Isaiah 57 - Israel’s Futile Idolatry, A Promise of Help and Healing
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, 2 and they enter into peace; those who walk uprightly will rest on their couches. 3 But as for you, come here, you children of a sorceress, you offspring of an adulterer and a whore.[a] 4 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— 5 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? 6 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? 7 Upon a high and lofty mountain you have set your bed, and there you went up to offer sacrifice. 8 Behind the door and the doorpost you have set up your symbol; for, in deserting me,[b] 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.[c] 9 You journeyed to Molech[d] 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,[e] 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.[f] 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.
a. Isaiah 57:3 Heb an adulterer and she plays the whore
b. Isaiah 57:8 Meaning of Heb uncertain
c. Isaiah 57:8 Or their phallus; Heb the hand
d. Isaiah 57:9 Or the king
e. Isaiah 57:11 Gk Vg: Heb silent even for a long time
f. 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.