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Day after day, you worship him
and seem eager to learn
    his teachings.
You act like a nation
that wants to do right
    by obeying his laws.
You ask him about justice,
and say you enjoy
    worshiping the Lord.

You wonder why the Lord
    pays no attention
when you go without eating
    and act humble.
But on those same days
    that you give up eating,
you think only of yourselves[a]
    and abuse your workers.
You even get angry
    and ready to fight.
No wonder God won’t listen
    to your prayers!

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Footnotes

  1. 58.3 you think. . . yourselves: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.

For day after day they seek(A) me out;
    they seem eager to know my ways,
as if they were a nation that does what is right
    and has not forsaken(B) the commands of its God.
They ask me for just decisions
    and seem eager for God to come near(C) them.
‘Why have we fasted,’(D) they say,
    ‘and you have not seen it?
Why have we humbled(E) ourselves,
    and you have not noticed?’(F)

“Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please(G)
    and exploit all your workers.
Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife,(H)
    and in striking each other with wicked fists.
You cannot fast as you do today
    and expect your voice to be heard(I) on high.

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