Isaiah 1 – Skeptic's Annotated Bible answered

A response and reply to the notes on Isaiah 1 in the Skeptic's Annotated Bible (SAB).

King James Version

SAB comment

My comment

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.

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.

3 The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master’s crib: but Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider.

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.

5 Why should ye be stricken any more? ye will revolt more and more: the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint.

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.

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.

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.

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.

10 Hear the word of the LORD, ye rulers of Sodom; give ear unto the law of our God, ye people of Gomorrah.

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 delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he goats." Does God enjoy burnt offerings? This verse says he doesn't, but the first nine chapters of Leviticus give detailed instructions for burning the carcasses of dead animals for "a sweet savour unto the Lord."
This verse and verse verse 13 are read by the author of the SAB as if God had changed his mind. But if we read the context, the objection is not made against what the people do, but how they do it, see verse 16. They do evil, and then come to sacrifice. They do not rest from oppressing on the Sabbath day. Of course God does not delight in people who do the opposite of what they say.

12 When ye come to appear before me, who hath required this at your hand, to tread my courts?

13 Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting.

God has also changed his mind about the sabbath. He used to demand that the sabbath be observed and kill people who broke it (Num.15:32, 36), but now "it is iniquity."
Is it necessary to keep the sabbath?

14 Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth: they are a trouble unto me; I am weary to bear them.

Even God gets weary sometimes. But not according to Is.40:28.
Does God ever get tired?
The meaning in this verse is the same as in chapter 43:24, but the meaning is different when compared to chapter 40:28. When it is said that God is weary of something as in this verse and as in chapter 43:24, it means God is offended and grieved by what people do. But God's powers are never exhausted, which is the meaning in chapter 40:28.
To recapitulate: God is never weary, but can be weary of something.

15 And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood.

When God gets tired he no longer listens to prayers. Does God help in times of need?
God does not hear those who have their hands full of blood, no desire to stop sinning and then come and pray to Him. God will hear the greatest of sinners if they come to him in earnest to be cleansed and walk no more in sin. But the persons in this verse had no such desire.

16 Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil;

(1:16-17) "Cease to do evil; learn to do well ... relieve the oppressed ... plead for the widow."

17 Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow.

18 Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.

"Come now, let us reason together."
Presumably the author of the SAB understands the word reason in this verse to mean “discussing” or “arguing”. But as John Gill explains:

At the throne of grace ... sinners may reason with him from the virtue and efficacy of [Christ's] blood and sacrifice; ... and at the throne of grace God reasons with sensible souls from his own covenant promises and proclamations to forgive sin; from the aboundings of his grace over abounding sin; from the righteousness of Christ to justify, his blood to cleanse from sin, and his sacrifice to atone for it; and from the end of his coming into the world to save the chief of sinners

19 If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land:

20 But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.

"If ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword."
Those who refuse to reason correctly will "be devoured with the sword."
"The mouth of the Lord"
John Gill sees verse 18 as an intermission, so the preceding and following verses are not part of it. So this verse is actually the continuation of verse 17:

Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow.

If you refuse and rebel against this, not refusal to reason as the author of the SAB has it, God will punish you for it.

21 How is the faithful city become an harlot! it was full of judgment; righteousness lodged in it; but now murderers.

22 Thy silver is become dross, thy wine mixed with water:

23 Thy princes are rebellious, and companions of thieves: every one loveth gifts, and followeth after rewards: they judge not the fatherless, neither doth the cause of the widow come unto them.

24 Therefore saith the Lord, the LORD of hosts, the mighty One of Israel, Ah, I will ease me of mine adversaries, and avenge me of mine enemies:

25 And I will turn my hand upon thee, and purely purge away thy dross, and take away all thy tin:

26 And I will restore thy judges as at the first, and thy counsellors as at the beginning: afterward thou shalt be called, The city of righteousness, the faithful city.

27 Zion shall be redeemed with judgment, and her converts with righteousness.

28 And the destruction of the transgressors and of the sinners shall be together, and they that forsake the LORD shall be consumed.

29 For they shall be ashamed of the oaks which ye have desired, and ye shall be confounded for the gardens that ye have chosen.

30 For ye shall be as an oak whose leaf fadeth, and as a garden that hath no water.

31 And the strong shall be as tow, and the maker of it as a spark, and they shall both burn together, and none shall quench them.