The Meaning of Isaiah 1:4 Explained

Isaiah 1:4

KJV: 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.

YLT: Ah, sinning nation, a people heavy with iniquity, A seed of evil doers, sons -- corrupters! They have forsaken Jehovah, They have despised the Holy One of Israel, They have gone away backward.

Darby: Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that corrupt themselves! They have forsaken Jehovah; they have despised the Holy One of Israel; they are turned away backward.

ASV: Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evil-doers, children that deal corruptly! they have forsaken Jehovah, they have despised the Holy One of Israel, they are estranged and gone backward.

What does Isaiah 1:4 Mean?

Context Summary

Isaiah 1:1-9 - The Ingratitude Of A Favored Nation
This chapter forms the preface to the prophecies of Isaiah. It is a clear and concise statement of the points at issue between Jehovah and His people. Special urgency was given to these appeals, when first uttered, from the fact which was well-known to the Hebrew politicians and people, that Assyria was preparing for a great war of conquest, which would be directed specially against Jerusalem and her allies. This chapter is east in the form of an assize, a crown case in which God is both complainant and judge. The conviction of sinfulness which the prophet desired to secure, was sought, not by appealing to a code of laws which had been transgressed, but by showing the ingratitude with which Israel had repaid the fatherly love of God. It is the personal element in sin that most quickly convicts men. "Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?" "Thou art the man!" "He hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace!" [source]

Chapter Summary: Isaiah 1

1  Isaiah complains of Judah for her rebellion
5  He laments her judgments
10  He upbraids their whole service
16  He exhorts to repentance, with promises and threats
21  Bewailing their wickedness, he denounces God's judgments
25  He promises grace
28  And threatens destruction to the wicked

What do the individual words in Isaiah 1:4 mean?

Alas nation sinful a people laden with iniquity a brood of evildoers Children who are corrupters they have forsaken - Yahweh they have provoked to anger the Holy one of Israel they have turned away backward
ה֣וֹי ׀ גּ֣וֹי חֹטֵ֗א עַ֚ם כֶּ֣בֶד עָוֺ֔ן זֶ֣רַע מְרֵעִ֔ים בָּנִ֖ים מַשְׁחִיתִ֑ים עָזְב֣וּ אֶת־ יְהוָ֗ה נִֽאֲצ֛וּ קְד֥וֹשׁ יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל נָזֹ֥רוּ אָחֽוֹר

ה֣וֹי ׀  Alas 
Parse: Interjection
Root: הֹוי  
Sense: ah!, alas!, ha!, ho!, O!, woe!.
גּ֣וֹי  nation 
Parse: Noun, masculine singular
Root: גֹּוי 
Sense: nation, people.
חֹטֵ֗א  sinful 
Parse: Verb, Qal, Participle, masculine singular
Root: חָטָא 
Sense: to sin, miss, miss the way, go wrong, incur guilt, forfeit, purify from uncleanness.
עַ֚ם  a  people 
Parse: Noun, masculine singular
Root: עַם 
Sense: nation, people.
כֶּ֣בֶד  laden 
Parse: Adjective, masculine singular construct
Root: כָּבֵד  
Sense: heavy, great.
עָוֺ֔ן  with  iniquity 
Parse: Noun, common singular
Root: עָוֹן  
Sense: perversity, depravity, iniquity, guilt or punishment of iniquity.
זֶ֣רַע  a  brood 
Parse: Noun, masculine singular
Root: זֶרַע  
Sense: seed, sowing, offspring.
מְרֵעִ֔ים  of  evildoers 
Parse: Verb, Hifil, Participle, masculine plural
Root: מֵרֵעַ 
Sense: to be bad, be evil.
בָּנִ֖ים  Children 
Parse: Noun, masculine plural
Root: בֵּן 
Sense: son, grandson, child, member of a group.
מַשְׁחִיתִ֑ים  who  are  corrupters 
Parse: Verb, Hifil, Participle, masculine plural
Root: שָׁחַת  
Sense: to destroy, corrupt, go to ruin, decay.
עָזְב֣וּ  they  have  forsaken 
Parse: Verb, Qal, Perfect, third person common plural
Root: עָזַב 
Sense: to leave, loose, forsake.
אֶת־  - 
Parse: Direct object marker
Root: אֹות 
Sense: sign of the definite direct object, not translated in English but generally preceding and indicating the accusative.
יְהוָ֗ה  Yahweh 
Parse: Proper Noun, masculine singular
Root: יהוה 
Sense: the proper name of the one true God.
נִֽאֲצ֛וּ  they  have  provoked  to  anger 
Parse: Verb, Piel, Perfect, third person common plural
Root: נָאַץ  
Sense: to spurn, contemn, despise, abhor.
קְד֥וֹשׁ  the  Holy  one 
Parse: Adjective, masculine singular construct
Root: קָדֹושׁ  
Sense: sacred, holy, Holy One, saint, set apart.
יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל  of  Israel 
Parse: Proper Noun, masculine singular
Root: יִשְׂרָאֵל  
Sense: the second name for Jacob given to him by God after his wrestling with the angel at Peniel.
נָזֹ֥רוּ  they  have  turned  away 
Parse: Verb, Nifal, Perfect, third person common plural
Root: זוּר 
Sense: to be strange, be a stranger.
אָחֽוֹר  backward 
Parse: Noun, masculine singular
Root: אָחֹור  
Sense: the back side, the rear.