Isaiah 1:1, 10-20

Isaiah 1:1, 10-20
Ordinary C37


The visionI of IsaiahII sonIII of Amoz,IV

Notes on verse 1a

I “vision” = chazon. From chazah (to gaze at – to see or behold; perceiving as a mental process or looking at something with pleasure; seeing a vision). This is a vision or a sight. It could be a dream, oracle, or revelation.
II “Isaiah” = Yshayah. From yasha (to deliver, defend, help, preserve, rescue; properly, to be open, wide or free, which implies being safe; to free someone) + Yah (the shortened form of the name of the God of Israel; God, Lord); {from YHVH (proper name of the God of Israel; God, Lord; the self-existent or eternal one); from havah (to become) or hayah (to be, become, happen)}. This is Isaiah, meaning “salvation of the Lord” or “the Lord has saved.”
III “son” = ben. From banah (to build or obtain children). This is son, age, child. It is son in a literal or figurative sense.
IV “Amoz” = Amots. 13x in OT. From amets (to be strong, alert, or bold; to harden, make firm, be courageous or mighty, fortify, or establish; physical alertness or mental courage or steadfastness). This is Amoz, meaning “strong.”

which he sawV concerning JudahVI and JerusalemVII in the daysVIII of Uzziah,IX

Notes on verse 1b

V “saw” = chazah. Related to “vision” in v1. See note I above.
VI “Judah” = Yehudah. Probably from yadah (to throw one’s hands into the air in a gesture of praise); from yad (hand). This is Judah, meaning “praised.”
VII “Jerusalem” = Yerushalaim. From yarah (to throw, shoot, be stunned; to flow as water so figuratively to instruct or teach) + shalam (to make amends, to be complete or sound). This is Jerusalem, dwelling of peace.
VIII “days” = yom. Root may mean being hot. This is the day in a literal or figurative sense. It can also mean birth, age, daylight, continually or other references to time.
IX “Uzziah” = Uzziyyah. Related to “Isaiah” in v1. From oz (strength in the sense of force, majesty, praise, material and physical strength, the abstract notion of security; also social or political power); {from azaz (to be strong, become fixed, be bold, prevail, be impudent; it means to be stout literally or figuratively. A Late Hebrew word)} + Yah (see note II above). This is Uzziah, meaning “my strength is the Lord.”

Jotham,X Ahaz,XI and Hezekiah,XII kingsXIII of Judah.

Notes on verse 1c

X “Jotham” = Yotham. Related to “Isaiah” and “Uzziah” in v1. From YHVH (see note II above) + tam (complete, integrity, peaceful, perfect, blameless; morally complete; gentle, dear); {from tamam (to finish or accomplish; to make perfect, demonstrate that you are upright; consume; to complete in a literal or figurative sense)}. This is Jotham or Yotham, meaning “the Lord is perfect” or “the Lord is complete” or “the Lord is upright.” See
XI “Ahaz” = Achaz. From achaz (to grasp, catch, seize, take and hold in possession; to be afraid or hold back). This is Ahaz, meaning “he has grasped” or “possessor.”
XII “Hezekiah” = Chizqiyyah. Related to “Isaiah” and “Uzziah” and “Jotham” in v1. From chazaq (to strengthen, seize, be courageous, repair, heal, conquer, harden) + Yah (see note II above). This is Hezekiah or Hizkiah, meaning “the Lord has strengthened.”
XIII “kings” = melek. From malak (to be or become king or queen, to rise to the throne, to be crowned; by implication, to take counsel). This is king or royal.

10 HearXIV the wordXV of the Lord,XVI
    you rulersXVII of Sodom!XVIII

Notes on verse 10a

XIV “hear” = shama. This is to hear, call, consent, or consider. It implies listening intelligently, giving attention, and, because of these two factors, obedience and action are often implied.
XV “word” = dabar. From dabar (to speak, declare, discuss). This is speech, a word, a matter, an affair, charge, command, message, promise, purpose, report, request. It is a word, which implies things that are spoken of in a wide sense.
XVI “Lord” = YHVH. Related to “Isaiah” and “Uzziah” and “Jotham” and “Hezekiah” in v1. See note II above.
XVII “rulers” = qatsin. 12x in OT. Perhaps from qatsah (to cut off, cut short; figuratively, to destroy). This is chief, captain, ruler, commander. It is a decisionmaker like a magistrate.
XVIII “Sodom” = Sedom. Perhaps from sadam (to burn) OR from sadad (to plow a field) or shadad (to be violent) or from sadad (to join) or yasad (to assemble) + –m (their). This is Sodom or Sedom. It is a city near the Dead Sea. It may mean “scorch” or “burnt” as a reference to the volcanic area. It could also mean “wet fields, “demons,” “divisions,” “breasts, “or “their assembly.” See

