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Right from the beginning of the book of Isaiah he rails against Israel:

  1. 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.

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

  3. 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.

He says that the God of Israel is taken up with wrath that he refuses to recognise the sacrifices made in his name:

  1. 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.

It appears what the people of Israel do not 'consider' despite their sacrifices is the law of the God of Israel:

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

Given the historical resonance of Sodom and Gommorah in the Bible this is no cheap insult he is hurling at the people of Israel. He goes on to say:

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

and

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

  1. 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.

It goes on in this vein throughout Isaiah. For example, in the next few lines we have:

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

and

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.

Q. Why is Isaiah angry at the people of Israel for?

Q. What is the historical/religious reason for his anger here?

Q. Moreover, why does he ask the people of Israel to 'reason' here for?

  • What sort of answer are you interested in other than "lots of sin"? – curiousdannii Oct 2 '19 at 22:37
  • @curiousdannii: One that connects to the actual historical reality of Israel as far as it can be constituted ... – Mozibur Ullah Oct 24 '19 at 19:52
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If you read Isaiah, you will see that God displays his fairness and impartiality in executing judgment against wicked nations. The prophet inveighs against:

  • Egypt
  • Assyria
  • Damascus
  • Aram
  • Moab (Ar, Kir, Dibon, etc)
  • Tyre
  • Philistines
  • Babylon
  • Jerusalem
  • Judah
  • Ephraim
  • Cush
  • All the nations of the world

God is showing that he will punish all nations for their wickedness, and Israel is no exception. However, God also promises better days for Israel, restoration, light, and a righteous king.

One reason that God executes such significant wrath and destruction upon the Jewish people is so that when He finally displays His mercy, it will astonish the world. No nation in history has been brought so close to extinction so many times and yet recovered. All nations (including Israel) deserve even greater wrath, but God is slow to anger and abounding with love.

Another reason is so that Israel may be perfected and become a light to the nations. Just as Job endured great (undeserved) suffering and was refined and perfected by it, becoming a beacon of righteousness to the world, so will Israel.

In Isaiah 27:9 it says: By this, then, will Jacob’s guilt be atoned for... All this chastisement is part of Jacob's (Israel's) atonement for its sins.

Particular Offenses:

  1. Unclean lips. Isaiah's first admission is his own failing, in chapter 6, that he was a man of unclean lips living among a people of unclean lips. This means that his speech was corrupt: his stated opinions, his areas of focus, etc. So Isaiah and the people sinned in their words. This chapter also gives the primary reason that Isaiah spoke against the Jews: God told him to do it.

  2. Pride. King Hezekiah was considered to be one of the very best and most righteous of Judah's kings, yet Hezekiah showed off his wealth to a foreign dignitary, tempting that kingdom (Babylon, in chapter 39) to come knocking to steal all that gold, silver, and all the rest.

  3. Lack of faith. Judah was faulted for relying on alliances with pagan nations for its protection (such as Egypt), instead of God. See chapters 30 and 31 for examples.

  4. Pagan revelry. Wealthy people were consumed with their extravagant lifestyles (chapter 22) and drunkenness (chapter 28) and complacency (chapter 32), while neglecting the poor.

  5. Insincere and shallow religion. In chapter 28 it says:

    So then, the word of the Lord to them will become: Do this, do that, a rule for this, a rule for that; a little here, a little there

The people had many religious rules and forms, but neglected the heart of what a righteous life requires. Chapter 29 said more of the same:

The Lord says:

“These people come near to me with their mouth
    and honor me with their lips,
    but their hearts are far from me.
Their worship of me
    is based on merely human rules they have been taught.
  1. Idolatry. See chapter 31:

    For in that day every one of you will reject the idols of silver and gold your sinful hands have made.

  2. Challenging God's sovereignty. In Isaiah 45:

    “Woe to those who quarrel with their Maker, those who are nothing but potsherds among the potsherds on the ground. Does the clay say to the potter, ‘What are you making?’ Does your work say, ‘The potter has no hands’? 10 Woe to the one who says to a father, ‘What have you begotten?’ or to a mother, ‘What have you brought to birth?’

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  • This is too general to be really helpful. – Mozibur Ullah Aug 8 '19 at 21:19
  • Fair. I have fleshed out my answer. – Paul Chernoch Aug 8 '19 at 23:03
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The LORD was only in covenant with Israel and had no particular connection to any other nation except for using them as a "foil" for His relationship with Israel:

[Amos 3:1-2 CSB] (1) Listen to this message that the LORD has spoken against you, Israelites, against the entire clan that I brought from the land of Egypt: (2) I have known only you out of all the clans of the earth; therefore, I will punish you for all your iniquities.

IE: Since China had no dealings with Israel, you never hear about them in the scriptures. But Israel's neighbors were often either used to judge Israel (Assyria, Babylon, Egypt) or were judged for their interference (IE: Edom, the Amorites, etc.).

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