Isaiah for Skeptics

Although the book of Isaiah claims to have been written by Isaiah the son of Amos (1:1), most Bible scholars consider it to be a composite book, written by several authors over a period of several centuries. It consists of three books: First or Proto-Isaiah, Chapters 1-39, written in the 8th century BCE; Second or Deutero-Isaiah, Chapters 40-55, written in the 6th century BCE during the Babylonian Exile; and Third or Trito-Isaiah, Chapters 56-66, written by an anonymous author after the exile.

One of the interesting things that we learn in Isaiah is that God is the creator of evil (45:7) -- which is no surprise considering his behavior in the rest of the Bible.

Here are some highlights:

  • "When ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear." 1:15
  • "God will "smite with a scab the crown of the head of the daughters of Zion" because he dislikes the way they dress and walk. 3:16
  • "The Lord will discover their secret parts." 3:17
  • "The Lord shall hiss for the fly ... and for the bee." 7:18
  • God will make every man kill his brother and then force him to eat "the flesh of his own arm." 9:19-20
  • "He shall smite the earth: with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked." 11:4
  • If God can find you, he will "thrust you through," smash your children "to pieces" before your eyes, and rape your wife. 13:15-18
  • "Prepare slaughter for his children for the iniquity of their fathers." 14:21
  • "Out of the serpent's root shall come forth a cockatrice, and his fruit shall be a fiery flying serpent." 14:29
  • Every head will be bald, every beard will be shaved, and everyone will howl and weep abundantly. 15:2-3
  • "Wherefore my bowels shall sound like an harp." 16:11
  • God will ride in on a cloud and scare the hell out of the Egyptians. 19:1
  • God sends a "perverse spirit" among the Egyptians and causes them to err "as a drunken man staggereth in his vomit." 19:14
  • God tells Isaiah to take off all his clothes and to wander around completely naked for three years as a "sign and a wonder." 20:2-5
  • "Therefore are my loins filled with pain ... I was dismayed at the seeing of it." 21:3
  • "She shall turn to her hire, and shall commit fornication with all the kingdoms of the world ... and her hire shall be holiness to the LORD." 23:17-18
  • The Apocalypse of Isaiah: God will destroy the earth, burning everyone and every living thing alive (except maybe a few men). 24:1-6
  • "The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard ... it shall fall, and not rise again." 24:20
  • "All tables are full of vomit and filthiness." 28:8
  • "Thou shalt cast them away as a menstrous cloth." 30:22
  • "The light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun shall be sevenfold." 30:26
  • "The Lord ... will bring evil." 31:1-2
  • "Tremble, ye women that are at ease ... strip you, and make you bare." 32:11
  • "There stink shall come up out of their carcasses, and the mountains shall be melted with their blood." 34:2-3
  • God's sword is "filled with blood." He plans to kill so many people that the "land will be soaked with blood." 34:5-8
  • "That they may eat their own dung, and drink their own piss with you." 36:12
  • God will "go forth as a mighty man" who cries and roars, and "will cry like a travailing woman." 42:13
  • God created evil. 45:7
  • "Make bare the leg, uncover the thigh ... Thy nakedness shall be uncovered." 47:2-3
  • God will force people to "eat their own flesh" and be "drunken with their own blood." 49:26
  • "Thou shalt also suck the milk of the Gentiles, and shalt suck the breast of kings." 60:16
  • God's clothes will get stained with the blood of humans. 63:3-6
  • God will "plead with all flesh" with his fire and sword. "And the slain of the Lord shall be many." 66:16
  • The carcasses of those killed by God will be piled high. They will rot and burn forever. 66:24