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The Lord Desires Genuine Devotion

58 “Shout loudly! Don’t be quiet!
Yell as loudly as a trumpet!
Confront my people with their rebellious deeds;[a]
confront Jacob’s family with their sin.[b]
They seek me day after day;
they want to know my requirements,[c]
like a nation that does what is right
and does not reject the law of their God.
They ask me for just decrees;
they want to be near God.
They lament,[d] ‘Why don’t you notice when we fast?
Why don’t you pay attention when we humble ourselves?’
Look, at the same time you fast, you satisfy your selfish desires,[e]
you oppress your workers.[f]
Look, your fasting is accompanied by[g] arguments, brawls,
and fistfights.[h]
Do not fast as you do today,
trying to make your voice heard in heaven.
Is this really the kind of fasting I want?[i]
Do I want a day when people merely humble themselves,[j]
bowing their heads like a reed
and stretching out[k] on sackcloth and ashes?
Is this really what you call a fast,
a day that is pleasing to the Lord?
No, this is the kind of fast I want:[l]
I want you[m] to remove the sinful chains,
to tear away the ropes of the burdensome yoke,
to set free the oppressed,[n]
and to break every burdensome yoke.
I want you[o] to share your food with the hungry
and to provide shelter for homeless, oppressed people.[p]
When you see someone naked, clothe them!
Don’t turn your back on your own flesh and blood.[q]
Then your light will shine like the sunrise;[r]
your restoration will quickly arrive;[s]
your godly behavior[t] will go before you,
and the Lord’s splendor will be your rear guard.[u]
Then you will call out, and the Lord will respond;
you will cry out, and he will reply, ‘Here I am.’
You must[v] remove the burdensome yoke from among you
and stop pointing fingers and speaking sinfully.
10 You must[w] actively help the hungry
and feed the oppressed.[x]
Then your light will dispel the darkness,[y]
and your darkness will be transformed into noonday.[z]
11 The Lord will continually lead you;
he will feed you even in parched regions.[aa]
He will give you renewed strength,[ab]
and you will be like a well-watered garden,
like a spring that continually produces water.
12 Your perpetual ruins will be rebuilt;[ac]
you will reestablish the ancient foundations.
You will be called, ‘The one who repairs broken walls,
the one who makes the streets inhabitable again.’[ad]
13 You must[ae] observe the Sabbath[af]
rather than doing anything you please on my holy day.[ag]
You must look forward to the Sabbath[ah]
and treat the Lord’s holy day with respect.[ai]
You must treat it with respect by refraining from your normal activities,
and by refraining from your selfish pursuits and from making business deals.[aj]
14 Then you will find joy in your relationship to the Lord,[ak]
and I will give you great prosperity,[al]
and cause crops to grow on the land I gave to your ancestor Jacob.”[am]
Know for certain that the Lord has spoken.[an]

Injustice Brings Alienation from God

59 Look, the Lord’s hand is not too weak[ao] to deliver you;
his ear is not too deaf to hear you.[ap]
But your sinful acts have alienated you from your God;
your sins have caused him to reject you and not listen to your prayers.[aq]
For your hands are stained with blood
and your fingers with sin;
your lips speak lies,
your tongue utters malicious words.
No one is concerned about justice;[ar]
no one sets forth his case truthfully.
They depend on false words[as] and tell lies;
they conceive of oppression[at]
and give birth to sin.
They hatch the eggs of a poisonous snake
and spin a spider’s web.
Whoever eats their eggs will die,
a poisonous snake is hatched.[au]
Their webs cannot be used for clothing;
they cannot cover themselves with what they make.
Their deeds are sinful;
they commit violent crimes.[av]
They are eager to do evil,[aw]
quick to shed innocent blood.[ax]
Their thoughts are sinful;
they crush and destroy.[ay]
They are unfamiliar with peace;
their deeds are unjust.[az]
They use deceitful methods,
and whoever deals with them is unfamiliar with peace.[ba]

