Isaiah 58:3
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
Why have we fasted,' they say, 'and you have not seen it? Why have we humbled ourselves, and you have not noticed?' "Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please and exploit all your workers.

New Living Translation
We have fasted before you!' they say. 'Why aren't you impressed? We have been very hard on ourselves, and you don't even notice it!' "I will tell you why!" I respond. "It's because you are fasting to please yourselves. Even while you fast, you keep oppressing your workers.

English Standard Version
‘Why have we fasted, and you see it not? Why have we humbled ourselves, and you take no knowledge of it?’ Behold, in the day of your fast you seek your own pleasure, and oppress all your workers.

New American Standard Bible
Why have we fasted and You do not see? Why have we humbled ourselves and You do not notice?' Behold, on the day of your fast you find your desire, And drive hard all your workers.

King James Bible
Wherefore have we fasted, say they, and thou seest not? wherefore have we afflicted our soul, and thou takest no knowledge? Behold, in the day of your fast ye find pleasure, and exact all your labours.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Why have we fasted, but You have not seen? We have denied ourselves, but You haven't noticed!"" Look, you do as you please on the day of your fast, and oppress all your workers.

International Standard Version
Why have we fasted,' they ask, 'but you do not see? 'Why have we humbled ourselves,' they ask, 'but you take no notice?'" "Look! On your fast day you serve your own interest and oppress all your workers.

NET Bible
They lament, 'Why don't you notice when we fast? Why don't you pay attention when we humble ourselves?' Look, at the same time you fast, you satisfy your selfish desires, you oppress your workers.

New Heart English Bible
'Why have we fasted,' say they, 'and you do not see? Why have we afflicted our soul, and you take no knowledge?' "Look, in the day of your fast you find pleasure, and exact all your labors.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
Why have we fasted if you are not aware of it? Why have we inflicted pain on ourselves if you don't pay attention? Don't you see that on the days you fast, you do what you want to do? You mistreat all your workers.

JPS Tanakh 1917
Wherefore have we fasted, and Thou seest not? Wherefore have we afflicted our soul, and Thou takest no knowledge?'-- Behold, in the day of your fast ye pursue your business, And exact all your labours.

New American Standard 1977
‘Why have we fasted and Thou dost not see?
            Why have we humbled ourselves and Thou dost not notice?’
            Behold, on the day of your fast you find your desire,
            And drive hard all your workers.

Jubilee Bible 2000
Why have we fasted, they say, and thou dost not see? why have we afflicted our soul, and thou dost take no knowledge? Behold, in the day of your fast ye find your own pleasure and exact your own estates.

King James 2000 Bible
Why have we fasted, they say, and you see not? why have we afflicted our soul, and you take no knowledge? Behold, in the day of your fast you find pleasure, and exploit all your laborers.

American King James Version
Why have we fasted, say they, and you see not? why have we afflicted our soul, and you take no knowledge? Behold, in the day of your fast you find pleasure, and exact all your labors.

American Standard Version
Wherefore have we fasted,'say they , and thou seest not? wherefore have we afflicted our soul, and thou takest no knowledge? Behold, in the day of your fast ye find your own pleasure, and exact all your labors.

Douay-Rheims Bible
Why have we fasted, and thou hast not regarded: have we humbled our souls, and thou hast not taken notice? Behold in the day of your fast your own will is found, and you exact of all your debtors.

Darby Bible Translation
-- Wherefore have we fasted, and thou seest not; have afflicted our soul, and thou takest no knowledge? Behold, in the day of your fast ye find what pleaseth [you], and exact all your labours.

English Revised Version
Wherefore have we fasted, say they, and thou seest not? wherefore have we afflicted our soul, and thou takest no knowledge? Behold, in the day of your fast ye find your own pleasure, and exact all your labours.

Webster's Bible Translation
Why have we fasted, say they, and thou seest not? why have we afflicted our soul, and thou takest no knowledge? Behold, in the day of your fast ye find pleasure, and exact all your labors.

World English Bible
'Why have we fasted,' [say they], 'and you don't see? [why] have we afflicted our soul, and you take no knowledge?' "Behold, in the day of your fast you find pleasure, and exact all your labors.

