Isaiah 65:5

5 who say, ‘Keep away; don’t come near me, for I am too sacred for you!’ Such people are smoke in my nostrils, a fire that keeps burning all day.

Read Isaiah 65:5 Using Other Translations

Which say, Stand by thyself, come not near to me; for I am holier than thou. These are a smoke in my nose, a fire that burneth all the day.
who say, "Keep to yourself, do not come near me, for I am too holy for you." These are a smoke in my nostrils, a fire that burns all the day.
Yet they say to each other, ‘Don’t come too close or you will defile me! I am holier than you!’ These people are a stench in my nostrils, an acrid smell that never goes away.

What does Isaiah 65:5 mean?

John Gill's Exposition of the Bible
Isaiah 65:5

Which say, stand by thyself,
&c], According to Aben Ezra, Jarchi, and Kimchi, these are the unclean persons that did the above things; who say to the righteous, "draw near to thyself" F16; so the words are, go to thine own place, or to thine own company: and come not near to me;
keep off at a distance, as unworthy of such company: for I am holier than thou;
but this is the language of a self-righteous man, of a Pharisee that strictly observed the rituals of the law; and fitly describes such who lived in the times of Christ; and exactly agrees with the characters of such, who not only would have no dealings with the Samaritans, but washed themselves when they came from market, or any public place, lest they should be defiled with the common people of their own nation; and, even with religious persons, would not stand near them while praying; but despised them, if they had not arrived to that pitch of outward sanctity they had; see ( John 4:9 ) ( Mark 7:4 ) ( Luke 18:9 Luke 18:11 Luke 18:12 ) . The phrase may be rendered, "do not touch me" F17; and the Pharisees would not suffer themselves to be touched by the common people, nor would they touch them. Maimonides F18 says,

``if the Pharisees touched but the garments of the common people, they were defiled all one as if they had touched a profluvious person, and were obliged to dip themselves all over;''
so that, when they walked in the streets, they used to walk on the sides of the way, that they might not be defiled by touching them F19. So Epiphanius F20 relates of the Samaritan Jews, that when they touch one of another nation, they dip themselves with their clothes in water; for they reckon it a defilement to touch anyone, or to touch any man of another religion; and of the Dositheans, who were another sect of the Samaritans the same writer observes F21, that they studiously avoid touching any, for they abhor every man. A certain Arabic geographer of note F23 makes mention of an island, called the island of the Samaritans, inhabited by some Samaritan Jews, as appears by their saying to any that apply to them, do not touch; and by this it is known that they are of the Jews who are called Samaritans; and this same arrogant superstition, as Scaliger observes F24, continues in that people to this day, as those relate who have conversed with them: these are a smoke in my nose, a fire that burneth all the day:
very offensive to the divine Being, as smoke is to the eyes and nostrils; very abominable to him; and whose proud and vain conduct raised indignation in him, and kindled the fire of his anger, which was continually exercised on them; see ( Luke 16:15 ) . The Targum is,
``their vengeance is in hell, where the fire burns all the day.''


F16 (Kyla brq) "accede ad te", Vatablus, Montanus, Tigurine version, Cocceius; "appropinqua ad te", Piscator.
F17 (yb vgt la) "ne contigas me"; so some in Vatablus; "ne attingite me", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; "ne tangae rue": Cocceius.
F18 In Misn. Chagiga, c. 2. sect. 7.
F19 lb. Hilcot Abot Tumaot, c. 13. sect. 8.
F20 Contra Haeres. haeres. 9.
F21 Contra Haeres, haeres 13.
F23 Apud Scaliger de Emendat, Temp. l. 7.
F24 Ibid.
California - Do Not Sell My Personal Information  California - CCPA Notice