The Bible

Isaiah 1

English: King James Version

Study the Inner Meaning

Isaiah 2 →

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.

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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.

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 counsellers 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.

Isaiah 2 →

   Study the Inner Meaning
From Swedenborg's Works

Main explanations:

The Inner Meaning of the Prophets and Psalms 1


Other references to this chapter:

Arcana Coelestia 254, 431, 622, 1061, 1861, 2173, 2606, ...

Apocalypse Revealed 47, 173, 305, 316, 378, 379, 456, ...

Conjugial Love 12, 209

Divine Providence 278

The Lord 40

Sacred Scripture 85, 86

Life 30, 113

True Christian Religion 51, 93, 95, 251, 329, 435, 459, ...


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 67, 329, 364, 376, 412, 475, 504, ...

On the Athanasian Creed 30

Charity 12, 26, 209

Coronis (An Appendix to True Christian Religion) 58

Marriage 51, 93, 95

Scriptural Confirmations 4, 13, 39, 82

Other New Christian Commentary

  Stories and their meanings:


Hop to Similar Bible Verses

Genesis 19:24

Exodus 9:2, 22:21, 32:7

Leviticus 25:19, 26:3, 5, 25, 31

Numbers 22:7, 28:10, 14

Deuteronomy 33, 63, 32:1, 5, 32

1 Samuel 8:3, 12:25, 15:22

2 Kings 4:23, 15:1, 17:13, 21:22

2 Chronicles 12:1, 21:10, 26:22, 27:2, 28:6, 22, 23

Job 34:26, 27, 36:12

Psalms 50:4, 51:9, 78:41, 57, 82:3

Proverbs 1:28, 6:17, 7:14, 15:8, 25, 21:3, 27, 28:5

Isaiah 1:17, 18, 23, 2:1, 3, 3:13, 4:4, 5:7, 10:2, 20, 13:1, 24:6, 26:10, 27:11, 28:14, 29:1, 3, 30:1, 9, 17, 33:5, 37:4, 40:5, 41:21, 43:26, 55:1, 2, 7, 57:4, 5, 58:14, 59:2, 3, 64:5, 6, 65:3, 66:3, 24

Jeremiah 2:12, 13, 20, 4:14, 22, 5:5, 6, 28, 6:7, 19, 20, 30, 7:3, 7, 11, 8:22, 9:6, 13:15, 14:12, 18:11, 23:14, 30:12, 15, 31:23, 50:6

Ezekiel 5:12, 13, 22:3, 7, 18, 27, 45:9

Hosea 1:1, 4:19, 8:13, 9:15

Joel 2:15

Amos 4:5, 5:21

Jonah 3:8

Micah 1:1, 2, 4:4

Zephaniah 1:6

Zechariah 8:3

Malachi 3:3

Matthew 1:8

Luke 10:34, 18:3, 4

John 9:31

Romans 29

Titus 3:14

Hebrews 1:1

James 4:8

Revelation 3:4, 7:14, 11:8

Word/Phrase Explanations

Vision
Vision is the innermost revelation, which is of perception. Visions are according to the state of humankind. The visions of people whose interiors are closed,...

son
Marriages in the Bible represent the union we all can have between the desire for good and the understanding of truth (or an understanding of...

saw
The symbolic meaning of "seeing" is "understanding," which is obvious enough that it has become part of common language (think about it; you might see...

Judah
City of Judah,' as in Isaiah 40:9, signifies the doctrine of love towards the Lord and love towards our neighbor in its whole extent.

days
"Day" describes a state in which we are turned toward the Lord, and are receiving light (which is truth) and heat (which is a desire...

kings
The human mind is composed of two parts, a will and an understanding, a seat of loves and affections, and a seat of wisdom and...

hear
Thanks to modern science, we now understand that hearing actually happens in the brain, not the ears. The ears collect vibrations in the air and...

heavens
"Heaven" and "heavens" are used many times in the Bible, with a couple of variations of meaning. Sometimes it is relatively literal, including times when...

earth
"Earth" in the Bible can mean a person or a group of like-minded people as in a church. But it refers specifically to the external...

the Lord
The Bible refers to the Lord in many different ways, which from the text seem indistinguishable and interchangeable. Understood in the internal sense, though, there...

spoken
Like "say," the word "speak" refers to thoughts and feelings moving from our more internal spiritual levels to our more external ones – and ultimately...

children
A child is a young boy or girl in the care of parents, older than a suckling or an infant, but not yet an adolescent....

Ox
'The son of a cow' signifies the celestial natural level and natural exterior good.

know
Like so many common verbs, the meaning of "know" in the Bible is varied and dependent on context. And in some cases – when it...

master
In most cases, a "master" in the Bible refers to truth: knowledge, an understanding of the situation at hand, an understanding of the Lord's wishes,...

