Reasons for Judgment*
1Cry out full-throated and unsparingly,
lift up your voice like a trumpet blast;
Proclaim to my people their transgression,
to the house of Jacob their sins.a
2They seek me day after day,
and desire to know my ways,
Like a nation that has done what is just
and not abandoned the judgment of their God;
They ask of me just judgments,
they desire to draw near to God.
3“Why do we fast, but you do not see it?
afflict ourselves, but you take no note?”
See, on your fast day you carry out your own pursuits,
and drive all your laborers.b
4See, you fast only to quarrel and fight
and to strike with a wicked fist!
Do not fast as you do today
to make your voice heard on high!
5Is this the manner of fasting I would choose,
a day to afflict oneself?
To bow one’s head like a reed,
and lie upon sackcloth and ashes?
Is this what you call a fast,
a day acceptable to the LORD?c
Authentic Fasting That Leads to Blessing*
6Is this not, rather, the fast that I choose:
releasing those bound unjustly,
untying the thongs of the yoke;
Setting free the oppressed,
breaking off every yoke?d
7Is it not sharing your bread with the hungry,
bringing the afflicted and the homeless into your house;
Clothing the naked when you see them,
and not turning your back on your own flesh?e
8Then your light shall break forth like the dawn,
and your wound shall quickly be healed;
Your vindication shall go before you,
and the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard.
9Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer,
you shall cry for help, and he will say: “Here I am!”
If you remove the yoke from among you,
the accusing finger, and malicious speech;f
10If you lavish your food on the hungry
and satisfy the afflicted;
Then your light shall rise in the darkness,
and your gloom shall become like midday;
11Then the LORD will guide you always
and satisfy your thirst in parched places,
will give strength to your bones
And you shall be like a watered garden,
like a flowing spring whose waters never fail.g
12Your people shall rebuild the ancient ruins;
the foundations from ages past you shall raise up;
“Repairer of the breach,” they shall call you,
“Restorer of ruined dwellings.”h
Authentic Sabbath Observance That Leads to Blessing*
13If you refrain from trampling the sabbath,
from following your own pursuits on my holy day;
If you call the sabbath a delight,
the LORD’s holy day glorious;
If you glorify it by not following your ways,
seeking your own interests, or pursuing your own affairs—
14Then you shall delight in the LORD,
and I will make you ride upon the heights of the earth;
I will nourish you with the heritage of Jacob, your father,
for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.i
* [58:1–5] The prophet is commanded to condemn the formalism of the people, specifically their hypocritical fasting.
* [58:6–12] Fasting is not genuine without reforming one’s way of life. A true social morality will ensure prosperity.
* [58:13–14] Sabbath observance becomes a cornerstone of postexilic piety; cf. 56:2, 4, 6.
b. [58:3] 1 Sm 7:6; 1 Kgs 21:12; 1 Mc 3:47; Jl 1:1–2:17.
e. [58:7] Ez 18:7, 16; Mt 25:35.