Isaiah Intro

The prophet Isaiah addressed the kingdom of Judah for forty years, beginning in the year that King Uzziah died (around 740 BC) and continuing at least to the Assyrian siege of Jerusalem in 701 BC. As with all the prophets, Isaiah based his message on the deep covenant bond between God and his people Israel. Prophets typically delivered their messages by composing oracles—poetic speeches they recited in public. Unlike some other prophets, Isaiah had personal access to the kings of his day. He was able to bring godly counsel to kings Ahaz and Hezekiah when the powerful Assyrian Empire threatened the life of the nation. Isaiah maintains an international perspective throughout his book, revealing that Israel’s life is bound up with the affairs of the broader world.

Isaiah urges the people to care for the poor and needy, commit to follow God’s ways, and pursue social and economic justice. In typical prophetic pattern, he speaks of coming judgment because of Israel’s failure, but also of promised restoration, and moving from Israel to the wider world. God’s correction is in the service of renewal. Isaiah’s later oracles introduce the complex figure of the servant, whose personal sacrifice brings healing. These “servant songs” fit into the bigger picture of Israel’s return from exile, the


’s return to his people, and the nations turning to God. New Testament writers will turn to Isaiah often to explain how Israel’s ancient commission to bring blessing to the world was fulfilled.


Isaiah 1

1 The vision concerning Judah and Jerusalem that Isaiah son of Amoz saw during the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah.

A Rebellious Nation

2 Hear me, you heavens! Listen, earth!

For theLordhas spoken:

“I reared children and brought them up,

but they have rebelled against me.

3 The ox knows its master,

the donkey its owner’s manger,

but Israel does not know,

my people do not understand.”

4 Woe to the sinful nation,

a people whose guilt is great,

a brood of evildoers,

children given to corruption!

They have forsaken theLord;

they have spurned the Holy One of Israel

and turned their backs on him.

5 Why should you be beaten anymore?

Why do you persist in rebellion?

Your whole head is injured,

your whole heart afflicted.

6 From the sole of your foot to the top of your head

there is no soundness—

only wounds and welts

and open sores,

not cleansed or bandaged

or soothed with olive oil.

7 Your country is desolate,

your cities burned with fire;

your fields are being stripped by foreigners

right before you,

laid waste as when overthrown by strangers.

8 Daughter Zion is left

like a shelter in a vineyard,

like a hut in a cucumber field,

like a city under siege.

9 Unless theLordAlmighty

had left us some survivors,

we would have become like Sodom,

we would have been like Gomorrah.

10 Hear the word of theLord,

you rulers of Sodom;

listen to the instruction of our God,

you people of Gomorrah!

11 “The multitude of your sacrifices—

what are they to me?” says theLord.

“I have more than enough of burnt offerings,

of rams and the fat of fattened animals;

I have no pleasure

in the blood of bulls and lambs and goats.

12 When you come to appear before me,

who has asked this of you,

this trampling of my courts?

13 Stop bringing meaningless offerings!

Your incense is detestable to me.

New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations—

I cannot bear your worthless assemblies.

14 Your New Moon feasts and your appointed festivals

I hate with all my being.

They have become a burden to me;

I am weary of bearing them.

15 When you spread out your hands in prayer,

I hide my eyes from you;

even when you offer many prayers,

I am not listening.

Your hands are full of blood!

16 Wash and make yourselves clean.

Take your evil deeds out of my sight;

stop doing wrong.

17 Learn to do right; seek justice.

Defend the oppressed.

Take up the cause of the fatherless;

plead the case of the widow.

18 “Come now, let us settle the matter,”

says theLord.

“Though your sins are like scarlet,

they shall be as white as snow;

though they are red as crimson,

they shall be like wool.

19 If you are willing and obedient,

you will eat the good things of the land;

20 but if you resist and rebel,

you will be devoured by the sword.”

For the mouth of theLordhas spoken.

21 See how the faithful city

has become a prostitute!

She once was full of justice;

righteousness used to dwell in her—

but now murderers!

