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Isaiah 59:9 [study!]

American Standard Version (ASV 1901) [2]
— Therefore is justice far from us, neither doth righteousness overtake us: we look for light, but, behold, darkness; for brightness, but we walk in obscurity.
King James Version (KJV 1769)
— Therefore is judgment far from us, neither doth justice overtake us: we wait for light, but behold obscurity; for brightness, [but] we walk in darkness.
New American Standard Bible (NASB ©1995)
— Therefore justice is far from us, And righteousness does not overtake us; We hope for light, but behold, darkness, For brightness, but we walk in gloom.
Webster's Revision of the KJB (WEB 1833)
— Therefore is judgment far from us, neither doth justice overtake us: we wait for light, but behold obscurity; for brightness, [but] we walk in darkness.
Darby's Translation (DBY 1890)
— Therefore is justice far from us, and righteousness overtaketh us not: we wait for light, and behold darkness; for brightness, [but] we walk in obscurity.
Rotherham's Emphasized Bible (EBR 1902)
— For this cause, hath justice removed far, from us, And righteousness overtaketh, us not,—We wait for light, But lo! darkness, For brightness, In thick darkness, we walk:
Young's Literal Translation (YLT 1898)
— Therefore hath judgment been far from us, And righteousness reacheth us not, We wait for light, and lo, darkness, For brightness—in thick darkness we go,
Douay-Rheims Challoner Revision (DR 1750)
— Therefore is judgment far from us, and justice shall not overtake us. We looked for light, and behold darkness: brightness, and we have walked in the dark.
Original King James Bible (AV 1611) [2]
— Therefore is iudgement farre from vs, neither doth iustice ouertake vs: we waite for light, but behold obscuritie, for brightnesse, [but] we walke in darknesse.
Brenton Greek Septuagint (LXX, Restored Names)
— Therefore has judgment departed from them, and righteousness shall not overtake them: while they waited for light, darkness came upon them; while they waited for brightness, they walked in perplexity.
Full Hebrew Names / Holy Name KJV (2008) [2] [3]
— Therefore is judgment far from us, neither doth justice overtake us: we wait for light, but behold obscurity; for brightness, [but] we walk in darkness.

Strong's Numbers & Hebrew NamesHebrew Old TestamentColor-Code/Key Word Studies
Therefore x5921
(5921) Complement
Properly the same as H5920 used as a preposition (in the singular or plural, often with prefix, or as conjugation with a particle following); above, over, upon, or against (yet always in this last relation with a downward aspect) in a great variety of applications.
(3651) Complement
From H3559; properly set upright; hence (figuratively as adjective) just; but usually (as adverb or conjugation) rightly or so (in various applications to manner, time and relation; often with other particles).
is judgment y4941
[4941] Standard
From H8199; properly a verdict (favorable or unfavorable) pronounced judicially, especially a sentence or formal decree (human or (particularly) divine law, individual or collectively), including the act, the place, the suit, the crime, and the penalty; abstractly justice, including a particular right, or privilege (statutory or customary), or even a style.
far 7368
{7368} Prime
A primitive root; to widen (in any direction), that is, (intransitively) recede or (transitively) remove (literally or figuratively, of place or relation).
<8804> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Perfect (See H8816)
Count - 12562
(4941) Complement
From H8199; properly a verdict (favorable or unfavorable) pronounced judicially, especially a sentence or formal decree (human or (particularly) divine law, individual or collectively), including the act, the place, the suit, the crime, and the penalty; abstractly justice, including a particular right, or privilege (statutory or customary), or even a style.
from x4480
(4480) Complement
For H4482; properly a part of; hence (prepositionally), from or out of in many senses.
us, neither x3808
(3808) Complement
lo; a primitive particle; not (the simple or abstract negation); by implication no; often used with other particles.
doth justice 6666
{6666} Prime
From H6663; rightness (abstractly), subjectively (rectitude), objectively (justice), morally (virtue) or figuratively (prosperity).
overtake 5381
{5381} Prime
A primitive root; to reach (literally or figuratively).
<8686> Grammar
Stem - Hiphil (See H8818)
Mood - Imperfect (See H8811)
Count - 4046
us: we wait 6960
{6960} Prime
A primitive root; to bind together (perhaps by twisting), that is, collect; (figuratively) to expect.
<8762> Grammar
Stem - Piel (See H8840)
Mood - Imperfect (See H8811)
Count - 2447
for light, 216
{0216} Prime
From H0215; illumination or (concretely) luminary (in every sense, including lightning, happiness, etc.).
but behold x2009
(2009) Complement
Prolonged for H2005; lo!.
obscurity; 2822
{2822} Prime
From H2821; the dark; hence (literally) darkness; figuratively misery, destruction, death, ignorance, sorrow, wickedness.
for brightness, 5054
{5054} Prime
Feminine of H5051; splendor.
[but] we walk 1980
{1980} Prime
Akin to H3212; a primitive root; to walk (in a great variety of applications, literally and figuratively).
<8762> Grammar
Stem - Piel (See H8840)
Mood - Imperfect (See H8811)
Count - 2447
in darkness. 653
{0653} Prime
Feminine of H0651; duskiness, figuratively misfortune; concretely concealment.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary

