The LORD's Everlasting Love for Israel
54 1 Let your voice be loud in song, O woman without children; make melody and sounds of joy, you who did not give birth: for the children of her who had no husband are more than those of the married wife, says the Lord. 2 Make wide the place of your tent, and let the curtains of your house be stretched out without limit: make your cords long, and your tent-pins strong. 3 For I will make wide your limits on the right hand and on the left; and your seed will take the nations for a heritage, and make the waste towns full of people. 4 Have no fear; for you will not be shamed or without hope: you will not be put to shame, for the shame of your earlier days will go out of your memory, and you will no longer keep in mind the sorrows of your widowed years. 5 For your Maker is your husband; the Lord of armies is his name: and the Holy One of Israel is he who takes up your cause; he will be named the God of all the earth.
6 For the Lord has made you come back to him, like a wife who has been sent away in grief of spirit; for one may not give up the wife of one's early days. 7 For a short time I gave you up; but with great mercies I will take you back again. 8 In overflowing wrath my face was veiled from you for a minute, but I will have pity on you for ever, says the Lord who takes up your cause. 9 For this is like the days of Noah to me: for as I took an oath that the waters of Noah would never again go over the earth, so have I taken an oath that I will not again be angry with you, or say bitter words to you. 10 For the mountains may be taken away, and the hills be moved out of their places, but my love will not be taken from you, or my agreement of peace broken, says the Lord, who has had mercy on you.
11 O troubled one, storm-crushed, uncomforted! see, your stones will be framed in fair colours, and your bases will be sapphires. 12 I will make your towers of rubies, and your doors of carbuncles, and the wall round you will be of all sorts of beautiful stones. 13 And all your builders will be made wise by the Lord; and great will be the peace of your children. 14 All your rights will be made certain to you: have no fear of evil, and destruction will not come near you. 15 See, they may be moved to war, but not by my authority: all those who come together to make an attack on you, will be broken against you. 16 See, I have made the iron-worker, blowing on the burning coals, and making the instrument of war by his work; and I have made the waster for destruction. 17 No instrument of war which is formed against you will be of any use; and every tongue which says evil against you will be judged false. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness comes from me, says the Lord.
A Free Offer of Mercy to All
55 1 Ho! everyone in need, come to the waters, and he who has no strength, let him get food: come, get bread without money; wine and milk without price. 2 Why do you give your money for what is not bread, and the fruit of your work for what will not give you pleasure? Give ear to me, so that your food may be good, and you may have the best in full measure. 3 Give ear, and come to me, take note with care, so that your souls may have life: and I will make an eternal agreement with you, even the certain mercies of David. 4 See, I have given him as a witness to the peoples, a ruler and a guide to the nations. 5 See, you will send for a nation of which you had no knowledge, and those who had no knowledge of you will come running to you, because of the Lord your God, and because of the Holy One of Israel, for he has given you glory.
6 Make search for the Lord while he is there, make prayer to him while he is near: 7 Let the sinner give up his way, and the evil-doer his purpose: and let him come back to the Lord, and he will have mercy on him; and to our God, for there is full forgiveness with him. 8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, or your ways my ways, says the Lord. 9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. 10 For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and does not go back again, but gives water to the earth, and makes it fertile, giving seed to the planter, and bread for food; 11 So will my word be which goes out of my mouth: it will not come back to me with nothing done, but it will give effect to my purpose, and do that for which I have sent it. 12 For you will go out with joy, and be guided in peace: the mountains and the hills will make melody before you, and all the trees of the fields will make sounds of joy. 13 In place of the thorn will come up the fir-tree, and in place of the blackberry the myrtle: and it will be to the Lord for a name, for an eternal sign which will not be cut off.
The Rewards of Keeping God's Covenant
56 1 The Lord says, Let your way of life be upright, and let your behaviour be rightly ordered: for my salvation is near, and my righteousness will quickly be seen. 2 Happy is the man who does this, and the son of man whose behaviour is so ordered; who keeps the Sabbath holy, and his hand from doing any evil.
3 And let not the man from a strange country, who has been joined to the Lord, say, The Lord will certainly put a division between me and his people: and let not the unsexed man say, See, I am a dry tree. 4 For the Lord says, As for the unsexed who keep my Sabbaths, and give their hearts to pleasing me, and keep their agreement with me: 5 I will give to them in my house, and inside my walls, a place and a name better than that of sons and daughters; I will give them an eternal name which will not be cut off. 6 And as for those from a strange country, who are joined to the Lord, to give worship to him and honour to his name, to be his servants, even everyone who keeps the Sabbath holy, and keeps his agreement with me: 7 I will make them come to my holy mountain, and will give them joy in my house of prayer; I will take pleasure in the burned offerings which they make on my altar: for my house will be named a house of prayer for all peoples. 8 The Lord God, who gets together the wandering ones of Israel, says, I will get together others in addition to those of Israel who have come back.
9 All you beasts of the field, come together for your meat, even all you beasts of the wood. 10 His watchmen are blind, they are all without knowledge; they are all dogs without tongues, unable to make a sound; stretched out dreaming, loving sleep. 11 Yes, the dogs are for ever looking for food; while these, the keepers of the sheep, are without wisdom: they have all gone after their pleasure, every one looking for profit; they are all the same. 12 Come, they say, I will get wine, and we will take strong drink in full measure; and tomorrow will be like today, full of pleasure.
