Isaiah 58:5
Parallel Verses
New International Version
Is this the kind of fast I have chosen, only a day for people to humble themselves? Is it only for bowing one's head like a reed and for lying in sackcloth and ashes? Is that what you call a fast, a day acceptable to the LORD?

New Living Translation
You humble yourselves by going through the motions of penance, bowing your heads like reeds bending in the wind. You dress in burlap and cover yourselves with ashes. Is this what you call fasting? Do you really think this will please the LORD?

English Standard Version
Is such the fast that I choose, a day for a person to humble himself? Is it to bow down his head like a reed, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? Will you call this a fast, and a day acceptable to the LORD?

New American Standard Bible
"Is it a fast like this which I choose, a day for a man to humble himself? Is it for bowing one's head like a reed And for spreading out sackcloth and ashes as a bed? Will you call this a fast, even an acceptable day to the LORD?

King James Bible
Is it such a fast that I have chosen? a day for a man to afflict his soul? is it to bow down his head as a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? wilt thou call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the LORD?

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Will the fast I choose be like this: A day for a person to deny himself, to bow his head like a reed, and to spread out sackcloth and ashes? Will you call this a fast and a day acceptable to the LORD?

International Standard Version
"Is this the kind of fast that I have chosen, merely a day for a person to humble himself? Is it merely for bowing down one's head like a bulrush, for lying on sackcloth and ashes? Is this what you call a fast, an acceptable day to the LORD?

NET Bible
Is this really the kind of fasting I want? Do I want a day when people merely humble themselves, bowing their heads like a reed and stretching out on sackcloth and ashes? Is this really what you call a fast, a day that is pleasing to the LORD?

GOD'S WORD® Translation
Is this the kind of fasting I have chosen? Should people humble themselves for [only] a day? Is fasting just bowing your head like a cattail and making your bed from sackcloth and ashes? Is this what you call fasting? Is this an acceptable day to the LORD?

Jubilee Bible 2000
Is it such a fast that I have chosen? a day for a man to afflict his soul? is it to bow down his head as a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? wilt thou call this a fast and an acceptable day to the LORD?

King James 2000 Bible
Is it such a fast that I have chosen? a day for a man to afflict his soul? is it to bow down his head as a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? will you call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the LORD?

American King James Version
Is it such a fast that I have chosen? a day for a man to afflict his soul? is it to bow down his head as a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? will you call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the LORD?

American Standard Version
Is such the fast that I have chosen? the day for a man to afflict his soul? Is it to bow down his head as a rush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? wilt thou call this a fast, and an acceptable day to Jehovah?

Douay-Rheims Bible
Is this such a fast as I have chosen: for a man to afflict his soul for a day? is this it, to wind his head about like a circle, and to spread sackcloth and ashes? wilt thou call this a fast, and a day acceptable to the Lord?

Darby Bible Translation
Is such the fast that I have chosen, a day for a man to afflict his soul, -- that he should bow down his head as a bulrush, and spread sackcloth and ashes [under him]? Wilt thou call this a fast, and a day acceptable to Jehovah?

English Revised Version
Is such the fast that I have chosen? the day for a man to afflict his soul? Is it to bow down his head as a rush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? wilt thou call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the LORD?

Webster's Bible Translation
Is it such a fast that I have chosen? a day for a man to afflict his soul? is it to bow down his head as a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? wilt thou call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the LORD?

World English Bible
Is such the fast that I have chosen? the day for a man to afflict his soul? Is it to bow down his head as a rush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? Will you call this a fast, and an acceptable day to Yahweh?

Young's Literal Translation
Like this is the fast that I choose? The day of a man's afflicting his soul? To bow as a reed his head, And sackcloth and ashes spread out? This dost thou call a fast, And a desirable day -- to Jehovah?
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

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.

Pulpit Commentary

Verse 5. - Is it such a fast that I have chosen, etc.? Do you suppose that such can be the fast commanded by me in the Law - a fast which is expressly called "a day for a man to afflict his soul"? Is afflicting one's soul simply bowing down one's head as a bulrush, and making one's couch on sackcloth and ashes? Surely it is much more than this. (On the employment of "sackcloth and ashes" in fasting, see Esther 4:3; Daniel 9:3; Jonah 3:6.)

