Isaiah 58:6

6 "Here is the way I want you to fast. "Set free those who are held by chains without any reason. Untie the ropes that hold people as slaves. Set free those who are crushed. Break every evil chain.

Isaiah 58:6 Meaning and Commentary

Isaiah 58:6

Is not this the fast that I have chosen?
&c.] Which God has appointed, he approves of, and is well pleasing in his sight; these are works and services more agreeable to him, which follow, without which the rest will be rejected: to loose the bands of wickedness;
which some understand of combinations in courts of judicature to oppress and distress the poor; others of bonds and contracts unjustly made, or rigorously demanded and insisted on, when they cannot be answered; rather of those things with which the consciences of men are bound in religious matters; impositions upon conscience; binding to the use of stinted forms, and to habits in divine worship, which the word of God has not made necessary: to undo the heavy burdens.
The Septuagint render it, "dissolve the obligations of violent contracts"; such as are obtained by violence; so the Arabic version; or by fraud, as the Syriac version, which translates it, bonds of fraud. The Targum is,

``loose the bonds of writings of a depraved judgment;''
all referring it to unjust bonds and contracts in a civil sense: but rather it regards the loosing or freeing men from all obligation to all human prescriptions and precepts; whatever is after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ; so the traditions of the Scribes and Pharisees are called "heavy burdens, grievous to be borne", ( Matthew 23:4 ) these should not be laid and bound on men's shoulders, but should be done and taken off of them, as well as all penal laws with which they have been enforced: and to let the oppressed go free;
such as have been broken by oppression, not only in their spirits, but in their purses, by mulcts and fines, and confiscation of goods; and who have been cast into prisons, and detained a long time in filthy dungeons; and where many have perished for the sake of religion, even in Protestant countries: and that ye break every yoke;
of church power and tyranny; everything that is not enjoined and authorized by the word of God; every yoke but the yoke of Christ; all human precepts, and obedience to them; all but the commands of Christ, and obedience to them; no other yoke should be put upon the neck of his disciples but his own.

Isaiah 58:6 In-Context

4 When you fast, it ends in arguing and fighting. You hit one another with your fists. That is an evil thing to do. The way you are now fasting keeps your prayers from being heard in heaven.
5 Do you think that is the way I want you to fast? Is it only a time for a man to make himself suffer? Is it only for people to bow their heads like tall grass that is bent by the wind? Is it only for people to lie down on black cloth and ashes? Is that what you call a fast? Do you think I can accept that?
6 "Here is the way I want you to fast. "Set free those who are held by chains without any reason. Untie the ropes that hold people as slaves. Set free those who are crushed. Break every evil chain.
7 Share your food with hungry people. Provide homeless people with a place to stay. Give naked people clothes to wear. Provide for the needs of your own family.
8 Then the light of my blessing will shine on you like the rising sun. I will heal you quickly. I will march out ahead of you. And my glory will follow behind you and guard you. That is because I always do what is right.