Hebrew idiom for pain or suffering. From top to toe, they are in pain. There is not a single part of them that is well, but every member of their body is affected. Many scholars speak here of Israel’s spiritual condition being likened to a disease or a sickness. Things are out of order.
- Not been closed or bound up: Israel is wounded. Her (spiritual) wounds are infected. Nothing has been done to extract the pus from her wounds in order to get rid of the infection. The wounds have not been tended to, wrapped up, but they have been left open to fester. Nothing was being done to bring health or healing to the children of Israel.
v7: Your country is desolate: The parallelism here is this: There is a relationship between the spiritual condition of the people and the physical condition of the land. Because of Israel’s spiritual suffering, the land of Israel itself was physically suffering.
- Strangers devour your land: The Southern kingdom of Israel was being attacked by foreign armies and they were making the land desolate. A revolution by foreigners had occurred within the land.
v8: Booth: Sukkah. This was a temporary shelter, a shack, that was built for a short period of time (eg over harvest time) and then was abandoned when it was no longer needed (no longer had a purpose). G-d is saying that Israel was no longer serving a purpose.
- Besieged city: Noone is paying attention to this city anymore. It has been abandoned and is falling into disrepair.
v9: The L-rd of hosts … left to us a very small remnant: G-d himself acted to preserve a remnant of the Jewish people.
- Sodom … Gomorrah: These two words give us a clue as to how dissatisfied and displeased G-d was with His people.