Isaiah 64:6
Parallel Verses
New International Version
All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.

New Living Translation
We are all infected and impure with sin. When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags. Like autumn leaves, we wither and fall, and our sins sweep us away like the wind.

English Standard Version
We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.

New American Standard Bible
For all of us have become like one who is unclean, And all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment; And all of us wither like a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.

King James Bible
But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
All of us have become like something unclean, and all our righteous acts are like a polluted garment; all of us wither like a leaf, and our iniquities carry us away like the wind.

International Standard Version
All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like a filthy rag; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind, our iniquities sweep us away.

NET Bible
We are all like one who is unclean, all our so-called righteous acts are like a menstrual rag in your sight. We all wither like a leaf; our sins carry us away like the wind.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
We've all become unclean, and all our righteous acts are like permanently stained rags. All of us shrivel like leaves, and our sins carry us away like the wind.

Jubilee Bible 2000
But we were all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses as filthy rags; and we all fell as the leaves of a tree; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

King James 2000 Bible
But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

American King James Version
But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

American Standard Version
For we are all become as one that is unclean, and all our righteousnesses are as a polluted garment: and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.

Douay-Rheims Bible
And we are all become as one unclean, and all our justices as the rag of a menstruous woman: and we have all fallen as a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

Darby Bible Translation
And we are all become as an unclean [thing], and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all fade as a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, have carried us away;

English Revised Version
For we are all become as one that is unclean, and all our righteousnesses are as a polluted garment: and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.

Webster's Bible Translation
But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

World English Bible
For we have all become as one who is unclean, and all our righteousness is as a polluted garment: and we all fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.

Young's Literal Translation
And we are as unclean -- all of us, And as a garment passing away, all our righteous acts; And we fade as a leaf -- all of us. And our iniquities as wind do take us away.
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

64:6-12 The people of God, in affliction, confess and bewail their sins, owning themselves unworthy of his mercy. Sin is that abominable thing which the Lord hates. Our deeds, whatever they may seem to be, if we think to merit by them at God's hand, are as rags, and will not cover us; filthy rags, and will but defile us. Even our few good works in which there is real excellence, as fruits of the Spirit, are so defective and defiled as done by us, that they need to be washed in the fountain open for sin and uncleanness. It bodes ill when prayer is kept back. To pray, is by faith to take hold of the promises the Lord has made of his good-will to us, and to plead them; to take hold of him, earnestly begging him not to leave us; or soliciting his return. They brought their troubles upon themselves by their own folly. Sinners are blasted, and then carried away, by the wind of their own iniquity; it withers and then ruins them. When they made themselves as an unclean thing, no wonder that God loathed them. Foolish and careless as we are, poor and despised, yet still Thou art our Father. It is the wrath of a Father we are under, who will be reconciled; and the relief our case requires is expected only from him. They refer themselves to God. They do not say, Lord, rebuke us not, for that may be necessary; but, Not in thy displeasure. They state their lamentable condition. See what ruin sin brings upon a people; and an outward profession of holiness will be no defence against it. God's people presume not to tell him what he shall say, but their prayer is, Speak for the comfort and relief of thy people. How few call upon the Lord with their whole hearts, or stir themselves to lay hold upon him! God may delay for a time to answer our prayers, but he will, in the end, answer those who call on his name and hope in his mercy.

Pulpit Commentary

Verse 6. - But we are all as an unclean thing; rather, we are all become as one who is unclean (comp. Isaiah 35:8; Isaiah 52:1). A moral leprosy is upon us. We are like the leprous man, who has to rend his clothes, and to go about crying "Tame! tame!" "Unclean: unclean!" that those who hear may get out of his way. All our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; or, as a menstruous garment (see Lamentations 1:17). In the best deeds of the best men there is some taint of evil. As Hooker says, "Our very repentances require to be repented of." We all do fade as a leaf (comp. Isaiah 1:30, "Ye shall be as an oak whose leaf fadeth;" see also Isaiah 34:4). Our iniquities... have taken as away; or, carried us away; i.e. taken us far from God, carried us into a region where God is not, or where at any rate "his presence is not felt" (Cheyne).