22 Your silver has become dross,

your choice wine is diluted with water.

23 Your rulers are rebels,

partners with thieves;

they all love bribes

and chase after gifts.

They do not defend the cause of the fatherless;

the widow’s case does not come before them.

24 Therefore the Lord, theLordAlmighty,

the Mighty One of Israel, declares:

“Ah! I will vent my wrath on my foes

and avenge myself on my enemies.

25 I will turn my hand against you;

I will thoroughly purge away your dross

and remove all your impurities.

26 I will restore your leaders as in days of old,

your rulers as at the beginning.

Afterward you will be called

the City of Righteousness,

the Faithful City.”

27 Zion will be delivered with justice,

her penitent ones with righteousness.

28 But rebels and sinners will both be broken,

and those who forsake theLordwill perish.

29 “You will be ashamed because of the sacred oaks

in which you have delighted;

you will be disgraced because of the gardens

that you have chosen.

30 You will be like an oak with fading leaves,

like a garden without water.

31 The mighty man will become tinder

and his work a spark;

both will burn together,

with no one to quench the fire.”



Isaiah 2

The Mountain of the Lord

1 This is what Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem:

2 In the last days

the mountain of theLord’s temple will be established

as the highest of the mountains;

it will be exalted above the hills,

and all nations will stream to it.

3 Many peoples will come and say,

“Come, let us go up to the mountain of theLord,

to the temple of the God of Jacob.

He will teach us his ways,

so that we may walk in his paths.”

The law will go out from Zion,

the word of theLordfrom Jerusalem.

4 He will judge between the nations

and will settle disputes for many peoples.

They will beat their swords into plowshares

and their spears into pruning hooks.

Nation will not take up sword against nation,

nor will they train for war anymore.

5 Come, descendants of Jacob,

let us walk in the light of theLord.

The Day of the Lord

6 You,Lord, have abandoned your people,

the descendants of Jacob.

They are full of superstitions from the East;

they practice divination like the Philistines

and embrace pagan customs.

7 Their land is full of silver and gold;

there is no end to their treasures.

Their land is full of horses;

there is no end to their chariots.

8 Their land is full of idols;

they bow down to the work of their hands,

to what their fingers have made.

9 So people will be brought low

and everyone humbled—

do not forgive them.

10 Go into the rocks, hide in the ground

from the fearful presence of theLord

and the splendor of his majesty!

11 The eyes of the arrogant will be humbled

and human pride brought low;

theLordalone will be exalted in that day.

12 TheLordAlmighty has a day in store

for all the proud and lofty,

for all that is exalted

(and they will be humbled),

13 for all the cedars of Lebanon, tall and lofty,

and all the oaks of Bashan,

14 for all the towering mountains

and all the high hills,

15 for every lofty tower

and every fortified wall,

16 for every trading ship

and every stately vessel.

17 The arrogance of man will be brought low

and human pride humbled;

theLordalone will be exalted in that day,

18 and the idols will totally disappear.

19 People will flee to caves in the rocks

and to holes in the ground

from the fearful presence of theLord

and the splendor of his majesty,

when he rises to shake the earth.

20 In that day people will throw away

to the moles and bats

their idols of silver and idols of gold,

which they made to worship.

21 They will flee to caverns in the rocks

and to the overhanging crags

from the fearful presence of theLord

and the splendor of his majesty,

when he rises to shake the earth.

22 Stop trusting in mere humans,

who have but a breath in their nostrils.

Why hold them in esteem?



Isaiah 3

Judgment on Jerusalem and Judah

1 See now, the Lord,


is about to take from Jerusalem and Judah

both supply and support:

all supplies of food and all supplies of water,

2 the hero and the warrior,

the judge and the prophet,

the diviner and the elder,

3 the captain of fifty and the man of rank,

the counselor, skilled craftsman and clever enchanter.

4 “I will make mere youths their officials;

children will rule over them.”

5 People will oppress each other—

man against man, neighbor against neighbor.

The young will rise up against the old,

the nobody against the honored.

