What does Isaiah 56 mean?
Exhortation to Israel to keep the commandments. Even the stranger may draw near to God
1 Thus says the Lord: Keep justice, and do justice; for my salvation is at hand to come, and my righteousness to be revealed. 2 Happy the man who does this and the child of man who holds fast to it, who keeps the Sabbath so as not to profane it and keeps his hand from doing any wrong.
3 And the stranger who has joined the Lord should not say, The Lord will certainly exclude me from his people. And the cut off should not say: See, I am a withered tree!  According to the law, cut offs (eunuchs) were not allowed to come into the community of Israel (cf. Deut 23: 2). 4 For thus saith the Lord: To those who have been cut off, who keep my Sabbaths and choose what I like and hold fast to my covenant, 5 I will give them a place and a name in my house and in my walls, better than sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name that will not be cut off.
6 And the strangers who join the Lord to serve him and to love the Lord's name [and] to be his servants, and all who are careful not to profane the Sabbath and who keep my covenant 7 I will bring them to my holy mountain and make them glad in my house of prayer; their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be pleasing on my altar; for my house will be called a house of prayer for all peoples. 8 The Lord God, who gathers the outcasts of Israel, says, I will gather more to him, to his gathered ones.
Blame for the negligent shepherds of Israel9 Come here to eat, all you animals of the field, all you animals of the forest! 10 His guards are blind; they all know nothing; they are mute dogs that cannot bark; they lie there dreaming, like to sleep. 11 But they are also greedy dogs who do not know when they have enough; and they, the shepherds, do not know how to watch; they all go their own way, each looking for his profit, without exception. 12 "Come here," they say, "I want to get some wine, let's have some intoxicating drink, and tomorrow it should be like today, yes, even better!"
Bible text of the butchers Copyright © 2000 Geneva Bible Society. Reproduced with permission. All rights reserved.
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