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Israel’s Futile Idolatry

1 The righteous man perishes, and no one lays it to heart; devout men are taken away, while no one understands. For the righteous man is taken away from calamity;
2 he enters into peace; they rest in their beds who walk in their uprightness.
3 But you, draw near, sons of the sorceress, offspring of the adulterer and the loose woman.
4 Whom are you mocking? Against whom do you open your mouth wide and stick out your tongue? Are you not children of transgression, the offspring of deceit,
5 you who burn with lust among the oaks,1 under every green tree, who slaughter your children in the valleys, under the clefts of the rocks?
6 Among the smooth stones of the valley is your portion; they, they, are your lot; to them you have poured out a drink offering, you have brought a grain offering. Shall I relent for these things?
7 On a high and lofty mountain you have set your bed, and there you went up to offer sacrifice.
8 Behind the door and the doorpost you have set up your memorial; for, deserting me, you have uncovered your bed, you have gone up to it, you have made it wide; and you have made a covenant for yourself with them, you have loved their bed, you have looked on nakedness.2
9 You journeyed to the king with oil and multiplied your perfumes; you sent your envoys far off, and sent down even to Sheol.
10 You were wearied with the length of your way, but you did not say, “It is hopeless”; you found new life for your strength, and so you were not faint.3
11 Whom did you dread and fear, so that you lied, and did not remember me, did not lay it to heart? Have I not held my peace, even for a long time, and you do not fear me?
12 I will declare your righteousness and your deeds, but they will not profit you.
13 When you cry out, let your collection of idols deliver you! The wind will carry them all off, a breath will take them away. But he who takes refuge in me shall possess the land and shall inherit my holy mountain.

Comfort for the Contrite

14 And it shall be said, “Build up, build up, prepare the way, remove every obstruction from my people’s way.”
15 For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: “I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite.
16 For I will not contend forever, nor will I always be angry; for the spirit would grow faint before me, and the breath of life that I made.
17 Because of the iniquity of his unjust gain I was angry, I struck him; I hid my face and was angry, but he went on backsliding in the way of his own heart.
18 I have seen his ways, but I will heal him; I will lead him and restore comfort to him and his mourners,
19 creating the fruit of the lips. Peace, peace, to the far and to the near,” says the Lord, “and I will heal him.
20 But the wicked are like the tossing sea; for it cannot be quiet, and its waters toss up mire and dirt.
21 There is no peace,” says my God, “for the wicked.”
1 Or among the terebinths
2 Or on a monument (see 56:5); Hebrew on a hand
3 Hebrew and so you were not sick
1 The 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.
2 Those 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!
4 Who are you mocking? At whom do you sneer and stick out your tongue? Are you not a brood of rebels, the offspring of liars?
5 You burn with lust among the oaks and under every spreading tree; you sacrifice your children in the ravines and under the overhanging crags.
6 The 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?
7 You have made your bed on a high and lofty hill; there you went up to offer your sacrifices.
8 Behind 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.
9 You went to Molek1 with olive oil and increased your perfumes. You sent your ambassadors2 far away; you descended to the very realm of the dead!
10 You 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?
12 I will expose your righteousness and your works, and they will not benefit you.
13 When 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

