Isaiah 29:13
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13  My Lord said: Because that people has approached [Me] with its mouth And honored Me with its lips, But has kept its heart far from Me, And its worship of Me has been A commandment of men, learned by rote—

va-YO-mer a-do-NAI YA-an KEE ni-GASH ha-AM ha-ZEH b’-FEEV u-vis-fa-TAV ki-b’-DU-nee v’-li-BO ri-KHAK mi-ME-nee va-t’-HEE yir-a-TAM o-TEE mitz-VAT a-na-SHEEM m’-lu-ma-DAH

יג  וַיֹּאמֶר אֲדֹנָי יַעַן כִּי נִגַּשׁ הָעָם הַזֶּה בְּפִיו וּבִשְׂפָתָיו כִּבְּדוּנִי וְלִבּוֹ רִחַק מִמֶּנִּי וַתְּהִי יִרְאָתָם אֹתִי מִצְוַת אֲנָשִׁים מְלֻמָּדָה׃

29:13   And its worship of Me has been a commandment of men, learned by rote

For what sin did God punish Yehuda? Compared to Shomron, the northern kingdom, with all its idolatries and immoralities, Yehuda seemed positively pious. In fact, they had purified their country under Chizkiyahu. Yeshayahu answers with one sentence. Though the people prayed and performed the ritual commandments, their service was not genuine, but only lip-service. Some commentators understood this as hypocrisy; however others interpret Yeshayahu’s description in a more literal sense — unfeeling, robotic observance that has no value. Hashem wants both our consistent external actions with corresponding internal feelings united in His service.

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Isaiah 29
Isaiah 30

Comments ( 2 )

The comments below do not necessarily reflect the beliefs and opinions of The Israel Bible™.

  • Without an ongoing relationship with HaShem, one is involved in nothing more than religion. If religion were the answer to man’s perplexities, any religion would do. To know His ways does not necessarily translate into knowing HaShem. Pharaoh experienced and got to know His ways very well—but he did not know Him. Because he didn’t know Him, he wouldn’t—and I dare say, couldn’t—obey Him.

    HaShem desires and deserves for His creation to know Him, not to get lost in the traps and trappings of religion—regardless of how firmly ensconced in observable truth His creation may appear to be. To know His ways apart from knowing HaShem is empty, devoid of virtue and meaning.

    Seeking Him has to be THE imperative in our learning His ways. He craves a more intimate relationship with us—where we have an opportunity to know Him in a personal way—a lot more than we desire it, lamentably. Is it possible to have such a connection? Of course! Yirmiyahu (29:13) quotes HaShem: “You will search for Me and find Me, if only you seek Me wholeheartedly.”

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Isaiah 29:13

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