ListenXIX to the teachingXX of our God,XXI
    you peopleXXII of Gomorrah!XXIII

Notes on verse 10b

XIX “listen” = azan. Perhaps from ozen (ear, hearing, audience, show; properly, broadness – applied to its ear in reference to its shape). Properly, this is to expand or broaden one’s ear i.e. listen intently, pay attention, heed.
XX “teaching” = torah. Related to “Jerusalem” in v1. From yarah (see note VII above). This is law, instruction, teaching, or statute. It can also refer to the first five books of the Bible – the Torah.
XXI “God” = Elohim.
XXII “people” = am. From amam (to darken, hide, associate; creating shadows by huddling together). This is people or nation. It can be used specifically for a tribe, collectively of troops or armies, or figuratively to refer to a flock of animals.
XXIII “Gomorrah” = Amorah. 19x in OT. From amar (to bind sheaves, heap; discipline as piling on blows) OR from am (people) + yarah (describes many small iterations combining to a bigger effect like many raindrops, lots of arrows, etc.). This is the city Gomorrah in the Jordan Valley. It may mean “people of fear,” “submersion,” “tyrannical dealings,” “people who shoot arrows,” “throes,” or “sheave.” See

11 What to me is the multitudeXXIV of your sacrifices?XXV
    says the Lord;
I have had enoughXXVI of burnt offeringsXXVII of ramsXXVIII

Notes on verse 11a

XXIV “multitude” = rob. From rabab (to be or become much or many, multiply). This is any kind of abundance.
XXV “sacrifices” = zebach. From zabach (to kill, slay, offer; slaughtering an animal to offer as a sacrifice). This is a slaughter – literally of an animal. So, it implies the act or the animals used in sacrifice. Further, it can mean offering.
XXVI “had enough” = saba. To be satisfied or full in a literal or figurative sense. Also, to have plenty of.
XXVII “burnt offerings” = olah. From alah (to go up, climb, approach, bring; to be high or actively climb; can be literal or figurative). This is a step, stairs, or some kind of ascent. It is also used for whole burnt offerings, being the offering in which the whole things is burned and rises as smoke. Burnt offerings were the least common of the offerings: most were eaten, shared with the priest and the one bringing the offering.
XXVIII “rams” = ayil. From the same as ul (mighty, strength, body, belly; root may mean to twist and that implies strength and power). This is strength so it is used to indicate things that are strong or powerful: political chiefs, rams, posts, trees, oaks.

    and the fatXXIX of fed beasts;XXX
I do not delightXXXI in the bloodXXXII of bullsXXXIII
    or of lambsXXXIV or of goats.XXXV

Notes on verse 11b

XXIX “fat” = cheleb. This is fat, finest, marrow. It is fat in a literal or figurative sense. It refers to the richest or best part.
XXX “fed beasts” = meri. 8x in OT. Perhaps from mara (to rebel, flap wings, whip, be filthy). This is a stall-fed cow, a fatling.
XXXI “delight” = chaphets. Properly, this means inclined towards or bending to. Figuratively, it means to desire, delight in, or be pleased with.
XXXII “blood” = dam. Perhaps from damam (to cease, be or become mute, silent, still, cut off, hold peace, be astonished, die). This is blood, bloodshed, bloodguilt, lifeblood, and death. It is used for people and animals. More often blood from a wound or the blood of the innocent. Used figuratively for violence or for wine. Closely tied to life and death.
XXXIII “bulls” = par. Perhaps related to parar (to break, defeat, frustrate, caste off, clean, cease). This is a young bull or ox.
XXXIV “lambs” = kebes. Root may mean to dominate. This is a young male sheep – having just reached the age where it can butt other sheep.
XXXV “goats” = attud. From athod (to be ready, prepare, destined). This is something full grown or a leader. It can also refer to a male goat or ram.

