Isaiah Chapter 1
Isaiah 1:1 “The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, [and] Hezekiah, kings of Judah.”
We can quickly see from this, that these 4 kings did not include the wicked king Manasseh, who had Isaiah killed. We find, in this verse, that Isaiah’s father was named Amoz. This does not give us any further background on Isaiah. It appears that God just chose him as an unknown for this job.
This prophecy, that Isaiah gave, was revealed to him in a vision from God. Kings, and also the people, listened when a prophet spoke, because they believed that prophets were bringing them a message directly from God.
This particular vision and prophesy had to do with Judah and Jerusalem. Isaiah was a prophet in the southern kingdom.
King Uzziah was sometimes called Azariah. (In 2 Kings 14:21), we find that he was called Azariah, and he was 16 years of age when he began to reign. We find in the 3rd verse of the 15th chapter of 2 Kings that Azariah did that which was right in the sight of the Lord.
(In 2 Kings 15:5), we read that Jotham was the son of Azariah, and was king in his father’s place. (2 Kings 15:34), tells us that Jotham did what was right in the sight of the Lord.
Ahaz was known by several names; Achaz, and Jehoahaz. He was a wicked king. Hezekiah and Ezekias are the same. His mother’s name was Abijah. She was the daughter of Zechariah (the reference for this is 2 Chronicles 29:1).
Hezekiah did what was right and prospered. Read (2 Kings 18:5-7) to get a more thorough view of this. Manasseh was very evil.
Verses 2-9 is like a courtroom scene in which the Lord is the plaintiff and the nation of Israel is the defendant. Instead of responding to God’s ultimate care and provision for them, these people have failed to give Him the loving obedience that is His due.
Isaiah 1:2 “Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth: for the LORD hath spoken, I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me.”
We must remember this is a vision from God. Isaiah is speaking for God here. Prophets were sometimes called seers, because of the visions they had. These were God’s chosen people, and they have turned their back from serving God. They have sinned over and over.
God does not stop calling them His children, but is disappointed in their rebellion towards Him. The only thing now, that will stop the judgment of God from falling upon them, is national repentance.
Our land could take a warning from this. We need to repent as a nation, as well as individuals for the rampant sin in America. We belong to Jesus Christ. He paid for us with His precious blood on Calvary.
God intended Israel to be a channel of blessing to the nations, but instead He must call the nations to look on Israel’s shame. The physical descendants of Abraham are God’s chosen people, in spite of their disobedience.
Isaiah 1:3 “The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master’s crib: [but] Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider.”
The ox is spoken of here, because it is a dumb work animal, but still has enough sense to realize who feeds him. The ass here, is a donkey, supposedly a very dumb animal. Israel was God’s people, and yet they did not follow Him. They were a people who did not consider the blessings He had bestowed on them.
Animals appear to have more powers of reason than God’s people who break fellowship with Him.
Isaiah 1:4 “Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters: they have forsaken the LORD, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger, they are gone away backward.”
“The Holy One of Israel”: This is Isaiah’s special title for God, found 25 times in this book, but only 6 times in the rest of the Old Testament. Isaiah also uses “Holy One” as a title 4 times and “Holy One of Jacob” once. In many contexts, the name contrasts the holiness of God with the sinfulness of Israel.
This seems as though it is describing our generation, as well as the physical house of Israel. Notice “Holy One of Israel” which seems to be a favorite name that Isaiah uses for God. It seems this is not just a single sin, but they have taken up a sinful way of life.
This is Isaiah speaking in this verse. He mourns over the sinful condition of the people and realizes the punishment that lies in store for them.
Isaiah 1:5 “Why should ye be stricken any more? ye will revolt more and more: the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint.”
It seems that the greatest even unto the least are caught up in this sinful way of life. The “head” could symbolize the mind and the heart symbolizes the morality of the nation. The head could also mean, the leaders of the country.
It certainly does appear that they stay their mind on evil things, and those who should be leading them morally have been caught up in this evil as well.
Already in ruins because of rebellion against God, the nation behaved irrationally by continuing their rebellion.
Isaiah 1:6 “From the sole of the foot even unto the head [there is] no soundness in it; [but] wounds, and bruises, and putrifying sores: they have not been closed, neither bound up, neither mollified with ointment.”
This is not speaking of physical sores, but is speaking of sin, as the leprosy spoken of in Leviticus symbolized sin. This sin is so rampant, that it has involved almost everyone.
It means also, that the sinful way of life has totally consumed them from their feet to their heads. This also means, that there has been no effort made to cure this degraded society.
Isaiah 1:7 “Your country [is] desolate, your cities [are] burned with fire: your land, strangers devour it in your presence, and [it is] desolate, as overthrown by strangers.”
This is speaking of the judgment that came to pass, because of their wayward ways. This is speaking of a war waged against them that they seemed helpless to stop. Many times, wars are actually judgments of God against a nation. Strangers tell us that this war was not other Hebrews warring against them.
Since Isaiah is speaking part of the time in the near future, sometimes in the far future, and sometimes at their present time, it is difficult to pinpoint which war this is speaking of.
Isaiah 1:8 “And the daughter of Zion is left as a cottage in a vineyard, as a lodge in a garden of cucumbers, as a besieged city.”
“Daughter of Zion” speaks symbolically of the church of the Lord Jesus Christ many times. Other times it is speaking of the city of Jerusalem. The phase occurs 28 times in the Old Testament, 6 of which are in Israel. It is a personification of Jerusalem, standing in this case for all of Judah.
