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Isaiah 1:18-19

Context

1:18 1 Come, let’s consider your options,” 2  says the Lord.

“Though your sins have stained you like the color red,

you can become 3  white like snow;

though they are as easy to see as the color scarlet,

you can become 4  white like wool. 5 

1:19 If you have a willing attitude and obey, 6 

then you will again eat the good crops of the land.

1 sn The Lord concludes his case against Israel by offering them the opportunity to be forgiven and by setting before them the alternatives of renewed blessing (as a reward for repentance) and final judgment (as punishment for persistence in sin).

2 tn Traditionally, “let us reason together,” but the context suggests a judicial nuance. The Lord is giving the nation its options for the future.

3 tn The imperfects must be translated as modal (indicating capability or possibility) to bring out the conditional nature of the offer. This purification will only occur if the people repent and change their ways.

4 tn The imperfects must be translated as modal (indicating capability or possibility) to bring out the conditional nature of the offer. This purification will only occur if the people repent and change their ways.

5 tn Heb “though your sins are like red, they will become white like snow; though they are red like scarlet, they will be like wool.” The point is not that the sins will be covered up, though still retained. The metaphorical language must be allowed some flexibility and should not be pressed into a rigid literalistic mold. The people’s sins will be removed and replaced by ethical purity. The sins that are now as obvious as the color red will be washed away and the ones who are sinful will be transformed.

6 tn Heb “listen”; KJV “obedient”; NASB “If you consent and obey.”



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