12 When you comeXXXVI to appearXXXVII beforeXXXVIII me,
    who askedXXXIX this from your hand?XL

Notes on verse 12a

XXXVI “come” = bo. This is to enter, come in, advance, fulfill, bring offerings, enter to worship, attack. It can also have a sexual connotation.
XXXVII “appear” = raah. This is to see in a literal or figurative sense so stare, advise, think, view.
XXXVIII “before” = paneh. From panah (to turn, face, appear). This is face in a literal or figurative sense. It could be face, presence, anger, respect. It can also be used of God to indicate divine favor or presence.
XXXIX “asked” = baqash. This is to seek, ask, desire, or request. It can be any kind of searching. It can also mean to worship or pray – implies a striving for.
XL “hand” = yad. This is hand, ability, power. Hand in a literal sense, but also what one can do or the means by which one does it.

    TrampleXLI my courtsXLII no more!XLIII
13 BringingXLIV offeringsXLV is futile;XLVI

Notes on verses 12b-13a

XLI “trample” = ramas. 19x in OT. This is to trample or tread down. It could be to work as a potter, to walk, or to be abusive.
XLII “courts” = chatser.  From chatsar (to blow a trumpet, trumpeter, to surround); from chatsotsrah (trumpet). This is an enclosure or court – a yard that is fenced in. It could also be a village or hamlet that is walled in.
XLIII “more” = yasaph. This is to add, increase, continue, exceed.
XLIV “bringing” = bo. Same as “come” in v12. See note XXXVI above.
XLV “offerings” = minchah. This is a gift or an offering, particularly a sacrificial one that is generally bloodless and given spontaneously (voluntarily).
XLVI “futile” = shav. Perhaps from the same as sho (ruin, desolation, storm; from a root that means rushing over – hence a storm and hence devastation). This is emptiness, false, worthless, deceit. It can also refer to evil, guile, idolatry, or something being in vain.

    incenseXLVII is an abominationXLVIII to me.
New moonXLIX and SabbathL and callingLI of convocationLII

Notes on verse 13b

XLVII “incense” = qetoreth. From the same as qitor (thick smoke, vapor). This is smoke, incense, the scent of the sacrifice as it burned.
XLVIII “abomination” = toebah. Perhaps from ta’ab (to abhor or morally detest). This is something that instills one with moral contempt or disgust. It can mean abhorrence and is often in reference to idolatry or idols.
XLIX “new moon” = chodesh. From chadash (to renew, repair). This refers to a new moon. It can also mean monthly.
L “sabbath” = shabbat. From shabath (to rest, stop, repose, cease working; by implication, to celebrate). This is sabbath, literally meaning rest or intermission.
LI “calling” = qara. This is to call or call out – to call someone by name. Also used more broadly for calling forth.
LII “convocation” = miqra. Related to “calling” in v13. From qara (see note LI above). This is a convocation, assembly, public meeting. It can refer to the place where the meeting is happening or the people meeting.

    I cannot endureLIII solemn assembliesLIV with iniquity.LV
14 Your new moons and your appointed festivalsLVI
    my soulLVII hates;LVIII

Notes on verses 13c-14a

LIII “endure” = yakol. This is to be able, endure, overcome, prevail.
LIV “solemn assemblies” = atsarah. 11x in OT. From atsar (to restrain, rule, confine, bond; to hold back, maintain, rule, assemble). This is an assembly, particularly one that was called for a festival or for a holiday.
LV “iniquity” = aven. Root may mean panting as one does when expending a lot of energy, especially when it comes to nothing. This is nothingness, trouble, sorrow, distress, wickedness, evil, harm, sorrow, misfortune, and mischief. It is also used specifically to refer to idols.
LVI “appointed festivals” = moed. From yaad (to appoint, assemble or gather selves, agree). This is a meeting, assembly, fixed time. It can be used for a festival or feast. It can also refer to a meeting place.
LVII “soul” = nephesh. Related to naphash (to refresh or be refreshed). This is soul, self, person, emotion. It is a breathing creature. Can also refer to appetites and desires.
LVIII “hates” = sane. This is to hate, an enemy. It is a personal hatred and not an abstract one.

they have becomeLIX a burdenLX to me;
    I am wearyLXI of bearingLXII them.
15 When you stretch outLXIII your hands,LXIV

Notes on verses 14b-15a

LIX “become” = hayah. Related to “Isaiah” and “Uzziah” and “Jotham” and “Hezekiah” in v1 & “Lord” in v10. See note II above.
LX “burden” = torach. 2x in OT. From tarach (to toil, bear a load, be weary). This is a burden or trouble.
LXI “am weary” = laah. 19x in OT. This is to be weary or exhausted, parched, faint, or tired. It could also mean to be impatient, or have a hard time. Figuratively, this could refer to being grieved or disgusted. This is the root verb that Leah comes from.
LXII “bearing” = nasa. This is to lift in a broad sense, literally and figuratively. So it could be to carry, take, or arise. It could also be bring forth, advance, accept.
LXIII “stretch out” = paras. This is to spread or stretch out, extend, break up, chop to pieces, disperse, display.
LXIV “hands” = kaph. From kaphaph (to bend – from a root meaning curve or bend down). This is palm of the hand or sole of the foot, footstep, grasp. Figuratively, it can also mean power.

