1 The godly1 perish,
but no one cares.2
Honest people disappear,3
when no one4 minds5
that the godly6 disappear7 because of8 evil.9
2 Those who live uprightly enter a place of peace;
they rest on their beds.10
3 But approach, you sons of omen readers,
you offspring of adulteresses and prostitutes!11
4 At whom are you laughing?
At whom are you opening your mouth
and sticking out your tongue?
You are the children of rebels,
the offspring of liars,12
5 you who practice ritual sex13 under the oaks and every green tree,
who slaughter children near the streams under the rocky overhangs.14
6 Among the smooth stones of the stream are the idols you love;
they, they are the object of your devotion.15
You pour out liquid offerings to them,
you make an offering.
Because of these things I will seek vengeance.16
7 On every high, elevated hill you prepare your bed;
you go up there to offer sacrifices.
8 Behind the door and doorpost you put your symbols.17
Indeed,18 you depart from me19 and go up
and invite them into bed with you.20
You purchase favors from them,21
you love their bed,
and gaze longingly22 on their genitals.23
9 You take olive oil as tribute24 to your king,25
along with many perfumes.26
You send your messengers to a distant place;
you go all the way to Sheol.27
10 Because of the long distance you must travel, you get tired,28
but you do not say, ‘I give up.’29
You get renewed energy,30
so you don’t collapse.31
11 Whom are you worried about?
Whom do you fear, that you would act so deceitfully
and not remember me
or think about me?32
Because I have been silent for so long,33
you are not afraid of me.34
12 I will denounce your so-called righteousness and your deeds,35
but they will not help you.
13 When you cry out for help, let your idols36 help you!
The wind blows them all away,37
a breeze carries them away.38
But the one who looks to me for help39 will inherit the land
and will have access to40 my holy mountain.”
14 He says,41
“Build it! Build it! Clear a way!
Remove all the obstacles out of the way of my people!
15 For this is what the high and exalted one says,
the one who rules42 forever, whose name is holy:
“I dwell in an exalted and holy place,
but also with the discouraged and humiliated,43
in order to cheer up the humiliated
and to encourage the discouraged.44
16 For I will not be hostile45 forever
or perpetually angry,
for then man’s spirit would grow faint before me,46
the life-giving breath I created.
17 I was angry because of their sinful greed;
I attacked them and angrily rejected them,47
yet they remained disobedient and stubborn.48
18 I have seen their behavior,49
but I will heal them and give them rest,
and I will once again console those who mourn.50
19 I am the one who gives them reason to celebrate.51
Complete prosperity52 is available both to those who are far away and those who are nearby,”
says the Lord, “and I will heal them.
20 But the wicked are like a surging sea
that is unable to be quiet;
its waves toss up mud and sand.
21 There will be no prosperity,” says my God, “for the wicked.”
157:1tn Or “righteous” (KJV, NASB, NIV, NRSV, NLT); NAB “the just man”; TEV “Good people.” 257:1tn Or perhaps, “understands.” Heb “and there is no man who sets [it] upon [his] heart.” 357:1tn Heb “Men of loyalty are taken away.” The Niphal of אָסַף (’asaf) here means “to die.” 457:1tn The Hebrew term בְּאֵין (bÿen) often has the nuance “when there is no.” See Prov 8:24; 11;14; 14:4; 15:22; 26:20; 29:18. 557:1tn Or “realizes”; Heb “understands” (so NASB, NIV, NRSV). 657:1tn Or “righteous” (KJV, NASB, NIV, NRSV, NLT); NAB “the just man.” 757:1tn Heb “are taken away.” The Niphal of אָסַף (’asaf) here means “to die.” 857:1tn The term מִפְּנֵי (mippÿne, “from the face of”) often has a causal nuance. It also appears with the Niphal of אָסַף (’asaph, “gather”) in 2 Chr 12:5: אֲשֶׁר־נֶאֶסְפוּ אֶל־יְרוּשָׁלַם מִפְּנֵי שִׁישָׁק (’asher-ne’esphu ’el-yÿrushalam mippÿney shishaq, “who had gathered at Jerusalem because of [i.e., due to fear of] Shishak”). 