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Isaiah 56-61 Common English Bible (CEB)

Keepers of God’s Sabbath

56 The Lord says:
    Act justly and do what is righteous,
    because my salvation is coming soon,
    and my righteousness will be revealed.
Happy is the one who does this,
    the person who holds it fast,
    who keeps the Sabbath, not making it impure,
    and avoids doing any evil.

Don’t let the immigrant who has joined with the Lord say,
    “The Lord will exclude me from the people.”
    And don’t let the eunuch say,
        “I’m just a dry tree.”
The Lord says:
    To the eunuchs who keep my sabbaths,
    choose what I desire,
    and remain loyal to my covenant.
    In my temple and courts, I will give them
    a monument and a name better than sons and daughters.
    I will give to them an enduring name
    that won’t be removed.
The immigrants who have joined me,[a]
    serving me and loving my name,[b] becoming my servants,[c]
    everyone who keeps the Sabbath without making it impure,
    and those who hold fast to my covenant:
    I will bring them to my holy mountain,
    and bring them joy in my house of prayer.
    I will accept their entirely burned offerings and sacrifices on my altar.
    My house will be known as a house of prayer for all peoples,
        says the Lord God,
    who gathers Israel’s outcasts.
I will gather still others to those I have already gathered.

Neglectful leaders

All you beasts of the field,
    come and eat, all you beasts of the forest!
10 The lookouts are blind;
    they all lack sense.
They are all mute dogs that can’t bark,
    dreamers, loungers, loving to sleep.
11 But the dogs have monstrous appetites.
    They never have enough.
    They are shepherds who don’t understand.
All of them have turned to their own ways,
    every last one greedy for profit.
12 “Come! I’ll get some wine!
    Let’s drink beer!
    Tomorrow will be like today, or even much better.”

57 The righteous person perishes,
    and no one takes it to heart.
Loyal people are gathered together,
    and no one understands that because of evil
    the righteous one passed away.
They will find peace;
    those who walk in straight paths
    will find rest on their burial beds.

Accusations against idolators

Come here, you children of sorcery,
    offspring of adultery and prostitution!
Whom are you mocking?
    Against whom do you open your mouth wide
    and stick out your tongue?
Aren’t you children of rebellion, offspring of lies,
    who console yourselves with idols under every green tree,
    who slaughter children in the valleys, under the rocky cliffs?
You belong with the smooth talkers[d] in the valley;
    they, they are your lot.
For them you poured out a drink offering,
    and presented a grain offering.
    Should I condone these things?
On a very high mountain you made your bed.
    You went up there to offer a sacrifice.
Behind the door and the doorpost
    you placed your symbols.
You abandoned me and lay down,
    making room in your bed
    and making deals for yourself with them.[e]
You loved their bed;
    you saw their nakedness.
You went down to Molech[f] with oil,
    and you slathered on your ointments;
    you sent your messengers far away,
    sent them down to the underworld.[g]
10 Worn out by all your efforts,
    yet you wouldn’t say, “This is useless.”
You found new strength;
    therefore, you weren’t tired.
11 Whom did you dread and fear so that you lied,
    didn’t remember me or give me a thought?
Isn’t it because I was silent and closed my eyes
    that you stopped fearing me?
12 I will bring evidence about your righteousness and your actions;
    they won’t help you.
13 When you cry out,
    let those things you’ve gathered save you!
The wind will lift them all;
    one breath will take them away.
but those taking refuge in me will inherit the land and possess my holy mountain.

Peace for the remorseful

14 It will be said: “Survey, survey; build a road!
    Remove barriers from my people’s road!”
15 The one who is high and lifted up,
    who lives forever, whose name is holy, says:
I live on high, in holiness,
    and also with the crushed[h] and the lowly,
    reviving the spirit of the lowly,
    reviving the heart of those who have been crushed.[i]
16 I won’t always accuse,
    nor will I be enraged forever.
    It is my own doing that their spirit is exhausted—
    I gave them breath!
17 I was enraged about their illegal profits;
    I struck them; in rage I withdrew from them.
Yet they went on wandering wherever they wanted.
18     I have seen their ways, but I will heal them.
    I will guide them,
        and reward them with comfort.
And for those who mourn,
19     I will create reason for praise:[j]
    utter prosperity to those far and near,
    and I will heal them, says the Lord.
20 But the wicked are like the churning sea that can’t keep still.
    They churn up from their waters muck and mud.
21     There is no peace, says my God, for the wicked.

Fasting from injustice

58 Shout loudly; don’t hold back;
    raise your voice like a trumpet!
Announce to my people their crime,
    to the house of Jacob their sins.
They seek me day after day,
    desiring knowledge of my ways
    like a nation that acted righteously,
    that didn’t abandon their God.
They ask me for righteous judgments,
    wanting to be close to God.
“Why do we fast and you don’t see;
    why afflict ourselves and you don’t notice?”
Yet on your fast day you do whatever you want,
    and oppress all your workers.
You quarrel and brawl, and then you fast;
    you hit each other violently with your fists.
You shouldn’t fast as you are doing today
    if you want to make your voice heard on high.
Is this the kind of fast I choose,
    a day of self-affliction,
    of bending one’s head like a reed
    and of lying down in mourning clothing and ashes?
    Is this what you call a fast,
        a day acceptable to the Lord?