14 And it will be said: “Build up, build up, prepare the road! Remove the obstacles out of the way of my people.”
15 For this is what the high and exalted One says— he who lives forever, 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.
16 I will not accuse them forever, nor will I always be angry, for then they would faint away because of me— the very people I have created.
17 I was enraged by their sinful greed; I punished them, and hid my face in anger, yet they kept on in their willful ways.
18 I 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.”
20 But 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.”
1 Or to the king
2 Or idols
3 Hebrew and so you were not sick
1 The righteous perisheth, and no man layeth it to heart: and merciful men are taken away, none considering that the righteous is taken away from the evil to come .
2 He shall enter into peace: they shall rest in their beds, each one walking in his uprightness.
3 But draw near hither, ye sons of the sorceress, the seed of the adulterer and the whore.
4 Against whom do ye sport yourselves? against whom make ye a wide mouth, and draw out the tongue? are ye not children of transgression, a seed of falsehood,
5 Enflaming yourselves with idols under every green tree, slaying the children in the valleys under the clifts of the rocks?
6 Among the smooth stones of the stream is thy portion; they, they are thy lot: even to them hast thou poured a drink offering, thou hast offered a meat offering. Should I receive comfort in these?
7 Upon a lofty and high mountain hast thou set thy bed: even thither wentest thou up to offer sacrifice.
8 Behind the doors also and the posts hast thou set up thy remembrance: for thou hast discovered thyself to another than me, and art gone up; thou hast enlarged thy bed, and made thee a covenant with them; thou lovedst their bed where thou sawest it .
9 And thou wentest to the king with ointment, and didst increase thy perfumes, and didst send thy messengers far off, and didst debase thyself even unto hell.
10 Thou art wearied in the greatness of thy way; yet saidst thou not, There is no hope: thou hast found the life of thine hand; therefore thou wast not grieved.
11 And of whom hast thou been afraid or feared, that thou hast lied, and hast not remembered me, nor laid it to thy heart? have not I held my peace even of old, and thou fearest me not?
12 I will declare thy righteousness, and thy works; for they shall not profit thee.
13 When thou criest, let thy companies deliver thee; but the wind shall carry them all away; vanity shall take them : but he that putteth his trust in me shall possess the land, and shall inherit my holy mountain;
14 And shall say, Cast ye up, cast ye up, prepare the way, take up the stumblingblock out of the way of my people.
15 For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place , with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.
16 For I will not contend for ever, neither will I be always wroth: for the spirit should fail before me, and the souls which I have made.
17 For the iniquity of his covetousness was I wroth, and smote him: I hid me, and was wroth, and he went on frowardly in the way of his heart.
18 I have seen his ways, and will heal him: I will lead him also, and restore comforts unto him and to his mourners.
19 I create the fruit of the lips; Peace, peace to him that is far off, and to him that is near, saith the LORD; and I will heal him.
20 But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt.
21 There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked.
1 Or to the king
2 Or idols
3 Hebrew and so you were not sick
1 Those who are right with God die. And no one really cares about it. Men who are faithful to the Lord are swept away by trouble. And no one understands why that happens to those who do what is right.
2 Those who lead honest lives will enjoy peace and rest when they die.
3 The Lord says, “Come here, you children of women who practice evil magic! You are children of prostitutes and those who commit adultery.
4 Who are you making fun of? Who are you laughing at? Who are you sticking your tongue out at? You are people who refuse to obey me. You are just a bunch of liars!
5 You burn with sinful longing among the oak trees. You worship your gods by having sex under every green tree. You sacrifice your children in the valleys. You also do it under the cliffs.
6 You have chosen some of the smooth stones in the valleys to be your gods. You have joined yourselves to them. You have even poured out drink offerings to them. You have given grain offerings to them. So why should I take pity on you?
7 You have made your bed to have sex on a very high hill. You went up there to offer your sacrifices.
8 You have set up statues to remind you of your gods. You have put them behind your doors and doorposts. You deserted me. You invited other lovers into your bed. You climbed into it and welcomed them. You made a deal with them. And you looked at their naked bodies.
9 You went to the god Molech with olive oil. You took a lot of perfume along with you. You sent your messengers to places far away. You even sent them down to the place of the dead.
10 All of your efforts wore you out. But you would not say, ‘It's hopeless.’ You received new strength. So you did not give up.
11 “Who are you so afraid of that you have not been true to me? You have not remembered me. You do not even care about me. I have not punished you for a long time. That is why you are not afraid of me.
12 You have not done what is right or good. I will let everyone know about it. And that will not be of any benefit to you.
13 Go ahead and cry out for help to all of the statues of your gods. See if they can save you! The wind will carry them off. Just a puff of air will blow them away. But anyone who comes to me for safety will receive the land. He will possess my holy mountain of Zion.”

The Lord Comforts Those Who Aren't Proud

14 A messenger says, “Build up the road! Build it up! Get it ready! Remove anything that would keep my people from coming back.”
15 The One who is highly honored lives forever. His name is holy. He says, “I live in a high and holy place. But I also live with anyone who turns away from his sins. I live with anyone who is not proud. I give new life to him. I give it to anyone who turns away from his sins.
16 I will not find fault with my people forever. I will not always be angry with them. If I were, I would cause their spirits to grow weak. The very breath of life would go out of the people I created.
17 I was very angry with them. They always longed for more and more of everything. So I punished them for that sin. I turned my face away from them because I was angry. But they kept on wanting their own way.
18 I have seen what they have done. But I will heal them. I will guide them. And I will comfort them just as I did before.
19 Then the people of Israel who are sorry for their sins will praise me. I will give perfect peace to those who are far away and those who are near. And I will heal them,” says the Lord.
20 But those who are evil are like the rolling sea. It never rests. Its waves toss up mud and sand.
21 “There is no peace for those who are evil,” says my God.
1 Or to the king
2 Or idols
3 Hebrew and so you were not sick
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