Isaiah 59:9

_ _ judgment far — retribution in kind because they had shown “no judgment in their goings” (Isaiah 59:8). “The vindication of our just rights by God is withheld by Him from us.”

_ _ us — In Isaiah 59:8 and previous verses, it was “they,” the third person; here, “us ... we,” the first person. The nation here speaks: God thus making them out of their own mouth condemn themselves; just as He by His prophet had condemned them before. Isaiah includes himself with his people and speaks in their name.

_ _ justice — God’s justice bringing salvation (Isaiah 46:13).

_ _ light — the dawn of returning prosperity.

_ _ obscurity — adversity (Jeremiah 8:15).

Matthew Henry's Commentary

Isaiah 59:9-15

_ _ The scope of this paragraph is the same with that of the last, to show that sin is the great mischief-maker; as it is that which keeps good things from us, so it is that which brings evil things upon us. But as there it is spoken by the prophet, in God's name, to the people, for their conviction and humiliation, and that God might be justified when he speaks and clear when he judges, so here it seems to be spoken by the people to God, as an acknowledgment of that which was there told them and an expression of their humble submission and subscription to the justice and equity of God's proceedings against them. Their uncircumcised hearts here seem to be humbled in some measure, and they are brought to confess (the confession is at least extorted from them), that God had justly walked contrary to them, because they had walked contrary to him.

_ _ I. They acknowledge that God had contended with them and had walked contrary to them. Their case was very deplorable, Isaiah 59:9-11. 1. They were in distress, trampled upon and oppressed by their enemies, unjustly dealt with, and ruled with rigour; and God did not appear for them, to plead their just and injured cause: “Judgment is far from us, neither does justice overtake us, Isaiah 59:9. Though, as to our persecutors, we are sure that we have right on our side; and they are the wrong-doers, yet we are not relieved, we are not righted. We have not done justice to one another, and therefore God suffers our enemies to deal thus unjustly with us, and we are as far as ever from being restored to our right and recovering our property again. Oppression is near us, and judgment is far from us. Our enemies are far from giving our case its due consideration, but still hurry us on with the violence of their oppressions, and justice does not overtake us, to rescue us out of their hands.” 2. Herein their expectations were sadly disappointed, which made their case the more sad: “We wait for light as those that wait for the morning, but behold obscurity; we cannot discern the least dawning of the day of our deliverance. We look for judgment, but there is none (Isaiah 59:11); neither God nor man appears for our succour; we look for salvation, because God (we think) has promised it, and we have prayed for it with fasting; we look for it as for brightness, but it is far off from us, as far off as ever for aught we can perceive, and still we walk in darkness; and the higher our expectations have been raised the sorer is the disappointment.” 3. They were quite at a loss what to do to help themselves and were at their wits' end (Isaiah 59:10): “We grope for the wall like the blind; we see no way open for our relief, nor know which way to expect it, or what to do in order to it.” If we shut our eyes against the light of divine truth, it is just with God to hide from our eyes the things that belong to our peace; and, if we use not our eyes as we should, it is just with him to let us be as if we had no eyes. Those that will not see their duty shall not see their interest. Those whom God has given up to a judicial blindness are strangely infatuated; they stumble at noon-day as in the night; they see not either those dangers, or those advantages, which all about them see. Quos Deus vult perdere, eos dementatGod infatuates those whom he means to destroy. Those that love darkness rather than light shall have their doom accordingly. 4. They sunk into despair and were quite overwhelmed with grief, the marks of which appeared in every man's countenance; they grew melancholy upon it, shunned conversation, and affected solitude: We are in desolate places as dead men. The state of the Jews in Babylon is represented by dead and dry bones (Ezekiel 37:12) and the explanation of the comparison there (Isaiah 59:11) explains this text: Our hope is lost; we are cut off for our parts. In this despair the sorrow and anguish of some were loud and noisy: We roar like bears; the sorrow of others was silent, and preyed more upon their spirits: “We mourn sore like doves, like doves of the valleys; we mourn both for our iniquities (Ezekiel 7:16) and for our calamities.” Thus they owned that the hand of the Lord had gone out against them.

