Chapter 58 of Isaiah marks an important change in cultural values due to the humiliation brought about by the Babylonian invasion around the 6th century B.C.E. Gone are the days of good and evil being simply defined as that which coincides with Yahweh’s will, and that which doesn’t. Now, Isaiah tells the people that simply following the current ways of sacrifice aren’t enough, and instead calls for social justice (Chilton, 200), and, in a sense, attempts to invite a return to pre-monarchical social structuring. This new morality value system aims to upset the existing post-monarchical Israelite social structure, whilst also invigorate a new, post-exilic, collective Israelite national identity. Thus, let us begin by examining the political, social, and literary motivations behind this Book.
We must first realize that the Book of Isaiah can be divided into three blocks (1-39, 40-55 and 56-66), and each are starkly different in tone, theme, and delivery (Chilton, 189). Chapter 58 belongs to the third block, and thus, does not dabble in the same “interplay between doubt and reassurance, and confident, hymnic affirmation in response to the uncertainty of people” (Chilton, 198). We can see this new tone clearly in the 4 opening lines. “Shout out, do not hold back! Announce to my people their rebellion, to the house of Jacob their sins” (Isaiah, 58). When compared against the more emotionally vacillatory first and even the second block of Isaiah, the third block is conveying a