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Isaiah 59 Good News Translation (GNT)

The Prophet Condemns the People's Sins

59 Don't think that the Lord is too weak to save you or too deaf to hear your call for help! It is because of your sins that he doesn't hear you. It is your sins that separate you from God when you try to worship him. You are guilty of lying, violence, and murder.

You go to court, but you do not have justice on your side. You depend on lies to win your case. You carry out your plans to hurt others. 5-6 The evil plots you make are as deadly as the eggs of a poisonous snake. Crush an egg, out comes a snake! But your plots will do you no good—they are as useless as clothing made of cobwebs! You are always planning something evil, and you can hardly wait to do it. You never hesitate to murder innocent people. You leave ruin and destruction wherever you go, and no one is safe when you are around. Everything you do is unjust. You follow a crooked path, and no one who walks that path will ever be safe.

The People Confess Their Sin

The people say, “Now we know why God does not save us from those who oppress us. We hope for light to walk by, but there is only darkness, 10 and we grope about like blind people. We stumble at noon, as if it were night, as if we were in the dark world of the dead. 11 We are frightened and distressed. We long for God to save us from oppression and wrong, but nothing happens.

12 Lord, our crimes against you are many. Our sins accuse us. We are well aware of them all. 13 We have rebelled against you, rejected you, and refused to follow you. We have oppressed others and turned away from you. Our thoughts are false; our words are lies. 14 Justice is driven away, and right cannot come near. Truth stumbles in the public square, and honesty finds no place there. 15 There is so little honesty that those who stop doing evil find themselves the victims of crime.”

The Lord Prepares to Rescue His People

The Lord has seen this, and he is displeased that there is no justice. 16 He is astonished to see that there is no one to help the oppressed. So he will use his own power to rescue them and to win the victory. 17 He will wear justice like a coat of armor and saving power like a helmet. He will clothe himself with the strong desire to set things right and to punish and avenge the wrongs that people suffer. 18 He will punish his enemies according to what they have done, even those who live in distant lands. 19 From east to west everyone will fear him and his great power. He will come like a rushing river, like a strong wind.

20 The Lord says to his people, “I will come to Jerusalem to defend you and to save all of you that turn from your sins. 21 And I make a covenant with you: I have given you my power and my teachings to be yours forever, and from now on you are to obey me and teach your children and your descendants to obey me for all time to come.”

Good News Translation (GNT)

Copyright © 1992 by American Bible Society

Isaiah 59 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

Injustice and Oppression to Be Punished

59 See, the Lord’s hand is not too short to save,
    nor his ear too dull to hear.
Rather, your iniquities have been barriers
    between you and your God,
and your sins have hidden his face from you
    so that he does not hear.
For your hands are defiled with blood,
    and your fingers with iniquity;
your lips have spoken lies,
    your tongue mutters wickedness.
No one brings suit justly,
    no one goes to law honestly;
they rely on empty pleas, they speak lies,
    conceiving mischief and begetting iniquity.
They hatch adders’ eggs,
    and weave the spider’s web;
whoever eats their eggs dies,
    and the crushed egg hatches out a viper.
Their webs cannot serve as clothing;
    they cannot cover themselves with what they make.
Their works are works of iniquity,
    and deeds of violence are in their hands.
Their feet run to evil,
    and they rush to shed innocent blood;
their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity,
    desolation and destruction are in their highways.
The way of peace they do not know,
    and there is no justice in their paths.
Their roads they have made crooked;
    no one who walks in them knows peace.

