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Isaiah 55-57 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

An Invitation to Abundant Life

55 Ho, everyone who thirsts,
    come to the waters;
and you that have no money,
    come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
    without money and without price.
Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread,
    and your labor for that which does not satisfy?
Listen carefully to me, and eat what is good,
    and delight yourselves in rich food.
Incline your ear, and come to me;
    listen, so that you may live.
I will make with you an everlasting covenant,
    my steadfast, sure love for David.
See, I made him a witness to the peoples,
    a leader and commander for the peoples.
See, you shall call nations that you do not know,
    and nations that do not know you shall run to you,
because of the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel,
    for he has glorified you.

Seek the Lord while he may be found,
    call upon him while he is near;
let the wicked forsake their way,
    and the unrighteous their thoughts;
let them return to the Lord, that he may have mercy on them,
    and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts.

10 For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven,
    and do not return there until they have watered the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
    giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
11 so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
    it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
    and succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

12 For you shall go out in joy,
    and be led back in peace;
the mountains and the hills before you
    shall burst into song,
    and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
13 Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress;
    instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle;
and it shall be to the Lord for a memorial,
    for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.

The Covenant Extended to All Who Obey

56 Thus says the Lord:
    Maintain justice, and do what is right,
for soon my salvation will come,
    and my deliverance be revealed.

Happy is the mortal who does this,
    the one who holds it fast,
who keeps the sabbath, not profaning it,
    and refrains from doing any evil.

Do not let the foreigner joined to the Lord say,
    “The Lord will surely separate me from his people”;
and do not let the eunuch say,
    “I am just a dry tree.”
For thus says the Lord:
To the eunuchs who keep my sabbaths,
    who choose the things that please me
    and hold fast my covenant,
I will give, in my house and within my walls,
    a monument and a name
    better than sons and daughters;
I will give them an everlasting name
    that shall not be cut off.

And the foreigners who join themselves to the Lord,
    to minister to him, to love the name of the Lord,
    and to be his servants,
all who keep the sabbath, and do not profane it,
    and hold fast my covenant—
these I will bring to my holy mountain,
    and make them joyful in my house of prayer;
their burnt offerings and their sacrifices
    will be accepted on my altar;
for my house shall be called a house of prayer
    for all peoples.
Thus says the Lord God,
    who gathers the outcasts of Israel,
I will gather others to them
    besides those already gathered.[a]

The Corruption of Israel’s Rulers

All you wild animals,
    all you wild animals in the forest, come to devour!
10 Israel’s[b] sentinels are blind,
    they are all without knowledge;
they are all silent dogs
    that cannot bark;
dreaming, lying down,
    loving to slumber.
11 The dogs have a mighty appetite;
    they never have enough.
The shepherds also have no understanding;
    they have all turned to their own way,
    to their own gain, one and all.
12 “Come,” they say, “let us[c] get wine;
    let us fill ourselves with strong drink.
And tomorrow will be like today,
    great beyond measure.”

Israel’s Futile Idolatry

57 The righteous perish,
    and no one takes it to heart;
the devout are taken away,
    while no one understands.
For the righteous are taken away from calamity,
    and they enter into peace;
those who walk uprightly
    will rest on their couches.
But as for you, come here,
    you children of a sorceress,
    you offspring of an adulterer and a whore.[d]
Whom are you mocking?
    Against whom do you open your mouth wide
    and stick out your tongue?
Are you not children of transgression,
    the offspring of deceit—
you that burn with lust among the oaks,
    under every green tree;
you that slaughter your children in the valleys,
    under the clefts of the rocks?
Among the smooth stones of the valley is your portion;
    they, they, are your lot;
to them you have poured out a drink offering,
    you have brought a grain offering.
    Shall I be appeased for these things?
Upon a high and lofty mountain
    you have set your bed,
    and there you went up to offer sacrifice.
Behind the door and the doorpost
    you have set up your symbol;
for, in deserting me,[e] you have uncovered your bed,
    you have gone up to it,
    you have made it wide;
and you have made a bargain for yourself with them,
    you have loved their bed,
    you have gazed on their nakedness.[f]
You journeyed to Molech[g] with oil,
    and multiplied your perfumes;
you sent your envoys far away,
    and sent down even to Sheol.
10 You grew weary from your many wanderings,
    but you did not say, “It is useless.”
You found your desire rekindled,
    and so you did not weaken.

11 Whom did you dread and fear
    so that you lied,
and did not remember me
    or give me a thought?
Have I not kept silent and closed my eyes,[h]
    and so you do not fear me?
12 I will concede your righteousness and your works,
    but they will not help you.
13 When you cry out, let your collection of idols deliver you!
    The wind will carry them off,
    a breath will take them away.
But whoever takes refuge in me shall possess the land
    and inherit my holy mountain.

A Promise of Help and Healing

14 It shall be said,
“Build up, build up, prepare the way,
    remove every obstruction from my people’s way.”
15 For thus says the high and lofty one
    who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy:
I dwell in the high and holy place,
    and also with those who are contrite and humble in spirit,
to revive the spirit of the humble,
    and to revive the heart of the contrite.
16 For I will not continually accuse,
    nor will I always be angry;
for then the spirits would grow faint before me,
    even the souls that I have made.
17 Because of their wicked covetousness I was angry;
    I struck them, I hid and was angry;
    but they kept turning back to their own ways.
18 I have seen their ways, but I will heal them;
    I will lead them and repay them with comfort,
    creating for their mourners the fruit of the lips.[i]
19 Peace, peace, to the far and the near, says the Lord;
    and I will heal them.
20 But the wicked are like the tossing sea
    that cannot keep still;
    its waters toss up mire and mud.
21 There is no peace, says my God, for the wicked.

Footnotes:

  1. Isaiah 56:8 Heb besides his gathered ones
  2. Isaiah 56:10 Heb His
  3. Isaiah 56:12 Q Ms Syr Vg Tg: MT me
  4. Isaiah 57:3 Heb an adulterer and she plays the whore
  5. Isaiah 57:8 Meaning of Heb uncertain
  6. Isaiah 57:8 Or their phallus; Heb the hand
  7. Isaiah 57:9 Or the king
  8. Isaiah 57:11 Gk Vg: Heb silent even for a long time
  9. Isaiah 57:18 Meaning of Heb uncertain
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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