1The righteous perish,
and no one takes it to heart;
the devout are taken away,
and no one understands
that the righteous are taken away
to be spared from evil.
2Those who walk uprightly
enter into peace;
they find rest as they lie in death.
3‘But you – come here, you children of a sorceress,
you offspring of adulterers and prostitutes!
4Who are you mocking?
At whom do you sneer
and stick out your tongue?
Are you not a brood of rebels,
the offspring of liars?
5You burn with lust among the oaks
and under every spreading tree;
you sacrifice your children in the ravines
and under the overhanging crags.
6The idols among the smooth stones of the ravines are your portion;
indeed, they are your lot.
Yes, to them you have poured out drink offerings
and offered grain offerings.
In view of all this, should I relent?
7You have made your bed on a high and lofty hill;
there you went up to offer your sacrifices.
8Behind your doors and your doorposts
you have put your pagan symbols.
Forsaking me, you uncovered your bed,
you climbed into it and opened it wide;
you made a pact with those whose beds you love,
and you looked with lust on their naked bodies.
9You went to Molek# with olive oil
and increased your perfumes.
You sent your ambassadors# far away;
you descended to the very realm of the dead!
10You wearied yourself by such going about,
but you would not say, “It is hopeless.”
You found renewal of your strength,
and so you did not faint.
11‘Whom have you so dreaded and feared
that you have not been true to me,
and have neither remembered me
nor taken this to heart?
Is it not because I have long been silent
that you do not fear me?
12I will expose your righteousness and your works,
and they will not benefit you.
13When you cry out for help,
let your collection of idols save you!
The wind will carry all of them off,
a mere breath will blow them away.
But whoever takes refuge in me
will inherit the land
and possess my holy mountain.’
Comfort for the contrite
14And it will be said:
‘Build up, build up, prepare the road!
Remove the obstacles out of the way of my people.’
15For this is what the high and exalted One says –
he who lives for ever, whose name is holy:
‘I live in a high and holy place,
but also with the one who is contrite and lowly in spirit,
to revive the spirit of the lowly
and to revive the heart of the contrite.
16I will not accuse them for ever,
nor will I always be angry,
for then they would faint away because of me –
the very people I have created.
17I was enraged by their sinful greed;
I punished them, and hid my face in anger,
yet they kept on in their wilful ways.
18I have seen their ways, but I will heal them;
I will guide them and restore comfort to Israel’s mourners,
19 creating praise on their lips.
Peace, peace, to those far and near,’
says the Lord. ‘And I will heal them.’
20But the wicked are like the tossing sea,
which cannot rest,
whose waves cast up mire and mud.
21‘There is no peace,’ says my God, ‘for the wicked.’