An Atheistic Bible Study Of Isaiah Chapter 1
The longest of the Bible’s prose books, with only the poetry of the 150 Psalms taking up more verses.
We are notified from the outset that this is a grim prophetic vision given to the seer, Isaiah, who allegedly writes it all up in the first person.
Isaiah has already been in some conflict with his children, for reasons not given, and he has dismissed them as evil. He compares his despair to that of God, the Father-Creator of the Jews, who have abandoned him and fallen into evil ways too. Isaiah asks God why he doesn’t wipe out Judah as he did to Sodom & Gomorrah, in effect wiping out all his chosen people and having done with it.
God agrees that the children of Judah are going badly astray. God is sick of insincere burnt offerings of meat, goats, oxen, etc., offered by men unable to stop sinning. God vows to ignore the prayers of the people of Judah, turning his back on the Jews (yet again).
Only when the Jews get desperate enough through drought, famine, conquest and war with their enemies, will God again offer them protection? Those seeking material favour will just suffer and die.
In effect, God is ignoring the needy while still punishing the truly selfish and greedy. He calls for a return to the old system of Judges, as practiced in the days before the failed attempt to maintain the monarchy of Kings that started so well with Saul, ended in Jewish captivity at the hands of the Babylonians. The Judges only sprang into being when Jewish people grew too wicked and materialistic, scourging away the bad people and forcing the Jews back into righteousness.
It was the corruption of the later Judges that led to a call for a secure monarchy. Now God was calling for a return to the old system, and Isaiah assigned to encourage the Jews to accept this.
Image Credit » Photo Grave markers in All Saints Church Yard, Newton heath, Manchester, taken by me.