1 THE RIGHTEOUS man perishes, and no one lays it to heart; and merciful and devout men are taken away, with no one considering that the uncompromisingly upright and godly person is taken away from the calamity and evil to come [even through wickedness].
2 He [in death] enters into peace; they rest in their beds, each one who walks straight and in his uprightness.
3 But come close, you sons of a sorceress [nursed in witchcraft and superstition], you offspring of an adulterer and a harlot.
4 Against whom do you make sport and take your delight? Against whom do you open wide your mouth and put out your tongue? Are you not yourselves the children of transgression, the offspring of deceit–
5 You who burn with lust [inflaming yourselves with idols] among the oaks, under every green tree, you who slay the children [in sacrifice] in the valleys under the clefts of the rocks?
6 Among the smooth stones of the valley is your portion; they, they [the idols] are your lot; to them you have poured out a drink offering, you have offered a cereal offering. Should I be quiet in spite of all these things [and leave them unpunished–bearing them with patience]?
7 Upon a lofty and high mountain you have openly and shamelessly set your [idolatrous and adulterous] bed; even there you went up to offer sacrifice [in spiritual unfaithfulness to your divine Husband].
8 Behind the door and the doorpost you have set up your [idol] symbol [as a substitute for the Scripture text God ordered]. Deserting Me, you have uncovered and ascended and enlarged your bed; and you have made a [fresh] bargain for yourself with [the adulterers], and you loved their bed, where you saw [a beckoning hand or a passion-inflaming image]. [Deut. 6:5, 6, 9; 11:18, 20.]
9 And you went to the king [of foreign lands with gifts] or to Molech [the god] with oil and increased your perfumes and ointments; you sent your messengers far off and debased yourself even to Sheol (Hades) [symbol of an abysmal depth of degradation].
10 You were wearied with the length of your way [in trying to find rest and satisfaction in alliances apart from the true God], yet you did not say, There is no result or profit. You found quickened strength; therefore you were not faint or heartsick [or penitent].
11 Of whom have you been so afraid and in dread that you lied and were treacherous and did not [seriously] remember Me, did not even give Me a thought? Have I not been silent, even for a long time, and so you do not fear Me?
12 I will expose your [pretended] righteousness and your doings, but they will not help you.
13 When you cry out, let your [rabble] collection of idols deliver you! But the wind shall take them all, a breath shall carry them away. But he who takes refuge in Me shall possess the land [Judea] and shall inherit My holy mountain [Zion, also the heavenly inheritance and the spiritual Zion]. [Ps. 37:9, 11; 69:35, 36; Isa. 49:8; Matt. 5:5; Heb. 12:22.]
14 And the word of One shall go forth, Cast up, cast up, prepare the way! Take up the stumbling block out of the way [of the spiritual return] of My people.
15 For thus says the high and lofty One–He Who inhabits eternity, Whose name is Holy: I dwell in the high and holy place, but with him also who is of a thoroughly penitent and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble and to revive the heart of the thoroughly penitent [bruised with sorrow for sin]. [Matt. 5:3.]
16 For I will not contend forever, neither will I be angry always, for [if I did stay angry] the spirit [of man] would faint and be consumed before Me, and [My purpose in] creating the souls of men would be frustrated.
17 Because of the iniquity of his [Judah's] covetousness and unjust gain I was angry and smote him. I hid my face and was angry, and he went on turning away and backsliding in the way of his [own willful] heart.
18 I have seen his [willful] ways, but I will heal him; I will lead him also and will recompense him and restore comfort to him and to those who mourn for him. [Isa. 61:1, 2; 66:10.]
19 Peace, peace, to him who is far off [both Jew and Gentile] and to him who is near! says the Lord; I create the fruit of his lips, and I will heal him [make his lips blossom anew with speech in thankful praise]. [Acts 2:39; Eph. 2:13-17, 18; Heb. 13:15.]
20 But the wicked are like the troubled sea, for it cannot rest, and its waters cast up mire and dirt.
21 There is no peace, says my God, for the wicked.