The earth also is polluted by its inhabitants,
because they have transgressed the laws,
violated the statutes
and broken the everlasting covenant. Bible

“the everlasting covenant.” What this covenant is, is not stated in the text and is debated. Some scholars favor the covenant God made with Noah because that covenant is associated with the shedding of blood, but it is unclear how people could “break” that covenant, which was unilateral. Some scholars favor the Mosaic Covenant because that clearly could be broken, except that covenant was not as universal as Isaiah 24:5 seems to be. Scholars counter that by saying that the Mosaic Covenant had universal application even if it was made with Israel and not all humanity. Some scholars say Isaiah is generalizing information from several covenants and making the point that God’s intention was to rule the world justly and have people be obedient to Him—something that people should have understood—but they transgressed God’s rules, polluted the earth by sin, and have thus broken the covenant. Given the fact that Isaiah does not specifically state which covenant is broken and no single covenant exactly fits the criteria in the verse, this last option seems the best.

Commentary for: Isaiah 24:5