_ _ II. They acknowledge that they had provoked God thus to contend with them, that he had done right, for they had done wickedly, Isaiah 59:12-15. 1. They owned that they had sinned, and that to this day they were in a great trespass, as Ezra speaks (Ezra 10:10): “Our transgressions are with us; the guilt of them is upon us, the power of them prevails among us, we are not yet reformed, nor have we parted with our sins, though they have done so much mischief. Nay, our transgressions are multiplied; they are more numerous and more heinous than they have been formerly. Look which way we will, we cannot look off them; all places, all orders and degrees of men, are infected. The sense of our transgression is with us, as David said, My sin is ever before me; it is too plain to be denied or concealed, too bad to be excused or palliated. God is a witness to them: They are multiplied before thee, in thy sight, under thy eye. We are witnesses against ourselves: As for our iniquities, we know them, though we may have foolishly endeavoured to cover them. Nay, they themselves are witnesses: Our sins stare us in the face and testify against us, so many have they been and so deeply aggravated.” 2. They owned the great evil and malignity of sin, of their sin; it is transgressing and lying against the Lord, v. 13. The sins of those that profess themselves God's people, and bear his name, are upon this account worse than the sins of others, that in transgressing they lie against the Lord, they falsely accuse him, they misrepresent and belie him, as if he had dealt hardly and unfairly with them; or they perfidiously break covenant with him and falsify their most sacred and solemn engagements to him, which is lying against him: it is departing away from our God, to whom we are bound as our God and to whom we ought to cleave with purpose of heart; from him we have departed, as the rebellious subject from his allegiance to his rightful prince, and the adulterous wife from the guide of her youth and the covenant of her God. 3. They owned that there was a general decay of moral honesty; and it is not strange that those who were false to their God were unfaithful to one another. They spoke oppression, declared openly for that, though it was a revolt from their God and a revolt from the truth, by the sacred bonds of which we should always be tied and held fast. They conceived and uttered words of falsehood. Many ill thing is conceived in the mind, yet is prudently stifled there, and not suffered to go any further; but these sinners were so impudent, so daring, that whatever wickedness they conceived, they gave it an imprimatura sanction, and made no difficulty of publishing it. To think an ill thing is bad, but to say it is much worse. Many a word of falsehood is uttered in haste, for want of consideration; but these were conceived and uttered, were uttered — deliberately and of malice prepense. They were words of falsehood, and yet they are said to be uttered from the heart, because, though they differed from the real sentiments of the heart and therefore were words of falsehood, yet they agreed with the malice and wickedness of the heart, and were the natural language of that; it was a double heart, Psalms 12:2. Those who by the grace of God kept themselves free from these enormous crimes yet put themselves into the confession of sin, because members of that nation which was generally thus corrupted. 4. They owned that that was not done which might have been done to reform the land and to amend what was amiss, Isaiah 59:14. “Judgment, that should go forward, and bear down the opposition that is made to it, that should run in its course like a river, like a mighty stream, is turned away backward, a contrary course. The administration of justice has become but a cover to the greatest injustice. Judgment, that should check the proceedings of fraud and violence, is driven back, and so they go on triumphantly. Justice stands afar off, even from our courts of judicature, which are so crowded with the patrons of oppression that equity cannot enter, cannot have admission into the court, cannot be heard, or at least will not be heeded. Equity enters not into the unrighteous decrees which they decree, Isaiah 10:1. Truth is fallen in the street, and there she may lie to be trampled upon by every foot of pride, and she has never a friend that will lend a hand to help her up; yea, truth fails in common conversation, and in dealings between man and man, so that one knows not whom to believe nor whom to trust.” 5. They owned that there was a prevailing enmity in men's minds to those that were good: He that does evil goes unpunished, but he that departs from evil makes himself a prey to those beasts of prey that were before described. It is crime enough with them for a man not to do as they do, and they treat him as an enemy who will not partake with them in their wickedness. He that departs from evil is accounted mad; so the margin reads. Sober singularity is branded as folly, and he is thought next door to a madman who swims against the stream that runs so strongly. 6. They owned that all this could not but be very displeasing to the God of heaven. The evil was done in his sight. They knew very well, though they were not willing to acknowledge it, that the Lord saw it; though it was done secretly, and gilded over with specious pretences, yet it could not be concealed from his all-seeing eye. All the wickedness that is in the world is naked and open before the eyes of God; and, as he is of quicker eyes than not to see iniquity, so he is of purer eyes than to behold it with the least approbation or allowance. He saw it, and it displeased him, though it was among his own professing people that he saw it. It was evil in his eyes; he saw the sinfulness of all this sin, and that which was most offensive to him was that there was no judgment, no reformation; had he seen any signs of repentance, though the sin displeased him, he would soon have been reconciled to the sinners upon their returning from their evil way. Then the sin of a nation becomes national, and brings public judgments, when it is not restrained by public justice.

John Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Isaiah 59:9

Justice — Judgment, and so justice is here taken for deliverance. God doth not defend our right, nor revenge our wrong, because of these outrages, and acts of violence, injustice, and oppression.

Geneva Bible Translation Notes

Isaiah 59:9

Therefore is (f) judgment far from us, neither doth (g) justice overtake us: we wait for light, but behold obscurity; for brightness, [but] we walk in darkness.

(f) That is, God's vengeance to punish our enemies.

(g) God's protection to defend us.

Cross-Reference Topical ResearchStrong's Concordance
is judgment:

Lamentations 5:16-17 The crown is fallen [from] our head: woe unto us, that we have sinned! ... For this our heart is faint; for these [things] our eyes are dim.
Habakkuk 1:13 [Thou art] of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity: wherefore lookest thou upon them that deal treacherously, [and] holdest thy tongue when the wicked devoureth [the man that is] more righteous than he?

we wait:

Isaiah 5:30 And in that day they shall roar against them like the roaring of the sea: and if [one] look unto the land, behold darkness [and] sorrow, and the light is darkened in the heavens thereof.
Job 30:26 When I looked for good, then evil came [unto me]: and when I waited for light, there came darkness.
Jeremiah 8:15 We looked for peace, but no good [came; and] for a time of health, and behold trouble!
Jeremiah 14:19 Hast thou utterly rejected Judah? hath thy soul lothed Zion? why hast thou smitten us, and [there is] no healing for us? we looked for peace, and [there is] no good; and for the time of healing, and behold trouble!
Amos 5:18-20 Woe unto you that desire the day of the LORD! to what end [is] it for you? the day of the LORD [is] darkness, and not light. ... [Shall] not the day of the LORD [be] darkness, and not light? even very dark, and no brightness in it?
Micah 1:12 For the inhabitant of Maroth waited carefully for good: but evil came down from the LORD unto the gate of Jerusalem.
1 Thessalonians 5:3 For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.
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Jb 30:26. Is 5:30. Jr 8:15; 14:19. Lm 5:16. Am 5:18. Mi 1:12. Hab 1:13. 1Th 5:3.

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