Condemnation of Israel's Idolatry
57 1 The upright man goes to his death, and no one gives a thought to it; and god-fearing men are taken away, and no one is troubled by it; for the upright man is taken away because of evil-doing, and goes into peace. 2 They are at rest in their last resting-places, every one going straight before him.
3 But come near, you sons of her who is wise in secret arts, the seed of her who is false to her husband, and of the loose woman. 4 Of whom do you make sport? against whom is your mouth open wide and your tongue put out? are you not uncontrolled children, a false seed, 5 You who are burning with evil desire among the oaks, under every green tree; putting children to death in the valleys, under the cracks of the rocks? 6 Among the smooth stones of the valley is your heritage; they, even they, are your part: even to them have you made a drink offering and a meal offering. Is it possible for such things to be overlooked by me? 7 You have put your bed on a high mountain: there you went up to make your offering. 8 And on the back of the doors and on the pillars you have put your sign: for you have been false to me with another; you have made your bed wide, and made an agreement with them; you had a desire for their bed where you saw it 9 And you went to Melech with oil and much perfume, and you sent your representatives far off, and went as low as the underworld. 10 You were tired with your long journeys; but you did not say, There is no hope: you got new strength, and so you were not feeble. 11 And of whom were you in fear, so that you were false, and did not keep me in mind, or give thought to it? Have I not been quiet, keeping myself secret, and so you were not in fear of me? 12 I will make clear what your righteousness is like and your works; you will have no profit in them.
13 Your false gods will not keep you safe in answer to your cry; but the wind will take them, they will be gone like a breath: but he who puts his hope in me will take the land, and will have my holy mountain as his heritage. 14 And I will say, Make it high, make it high, get ready the way, take the stones out of the way of my people. 15 For this is the word of him who is high and lifted up, whose resting-place is eternal, whose name is Holy: my resting-place is in the high and holy place, and with him who is crushed and poor in spirit, to give life to the spirit of the poor, and to make strong the heart of the crushed. 16 For I will not give punishment for ever, or be angry without end: for from me breath goes out; and I it was who made the souls.
17 I was quickly angry with his evil ways, and sent punishment on him, veiling my face in wrath: and he went on, turning his heart from me. 18 I have seen his ways, and I will make him well: I will give him rest, comforting him and his people who are sad. 19 I will give the fruit of the lips: Peace, peace, to him who is near and to him who is far off, says the Lord; and I will make him well. 20 But the evil-doers are like the troubled sea, for which there is no rest, and its waters send up earth and waste. 21 There is no peace, says my God, for the evil-doers.
The Right Observance of Fasts
58 1 Make a loud cry, do not be quiet, let your voice be sounding like a horn, and make clear to my people their evil doings, and to the family of Jacob their sins. 2 Though they make prayer to me every day, and take pleasure in the knowledge of my ways: like a nation which has done righteousness, and has not given up the rules of their God, they make requests to me for the right orders, it is their delight to come near to God.
3 They say, Why have we kept ourselves from food, and you do not see it? why have we kept ourselves from pleasure, and you take no note of it? If, in the days when you keep from food, you take the chance to do your business, and get in your debts; 4 If keeping from food makes you quickly angry, ready for fighting and giving blows with evil hands; your holy days are not such as to make your voice come to my ears on high. 5 Have I given orders for such a day as this? a day for keeping yourselves from pleasure? is it only a question of the bent head, of putting on haircloth, and being seated in the dust? is this what seems to you a holy day, well-pleasing to the Lord? 6 Is not this the holy day for which I have given orders: to let loose those who have wrongly been made prisoners, to undo the bands of the yoke, and to let the crushed go free, and every yoke be broken? 7 Is it not to give your bread to those in need, and to let the poor who have no resting-place come into your house? to put a robe on the unclothed one when you see him, and not to keep your eyes shut for fear of seeing his flesh?
8 Then will light be shining on you like the morning, and your wounds will quickly be well: and your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will come after you. 9 Then at the sound of your voice, the Lord will give an answer; at your cry he will say, Here am I. If you take away from among you the yoke, the putting out of the finger of shame, and the evil word; 10 And if you give your bread to those in need of it, so that the troubled one may have his desire; then you will have light in the dark, and your night will be as the full light of the sun: 11 And the Lord will be your guide at all times; in dry places he will give you water in full measure, and will make strong your bones; and you will be like a watered garden, and like an ever-flowing spring. 12 And your sons will be building again the old waste places: you will make strong the bases of old generations: and you will be named, He who puts up the broken walls, and, He who makes ready the ways for use.
The Observance of the Sabbath
13 If you keep the Sabbath with care, not doing your business on my holy day; and if the Sabbath seems to you a delight, and the new moon of the Lord a thing to be honoured; and if you give respect to him by not doing your business, or going after your pleasure, or saying unholy words; 14 Then the Lord will be your delight; and I will put you on the high places of the earth; and I will give you the heritage of Jacob your father: for the mouth of the Lord has said it.