Isaiah 1:23 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Isaiah 1:23, NIV: Your rulers are rebels, partners with thieves; they all love bribes and chase after gifts. They do not defend the cause of the fatherless; the widow's case does not come before them.

Isaiah 1:23, ESV: Your princes are rebels and companions of thieves. Everyone loves a bribe and runs after gifts. They do not bring justice to the fatherless, and the widow’s cause does not come to them.

Isaiah 1:23, KJV: Thy princes are rebellious, and companions of thieves: every one loveth gifts, and followeth after rewards: they judge not the fatherless, neither doth the cause of the widow come unto them.

Isaiah 1:23, NASB: Your rulers are rebels And companions of thieves; Everyone loves a bribe And chases after gifts. They do not obtain justice for the orphan, Nor does the widow’s case come before them.

Isaiah 1:23, NLT: Your leaders are rebels, the companions of thieves. All of them love bribes and demand payoffs, but they refuse to defend the cause of orphans or fight for the rights of widows.

Isaiah 1:23, CSB: Your rulers are rebels, friends of thieves. They all love graft and chase after bribes. They do not defend the rights of the fatherless, and the widow's case never comes before them.

What does Isaiah 1:23 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Isaiah continues to describe the state of Jerusalem, the capital and representative of God's people in the nation of Judah. He now adds that the leaders and important people are also in rebellion against God. By example, they actively lead the people of Israel away from the Lord. They are actively allowing criminal activity to go unpunished.

As seen by God, and explained by Isaiah, the workings of every part of Jerusalem run on bribes and corruption. Favorable court cases and civil disputes are decided by who can offer the best bribe. In this way, the rich thrive and there is no justice for orphans and widows. The leadership and the institutions are corrupt and systemically unfair to those without money or power. It has stopped mattering who is truly right or wrong, only mattering who can offer the best "gift". Even if a widow or orphan has the evidence to show they are in the right, their case will never reach a judge's ears because they don't have enough money to get his attention.