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Social Injustice Is Condemned

59 The Lord hasn’t lost
    his powerful strength;
he can still hear
    and answer prayers.
Your sins are the roadblock
    between you and your God.
That’s why he doesn’t answer
your prayers
    or let you see his face.

Your talk is filled with lies
    and plans for violence;
every finger on your hands
    is covered with blood.
You falsely accuse others
    and tell lies in court;
sin and trouble are the names
    of your children.
You eat the deadly eggs
    of poisonous snakes,
and more snakes crawl out
    from the eggs left to hatch.
You weave spider webs,
but you can’t make clothes
    with those webs
    or hide behind them.

You’re sinful and brutal.
You hurry off to do wrong
    or murder innocent victims.
All you think about is sin;
you leave ruin and destruction
    wherever you go.
You don’t know how
to live in peace
    or to be fair with others.
The roads you make are crooked;
your followers cannot find peace.

The People Confess Their Sins

No one has come to defend us
    or to bring about justice.
We hoped for a day of sunshine,
but all we found
    was a dark, gloomy night.
10 We feel our way along,
    as if we were blind;
we stumble at noon,
    as if it were night.
We can see no better
    than someone dead.[a]

11 We growl like bears
    and mourn like doves.
We hope for justice and victory,
    but they escape us.
12 How often have we sinned
and turned against you,
    the Lord God?
Our sins condemn us!
    We have done wrong.
13 We have rebelled and refused
    to follow you.
Our hearts were deceitful,
    and so we lied;
we planned to abuse others
    and turn our backs on you.

14 Injustice is everywhere;
    justice seems far away.
Truth is chased out of court;
    honesty is shoved aside.
15 Everyone tells lies;
those who turn from crime
    end up ruined.

The Lord Will Rescue His People

When the Lord noticed
that justice had disappeared,
    he became very displeased.
16 It disgusted him even more
to learn
that no one
    would do a thing about it.
So with his own powerful arm,
    he won victories for truth.
17 Justice was the Lord’s armor;
    saving power was his helmet;
anger and revenge
    were his clothes.

18 Now the Lord will get furious
    and do to his enemies,
both near and far,
    what they did to his people.
19 He will attack like a flood
    in a mighty windstorm.
Nations in the west and the east
will then honor and praise
    his wonderful name.
20 The Lord has promised to rescue
    the city of Zion
and Jacob’s descendants
    who turn from sin.

21 The Lord says: “My people,
I promise to give you my Spirit
    and my message.
These will be my gifts to you
    and your families forever.
I, the Lord, have spoken.”

Footnotes

  1. 59.10 We can. . . dead: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.