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Isaiah 65

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The Lord Will Distinguish Between Sinners and the Godly

65:1 “I made myself available to those who did not ask for me; 1 

I appeared to those who did not look for me. 2 

I said, ‘Here I am! Here I am!’

to a nation that did not invoke 3  my name.

65:2 I spread out my hands all day long

to my rebellious people,

who lived in a way that is morally unacceptable,

and who did what they desired. 4 

65:3 These people continually and blatantly offend me 5 

as they sacrifice in their sacred orchards 6 

and burn incense on brick altars. 7 

65:4 They sit among the tombs 8 

and keep watch all night long. 9 

They eat pork, 10 

and broth 11  from unclean sacrificial meat is in their pans.

65:5 They say, ‘Keep to yourself!

Don’t get near me, for I am holier than you!’

These people are like smoke in my nostrils,

like a fire that keeps burning all day long.

65:6 Look, I have decreed: 12 

I will not keep silent, but will pay them back;

I will pay them back exactly what they deserve, 13 

65:7 for your sins and your ancestors’ sins,” 14  says the Lord.

“Because they burned incense on the mountains

and offended 15  me on the hills,

I will punish them in full measure.” 16 

65:8 This is what the Lord says:

“When 17  juice is discovered in a cluster of grapes,

someone says, ‘Don’t destroy it, for it contains juice.’ 18 

So I will do for the sake of my servants –

I will not destroy everyone. 19 

65:9 I will bring forth descendants from Jacob,

and from Judah people to take possession of my mountains.

My chosen ones will take possession of the land; 20 

my servants will live there.

65:10 Sharon 21  will become a pasture for sheep,

and the Valley of Achor 22  a place where cattle graze; 23 

they will belong to my people, who seek me. 24 

65:11 But as for you who abandon the Lord

and forget about worshiping at 25  my holy mountain,

who prepare a feast for the god called ‘Fortune,’ 26 

and fill up wine jugs for the god called ‘Destiny’ 27 

65:12 I predestine you to die by the sword, 28 

all of you will kneel down at the slaughtering block, 29 

because I called to you, and you did not respond,

I spoke and you did not listen.

You did evil before me; 30 

you chose to do what displeases me.”

65:13 So this is what the sovereign Lord says:

“Look, my servants will eat, but you will be hungry!

Look, my servants will drink, but you will be thirsty!

Look, my servants will rejoice, but you will be humiliated!

65:14 Look, my servants will shout for joy as happiness fills their hearts! 31 

But you will cry out as sorrow fills your hearts; 32 

you will wail because your spirits will be crushed. 33 

65:15 Your names will live on in the curse formulas of my chosen ones. 34 

The sovereign Lord will kill you,

but he will give his servants another name.

65:16 Whoever pronounces a blessing in the earth 35 

will do so in the name of the faithful God; 36 

whoever makes an oath in the earth

will do so in the name of the faithful God. 37 

For past problems will be forgotten;

I will no longer think about them. 38 

65:17 For look, I am ready to create

new heavens and a new earth! 39 

The former ones 40  will not be remembered;

no one will think about them anymore. 41 

65:18 But be happy and rejoice forevermore

over what I am about to create!

For look, I am ready to create Jerusalem 42  to be a source of joy, 43 

and her people to be a source of happiness. 44 

65:19 Jerusalem will bring me joy,

and my people will bring me happiness. 45 

The sound of weeping or cries of sorrow

will never be heard in her again.

65:20 Never again will one of her infants live just a few days 46 

or an old man die before his time. 47 

Indeed, no one will die before the age of a hundred, 48 

anyone who fails to reach 49  the age of a hundred will be considered cursed.

65:21 They will build houses and live in them;

they will plant vineyards and eat their fruit.

65:22 No longer will they build a house only to have another live in it, 50 

or plant a vineyard only to have another eat its fruit, 51 

for my people will live as long as trees, 52 

and my chosen ones will enjoy to the fullest what they have produced. 53 

65:23 They will not work in vain,

or give birth to children that will experience disaster. 54 

For the Lord will bless their children

and their descendants. 55 

65:24 Before they even call out, 56  I will respond;

while they are still speaking, I will hear.

65:25 A wolf and a lamb will graze together; 57 

a lion, like an ox, will eat straw, 58 

and a snake’s food will be dirt. 59 

They will no longer injure or destroy

on my entire royal mountain,” 60  says the Lord.

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1 tn Heb “I allowed myself to be sought by those who did not ask.”

2 tn Heb “I allowed myself to be found by those who did not seek.”

3 tn Heb “call out in”; NASB, NIV, NRSV “call on.”

4 tn Heb “who walked [in] the way that is not good, after their thoughts.”

5 tn Heb “the people who provoke me to anger to my face continually.”

6 tn Or “gardens” (KJV, NASB, NIV, NRSV, NLT).

7 tn Or perhaps, “on tiles.”

8 sn Perhaps the worship of underworld deities or dead spirits is in view.

9 tn The Hebrew text reads literally, “and in the watches they spend the night.” Some understand נְּצוּרִים (nÿtsurim) as referring to “secret places” or “caves,” while others emend the text to וּבֵין צוּרִים (uven tsurim, “between the rocky cliffs”).

10 tn Heb “the flesh of the pig”; KJV, NAB, NASB “swine’s flesh.”

11 tc The marginal reading (Qere), supported by the Qumran scroll 1QIsaa, reads מְרַק (mÿraq, “broth”), while the consonantal text (Kethib) has פְרַק (feraq, “fragment”).

