Isa 40-48

God's People Are Comforted 1Comfort, O comfort my people, says your God.2Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that she has served her term, that her penalty is paid, that she has received from the Lord's hand double for all her sins. 3A voice cries out: “In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.4Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain.5Then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all people shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” 6A voice says, “Cry out!” And I said, “What shall I cry?” All people are grass, their constancy is like the flower of the field.7The grass withers, the flower fades, when the breath of the Lord blows upon it; surely the people are grass.8The grass withers, the flower fades; but the word of our God will stand forever.9Get you up to a high mountain, O Zion, herald of good tidings; lift up your voice with strength, O Jerusalem, herald of good tidings, lift it up, do not fear; say to the cities of Judah, “Here is your God!”10See, the Lord GOD comes with might, and his arm rules for him; his reward is with him, and his recompense before him.11He will feed his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms, and carry them in his bosom, and gently lead the mother sheep. 12Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand and marked off the heavens with a span, enclosed the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales and the hills in a balance?13Who has directed the spirit of the Lord, or as his counselor has instructed him?14Whom did he consult for his enlightenment, and who taught him the path of justice? Who taught him knowledge, and showed him the way of understanding?15Even the nations are like a drop from a bucket, and are accounted as dust on the scales; see, he takes up the isles like fine dust.16Lebanon would not provide fuel enough, nor are its animals enough for a burnt offering.17All the nations are as nothing before him; they are accounted by him as less than nothing and emptiness. 18To whom then will you liken God, or what likeness compare with him?19An idol? —A workman casts it, and a goldsmith overlays it with gold, and casts for it silver chains.20As a gift one chooses mulberry wood —wood that will not rot— then seeks out a skilled artisan to set up an image that will not topple. 21Have you not known? Have you not heard? Has it not been told you from the beginning? Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth?22It is he who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers; who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them like a tent to live in;23who brings princes to naught, and makes the rulers of the earth as nothing. 24Scarcely are they planted, scarcely sown, scarcely has their stem taken root in the earth, when he blows upon them, and they wither, and the tempest carries them off like stubble. 25To whom then will you compare me, or who is my equal? says the Holy One.26Lift up your eyes on high and see: Who created these? He who brings out their host and numbers them, calling them all by name; because he is great in strength, mighty in power, not one is missing. 27Why do you say, O Jacob, and speak, O Israel, “My way is hidden from the Lord, and my right is disregarded by my God”?28Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable.29He gives power to the faint, and strengthens the powerless.30Even youths will faint and be weary, and the young will fall exhausted;31but those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.Chapter 41Israel Assured of God's Help 1Listen to me in silence, O coastlands; let the peoples renew their strength; let them approach, then let them speak; let us together draw near for judgment. 2Who has roused a victor from the east, summoned him to his service? He delivers up nations to him, and tramples kings under foot; he makes them like dust with his sword, like driven stubble with his bow.3He pursues them and passes on safely, scarcely touching the path with his feet.4Who has performed and done this, calling the generations from the beginning? I, the Lord, am first, and will be with the last.5The coastlands have seen and are afraid, the ends of the earth tremble; they have drawn near and come.6Each one helps the other, saying to one another, “Take courage!”7The artisan encourages the goldsmith, and the one who smooths with the hammer encourages the one who strikes the anvil, saying of the soldering, “It is good”; and they fasten it with nails so that it cannot be moved.8But you, Israel, my servant, Jacob, whom I have chosen, the offspring of Abraham, my friend;9you whom I took from the ends of the earth, and called from its farthest corners, saying to you, “You are my servant, I have chosen you and not cast you off!”;10do not fear, for I am with you, do not be afraid, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand. 11Yes, all who are incensed against you shall be ashamed and disgraced; those who strive against you shall be as nothing and shall perish.12You shall seek those who contend with you, but you shall not find them; those who war against you shall be as nothing at all.13For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Do not fear, I will help you.” 14Do not fear, you worm Jacob, you insect Israel! I will help you, says the Lord; your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel.15Now, I will make of you a threshing sledge, sharp, new, and having teeth; you shall thresh the mountains and crush them, and you shall make the hills like chaff.16You shall winnow them and the wind shall carry them away, and the tempest shall scatter them. Then you shall rejoice in the Lord; in the Holy One of Israel you shall glory. 