Isaiah 57:1-21 NIV
1The righteous perish,
and no one takes it to heart;
the devout are taken away,
and no one understands
that the righteous are taken away
to be spared from evil.
2Those who walk uprightly
enter into peace;
they find rest as they lie in death.
3“But you—come here, you children of a sorceress,
you offspring of adulterers and prostitutes!
4Who are you mocking?
At whom do you sneer
and stick out your tongue?
Are you not a brood of rebels,
the offspring of liars?
5You burn with lust among the oaks
and under every spreading tree;
you sacrifice your children in the ravines
and under the overhanging crags.
6The idols among the smooth stones of the ravines are your portion;
indeed, they are your lot.
Yes, to them you have poured out drink offerings
and offered grain offerings.
In view of all this, Should I Relent?
7You have made your bed on a high and lofty hill;
there you went up to offer your sacrifices.
8Behind your doors and your doorposts
you have put your pagan symbols.
Forsaking ME, you uncovered your bed,
you climbed into it and opened it wide;
you made a pact with those whose beds you love,
and you looked with lust on their naked bodies.
and increased your perfumes.
You sent your ambassadors far away;
you descended to the very realm of the dead!
10You wearied yourself by such going about,
but you would not say, ‘It is hopeless.’
You found renewal of your strength,
and so you did not faint.
11“Whom have you so dreaded and feared
that you have not been true to ME,
and have neither remembered ME
nor taken this to heart?
Is it not because I Have Long Been Silent
that you do not fear ME?
12I Will Expose your righteousness and your works,
and they will not benefit you.
13When you cry out for help,
let your collection of idols save you!
The wind will carry all of them off,
a mere breath will blow them away.
But whoever takes refuge in ME
will inherit the land
and possess MY Holy Mountain.”
Comfort for the Contrite
14And it will be said:
“Build up, build up, prepare the road!
Remove the obstacles out of the way of MY people.”
15 For This Is What The HIGH and EXALTED ONE Says—
HE WHO Lives Forever, WHOSE Name Is HOLY:
“I Live in a HIGH and HOLY Place,
but also with the one who is contrite and lowly in spirit,
to revive the spirit of the lowly
and to revive the heart of the contrite.
16I Will Not Accuse them forever,
nor Will I always Be Angry,
for then they would faint away because of ME—
the very people I Have Created.
17I Was Enraged by their sinful greed;
I Punished them, and Hid MY Face in Anger,
yet they kept on in their willful ways.
18I Have Seen their ways, but I Will Heal them;
I Will Guide them and Restore comfort to Israel’s mourners,
19Creating praise on their lips.
Peace, peace, to those far and near,”
Says The LORD. “And I Will Heal them.”
20But the wicked are like the tossing sea,
which cannot rest,
whose waves cast up mire and mud.
21“There is no peace,”
Says my GOD,
“for the wicked.”
Says my GOD,
“for the wicked.”
This chapter is evidently closely connected in sense with Isaiah 56:9-12. In the closing part of the last chapter the prophet had said that the land of Israel would be invaded by foreign armies, represented under the image of ravening beasts come to devour. One of the causes of this he had also stated, namely, the general licentiousness, avarice, and intemperance of the rulers of the nation.
The same general subject is pursued in this chapter, which has been very improperly separated from the preceding. In this the prophet states specifically the sins of the nation at large, evidently as a reason why the calamities of the foreign invasion were coming upon them. It is probable that the chapter has primary reference to the times of Manasseh. Of the characteristics of his cruel reign, see the Introduction, Section 3. It was a time of persecution and blood. The righteous were put to death; the public service of GOD was profaned and desecrated; and the evils of idolatry were seen and felt, under the royal patronage, throughout the land. Yet notwithstanding this, the nation was stupid and insensible. They were not affected as they should have been by the fact that the righteous were cut off by persecution, and that idolatry was patronized throughout the land. A few, like the prophets, felt, and deeply felt. Their hearts were desponding, and their spirits drooped. To encourage them, and to rebuke the mass of the stupid and guilty nation, was the design of this chapter.
It may be regarded as divided into three parts:
I. The fact that the righteous were put to death, and yet that the nation was sunk in deep and deplorable stupidity.
1. The proof of the insensibility of the nation, visible in the fact that the just were taken away, and that they were unmoved Isaiah 57:1.
2. A statement of the comparative happy condition of the righteous, though they suffered under persecution, and were put to a violent death (Isaiah 57:1, last part, Isaiah 57:2). So far as they were concerned it was well, for
(1) they were taken away from more fearful approaching evils.
(2) they entered into rest.
II. A solemn address of YAHWEH, HIMSELF Sitting as Judge on the Tribunal, and Stating the crimes and Demonstrating the guilt of the nation Isaiah 57:3-14.
1. The nation summoned Before HIM as having been apostatized - under the image so common in the prophets of their being guilty of adultery Isaiah 57:3.
2. They were guilty of falsehood and unfaithfulness to HIM, and of deriding HIS Government and Laws Isaiah 57:4.
3. The statement of the prevalence of idolatry in all parts of the nation, under every green tree, in every valley, in the clefts of the rocks, upon every mountain, and in every secret place Isaiah 57:5-8.
4. They bad gone and sought alliance with foreign powers; under the image of a woman unfaithful to her marriage vow Isaiah 57:9.
5. They had not feared GOD in the prevalence of the evil and in the corruption of the nation Isaiah 57:10-11.
6. For all this GOD Denounces heavy judgment Isaiah 57:12-14. Their works should not profit them Isaiah 57:12; nothing on which they relied could deliver them (Isaiah 57:13, first part); but the pious who confided in GOD should be protected (Isaiah 57:13, last part); and the stumbling-block should be taken up out of the way of His people Isaiah 57:14.
III. Consolation and assurances of pardon, protection, and peace to those who would repent and put their trust in GOD. Their state contrasted with that of the wicked Isaiah 57:15-21.
1. The righteous Isaiah 57:15-19.
(1) Though GOD Was High and Great and Holy, yet HE Dwelt with the lowly and the penitent. They were, therefore, encouraged to return Isaiah 57:15.
(2) Though HE Had Entered into controversy with His people for their sins, yet HE Would Not Continue it forever. The feeble powers of man could not long endure the expressions of HIS Displeasure, and HE therefore Would Withdraw the tokens of HIS Wrath Isaiah 57:16.
(3) HE Had indeed Punished HIS people for their covetousness, but HE Would Restore comfort to those who mourned over their sins Isaiah 57:17-18.
(4) HE Was the Author of Peace, and all who were afar off, and all who were near, who would return to Him, should enjoy it Isaiah 57:19.
2. The wicked. Their condition was one strongly contrasted with that of the righteous Isaiah 57:20-21.
(1) They were like the troubled sea Isaiah 57:20.
(2) They had no peace Isaiah 57:21.