New English Translation
Injustice Brings Alienation from God
59 Look, the Lord’s hand is not too weak[a] to deliver you;
his ear is not too deaf to hear you.[b]
2 But your sinful acts have alienated you from your God;
your sins have caused him to reject you and not listen to your prayers.[c]
3 For your hands are stained with blood
and your fingers with sin;
your lips speak lies,
your tongue utters malicious words.
4 No one is concerned about justice;[d]
no one sets forth his case truthfully.
They depend on false words[e] and tell lies;
they conceive of oppression[f]
and give birth to sin.
5 They hatch the eggs of a poisonous snake
and spin a spider’s web.
Whoever eats their eggs will die,
a poisonous snake is hatched.[g]
6 Their webs cannot be used for clothing;
they cannot cover themselves with what they make.
Their deeds are sinful;
they commit violent crimes.[h]
7 They are eager to do evil,[i]
quick to shed innocent blood.[j]
Their thoughts are sinful;
they crush and destroy.[k]
8 They are unfamiliar with peace;
their deeds are unjust.[l]
They use deceitful methods,
and whoever deals with them is unfamiliar with peace.[m]
Israel Confesses its Sin
9 For this reason deliverance[n] is far from us[o]
and salvation does not reach us.
We wait for light,[p] but see only darkness;[q]
we wait for[r] a bright light,[s] but live[t] in deep darkness.[u]
10 We grope along the wall like the blind,
we grope like those who cannot see;[v]
we stumble at noontime as if it were evening.
Though others are strong, we are like dead men.[w]
11 We all growl like bears,
we coo mournfully like doves;
we wait for deliverance,[x] but there is none,
for salvation, but it is far from us.
12 For you are aware of our many rebellious deeds,[y]
and our sins testify against us;
indeed, we are aware of our rebellious deeds;
we know our sins all too well.[z]
13 We have rebelled and tried to deceive the Lord;
we turned back from following our God.
We stir up[aa] oppression and rebellion;
we tell lies we concocted in our minds.[ab]
14 Justice is driven back;
godliness[ac] stands far off.
Indeed,[ad] honesty stumbles in the city square
and morality is not even able to enter.
15 Honesty has disappeared;
the one who tries to avoid evil is robbed.
The Lord watches and is displeased,[ae]
for there is no justice.
The Lord Intervenes
16 He sees there is no advocate;[af]
he is shocked[ag] that no one intervenes.
So he takes matters into his own hands;[ah]
his desire for justice drives him on.[ai]
17 He wears his desire for justice[aj] like body armor,[ak]
and his desire to deliver is like a helmet on his head.[al]
He puts on the garments of vengeance[am]
and wears zeal like a robe.
18 He repays them for what they have done,
dispensing angry judgment to his adversaries
and punishing his enemies.[an]
He repays the coastlands.[ao]
19 In the west, people respect[ap] the Lord’s reputation;[aq]
in the east they recognize his splendor.[ar]
For he comes like a rushing[as] stream
driven on by wind sent from the Lord.[at]
20 “A protector[au] comes to Zion,
to those in Jacob who repent of their rebellious deeds,”[av] says the Lord.
21 “As for me, this is my promise to[aw] them,” says the Lord. “My Spirit, who is upon you, and my words, which I have placed in your mouth, will not depart from your mouth or from the mouths of your children and descendants from this time forward,”[ax] says the Lord.
- Isaiah 59:1 tn Heb “short” (so NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV).
- Isaiah 59:1 tn Heb “or his ear too heavy [i.e., “dull”] to hear.”
- Isaiah 59:2 tn Heb “and your sins have caused [his] face to be hidden from you so as not to hear.”
- Isaiah 59:4 tn Heb “no one pleads with justice.”
- Isaiah 59:4 tn Heb “nothing”; NAB “emptiness.”
- Isaiah 59:4 tn Or “trouble” (NIV), or “harm.”
- Isaiah 59:5 tn Heb “that which is pressed in hatches [as] a snake.”
- Isaiah 59:6 tn Heb “their deeds are deeds of sin, and the work of violence [is] in their hands.”
- Isaiah 59:7 tn Heb “their feet run to evil.”
- Isaiah 59:7 tn Heb “they quickly pour out innocent blood.”
