‘Why have we fasted,’ they say, ‘and You do not see it?
Why have we humbled ourselves and You do not notice?’
Hear this [O Israel], on the day of your fast [when you should be grieving for your sins] you find something you desire [to do],
And you force your hired servants to work [instead of stopping all work, as the law teaches].
The facts are that you fast only for strife and brawling and to strike with the fist of wickedness.
You do not fast as you do today to make your voice heard on high.
Is a fast such as this what I have chosen, a day for a man to humble himself [with sorrow in his soul]?
Is it only to bow down his head like a reed
And to make sackcloth and ashes as a bed [pretending to have a repentant heart]?
Do you call this a fast and a day pleasing to the LORD?
[Rather] is this not the fast which I choose,
To undo the bonds of wickedness,
To tear to pieces the ropes of the yoke,
To let the oppressed go free
And break apart every [enslaving] yoke?
Is it not to divide your bread with the hungry
And bring the homeless poor into the house;
When you see the naked, that you cover him,
And not to hide yourself from [the needs of] your own flesh and blood?
Then your light will break out like the dawn,
And your healing (restoration, new life) will quickly spring forth;
Your righteousness will go before you [leading you to peace and prosperity],
The glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.
Then you will call, and the LORD will answer;
You will cry for help, and He will say, ‘Here I am.’
If you take away from your midst the yoke [of oppression],
The finger pointed in scorn [toward the oppressed or the godly], and [every form of] wicked (sinful, unjust) speech,
And if you offer yourself to [assist] the hungry
And satisfy the need of the afflicted,
Then your light will rise in darkness
And your gloom will become like midday.
And the LORD will continually guide you,
And satisfy your soul in scorched and dry places,
And give strength to your bones;
And you will be like a watered garden,
And like a spring of water whose waters do not fail.