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Isaiah 6:9

ESV And he said, “Go, and say to this people: “‘Keep on hearing, but do not understand; keep on seeing, but do not perceive.’
NIV He said, 'Go and tell this people: ''Be ever hearing, but never understanding; be ever seeing, but never perceiving.'
NASB And He said, 'Go, and tell this people: ‘Keep on listening, but do not understand; And keep on looking, but do not gain knowledge.’
CSB And he replied: Go! Say to these people: Keep listening, but do not understand; keep looking, but do not perceive.
NLT And he said, 'Yes, go, and say to this people, ‘Listen carefully, but do not understand. Watch closely, but learn nothing.’
KJV And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not.

What does Isaiah 6:9 mean?

Isaiah has eagerly volunteered to go and represent God's message to the people of Judah (Isaiah 6:8). Now the Lord begins to reveal to Isaiah what shape this message will take. It is not the hopeful one.

His first message to the people of Judah would be to tell them not to listen to him. The purpose here is not that God explicitly, forcibly stops people from understanding or repenting. Prophets were sometimes told to deliver messages as if they, themselves, were accomplishing some task (Jeremiah 1:10) He is stating that God's words, through Isaiah, will fall on closed ears. Isaiah was commanded to deliver a message from God but warned that he should not expect them to receive it.

This and the following verse (Isaiah 6:10) show that God knows the people of Judah are already too far gone into their sin to turn back before judgment comes. Still, the Lord will be faithful to tell them the truth, even if He will not help them to act on it. Maybe more importantly, the Lord will be faithful to future generations through Isaiah's messages. They will hear, through Isaiah's writings, both the Lord's call to Judah to repent and the price paid by Judah for refusing to repent.
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