Therefore justice is far from us,
    and righteousness does not reach us;
we wait for light, and lo! there is darkness;
    and for brightness, but we walk in gloom.
10 We grope like the blind along a wall,
    groping like those who have no eyes;
we stumble at noon as in the twilight,
    among the vigorous[a] as though we were dead.
11 We all growl like bears;
    like doves we moan mournfully.
We wait for justice, but there is none;
    for salvation, but it is far from us.
12 For our transgressions before you are many,
    and our sins testify against us.
Our transgressions indeed are with us,
    and we know our iniquities:
13 transgressing, and denying the Lord,
    and turning away from following our God,
talking oppression and revolt,
    conceiving lying words and uttering them from the heart.
14 Justice is turned back,
    and righteousness stands at a distance;
for truth stumbles in the public square,
    and uprightness cannot enter.
15 Truth is lacking,
    and whoever turns from evil is despoiled.

The Lord saw it, and it displeased him
    that there was no justice.
16 He saw that there was no one,
    and was appalled that there was no one to intervene;
so his own arm brought him victory,
    and his righteousness upheld him.
17 He put on righteousness like a breastplate,
    and a helmet of salvation on his head;
he put on garments of vengeance for clothing,
    and wrapped himself in fury as in a mantle.
18 According to their deeds, so will he repay;
    wrath to his adversaries, requital to his enemies;
    to the coastlands he will render requital.
19 So those in the west shall fear the name of the Lord,
    and those in the east, his glory;
for he will come like a pent-up stream
    that the wind of the Lord drives on.

20 And he will come to Zion as Redeemer,
    to those in Jacob who turn from transgression, says the Lord.

21 And as for me, this is my covenant with them, says the Lord: my spirit that is upon you, and my words that I have put in your mouth, shall not depart out of your mouth, or out of the mouths of your children, or out of the mouths of your children’s children, says the Lord, from now on and forever.

Footnotes:

  1. Isaiah 59:10 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.

Isaiah 59 Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)

59 Adonai’s arm is not too short to save,
nor is his ear too dull to hear.
Rather, it is your own crimes
that separate you from your God;
your sins have hidden his face from you,
so that he doesn’t hear.
For your hands are stained with blood
and your fingers with crime;
your lips speak lies,
your tongues utter wicked things.
No one sues with just cause,
no one pleads honestly in court,
they trust in empty words
and say worthless things;
they conceive trouble
and give birth to evil.
They hatch viper eggs
and spin spiderwebs;
whoever eats their eggs dies,
and the crushed egg hatches a snake.
Their webs are useless as clothing,
their deeds are useless for wearing;
their deeds are deeds of wickedness,
their hands produce violence.
Their feet run to evil,
they rush to shed innocent blood,
their thoughts are thoughts of wickedness,
their paths lead to havoc and ruin.
The way of shalom they do not know,
their goings-about obey no law,
they make devious paths for themselves;
no one treading them will ever know shalom.

This is why justice is far from us,
and righteousness doesn’t catch up with us;
we look for light, but see only darkness,
for brightness, but we walk in gloom.
10 We grope for the wall like the blind;
like people without eyes we feel our way;
we stumble at noonday as if it were dusk,
we are in dark places like the dead.
11 We growl, all of us, like bears
and moan pitifully like doves;
we look for justice, but there is none;
for salvation, but it is far from us.

12 For our crimes multiply before you,
our sins testify against us;
for our crimes are present with us;
and our sins, we know them well:
13 rebelling and denying Adonai,
turning away from following our God,
talking about oppression and revolt,
uttering lies which our hearts have conceived.

14 Thus justice is repelled,
righteousness stands apart, at a distance;
for truth stumbles in the public court,
and uprightness cannot enter.
15 Honesty is lacking,
he who leaves evil becomes a target.

Adonai saw it, and it displeased him
that there was no justice.
16 He saw that there was no one,
was amazed that no one interceded.
Therefore his own arm brought him salvation,
and his own righteousness sustained him.
17 He put on righteousness as his breastplate,
salvation as a helmet on his head;
he clothed himself with garments of vengeance
and wrapped himself in a mantle of zeal.
18 He repays according to their deeds —
fury to his foes, reprisal to his enemies;
to the coastlands he will repay their due;
19 in the west they will fear the name of Adonai,
and likewise, in the east, his glory.