Israel Confesses its Sin

For this reason deliverance[bb] is far from us[bc]
and salvation does not reach us.
We wait for light,[bd] but see only darkness;[be]
we wait for[bf] a bright light,[bg] but live[bh] in deep darkness.[bi]
10 We grope along the wall like the blind,
we grope like those who cannot see;[bj]
we stumble at noontime as if it were evening.
Though others are strong, we are like dead men.[bk]
11 We all growl like bears,
we coo mournfully like doves;
we wait for deliverance,[bl] but there is none,
for salvation, but it is far from us.
12 For you are aware of our many rebellious deeds,[bm]
and our sins testify against us;
indeed, we are aware of our rebellious deeds;
we know our sins all too well.[bn]
13 We have rebelled and tried to deceive the Lord;
we turned back from following our God.
We stir up[bo] oppression and rebellion;
we tell lies we concocted in our minds.[bp]
14 Justice is driven back;
godliness[bq] stands far off.
Indeed,[br] honesty stumbles in the city square
and morality is not even able to enter.
15 Honesty has disappeared;
the one who tries to avoid evil is robbed.
The Lord watches and is displeased,[bs]
for there is no justice.

The Lord Intervenes

16 He sees there is no advocate;[bt]
he is shocked[bu] that no one intervenes.
So he takes matters into his own hands;[bv]
his desire for justice drives him on.[bw]
17 He wears his desire for justice[bx] like body armor,[by]
and his desire to deliver is like a helmet on his head.[bz]
He puts on the garments of vengeance[ca]
and wears zeal like a robe.
18 He repays them for what they have done,
dispensing angry judgment to his adversaries
and punishing his enemies.[cb]
He repays the coastlands.[cc]
19 In the west, people respect[cd] the Lord’s reputation;[ce]
in the east they recognize his splendor.[cf]
For he comes like a rushing[cg] stream
driven on by wind sent from the Lord.[ch]
20 “A protector[ci] comes to Zion,
to those in Jacob who repent of their rebellious deeds,”[cj] says the Lord.

21 “As for me, this is my promise to[ck] them,” says the Lord. “My Spirit, who is upon you, and my words, which I have placed in your mouth, will not depart from your mouth or from the mouths of your children and descendants from this time forward,”[cl] says the Lord.


