Isaiah 66


1 The Lord said:
   Heaven is my throne;
      the earth is my footstool.
   What kind of house
   could you build for me?
      In what place will I rest?
2       I have made everything;
      that’s how it all came to be.
         I, the Lord, have spoken.

   The people I treasure most
      are the humble—
   they depend only on me
      and tremble when I speak.

3 You sacrifice oxen to me,
      and you commit murder;
   you sacrifice lambs to me
      and dogs to other gods;
   you offer grain to me
      and pigs’ blood to idols;
   you burn incense to me
      and praise your idols.
   You have made your own choice
   to do these disgusting things
      that you enjoy so much.

4 You refused to answer
      when I called out;
   you paid no attention
      to my instructions.
   Instead, you did what I hated,
      knowing it was wrong.
   Now I will punish you
      in a way you dread the most.

The Lord Will Help Jerusalem

5 If you tremble
   when the Lord speaks,
      listen to what he says:
   “Some of your own people hate
    and reject you because of me.
      They make fun and say,
   ‘Let the Lord show his power!
    Let us see him
      make you truly happy.’
   But those who say these things
      will be terribly ashamed.”

6 Do you hear that noise
   in the city and those shouts
      coming from the temple?
   It is the Lord shouting
      as he punishes his enemies.

7 Have you ever heard of a woman
   who gave birth to a child
      before having labor pains?
8 Who ever heard of such a thing
      or imagined it could happen?
   Can a nation be born in a day
      or come to life in a second?
   Jerusalem is like a mother
   who gave birth to her children
      as soon as she was in labor.
9 The Lord is the one
      who makes birth possible.
   And he will see that Zion
   has many more children.
      The Lord has spoken.

10 If you love Jerusalem,
      celebrate and shout!
   If you were in sorrow
   because of the city,
      you can now be glad.
11 She will nurse and comfort you,
     just like your own mother,
         until you are satisfied.
     You will fully enjoy
         her wonderful glory.

12 The Lord has promised:
      “I will flood Jerusalem
   with the wealth of nations
      and make the city prosper.
   Zion will nurse you at her breast,
   carry you in her arms,
      and hold you in her lap.
13 I will comfort you there
     like a mother
         comforting her child.”

14 When you see this happen,
         you will celebrate;
   your strength will return
      faster than grass can sprout.
   Then everyone will know
   that the Lord is present
      with his servants,
   but he is angry
      with his enemies.
15 The Lord will come down
     like a whirlwind
         with his flaming chariots.
     He will be terribly furious
     and punish his enemies
         with fire.
16 The Lord’s fiery sword
         will bring justice
      everywhere on this earth
         and execute many people.

A Threat and a Promise

   17 Some of you get yourselves ready and go to a garden to worship a foreign goddess. You eat the meat of pigs, lizards, and mice. But I, the Lord, will destroy you for this.
   18 I know everything you do and think! The time has now come to bring together the people of every language and nation and to show them my glory 19 by proving what I can do. I will send the survivors to Tarshish, Pul, Lud, Meshech, Tubal, Javan, and to the distant islands. I will send them to announce my wonderful glory to nations that have never heard about me.
   20 They will bring your relatives from the nations as an offering to me, the Lord. They will come on horses, chariots, wagons, mules, and camels to Jerusalem, my holy mountain. It will be like the people of Israel bringing the right offering to my temple. 21 I promise that some of them will be priests and others will be helpers in my temple. I, the Lord, have spoken.
   22 I also promise that you will always have descendants and will never be forgotten, just as the new heavens and the new earth that I create will last forever. 23 On the first day of each month and on each Sabbath, everyone will worship me. I, the Lord, have spoken.
   24 My people will go out and look at the dead bodies of those who turned against me. The worms there never die, the fire never stops burning, and the sight of those bodies will be disgusting to everyone.

The Contemporary English Version, c1995 by the American Bible Society.
Selected texts provided for use with the Hypertext Bible Commentary