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Chapter 65

[a]I was ready to respond to those who did not ask,
    to be found by those who did not seek me.
I said: Here I am! Here I am!
    To a nation that did not invoke my name.(A)
I have stretched out my hands all day
    to a rebellious people,
Who walk in a way that is not good,
    following their own designs;(B)
A people who provoke me
    continually to my face,
Offering sacrifices in gardens
    and burning incense on bricks,
Sitting in tombs
    and spending the night in caves,
Eating the flesh of pigs,
    with broth of unclean meat in their dishes;
Crying out, “Hold back,
    do not come near me, lest I render you holy!”[b]
These things are smoke in my nostrils,
    a fire that burns all the day.
See, it stands written before me;
    I will not remain quiet until I have repaid in full
Your crimes and the crimes of your ancestors as well,
    says the Lord.
Since they burned incense on the mountains,
    and insulted me on the hills,
I will at once pour out in full measure
    their recompense into their laps.

Fate of the Just and Unjust in Israel

    [c]Thus says the Lord:
As when the juice is pressed from a cluster,
    and someone says, “Do not destroy it,
    for there is still good in it,”
So will I do for the sake of my servants:
    I will not destroy them all.
From Jacob I will bring forth offspring,
    from Judah, those who are to possess my mountains;
My chosen ones shall possess the land,
    my servants shall dwell there.
10 Sharon shall become a pasture for the flocks,
    the Valley of Achor a resting place for the cattle,
    for my people who have sought me.(C)
11 But you who forsake the Lord,
    who forget my holy mountain,
Who spread a table for Fortune
    and fill cups of mixed wine for Destiny,[d]
12 You I will destine for the sword;
    you shall all bow down for slaughter;
Because I called and you did not answer,
    I spoke and you did not listen,
But did what is evil in my sight
    and things I do not delight in, you chose,(D)
13     therefore thus says the Lord God:
My servants shall eat,
    but you shall go hungry;
My servants shall drink,
    but you shall be thirsty;
My servants shall rejoice,
    but you shall be put to shame;
14 My servants shall shout
    for joy of heart,
But you shall cry out for grief of heart,
    and howl for anguish of spirit.
15 You will leave your name for a curse to my chosen ones
    when the Lord God slays you,
    and calls his servants by another name.
16 Whoever invokes a blessing in the land
    shall bless by the God of truth;[e]
Whoever takes an oath in the land
    shall swear by the God of truth;
For the hardships of the past shall be forgotten
    and hidden from my eyes.

A World Renewed

17 [f]See, I am creating new heavens
    and a new earth;
The former things shall not be remembered
    nor come to mind.(E)
18 Instead, shout for joy and be glad forever
    in what I am creating.
Indeed, I am creating Jerusalem to be a joy
    and its people to be a delight;
19 I will rejoice in Jerusalem
    and exult in my people.
No longer shall the sound of weeping be heard there,
    or the sound of crying;
20 No longer shall there be in it
    an infant who lives but a few days,
    nor anyone who does not live a full lifetime;
One who dies at a hundred years shall be considered a youth,
    and one who falls short of a hundred shall be thought accursed.(F)
21 They shall build houses and live in them,
    they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit;
22 They shall not build and others live there;
    they shall not plant and others eat.
As the years of a tree, so the years of my people;
    and my chosen ones shall long enjoy
    the work of their hands.
23 They shall not toil in vain,
    nor beget children for sudden destruction;
For they shall be a people blessed by the Lord
    and their descendants with them.
24 Before they call, I will answer;
    while they are yet speaking, I will hear.
25 [g]The wolf and the lamb shall pasture together,
    and the lion shall eat hay like the ox—
    but the serpent’s food shall be dust.(G)
None shall harm or destroy
    on all my holy mountain, says the Lord.

Footnotes

  1. 65:1–7 These verses serve as a response to the preceding questions about God’s inaction (64:6, 11). It is not God who has been absent, but the people who have walked away from God by idolatrous acts and rituals (vv. 3–4). That is the reason for their punishment (vv. 6–7).
  2. 65:5 Render you holy: unclean food is what these people claim has made them sacred! The prophet ridicules them. Sacredness was understood as something communicable (cf. Ex 19:9–15).
  3. 65:8 This verse reflects the remnant theology found elsewhere in the Book of Isaiah: 1:8–9; 4:3; 6:11–13; etc.
  4. 65:11–12 Destiny: the play on words is found in the Hebrew, in which “destiny” and “destine” are menî and manîthî.
  5. 65:16 God of truth: lit., “God of Amen,” i.e., the one who keeps his word.
  6. 65:17–18 The new creation (cf. 66:22) is described with apocalyptic exuberance: long life, material prosperity, and so forth. As the former events in 43:18 are to be forgotten, so also the new creation wipes out memory of the first creation.
  7. 65:25 The imagery reflects the ideal era described in 11:6–9; see note there.

