Separation from God
59 Behold, the Lord’s hand is not so short
That it cannot save,
Nor His ear so [a]impaired
That it cannot hear.
But your wickedness has separated you from 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 wickedness [with sin, with injustice, with wrongdoing];
Your lips have spoken lies,
Your tongue mutters wickedness.
No one sues righteously [but for the sake of doing injury to others—to take some undue advantage], and no one pleads [his case] in truth; [but rather]
They trust in empty arguments and speak lies;
They conceive trouble and bring forth injustice.
They hatch vipers’ eggs and weave the spider’s webs;
He who eats of their eggs dies,
And from an egg which is crushed a viper breaks out.
Their webs will not serve as clothing,
Nor will they cover themselves with what they make;
Their works are works of wickedness [of sin, of injustice, of wrongdoing],
And the act of violence is in their hands.
Their feet run to evil,
And they rush to shed innocent blood.
Their thoughts are thoughts of wickedness [of sin, of injustice, of wrongdoing];
Devastation and destruction are in their highways.
They do not know the way of peace,
And there is no justice in their tracks.
They have made them into crooked paths;
Whoever walks on them does not know peace.(A)
A Confession of Wickedness
Therefore justice is far from us,
And righteousness does not overtake us.
We [expectantly] hope for light, but only see darkness;
We hope for gleam of light, but we walk in darkness and gloom.
We grope for a wall like the blind,
We grope like those who have no eyes.
We stumble at midday as in the twilight;
Among those who are healthy we are like dead men.
We all groan and growl like bears,
And coo sadly like doves;
We hope for justice, but there is none,
For salvation, but it is far from us.
For our transgressions are multiplied before You [O Lord],
And our sins testify against us;
For our transgressions are with us,
And we know and recognize our wickedness [our sin, our injustice, our wrongdoing]:
Rebelling against and denying the Lord,
Turning away from [following] our God,
Speaking oppression and revolt,
Conceiving and muttering from the heart lying words.
Justice is pushed back,
And righteous behavior stands far away;
For truth has fallen in the city square,
And [b]integrity cannot enter.
Yes, truth is missing;
And he who turns away from evil makes himself a prey.
Now the Lord saw it,
And it [c]displeased Him that there was no justice.
He saw that there was no man,
And was amazed that there was no one to intercede [on behalf of truth and right];
Therefore His own arm brought salvation to Him,
And His own righteousness sustained Him.(B)
For He [the Lord] put on righteousness like a coat of armor,
And salvation like a helmet on His head;
He put on garments of vengeance for clothing
And covered Himself with zeal [and great love for His people] as a cloak.(C)
As their deeds deserve, so He will repay:
Wrath to His adversaries, retribution to His enemies;
To the islands and coastlands He will repay.
So they will fear the name of the Lord from the west
And His glory from the rising of the sun.
For He will come in like a narrow, rushing stream
Which the [d]breath of the Lord drives [overwhelming the enemy].(D)
“A Redeemer (Messiah) will come to Zion,
And to those in Jacob (Israel) who turn from transgression (sin),” declares the Lord.
21 “As for Me, this is My covenant with them,” says the Lord: “My Spirit which is upon you [writing the law of God on the heart], and My words which I have put in your mouth shall not depart from your mouth, nor from the mouths of your [true, spiritual] [e]children, nor from the mouth of your children’s children,” says the Lord, “from now and forever.”(E)
A Glorified Zion
60 “Arise [from spiritual depression to a new life], shine [be radiant with the glory and brilliance of the Lord]; for your light has come,
And the glory and brilliance of the Lord has risen upon you.(F)
“For in fact, darkness will cover the earth
And deep darkness will cover the peoples;
But the Lord will rise upon you [Jerusalem]
And His glory and brilliance will be seen on you.(G)
“Nations will come to your light,
And kings to the brightness of your rising.(H)
“Lift up your eyes around you and see;
They all gather together, they come to you.
Your sons will come from far away,
And your daughters will be looked after at their side.