  1. Isaiah 58:1 tn Heb “declare to my people their rebellion.”
  2. Isaiah 58:1 tn Heb “and to the house of Jacob their sin.” The verb “declare” is understood by ellipsis (note the preceding line).
  3. Isaiah 58:2 tn Heb “ways” (so KJV, NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV, TEV); NLT “my laws.”
  4. Isaiah 58:3 tn The words “they lament” are supplied in the translation for clarification.
  5. Isaiah 58:3 tn Heb “you find pleasure”; NASB “you find your desire.”
  6. Isaiah 58:3 tn Or perhaps, “debtors.” See HALOT 865 s.v. * עָצֵב.
  7. Isaiah 58:4 tn Heb “you fast for” (so NASB); NRSV “you fast only to quarrel.”
  8. Isaiah 58:4 tn Heb “and for striking with a sinful fist.”
  9. Isaiah 58:5 tn Heb “choose” (so NASB, NRSV); NAB “wish.”
  10. Isaiah 58:5 tn Heb “a day when man humbles himself.” The words “Do I want” are supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.
  11. Isaiah 58:5 tn Or “making [their] bed.”
  12. Isaiah 58:6 tn Heb “Is this not a fast I choose?” “No” is supplied in the translation for clarification.
  13. Isaiah 58:6 tn The words “I want you” are supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.
  14. Isaiah 58:6 tn Heb “crushed.”
  15. Isaiah 58:7 tn Heb “Is it not?” The rhetorical question here expects a positive answer, “It is!”
  16. Isaiah 58:7 tn Heb “and afflicted [ones], homeless [ones] you should bring [into] a house.” On the meaning of מְרוּדִים (merudim, “homeless”) see HALOT 633 s.v. *מָרוּד.
  17. Isaiah 58:7 tn Heb “and from your flesh do not hide yourself.”
  18. Isaiah 58:8 tn Heb “will burst out like the dawn.” sn Light here symbolizes God’s favor and restored blessing, as the immediately following context makes clear.
  19. Isaiah 58:8 tn Heb “prosper”; KJV “spring forth speedily.”
  20. Isaiah 58:8 tn Or “righteousness.” Their godly behavior will be on display for all to see.
  21. Isaiah 58:8 sn The nation will experience God’s protective presence.
  22. Isaiah 58:9 tn Heb “if you.” In the Hebrew text vv. 9b-10 are one long conditional sentence. The protasis (multiple “if” clauses here) appears in vv. 9b-10a, with the apodosis (“then” clause) appearing in v. 10b.
  23. Isaiah 58:10 tn Heb “if you.” See the note on “you must” in v. 9b.
  24. Isaiah 58:10 tn Heb “If you furnish for the hungry [with] your being, and the appetite of the oppressed you satisfy.”
  25. Isaiah 58:10 tn Heb “will rise in the darkness.”
  26. Isaiah 58:10 tn Heb “and your darkness [will be] like noonday.”
  27. Isaiah 58:11 tn Heb “he will satisfy in parched regions your appetite.”
  28. Isaiah 58:11 tn Heb “and your bones he will strengthen.”
  29. Isaiah 58:12 tn Heb “and they will build from you ancient ruins.”
  30. Isaiah 58:12 tc The Hebrew text has “the one who restores paths for dwelling.” The idea of “paths to dwell in” is not a common notion. Some have proposed emending נְתִיבוֹת (netivot, “paths”) to נְתִיצוֹת (netitsot, “ruins”), a passive participle from נָתַץ (natats, “tear down”; see HALOT 732 s.v. *נְתִיצָה), because tighter parallelism with the preceding line is achieved. However, none of the textual sources support this emendation. The line may mean that paths must be repaired in order to dwell in the land.
  31. Isaiah 58:13 tn Lit., “if you.” In the Hebrew text vv. 13-14 are one long conditional sentence. The protasis (multiple “if” clauses here) appears in v. 13, with the apodosis (“then” clause) appearing in v. 14.
  32. Isaiah 58:13 tn Heb “if you turn from the Sabbath your feet.”
  33. Isaiah 58:13 tn Heb “[from] doing your desires on my holy day.” The Qumran scroll 1QIsaa supplies the preposition מִן (min) on “doing.”
  34. Isaiah 58:13 tn Heb “and call the Sabbath a pleasure”; KJV, NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV “a delight.”
  35. Isaiah 58:13 tn Heb “and [call] the holy [day] of the Lord honored.” On קָדוֹשׁ (qadosh, “holy”) as indicating a time period, see BDB 872 s.v. 2.e (cf. also Neh 8:9-11).
  36. Isaiah 58:13 tn Heb “and you honor it [by refraining] from accomplishing your ways, from finding your desire and speaking a word.” It is unlikely that the last phrase (“speaking a word”) is a prohibition against talking on the Sabbath; instead it probably refers to making transactions or plans (see Hos 10:4). Some see here a reference to idle talk (cf. 2 Sam 19:29).
  37. Isaiah 58:14 tn For a parallel use of the phrase “find joy in” (Hitpael of עָנַג [ʿanag] followed by the preposition עַל [ʿal]), see Ps 37:4.
  38. Isaiah 58:14 tn Heb “and I will cause you to ride upon the heights of the land.” The statement seems to be an allusion to Deut 32:13, where it is associated, as here, with God’s abundant provision of food.
