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Isaiah 59 Contemporary English Version (CEV)

Social Injustice Is Condemned

59 The Lord hasn’t lost
    his powerful strength;
he can still hear
    and answer prayers.
Your sins are the roadblock
    between you and your God.
That’s why he doesn’t answer
your prayers
    or let you see his face.

Your talk is filled with lies
    and plans for violence;
every finger on your hands
    is covered with blood.
You falsely accuse others
    and tell lies in court;
sin and trouble are the names
    of your children.
You eat the deadly eggs
    of poisonous snakes,
and more snakes crawl out
    from the eggs left to hatch.
You weave spider webs,
but you can’t make clothes
    with those webs
    or hide behind them.

You’re sinful and brutal.
You hurry off to do wrong
    or murder innocent victims.
All you think about is sin;
you leave ruin and destruction
    wherever you go.
You don’t know how
to live in peace
    or to be fair with others.
The roads you make are crooked;
your followers cannot find peace.

The People Confess Their Sins

No one has come to defend us
    or to bring about justice.
We hoped for a day of sunshine,
but all we found
    was a dark, gloomy night.
10 We feel our way along,
    as if we were blind;
we stumble at noon,
    as if it were night.
We can see no better
    than someone dead.[a]

11 We growl like bears
    and mourn like doves.
We hope for justice and victory,
    but they escape us.
12 How often have we sinned
and turned against you,
    the Lord God?
Our sins condemn us!
    We have done wrong.
13 We have rebelled and refused
    to follow you.
Our hearts were deceitful,
    and so we lied;
we planned to abuse others
    and turn our backs on you.

14 Injustice is everywhere;
    justice seems far away.
Truth is chased out of court;
    honesty is shoved aside.
15 Everyone tells lies;
those who turn from crime
    end up ruined.

The Lord Will Rescue His People

When the Lord noticed
that justice had disappeared,
    he became very displeased.
16 It disgusted him even more
to learn
that no one
    would do a thing about it.
So with his own powerful arm,
    he won victories for truth.
17 Justice was the Lord’s armor;
    saving power was his helmet;
anger and revenge
    were his clothes.

18 Now the Lord will get furious
    and do to his enemies,
both near and far,
    what they did to his people.
19 He will attack like a flood
    in a mighty windstorm.
Nations in the west and the east
will then honor and praise
    his wonderful name.
20 The Lord has promised to rescue
    the city of Zion
and Jacob’s descendants
    who turn from sin.

21 The Lord says: “My people,
I promise to give you my Spirit
    and my message.
These will be my gifts to you
    and your families forever.
I, the Lord, have spoken.”

Footnotes:

  1. 59.10 We can. . . dead: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.

Isaiah 59 New International Version (NIV)

Sin, Confession and Redemption

59 Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save,
    nor his ear too dull to hear.
But your iniquities have separated
    you from your God;
your sins have hidden his face from you,
    so that he will not hear.
For your hands are stained with blood,
    your fingers with guilt.
Your lips have spoken falsely,
    and your tongue mutters wicked things.
No one calls for justice;
    no one pleads a case with integrity.
They rely on empty arguments, they utter lies;
    they conceive trouble and give birth to evil.
They hatch the eggs of vipers
    and spin a spider’s web.
Whoever eats their eggs will die,
    and when one is broken, an adder is hatched.
Their cobwebs are useless for clothing;
    they cannot cover themselves with what they make.
Their deeds are evil deeds,
    and acts of violence are in their hands.
Their feet rush into sin;
    they are swift to shed innocent blood.
They pursue evil schemes;
    acts of violence mark their ways.
The way of peace they do not know;
    there is no justice in their paths.
They have turned them into crooked roads;
    no one who walks along them will know peace.

So justice is far from us,
    and righteousness does not reach us.
We look for light, but all is darkness;
    for brightness, but we walk in deep shadows.
10 Like the blind we grope along the wall,
    feeling our way like people without eyes.
At midday we stumble as if it were twilight;
    among the strong, we are like the dead.
11 We all growl like bears;
    we moan mournfully like doves.
We look for justice, but find none;
    for deliverance, but it is far away.

12 For our offenses are many in your sight,
    and our sins testify against us.
Our offenses are ever with us,
    and we acknowledge our iniquities:
13 rebellion and treachery against the Lord,
    turning our backs on our God,
inciting revolt and oppression,
    uttering lies our hearts have conceived.
14 So justice is driven back,
    and righteousness stands at a distance;
truth has stumbled in the streets,
    honesty cannot enter.
15 Truth is nowhere to be found,
    and whoever shuns evil becomes a prey.

The Lord looked and was displeased
    that there was no justice.
16 He saw that there was no one,
    he was appalled that there was no one to intervene;
so his own arm achieved salvation for him,
    and his own righteousness sustained him.
17 He put on righteousness as his breastplate,
    and the helmet of salvation on his head;
he put on the garments of vengeance
    and wrapped himself in zeal as in a cloak.
18 According to what they have done,
    so will he repay
wrath to his enemies
    and retribution to his foes;
    he will repay the islands their due.
19 From the west, people will fear the name of the Lord,
    and from the rising of the sun, they will revere his glory.
For he will come like a pent-up flood
    that the breath of the Lord drives along.[a]

20 “The Redeemer will come to Zion,
    to those in Jacob who repent of their sins,”
declares the Lord.

21 “As for me, this is my covenant with them,” says the Lord. “My Spirit, who is on you, will not depart from you, and my words that I have put in your mouth will always be on your lips, on the lips of your children and on the lips of their descendants—from this time on and forever,” says the Lord.

Footnotes:

  1. Isaiah 59:19 Or When enemies come in like a flood, / the Spirit of the Lord will put them to flight
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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