Isaiah 59:4

4 No one calls for justice, Nor does any plead for truth. They trust in empty words and speak lies; They conceive evil and bring forth iniquity.

Isaiah 59:4 Meaning and Commentary

Isaiah 59:4

None calleth for justice
Or, "righteousness"; not for civil justice in courts of judicature, as if there were no advocates for it there; or that put those in mind of it, to whom the administration of it belongs; or that see to put the laws against sin in execution, and to relieve those that are oppressed; though of this there may be just cause of complaint in some places: but there are none or few that call for evangelical righteousness, either that preach it, proclaim and publish it to others; even the righteousness of Christ, the grand doctrine of the Gospel, which is therein revealed from faith to faith; so the Syriac version, "there is none that preacheth righteously"; or "in", or "of righteousness" F20; and the Septuagint version, "no one speaks righteous things"; the words and doctrines of righteousness and truth: or, "no one calls for righteousness"; desires to hear this doctrine, and have it preached to him; hungers and thirsts after it; but chooses the doctrine of justification by works. The Targum refers it to prayer, paraphrasing it thus,

``there is none that prays in truth;''
in sincerity and uprightness, in faith and with fervour; but in a cold, formal, and hypocritical way: nor any pleadeth for truth:
for the truth of the Gospel, particularly for the principal one, the justification of a sinner by the righteousness of Christ alone; few or none contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints; they are not valiant for the truth, nor stand fast in it, but drop or conceal it, or deny it: or, "none is judged by", or "according to truth" F21; by the Scriptures of truth, but by carnal reason; or by forms and rules of man's devising, and so are condemned; as Gospel ministers and professors of it are: they trust in vanity;
in nothing, as the Vulgate Latin; that is worth nothing; in their own strength, wisdom, riches, righteousness, especially the latter: and speak lies;
or "vanity"; vain things, false doctrines, as before: they conceive mischief, and bring forth iniquity;
they "conceive" and contrive "mischief" in their minds against those that differ in doctrine and practice from them: "and bring forth iniquity": do that which is criminal and sinful, by words and actions, by calumnies and reproaches, by violence and persecution. The Targum is,
``they hasten and bring out of their hearts words of violence.''


F20 (qdub) "in justitia", Montanus, Tigurine version; "sive de justitia".
F21 (hnwmab jpvn Nya) "nemo judicatur scundum veritatem", Munster; "non judicatur in veritate", Montanus.

Isaiah 59:4 In-Context

2 But your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you, So that He will not hear.
3 For your hands are defiled with blood, And your fingers with iniquity; Your lips have spoken lies, Your tongue has muttered perversity.
4 No one calls for justice, Nor does any plead for truth. They trust in empty words and speak lies; They conceive evil and bring forth iniquity.
5 They hatch vipers' eggs and weave the spider's web; He who eats of their eggs dies, And from that which is crushed a viper breaks out.
6 Their webs will not become garments, Nor will they cover themselves with their works; Their works are works of iniquity, And the act of violence is in their hands.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.