Judgment and Salvation

65 “I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me;
    I was found by those who did not seek me.(A)
To a nation(B) that did not call on my name,(C)
    I said, ‘Here am I, here am I.’
All day long I have held out my hands
    to an obstinate people,(D)
who walk in ways not good,
    pursuing their own imaginations(E)
a people who continually provoke me
    to my very face,(F)
offering sacrifices in gardens(G)
    and burning incense(H) on altars of brick;
who sit among the graves(I)
    and spend their nights keeping secret vigil;
who eat the flesh of pigs,(J)
    and whose pots hold broth of impure meat;
who say, ‘Keep away; don’t come near me,
    for I am too sacred(K) for you!’
Such people are smoke(L) in my nostrils,
    a fire that keeps burning all day.

“See, it stands written before me:
    I will not keep silent(M) but will pay back(N) in full;
    I will pay it back into their laps(O)
both your sins(P) and the sins of your ancestors,”(Q)
    says the Lord.
“Because they burned sacrifices on the mountains
    and defied me on the hills,(R)
I will measure into their laps
    the full payment(S) for their former deeds.”

This is what the Lord says:

“As when juice is still found in a cluster of grapes(T)
    and people say, ‘Don’t destroy it,
    there is still a blessing in it,’
so will I do in behalf of my servants;(U)
    I will not destroy them all.
I will bring forth descendants(V) from Jacob,
    and from Judah those who will possess(W) my mountains;
my chosen(X) people will inherit them,
    and there will my servants live.(Y)
10 Sharon(Z) will become a pasture for flocks,(AA)
    and the Valley of Achor(AB) a resting place for herds,
    for my people who seek(AC) me.

11 “But as for you who forsake(AD) the Lord
    and forget my holy mountain,(AE)
who spread a table for Fortune
    and fill bowls of mixed wine(AF) for Destiny,
12 I will destine you for the sword,(AG)
    and all of you will fall in the slaughter;(AH)
for I called but you did not answer,(AI)
    I spoke but you did not listen.(AJ)
You did evil in my sight
    and chose what displeases me.”(AK)

13 Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says:

“My servants will eat,(AL)
    but you will go hungry;(AM)
my servants will drink,(AN)
    but you will go thirsty;(AO)
my servants will rejoice,(AP)
    but you will be put to shame.(AQ)
14 My servants will sing(AR)
    out of the joy of their hearts,
but you will cry out(AS)
    from anguish of heart
    and wail in brokenness of spirit.
15 You will leave your name
    for my chosen ones to use in their curses;(AT)
the Sovereign Lord will put you to death,
    but to his servants he will give another name.(AU)
16 Whoever invokes a blessing(AV) in the land
    will do so by the one true God;(AW)
whoever takes an oath in the land
    will swear(AX) by the one true God.
For the past troubles(AY) will be forgotten
    and hidden from my eyes.

New Heavens and a New Earth

17 “See, I will create
    new heavens and a new earth.(AZ)
The former things will not be remembered,(BA)
    nor will they come to mind.
18 But be glad and rejoice(BB) forever
    in what I will create,
for I will create Jerusalem(BC) to be a delight
    and its people a joy.
19 I will rejoice(BD) over Jerusalem
    and take delight(BE) in my people;
the sound of weeping and of crying(BF)
    will be heard in it no more.

20 “Never again will there be in it
    an infant(BG) who lives but a few days,
    or an old man who does not live out his years;(BH)
the one who dies at a hundred
    will be thought a mere child;
the one who fails to reach[a] a hundred
    will be considered accursed.
21 They will build houses(BI) and dwell in them;
    they will plant vineyards and eat their fruit.(BJ)
22 No longer will they build houses and others live in them,(BK)
    or plant and others eat.
For as the days of a tree,(BL)
    so will be the days(BM) of my people;
my chosen(BN) ones will long enjoy
    the work of their hands.
23 They will not labor in vain,(BO)
    nor will they bear children doomed to misfortune;(BP)
for they will be a people blessed(BQ) by the Lord,
    they and their descendants(BR) with them.
24 Before they call(BS) I will answer;(BT)
    while they are still speaking(BU) I will hear.
25 The wolf and the lamb(BV) will feed together,
    and the lion will eat straw like the ox,(BW)
    and dust will be the serpent’s(BX) food.
They will neither harm nor destroy
    on all my holy mountain,”(BY)
says the Lord.

Footnotes

  1. Isaiah 65:20 Or the sinner who reaches

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