Young's Literal Translation
'Why have we fasted, and Thou hast not seen? We have afflicted our soul, and Thou knowest not.' Lo, in the day of your fast ye find pleasure, And all your labours ye exact.
Study Bible
True Fasts and Sabbaths
2"Yet they seek Me day by day and delight to know My ways, As a nation that has done righteousness And has not forsaken the ordinance of their God. They ask Me for just decisions, They delight in the nearness of God. 3Why have we fasted and You do not see? Why have we humbled ourselves and You do not notice?' Behold, on the day of your fast you find your desire, And drive hard all your workers. 4"Behold, you fast for contention and strife and to strike with a wicked fist. You do not fast like you do today to make your voice heard on high.…
Cross References
Luke 18:12
I fast twice a week and pay tithes of all that I receive.'

Leviticus 16:31
"It is to be a sabbath of solemn rest for you, that you may humble your souls; it is a permanent statute.

Ezra 8:21
Then I proclaimed a fast there at the river of Ahava, that we might humble ourselves before our God to seek from Him a safe journey for us, our little ones, and all our possessions.

Isaiah 22:12
Therefore in that day the Lord GOD of hosts called you to weeping, to wailing, To shaving the head and to wearing sackcloth.

Isaiah 22:13
Instead, there is gaiety and gladness, Killing of cattle and slaughtering of sheep, Eating of meat and drinking of wine: "Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we may die."

Zechariah 7:5
"Say to all the people of the land and to the priests, 'When you fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh months these seventy years, was it actually for Me that you fasted?

Zechariah 7:6
'When you eat and drink, do you not eat for yourselves and do you not drink for yourselves?

Malachi 3:14
"You have said, 'It is vain to serve God; and what profit is it that we have kept His charge, and that we have walked in mourning before the LORD of hosts?
Treasury of Scripture

Why have we fasted, say they, and you see not? why have we afflicted our soul, and you take no knowledge? Behold, in the day of your fast you find pleasure, and exact all your labors.

have we fasted

Numbers 23:4 And God met Balaam: and he said to him, I have prepared seven altars, …

Micah 3:9-11 Hear this, I pray you, you heads of the house of Jacob, and princes …

Zechariah 7:5-7 Speak to all the people of the land, and to the priests, saying, …

Malachi 3:14 You have said, It is vain to serve God: and what profit is it that …

Matthew 20:11,12 And when they had received it, they murmured against the manager of the house…

Luke 15:29 And he answering said to his father, See, these many years do I serve …

Luke 18:9-12 And he spoke this parable to certain which trusted in themselves …

afflicted

Leviticus 16:29,31 And this shall be a statute for ever to you: that in the seventh …

Leviticus 23:27 Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day …

Psalm 69:10 When I wept, and chastened my soul with fasting, that was to my reproach.

in

Daniel 10:2,3 In those days I Daniel was mourning three full weeks…

Jonah 3:6-8 For word came to the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, …

exact

Nehemiah 5:7 Then I consulted with myself, and I rebuked the nobles, and the rulers, …

Proverbs 28:9 He that turns away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer …

Jeremiah 34:9-17 That every man should let his manservant, and every man his maidservant, …

Matthew 18:28-35 But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellow servants, …

labours. or, things wherewith ye grieve others. Heb. griefs

Isaiah 47:6 I was wroth with my people, I have polluted my inheritance, and given …

Exodus 2:23,24 And it came to pass in process of time, that the king of Egypt died: …

(3) Wherefore have we fasted . . .--The words remind us of those of a much later prophet (Malachi 3:14), but the complaints of the unconscious hypocrites who are amazed that their service is not accepted as sincere are in every age the same. Only one fast, that of the Day of Atonement, was prescribed by the Law. In practice, however, they were often held in times of calamity (comp. Isaiah 32:12; Joel 1:13; 2Chronicles 20:3),and we may legitimately think of them as having been more or less frequent under Hezekiah (Isaiah 37:1-2). Now, as though that had been a meritorious work, the people ask what good had come of it? After the exile fasts were instituted, commemorative of the siege of Jerusalem, its capture, its destruction, and the murder of Gedaliah (Zechariah 7:3; Zechariah 8:19), and those who maintain the later date of the book naturally suppose that these are the fasts referred to.

In the day of your fast ye find pleasure . . .--Better, ye carry on your business. Fasts were not governed, like the Sabbath, by a fixed law, and the people consequently lost sight of the true end of fasting--prayer, meditation, penitence.

Exact all your labours.--The words are rendered by some critics more vividly, though with the same meaning, ye oppress all your labourers. (Comp. James 5:4.)