Isn’t this the fast I choose:
    releasing wicked restraints, untying the ropes of a yoke,
    setting free the mistreated,
    and breaking every yoke?
Isn’t it sharing your bread with the hungry
    and bringing the homeless poor into your house,
    covering the naked when you see them,
    and not hiding from your own family?
Then your light will break out like the dawn,
    and you will be healed quickly.
Your own righteousness will walk before you,
    and the Lord’s glory will be your rear guard.
Then you will call, and the Lord will answer;
    you will cry for help, and God will say, “I’m here.”
If you remove the yoke from among you,
    the finger-pointing, the wicked speech;
10     if you open your heart to the hungry,
    and provide abundantly for those who are afflicted,
    your light will shine in the darkness,
    and your gloom will be like the noon.
11 The Lord will guide you continually
    and provide for you, even in parched places.
    He will rescue your bones.
You will be like a watered garden,
    like a spring of water that won’t run dry.
12 They will rebuild ancient ruins on your account;
    the foundations of generations past you will restore.
You will be called Mender of Broken Walls,
    Restorer of Livable Streets.

13 If you stop trampling the Sabbath,
    stop doing whatever you want on my holy day,
    and consider the Sabbath a delight,
    sacred to the Lord, honored,
    and honor it instead of doing things your way,
    seeking what you want and doing business as usual,
14     then you will take delight in the Lord.
    I will let you ride on the heights of the earth;
    I will sustain you with the heritage of your ancestor Jacob.
    The mouth of the Lord has spoken.

Alienation from God

    59 Look! The Lord does not lack the power to save,
    nor are his ears too dull to hear,
    but your misdeeds have separated you from your God.
Your sins have hidden his face from you
    so that you aren’t heard.
Your hands are stained with blood,
    and your fingers with guilt.
Your lips speak lies;
    your tongues mutter malice.
No one sues honestly;
    no one pleads truthfully.
By trusting in emptiness and speaking deceit,
    they conceive harm and give birth to malice.
They hatch adders’ eggs,
    and weave spiderwebs.
Whoever eats their eggs will die.
    Moreover, the crushed egg hatches a viper.
Their webs can’t serve as clothing;
    they can’t cover themselves with their deeds.
Their deeds are deeds of malice,
    and the work of violence is in their hands.
Their feet run to evil;
    they rush to shed innocent blood.
Their thoughts are thoughts of malice;
    desolation and destruction litter their highways.
They don’t know the way of peace;
    there’s no justice in their paths.
They make their roads crooked;
    no one who walks in them knows peace.

Injustice obscures vision

Because of all this, justice is far from us,
    and righteousness beyond our reach.
We expect light, and there is darkness;
    we await a gleam of light, but walk about in gloom.
10 We grope along the wall like the blind;
    like those without eyes we grope.
We stumble at noonday as if it were twilight,
    and among the strong as if we were dying.
11 All of us growl like bears,
    and like doves we moan.
We expect justice, but there is none;
    we await salvation, but it is far from us.
12 Our rebellions are numerous in your presence;
    our sins testify against us.
Our rebellions are with us;
    we’re aware of our guilt:
13     defying and denying the Lord,
    turning away from our God,
    planning oppression and revolt,
    muttering lying words conceived in our minds.
14 Justice is pushed aside;
    righteousness stands far off,
    because truth has stumbled in the public square,
    and honesty can’t enter.
15 Truth is missing;
    anyone turning from evil is plundered.

God will intervene

The Lord looked and was upset at the absence of justice.
16 Seeing that there was no one,
    and astonished that no one would intervene,
    God’s arm brought victory,
    upheld by righteousness,
17     putting on righteousness as armor
    and a helmet of salvation on his head,
    putting on garments of vengeance,
    and wrapping himself in a cloak of zeal.
18 God will repay according to their actions:
    wrath to his foes, retribution to enemies,
    retribution to the coastlands,
19     so those in the west will fear the Lord’s name,
    and those in the east will fear God’s glory.
It will come like a rushing river
    that the Lord’s wind drives on.
20 A redeemer will come to Zion
    and to those in Jacob who stop rebelling,
    says the Lord.

21 As for me, this is my covenant with them, says the Lord.
    My spirit, which is upon you,
    and my words, which I have placed in your mouth
    won’t depart from your mouth,
    nor from the mouths of your descendants,
    nor from the mouths of your descendants’ children,
    says the Lord,
    forever and always.

Jerusalem’s coming radiance

60 Arise! Shine! Your light has come;
    the Lord’s glory has shone upon you.
Though darkness covers the earth
    and gloom the nations,
    the Lord will shine upon you;
    God’s glory will appear over you.
Nations will come to your light
    and kings to your dawning radiance.

