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Isaiah 1-4

Isaiah

1The 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


2 Hear, O heavens, and listen, O earth;
   for the Lord has spoken:
I reared children and brought them up,
   but they have rebelled against me.
3 The ox knows its owner,
   and the donkey its master’s crib;
but Israel does not know,
   my people do not understand.


4 Ah, sinful nation,
   people laden with iniquity,
offspring who do evil,
   children who deal corruptly,
who have forsaken the Lord,
   who have despised the Holy One of Israel,
   who are utterly estranged!


5 Why do you seek further beatings?
   Why do you continue to rebel?
The whole head is sick,
   and the whole heart faint.
6 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.


7 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.
8 And daughter Zion is left
   like a booth in a vineyard,
like a shelter in a cucumber field,
   like a besieged city.
9 If the Lord of hosts
   had not left us a few survivors,
we would have been like Sodom,
   and become like Gomorrah.


10 Hear the word of the Lord,
   you rulers of Sodom!
Listen to the teaching of our God,
   you people of Gomorrah!
11 What to me is the multitude of your sacrifices?
   says the Lord;
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.


12 When you come to appear before me,*
   who asked this from your hand?
   Trample my courts no more;
13 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.
14 Your new moons and your appointed festivals
   my soul hates;
they have become a burden to me,
   I am weary of bearing them.
15 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.
16 Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean;
   remove the evil of your doings
   from before my eyes;
cease to do evil,
17   learn to do good;
seek justice,
   rescue the oppressed,
defend the orphan,
   plead for the widow.


18 Come now, let us argue it out,
   says the Lord:
though your sins are like scarlet,
   they shall be like snow;
though they are red like crimson,
   they shall become like wool.
19 If you are willing and obedient,
   you shall eat the good of the land;
20 but if you refuse and rebel,
   you shall be devoured by the sword;
   for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.

The Degenerate City


21 How the faithful city
   has become a whore!
   She that was full of justice,
righteousness lodged in her—
   but now murderers!
22 Your silver has become dross,
   your wine is mixed with water.
23 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.


24 Therefore says the Sovereign, the Lord of hosts, the Mighty One of Israel:
Ah, I will pour out my wrath on my enemies,
   and avenge myself on my foes!
25 I will turn my hand against you;
   I will smelt away your dross as with lye
   and remove all your alloy.
26 And I will restore your judges as at the first,
   and your counsellors as at the beginning.
Afterwards you shall be called the city of righteousness,
   the faithful city.


27 Zion shall be redeemed by justice,
   and those in her who repent, by righteousness.
28 But rebels and sinners shall be destroyed together,
   and those who forsake the Lord shall be consumed.
29 For you shall be ashamed of the oaks
   in which you delighted;
and you shall blush for the gardens
   that you have chosen.
30 For you shall be like an oak
   whose leaf withers,
   and like a garden without water.
31 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.

The Future House of God

2The word that Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.


2 In days to come
   the mountain of the Lord’s house
shall be established as the highest of the mountains,
   and shall be raised above the hills;
all the nations shall stream to it.
3   Many peoples shall come and say,
‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
   to the house of the God of Jacob;
that he may teach us his ways
   and that we may walk in his paths.’
For out of Zion shall go forth instruction,
   and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
4 He shall judge between the nations,
   and shall arbitrate for many peoples;
they shall beat their swords into ploughshares,
   and their spears into pruning-hooks;
nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
   neither shall they learn war any more.

Judgement Pronounced on Arrogance


5 O house of Jacob,
   come, let us walk
   in the light of the Lord!
6 For you have forsaken the ways of* your people,
   O house of Jacob.
Indeed they are full of diviners* from the east
   and of soothsayers like the Philistines,
   and they clasp hands with foreigners.
7 Their land is filled with silver and gold,
   and there is no end to their treasures;
their land is filled with horses,
   and there is no end to their chariots.
8 Their land is filled with idols;
   they bow down to the work of their hands,
   to what their own fingers have made.
9 And so people are humbled,
   and everyone is brought low—
   do not forgive them!
10 Enter into the rock,
   and hide in the dust
from the terror of the Lord,
   and from the glory of his majesty.
11 The haughty eyes of people shall be brought low,
   and the pride of everyone shall be humbled;
and the Lord alone will be exalted
   on that day.
12 For the Lord of hosts has a day
   against all that is proud and lofty,
   against all that is lifted up and high;*
13 against all the cedars of Lebanon,
   lofty and lifted up;
   and against all the oaks of Bashan;
14 against all the high mountains,
   and against all the lofty hills;
15 against every high tower,
   and against every fortified wall;
16 against all the ships of Tarshish,
   and against all the beautiful craft.*
17 The haughtiness of people shall be humbled,
   and the pride of everyone shall be brought low;
   and the Lord alone will be exalted on that day.
18 The idols shall utterly pass away.
19 Enter the caves of the rocks
   and the holes of the ground,
from the terror of the Lord,
   and from the glory of his majesty,
   when he rises to terrify the earth.
20 On that day people will throw away
   to the moles and to the bats
their idols of silver and their idols of gold,
   which they made for themselves to worship,
21 to enter the caverns of the rocks
   and the clefts in the crags,
from the terror of the Lord,
   and from the glory of his majesty,
   when he rises to terrify the earth.
22 Turn away from mortals,
   who have only breath in their nostrils,
   for of what account are they?

3For now the Sovereign, the Lord of hosts,
   is taking away from Jerusalem and from Judah
support and staff—
   all support of bread,
   and all support of water—
2 warrior and soldier,
   judge and prophet,
   diviner and elder,
3 captain of fifty
   and dignitary,
counsellor and skilful magician
   and expert enchanter.
4 And I will make boys their princes,
   and babes shall rule over them.
5 The people will be oppressed,
   everyone by another
   and everyone by a neighbour;
the youth will be insolent to the elder,
   and the base to the honourable.