    I will hideLXV my eyesLXVI from you;
even though you make manyLXVII prayers,LXVIII
    I will not listen;LXIX
    your handsLXX are full ofLXXI blood.

Notes on verse 15b

LXV “hide” = alam. This is to conceal, cover from sight in a literal or figurative sense. Could be to escape, liar, neglect, or secret thing.
LXVI “eyes” = ayin. This is eye in a literal or figurative sense so eye, appearance, favor, or a fountain (the eye of the landscape).
LXVII “make many” = rabah. This is increasing in any aspect whether quantity, authority, size, quality, greatness, etc.
LXVIII “prayers” = tephillah. From palal (to judge for oneself or in an official capacity; to pray or make supplication, to entreat). This is prayer or intercession. It can also be a hymn.
LXIX “listen” = shama. Same as “hear” in v10. See note XIV above.
LXX “hands” = yad. Same as “hand” in v12. See note XL above.
LXXI “are full of” = male. This is fill, satisfy, replenish, accomplish, fulfill, confirm, or consecrate. It is fill in a literal or figurative sense.

16 WashLXXII yourselves; make yourselves clean;LXXIII
    removeLXXIV your evilLXXV deedsLXXVI

Notes on verse 16a

LXXII “wash” = rachats. This is to wash, wash away – it can be complete or partial.
LXXIII “make…clean” = zakah. 8x in OT. This is being clear or see through, so figuratively it means being innocent or blameless. It can also be clear, cleansed, justified, or pure.
LXXIV “remove” = sur. This is to turn aside in a literal or figurative sense – to depart, decline, rebel, remove, or withdraw.
LXXV “evil” = roa. 19x in OT. Perhaps from ra’a’ (to be evil, bad, afflict; properly, to spoil – to destroy by breaking into pieces; figuratively, to cause something to be worthless; this is bad in a physical, social, or moral sense; that which displeases, to do harm or mischief, to punish or vex). This is badness, sorrow, or some other negative. It could refer to physical badness (like ugly cows in Pharoah’s dream in Genesis 41 or rotten figs in Jeremiah 24). It can also be sadness, evil deeds, or an evil heart.
LXXVI “deeds” = maalal. From alal (to affect, do, practice, mock, overdo, glean, abuse, pain). This is some kind of deed, action, invention or practice whether good or bad.

    from beforeLXXVII my eyes;
ceaseLXXVIII to do evil;LXXIX
17     learnLXXX to do good;LXXXI

Notes on verses 16b-17a

LXXVII “before” = neged. From nagad (to declare, make conspicuous, stand in front, manifest, predict, explain). This is in front of, opposite to. It can refer to a counterpart or partner, one corresponding to or in the sight of.
LXXVIII “cease” = chadal. This is properly to be flabby – it implies, to stop, fall, end, rest, leave alone, forsake, or desist. Figuratively this can be lacking or idle.
LXXIX “do evil” = ra’a’. Related to “evil” in v16. See note LXXV above.
LXXX “learn” = lamad. Properly, this refers to goading (using a pointed stick to guide or prod one’s flock). By implication, it means teaching or instructing.
LXXXI “do good” = yatab. is to be good or pleasing, joyful. It can also mean doing good in an ethical sense or be beautiful, happy, successful, or right.

seekLXXXII justice;LXXXIII
    rescueLXXXIV the oppressed;LXXXV

Notes on verses 17b

LXXXII “seek” = darash. This is seek, ask, inquire, care for. Generally it means following in pursuit or following as part of a search, which implies seeking or asking. Also used specially to mean worship.
LXXXIII “justice” = mishpat. From shaphat (to judge, defend, pronounce judgment, condemn, govern). This is a verdict or formal sentence whether from humans or from God. It includes the act of judging as well as the place that judging takes place, the suit itself, and the penalty. Abstractly, this is justice, which includes the rights of the participants.
LXXXIV “rescue” = ashar. 16x in OT. To go straight, advance, proceed, direct, guide, be level, be honest, be blessed or happy.
LXXXV “oppressed” = chamots. 1x in OT. From chamats (to be ruthless; person who is ruthless) OR from chamets (to be sour, grieved, harsh, dazzling, cruel, leavened). This is oppressed or one who is violent.

