Isaiah 57

 

הַצַּדִּיק אָבָד וְאֵין אִישׁ שָׂם עַל־לֵב וְאַנְשֵׁי־חֶסֶד נֶאֱסָפִים בְּאֵין מֵבִין כִּי־מִפְּנֵי הָרָעָה נֶאֱסַף הַצַּדִּיק׃   57:1

Isai. 57:1   The righteous one perishes and no one cares,

                            and men of kindness are being removed,

                    without understanding,

                            -- but the righteous one

                     is removed from before the evil.

יָבֹוא שָׁלֹום יָנוּחוּ עַל־מִשְׁכְּבֹותָם הֹלֵךְ נְכֹחֹו׃   57:2

Isai. 57:2   Let him enter a peace

                            – let them lay on their beds

                    -- his uprightness being led away.

It sounds to me like Isaiah is justifying the death of righteous people in these two verses.  I think he’s saying they die so they will be removed before the evil that will come upon the world.  In death, they are at peace.

וְאַתֶּם קִרְבוּ־הֵנָּה בְּנֵי עֹנְנָה זֶרַע מְנָאֵף וַתִּזְנֶה׃   57:3

Isai. 57:3   Now you draw near here,

                            children of the sorceress,

                    seed of adultery,

                             that you have become a harlot!

עַל־מִי תִּתְעַנָּגוּ עַל־מִי תַּרְחִיבוּ פֶה תַּאֲרִיכוּ לָשֹׁון הֲלֹוא־אַתֶּם יִלְדֵי־פֶשַׁע זֶרַע שָׁקֶר׃   57:4

Isai. 57:4   Over whom would you delight?

                             To whom would you open the mouth wide,

                    stick out the tongue?

                             Are you not the fruit of transgression,

                    seed of deceit,

הַנֵּחָמִים בָּאֵלִים תַּחַת כָּל־עֵץ רַעֲןָן שֹׁחֲטֵי הַיְלָדִים בַּנְּחָלִים תַּחַת סְעִפֵי הַסְּלָעִים׃   57:5

Isai. 57:5   enflamed with the idols under every green tree,

                              slayers of children in the wadis,

                    under the clefts of the rocks?

What do you think Isaiah means when he says (in v. 57:4) “To whom would you open the mouth, stick out the tongue?”  Many commentators assume that this describes an act of scorn.  I’m not so sure about that.  After all, Isaiah is speaking to the sinners of Israel; he calls them harlots (v. 57:3).  Would they not open their mouth and stick out their tongue to lure men to them?  That seems more reasonable to me.  He is exhibiting scorn, not they.  They are slayers of children!  See the next verse as he brings in God’s words.

בְּחַלְּקֵי־נַחַל חֶלְקֵךְ הֵם הֵם גֹּורָלֵךְ גַּם־לָהֶם שָׁפַכְתְּ נֶסֶךְ הֶעֱלִית מִנְחָה הַעַל אֵלֶּה אֶנָּחֵם׃   57:6

Isai. 57:6   “Among the smooth stones of the wadi is your portion.

                              They themselves were your inheritance.

                    Likewise for them you poured a drink offering,

                              sacrifices of a meal offering.

                    By these, could I be comforted?”

עַל הַר־גָּבֹהַּ וְנִשָּׂא שַׂמְתְּ מִשְׁכָּבֵךְ גַּם־שָׁם עָלִית לִזְבֹּחַ זָבַח׃   57:7

Isai. 57:7   “On a mountain high and lofty you set your bed,

                               also going up there to offer a sacrifice.”

וְאַחַר הַדֶּלֶת וְהַמְּזוּזָה שַׂמְתְּ זִכְרֹונֵךְ כִּי מֵאִתִּי גִּלִּית וַתַּעֲלִי הִרְחַבְתְּ מִשְׁכָּבֵךְ וַתִּכְרָת־לָךְ מֵהֶם   57:8 אָהַבְתְּ מִשְׁכָּבָם יָד חָזִית׃

Isai. 57:8   “And behind door and post

                               you put your symbol,

                    but from Me you wandered and departed.

                               You enlarged your bed and cut yourself off;

                    because of them you loved their bed,

                                the hand you beheld.”

וַתָּשֻׁרִי לַמֶּלֶךְ בַּשֶּׁמֶן וַתַּרְבִּי רִקֻּחָיִךְ וַתְּשַׁלְּחִי צִירַיִכְם עַד־מֵרָחֹק וַתַּשְׁפִּילִי עַד־שְׁאֹול׃   57:9

Isai. 57:9   “And you went to a king with oil,

                               and you increased your perfumes,

                    and you sent your ambassadors farther than far,

                                that you made low even to the netherworld.”

בְּרֹב דַּרְךֵּךְ יָגַעַתְּ לֹא אָמַרְתְּ נֹואָשׁ חַיַּת יָדֵךְ מָצָאת עַל־כֵּן לֹא חָלִית׃   57:10

Isai. 57:10   “With the length of your way

                               you became weary;

                      you did not say, ‘I have no hope.’

                               A strengthening of your hand you found;

                       therefore you were not weakened.”

