1:4 1 The sinful nation is as good as dead, 2
the people weighed down by evil deeds.
They are offspring who do wrong,
children 3 who do wicked things.
They have abandoned the Lord,
and rejected the Holy One of Israel. 4
They are alienated from him. 5
1 sn Having summoned the witnesses and announced the Lord’s accusation against Israel, Isaiah mourns the nation’s impending doom. The third person references to the Lord in the second half of the verse suggest that the quotation from the Lord (cf. vv. 2-3) has concluded.
2 tn Heb “Woe [to the] sinful nation.” The Hebrew term הוֹי, (hoy, “woe, ah”) was used in funeral laments (see 1 Kgs 13:30; Jer 22:18; 34:5) and carries the connotation of death. In highly dramatic fashion the prophet acts out Israel’s funeral in advance, emphasizing that their demise is inevitable if they do not repent soon.
3 tn Or “sons” (NASB). The prophet contrasts four terms of privilege – nation, people, offspring, children – with four terms that depict Israel’s sinful condition in Isaiah’s day – sinful, evil, wrong, wicked (see J. A. Motyer, The Prophecy of Isaiah, 43).
4 sn Holy One of Israel is one of Isaiah’s favorite divine titles for God. It pictures the Lord as the sovereign king who rules over his covenant people and exercises moral authority over them.
5 tn Heb “they are estranged backward.” The LXX omits this statement, which presents syntactical problems and seems to be outside the synonymous parallelistic structure of the verse.