6 Someone will even seize a relative,
   a member of the clan, saying,
‘You have a cloak;
   you shall be our leader,
and this heap of ruins
   shall be under your rule.’
7 But the other will cry out on that day, saying,
‘I will not be a healer;
   in my house there is neither bread nor cloak;
you shall not make me
   leader of the people.’
8 For Jerusalem has stumbled
   and Judah has fallen,
because their speech and their deeds are against the Lord,
   defying his glorious presence.


9 The look on their faces bears witness against them;
   they proclaim their sin like Sodom,
   they do not hide it.
Woe to them!
   For they have brought evil on themselves.
10 Tell the innocent how fortunate they are,
   for they shall eat the fruit of their labours.
11 Woe to the guilty! How unfortunate they are,
   for what their hands have done shall be done to them.
12 My people—children are their oppressors,
   and women rule over them.
O my people, your leaders mislead you,
   and confuse the course of your paths.


13 The Lord rises to argue his case;
   he stands to judge the peoples.
14 The Lord enters into judgement
   with the elders and princes of his people:
It is you who have devoured the vineyard;
   the spoil of the poor is in your houses.
15 What do you mean by crushing my people,
   by grinding the face of the poor? says the Lord God of hosts.


16 The Lord said:
Because the daughters of Zion are haughty
   and walk with outstretched necks,
   glancing wantonly with their eyes,
mincing along as they go,
   tinkling with their feet;
17 the Lord will afflict with scabs
   the heads of the daughters of Zion,
   and the Lord will lay bare their secret parts.

18 On that day the Lord will take away the finery of the anklets, the headbands, and the crescents; 19the pendants, the bracelets, and the scarves; 20the head-dresses, the armlets, the sashes, the perfume boxes, and the amulets; 21the signet rings and nose-rings; 22the festal robes, the mantles, the cloaks, and the handbags; 23the garments of gauze, the linen garments, the turbans, and the veils.
24 Instead of perfume there will be a stench;
   and instead of a sash, a rope;
and instead of well-arranged hair, baldness;
   and instead of a rich robe, a binding of sackcloth;
   instead of beauty, shame.*
25 Your men shall fall by the sword
   and your warriors in battle.
26 And her gates shall lament and mourn;
   ravaged, she shall sit upon the ground.

4Seven women shall take hold of one man on that day, saying,
‘We will eat our own bread and wear our own clothes;
just let us be called by your name;
   take away our disgrace.’

The Future Glory of the Survivors in Zion

On that day the branch of the Lord shall be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the land shall be the pride and glory of the survivors of Israel. 3Whoever is left in Zion and remains in Jerusalem will be called holy, everyone who has been recorded for life in Jerusalem, 4once the Lord has washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion and cleansed the bloodstains of Jerusalem from its midst by a spirit of judgement and by a spirit of burning. 5Then the Lord will create over the whole site of Mount Zion and over its places of assembly a cloud by day and smoke and the shining of a flaming fire by night. Indeed, over all the glory there will be a canopy. 6It will serve as a pavilion, a shade by day from the heat, and a refuge and a shelter from the storm and rain.

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Psalm 109

Prayer for Vindication and Vengeance

To the leader. Of David. A Psalm.
1 Do not be silent, O God of my praise.
2 For wicked and deceitful mouths are opened against me,
   speaking against me with lying tongues.
3 They beset me with words of hate,
   and attack me without cause.
4 In return for my love they accuse me,
   even while I make prayer for them.*
5 So they reward me evil for good,
   and hatred for my love.


6 They say,* ‘Appoint a wicked man against him;
   let an accuser stand on his right.
7 When he is tried, let him be found guilty;
   let his prayer be counted as sin.
8 May his days be few;
   may another seize his position.
9 May his children be orphans,
   and his wife a widow.
10 May his children wander about and beg;
   may they be driven out of* the ruins they inhabit.
11 May the creditor seize all that he has;
   may strangers plunder the fruits of his toil.
12 May there be no one to do him a kindness,
   nor anyone to pity his orphaned children.
13 May his posterity be cut off;
   may his name be blotted out in the second generation.
14 May the iniquity of his father* be remembered before the Lord,
   and do not let the sin of his mother be blotted out.
15 Let them be before the Lord continually,
   and may his* memory be cut off from the earth.
16 For he did not remember to show kindness,
   but pursued the poor and needy
   and the broken-hearted to their death.
17 He loved to curse; let curses come on him.
   He did not like blessing; may it be far from him.
18 He clothed himself with cursing as his coat,
   may it soak into his body like water,
   like oil into his bones.
19 May it be like a garment that he wraps around himself,
   like a belt that he wears every day.’


20 May that be the reward of my accusers from the Lord,
   of those who speak evil against my life.
21 But you, O Lord my Lord,
   act on my behalf for your name’s sake;
   because your steadfast love is good, deliver me.
22 For I am poor and needy,
   and my heart is pierced within me.
23 I am gone like a shadow at evening;
   I am shaken off like a locust.
24 My knees are weak through fasting;
   my body has become gaunt.
25 I am an object of scorn to my accusers;
   when they see me, they shake their heads.


26 Help me, O Lord my God!
   Save me according to your steadfast love.
27 Let them know that this is your hand;
   you, O Lord, have done it.
28 Let them curse, but you will bless.
   Let my assailants be put to shame;* may your servant be glad.
29 May my accusers be clothed with dishonour;
   may they be wrapped in their own shame as in a mantle.
30 With my mouth I will give great thanks to the Lord;
   I will praise him in the midst of the throng.
31 For he stands at the right hand of the needy,
   to save them from those who would condemn them to death.

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