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

But we are all as an unclean thing,.... Or "we have been" (t); so all men are in a state of nature: man was made pure and holy, but by sinning became impure; and this impurity is propagated by natural generation, and belongs to all, none are free from it; and there is no cleansing from it but by the grace of God and blood of Christ: all are not sensible of it; some are, as the church here was, and owns it, and the universality of it, and compares herself and members to an "unclean thing", on account of it; so men, defiled with sin, are compared to unclean creatures, dogs, and swine, and to unclean persons; to such as are covered with loathsome diseases, and particularly to leprous persons, and who may be chiefly intended here; they being defiled and defiling, loathsome and abominable, their disease spreading and continuing, and incurable by physicians; hence they were separated from the company of men; and the words may be rendered, "as an unclean person" (u), as such were by the law: or we are, in our own sense and apprehension of things; and this may respect not only the impurity of nature, but a general corruption in doctrine and manners among the professors of religion; such as was in the Jewish church about the time of Christ's coming.

And all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; which is to be understood not of the righteousness of some persons in the church, which lay in outward rites, ceremonies, and sacrifices, which were no righteousness before God, and could not take away sin; and were indeed on many accounts, as they were performed, loathsome and abominable; see Isaiah 1:11, or of others that lay in outward legal duties and works of the law, which were not done from right principles, as well as not perfect; and so, because of the impurity, imperfection, pride, and vanity, that appeared in them, were abominable to the Lord: but of the righteousnesses of the church herself; not of the righteousness of Christ, which was made hers by imputation; for this is not rags, but a robe, the best robe, and wedding garment; much less filthy, but pure and spotless, beautiful and glorious, as well as a proper covering; but then, though this is the church's, and all true believers', by gift, by imputation and application, yet its is properly Christ's and is in him, and is opposed to their own righteousness; which is what is intended here, even the best of it; such works of righteousness as are done by them in the best manner; they are "rags", not whole, but imperfect, not fit to appear in before God, and by which they cannot be justified in his sight; they are "filthy" ones, being attended with imperfection and sin; and these conversation garments need continual washing in the blood of Jesus; this is the language not of a natural man, or of a Pharisee, but of a sensible sinner, a truly gracious soul. The words may be rendered, "as a menstruous cloth" (w), as some; or "as a garment of spoil or prey" (x), as Aben Ezra, rolled in blood, either in war, or by a beast of prey; or as a foul plaster or cloth taken off a sore, with purulent matter on it (y), as others; or any other impure and nauseous thing. Hottinger (z) thinks the word has some affinity with the Arabic which signifies "running water", such as the water of a fountain or well; so that the sense may be, that the church's righteousness was like a cloth, so polluted and spotted that it could not be washed out clean but with clear and running water; and, in every sense in which it may be taken, it serves to set forth the impurity and imperfection of the best righteousness of men, and to show that their works are not the cause of salvation, the church had an assurance of in the preceding verse:

and we all do fade as a leaf; or "fall" (a) as one; as leaves in autumn: this is to be understood of a great part, and perhaps of the greater part, of the visible members of the church; not of true believers and real members, for these are rooted in the love of God, and in Christ, and have the root of the matter in them, the true grace of God; and therefore, though they meet with many blustering storms, yet do not cast their leaf of profession; indeed there may be, as there often are, decays and declensions in them; but rather this is to be interpreted of carnal professors, with which, at this time, the church abounded, who had no true grace in them; and so dropped their profession, and became like trees whose fruit withered, were without fruit; or like trees, in the fall of the year, which are without fruit, and shed their leaves, Jde 1:12,

and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away; as a leaf falling from the tree is carried away with the wind, which it is not able to withstand; so formal and carnal professors are carried away, through their sins, with the wind of persecution, and apostatize: or rather for their sins the Jews were carried captive, as before, to Babylon; so now by the Romans into various countries, where they are dispersed at this day; to which this passage may have some respect. "Iniquities" are put for the punishment of them; so the Targum,

"and, because of our sins, as the wind we are taken away.''

