Isaiah 58:6-9

6 “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?
7 Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter— when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
8 Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness[a] will go before you, and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.
9 Then you will call, and the LORD will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I. “If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk,

Isaiah 58:6-9 Meaning and Commentary

INTRODUCTION TO ISAIAH 58

From the wicked and antichristian party the prophet is bid to turn to the professors of the true religion, and openly, boldly, and sharply, reprove them for their sins, particularly their hypocrisy and formality in worship, Isa 58:1,2, who yet were angry, and complained that the Lord took no notice of their religious services, particularly their fasting, which is put for the whole; the reason of which was, because they did not fast aright; it was attended with much cruelty, strife, and wickedness, and only lay in external appearances, Isa 58:3-5, when they are directed how to keep a fast, and are shown what a true fast is, and what works and services are acceptable to God, Isa 58:6,7 on doing of which, light, health, prosperity, and hearing of their prayers, are promised, provided the yoke of oppression is taken away, and compassion shown to the poor, Isa 58:8-10, yea, a very fruitful and flourishing estate of the soul is promised, and a rebuilding of waste places, delight in the Lord, and great honour and dignity; so be it that the sabbath of the Lord, or public worship, is attended to in a proper manner, Isa 58:11-14.

Isaiah 58:6-9 In-Context

4 Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife, and in striking each other with wicked fists. You cannot fast as you do today and expect your voice to be heard on high.
5 Is this the kind of fast I have chosen, only a day for people to humble themselves? Is it only for bowing one’s head like a reed and for lying in sackcloth and ashes? Is that what you call a fast, a day acceptable to the LORD?
6 “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?
7 Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter— when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
8 Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.
9 Then you will call, and the LORD will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I. “If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk,
10 and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday.
11 The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.

Cross References 16

  • 1. Joel 2:12-14
  • 2. Nehemiah 5:10-11
  • 3. S Deuteronomy 14:29; Isaiah 61:1; Jeremiah 34:9; Amos 4:1; S Luke 4:19
  • 4. S Isaiah 9:4
  • 5. S Job 22:7; Ezekiel 18:16; Luke 3:11
  • 6. Isaiah 16:4; Hebrews 13:2
  • 7. Job 31:19-20; S Matthew 25:36
  • 8. S Genesis 29:14; Luke 10:31-32
  • 9. S Job 11:17; S Isaiah 9:2
  • 10. S Isaiah 1:5; S Isaiah 30:26
  • 11. S Isaiah 26:2
  • 12. S Exodus 14:19
  • 13. S Psalms 50:15
  • 14. S Job 8:6; S Isaiah 30:19; Daniel 9:20; S Zechariah 10:6
  • 15. S Proverbs 6:13
  • 16. Psalms 12:2; Isaiah 59:13

Footnotes 1

  • [a]. Or "your righteous One"
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