Having thus declared that judgment was determined on, the prophet now carefully declared the reason for it. This was, first, the utter corruption of conduct. Among the people not a man was to lie found who was truthful and just. Disappointed in his search, he turned to the great men and the rulers, and they also had "broken the yoke and burst the bands." Therefore judgment was indeed inevitable, and pardon impossible.
The second reason was that they did not believe the message. They had declared that punishment would not fall on them. The declaration of judgment is then repeated, and the terror of it is described. When it falls, if they inquire why Jehovah has thus visited them, the reply would be because they had forsaken Him.
Finally, the reason for final judgment is the revolting and rebellious heart of the people. They were not ignorant, but obstinate. They had eyes, but saw not, and ears, but heard not. They had flung off the fear of God deliberately. Greed had been their curse, and had expressed itself in this persistent rebellion. The whole reason is graphically summarized as "a wonderful and horrible thing." Prophets, priests, and people were united in their sin, and there was no alternative other than that of judgment.
the Second Week after Epiphany