Desolate country (Isa 1:7-1:7)

“Your country lies desolate.

Your cities are burned

With fire.

In your very presence

Aliens devour your land.

It is desolate.

It is overthrown by foreigners.”

Now we have the question as to what country is Yahweh, via Isaiah talking about. Is it Jerusalem and Judah, or the northern kingdom of Israel? In 721 BCE, the Assyrians took over the Kingdom of Israel at Samaria, as outlined in 2 Kings, chapter 17. However, Isaiah was considered a prophet of Judah. Was he implying that the Assyrians were attacking Judah about 10 years later, as in 2 Kings, chapter 18? In chapter 19, King Hezekiah consulted with this prophet Isaiah son of Amoz. That would put his oracle sometime between 721 BCE and 710 BCE. There was no doubt that the country was desolate. The cities had been burned down. Aliens were in this desolate land because these foreigners had taken over. This certainly sounds like the defeated northern kingdom of Israel that had been at Samaria.

The outcry against Israel (Isa 1:4-1:4)

“O!

Sinful nation!

People laden with iniquity!

Offspring who do evil!

Children who deal corruptly!

They have forsaken Yahweh.

They have despised the Holy One of Israel.

They are utterly estranged!”

Yahweh in his oracle, as pronounced by Isaiah, calls out the Israelites. He calls them a sinful nation of people who are criminals. Their children do evil things and act perversely. They have forsaken the Lord, Yahweh. They have despised the Holy One of Israel, God. They have utterly estranged themselves from Yahweh.  Once again, it is not clear whether this oracle is against just the northern Israelites or also includes the people of Judah. Sometimes the term “Israel” is used for both and sometimes just for the northern Israelites.