6 A man will seize one of his brothers

in his father’s house, and say,

“You have a cloak, you be our leader;

take charge of this heap of ruins!”

7 But in that day he will cry out,

“I have no remedy.

I have no food or clothing in my house;

do not make me the leader of the people.”

8 Jerusalem staggers,

Judah is falling;

their words and deeds are against theLord,

defying his glorious presence.

9 The look on their faces testifies against them;

they parade their sin like Sodom;

they do not hide it.

Woe to them!

They have brought disaster upon themselves.

10 Tell the righteous it will be well with them,

for they will enjoy the fruit of their deeds.

11 Woe to the wicked!

Disaster is upon them!

They will be paid back

for what their hands have done.

12 Youths oppress my people,

women rule over them.

My people, your guides lead you astray;

they turn you from the path.

13 TheLordtakes his place in court;

he rises to judge the people.

14 TheLordenters into judgment

against the elders and leaders of his people:

“It is you who have ruined my vineyard;

the plunder from the poor is in your houses.

15 What do you mean by crushing my people

and grinding the faces of the poor?”

declares the Lord, theLordAlmighty.

16 TheLordsays,

“The women of Zion are haughty,

walking along with outstretched necks,

flirting with their eyes,

strutting along with swaying hips,

with ornaments jingling on their ankles.

17 Therefore the Lord will bring sores on the heads of the women of Zion;

theLordwill make their scalps bald.”

18 In that day the Lord will snatch away their finery: the bangles and headbands and crescent necklaces,

19 the earrings and bracelets and veils,

20 the headdresses and anklets and sashes, the perfume bottles and charms,

21 the signet rings and nose rings,

22 the fine robes and the capes and cloaks, the purses

23 and mirrors, and the linen garments and tiaras and shawls.

24 Instead of fragrance there will be a stench;

instead of a sash, a rope;

instead of well-dressed hair, baldness;

instead of fine clothing, sackcloth;

instead of beauty, branding.

25 Your men will fall by the sword,

your warriors in battle.

26 The gates of Zion will lament and mourn;

destitute, she will sit on the ground.



Isaiah 4

1 In that day seven women

will take hold of one man

and say, “We will eat our own food

and provide our own clothes;

only let us be called by your name.

Take away our disgrace!”

The Branch of the Lord

2 In that day the Branch of theLordwill be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the land will be the pride and glory of the survivors in Israel.

3 Those who are left in Zion, who remain in Jerusalem, will be called holy, all who are recorded among the living in Jerusalem.

4 The Lord will wash away the filth of the women of Zion; he will cleanse the bloodstains from Jerusalem by a spiritof judgment and a spiritof fire.

5 Then theLordwill create over all of Mount Zion and over those who assemble there a cloud of smoke by day and a glow of flaming fire by night; over everything the glorywill be a canopy.

6 It will be a shelter and shade from the heat of the day, and a refuge and hiding place from the storm and rain.



Isaiah 5

The Song of the Vineyard

1 I will sing for the one I love

a song about his vineyard:

My loved one had a vineyard

on a fertile hillside.

2 He dug it up and cleared it of stones

and planted it with the choicest vines.

He built a watchtower in it

and cut out a winepress as well.

Then he looked for a crop of good grapes,

but it yielded only bad fruit.

3 “Now you dwellers in Jerusalem and people of Judah,

judge between me and my vineyard.

4 What more could have been done for my vineyard

than I have done for it?

When I looked for good grapes,

why did it yield only bad?

5 Now I will tell you

what I am going to do to my vineyard:

I will take away its hedge,

and it will be destroyed;

I will break down its wall,

and it will be trampled.

6 I will make it a wasteland,

neither pruned nor cultivated,

and briers and thorns will grow there.

I will command the clouds

not to rain on it.”

7 The vineyard of theLordAlmighty

is the nation of Israel,

and the people of Judah

are the vines he delighted in.

And he looked for justice, but saw bloodshed;

for righteousness, but heard cries of distress.

Woes and Judgments

8 Woe to you who add house to house

and join field to field

till no space is left

and you live alone in the land.