Verse 3. - Wherefore have we fasted, say they, and thou seest not? The fasting' spoken of is probably that of the great Day of Atonement. the only fasting commanded in the Law (Leviticus 16:29, 31). Other fasts were from time to time appointed by civil or ecclesiastical authority (1 Kings 21:9, 12:2 Chronicles 20:3; Joel 1:14; Joel 2:12, 15); but they were rare, and do not seem to be here intended. Still, the lesson is general, and would apply to all occasions of fasting. The Jews of the time expected, it would seem, some special definite result, in the way of victory or relief, to follow from their observance of the Atonement fast. As it did not follow, they regarded themselves as ill used, and accordingly made complaint. Their feelings approached to those of the Vedic worshippers, who regarded their religious observances as "not merely pleasing. the god who was the object of them, but as laying him under a binding obligation, and almost compelling him to grant the requests of the worshipper" ('Religions of the Ancient World,' pp. 143, 144). Afflicted our soul These are the exact words of Leviticus 16:29, 31, by which the fast of the great Day of Atonement was instituted. And thou takest no knowledge; rather, no notice. In the day of your fast ye find pleasure. Delitzsch and Mr. Cheyne render, "ye carry on business," which accords better with the clause which follows. The great Day of Atonement was, like the sabbath, a day on which no work was to be done (Leviticus 16:29). The Jews, while priding themselves on their observance of the day, did not really observe it in this particular. And exact all your labours; i.e. "require of your servants and subordinates all the services that they have to render on other days." Days of religious observance, even under the Law, were always intended to be days of kindly forbearance towards the poor, of the remission of burdens, or even of the actual giving of relief. Wherefore have we fasted, say they, and thou seest not?.... Our fasting; takest no notice of it; expresses no approbation of it, and pleasure in it: this is put for all religious services, being what was frequently performed under the Old Testament, not only at certain times appointed by the Lord, but on other occasions, and of their own fixing; in which they put their confidence, and often boasted of, Luke 18:12, "wherefore have we afflicted our soul", by fasting, "and thou takest no knowledge?" of that, nor of us, and dost not save us from our enemies, and deliver us from our troubles, and bestow favours on us: they had a high opinion of their own performances, and thought that God must have likewise; and were displeased that he showed no more regard unto them:

behold, in the day of your fast you find pleasure; this, and what follows in the two next verses, are an answer to their questions, and give reasons why the Lord took no more notice of their fasting, or of their services; because they were not done aright, they found their own pleasure in them; not that they indulged to bodily recreations and carnal delights, but they gratified the inward desires of the flesh, malice, envy, and the like; and they pleased themselves with their own duties, and fancied they procured the favour of God by them:

and exact all your labours; of their servants, or their money of their debtors; they grieved and afflicted their debtors, by demanding their debts of them, as Jarchi interprets it; and that in a very rigorous manner, requiring whole and immediate payment; or, as it is usual with establishments, they require an exact conformity to their manner of service, worship, and discipline. 3. Wherefore—the words of the Jews: "Why is it that, when we fast, Thou dost not notice it" (by delivering us)? They think to lay God under obligation to their fasting (Ps 73:13; Mal 3:14).

afflicted … soul—(Le 16:29).

Behold—God's reply.

pleasure—in antithesis to their boast of having "afflicted their soul"; it was only in outward show they really enjoyed themselves. Gesenius not so well translates, "business."

exact … labours—rather, "oppressive labors" [Maurer]. Horsley, with Vulgate, translates, "Exact the whole upon your debtors"; those who owe you labor (Ne 5:1-5, 8-10, etc.).58:3-12 A fast is a day to afflict the soul; if it does not express true sorrow for sin, and does not promote the putting away of sin, it is not a fast. These professors had shown sorrow on stated or occasioned fasts. But they indulged pride, covetousness, and malignant passions. To be liberal and merciful is more acceptable to God than mere fasting, which, without them, is vain and hypocritical. Many who seem humble in God's house, are hard at home, and harass their families. But no man's faith justifies, which does not work by love. Yet persons, families, neighbourhoods, churches, or nations, show repentance and sorrow for sin, by keeping a fast sincerely, and, from right motives, repenting, and doing good works. The heavy yoke of sin and oppression must be removed. As sin and sorrow dry the bones and weaken the strongest human constitution; so the duties of kindness and charity strengthen and refresh both body and mind. Those who do justly and love mercy, shall have the comfort, even in this world. Good works will bring the blessing of God, provided they are done from love to God and man, and wrought in the soul by the Holy Spirit.
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