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

Is it such a fast that I have chosen?.... That is, can this be thought to be a fast approved of by me, and acceptable to me, before described, and is as follows:

a day for a man to afflict his soul? only to appoint a certain day, and keep that, by abstaining from bodily food, and so for a short time afflict himself; or only after this manner to afflict himself, and not humble himself for his sins, and abstain from them, and do the duties of justice and charity incumbent on him:

is it to bow down his head as a bulrush; when it is moved with the wind, or bruised, or withered; as if he was greatly depressed and humbled, and very penitent and sorrowful. The Syriac version renders it, "as a hook"; like a fish hook, which is very much bent; so Jarchi interprets the word:

and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? which were ceremonies used in times of mourning and fasting; sometimes sackcloth was put on their loins, and ashes on their heads; and sometimes these were strewed under them, and they laid down upon their sackcloth, which, being coarse, was uneasy to them, and rolled themselves in ashes, as expressive of their meanness and vileness:

wilt thou call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the Lord? does this deserve the name of a fast? or can it be imagined that such a day so spent, can be agreeable to God? that such persons and services will be accepted of by him? or that hereby sin is atoned for, and God is well pleased, and will show his favour and good will, and have respect to such worshippers of him? no, surely.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

5. for a man to afflict his soul—The pain felt by abstinence is not the end to be sought, as if it were meritorious; it is of value only in so far as it leads us to amend our ways (Isa 58:6, 7).

bow … head … sackcloth—to affect the outward tokens, so as to "appear to men to fast" (Mt 6:17, 18; 1Ki 21:27; Es 4:3).

Isaiah 58:5 Additional Commentaries
Context
True Fasts and Sabbaths
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. 5"Is it a fast like this which I choose, a day for a man to humble himself? Is it for bowing one's head like a reed And for spreading out sackcloth and ashes as a bed? Will you call this a fast, even an acceptable day to the LORD? 6"Is this not the fast which I choose, To loosen the bonds of wickedness, To undo the bands of the yoke, And to let the oppressed go free And break every yoke?…
Cross References
Matthew 6:16
"When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.

Leviticus 16:31
It is a day of sabbath rest, and you must deny yourselves; it is a lasting ordinance.

1 Kings 21:27
When Ahab heard these words, he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and fasted. He lay in sackcloth and went around meekly.

Ezra 8:21
There, by the Ahava Canal, I proclaimed a fast, so that we might humble ourselves before our God and ask him for a safe journey for us and our children, with all our possessions.

Isaiah 49:8
This is what the LORD says: "In the time of my favor I will answer you, and in the day of salvation I will help you; I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people, to restore the land and to reassign its desolate inheritances,

Isaiah 61:2
to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn,

Zechariah 7:5
"Ask all the people of the land and the priests, 'When you fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh months for the past seventy years, was it really for me that you fasted?
Treasury of Scripture

Is it such a fast that I have chosen? a day for a man to afflict his soul? is it to bow down his head as a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? will you call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the LORD?

it such

2 Chronicles 20:3 And Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek the LORD, and proclaimed …

Ezra 10:6 Then Ezra rose up from before the house of God, and went into the …

Nehemiah 9:1,2 Now in the twenty and fourth day of this month the children of Israel …

Esther 4:3,16 And in every province, wherever the king's commandment and his decree …

Daniel 9:3 And I set my face to the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, …

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

a day for a man to afflict his soul. or, to afflict his soul for a day

Isaiah 58:3 Why have we fasted, say they, and you see not? why have we afflicted …

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

to spread

1 Kings 21:27-29 And it came to pass, when Ahab heard those words, that he rent his …

2 Kings 6:30 And it came to pass, when the king heard the words of the woman, …

Job 2:8 And he took him a potsherd to scrape himself with; and he sat down …

Jonah 3:5-8 So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and …

an acceptable

Isaiah 49:8 Thus said the LORD, In an acceptable time have I heard you, and in …

Isaiah 61:2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance …

Psalm 69:13 But as for me, my prayer is to you, O LORD, in an acceptable time: …

Luke 4:19 To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.

Romans 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be you transformed by the …

1 Peter 2:5 You also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy …

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