957:1tn The translation assumes that this verse, in proverbial fashion, laments society’s apathy over the persecution of the godly. The second half of the verse observes that such apathy results in more widespread oppression. Since the next verse pictures the godly being taken to a place of rest, some interpret the second half of v. 1 in a more positive vein. According to proponents of this view, God removes the godly so that they might be spared suffering and calamity, a fact which the general populace fails to realize. 1057:2tn Heb “he enters peace, they rest on their beds, the one who walks straight ahead of himself.” The tomb is here viewed in a fairly positive way as a place where the dead are at peace and sleep undisturbed. 1157:3tc The Hebrew text reads literally, “offspring of an adulterer [masculine] and [one who] has committed adultery.” Perhaps the text has suffered from transposition of vav (ו) and tav (ת) and מְנָאֵף וַתִּזְנֶה (mÿnaef vattizneh) should be emended to מְנָאֶפֶת וְזֹנָה (mÿna’efet vÿzonah, “an adulteress and a prostitute”). Both singular nouns would be understood in a collective sense. Most modern English versions render both forms as nouns. 1257:4tn Heb “Are you not children of rebellion, offspring of a lie?” The rhetorical question anticipates the answer, “Of course you are!” 1357:5tn Heb “inflame yourselves”; NRSV “burn with lust.” This verse alludes to the practice of ritual sex that accompanied pagan fertility rites. 1457:5sn This apparently alludes to the practice of child sacrifice (cf. TEV, CEV, NLT). 1557:6tn Heb “among the smooth stones of the stream [is] your portion, they, they [are] your lot.” The next line indicates idols are in view. 1657:6tn The text reads literally, “Because of these am I relenting?” If the prefixed interrogative particle is retained at the beginning of the sentence, then the question would be rhetorical, with the Niphal of נָחָם (nakham) probably being used in the sense of “relent, change one’s mind.” One could translate: “Because of these things, how can I relent?” However, the initial letter he may be dittographic (note the final he [ה] on the preceding word). In this case one may understand the verb in the sense of “console oneself, seek vengeance,” as in 1:24. 1757:8tn The precise referent of זִכָּרוֹן (zikkaron) in this context is uncertain. Elsewhere the word refers to a memorial or commemorative sign. Here it likely refers to some type of idolatrous symbol. 1857:8tn Or “for” (KJV, NRSV). 1957:8tc The Hebrew text reads literally, “from me you uncover.” The translation assumes an emendation of the Piel form גִּלִּית (gillit, “you uncover”), which has no object expressed here, to the Qal גָּלִית (galit, “you depart”). 2057:8tn Heb “you make wide your bed” (NASB similar). 2157:8tc Heb “and you [second masculine singular, unless the form be taken as third feminine singular] cut for yourself [feminine singular] from them.” Most English translations retain the MT reading in spite of at least three problems. This section makes significant use of feminine verbs and noun suffixes because of the sexual imagery. The verb in question is likely a 2nd person masculine singular verb. Nevertheless, this kind of fluctuation in gender appears elsewhere (GKC 127-28 §47.k and 462 §144.p; cf. Jer 3:5; Ezek 22:4; 23:32; cf. J. N. Oswalt, Isaiah [NICOT], 2:473, n. 13). Secondly, when this verbal root signifies establishing a covenant, it is normally accompanied by the noun for “covenant” (בְּרִית, bÿrit). Finally, this juxtaposition of the verb “to cut” and “covenant” normally is followed by the preposition “with,” while here it is “from.” The translation above assumes an emendation of וַתִּכְרָת (vatikhrah, “and you cut”) to וְכָרִית (vÿkharit, “and you purchase”) from the root כָּרָה (kharah); see HALOT 497 s.v. II כרה. 2257:8tn The Hebrew text has simply חָזָה (khazah, “gaze”). The adverb “longingly” is interpretive (see the context, where sexual lust is depicted). 