54 “Shout for joy, O barren one, she who has not given birth; Break forth into joyful shouting and rejoice, she who has not gone into labor [with child]! For the [spiritual] sons of the desolate one will be more numerous Than the sons of the married woman,” says the Lord. 2 “Enlarge the site of your tent [to make room for more children]; Stretch out the curtains of your dwellings, do not spare them; Lengthen your tent ropes And make your pegs (stakes) firm [in the ground]. 3 “For you will spread out to the right and to the left; And your descendants will take possession of nations And will inhabit deserted cities.
4 “Do not fear, for you will not be put to shame, And do not feel humiliated or ashamed, for you will not be disgraced. For you will forget the shame of your youth, And you will no longer remember the disgrace of your widowhood. 5 “For your husband is your Maker, The Lord of hosts is His name; And your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel, Who is called the God of the whole earth. 6 “For the Lord has called you, Like a wife who has been abandoned, grieved in spirit, And like a wife [married] in her youth when she is [later] rejected and scorned,” Says your God. 7 “For a brief moment I abandoned you, But with great compassion and mercy I will gather you [to Myself again]. 8 “In an outburst of wrath I hid My face from you for a moment, But with everlasting kindness I will have compassion on you,” Says the Lord your Redeemer.
9 “For this is like the waters of Noah to Me, As I swore [an oath] that the waters of Noah Would not flood the earth again; In the same way I have sworn that I will not be angry with you Nor will I rebuke you. 10 “For the mountains may be removed and the hills may shake, But My lovingkindness will not be removed from you, Nor will My covenant of peace be shaken,” Says the Lord who has compassion on you.
11 “O you afflicted [city], storm-tossed, and not comforted, Listen carefully, I will set your [precious] stones in mortar, And lay your foundations with sapphires. 12 “And I will make your battlements of rubies, And your gates of [shining] beryl stones, And all your [barrier] [a]walls of precious stones. 13 “And all your [spiritual] sons will be disciples [of the Lord], And great will be the [b]well-being of your sons. 14 “You will be firmly established in righteousness: You will be far from [even the thought of] oppression, for you will not fear, And from terror, for it will not come near you. 15 “If anyone fiercely attacks you it will not be from Me. Whoever attacks you will fall because of you. 16 “Listen carefully, I have created the smith who blows on the fire of coals And who produces a weapon for its purpose; And I have created the destroyer to inflict ruin. 17 “No weapon that is formed against you will succeed; And every tongue that rises against you in judgment you will condemn. This [peace, righteousness, security, and triumph over opposition] is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, And this is their vindication from Me,” says the Lord.
The Free Offer of Mercy
55 “Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; And you who have no money come, buy grain and eat. Come, buy wine and milk Without money and without cost [simply accept it as a gift from God]. 2 “Why do you spend money for that which is not bread, And your earnings for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, And let your soul delight in [c]abundance. 3 “Incline your ear [to listen] and come to Me; Hear, so that your soul may live; And I will make an everlasting covenant with you, According to the faithful mercies [promised and] shown to David. 4 “Listen carefully, I have appointed [d]him [David, representing the Messiah] to be a witness to the nations [regarding salvation], A leader and commander to the peoples. 5 “In fact, you [e][Israel] will call a nation that you do not know, And a nation that does not know you will run to you, Because of the Lord your God, even the Holy One of Israel; For He has glorified you.”
6 Seek the Lord while He may be found; Call on Him [for salvation] while He is near. 7 Let the wicked leave (behind) his way And the unrighteous man his thoughts; And let him return to the Lord, And He will have compassion (mercy) on him, And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon. 8 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord. 9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts higher than your thoughts. 10 “For as the rain and snow come down from heaven, And do not return there without watering the earth, Making it bear and sprout, And providing seed to the sower and bread to the eater, 11 So will My word be which goes out of My mouth; It will not return to Me void (useless, without result), Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it. 12 “For you will go out [from exile] with joy And be led forth [by the Lord Himself] with peace; The mountains and the hills will break forth into shouts of joy before you, And all the trees of the field will clap their hands. 13 “Instead of the thorn bush the cypress tree will grow, And instead of the nettle the myrtle tree will grow; And it will be a memorial to the Lord, For an everlasting sign [of His mercy] which will not be cut off.”
