Isaiah 65

Chapter 65

Punishment of the Idolaters

1 I was eager to respond
to those who did not consult me.
I was anxious to be approached
by those who did not seek me.
I said, “Here I am! Here I am!”
to a nation that did not summon me.
2 Throughout each day I held out my hands
and appealed to a rebellious people
who walk along evil paths
in pursuit of their own desires.
3 [a]These people provoke me to anger
continually, to my face,
offering sacrifices in gardens
and burning incense on bricks.
4 They live in the midst of tombs
and spend the night in secret places,
eating the flesh of pigs
and filling their plates with unclean food,
5 as they cry out, “Keep away!
Do not touch me,
for I am too sacred for you.”
Such people to me are like choking smoke,
a fire that smolders throughout the day.
6 Their deeds have been inscribed in my memory;
I will not remain silent until I have repaid in full
7 your iniquities and those of your ancestors,
says the Lord.
Since they burned incense on the mountains
and shamed me on the hills,
I will measure into their laps
the full payment that their deeds deserve.

Fate of Israel’s Righteous and Unfaithful

8 Thus says the Lord:
As in the harvest of grapes
juice is often still found in the cluster,
and people say, “Do not discard them,
for some good still remains in them,”
so I will act for the sake of my servants
and not destroy them all.
9 From Jacob I will bring forth descendants,
and from Judah those who will inherit my mountains.
My chosen ones will take possession of the land,
and my servants will settle there.
10 Sharon will serve as a pasture for flocks
and the Valley of Achor will be
a resting place for cattle.
11 However, those of you who forsake the Lord
and forget my holy mountain,
who spread a table for Fortune[b]
and fill cups of mixed wine for Fate,
12 I will destine you for the sword,
and all of you will submit to the slaughter,
because, when I called, you did not respond,
and when I spoke, you refused to listen.
Rather, you did what was evil in my sight
and chose to do what displeases me.
13 Therefore, this is what I have decreed,
says the Lord God:
My servants will eat,
but you will go hungry;
my servants will drink,
but you will be thirsty;
my servants will rejoice,
but you will be put to shame;
14 with gladness in their hearts
my servants will sing for joy,
but you will cry out in heartfelt grief
and wail in your anguish of spirit.
15 The Lord God will strike you dead
and his chosen ones will use your name as a curse,
but he will call his servants by a different name.
16 Then anyone in the land who blesses himself
will bless himself by the God of truth,
and anyone who takes an oath in the land
will swear by the God of truth,
because the troubles of the past will be forgotten
and hidden from my sight.

A Renewed World[c]

17 For behold, I am about to create
new heavens and a new earth.
The past will not be remembered
or ever again called to mind.
18 Rather, rejoice and be filled with delight forever
at what I am creating;
for I am about to create Jerusalem as a delight
and her people as a cause of joy.
19 I will take delight in Jerusalem
and rejoice in my people.
No more will be heard there
the sound of weeping or the cries of distress.
20 Never again will an infant be there
who dies after a few days of life
or an old man who fails to live his allotted days.
For one who dies at the age of one hundred
will be regarded as a youth,
while one who fails to achieve a hundred years
will be considered accursed.[d]
21 They will live in the houses they have built;
they will plant vineyards and eat their fruit.
22 They will not build houses for others to dwell in
or plant for others to eat.
For the days of my people will be
like the days of a tree,
and my chosen ones will enjoy
the work of their hands.
23 They will not labor in vain
or bear children destined for calamity.
For they will be offspring blessed by the Lord,
as will their descendants after them.
24 Even before they call out to me,
I will answer;
while they are still speaking,
I will respond.
25 The wolf and the lamb will feed together,
and the lion will eat straw like the ox,
but as for the serpent,
its food will be dust.
No harm or destruction will be done
on all my holy mountain,
says the Lord.

Footnotes

  1. Isaiah 65:3 Allusions to idolatrous practices. The night spent in secret places refers perhaps to the rite of incubation, during which people awaited revelations through dreams.
  2. Isaiah 65:11 Fortune: literally, “Gad,” the Aramean god of fortune. Fate: literally, “Meni,” another divinity.
  3. Isaiah 65:17 The oracle looks beyond a restored Jerusalem to a future time when the prosperity and harmony that marked the beginnings of humankind are to be restored; this prosperity and harmony are expressed in images of paradisal life that were familiar to the ancients. Amid oracles that strike terror, here is a song of indestructible hope: a renewed world is coming in which sin will no longer exist (see also Isa 11:6-9). The Church awaits this new world for all of humanity; the dawn of this world breaks on Easter morning (2 Pet 3:13; Rev 21).
  4. Isaiah 65:20 Since the prospect of resurrection is still unknown, longevity is seen as a special sign of divine protection.

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