17When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue is parched with thirst, I the Lord will answer them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them.18I will open rivers on the bare heights, and fountains in the midst of the valleys; I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water.19I will put in the wilderness the cedar, the acacia, the myrtle, and the olive; I will set in the desert the cypress, the plane and the pine together,20so that all may see and know, all may consider and understand, that the hand of the Lord has done this, the Holy One of Israel has created it. The Futility of Idols 21Set forth your case, says the Lord; bring your proofs, says the King of Jacob.22Let them bring them, and tell us what is to happen. Tell us the former things, what they are, so that we may consider them, and that we may know their outcome; or declare to us the things to come.23Tell us what is to come hereafter, that we may know that you are gods; do good, or do harm, that we may be afraid and terrified.24You, indeed, are nothing and your work is nothing at all; whoever chooses you is an abomination. 25I stirred up one from the north, and he has come, from the rising of the sun he was summoned by name. He shall trample on rulers as on mortar, as the potter treads clay.26Who declared it from the beginning, so that we might know, and beforehand, so that we might say, “He is right”? There was no one who declared it, none who proclaimed, none who heard your words.27I first have declared it to Zion, and I give to Jerusalem a herald of good tidings.28But when I look there is no one; among these there is no counselor who, when I ask, gives an answer.29No, they are all a delusion; their works are nothing; their images are empty wind. Chapter 42The Servant, a Light to the Nations 1Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights; I have put my spirit upon him; he will bring forth justice to the nations.2He will not cry or lift up his voice, or make it heard in the street;3a bruised reed he will not break, and a dimly burning wick he will not quench; he will faithfully bring forth justice.4He will not grow faint or be crushed until he has established justice in the earth; and the coastlands wait for his teaching. 5Thus says God, the Lord, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and what comes from it, who gives breath to the people upon it and spirit to those who walk in it:6I am the Lord, I have called you in righteousness, I have taken you by the hand and kept you; I have given you as a covenant to the people, a light to the nations,7to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness.8I am the Lord, that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to idols.9See, the former things have come to pass, and new things I now declare; before they spring forth, I tell you of them. A Hymn of Praise 10Sing to the Lord a new song, his praise from the end of the earth! Let the sea roar and all that fills it, the coastlands and their inhabitants.11Let the desert and its towns lift up their voice, the villages that Kedar inhabits; let the inhabitants of Sela sing for joy, let them shout from the tops of the mountains.12Let them give glory to the Lord, and declare his praise in the coastlands.13The Lord goes forth like a soldier, like a warrior he stirs up his fury; he cries out, he shouts aloud, he shows himself mighty against his foes. 14For a long time I have held my peace, I have kept still and restrained myself; now I will cry out like a woman in labor, I will gasp and pant.15I will lay waste mountains and hills, and dry up all their herbage; I will turn the rivers into islands, and dry up the pools.16I will lead the blind by a road they do not know, by paths they have not known I will guide them. I will turn the darkness before them into light, the rough places into level ground. These are the things I will do, and I will not forsake them.17They shall be turned back and utterly put to shame— those who trust in carved images, who say to cast images, “You are our gods.” 18Listen, you that are deaf; and you that are blind, look up and see!19Who is blind but my servant, or deaf like my messenger whom I send? Who is blind like my dedicated one, or blind like the servant of the Lord?20He sees many things, but does not observe them; his ears are open, but he does not hear.Israel's Disobedience 21The Lord was pleased, for the sake of his righteousness, to magnify his teaching and make it glorious.22But this is a people robbed and plundered, all of them are trapped in holes and hidden in prisons; they have become a prey with no one to rescue, a spoil with no one to say, “Restore!”23Who among you will give heed to this, who will attend and listen for the time to come?24Who gave up Jacob to the spoiler, and Israel to the robbers? Was it not the Lord, against whom we have sinned, in whose ways they would not walk, and whose law they would not obey?25So he poured upon him the heat of his anger and the fury of war; it set him on fire all around, but he did not understand; it burned him, but he did not take it to heart. Chapter 43Restoration and Protection Promised 1But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.2When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.3For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. I give Egypt as your ransom, Ethiopia and Seba in exchange for you.4Because you are precious in my sight, and honored, and I love you, I give people in return for you, nations in exchange for your life.5Do not fear, for I am with you; I will bring your offspring from the east, and from the west I will gather you;6I will say to the north, “Give them up,” and to the south, “Do not withhold; bring my sons from far away and my daughters from the end of the earth—7everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.” 