Isaiah 56

God promises to bless all the nations

1 This is what the Lord says:

‘Always be fair and do what is right.

Soon I will come to rescue you.

I will do what is right for my people.

2 God will bless the people who do what is right.

They must be careful to obey my laws.

They must respect the rules for the Sabbath day

and keep it special.

They must refuse to do anything that is evil.

3 When a foreigner decides to serve the Lord, he should not say, “The Lord will keep me separate from his own people.” A eunuch should not say, “I am no better than a dead tree.” ’

4 The Lord says this:

‘I will bless eunuchs who obey my laws.

  • They must respect the rules for Sabbath days.
  • They must choose to do what pleases me.
  • They must always obey my covenant with my people.
  • 5 If they do that, I will give them a special place in my temple.

    It will cause people to remember them.

    Their name will continue in a better way

    than through sons and daughters.

    People will always honour their name.

    Nobody will cut it off.

    56:5cut it off A eunuch could not have children, because someone had cut off his testicles.

    6 I will also bless foreigners who decide to serve me.

  • They must be faithful to me as my servants.
  • They must respect the rules for the Sabbath day and keep it special.
  • They must always obey my covenant.
  • 7 Then I will bring them to my holy mountain.

    56:7my holy mountain means Mount Zion in Jerusalem, where Solomon built God's temple.
  • I will make them happy in my house for prayer.
  • I will accept their burnt offerings and sacrifices,
  • when they offer them to me on my altar.

    People will call my temple,

    “A house where people from all nations may pray.” ’

    56:7See Matthew 21:13.

    8 The Lord God is the one who brings together all the Israelite people who are in exile. He says, ‘I will continue to bring more people to join with them.’

    God warns Israel's leaders

    9 ‘Come here, you wild animals!

    Come, you wild animals that live in the forest!

    Come and eat my people!

    56:9God is speaking to Israel's enemies as if they are wild animals. He is telling them to come and punish his people.

    10 Israel's guards are blind!

    They do not see what is happening.

    They are all like dogs that cannot make a noise.

    They cannot warn people about danger.

    They love to lie on the ground

    and they dream in their sleep.

    11 They are like dogs who are always hungry.

    They eat a lot but they never have enough.

    They are like shepherds

    who do not understand what to do.

    They do whatever they want to do,

    so that it will help them get what they want.

    12 They say to each other,

    “Come! We must go and find more wine to drink!

    We can drink as much beer as we want!

    Tomorrow we can do it all again!

    It might be even better than today!” ’