“Then you will see and be radiant,
And your heart will tremble [with joy] and rejoice
Because the abundant wealth of the seas will [f]be brought to you,
The wealth of the nations will come to you.(I)
“A multitude of camels [from the eastern trading tribes] will cover you [Jerusalem],
The young camels of Midian and Ephah;
All those from Sheba [who once came to trade] will come
Bringing gold and frankincense
And proclaiming the praises of the Lord.(J)
“All the flocks of Kedar will be gathered to you [as the eastern pastoral tribes join the trading tribes],
The rams of Nebaioth will serve you;
They will go up with acceptance [as sacrifices] on My altar,
And I will glorify the house of My honor and splendor.
“Who are these who fly like a cloud
And like doves to their windows?
“The islands and coastlands will confidently wait for Me;
And the ships of Tarshish will come first,
To bring your sons from far away,
Their silver and gold with them,
For the name of the Lord your God,
For the Holy One of Israel because He has glorified you.
“Foreigners will build up your walls,
And their kings will serve you;
For in My [righteous] wrath I struck you,
But in My favor and grace I have had compassion on you.
“Your gates will be open continually;
They shall not be shut day or night,
So that people may bring to you the wealth of the nations—
With their kings led in procession.(K)
“For the nation or the kingdom which will not serve you [Jerusalem] shall perish,
And the nations [that refuse to serve] shall be utterly ruined.
“The glory of Lebanon will come to you,
The [g]cypress, the juniper, and the cedar together,
To beautify the place of My sanctuary;
And I will honor and make the place of My feet glorious.
“The sons of those who oppressed you will come bowing down to you [in submission],
And all those who despised you and treated you disrespectfully will bow down at the soles of your feet,
And they will call you the City of the Lord,
The Zion of the Holy One of Israel.(L)
“Whereas you [Jerusalem] have been abandoned and hated
With no one passing through,
I will make you an object of pride forever,
A joy from generation to generation.
“You will suck the milk of the [Gentile] nations
And suck the breast (abundance) of kings;
Then you will recognize and know that I, the Lord, am your Savior
And your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.
“Instead of bronze I will bring gold,
And instead of iron I will bring silver,
And instead of wood, bronze,
And instead of stones, iron.
And [instead of the tyranny of the present] I will appoint peace as your officers,
And righteousness your rulers.
“Violence will not be heard again in your land,
Nor devastation or destruction within your borders;
But you will call your walls Salvation, and your gates Praise [to God].
“The sun will no longer be your light by day,
Nor shall the bright glow of the moon give light to you,
But the Lord will be an everlasting light for you;
And your God will be your glory and splendor.(M)
“Your sun will no longer set,
Nor will your moon wane;
For the Lord will be your everlasting light,
And the days of your mourning will be over.
“Then all your people will be [uncompromisingly and consistently] righteous;
They will possess the land forever,
The branch of My planting,
The work of My hands,
That I may be glorified.
“The smallest one will become a thousand (a clan),
And the least one a mighty nation.
I, the Lord, will quicken it in its [appointed] time.”
Exaltation of the Afflicted
61 The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
Because the Lord has anointed and commissioned me
To bring good news to the humble and afflicted;
He has sent me to bind up [the wounds of] the brokenhearted,
To proclaim release [from confinement and condemnation] to the [physical and spiritual] captives
And freedom to prisoners,(N)
To proclaim [h]the favorable year of the Lord,
[i]And the day of vengeance and retribution of our God,
To comfort all who mourn,(O)
To grant to those who mourn in Zion the following:
To give them a [j]turban instead of dust [on their heads, a sign of mourning],
The oil of joy instead of mourning,
The garment [expressive] of praise instead of a disheartened spirit.
So they will be called the trees of righteousness [strong and magnificent, distinguished for integrity, justice, and right standing with God],
The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.
Then they will rebuild the ancient ruins,
They will raise up and restore the former desolations;
And they will renew the ruined cities,
The desolations (deserted settlements) of many generations.
