“I was ready to respond, but no one asked for help. I was ready to be found, but no one was looking for me. I said, ‘Here I am, here I am!’ to a nation that did not call on my name.[a] 2 All day long I opened my arms to a rebellious people.[b] But they follow their own evil paths and their own crooked schemes. 3 All day long they insult me to my face by worshiping idols in their sacred gardens. They burn incense on pagan altars. 4 At night they go out among the graves, worshiping the dead. They eat the flesh of pigs and make stews with other forbidden foods. 5 Yet they say to each other, ‘Don’t come too close or you will defile me! I am holier than you!’ These people are a stench in my nostrils, an acrid smell that never goes away.
6 “Look, my decree is written out[c] in front of me: I will not stand silent; I will repay them in full! Yes, I will repay them— 7 both for their own sins and for those of their ancestors,” says the Lord. “For they also burned incense on the mountains and insulted me on the hills. I will pay them back in full!
8 “But I will not destroy them all,” says the Lord. “For just as good grapes are found among a cluster of bad ones (and someone will say, ‘Don’t throw them all away— some of those grapes are good!’), so I will not destroy all Israel. For I still have true servants there. 9 I will preserve a remnant of the people of Israel[d] and of Judah to possess my land. Those I choose will inherit it, and my servants will live there. 10 The plain of Sharon will again be filled with flocks for my people who have searched for me, and the valley of Achor will be a place to pasture herds.
11 “But because the rest of you have forsaken the Lord and have forgotten his Temple, and because you have prepared feasts to honor the god of Fate and have offered mixed wine to the god of Destiny, 12 now I will ‘destine’ you for the sword. All of you will bow down before the executioner. For when I called, you did not answer. When I spoke, you did not listen. You deliberately sinned—before my very eyes— and chose to do what you know I despise.”
13 Therefore, this is what the Sovereign Lord says: “My servants will eat, but you will starve. My servants will drink, but you will be thirsty. My servants will rejoice, but you will be sad and ashamed. 14 My servants will sing for joy, but you will cry in sorrow and despair. 15 Your name will be a curse word among my people, for the Sovereign Lord will destroy you and will call his true servants by another name. 16 All who invoke a blessing or take an oath will do so by the God of truth. For I will put aside my anger and forget the evil of earlier days.
17 “Look! I am creating new heavens and a new earth, and no one will even think about the old ones anymore. 18 Be glad; rejoice forever in my creation! And look! I will create Jerusalem as a place of happiness. Her people will be a source of joy. 19 I will rejoice over Jerusalem and delight in my people. And the sound of weeping and crying will be heard in it no more.
20 “No longer will babies die when only a few days old. No longer will adults die before they have lived a full life. No longer will people be considered old at one hundred! Only the cursed will die that young! 21 In those days people will live in the houses they build and eat the fruit of their own vineyards. 22 Unlike the past, invaders will not take their houses and confiscate their vineyards. For my people will live as long as trees, and my chosen ones will have time to enjoy their hard-won gains. 23 They will not work in vain, and their children will not be doomed to misfortune. For they are people blessed by the Lord, and their children, too, will be blessed. 24 I will answer them before they even call to me. While they are still talking about their needs, I will go ahead and answer their prayers! 25 The wolf and the lamb will feed together. The lion will eat hay like a cow. But the snakes will eat dust. In those days no one will be hurt or destroyed on my holy mountain. I, the Lord, have spoken!”
66 This is what the Lord says:
“Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. Could you build me a temple as good as that? Could you build me such a resting place? 2 My hands have made both heaven and earth; they and everything in them are mine.[e] I, the Lord, have spoken!
“I will bless those who have humble and contrite hearts, who tremble at my word. 3 But those who choose their own ways— delighting in their detestable sins— will not have their offerings accepted. When such people sacrifice a bull, it is no more acceptable than a human sacrifice. When they sacrifice a lamb, it’s as though they had sacrificed a dog! When they bring an offering of grain, they might as well offer the blood of a pig. When they burn frankincense, it’s as if they had blessed an idol. 4 I will send them great trouble— all the things they feared. For when I called, they did not answer. When I spoke, they did not listen. They deliberately sinned before my very eyes and chose to do what they know I despise.”
5 Hear this message from the Lord, all you who tremble at his words: “Your own people hate you and throw you out for being loyal to my name. ‘Let the Lord be honored!’ they scoff. ‘Be joyful in him!’ But they will be put to shame. 6 What is all the commotion in the city? What is that terrible noise from the Temple? It is the voice of the Lord taking vengeance against his enemies.
7 “Before the birth pains even begin, Jerusalem gives birth to a son. 8 Who has ever seen anything as strange as this? Who ever heard of such a thing? Has a nation ever been born in a single day? Has a country ever come forth in a mere moment? But by the time Jerusalem’s[f] birth pains begin, her children will be born. 9 Would I ever bring this nation to the point of birth and then not deliver it?” asks the Lord. “No! I would never keep this nation from being born,” says your God.
10 “Rejoice with Jerusalem! Be glad with her, all you who love her and all you who mourn for her. 11 Drink deeply of her glory even as an infant drinks at its mother’s comforting breasts.”
12 This is what the Lord says: “I will give Jerusalem a river of peace and prosperity. The wealth of the nations will flow to her. Her children will be nursed at her breasts, carried in her arms, and held on her lap. 13 I will comfort you there in Jerusalem as a mother comforts her child.”
14 When you see these things, your heart will rejoice. You will flourish like the grass! Everyone will see the Lord’s hand of blessing on his servants— and his anger against his enemies. 15 See, the Lord is coming with fire, and his swift chariots roar like a whirlwind. He will bring punishment with the fury of his anger and the flaming fire of his hot rebuke. 16 The Lord will punish the world by fire and by his sword. He will judge the earth, and many will be killed by him.
17 “Those who ‘consecrate’ and ‘purify’ themselves in a sacred garden with its idol in the center—feasting on pork and rats and other detestable meats—will come to a terrible end,” says the Lord.
18 “I can see what they are doing, and I know what they are thinking. So I will gather all nations and peoples together, and they will see my glory.19 I will perform a sign among them. And I will send those who survive to be messengers to the nations—to Tarshish, to the Libyans[g] and Lydians[h] (who are famous as archers), to Tubal and Greece,[i] and to all the lands beyond the sea that have not heard of my fame or seen my glory. There they will declare my glory to the nations.20 They will bring the remnant of your people back from every nation. They will bring them to my holy mountain in Jerusalem as an offering to the Lord. They will ride on horses, in chariots and wagons, and on mules and camels,” says the Lord.21 “And I will appoint some of them to be my priests and Levites. I, the Lord, have spoken!
22 “As surely as my new heavens and earth will remain, so will you always be my people, with a name that will never disappear,” says the Lord. 23 “All humanity will come to worship me from week to week and from month to month. 24 And as they go out, they will see the dead bodies of those who have rebelled against me. For the worms that devour them will never die, and the fire that burns them will never go out. All who pass by will view them with utter horror.”
65:1-2Greek version reads I was found by people who were not looking for me. / I showed myself to those who were not asking for me. / All day long I opened my arms to them, / but they were disobedient and rebellious. Compare Rom 10:20-21.
65:6Or their sins are written out; Hebrew reads it stands written.
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