Isaiah 57

Chapter 57

1 Those who are righteous perish,
but no one takes it to heart.
Those who are devout are taken away,
and no one understands
that the righteous are taken away
to be spared from evil.
2 Those who have walked uprightly
enter into peace;
they find rest as they lie in death.

The Unrighteous

3 But as for you, come here,
you children of a sorceress,
you offspring of an adulterer and a harlot!
4 Whom are you mocking?
At whom do you open your mouths
and stick out your tongues?
Are you not a rebellious brood,
the offspring of liars?
5 You burn with lust among the oaks
and under every spreading tree,
sacrificing your children in the ravines
and under the clefts in the rocks.[a]
6 The smooth stones of the ravines will be your portion;
these are your lot.
To them you poured out libations
and brought forth your cereal offerings.
Should such acts appease me?
7 Upon a high and lofty mountain
you have placed your bed,
and there you went up to offer sacrifice.
8 Behind the door and the doorpost
you have displayed your pagan symbols.
Forsaking me, you have uncovered your bed;
you climbed into it and opened it wide.
You struck a profitable bargain
with those whose beds you love,
and you gazed endlessly at their nakedness.
9 You approached the king with oil,
having lavished your body with perfumes.
You sent forth your procurers far and wide,
even to the depths of Sheol.[b]
10 Although exhausted by your endless travels,
you never said, “It is useless.”
You realized that your desire had been rekindled,
and so you never gave up.
11 Whom did you so greatly dread and fear
that you betrayed me
and no longer remembered me
or gave me any thought?
Is it because I was silent for so long a time
that you do not fear me?
12 Now I will expose your conduct
that you regard as so righteous.
13 When you cry out for help,
your collection of idols will not save you.
The wind will carry off all of them;
a gentle breeze will bear them away.
But whoever makes me his refuge
will possess the land
and inherit my holy mountain.

Compassion for the Afflicted

14 Then the Lord will say:
Build up, build up! Prepare the way!
Remove every obstruction from my people’s path.
15 For thus says the One who is high and exalted,
who lives eternally
and whose name is holy:
I dwell in a high and holy place
but I am with the contrite and the humble,
to revive the spirit of the humble
and to revive the heart of the contrite.
16 I will not accuse forever,
nor will I always be angry.
For then the spirits of the souls that I have made
would grow faint because of me.
17 Because of their wicked avarice I was angry,
and I struck them, keeping myself hidden,
but they continued on their rebellious path.
18 I saw how they behaved, but I will heal them;
I will lead them and fill them with consolation,
both them and those who mourn for them.
19 Peace, peace to all, both far and near,
and I will heal them, says the Lord.
20 But the wicked are like the restless sea that cannot be still;
its waters cast up mud and dirt.
21 There is no peace for the wicked,
says my God.

Footnotes

  1. Isaiah 57:5 The reference is to fertility cults.
  2. Isaiah 57:9 If there is a play on the Hebrew word melek, Molech is perhaps the king (see 2 Ki 23:10); the second part of the verse alludes to the worship of underworld divinities or of the dead.

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