(t) "fuimus", V. L. Montanus. (u) "ut immundus", V. L. Montanus, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; "tanquam impuruss", Cocceius, Vitringa, (w) "ut vestimentum menstruatum, sive menstruatae", Drusius; a "removit", so V. L. Syr. and Ar. "ut vestis remotionum", Cocceius. (x) "Vestes praedae", Forerius; a "praeda", Genesis 49.27. (y) Pittacium, Grotius. So Kimchi, whose interpretation and sense of the word is preferred by Gussetius, Ebr. Comment. p. 581. (z) Smegma Orientale, I. 1. c. 7. p. 181. (a) "et decidimus", V. L. So Ben Melech interprets it of falling.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

6. unclean thing—legally unclean, as a leper. True of Israel, everywhere now cut off by unbelief and by God's judgments from the congregation of the saints.

righteousness—plural, "uncleanness" extended to every particular act of theirs, even to their prayers and praises. True of the best doings of the unregenerate (Php 3:6-8; Tit 1:15; Heb 11:6).

filthy rags—literally, a "menstruous rag" (Le 15:33; 20:18; La 1:17).

fade … leaf—(Ps 90:5, 6).

Isaiah 64:6 Additional Commentaries
Context
Prayer for Illustration of God's Power
5You meet him who rejoices in doing righteousness, Who remembers You in Your ways. Behold, You were angry, for we sinned, We continued in them a long time; And shall we be saved? 6For all of us have become like one who is unclean, And all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment; And all of us wither like a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, take us away. 7There is no one who calls on Your name, Who arouses himself to take hold of You; For You have hidden Your face from us And have delivered us into the power of our iniquities.…
Cross References
Psalm 90:5
Yet you sweep people away in the sleep of death-- they are like the new grass of the morning:

Psalm 90:6
In the morning it springs up new, but by evening it is dry and withered.

Isaiah 1:30
You will be like an oak with fading leaves, like a garden without water.

Isaiah 6:5
"Woe to me!" I cried. "I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty."

Isaiah 46:12
Listen to me, you stubborn-hearted, you who are now far from my righteousness.

Isaiah 48:1
"Listen to this, you descendants of Jacob, you who are called by the name of Israel and come from the line of Judah, you who take oaths in the name of the LORD and invoke the God of Israel-- but not in truth or righteousness--

Isaiah 50:1
This is what the LORD says: "Where is your mother's certificate of divorce with which I sent her away? Or to which of my creditors did I sell you? Because of your sins you were sold; because of your transgressions your mother was sent away.

Zechariah 3:3
Now Joshua was dressed in filthy clothes as he stood before the angel.
Treasury of Scripture

But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

are all

Isaiah 6:5 Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean …

Isaiah 53:6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his …

Job 14:4 Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? not one.

Job 15:14-16 What is man, that he should be clean? and he which is born of a woman, …

Job 25:4 How then can man be justified with God? or how can he be clean that …

Job 40:4 Behold, I am vile; what shall I answer you? I will lay my hand on my mouth.

Job 42:5,6 I have heard of you by the hearing of the ear: but now my eye sees you…

Psalm 51:5 Behold, I was shaped in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.

Romans 7:18,24 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwells no good thing: …

Ephesians 2:1,2 And you has he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins…

Titus 3:3 For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, …

all our

Isaiah 57:12 I will declare your righteousness, and your works; for they shall …

Zechariah 3:3 Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and stood before the angel.

Philippians 3:9 And be found in him, not having my own righteousness, which is of …

Revelation 3:17,18 Because you say, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need …

Revelation 7:13 And one of the elders answered, saying to me, What are these which …

we all

Isaiah 40:6-8 The voice said, Cry. And he said, What shall I cry? All flesh is …

Psalm 90:5,6 You carry them away as with a flood; they are as a sleep: in the …

James 1:10,11 But the rich, in that he is made low: because as the flower of the …

1 Peter 1:24,25 For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower …

our iniquities

Isaiah 57:13 When you cry, let your companies deliver you; but the wind shall …

Psalm 1:4 The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind drives away.

Jeremiah 4:11,12 At that time shall it be said to this people and to Jerusalem…

Hosea 4:19 The wind has bound her up in her wings, and they shall be ashamed …

Zechariah 5:8-11 And he said, This is wickedness. And he cast it into the middle of …

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