Lift up your eyes and look all around:
    they are all gathered; they have come to you.
Your sons will come from far away,
    and your daughters on caregivers’ hips.
Then you will see and be radiant;
    your heart will tremble and open wide,
    because the sea’s abundance will be turned over to you;
    the nations’ wealth will come to you.
Countless camels will cover your land,
    young camels from Midian and Ephah.
They will all come from Sheba,
    carrying gold and incense,
    proclaiming the Lord’s praises.
All Kedar’s sheep will be gathered for you;
    rams from Nebaioth will be your offerings;
    they will be accepted on my altar,
    and I will glorify my splendid house.

Who are these who fly like a cloud,
    like doves to their shelters?
I’m the hope of the coastlands.
    Ships from Tarshish are in the lead
    to bring your children from afar,
    their silver and gold with them
    for the name of the Lord your God
    and for the holy one of Israel, who has glorified you.
10 Foreigners will rebuild your walls,
    and their kings will serve you.
Though in my rage I struck you down,
    in my favor I have consoled you.
11 Your gates will be open continually;
    day and night they won’t close,
    to bring to you the wealth of nations,
    and their kings led in procession.
12 The nation and the dynasty
    that won’t serve you will perish;
    such nations will be devastated.
13 Lebanon’s glory will come upon you,
    cypress, elm, and pine,
    to glorify the site of my sanctuary,
    and I will honor my royal footstool.
14 The children of your tormenters will come bending low to you;
    all who despised you will bow down at your feet.
They will call you The Lord’s City,
    Zion, of the holy one of Israel.
15 Instead of being abandoned,
    hated, and forbidden,
    I will make you majestic forever,
    a joy for all generations.
16 You will suck the milk of nations,
    and nurse at royal breasts.
    You will know that I am the Lord, your savior
    and your redeemer, the mighty one of Jacob.
17 Instead of bronze I will bring gold;
    instead of iron I will bring silver;
    instead of wood, bronze;
    and instead of stones, iron.
I will make peace your governor
    and righteousness your taskmaster.
18 Violence will no longer resound throughout your land,
    nor devastation or destruction within your borders.
You will call your walls Salvation,
    and your gates Praise.
19 The sun will no longer be your light by day,
    nor will the moon shine for illumination by night.[k]
The Lord will be your everlasting light;
    your God will be your glory.
20 Your sun will no longer set;
    your moon will no longer wane.
The Lord will be an everlasting light for you,
    and your days of mourning will be ended.
21 Your people will all be righteous;
    they will possess the land forever.
They are the shoot that I planted,
    the work of my hands, to glorify myself.
22 The least will become a thousand,
    and the smallest a powerful people.
I am the Lord; at the right moment, I will hurry it along.

Joyful proclamations

61 The Lord God’s spirit is upon me,
    because the Lord has anointed me.
He has sent me
    to bring good news to the poor,
    to bind up the brokenhearted,
    to proclaim release for captives,
        and liberation for prisoners,
    to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
        and a day of vindication for our God,
    to comfort all who mourn,
    to provide for Zion’s mourners,
    to give them a crown in place of ashes,
    oil of joy in place of mourning,
    a mantle of praise in place of discouragement.
They will be called Oaks of Righteousness,
    planted by the Lord to glorify himself.
They will rebuild the ancient ruins;
    they will restore formerly deserted places;
    they will renew ruined cities,
    places deserted in generations past.

Foreigners will stay and shepherd your sheep,
    and strangers will be your farmers and vinedressers.
You will be called The Priests of the Lord;
    Ministers of Our God, they will say about you.
You will feed on the wealth of nations,
    and fatten[l] yourself on their riches.
Instead of shame, their[m] portion will be double;
    instead of disgrace, they will rejoice over their share.
They will possess a double portion in their land;
    everlasting joy will be theirs.
I, the Lord, love justice;
    I hate robbery and dishonesty.[n]
I will faithfully give them their wage,
    and make with them an enduring covenant.
Their offspring will be known among the nations,
    and their descendants among the peoples.
All who see them will recognize
    that they are a people blessed by the Lord.

10 I surely rejoice in the Lord;
    my heart is joyful because of my God,
    because he has clothed me with clothes of victory,
    wrapped me in a robe of righteousness
    like a bridegroom in a priestly crown,
    and like a bride adorned in jewelry.
11 As the earth puts out its growth,
    and as a garden grows its seeds,
    so the Lord God will grow righteousness and praise before all the nations.

Footnotes:

  1. Isaiah 56:6 Or to the Lord
  2. Isaiah 56:6 Or serving him and loving the Lord name
  3. Isaiah 56:6 Or becoming his servants
  4. Isaiah 57:6 Or smooth things
  5. Isaiah 57:8 Heb uncertain
  6. Isaiah 57:9 Or the king
  7. Isaiah 57:9 Heb Sheol
  8. Isaiah 57:15 Or contrite
  9. Isaiah 57:15 Or contrite
  10. Isaiah 57:19 Heb uncertain
  11. Isaiah 60:19 Cf DSS (1QIsaa), LXX; MT lacks by night.
  12. Isaiah 61:6 Heb uncertain
  13. Isaiah 61:7 Or your
  14. Isaiah 61:8 Heb manuscripts, LXX, Syr, Tg; MT robbery with an entirely burned offering
Common English Bible (CEB)

Copyright © 2011 by Common English Bible

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