1#These verses serve as a response to the preceding questions about God’s inaction (64:6, 11). It is not God who has been absent, but the people who have walked away from God by idolatrous acts and rituals (vv. 3–4). That is the reason for their punishment (vv. 6–7). I was ready to respond to those who did not ask,
to be found by those who did not seek me.
I said: Here I am! Here I am!
To a nation that did not invoke my name.#Rom 10:20.
2I have stretched out my hands all day
to a rebellious people,
Who walk in a way that is not good,
following their own designs;#Rom 10:21.
3A people who provoke me
continually to my face,
Offering sacrifices in gardens
and burning incense on bricks,
4Sitting in tombs
and spending the night in caves,
Eating the flesh of pigs,
with broth of unclean meat in their dishes;
5Crying out, “Hold back,
do not come near me, lest I render you holy!”#Render you holy: unclean food is what these people claim has made them sacred! The prophet ridicules them. Sacredness was understood as something communicable (cf. Ex 19:9–15).
These things are smoke in my nostrils,
a fire that burns all the day.
6See, it stands written before me;
I will not remain quiet until I have repaid in full
7Your crimes and the crimes of your ancestors as well,
says the Lord.
Since they burned incense on the mountains,
and insulted me on the hills,
I will at once pour out in full measure
their recompense into their laps.
Fate of the Just and Unjust in Israel
8#This verse reflects the remnant theology found elsewhere in the Book of Isaiah: 1:8–9; 4:3; 6:11–13; etc. Thus says the Lord:
As when the juice is pressed from a cluster,
and someone says, “Do not destroy it,
for there is still good in it,”
So will I do for the sake of my servants:
I will not destroy them all.
9From Jacob I will bring forth offspring,
from Judah, those who are to possess my mountains;
My chosen ones shall possess the land,
my servants shall dwell there.
10Sharon shall become a pasture for the flocks,
the Valley of Achor a resting place for the cattle,
for my people who have sought me.#Hos 2:17.
11But you who forsake the Lord,
who forget my holy mountain,
Who spread a table for Fortune
and fill cups of mixed wine for Destiny,#Destiny: the play on words is found in the Hebrew, in which “destiny” and “destine” are menî and manîthî.
12You I will destine for the sword;
you shall all bow down for slaughter;
Because I called and you did not answer,
I spoke and you did not listen,
But did what is evil in my sight
and things I do not delight in, you chose,#Is 66:4; Prv 1:24; Jer 7:13.
13therefore thus says the Lord God:
My servants shall eat,
but you shall go hungry;
My servants shall drink,
but you shall be thirsty;
My servants shall rejoice,
but you shall be put to shame;
14My servants shall shout
for joy of heart,
But you shall cry out for grief of heart,
and howl for anguish of spirit.
15You will leave your name for a curse to my chosen ones
when the Lord God slays you,
and calls his servants by another name.
16Whoever invokes a blessing in the land
shall bless by the God of truth;#God of truth: lit., “God of Amen,” i.e., the one who keeps his word.
Whoever takes an oath in the land
shall swear by the God of truth;
For the hardships of the past shall be forgotten
and hidden from my eyes.
A World Renewed
17#The new creation (cf. 66:22) is described with apocalyptic exuberance: long life, material prosperity, and so forth. As the former events in 43:18 are to be forgotten, so also the new creation wipes out memory of the first creation. See, I am creating new heavens
and a new earth;
The former things shall not be remembered
nor come to mind.#Is 66:22; Rev 21:1.
18Instead, shout for joy and be glad forever
in what I am creating.
Indeed, I am creating Jerusalem to be a joy
and its people to be a delight;
19I will rejoice in Jerusalem
and exult in my people.
No longer shall the sound of weeping be heard there,
or the sound of crying;
20No longer shall there be in it
an infant who lives but a few days,
nor anyone who does not live a full lifetime;
One who dies at a hundred years shall be considered a youth,
and one who falls short of a hundred shall be thought accursed.#Dt 4:40.
21They shall build houses and live in them,
they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit;
22They shall not build and others live there;
they shall not plant and others eat.
As the years of a tree, so the years of my people;
and my chosen ones shall long enjoy
the work of their hands.
23They shall not toil in vain,
nor beget children for sudden destruction;
For they shall be a people blessed by the Lord
and their descendants with them.
24Before they call, I will answer;
while they are yet speaking, I will hear.
25#The imagery reflects the ideal era described in 11:6–9; see note there. The wolf and the lamb shall pasture together,
and the lion shall eat hay like the ox—
but the serpent’s food shall be dust.#Is 11:6–9.
None shall harm or destroy
on all my holy mountain, says the Lord.