- Isaiah 59:7 tn Heb “their thoughts are thoughts of sin, destruction and crushing [are] in their roadways.”
- Isaiah 59:8 tn Heb “a way of peace they do not know, and there is no justice in their pathways.”
- Isaiah 59:8 tn Heb “their paths they make crooked; everyone who walks in it does not know peace.”
- Isaiah 59:9 tn מִשְׁפָּט (mishpat), which refers to “justice” in the earlier verses, here refers to “justice from God,” or “vindication.” Because the people are unjust, God refuses to vindicate them before their enemies. See v. 11.
- Isaiah 59:9 sn The prophet speaks on behalf of the sinful nation and confesses its sins.
- Isaiah 59:9 sn Light here symbolizes prosperity and blessing.
- Isaiah 59:9 tn Heb “but, look, darkness”; NIV “but all is darkness.”
- Isaiah 59:9 tn The words “we wait for” are supplied in the translation; the verb is understood by ellipsis (note the preceding line).
- Isaiah 59:9 tn The plural noun form may indicate degree here.
- Isaiah 59:9 tn Or “walk about”; NCV “all we have is darkness.”
- Isaiah 59:9 tn The plural noun form may indicate degree here.
- Isaiah 59:10 tn Heb “like there are no eyes.”
- Isaiah 59:10 tn Heb among the strong, like dead men.”
- Isaiah 59:11 tn See the note at v. 9.
- Isaiah 59:12 tn Heb “for many are our rebellious deeds before you.”
- Isaiah 59:12 tn Heb “indeed [or “for”] our rebellious deeds (are) with us, and our sins, we know them.”
- Isaiah 59:13 tn Heb “speaking.” A new sentence was started here in the translation for stylistic reasons.
- Isaiah 59:13 tn Heb “conceiving and uttering from the heart words of falsehood.”
- Isaiah 59:14 tn Or “righteousness” (ASV, NASB, NIV, NRSV); KJV, NAB “justice.”
- Isaiah 59:14 tn Or “for” (KJV, NRSV).
- Isaiah 59:15 tn Heb “and it is displeasing in his eyes.”
- Isaiah 59:16 tn Heb “man” (so KJV, ASV); TEV “no one to help.”
- Isaiah 59:16 tn Or “appalled” (NAB, NIV, NRSV), or “disgusted.”
- Isaiah 59:16 tn Heb “and his arm delivers for him.”
- Isaiah 59:16 tn Heb “and his justice [or “righteousness”] supports him.”
- Isaiah 59:17 tn Or “righteousness” (KJV, NASB, NIV, NRSV, NLT); NCV “goodness.”
- Isaiah 59:17 tn Or “a breastplate” (traditional; so many English versions); TEV “a coat of armour.”
- Isaiah 59:17 tn Heb “and [as] a helmet deliverance on his head.”
- Isaiah 59:17 tn Heb “and he puts on the clothes of vengeance [as] a garment.”
- Isaiah 59:18 tn Heb “in accordance with deeds, so he repays, anger to his adversaries, repayment to his enemies.”
- Isaiah 59:18 tn Or “islands” (KJV, NIV).
- Isaiah 59:19 tc Heb “fear.” A few medieval Hebrew mss read “see.”
- Isaiah 59:19 tn Heb “and they fear from the west the name of the Lord.”
- Isaiah 59:19 tn Heb “and from the rising of the sun his splendor.”
- Isaiah 59:19 tn Heb “narrow”; NAB, NIV, NRSV “pent-up.”
- Isaiah 59:19 tn Heb “the wind of the Lord drives it on.” The term רוּחַ (ruakh) could be translated “breath” here (see 30:28).
- Isaiah 59:20 tn Or “redeemer.” See the note at 41:14.
- Isaiah 59:20 tn Heb “and to those who turn from rebellion in Jacob.”
- Isaiah 59:21 tn Or “my covenant with” (so many English versions); NCV “my agreement with.”sn The Lord promises the repentant (note “to them”) that they and their offspring will possess his spirit and function as his spokesmen. In this regard they follow in the footsteps of the Lord’s special servant. See 42:1; 49:2; 51:16.
- Isaiah 59:21 tn Heb “from now and on into the future.”