Rewards for Obedience to God
56 This is what the Lord says, “Maintain justice and do righteousness, For My salvation is soon to come, And My righteousness and justice is soon to be revealed. 2 “Blessed (happy, fortunate) is the man who does this, And the son of man who takes hold of it, Who keeps the Sabbath without profaning it, And keeps his hand from doing any evil.” 3 Do not let the foreigner who has joined himself to the Lord say, “The Lord will most certainly separate me from His people.” And do not let the eunuch say, “Look, I am a dry tree.”
4 This is what the Lord says,
“To the eunuchs who keep My Sabbaths And choose what pleases Me, And hold firmly to My covenant, 5 To them I will give in My house and within My walls a memorial, And a name better than that of sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name which will not be cut off.
6 “Also the foreigners who join themselves to the Lord, To minister to Him, and to love the name of the Lord, To be His servants, everyone who keeps the Sabbath without profaning it And holds fast to My covenant [by conscientious obedience]; 7 All these I will bring to My holy mountain And make them joyful in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will [f]be accepted on My altar; For My house will be called a house of prayer for all the peoples.” 8 The Lord God, who gathers the dispersed of Israel, declares: “I will gather yet others to them (Israel), to those [already] gathered.”
9 All you beasts of the field, All you beasts (hostile nations) in the forest, Come to eat. 10 Israel’s watchmen are blind, They are all without knowledge. They are all mute dogs, they cannot bark; Panting, lying down, they love to slumber. 11 And the dogs are greedy; they [g]never have enough. They are shepherds who have no understanding; They have all turned to their own way, Each one to his unlawful gain, without exception. 12 “Come,” [they say,] “let us get wine, and let us fill ourselves with strong drink; And tomorrow will be like today, very great indeed.”
Evil Leaders Rebuked
57 The righteous man perishes [at the hand of evil], and no one takes it to heart; Faithful and devout men are taken away, while no one understands That the righteous person is taken away [to be spared] from disaster and evil. 2 He enters into peace [through death]; They rest in their beds (graves), Each one who walked uprightly [following God’s will, living with integrity]. 3 “But come here, you sons of a sorceress [raised in deception and superstition], Offspring of an adulterer and a prostitute. 4 “Of whom do you make fun? Against whom do you open wide your mouth And stick out your tongue? Are you not children of rebellion (sin), Offspring of deceit, 5 Who inflame yourselves [with lust in pagan rites] among the oaks (terebinth trees), Under every green and leafy tree, Who slaughter the children [in sacrifice] in the ravines Under the clefts of the rocks? 6 “Among the smooth stones of the ravine Is your portion, they (the idols) are your lot; Even to them you have poured out a drink offering, You have offered a grain offering. Should I be quiet concerning these things [leaving them unpunished—bearing them with patience]? 7 “Upon a high and lofty mountain You have [openly and shamelessly] made your [idolatrous and adulterous] bed; Even there you went up to offer sacrifice [to idols, in spiritual unfaithfulness to Me]. 8 “Behind the door and the doorpost You have set up your [pagan] symbol; Indeed, far removed from Me, you have uncovered yourself, And have gone up and made your bed wide. And you have made a [new] agreement for yourself with the adulterers, You have loved their bed, You have looked [with passion] on their [h]manhood. 9 “You have gone to [i]the king [of a pagan land] with oil And increased your [j]perfumes; You have sent your messengers a great distance And made them go down to Sheol (the realm of the dead). 10 “You were wearied by the length of your road, Yet you did not say, ‘It is no use.’ You found [k]renewed strength, Therefore you did not grow weak.
11 “About whom were you worried and fearful That you lied and did not [l]remember Me, Nor [m]give Me a thought? Was I not silent even for a long time And [as a result] you do not fear Me? 12 “I will declare your [hypocritical] righteousness and your deeds, But they will not benefit you. 13 “When you cry out [for help], let your [ridiculous] collection of idols save you. But the wind will carry them all away, A [mere] breath will take them. But he who takes refuge in Me will possess the land [Judea] And will inherit My holy mountain.”
