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Exegesis Paper on Isaiah 58:6-14

Essay by   •  November 9, 2010  •  Research Paper  •  1,745 Words (7 Pages)  •  2,601 Views

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Isaiah 58:6-14 is a very powerful passage. The first bible version that I read it in was the King James Version. That version didn't really make very much sense to me because of all the "thou's" and "thee's" and "thines". So then I looked it up again in the New Revised Standard Version. It was a lot clearer when I looked it up in that bible. There are a few similarities and differences from the different versions that I read. The two that stood out the most to me was the King James Version, and the New Revised Standard Version. The differences were like night and day. Probably because they were the first two that I read, and maybe because the King James Version, like I said earlier, has a lot of the "1800's language," like "thou" and "thine."

This text can be paraphrased by the following: The time of prayer & fasting have anger and fighting mixed with it. You can't be like this and expect Me to listen to and answer your prayers. I am not pleased with this kind of fasting and praying. The kind of fast that is acceptable to me is to be just in what you do and say and let go of your heavy burdens. Go make someone else's day happy. Share what you own with people not as well-off as you are. If you do this, My light will shine on you and you will get healing quickly. I will guard you with my glory. When you call me, I will answer. If you stop accusing people, then the darkness around you will become light as day. I will take care of your needs. I will give you things to eat even when there is none. I will keep you well. You will be known as a builder, not someone who tears things down. The Lord says, "If you quit stomping on the Sabbath and honor it, then you will be find joy that only comes from serving the Lord. I will make you become honored all over the world, and you will delight yourselves in the inheritance that I promised to your father Jacob." The Lord has spoken.

Most of the words used in this passage are figurative "...to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke?" In this passage, he is not talking about an actual yoke, but the idea of it. Then again, some other portions of this passage were literal. "...Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?" In this passage, he is actually talking about helping the poor and clothing the naked, not to hide from doing what is right.

A keyword that I found which was mentioned a few times in this passage was the word "yoke." After careful inspection of this word on different bible dictionaries, I found a definition that I think fits this passage: "Fitted on the neck of oxen for the purpose of binding to them the traces by which they might draw the plough, etc. Another one I found was the word "fast." This word doesn't really need an explanation, but for the sake of this assignment, I'll give it one. "It is the act or practice of abstaining from food."

The passage relates to its context like any text normally would. I don't really get what it means to "relate to its context." But, I'll try to give it a shot. The major theme of this text is the meaning of true fasting. At the beginning of the chapter, it seemed that the people were trying to hard to please God. They thought they were doing good, when in actuality, they were compromising other people's integrity. In this text, it seemed that they were fasting to look good to other people that were looking at them. It wasn't pure or honest fasting. It wasn't fasting for the right reasons. It was all a show, kind of like a popularity contest about who could be the best at it. It basically comes down to they were "stuck" in the looks of being so "religious," when loving their neighbor was completely being over-looked.

Later on in the passage, the Lord says that if they were to turn away from looking good and just doing what the Lord wants, then He will bless him and guide him throughout the rest of his life. Whatever is good and honorable will be a blessing in the sight of the Lord. He will reward them richly and fully. He is a just and loving God. Whatever He says He will do, He'll do it, no questions asked. That is something that I love about the God that I serve.

Historically, trying to look good in front of a large group of people has been used a lot. A lot of priests did it in bible times, and we read about them today in different commentaries and even in the bible. The people of bible times did it too. They would go to church, or the synagogue, and go through the motions just to look good to their friends. Nothing was changing in their hearts. They were just doing what they thought everyone wanted to see: the motions. Although, some people did actually change in their hearts. Those people didn't just go through the motions, they lived for God every day of their lives. They loved the Lord with all their heart, mind, and soul. They knew what it was like to have a personal relationship with God.

Other places where parts of this passage are referred is in 1st Kings 21:27. It says, "...and for spreading out sackcloth and ashes as a bed?" Referring to how the people or priests of that day went to such great lengths to be seen as such a "God-fearing" person that they would lie in sackcloth and ashes to look like they are trying to repent for their sins. Again, some may actually be trying to repent, but some are just doing the actions. Another one I found was: "...delight in the Lord..." It is referred to in Isaiah 61:10. "I will rejoice greatly

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