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Isaiah 6:11

ESV Then I said, "How long, O Lord?" And he said: "Until cities lie waste without inhabitant, and houses without people, and the land is a desolate waste,
NIV Then I said, "For how long, Lord?" And he answered: "Until the cities lie ruined and without inhabitant, until the houses are left deserted and the fields ruined and ravaged,
NASB Then I said, 'Lord, how long?' And He answered, 'Until cities are devastated and without inhabitant, Houses are without people And the land is utterly desolate,
CSB Then I said, "Until when, Lord?" And he replied: Until cities lie in ruins without inhabitants, houses are without people, the land is ruined and desolate,
NLT Then I said, 'Lord, how long will this go on?' And he replied, 'Until their towns are empty, their houses are deserted, and the whole country is a wasteland;
KJV Then said I, Lord, how long? And he answered, Until the cities be wasted without inhabitant, and the houses without man, and the land be utterly desolate,
NKJV Then I said, “Lord, how long?” And He answered: “Until the cities are laid waste and without inhabitant, The houses are without a man, The land is utterly desolate,

What does Isaiah 6:11 mean?

The words have been given by the Lord to Isaiah to preach to the people of Judah. They contain the promise of what appears to be a fruitless career for Isaiah. He will declare God's messages and warning about coming judgment, and the people will not understand it, accept it, or believe it. Isaiah's work will be to faithfully declare a truth to an unreceptive audience (Isaiah 6:9–10).

Isaiah responds to the Lord's instruction now with one question: "How long?" Isaiah seems to be asking how long he should continue to carry out this futile work of declaring the Lord's truths to a people unable to receive them.

The answer from the Lord is equally hopeless, at least on the surface. He wants Isaiah to keep preaching His words to His unbelieving people until all is in ruin. This includes the cities, the people, the very land itself. In other words, God wants Isaiah to keep warning the people of the Lord's coming judgment on them for their sinfulness until that judgment is at hand. This will be Isaiah's entire career.
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