The opening diatribe of the book of Isaiah (1:2-20) is remarkable for its searing rhetoric, yet it concludes by offering a return to prosperity should the people and leaders of Judah heed the word of their God. The speech begins with a call to heaven and earth to act as witnesses and a summary brief against the nation (verses 2-3). It ends with an appeal to reach a settlement and a conditional offer of rehabilitation (verses 18-20).
For a discussion of the poetry, rhetoric, and history of interpretation of this passage, a scansion, new translation, and more, go to:
The book of Isaiah is a logical point of departure for a study of ancient Hebrew poetry. Robert Lowth had this to say in his Lecture XXI delivered at Oxford in the 1740’s:
Isaiah, the first of the prophets, both in order and dignity, abounds in such transcendent excellences, that he may be properly said to afford the most perfect model of prophetic poetry. He is at once elegant and sublime, forcible and ornamented; he unites energy with copiousness, and dignity with variety. In his sentiments there is uncommon elevation and majesty; in his imagery, the utmost propriety, elegance, dignity, and diversity; in his language, uncommon beauty and energy; and, notwithstanding the obscurity of his subjects, a surprising degree of clearness and simplicity.
(Robert Lowth, Lectures on the Sacred Poetry of the Hebrews: From the Latin of the late Robert Lowth, by G. Gregory; to which are added the principal notes of Professor Michaelis and notes by the translator and others [London: J. Johnson, 1787; repr. of the 4th Eng. ed. (London: T. Tegg, 1839), Whitefish MT: Kessinger, 2004] 228)