5 For the earth was defiled Under its inhabitants; Because they transgressed teachings, Violated laws, Broke the ancient covenant.
v’-ha-A-retz kha-n’-FAH TA-khat yo-sh’-VE-ha kee a-v’-RU to-ROT kha-l’-FU KHOK hay-FAY-ru b’-REET o-LAM
ה וְהָאָרֶץ חָנְפָה תַּחַת יֹשְׁבֶיהָ כִּי־עָבְרוּ תוֹרֹת חָלְפוּ חֹק הֵפֵרוּ בְּרִית עוֹלָם׃
24:5 For the earth was defiled under its inhabitants
Chapter 24 begins four chapters which describe the total destruction of the earth, for it to then be replaced by a more righteous and just world. Yeshayahu explains why this will occur — it is the same reason that led God to bring about the flood in the times of Noach. Due to man’s wicked behavior, the earth is “defiled” or “polluted” by sin (see Leviticus 18:25, Numbers 35:33), and must be purged. The eternal covenant between Hashem and man was made after the flood between God and Noach (Genesis 9:16). According to Jewish tradition, the Seven Noahide Laws, universal laws applying to all of mankind, were given by God at that time. These laws serve as the foundation of all ethics and morality, and, if followed appropriately, will ensure that the world is filled with justice and righteousness. (For a list of the seven laws, see the commentary to II Kings 10:27).