CHAPTER 1 | Verses 7 - 12

Verse 7: “Your land is desolate. Your cities have been burned with fire; your ground is devoured by foreigners – it is desolate and overthrown by strangers.”

Your land is desolate: The parallelism here is this: There is a relationship between the spiritual condition of the people and the physical condition of the land. Because of Israel’s spiritual suffering the land of Israel was itself physically suffering.

Your ground is devoured by foreigners: The southern kingdom of Israel was being attacked by foreign armies and they were making the land desolate. A revolution by foreigners had occurred within the land.


Verse 8: “The daughter of Zion is left like a booth among the vineyards, as a shack in a vegetable patch, as a besieged city.”

Booth: Sukkah. This was a temporary shelter, a shack, that was built for a short period of time (eg over harvest time) and then was abandoned when it was no longer needed (no longer had a purpose). God is saying that Israel was no longer serving a purpose.

Besieged city: No one is paying attention to this city anymore. It has been abandoned and is falling into disrepair.


Verse 9: “Unless the Lord of hosts had not left for us a survivor, then we would have been like Sodom, and we would have been likened to Gomorrah.”

The Lord of hosts … left for us a survivor: God himself acted to preserve a remnant.

Sodom … Gomorrah: These two words give us a clue as to how dissatisfied and displeased God was with His people.


Verse 10: “Listen to the Word of the Lord O officials of Sodom, give ear to the law of our God, you people of Gomorrah.”

Officials of Sodom: It is so important to recognize parallelism when we are reading Hebrew poetry or prophecy. Here God (using parallelism) is talking to Judah (the Jewish people), but He is addressing them with this offensive name.

Give ear: The word used here is a word that means to draw close to hear. God wanted the Jewish people to come closer to Him. He wanted them to pay attention.

The Word of the Lord …the law of our God: God’s Word (His revelation) is likened to (parallel to) His Law.


Verse 11: “’Why is to Me these abundant sacrifices?’ says the Lord. ‘I have had too much of your burnt offerings, of rams and the fat of cattle. The blood of bulls and sheep and goats I have not desired.’”

Why is to Me these abundant sacrifices: The people’s worship, the way that they respond to God, is inadequate. He is not pleased with their worship.

Have had too much: Saturated.

The fat: The choice parts.

The blood of bulls and sheep and goats I have not desired: Their offerings were not wrong. These sacrifices were not against God’s will. What God was displeased with was the manner in which they were being offered up. They were offering up these sacrifices with the wrong motives. They were going through the motions, they were fulfilling their obligations, but their behaviour, their hearts, did not change. Although they were making sacrifices to God their hearts and lifestyles reflected that they were far from Him.


Verse 12: “For when you come to see My face who has required this from your hand – this trampling of My courtyards?”

See My face: When they appeared before God.

Trampling of My courtyards: They were coming to God in an improper way. Instead of coming to worship they were showing contempt for the courts of the Lord. They did not go with the right hearts, nor with the right purpose.


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