For a printable version of this post, go here.
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).
I discuss the poetry, unity, rhetoric, and history of interpretation of Isa 1:2-20 here. In a future post I will provide a verse-by-verse commentary on the Hebrew for those with no more than a basic knowledge of the language. The purpose of the following is to encourage appreciation of the Hebrew text as poetry. So as not to alienate the reader familiar with the received text, the Hebrew is presented in Tiberian masoretic dress. The phonology the texts instantiated in origin is a matter of reconstruction. That it differed from the phonology reflected in the received text is undisputed. As I show in the case of Lam 1 elsewhere, a reconstruction of the sound and stress patterns these texts would have instantiated at the time of composition leads to the conclusion that they once possessed a degree of sonic coherence and orchestration far beyond that detectable in Tiberian masoretic Hebrew.
The bilingual edition is here.