9 TheLordAlmighty has declared in my hearing:

“Surely the great houses will become desolate,

the fine mansions left without occupants.

10 A ten-acre vineyard will produce only a bathof wine;

a homerof seed will yield only an ephahof grain.”

11 Woe to those who rise early in the morning

to run after their drinks,

who stay up late at night

till they are inflamed with wine.

12 They have harps and lyres at their banquets,

pipes and timbrels and wine,

but they have no regard for the deeds of theLord,

no respect for the work of his hands.

13 Therefore my people will go into exile

for lack of understanding;

those of high rank will die of hunger

and the common people will be parched with thirst.

14 Therefore Death expands its jaws,

opening wide its mouth;

into it will descend their nobles and masses

with all their brawlers and revelers.

15 So people will be brought low

and everyone humbled,

the eyes of the arrogant humbled.

16 But theLordAlmighty will be exalted by his justice,

and the holy God will be proved holy by his righteous acts.

17 Then sheep will graze as in their own pasture;

lambs will feedamong the ruins of the rich.

18 Woe to those who draw sin along with cords of deceit,

and wickedness as with cart ropes,

19 to those who say, “Let God hurry;

let him hasten his work

so we may see it.

The plan of the Holy One of Israel—

let it approach, let it come into view,

so we may know it.”

20 Woe to those who call evil good

and good evil,

who put darkness for light

and light for darkness,

who put bitter for sweet

and sweet for bitter.

21 Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes

and clever in their own sight.

22 Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine

and champions at mixing drinks,

23 who acquit the guilty for a bribe,

but deny justice to the innocent.

24 Therefore, as tongues of fire lick up straw

and as dry grass sinks down in the flames,

so their roots will decay

and their flowers blow away like dust;

for they have rejected the law of theLordAlmighty

and spurned the word of the Holy One of Israel.

25 Therefore theLord’s anger burns against his people;

his hand is raised and he strikes them down.

The mountains shake,

and the dead bodies are like refuse in the streets.

Yet for all this, his anger is not turned away,

his hand is still upraised.

26 He lifts up a banner for the distant nations,

he whistles for those at the ends of the earth.

Here they come,

swiftly and speedily!

27 Not one of them grows tired or stumbles,

not one slumbers or sleeps;

not a belt is loosened at the waist,

not a sandal strap is broken.

28 Their arrows are sharp,

all their bows are strung;

their horses’ hooves seem like flint,

their chariot wheels like a whirlwind.

29 Their roar is like that of the lion,

they roar like young lions;

they growl as they seize their prey

and carry it off with no one to rescue.

30 In that day they will roar over it

like the roaring of the sea.

And if one looks at the land,

there is only darkness and distress;

even the sun will be darkened by clouds.



Isaiah 6

Isaiah’s Commission

1 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple.

2 Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying.

3 And they were calling to one another:

“Holy, holy, holy is theLordAlmighty;

the whole earth is full of his glory.”

4 At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.

5 “Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, theLordAlmighty.”

6 Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar.

7 With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.”

8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”

And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

9 He said, “Go and tell this people:

“ ‘Be ever hearing, but never understanding;

be ever seeing, but never perceiving.’

10 Make the heart of this people calloused;

make their ears dull

and close their eyes.

Otherwise they might see with their eyes,

hear with their ears,

understand with their hearts,

and turn and be healed.”

11 Then I said, “For how long, Lord?”

And he answered:

“Until the cities lie ruined

and without inhabitant,

until the houses are left deserted

and the fields ruined and ravaged,

12 until theLordhas sent everyone far away

and the land is utterly forsaken.

13 And though a tenth remains in the land,

it will again be laid waste.

But as the terebinth and oak

leave stumps when they are cut down,

so the holy seed will be the stump in the land.”



Isaiah 7

The Sign of Immanuel

1 When Ahaz son of Jotham, the son of Uzziah, was king of Judah, King Rezin of Aram and Pekah son of Remaliah king of Israel marched up to fight against Jerusalem, but they could not overpower it.

