Isaiah 57

1 When a very good man dies, nobody really thinks about it. Death takes away men who love God. But nobody understands why death takes them away. But God wants to save the very good man from trouble that will come soon. That is why he has died!

2 A good man dies. Then he goes into a place where there is peace. Those men lie on their beds. He is the man who lived in the right way.

3 But you, come here! You are sons of a woman who does magic. You are the children of an adulteress. You are the children of a woman who sells her body for sex.

4 Tell me whom you are laughing at in a bad way. Tell me about whom you are saying bad things. You push your tongue out of your mouth! You are a crowd of people who do not obey God's rules. You do not say what is true.

5 You like to have sex among the big trees. Also, you have sex under every tree that hangs out its branches. You kill your children and you burn them (for false gods). You do that in the deep valleys and under the rocks that hang over the sides of hills.

57:5That was one way that they worshipped false gods. They had sex in a wrong way.

6 Your place is among the flat stones in the deep valley. Yes, you should be with them. Yes, you have poured out drink, to offer it to your false gods. And you have offered grain to them. Because of that, I, the Lord, will not change my mind.

57:6The words ‘flat stones’ may mean false gods.

7 You have made your bed on a high and tall hill. You went there to offer things to your false gods.

8 You have put your notice behind your door, where the door opens. But you left me and you opened your bed. You climbed into it and you opened it wide. You agreed with those people whose beds you loved. You saw a hand to help you.

57:8The notice might say that they were God's servants. But they were not!
57:8The word ‘bed’ here means a place to worship false gods. A man had sex with someone who was not his wife. That is how he worshipped those false gods.
57:8The word ‘hand’ here means the hand of a false god. We could translate ‘a hand to help’ as ‘someone to help’.

9 You went to the king with olive oil and you made more perfumes. You sent your leaders a long way and you even went down to Sheol.

57:9‘the king’ may be the name of Moloch, a false god.

10 All your journeys made you very tired. But you would not say, ‘We cannot continue to hope.’ You became strong again and so you did not stop trying.

11 Perhaps someone is frightening you, so that you do not worship me. Perhaps you are so afraid of someone that you cannot remember me. And you have not thought about me in your minds. Perhaps you are afraid of me because I have not said anything for a long time.

12 You think that you do very good things. But I will show to everybody that they are bad things. And those things will not be a benefit for you.

13 You will shout for help. Then all your false gods can save you if they can! The wind will carry them all away. Somebody's breath will blow them away. But if anyone comes to me for help, the land will be his or hers. And my holy mountain will be his or hers.

57:13The ‘holy mountain’ here may mean Zion, the mountain in Jerusalem where Solomon built God's temple.

14 He will say, ‘Build up a road! Build it up. Make a road. Remove the things that do not let my people use the road.’

15 The High God, who is Above Everything, is speaking. He is the God who will always be alive. His name is holy. He says, ‘I live in a high and holy place. But I will live also with anyone who has a lowly and a humble spirit. I will cause the spirit of the humble person to continue to live. I will also cause the heart of the lowly person still to be alive.

16 I will not always say that someone is bad. I will not always be angry with him. If I did, his spirit would become weak in front of me. I made him alive when I made man.

17 His sin, which was greed, made me angry. And so I punished him. I was angry and I hid from him. But he continued to do what he wanted to do.

18 I have seen what he is doing. But I will give health to him again. Then I will be a guide to him and I will make him strong again. And I will cause those among my people who are sad to feel better.’

57:18This verse may mean people who are sad about their sins. We think that it does mean that.

19 God will cause his people to speak words of praise. The Lord says, ‘I will give peace. There will be peace for the people who are a long way from here. And there will be peace for those who are near. And I will give health to them.

20 But bad people are like a sea that is always moving. It cannot stay still. Its waters throw up mud and sand.

21 There is no peace for bad people,’ says my God.