defendLXXXVI the orphan;LXXXVII
    plead forLXXXVIII the widow.LXXXIX

Notes on verse 17c

LXXXVI “defend” = shaphat. Related to “justice” in v17. See note LXXXIII above.
LXXXVII “orphan” = yathom. This is a child without a father or more generally a person who is bereaved.
LXXXVIII “plead for” = rib. This is properly to toss or grapple. It is used figuratively to mean wrangling and so for arguments, complaints, or disputes. It is used in a legal setting for pleading or defending a case.
LXXXIX “widow” = almanah. Related to “hide” in v15. Related to alman (widowed); from alam (see note LXV above). This is a widow or a house that is desolate.

18 ComeXC now,XCI let us argue it out,XCII
    says the Lord:
If your sinsXCIII areXCIV like scarlet,XCV

Notes on verse 18a

XC “come” = halak. This is go, come, walk. It is walk literally and figuratively and includes people and animals. It can be used figuratively for one’s moral life – how we walk according to God’s way or against it. It can also refer to the walk of life as in the course one’s life takes, the choices we make, etc.
XCI “now” = na. This particle is used for requests or for urging. It can be we pray, now, I ask you, oh. This is the same “na” in “hosanna.”
XCII “argue…out” = yakach. This is to decide, be right, argue, or convince. It can also be to decide, convict, reason together, or reprove.
XCIII “sins” = chet. From chata (to miss, sin, bear blame, to forfeit, lack). This is sin, fault, or punishment of sin.
XCIV “are” = hayah. Same as “become” in v14. See note LIX above.
XCV “scarlet” = shani. This is crimson or scarlet. It can also refer to the insect that the red dye is made from (coccus ilicis), the color of that dye, or things dyed with it (like thread).

    will they become likeXCVI snow?XCVII
If they are redXCVIII like crimson,XCIX
    will they become like wool?C

Notes on verse 18b

XCVI “become like” = laban. 8x in OT. This is to be white or make a brick.
XCVII “snow” = sheleg. 19x in OT. Perhaps from shalag (to snow, to be white). This is snow or snowy.
XCVIII “are red” = adom. 10x in OT. This is to be red, ruddy, dyed scarlet, or flushed in the face.
XCIX “crimson” = tola. This is a worm or maggot, perhaps a crimson-grub of species coccus ilicis. It is used in the manufacture of red dye. So, this word could be crimson, purple, or something dyed in those colors. It could also refer to an oppressor.
C “wool” = tsemer. 16x in OT. This is wool or shaggy thing.

19 If you are willingCI and obedient,CII
    you shall eatCIII the goodCIV of the land,CV

Notes on verse 19

CI “are willing” = abah. This is to breathe after, be willing, obey, accept, be content with, satisfy.
CII “obedient” = shama. Same as “hear” in v10. See note XIV above.
CIII “eat” = akal. This is to eat, devour, burn up, or otherwise consume. It can be eating in a literal or figurative sense.
CIV “good” = tub. From tob (to be pleasing, to be good). This is goodness, gladness, something that is good. It can also be beauty, welfare, or joy.
CV “land” = erets. Root may mean to be firm. This is earth, ground, field land, or country.

20 but if you refuse and rebel,CVI
    you shall be devouredCVII by the sword,CVIII
    for the mouthCIX of the Lord has spoken.CX

Notes on verse 20

CVI “rebel” = marah. This is to be contentious, rebellious, bitter, provoking, disobedient. It can be to be or make bitter or unpleasant. Figuratively, it is to rebel or resist and causatively to provoke. This is the root of “Miriam.”
CVII “devoured” = akal. Same as “eat” in v19. See note CIII above.
CVIII “sword” = chereb. From charab (to attack, slay). This is any sharp instrument like a sword, dagger, axe, or mattock.
CIX “mouth” = peh. This is mouth in a literal or figurative sense. So, more literally, it can be beak or jaws. More figuratively, it refers to speech, commands, or promises.
CX “spoken” = dabar. Related to “word” in v10. See note XV above.

Image credit: “Drinking Clean Water” by Arne Hoel, 2010.

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