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Isaiah 58:4

    Isaiah 58:4 Translations

    King James Version (KJV)

    Behold, ye fast for strife and debate, and to smite with the fist of wickedness: ye shall not fast as ye do this day, to make your voice to be heard on high.

    American King James Version (AKJV)

    Behold, you fast for strife and debate, and to smite with the fist of wickedness: you shall not fast as you do this day, to make your voice to be heard on high.

    American Standard Version (ASV)

    Behold, ye fast for strife and contention, and to smite with the fist of wickedness: ye fast not this day so as to make your voice to be heard on high.

    Basic English Translation (BBE)

    If keeping from food makes you quickly angry, ready for fighting and giving blows with evil hands; your holy days are not such as to make your voice come to my ears on high.

    Webster's Revision

    Behold, ye fast for strife and contention, and to smite with the fist of wickedness: ye fast not this day so as to make your voice to be heard on high.

    World English Bible

    Behold, you fast for strife and contention, and to strike with the fist of wickedness: you don't fast this day so as to make your voice to be heard on high.

    English Revised Version (ERV)

    Behold, ye fast for strife and contention, and to smite with the fist of wickedness: ye fast not this day so as to make your voice to be heard on high.

    Definitions for Isaiah 58:4

    Fast - Abstaining from food.
    Smite - To strike; beat.

    Clarke's Commentary on Isaiah 58:4

    Ye fast for strife and debate - How often is this the case! A whole nation are called to fast to implore God's blessing on wars carried on for the purposes of wrath and ambition.

    To smite with the fist of wickedness: ye shall not fast as ye do this day "To smite with the fist the poor. Wherefore fast ye unto me in this manner" - I follow the version of the Septuagint, which gives a much better sense than the present reading of the Hebrew. Instead of רשע לא resha lo, they seem to have read in their copy רש על מה לי rash al mah lli. The four first letters are the same, but otherwise divided in regard to the words; the four last are lost, and א aleph added in their place, in order to make some sort of sense with רשע ל. The version of the Septuagint is, και τυπτετε τυγμαις ταπεινον· ἱνα τι μοι νηστευετε - as above.

    Barnes' Notes on Isaiah 58:4

    Behold, ye fast for strife and debate - This is a third characteristic of their manner of fasting, and a third reason why God did not regard and accept it. They were divided into parties and factions, and probably made their fastings an occasion of augmented contention and strife. How often has this been seen! Contending denominations of Christians fast, not laying aside their strifes; contending factions in the church fast in order to strengthen their party with the solemn sanctions of religion. One of the most certain ways for bigots to excite persecution against those who are opposed to them is to 'proclaim a fast;' and when together, their passions are easily inflamed, their flagging zeal excited by inflammatory harangues, and their purpose formed to regard and treat their dissentient brethren as incorrigible heretics and irreconcilable foes. It may be added, also, that it is possible thus to prostitute all the sacred institutions of religion for party and inflammatory purposes. Even the ordinance of the Lord's Supper may be thus abused, and violent partisans may come around the sacred memorials of a Saviour's body and blood, to bind themselves more closely together in some deed of persecution or violence, and to animate their drooping courage with the belief that what has been in fact commenced with a view to power, is carried on from a regard to the honor of God.

    And to smite with the fist of wickedness - Lowth renders this, in accordance with the Septuagint. 'To smite with the fist the poor;' but this translation can be obtained only by a most violent and wholly unauthorized change in the Hebrew text. The idea is plain, that 'even when fasting' they were guilty of strife and personal combats. Their passions were unsubdued, and they gave vent to them in disgraceful personal encounters. This manifests a most extraordinary state of society, and is a most melancholy instance to show how much people may keep up the forms of religion, and even be punctual and exact in them, when the most violent and ungovernable passions are raging in their bosoms, and when they seem to be unconscious of any discrepancy between the religious service and the unsubdued passions of the soul.

    Ye shall not fast ... - It is not acceptable to God. It must be offensive in his sight.

    To make your voice to be heard on high - That is, in strife and contention. So to contend and strive, says Grotius, that your voice can be heard on the mountain top. Rosenmuller, however, supposes that it means, that their fast was so conducted that they could not expect that their prayers would ascend to heaven and be heard by God. But it seems to me that the former is the correct interpretation. Their fastings were accompanied with the loud and hoarse voice of contention and strife, and on that account could not be acceptable to God.

    Wesley's Notes on Isaiah 58:4

    58:4 Behold - Your fasting days, wherein you ought in a special manner to implore the mercy of God, and to shew compassion to men, you employ in injuring or quarrelling with your brethren, your servants or debtors, or in contriving mischief against them. Heard - In strife and debate. By way of ostentation.