Israel
'Israel,' in Jeremiah 23:8, signifies the spiritual natural church. The children of Israel dispersed all the literal sense of the Word by falsities. 'The children...

people
The Bible generally uses two different terms for large groups: “people” and “nation.” When it uses the term “nation,” it is talking about a group...

iniquity
In the Word three terms are used to mean bad things that are done. These three are transgression, iniquity, and sin, and they are here...

Seed
'A seed' signifies love, and everyone who has love, as in Genesis 12:7. 8:15, 16. 'A seed' signifies faith grounded in charity. 'A seed' signifies...

holy
The Bible describes many things as being holy, or sacred. The Ark of the Covenant is one very holy object. The inmost chamber of the...

one
A company might have executives setting policy and strategy, engineers designing products, line workers building them, managers handling personnel and others handling various functions. They...

anger
'Wrath,' as in Genesis 49:7, signifies aversion from truth. 'Great wrath,' as in Revelation 12:12, signifies hatred against the new church.

head
The head is the part of us that is highest, which means in a representative sense that it is what is closest to the Lord....

Sick
'The sick,' as in Matthew 25:35, signify people in evil, and those who acknowledge that in themselves there is nothing but evil.

heart
The heart means love. A good heart means love to the Lord and to the neighbor while a hard or stony heart means the love...

foot
Our feet are the lowest and most utilitarian parts of our bodies, and in the Bible they represent the lowest and most utilitarian part of...

closed
There are only a couple of references in the Writings to "close" used as a verb, and both stem from Amos 9:11, which talks about...

Bound
Being bound, as in Genesis 42:16, denotes to be separated, for he who is kept b. is separated, viz., from the spiritual good, which is...

ointment
'Perfumes, ointment, and frankincense,' as in Revelation 18:13, signify spiritual aspects of worship.

country
Generally in the Bible a "country" means a political subdivision ruled by a king, or sometimes a tribe with a territory ruled by a king...

Cities
Cities of the mountain and cities of the plain (Jer. 33:13) signify doctrines of charity and faith.

fire
Just as natural fire can be both comforting in keeping you warm or scary in burning down your house, so fire in the spiritual sense...

Land
Land' in the Word, denotes the church, for the things which signify the church also signify the things relating to the church, for these constitute...

Strangers
In Ezekiel 28:7, 'strangers' signify falsities which destroy truths, and 'the terrible of the nations,' evils which destroy good.

daughter of zion
'Virgin' and 'daughter of Zion' signify the church regarding the affection of good and truth.

daughter
It is because of a celestial and angelic proprium, or selfhood, that the church is called 'a woman,' 'a wife,' 'a bride,' 'a virgin,' and...

vineyard
A vineyard signifies the church where the Word is, by which the Lord is known. (Apocalypse Revealed 650)

Garden
A garden and paradise signify intellect and wisdom.

Cucumbers
Cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions, and garlic (Numbers 11:5) all signify such things as are of the lowest natural, or the sensual or corporeal part of...

City
In the ancient world cities were very nearly nations unto themselves – they existed within walls, with their own laws and customs, generally centered on...

the
In Revelation 11:13, 'the remnant who were afraid' signifies people who joined some goods of charity to faith. In Revelation 11:13, 'the remnant who were...

hosts
A host and an army come from the same Hebrew word and mean the same thing in Bible; when the Children of Israel were numbered...

Us
Because people are governed by angels and spirits, in Genesis 1:26 it says 'let us make man into our image.' But because the Lord alone...

sodom
"Sodom" in the Bible represents the love of self and the love of ruling or dominating others springing from the love of self. This is...

the Word
In general, we tend to be very aware of how knowing what's true leads to doing what is good. That starts as children, with parents...

Word
'Word,' as in Psalms 119:6-17, stands for doctrine in general. 'The Word,' as in Psalms 147:18, signifies divine good united with divine truth. 'Word,' as...

rulers
"Rulers" or "governors" in the Bible represent the most basic, most essential true ideas that guide us in life, ideas that spring directly from the...

the law
Jews at the time of Jesus had a number of ways to break down and describe the books of the Old Testament. Among the more...

God
The Lord is love itself, expressed in the form of wisdom itself. Love, then, is His essence, His inmost. Wisdom - the loving understanding of...

saith
As with many common verbs, the meaning of “to say” in the Bible is highly dependent on context. Who is speaking? Who is hearing? What...

Full
'To satiate' relates to the extent of a person's will, for good or evil.

Offerings
'Offerings' signify worship.