Strangers will stand and feed your flocks,
And foreigners will be your farmers and your vinedressers.
But you shall be called the priests of the Lord;
People will speak of you as the ministers of our God.
You will eat the wealth of nations,
And you will boast of their riches.(P)
Instead of your [former] shame you will have a [k]double portion;
And instead of humiliation your people will shout for joy over their portion.
Therefore in their land they will possess double [what they had forfeited];
Everlasting joy will be theirs.
For I, the Lord, love justice;
I hate robbery with [l]a burnt offering.
And I will faithfully reward them,
And make an everlasting covenant with them.
Then their offspring will be known among the nations,
And their descendants among the peoples.
All who see them [in their prosperity] will recognize and acknowledge them
That they are the people whom the Lord has blessed.
I will rejoice greatly in the Lord,
My soul will exult in my God;
For He has clothed me with garments of salvation,
He has covered me with a robe of righteousness,
As a bridegroom puts on a [m]turban,
And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
For as the earth brings forth its sprouts,
And as a garden causes what is sown in it to spring up,
So the Lord God will [most certainly] cause righteousness and justice and praise
To spring up before all the nations [through the power of His word].
Zion’s Glory and New Name
62 For Zion’s sake I (Isaiah) will not be silent,
And for Jerusalem’s sake I will not keep quiet,
Until her righteousness and vindication go forth as brightness,
And her salvation goes forth like a burning torch.
The nations will see your righteousness and vindication [by God],
And all kings [will see] your glory;
And you will be called by a new name
Which the mouth of the Lord will designate.(Q)
You will also be [considered] a crown of glory and splendor in the hand of the Lord,
And a royal [n]diadem [exceedingly beautiful] in the hand of your God.
It will no longer be said of you [Judah], “Azubah (Abandoned),”
Nor will it any longer be said of your land, “Shemamah (Desolate)”;
But you will be called, “Hephzibah (My Delight is in Her),”
And your land, “[o]Married”;
For the Lord delights in you,
And to Him your land will be married [owned and protected by the Lord].
For as a young man marries a virgin [O Jerusalem],
[p]So your sons will marry you;
And as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride,
So your God will rejoice over you.
On your walls, O Jerusalem, I have appointed and stationed watchmen (prophets),
Who will never keep silent day or night;
You who profess the Lord, take no rest for yourselves,
And give Him no rest [from your prayers] until He establishes Jerusalem
And makes her a praise on the earth.
The Lord has sworn [an oath] by His right hand and by His mighty arm,
“I will never again give your grain as food for your enemies,
Nor will [the invading] foreigners drink your new wine for which you have labored.”
But they who have harvested it will eat it and praise the Lord,
And they who have gathered it will drink it [at the feasts celebrated] in the courtyards of My sanctuary.
Go through, go through the gates,
Clear the way for the people;
Build up, build up the highway,
Remove the stones, lift up a banner over the peoples.
Listen carefully, the Lord has proclaimed to the end of the earth,
Say to the Daughter of Zion, “Look now, your salvation is coming [in the Lord];
Indeed, His reward is with Him, and His restitution accompanies Him.”(R)
And they will call them “The Holy People,
The Redeemed of the Lord”;
And you will be called “Sought Out, A City Not Deserted.”
God’s Vengeance on the Nations
63 Who is this who comes from Edom,
With crimson-stained garments from Bozrah [in Edom],
This One (the Messiah) who is majestic in His apparel,
Marching in the greatness of His might?
“It is I, [the One] who speaks in righteousness [proclaiming vindication], mighty to save.”
Why is Your apparel red,
And Your garments like the one who treads in the wine press?
“I have trodden the wine trough alone,
And of the peoples there was no one with Me.
I also trod them in My anger
And trampled them in My wrath;
And their lifeblood is sprinkled on My garments,
And I stained all My clothes.
“For the day of vengeance [against ungodliness] was in My heart,
And My year of redemption [of those who put their trust in Me—the year of My redeemed] has come.
“I looked, but there was no one to help,
And I was amazed and appalled that there was no one to uphold [truth and right].