12 tn Heb “Look, it is written before me.”

13 tn Heb “I will pay back into their lap.”

14 tn Heb “the iniquities of your fathers.”

15 tn Or perhaps, “taunted”; KJV “blasphemed”; NAB “disgraced”; NASB “scorned”; NIV “defied”; NRSV “reviled.”

16 tn Heb “I will measure out their pay [from the] beginning into their lap,” i.e., he will give them everything they have earned.

17 tn Heb “just as.” In the Hebrew text the statement is one long sentence, “Just as…, so I will do….”

18 tn Heb “for a blessing is in it.”

19 tn Heb “by not destroying everyone.”

20 tn Heb “it.” The third feminine singular pronominal suffix probably refers to the land which contains the aforementioned mountains.

21 sn Sharon was a plain located to the west, along the Mediterranean coast north of Joppa and south of Carmel.

22 sn The Valley of Achor (“Achor” means “trouble” in Hebrew) was the site of Achan’s execution. It was located to the east, near Jericho.

23 tn Heb “a resting place for cattle”; NASB, NIV “for herds.”

24 tn Heb “for my people who seek me.”

25 tn The Hebrew text has simply, “forget.” The words “about worshiping at” are supplied in the translation for clarification.

26 tn The Hebrew has לַגַּד (laggad, “for Gad”), the name of a pagan deity. See HALOT 176 s.v. II גַּד 2.

27 tn The Hebrew has לַמְנִי (lamni, “for Meni”), the name of a pagan deity. See HALOT 602 s.v. מְגִי.

28 tn Heb “I assign you to the sword.” Some emend the Qal verb form מָנִיתִי (maniti, “I assign”) to the Piel מִנִּיתִי (minniti, “ I ordain”). The verb sounds like the name of the god Meni (מְנִי, mÿni, “Destiny, Fate”). The sound play draws attention to the irony of the statement. The sinners among God’s people worship the god Meni, apparently in an effort to ensure a bright destiny for themselves. But the Lord is the one who really determines their destiny and he has decreed their demise.

29 tn Or “at the slaughter”; NIV “for the slaughter”; NLT “before the executioner.”

30 tn Heb “that which is evil in my eyes.”

31 tn Heb “from the good of the heart.”

32 tn Heb “from the pain of the heart.”

33 tn Heb “from the breaking of the spirit.”

34 tn Heb “you will leave your name for an oath to my chosen ones.”

sn For an example of such a curse formula see Jer 29:22.

35 tn Or “in the land” (NIV, NCV, NRSV). The same phrase occurs again later in this verse, with the same options.

36 tn Heb “will pronounce a blessing by the God of truth.”

37 tn Heb “will take an oath by the God of truth.”

38 tn Heb “for the former distresses will be forgotten, and they will be hidden from my eyes.”

39 sn This hyperbolic statement likens the coming transformation of Jerusalem (see vv. 18-19) to a new creation of the cosmos.

40 tn Or perhaps, “the former things” (so ASV, NASB, NIV, NRSV); TEV “The events of the past.”

41 tn Heb “and they will not come up on the mind.”

42 map For location see Map5 B1; Map6 F3; Map7 E2; Map8 F2; Map10 B3; JP1 F4; JP2 F4; JP3 F4; JP4 F4.

43 tn Heb “Jerusalem, joy.” The next verse suggests the meaning: The Lord will create Jerusalem to be a source of joy to himself.

44 tn Heb “her people, happiness.” See the preceding note.

45 tn Heb “and I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and be happy in my people.”

46 tn Heb “and there will not be from there again a nursing infant of days,” i.e., one that lives just a few days.

47 tn Heb “or an old [man] who does not fill out his days.”

48 tn Heb “for the child as a son of one hundred years will die.” The point seems to be that those who die at the age of a hundred will be considered children, for the average life span will be much longer than that. The category “child” will be redefined in light of the expanded life spans that will characterize this new era.

49 tn Heb “the one who misses.” חָטָא (khata’) is used here in its basic sense of “miss the mark.” See HALOT 305 s.v. חטא. Another option is to translate, “and the sinner who reaches the age of a hundred will be cursed.”

50 tn Heb “they will not build, and another live [in it].”

51 tn Heb “they will not plant, and another eat.”

52 tn Heb “for like the days of the tree [will be] the days of my people.”

53 tn Heb “the work of their hands” (so KJV, NASB, NIV, NRSV); NLT “their hard-won gains.”

54 tn Heb “and they will not give birth to horror.”

55 tn Heb “for offspring blessed by the Lord they [will be], and their descendants along with them.”

56 tn The verb that introduces this verse serves as a discourse particle and is untranslated; see note on “in the future” in 2:2.

57 sn A similar statement appears in 11:6.

58 sn These words also appear in 11:7.

59 sn Some see an allusion to Gen 3:14 (note “you will eat dirt”). The point would be that even in this new era the snake (often taken as a symbol of Satan) remains under God’s curse. However, it is unlikely that such an allusion exists. Even if there is an echo of Gen 3:14, the primary allusion is to 11:8, where snakes are pictured as no longer dangerous. They will no longer attack other living creatures, but will be content to crawl along the ground. (The statement “you will eat dirt” in Gen 3:14 means “you will crawl on the ground.” In the same way the statement “dirt will be its food” in Isa 65:25 means “it will crawl on the ground.”)

60 tn Heb “in all my holy mountain.” These same words appear in 11:9. See the note there.

sn As in 11:1-9 the prophet anticipates a time when the categories predator-prey no longer exist. See the note at the end of 11:8.



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