Injustice Brings Alienation from God
1 Look, the Lord’s hand is not too weak1 to deliver you;
his ear is not too deaf to hear you.2
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.3
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;4
no one sets forth his case truthfully.
They depend on false words5 and tell lies;
they conceive of oppression6
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.7
6 Their webs cannot be used for clothing;
they cannot cover themselves with what they make.
Their deeds are sinful;
they commit violent crimes.8
7 They are eager to do evil,9
quick to shed innocent blood.10
Their thoughts are sinful;
they crush and destroy.11
8 They are unfamiliar with peace;
their deeds are unjust.12
They use deceitful methods,
and whoever deals with them is unfamiliar with peace.13
Israel Confesses its Sin
9 For this reason deliverance14 is far from us15
and salvation does not reach us.
We wait for light,16 but see only darkness;17
we wait for18 a bright light,19 but live20 in deep darkness.21
10 We grope along the wall like the blind,
we grope like those who cannot see;22
we stumble at noontime as if it were evening.
Though others are strong, we are like dead men.23
11 We all growl like bears,
we coo mournfully like doves;
we wait for deliverance,24 but there is none,
for salvation, but it is far from us.
12 For you are aware of our many rebellious deeds,25
and our sins testify against us;
indeed, we are aware of our rebellious deeds;
we know our sins all too well.26
13 We have rebelled and tried to deceive the Lord;
we turned back from following our God.
We stir up27 oppression and rebellion;
we tell lies we concocted in our minds.28
14 Justice is driven back;
godliness29 stands far off.
Indeed,30 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,31
for there is no justice.
The Lord Intervenes
16 He sees there is no advocate;32
he is shocked33 that no one intervenes.
So he takes matters into his own hands;34
his desire for justice drives him on.35
17 He wears his desire for justice36 like body armor,37
and his desire to deliver is like a helmet on his head.38
He puts on the garments of vengeance39
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.40
He repays the coastlands.41
19 In the west, people respect42 the Lord’s reputation;43
in the east they recognize his splendor.44
For he comes like a rushing45 stream
driven on by wind sent from the Lord.46
20A protector47 comes to Zion,
to those in Jacob who repent of their rebellious deeds,”48 says the Lord.

21As for me, this is my promise to49 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,”50 says the Lord.

159:1tn Heb “short” (so NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV). 259:1tn Heb “or his ear too heavy [i.e., “dull”] to hear.” 359:2tn Heb “and your sins have caused [his] face to be hidden from you so as not to hear.” 459:4tn Heb “no one pleads with justice.” 559:4tn Heb “nothing”; NAB “emptiness.” 659:4tn Or “trouble” (NIV), or “harm.” 759:5tn Heb “that which is pressed in hatches [as] a snake.” 859:6tn Heb “their deeds are deeds of sin, and the work of violence [is] in their hands.” 959:7tn Heb “their feet run to evil.” 1059:7tn Heb “they quickly pour out innocent blood.” 1159:7tn Heb “their thoughts are thoughts of sin, destruction and crushing [are] in their roadways.” 1259:8tn Heb “a way of peace they do not know, and there is no justice in their pathways.” 1359:8tn Heb “their paths they make crooked, everyone who walks in it does not know peace.” 1459:9tn 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. 1559:9sn The prophet speaks on behalf of the sinful nation and confesses its sins. 1659:9sn Light here symbolizes prosperity and blessing. 1759:9tn Heb “but, look, darkness”; NIV “but all is darkness.” 1859:9tn The words “we wait for” are supplied in the translation; the verb is understood by ellipsis (note the preceding line). 1959:9tn The plural noun form may indicate degree here. 2059:9tn Or “walk about”; NCV “all we have is darkness.” 2159:9tn The plural noun form may indicate degree here. 2259:10tn Heb “like there are no eyes.” 2359:10tn Heb among the strong, like dead men.” 2459:11tn See the note at v. 9. 2559:12tn Heb “for many are our rebellious deeds before you.” 2659:12tn Heb “indeed [or “for”] our rebellious deeds (are) with us, and our sins, we know them.” 2759:13tn Heb “speaking.” A new sentence was started here in the translation for stylistic reasons. 2859:13tn Heb “conceiving and uttering from the heart words of falsehood.” 2959:14tn Or “righteousness” (ASV, NASB, NIV, NRSV); KJV, NAB “justice.” 3059:14tn Or “for” (KJV, NRSV). 3159:15tn Heb “and it is displeasing in his eyes.” 3259:16tn Heb “man” (so KJV, ASV); TEV “no one to help.” 3359:16tn Or “appalled” (NAB, NIV, NRSV), or “disgusted.” 3459:16tn Heb “and his arm delivers for him.” 3559:16tn Heb “and his justice [or “righteousness”] supports him.” 3659:17tn Or “righteousness” (KJV, NASB, NIV, NRSV, NLT); NCV “goodness.” 3759:17tn Or “a breastplate” (traditional; so many English versions); TEV “a coat of armour.” 3859:17tn Heb “and [as] a helmet deliverance on his head.” 3959:17tn Heb “and he puts on the clothes of vengeance [as] a garment.” 4059:18tn Heb “in accordance with deeds, so he repays, anger to his adversaries, repayment to his enemies.” 4159:18tn Or “islands” (KJV, NIV). 4259:19tc Heb “fear.” A few medieval Hebrew mss read “see.” 43??tn Heb “and they fear from the west the name of the Lord.” 4459:19tn Heb “and from the rising of the sun his splendor.” 4559:19tn Heb “narrow”; NAB, NIV, NRSV “pent-up.” 4659:19tn Heb “the wind of the Lord drives it on.” The term רוּחַ (ruakh) could be translated “breath” here (see 30:28). 4759:20tn Or “redeemer.” See the note at 41:14. 4859:20tn Heb “and to those who turn from rebellion in Jacob.” 4959:21tn 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. 5059:21tn Heb “from now and on into the future.”