Injustice Brings Alienation from God
1 Look, the Lord’s hand is not too weak#tn Heb “short” (so NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV). to deliver you;
his ear is not too deaf to hear you.#tn Heb “or his ear too heavy [i.e., “dull”] to hear.”
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.#tn Heb “and your sins have caused [his] face to be hidden from you so as not to hear.”
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;#tn Heb “no one pleads with justice.”
no one sets forth his case truthfully.
They depend on false words#tn Heb “nothing”; NAB “emptiness.” and tell lies;
they conceive of oppression#tn Or “trouble” (NIV), or “harm.”
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.#tn Heb “that which is pressed in hatches [as] a snake.”
6 Their webs cannot be used for clothing;
they cannot cover themselves with what they make.
Their deeds are sinful;
they commit violent crimes.#tn Heb “their deeds are deeds of sin, and the work of violence [is] in their hands.”
7 They are eager to do evil,#tn Heb “their feet run to evil.”
quick to shed innocent blood.#tn Heb “they quickly pour out innocent blood.”
Their thoughts are sinful;
they crush and destroy.#tn Heb “their thoughts are thoughts of sin, destruction and crushing [are] in their roadways.”
8 They are unfamiliar with peace;
their deeds are unjust.#tn Heb “a way of peace they do not know, and there is no justice in their pathways.”
They use deceitful methods,
and whoever deals with them is unfamiliar with peace.#tn Heb “their paths they make crooked, everyone who walks in it does not know peace.”
Israel Confesses its Sin
9 For this reason deliverance#tn 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. is far from us#sn The prophet speaks on behalf of the sinful nation and confesses its sins.
and salvation does not reach us.
We wait for light,#sn Light here symbolizes prosperity and blessing. but see only darkness;#tn Heb “but, look, darkness”; NIV “but all is darkness.”
we wait for#tn The words “we wait for” are supplied in the translation; the verb is understood by ellipsis (note the preceding line). a bright light,#tn The plural noun form may indicate degree here. but live#tn Or “walk about”; NCV “all we have is darkness.” in deep darkness.#tn The plural noun form may indicate degree here.
10 We grope along the wall like the blind,
we grope like those who cannot see;#tn Heb “like there are no eyes.”
we stumble at noontime as if it were evening.
Though others are strong, we are like dead men.#tn Heb among the strong, like dead men.”
11 We all growl like bears,
we coo mournfully like doves;
we wait for deliverance,#tn See the note at v. 9. but there is none,
for salvation, but it is far from us.
12 For you are aware of our many rebellious deeds,#tn Heb “for many are our rebellious deeds before you.”
and our sins testify against us;
indeed, we are aware of our rebellious deeds;
we know our sins all too well.#tn Heb “indeed [or “for”] our rebellious deeds (are) with us, and our sins, we know them.”
13 We have rebelled and tried to deceive the Lord;
we turned back from following our God.
We stir up#tn Heb “speaking.” A new sentence was started here in the translation for stylistic reasons. oppression and rebellion;
we tell lies we concocted in our minds.#tn Heb “conceiving and uttering from the heart words of falsehood.”
14 Justice is driven back;
godliness#tn Or “righteousness” (ASV, NASB, NIV, NRSV); KJV, NAB “justice.” stands far off.
Indeed,#tn Or “for” (KJV, NRSV). 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,#tn Heb “and it is displeasing in his eyes.”
for there is no justice.
The Lord Intervenes
16 He sees there is no advocate;#tn Heb “man” (so KJV, ASV); TEV “no one to help.”
he is shocked#tn Or “appalled” (NAB, NIV, NRSV), or “disgusted.” that no one intervenes.
So he takes matters into his own hands;#tn Heb “and his arm delivers for him.”
his desire for justice drives him on.#tn Heb “and his justice [or “righteousness”] supports him.”
17 He wears his desire for justice#tn Or “righteousness” (KJV, NASB, NIV, NRSV, NLT); NCV “goodness.” like body armor,#tn Or “a breastplate” (traditional; so many English versions); TEV “a coat of armour.”
and his desire to deliver is like a helmet on his head.#tn Heb “and [as] a helmet deliverance on his head.”
He puts on the garments of vengeance#tn Heb “and he puts on the clothes of vengeance [as] a garment.”
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.#tn Heb “in accordance with deeds, so he repays, anger to his adversaries, repayment to his enemies.”
He repays the coastlands.#tn Or “islands” (KJV, NIV).
19 In the west, people respect#tc Heb “fear.” A few medieval Hebrew mss read “see.” the Lord’s reputation;#tn Heb “and they fear from the west the name of the Lord.”
in the east they recognize his splendor.#tn Heb “and from the rising of the sun his splendor.”
For he comes like a rushing#tn Heb “narrow”; NAB, NIV, NRSV “pent-up.” stream
driven on by wind sent from the Lord.#tn Heb “the wind of the Lord drives it on.” The term רוּחַ (ruakh) could be translated “breath” here (see 30:28).
20 “A protector#tn Or “redeemer.” See the note at 41:14. comes to Zion,
to those in Jacob who repent of their rebellious deeds,”#tn Heb “and to those who turn from rebellion in Jacob.” says the Lord.
21 “As for me, this is my promise to#tn 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. 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,”#tn Heb “from now and on into the future.” says the Lord.