2357:8tn Heb “[at] a hand you gaze.” The term יָד (yad, “hand”) probably has the sense of “power, manhood” here, where it is used, as in Ugaritic, as a euphemism for the genitals. See HALOT 387 s.v. I יָד. 2457:9tn Heb “you journey with oil.” 2557:9tn Heb “the king.” Since the context refers to idolatry and child sacrifice (see v. 5), some emend מֶלֶך (melekh, “king”) to “Molech.” Perhaps Israel’s devotion to her idols is likened here to a subject taking tribute to a ruler. 2657:9tn Heb “and you multiply your perfumes.” 2757:9sn Israel’s devotion to her idols is inordinate, irrational, and self-destructive. 2857:10tn Heb “by the greatness [i.e., “length,” see BDB 914 s.v. רֹב 2] of your way you get tired.” 2957:10tn Heb “it is hopeless” (so NAB, NASB, NIV); NRSV “It is useless.” 3057:10tn Heb “the life of your hand you find.” The term חַיָּה (khayyah, “life”) is here used in the sense of “renewal” (see BDB 312 s.v.) while יָד (yad) is used of “strength.” 3157:10tn Heb “you do not grow weak.” 3257:11tn Heb “you do not place [it] on your heart.” 3357:11tn Heb “Is it not [because] I have been silent, and from long ago?” 3457:11sn God’s patience with sinful Israel has caused them to think that they can sin with impunity and suffer no consequences. 3557:12tn Heb “I, I will declare your righteousness and your deeds.” 3657:13tn The Hebrew text has קִבּוּצַיִךְ (qibbutsayikh, “your gatherings”), an otherwise unattested noun from the verbal root קָבַץ (qavats, “gather”). Perhaps this alludes to their religious assemblies and by metonymy to their rituals. Since idolatry is a prominent theme in the context, some understand this as a reference to a collection of idols. The second half of the verse also favors this view. 3757:13tn Heb “all of them a wind lifts up.” 3857:13tn Heb “a breath takes [them] away.” 3957:13tn Or “seeks refuge in me.” “Seeking refuge” is a metonymy for “being loyal to.” 4057:13tn Heb “possess, own.” The point seems to be that he will have free access to God’s presence, as if God’s temple mount were his personal possession. 4157:14tn Since God is speaking throughout this context, perhaps we should emend the text to “and I say.” However, divine speech is introduced in v. 15. 4257:15tn Heb “the one who dwells forever.” שֹׁכֵן עַד (shokhenad) is sometimes translated “the one who lives forever,” and understood as a reference to God’s eternal existence. However, the immediately preceding and following descriptions (“high and exalted” and “holy”) emphasize his sovereign rule. In the next line, he declares, “I dwell in an exalted and holy [place],” which refers to the place from which he rules. Therefore it is more likely that שֹׁכֵן עַד (shokhen ’ad) means “I dwell [in my lofty palace] forever” and refers to God’s eternal kingship. 4357:15tn Heb “and also with the crushed and lowly of spirit.” This may refer to the repentant who have humbled themselves (see 66:2) or more generally to the exiles who have experienced discouragement and humiliation. 4457:15tn Heb “to restore the lowly of spirit and to restore the heart of the crushed.” 4557:16tn Or perhaps, “argue,” or “accuse” (so NAB, NIV, NRSV). 4657:16tn Heb “for a spirit from before me would be faint.” 4757:17tn Heb “and I struck him, hiding, and I was angry.” פָּנַיִם (panayim, “face”) is the implied object of “hiding.” 4857:17tn Heb “and he walked [as an] apostate in the way of his heart.” 4957:18tn Heb “his ways” (so KJV, NASB, NIV); TEV “how they acted.” 5057:18tn Heb “and I will restore consolation to him, to his mourners.” 5157:19tc The Hebrew text has literally, “one who creates fruit of lips.” Perhaps the pronoun אֲנִי (’ani) should be inserted after the participle; it may have been accidentally omitted by haplography: נוּב שְׂפָתָיִם[אֲנִי] בּוֹרֵא (bore’ [’ani] nuv sÿfatayim). “Fruit of the lips” is often understood as a metonymy for praise; perhaps it refers more generally to joyful shouts (see v. 18). 5257:19tn Heb “Peace, peace.” The repetition of the noun emphasizes degree.