For he will come like a pent-up stream,
impelled by the Spirit of Adonai.
20 “Then a Redeemer will come to Tziyon,
to those in Ya‘akov who turn from rebellion.”
So says Adonai.
21 “And as for me,” says Adonai,
“this is my covenant with them:
my Spirit, who rests on you,
and my words which I put in your mouth
will not depart from your mouth
or from the mouth of your children,
or from the mouth of your children’s children,
now or ever,” says Adonai.

Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)

Copyright © 1998 by David H. Stern. All rights reserved.

Isaiah 59 The Message (MSG)

We Long for Light but Sink into Darkness

59 1-8 Look! Listen!
    God’s arm is not amputated—he can still save.
    God’s ears are not stopped up—he can still hear.
There’s nothing wrong with God; the wrong is in you.
    Your wrongheaded lives caused the split between you and God.
    Your sins got between you so that he doesn’t hear.
Your hands are drenched in blood,
    your fingers dripping with guilt,
Your lips smeared with lies,
    your tongue swollen from muttering obscenities.
No one speaks up for the right,
    no one deals fairly.
They trust in illusion, they tell lies,
    they get pregnant with mischief and have sin-babies.
They hatch snake eggs and weave spider webs.
    Eat an egg and die; break an egg and get a snake!
The spider webs are no good for shirts or shawls.
    No one can wear these weavings!
They weave wickedness,
    they hatch violence.
They compete in the race to do evil
    and run to be the first to murder.
They plan and plot evil, think and breathe evil,
    and leave a trail of wrecked lives behind them.
They know nothing about peace
    and less than nothing about justice.
They make tortuously twisted roads.
    No peace for the wretch who walks down those roads!

9-11 Which means that we’re a far cry from fair dealing,
    and we’re not even close to right living.
We long for light but sink into darkness,
    long for brightness but stumble through the night.
Like the blind, we inch along a wall,
    groping eyeless in the dark.
We shuffle our way in broad daylight,
    like the dead, but somehow walking.
We’re no better off than bears, groaning,
    and no worse off than doves, moaning.
We look for justice—not a sign of it;
    for salvation—not so much as a hint.

12-15 Our wrongdoings pile up before you, God,
    our sins stand up and accuse us.
Our wrongdoings stare us down;
    we know in detail what we’ve done:
Mocking and denying God,
    not following our God,
Spreading false rumors, inciting sedition,
    pregnant with lies, muttering malice.
Justice is beaten back,
    Righteousness is banished to the sidelines,
Truth staggers down the street,
    Honesty is nowhere to be found,
Good is missing in action.
    Anyone renouncing evil is beaten and robbed.

15-19 God looked and saw evil looming on the horizon—
    so much evil and no sign of Justice.
He couldn’t believe what he saw:
    not a soul around to correct this awful situation.
So he did it himself, took on the work of Salvation,
    fueled by his own Righteousness.
He dressed in Righteousness, put it on like a suit of armor,
    with Salvation on his head like a helmet,
Put on Judgment like an overcoat,
    and threw a cloak of Passion across his shoulders.
He’ll make everyone pay for what they’ve done:
    fury for his foes, just deserts for his enemies.
    Even the far-off islands will get paid off in full.
In the west they’ll fear the name of God,
    in the east they’ll fear the glory of God,
For he’ll arrive like a river in flood stage,
    whipped to a torrent by the wind of God.

20 “I’ll arrive in Zion as Redeemer,
    to those in Jacob who leave their sins.”
        God’s Decree.

21 “As for me,” God says, “this is my covenant with them: My Spirit that I’ve placed upon you and the words that I’ve given you to speak, they’re not going to leave your mouths nor the mouths of your children nor the mouths of your grandchildren. You will keep repeating these words and won’t ever stop.” God’s orders.

The Message (MSG)

Copyright © 1993, 2002, 2018 by Eugene H. Peterson

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