Rams
'Rams of the breed of Bashan,' as in Deuteronomy 32:14, signify celestial spiritual things.

Fat
Fat signifies the celestial principle. Fat things, full of marrow, signify goodnesses. Fat and blood signify interior goods and truths, and hence the Israelites, prior...

beasts
"Beasts" represent the affection for doing good things, a true desire to do them from the heart. In the negative sense, "beasts" stand for the...

blood
The internal meaning of “blood” is a little tricky, because Swedenborg gives two meanings that seem quite different. In most cases, Swedenborg links blood with...

Goats
'Satyrs,' as in Isaiah 13:21, signify goods adulterated.

come
As with common verbs in general, the meaning of “come” in the Bible is highly dependent on context – its meaning is determined largely by...

before
In most cases, the meaning of "before" is pretty straightforward, both as a way of assessing relative time, and in its use meaning "in someone's...

hand
In Genesis 27:22, 'voice' relates to truth, and 'hand,' to good.

bring
As with common verbs in general, the meaning of “bring” is highly dependent on context, but in general it represents an introduction to a new...

Incense
'Incense' or 'odors' signify worship and confession of the Lord, from spiritual goods and truths.

Sabbaths
In Exodus 31:13, 'verily my Sabbaths ye shall keep,' signifies continuous holy thought about the union of the Lord’s divine with His human.

calling
To call someone or summon someone in the Bible represents a desire for conjunction between higher and lower states of life. For instance, imagine someone...

feasts
There are two kinds of feasts mentioned in the Bible. Some were held to commemorate specific, one-time events, such as the feast Abraham held to...

soul
The nature of the soul is a deep and complicated topic, but it can be summarized as "spiritual life," who we are in terms of...

weary
On the surface, it appears that Swedenborg gives two different representations for “weariness.” In discussing Genesis - where Esau and later Jacob are described as...

bear
Like many verbs, the spiritual meaning of "bearing" something depends greatly on context – what it is that's being borne, and why. It is further...

hands
Scientists believe that one of the most crucial developments in the evolution of humans was bipedalism – walking on two legs. That left our hands...

Hide
'To hide themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains,' as mentioned in Revelation 6:15, signifies being in evils and in falsities...

eyes
It’s common to say “I see” when we understand something. And indeed, “seeing” in the Bible represents grasping and understanding spiritual things. So it makes...

Make
'To make,' as in Hosea 8:11, refers to good. In the opposite sense it refers to evil. To make heaven, and earth, and the sea,...

many
Intellectual things – ideas, knowledge, facts, even insight and understanding – are more separate and free-standing than emotional things, and it’s easier to imagine numbering...

prayers
When people pray in the Bible, it means they are opening up their internal states. When it is the Lord praying, or a figure who...

wash
'Washing of the hands' was an ancient declaration of innocence, and signifies purification from evils and falsities, as in Psalms 73:13 and Matthew 27:24.

Put
'To put' has reference to order, arrangement, application, and influx.

Learn
To learn,' as in Revelation 14:3, signifies an interior perception in one's self that 'it is so,' which means understanding, and then receiving and acknowledging....

well
A pit,' or 'well which has no water,' as in Jeremiah 2:13, signifies doctrines which have no truths.

seek
The meaning of "to seek" in the Bible is pretty straightforward, but there is a bit of nuance: Swedenborg tells us that in most cases...

judgment
It’s easy to see the connection between judging and truth. In a court of law, the judge’s whole purpose is to find the truth. In...

Fatherless
The fatherless signify those who are in good without truth, and are desirous by truth to be led to good.

plead
To 'intreat' denotes humiliation.

sins
'Bound up transgressions,' as in Lamentations 1:14, stands for falsities coming up towards interior or rational things.

Scarlet
'Scarlet,' as in Isaiah 1:18, signifies truth derived from good, or truth from a celestial origin, such as is the truth of the Word in...

White
'White' relates to truths, because it originates in the light of the sun.

Snow
'Snow' signifies truth in extremes, because it is water, which signifies the truths of faith. It also relates to truth because it is white. 'Snow,'...

wool
'Woolen and linen' means that states of good and truth should not be mixed.

eat
When we eat, our bodies break down the food and get from it both energy and materials for building and repairing the body. The process...

good
It seems rather circular to say that “good” in the Bible represents good, but in a general sense it’s true! The case is this: The...

Rebel
'Rebel,' as in Genesis 14:4, relates to evils pertaining to a person, or to evil spirits, when they begin to arise and infest, after they...

Sword
A 'sword,' in the Word, signifies the truth of faith combating and the vastation of truth. In an opposite sense, it signifies falsity combating and...

mouth
In most cases, "mouth" in the Bible represents thought and logic, especially the kind of active, concrete thought that is connected with speech. The reason...

faithful
In the modern world, we’re used to thinking of “faith” as primarily an emotional state. When Swedenborg talks about “faith” – which his books do...