2 Now the house of David was told, “Aram has allied itself withEphraim”; so the hearts of Ahaz and his people were shaken, as the trees of the forest are shaken by the wind.

3 Then theLordsaid to Isaiah, “Go out, you and your son Shear-Jashub,to meet Ahaz at the end of the aqueduct of the Upper Pool, on the road to the Launderer’s Field.

4 Say to him, ‘Be careful, keep calm and don’t be afraid. Do not lose heart because of these two smoldering stubs of firewood—because of the fierce anger of Rezin and Aram and of the son of Remaliah.

5 Aram, Ephraim and Remaliah’s son have plotted your ruin, saying,

6 “Let us invade Judah; let us tear it apart and divide it among ourselves, and make the son of Tabeel king over it.”

7 Yet this is what the SovereignLordsays:

“ ‘It will not take place,

it will not happen,

8 for the head of Aram is Damascus,

and the head of Damascus is only Rezin.

Within sixty-five years

Ephraim will be too shattered to be a people.

9 The head of Ephraim is Samaria,

and the head of Samaria is only Remaliah’s son.

If you do not stand firm in your faith,

you will not stand at all.’ ”

10 Again theLordspoke to Ahaz,

11 “Ask theLordyour God for a sign, whether in the deepest depths or in the highest heights.”

12 But Ahaz said, “I will not ask; I will not put theLordto the test.”

13 Then Isaiah said, “Hear now, you house of David! Is it not enough to try the patience of humans? Will you try the patience of my God also?

14 Therefore the Lord himself will give youa sign: The virginwill conceive and give birth to a son, andwill call him Immanuel.

15 He will be eating curds and honey when he knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right,

16 for before the boy knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right, the land of the two kings you dread will be laid waste.

17 TheLordwill bring on you and on your people and on the house of your father a time unlike any since Ephraim broke away from Judah—he will bring the king of Assyria.”

Assyria, the Lord’s Instrument

18 In that day theLordwill whistle for flies from the Nile delta in Egypt and for bees from the land of Assyria.

19 They will all come and settle in the steep ravines and in the crevices in the rocks, on all the thornbushes and at all the water holes.

20 In that day the Lord will use a razor hired from beyond the Euphrates River—the king of Assyria—to shave your heads and private parts, and to cut off your beards also.

21 In that day, a person will keep alive a young cow and two goats.

22 And because of the abundance of the milk they give, there will be curds to eat. All who remain in the land will eat curds and honey.

23 In that day, in every place where there were a thousand vines worth a thousand silver shekels,there will be only briers and thorns.

24 Hunters will go there with bow and arrow, for the land will be covered with briers and thorns.

25 As for all the hills once cultivated by the hoe, you will no longer go there for fear of the briers and thorns; they will become places where cattle are turned loose and where sheep run.



Isaiah 8

Isaiah and His Children as Signs

1 TheLordsaid to me, “Take a large scroll and write on it with an ordinary pen: Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz.”

2 So I called in Uriah the priest and Zechariah son of Jeberekiah as reliable witnesses for me.

3 Then I made love to the prophetess, and she conceived and gave birth to a son. And theLordsaid to me, “Name him Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz.

4 For before the boy knows how to say ‘My father’ or ‘My mother,’ the wealth of Damascus and the plunder of Samaria will be carried off by the king of Assyria.”

5 TheLordspoke to me again:

6 “Because this people has rejected

the gently flowing waters of Shiloah

and rejoices over Rezin

and the son of Remaliah,

7 therefore the Lord is about to bring against them

the mighty floodwaters of the Euphrates—

the king of Assyria with all his pomp.

It will overflow all its channels,

run over all its banks

8 and sweep on into Judah, swirling over it,

passing through it and reaching up to the neck.

Its outspread wings will cover the breadth of your land,


9 Raise the war cry,you nations, and be shattered!

Listen, all you distant lands.

Prepare for battle, and be shattered!

Prepare for battle, and be shattered!

10 Devise your strategy, but it will be thwarted;

propose your plan, but it will not stand,

for God is with us.

11 This is what theLordsays to me with his strong hand upon me, warning me not to follow the way of this people:

12 “Do not call conspiracy

everything this people calls a conspiracy;

do not fear what they fear,

and do not dread it.

13 TheLordAlmighty is the one you are to regard as holy,

he is the one you are to fear,

he is the one you are to dread.

14 He will be a holy place;

for both Israel and Judah he will be

a stone that causes people to stumble

and a rock that makes them fall.

And for the people of Jerusalem he will be

a trap and a snare.

15 Many of them will stumble;

they will fall and be broken,

they will be snared and captured.”

16 Bind up this testimony of warning

and seal up God’s instruction among my disciples.

17 I will wait for theLord,

who is hiding his face from the descendants of Jacob.

I will put my trust in him.

18 Here am I, and the children theLordhas given me. We are signs and symbols in Israel from theLordAlmighty, who dwells on Mount Zion.

The Darkness Turns to Light

19 When someone tells you to consult mediums and spiritists, who whisper and mutter, should not a people inquire of their God? Why consult the dead on behalf of the living?

20 Consult God’s instruction and the testimony of warning. If anyone does not speak according to this word, they have no light of dawn.

21 Distressed and hungry, they will roam through the land; when they are famished, they will become enraged and, looking upward, will curse their king and their God.

22 Then they will look toward the earth and see only distress and darkness and fearful gloom, and they will be thrust into utter darkness.



Isaiah 9

1 Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. In the past he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future he will honor Galilee of the nations, by the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan—

2 The people walking in darkness

have seen a great light;

on those living in the land of deep darkness

a light has dawned.

3 You have enlarged the nation

and increased their joy;

they rejoice before you

as people rejoice at the harvest,

as warriors rejoice

when dividing the plunder.

4 For as in the day of Midian’s defeat,

you have shattered

the yoke that burdens them,

the bar across their shoulders,

the rod of their oppressor.

5 Every warrior’s boot used in battle

and every garment rolled in blood

will be destined for burning,

will be fuel for the fire.

6 For to us a child is born,

to us a son is given,

and the government will be on his shoulders.

And he will be called

Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,

Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

7 Of the greatness of his government and peace

there will be no end.

He will reign on David’s throne

and over his kingdom,

establishing and upholding it

with justice and righteousness

from that time on and forever.

The zeal of theLordAlmighty

will accomplish this.

The Lord’s Anger Against Israel

8 The Lord has sent a message against Jacob;

it will fall on Israel.

9 All the people will know it—

Ephraim and the inhabitants of Samaria—

who say with pride

and arrogance of heart,

10 “The bricks have fallen down,

but we will rebuild with dressed stone;

the fig trees have been felled,

but we will replace them with cedars.”

11 But theLordhas strengthened Rezin’s foes against them

and has spurred their enemies on.

12 Arameans from the east and Philistines from the west

have devoured Israel with open mouth.

Yet for all this, his anger is not turned away,

his hand is still upraised.

13 But the people have not returned to him who struck them,

nor have they sought theLordAlmighty.

14 So theLordwill cut off from Israel both head and tail,

both palm branch and reed in a single day;

15 the elders and dignitaries are the head,

the prophets who teach lies are the tail.

16 Those who guide this people mislead them,

and those who are guided are led astray.

17 Therefore the Lord will take no pleasure in the young men,

nor will he pity the fatherless and widows,

for everyone is ungodly and wicked,

every mouth speaks folly.

Yet for all this, his anger is not turned away,

his hand is still upraised.

18 Surely wickedness burns like a fire;

it consumes briers and thorns,

it sets the forest thickets ablaze,

so that it rolls upward in a column of smoke.

19 By the wrath of theLordAlmighty

the land will be scorched

and the people will be fuel for the fire;

they will not spare one another.

20 On the right they will devour,

but still be hungry;

on the left they will eat,

but not be satisfied.

Each will feed on the flesh of their own offspring:

21 Manasseh will feed on Ephraim, and Ephraim on Manasseh;

together they will turn against Judah.

Yet for all this, his anger is not turned away,

his hand is still upraised.