וְאֶת־מִי דָּאַגְתְּ וַתִּירְאִי כִּי תְכַזֵּבִי וְאֹותִי לֹא זָכַרְתְּ לֹא־שַׂמְתְּ עַל־לִבֵּךְ הֲלֹא אֲנִי מַחְשֶׁה וּמֵעֹלָם   57:11 וְאֹותִי לֹא תִירָאִי׃

Isai. 57:11   “And whom did you fear and dread

                                that you might be made to fail?

                      And Me you have not remembered;

                                you have not taken to heart.

                      Have I not been keeping silent, and for a long time,

                                 that you would not fear Me?”

We have not heard of this kind of “manipulation” by the Lord in a while.  He kept silent so the idolators and harlots would not fear Him.  He even strengthened their hand (v. 57:10).  Very interesting!

אֲנִי אַגִּיד צִדְקָתֵךְ וְאֶת־מַעֲשַׂיִךְ וְלֹא יֹועִילוּךְ׃   57:12

Isai. 57:12   “I will expose your justice and your works,

                                 and they will not do you any good.”

בְּזַעֲקֵךְ יַצִּילֻךְ קִבּוּצַיִךְ וְאֶת־כֻּלָּם יִשָּׂא־רוּחַ יִקַּח־הָבֶל וְהַחֹוסֶה בִי יִנְחַל־אֶרֶץ וְיִירַשׁ הַר־קָדְשִׁי׃   57:13

Isai. 57:13   “Upon your outcry, can your assembly deliver you

                                 when the wind will carry all of them away,

                      a breath will take away?

                                 But whoever takes refuge in Me

                      shall inherit the land

                                 so that he possesses the mountain of My holiness.”

וְאָמַר סֹלּוּ־סֹלּוּ פַּנּוּ־דָרֶךְ הָרִימוּ מִכְשֹׁול מִדֶּרֶךְ עַמִּי׃   57:14

Isai. 57:14   And He will say, “Raise up, raise up, clear a way,

                                 take up the stumbling block

                       from the way of My people!”

כִּי כֹה אָמַר רָם וְנִשָּׂא שֹׁכֵן עַד וְקָדֹושׁ שְׁמֹו מָרֹום וְקָדֹושׁ אֶשְׁכֹּון וְאֶת־דַּכָּא וּשְׁפַל־רוּחַ לְהַחֲיֹות   57:15 רוּחַ שְׁפָלִים וּלְהַחֲיֹות לֵב נִדְכָּאִים׃

Isai. 57:15   For thus says the High and Lofty One,

                                Dweller of eternity, and Holy One His name:

                      “High and holy will I make a dwelling place,

                                and with one contrite and humble of spirit,

                       reviving the spirits of the humble,

                                and refreshing the hearts of the contrite.”

כִּי לֹא לְעֹולָם אָרִיב וְלֹא לָנֶצַח אֶקְּצֹוף כִּי־רוּחַ מִלְּפָנַי יַעֲטֹוף וּנְשָׁמֹות אֲנִי עָשִׂיתִי׃   57:16

Isai. 57:16   “For I will not forever ‘contend’

                               and I will not always be ‘angry.’

                      For spirit shall be enveloped

                               because of My presence,

                      and the souls I have made.”

בַּעֲוֹן בִּצְעֹו קָצַפְתִּי וְאַכֵּהוּ הַסְתֵּר וְאֶקְצֹף וַיֵּלֶךְ שֹׁובָב בְּדֶרֶךְ לִבֹּו׃   57:17

Isai. 57:17   “Because of the depravity of his dishonest gain

                                I was ‘angry’ and I smote him.

                      He hid himself and I was ‘angry,’

                               and he went backsliding in the way of his heart.”

דְּרָכָיו רָאִיתִי וְאֶרְפָּאֵהוּ וְאַנְחֵהוּ וַאֲשַׁלֵּם נִחֻמִים לֹו וְלַאֲבֵלָיו׃   57:18

Isai. 57:18   “His ways I have seen,

                                but I will heal him, will guide him,

                      and I will restore comforts for him

                                and for his mourners.”

בֹּורֵא (נוּב) [נִיב] שְׂפָתָיִם שָׁלֹום שָׁלֹום לָרָחֹוק וְלַקָּרֹוב אָמַר יְהוָה וּרְפָאתִיו׃   57:19

Isai. 57:19   Creator of the fruit of the lips!

                                “Peace, peace, for the one far off

                       and for the one near,” says the Lord,

                                “and I will heal him.”

The word in the parentheses contains an error.  While it is a proper Hebrew word and in another verse might be correctly spelled, here it is part of an idiom, ~yIt_'p'f. byn, meaning fruit of the lips.  So here the vav needs to be a yad.  The correction is in the brackets.

וְהָרְשָׁעִים כַּיָּם נִגְרָשׁ כִּי הַשְׁקֵט לֹא יוּכָל וַיִּגְרְשׁוּ מֵימָיו רֶפֶשׁ וָטִיט׃   57:20

Isai. 57:20   But the wicked shall be like the troubled sea,

                               for it can attain no rest

                       and its waters cast up mud and dirt.

אֵין שָׁלֹום אָמַר אֱלֹהַי לָרְשָׁעִים׃   57:21

Isai. 57:21   “There is no peace,” says my God, “for the wicked.”

 

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