This cottage in the vineyard was a temporary house. This was like the booths (spoken of in Leviticus), that were 8 day housing in the vineyard. The lodge was a more solid dwelling. The key word is “as” a besieged city.
This means that this attack against Jerusalem was yet to come. It would be left in such bad condition that it would appear the housing had been temporary.
Isaiah 1:9 “Except the LORD of hosts had left unto us a very small remnant, we should have been as Sodom, [and] we should have been like unto Gomorrah.”
Isaiah used the title “Lord God of hosts” 60 times. It pictured God as a mighty warrior, a leader of armies, capable of conquering all of Israel’s enemies and providing for her survival.
Survivors, rendered “remnant”, is a term designated the faithful among the Israelites. Paul cited this verse to prove the ongoing existence of faithful Israelites even in his day (in Rom. 9:29). Such a remnant will constitute the nucleus of returning Israelites in the nation’s regathering when the Messiah returns to earth.
Even this terrible siege of Jerusalem was not as bad as the punishment levied against Sodom and Gomorrah. In destroying them, God rained brimstone and fire on these two Canaanite cites because of their aggravated sinfulness (Gen. 18:20).
These two cities thereby became a proverbial expression for the ultimate in God’s temporal judgment against any people. Had God’s grace not intervened, He would have judged Israel in the same way.
As bad as this was, God had spared a few. God will always have a remnant of His people.
(In verses 10-17), the prophet applied the names of the sinful cities, Sodom and Gomorrah, to Judah and Jerusalem in decrying their empty formalism in worship. God found their activities utterly repulsive when they engaged in the rituals prescribed by Moses, because when doing so, they persisted in iniquity.
Isaiah 1:10 “Hear the word of the LORD, ye rulers of Sodom; give ear unto the law of our God, ye people of Gomorrah.”
This is speaking of Jerusalem as if it were Sodom and Gomorrah. This is a warning of the terrible fate that awaits this evil city, if they do not repent and turn to God. Isaiah is saying, you are just as evil as Sodom and Gomorrah. Isaiah’s plea to them is to listen to the Word of God, before it is too late.
Isaiah 1:11 “To what purpose [is] the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? saith the LORD: I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he goats.”
I have had enough … I take no pleasure. God found all sacrifices meaningless and even abhorrent if the offeror failed in obedience to His laws. Rebellion is equated to the sin of witchcraft and stubbornness to iniquity and idolatry.
They are so laden with sin that God does not want an offering from them. They are going through the motions of being God’s people, but God will not accept their offerings offered with sinful hands. Just sacrificing without true repentance will not be acceptable to God. You could not then, and you cannot now, buy your way into heaven.
1 Samuel 15:22 “And Samuel said, Hath the LORD [as great] delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey [is] better than sacrifice, [and] to hearken than the fat of rams.”
He wants their obedience and love, not their sacrifices.
Isaiah 1:12 “When ye come to appear before me, who hath required this at your hand, to tread my courts?”
In 2 Timothy 3, it is called having a form of Godliness. God does not want formality, He wants sincerity. In carrying out the required sacrifices, they had lost the meaning of sacrifice. It had become a practiced habit, not an act of love for God.
2 Timothy 3:5-7: “Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.” “For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts,” “Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.”
He is just saying that all the sacrifice without meaning in the world would not save them. (If we go to church because it is expected of us, we might as well stay home). It should not be done from obligation, but because we love to fellowship with God and His people.
Isaiah Chapter 1 Questions
1. In the opinion of the author, _______ is the most spiritual of the Old Testament books.
2. Isaiah was a __________ and preacher at the time he wrote this book.
3. He prophesied during the reign of how many kings?
4. Why do we know that Isaiah’s wife was a prophetess, instead of just being a prophet’s wife?
5. What does history tell us about the fate of Isaiah? Is there any Scripture in the Bible that indicates the history account is true?
6. Describe the personality of Isaiah.
7. He was known as the prophet of ____________.
8. What does the name “Isaiah” mean?
9. How many chapters are in Isaiah, and how are they separated?
10. What tells us without question that Isaiah the prophet wrote all of Isaiah?
11. What is the key word in Isaiah?
12. When did Isaiah live approximately?
13. Name the kings in power when Isaiah ministered.
14. How old was Isaiah when he began his ministry?
15. What interpretation of the Bible were the Dead Sea scrolls of Isaiah very close to?
16. We read in Isaiah that the message was given to him by __________.
17. Who was the father of Isaiah?
18. Who did the vision concern?
19. The four kings mentioned in the first verse were kings of ___________.
20. Which wicked king was not included?
21. What did the people believe about a prophet?
22. What region did Isaiah prophesy in?
23. What was another name for Uzziah?
24. How old was Uzziah when he began to reign?
25. What kind of a king was Uzziah?
26. Hezekiah is the same as whom?
27. Who was the most evil of the kings Isaiah ministered to?
28. What were prophets sometimes called?
29. Why were they called by this name?
30. What is the only thing that would stop the punishment of God from falling on them?
31. Why are the ox and ass mentioned in verse 3?
32. What is God called in verse 4?
33. What is meant by the “head being sick”?
34. What does the heart in verse 5 symbolize?
35. What kind of sores are spoken of in verse 6?
36. What judgment is spoken on them in verse 7?
37. Who is “daughter of Zion” speaking of?
38. What does “as”, in verse 8, tell us?
39. What kept them from being like Sodom and Gomorrah?
40. What is called Sodom in verse 10?
41. What chapter, in Timothy, relates to Isaiah chapter 1 verse 12?