Harlot
'A harlot' signifies the affection of falsities, thus the church corrupted.

righteousness
The word "righteous" has taken on a bit of negative shading in modern language. That may be because we hear it most often as part...

Silver
'Silver,' in the internal sense of the Word, signifies truth, but also falsity. 'Silver' means the truth of faith, or the truth acquired from selfhood,...

Dross
The dross, mentioned in Isaiah 1:22, signifies falsity.

wine
Wine played a key role in the ancient world, where safe, reliable water sources were scarce. It could be stored for long periods of time;...

water
Water was obviously of tremendous importance in Biblical times (and every other time). It is the basis of life, the essential ingredient in all drinks,...

companions
In the Bible, there is a careful distinction between the word “brother” and the word “companion” or “friend.” That’s partly because the people of Israel...

Every one
The phrase “Every one,” where it occurs in Genesis 20:7, signifies every thing or all things.

rewards
A "reward" in the Bible represents something that brings people together, or brings spiritual states together, and binds them. It's easy to see this in...

Mighty
Mighty,' as in Revelation 19:18, signify people who are educated about doctrine derived from the Word. By extension, 'mighty' signifies education or learning derived from...

adversaries
Foes, or adversaries, denote the falsities of evil. Foes, or adversaries, when predicate of the Lord, signifies to avert falsities derived from evil.

enemies
An enemy in the Bible refers to people who are in the love of evil and the false thinking that springs from evil. On a...

turn
Swedenborg says that the Lord is the sun of heaven, and like the natural sun of our world shines on everyone, good or evil. What...

upon
'Upon' or 'over' signifies being within.

Tin
'Tin,' as in Ezekiel 22:18, has respect to the literal sense of the Word, or the goods and truths of the natural self.

restore
Everyone knows the phrase "the natural order of things." It means that everything is in its proper place, occupying the niche it is meant to...

the first
'Resurrection' signifies salvation and eternal life. 'The first,' mentioned in Revelation 20:5, 6, does not mean a first resurrection, but the essence and primary part...

first
Why would it be insulting for a man to refer to his married partner as his “first wife”? Because it implies there will be a...

Beginning
In the Word, "beginning" in doesn't just mean the beginning of something in time. In the inner sense, it means the initial phase of a...

destruction
'To go into perdition,' as in Revelation 17:8, signifies being rejected.

Ashamed
To be ashamed (Gen 2:25) signifies to be in evil

gardens
Plants, in general, represent knowledge, ideas and intellectual concepts – things of the mind. Plant the best and most beautiful of those in one place,...

Oak
'Oak' signifies the sensory good and truth of the church, and consequently, the lowest part of the natural, which is either the truths and goods,...

leaf
'Leaves' symbolize rational truths because a tree symbolizes a person, and every part of the tree symbolizes accordant elements in the person.

Strong
In the Word, people who trust to themselves and their own intelligence are sometimes called 'strong,' as in Isaiah 1:31. This is because they suppose...

none
'No one,' or 'none' denotes the negative side of something.

Resources for parents and teachers

The items listed here are provided courtesy of our friends at the General Church of the New Jerusalem. You can search/browse their whole library by following this link.


 Cease to Do Evil Door Handle Sign
This decorative door handle sign reminds you that you that you can choose to be honest and shun deceit. Read and reflect on a passage from the Heavenly Doctrines for the New Church.
Activity | Ages over 15

 Memory Verse: The Promise of Baptism
Activity | Ages 4 - 14

 Quotes: The Promise of Baptism
Teaching Support | Ages over 15

 Wash Yourselves
This project uses black and white hearts to illustrate Isaiah 1:16-18. 
Project | Ages 11 - 17

From Swedenborg's Works

The Inner Meaning of the Prophets and Psalms #1

Inner Meaning: Prophets, Psalms (Schreck 2015)

Go to section / 418  

← Previous    Next →

The Prophetical Books:

1. Internal Meaning of Isaiah, Chapter 1 (1)

1-8 The church has been vastated by evil of life, (3)

9 so that there is little of a residue. (3)

10-15 Therefore their external worship is of no avail. (3)

16-19 Exhortation that they should repent of the evil of life, and thus they will receive good. (3)

20-23 They falsify the Word. (3)

24-27 The Lord when He comes will destroy them, and will establish the church with others; (1, 11)

28-31 This when nothing of the church remains with them. (3)

Go to section / 418  

← Previous    Next →


Thanks to the Swedenborg Foundation for the permission to use this translation.


Translate: