Listen, you heavens; earth, attend, for Yahweh is speaking, ‘I have reared children and brought them up, but they have rebelled against me. The ox knows its owner and the donkey its master’s crib; Israel does not know, my people do not understand.’
Disaster, sinful nation, people weighed down with guilt, race of wrong-doers, perverted children! They have abandoned Yahweh, despised the Holy One of Israel, they have turned away from him. Where shall I strike you next, if you persist in treason? The whole head is sick, the whole heart is diseased, from the sole of the foot to the head there is nothing healthy: only wounds, bruises and open sores not dressed, not bandaged, not soothed with ointment, your country a desolation, your towns burnt down, your soil, foreigners lay it waste before your eyes, a desolation like devastation by foreigners.
The daughter of Zion is left like a shanty in a vineyard, like a shed in a cucumber field, like a city besieged. Had Yahweh Sabaoth not left us a few survivors, we should be like Sodom, we should be the same as Gomorrah.
Hear what Yahweh says, you rulers of Sodom; listen to what our God teaches, you people of Gomorrah. ‘What are your endless sacrifices to me?’ says Yahweh. ‘I am sick of burnt offerings of rams and the fat of calves. I take no pleasure in the blood of bulls and lambs and goats. When you come and present yourselves before me, who has asked you to trample through my courts? Bring no more futile cereal offerings, the smoke from them fills me with disgust. New Moons, Sabbaths, assemblies — I cannot endure solemnity combined with guilt. Your New Moons and your meetings I utterly detest; to me they are a burden I am tired of bearing. When you stretch out your hands I turn my eyes away. You may multiply your prayers, I shall not be listening. Your hands are covered in blood, wash, make yourselves clean. Take your wrong-doing out of my sight. Cease doing evil. Learn to do good, search for justice, discipline the violent, be just to the orphan, plead for the widow.
‘Come, let us talk this over,’ says Yahweh. ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool. If you are willing to obey, you shall eat the good things of the earth. But if you refuse and rebel, the sword shall eat you instead — for Yahweh’s mouth has spoken.‘ (Isa. 1:2-20)