  39. Isaiah 58:14 tn Heb “and I will cause you to eat the inheritance of Jacob your father.” The Hebrew term נַחֲלָה (nakhalah) likely stands by metonymy for the crops that grow on Jacob’s “inheritance” (i.e., the land he inherited as a result of God’s promise).
  40. Isaiah 58:14 tn Heb “for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” The introductory כִּי (ki) may be asseverative (as reflected in the translation) or causal/explanatory, explaining why the preceding promise will become reality (because it is guaranteed by the divine word).
  41. Isaiah 59:1 tn Heb “short” (so NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV).
  42. Isaiah 59:1 tn Heb “or his ear too heavy [i.e., “dull”] to hear.”
  43. Isaiah 59:2 tn Heb “and your sins have caused [his] face to be hidden from you so as not to hear.”
  44. Isaiah 59:4 tn Heb “no one pleads with justice.”
  45. Isaiah 59:4 tn Heb “nothing”; NAB “emptiness.”
  46. Isaiah 59:4 tn Or “trouble” (NIV), or “harm.”
  47. Isaiah 59:5 tn Heb “that which is pressed in hatches [as] a snake.”
  48. Isaiah 59:6 tn Heb “their deeds are deeds of sin, and the work of violence [is] in their hands.”
  49. Isaiah 59:7 tn Heb “their feet run to evil.”
  50. Isaiah 59:7 tn Heb “they quickly pour out innocent blood.”
  51. Isaiah 59:7 tn Heb “their thoughts are thoughts of sin, destruction and crushing [are] in their roadways.”
  52. Isaiah 59:8 tn Heb “a way of peace they do not know, and there is no justice in their pathways.”
  53. Isaiah 59:8 tn Heb “their paths they make crooked; everyone who walks in it does not know peace.”
  54. Isaiah 59:9 tn מִשְׁפָּט (mishpat), which refers to “justice” in the earlier verses, here refers to “justice from God,” or “vindication.” Because the people are unjust, God refuses to vindicate them before their enemies. See v. 11.
  55. Isaiah 59:9 sn The prophet speaks on behalf of the sinful nation and confesses its sins.
  56. Isaiah 59:9 sn Light here symbolizes prosperity and blessing.
  57. Isaiah 59:9 tn Heb “but, look, darkness”; NIV “but all is darkness.”
  58. Isaiah 59:9 tn The words “we wait for” are supplied in the translation; the verb is understood by ellipsis (note the preceding line).
  59. Isaiah 59:9 tn The plural noun form may indicate degree here.
  60. Isaiah 59:9 tn Or “walk about”; NCV “all we have is darkness.”
  61. Isaiah 59:9 tn The plural noun form may indicate degree here.
  62. Isaiah 59:10 tn Heb “like there are no eyes.”
  63. Isaiah 59:10 tn Heb among the strong, like dead men.”
  64. Isaiah 59:11 tn See the note at v. 9.
  65. Isaiah 59:12 tn Heb “for many are our rebellious deeds before you.”
  66. Isaiah 59:12 tn Heb “indeed [or “for”] our rebellious deeds (are) with us, and our sins, we know them.”
  67. Isaiah 59:13 tn Heb “speaking.” A new sentence was started here in the translation for stylistic reasons.
  68. Isaiah 59:13 tn Heb “conceiving and uttering from the heart words of falsehood.”
  69. Isaiah 59:14 tn Or “righteousness” (ASV, NASB, NIV, NRSV); KJV, NAB “justice.”
  70. Isaiah 59:14 tn Or “for” (KJV, NRSV).
  71. Isaiah 59:15 tn Heb “and it is displeasing in his eyes.”
  72. Isaiah 59:16 tn Heb “man” (so KJV, ASV); TEV “no one to help.”
  73. Isaiah 59:16 tn Or “appalled” (NAB, NIV, NRSV), or “disgusted.”
  74. Isaiah 59:16 tn Heb “and his arm delivers for him.”
  75. Isaiah 59:16 tn Heb “and his justice [or “righteousness”] supports him.”
  76. Isaiah 59:17 tn Or “righteousness” (KJV, NASB, NIV, NRSV, NLT); NCV “goodness.”
  77. Isaiah 59:17 tn Or “a breastplate” (traditional; so many English versions); TEV “a coat of armour.”
  78. Isaiah 59:17 tn Heb “and [as] a helmet deliverance on his head.”
  79. Isaiah 59:17 tn Heb “and he puts on the clothes of vengeance [as] a garment.”
  80. Isaiah 59:18 tn Heb “in accordance with deeds, so he repays, anger to his adversaries, repayment to his enemies.”
  81. Isaiah 59:18 tn Or “islands” (KJV, NIV).
  82. Isaiah 59:19 tc Heb “fear.” A few medieval Hebrew mss read “see.”
  83. Isaiah 59:19 tn Heb “and they fear from the west the name of the Lord.”
  84. Isaiah 59:19 tn Heb “and from the rising of the sun his splendor.”
  85. Isaiah 59:19 tn Heb “narrow”; NAB, NIV, NRSV “pent-up.”
  86. Isaiah 59:19 tn Heb “the wind of the Lord drives it on.” The term רוּחַ (ruakh) could be translated “breath” here (see 30:28).
  87. Isaiah 59:20 tn Or “redeemer.” See the note at 41:14.
  88. Isaiah 59:20 tn Heb “and to those who turn from rebellion in Jacob.”
  89. Isaiah 59:21 tn Or “my covenant with” (so many English versions); NCV “my agreement with.”sn The Lord promises the repentant (note “to them”) that they and their offspring will possess his spirit and function as his spokesmen. In this regard they follow in the footsteps of the Lord’s special servant. See 42:1; 49:2; 51:16.
  90. Isaiah 59:21 tn Heb “from now and on into the future.”