So My own arm brought salvation to Me,
And My wrath sustained Me.
“I trampled the peoples in My anger
And made them drunk with [the cup of] My wrath,
And I spilled their lifeblood on the earth.”
God’s Ancient Mercies Recalled
I will tell of the lovingkindnesses of the Lord, and the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord,
According to all that the Lord has done for us,
And His great goodness toward the house of Israel,
Which He has shown them according to His compassion
And according to the abundance of His lovingkindnesses.
For He said, “Be assured, they are My people,
Sons who will not be faithless.”
So He became their Savior [in all their distresses].
In all their distress He was distressed,
And the [q]angel of His presence saved them,
In His love and in His compassion He redeemed them;
And He lifted them up and carried them all the days of old.(S)
But they rebelled
And grieved His Holy Spirit;
Therefore He changed into their enemy,
And He fought against them.
Then His people remembered the days of old, of Moses [and they said],
Where is He who brought our fathers up out of the [Red] Sea, with the shepherds of His flock [Moses and Aaron]?
Where is He who put His Holy Spirit in their midst,
Who caused His glorious arm and infinite power to go at the right hand of Moses,
Dividing the waters before them to make for Himself an everlasting name,
Who led them through the depths [of the Red Sea],
Like a horse in the wilderness, [so that] they did not stumble?
Like the cattle that go down into the valley [to find better pasture and rest],
The Spirit of the Lord gave them rest.
So You led Your people [O Lord]
To make for Yourself a beautiful and glorious name [preparing the way for the acknowledgment of Your name by all nations].
“You Are Our Father”
Look down from heaven and see from Your lofty dwelling place, holy and glorious.
Where are Your zeal and Your mighty acts [Your miracles which you did for Your people]?
The stirring of Your heart and Your compassion are restrained and withheld from me.
For [most certainly] You are our Father, even though Abraham [our ancestor] does not know us
And Israel does not acknowledge us.
You, O Lord, are [still] our Father,
Our Redeemer from everlasting is Your name.
O Lord, why do You cause us to stray from Your ways
And harden our heart from fearing You [with reverence and awe]?
Return for Your servants’ sake, the tribes of Your heritage.
Your holy people possessed Your sanctuary for [only] a little while;
Our adversaries have trampled it down.
We have become like those over whom You have never ruled,
Like those who were not called by Your name.
- Isaiah 59:1 Lit dull.
- Isaiah 59:14 Lit straightforwardness.
- Isaiah 59:15 Lit was evil in His eyes.
- Isaiah 59:19 Or Spirit.
- Isaiah 59:21 Lit seed.
- Isaiah 60:5 Lit fall upon.
- Isaiah 60:13 The specific kinds of trees are uncertain.
- Isaiah 61:2 The same as a day of salvation (49:8), and the year of my redeemed (63:4).
- Isaiah 61:2 See note Ezek 34:28.
- Isaiah 61:3 In the Hebrew there is a kind of wordplay here as “turban” (Heb pe’er) and dust (epher) have the same consonants and similar vowels.
- Isaiah 61:7 I.e. abundant reward.
- Isaiah 61:8 Another reading is wrongdoing or malice, but by itself either would hardly be an improvement. Some prefer to read with as “and,” which requires the assumption of a scribal error that is possible though not found in existing manuscripts. It would also raise the question of why robbery is singled out among other kinds of wrongdoing. In the Talmud the verse is taken to refer literally to the theft of an animal which the thief intends to offer as a sacrifice. The point is that the offering is unacceptable even though everything actually belongs to God and the thief arguably is only returning to God what is His.
- Isaiah 61:10 Or head wrap.
- Isaiah 62:3 Lit headband.
- Isaiah 62:4 I.e. Beulah, pronounced Be-oo-lah.
- Isaiah 62:5 The ancient rabbis interpreted marry in the sense of making a home with the bride, which would correspond to the resettling of Jerusalem by Israelites.
- Isaiah 63:9 See note Gen 16:7.