14 And it will be said, “Build up, build up, clear the way. Remove the stumbling block out of the way [of the spiritual return] of My people.” 15 For the high and exalted One He who inhabits eternity, Whose name is Holy says this, “I dwell on the high and holy place, But also with the [n]contrite and humble in spirit In order to revive the spirit of the humble And to revive the heart of the contrite [overcome with sorrow for sin]. 16 “For I will not contend forever, Nor will I always be angry; For [if I did stay angry] the spirit [of man] would grow weak before Me, And the breath of those whom I have created. 17 “Because of the wickedness of his unjust gain I was angry and struck him; I hid My face and was angry, And he went on turning away and backsliding, in the way of his [own willful] heart. 18 “I have seen his [willful] ways, but I will heal him; I will lead him [also] and will restore comfort to him and to those who mourn for him, 19 As I create the [o]praise of his lips, Peace, peace, to him who is far away [both Jew and Gentile] and to him who is near!” Says the Lord; “And I will heal him [making his lips blossom anew with thankful praise].” 20 But the wicked are like the tossing sea, For it cannot be quiet, And its waters toss up mire and mud. 21 “There is no peace,” says my God, “for the wicked.”
Observances of Fasts
58 “Cry aloud, do not hold back; Lift up your voice like a trumpet, And declare to My people their transgression And to the house of Jacob their sins. 2 “Yet they seek Me day by day and delight [superficially] to know My ways, As [if they were in reality] a nation that has done righteousness And has not abandoned (turned away from) the ordinance of their God. They ask of Me righteous judgments, They delight in the nearness of God. 3 ‘Why have we fasted,’ they say, ‘and You do not see it? Why have we humbled ourselves and You do not notice?’ Hear this [O Israel], on the day of your fast [when you should be grieving for your sins] you find something you desire [to do], And you force your hired servants to work [instead of stopping all work, as the law teaches]. 4 “The facts are that you fast only for strife and brawling and to strike with the fist of wickedness. You do not fast as you do today to make your voice heard on high. 5 “Is a fast such as this what I have chosen, a day for a man to humble himself [with sorrow in his soul]? Is it only to bow down his head like a reed And to make sackcloth and ashes as a bed [pretending to have a repentant heart]? Do you call this a fast and a day pleasing to the Lord? 6 “[Rather] is this not the fast which I choose, To undo the bonds of wickedness, To tear to pieces the ropes of the yoke, To let the oppressed go free And break apart every [enslaving] yoke? 7 “Is it not to divide your bread with the hungry And bring the homeless poor into the house; When you see the naked, that you cover him, And not to hide yourself from [the needs of] your own flesh and blood? 8 “Then your light will break out like the dawn, And your healing (restoration, new life) will quickly spring forth; Your righteousness will go before you [leading you to peace and prosperity], The glory of the Lord will be your rear guard. 9 “Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; You will cry for help, and He will say, ‘Here I am.’ If you take away from your midst the yoke [of oppression], The finger pointed in scorn [toward the oppressed or the godly], and [every form of] wicked (sinful, unjust) speech, 10 And if you offer yourself to [assist] the hungry And satisfy the [p]need of the afflicted, Then your light will rise in darkness And your gloom will become like midday. 11 “And the Lord will continually guide you, And satisfy your soul in scorched and dry places, And give strength to your bones; And you will be like a watered garden, And like a spring of water whose waters do not fail. 12 “And your people will rebuild the ancient ruins; You will raise up and restore the age-old foundations [of buildings that have been laid waste]; You will be called Repairer of the Breach, Restorer of Streets [q]with Dwellings.
Keeping the Sabbath
13 “If you turn back your foot from [[r]unnecessary travel on] the Sabbath, From doing your own pleasure on My holy day, And call the Sabbath a [spiritual] delight, and the holy day of the Lord honorable, And honor it, not going your own way Or [s]engaging in your own pleasure Or speaking your own [idle] words, 14 Then you will take pleasure in the Lord, And I will make you ride on the high places of the earth, And I will feed you with the [promised] heritage of Jacob your father; For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
Isaiah 55:5The identification of the one addressed here is uncertain. A large number of authorities believe it to be Israel, as here indicated, but other interpreters think it is the Messiah [the second David], or David as His representative.
Isaiah 58:13The ancient rabbis established strict limits for travel on the Sabbath, excepting unintentional violations and religious errands. This verse became a rabbinic proof text to rule on whether a person who had put one foot beyond the Sabbath limit for his city could reenter the city. But the Hebrew text may not refer to travel at all; turn back your foot from the Sabbath can be interpreted as an idiom referring to keeping oneself from violating the Sabbath in other ways.
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