8Bring forth the people who are blind, yet have eyes, who are deaf, yet have ears!9Let all the nations gather together, and let the peoples assemble. Who among them declared this, and foretold to us the former things? Let them bring their witnesses to justify them, and let them hear and say, “It is true.”10You are my witnesses, says the Lord, and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor shall there be any after me.11I, I am the Lord, and besides me there is no savior.12I declared and saved and proclaimed, when there was no strange god among you; and you are my witnesses, says the Lord.13I am God, and also henceforth I am He; there is no one who can deliver from my hand; I work and who can hinder it? 14Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: For your sake I will send to Babylon and break down all the bars, and the shouting of the Chaldeans will be turned to lamentation.15I am the Lord, your Holy One, the Creator of Israel, your King.16Thus says the Lord, who makes a way in the sea, a path in the mighty waters,17who brings out chariot and horse, army and warrior; they lie down, they cannot rise, they are extinguished, quenched like a wick:18Do not remember the former things, or consider the things of old.19I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.20The wild animals will honor me, the jackals and the ostriches; for I give water in the wilderness, rivers in the desert, to give drink to my chosen people,21the people whom I formed for myself so that they might declare my praise. 22Yet you did not call upon me, O Jacob; but you have been weary of me, O Israel!23You have not brought me your sheep for burnt offerings, or honored me with your sacrifices. I have not burdened you with offerings, or wearied you with frankincense.24You have not bought me sweet cane with money, or satisfied me with the fat of your sacrifices. But you have burdened me with your sins; you have wearied me with your iniquities. 25I, I am He who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins.26Accuse me, let us go to trial; set forth your case, so that you may be proved right.27Your first ancestor sinned, and your interpreters transgressed against me.28Therefore I profaned the princes of the sanctuary, I delivered Jacob to utter destruction, and Israel to reviling. Chapter 44God's Blessing on Israel 1But now hear, O Jacob my servant, Israel whom I have chosen!2Thus says the Lord who made you, who formed you in the womb and will help you: Do not fear, O Jacob my servant, Jeshurun whom I have chosen.3For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour my spirit upon your descendants, and my blessing on your offspring.4They shall spring up like a green tamarisk, like willows by flowing streams.5This one will say, “I am the Lord's,” another will be called by the name of Jacob, yet another will write on the hand, “The Lord's,” and adopt the name of Israel. 6Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel, and his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts: I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god.7Who is like me? Let them proclaim it, let them declare and set it forth before me. Who has announced from of old the things to come? Let them tell us what is yet to be.8Do not fear, or be afraid; have I not told you from of old and declared it? You are my witnesses! Is there any god besides me? There is no other rock; I know not one. The Absurdity of Idol Worship 9All who make idols are nothing, and the things they delight in do not profit; their witnesses neither see nor know. And so they will be put to shame.10Who would fashion a god or cast an image that can do no good?11Look, all its devotees shall be put to shame; the artisans too are merely human. Let them all assemble, let them stand up; they shall be terrified, they shall all be put to shame.12The ironsmith fashions it and works it over the coals, shaping it with hammers, and forging it with his strong arm; he becomes hungry and his strength fails, he drinks no water and is faint.13The carpenter stretches a line, marks it out with a stylus, fashions it with planes, and marks it with a compass; he makes it in human form, with human beauty, to be set up in a shrine.14He cuts down cedars or chooses a holm tree or an oak and lets it grow strong among the trees of the forest. He plants a cedar and the rain nourishes it.15Then it can be used as fuel. Part of it he takes and warms himself; he kindles a fire and bakes bread. Then he makes a god and worships it, makes it a carved image and bows down before it.16Half of it he burns in the fire; over this half he roasts meat, eats it and is satisfied. He also warms himself and says, “Ah, I am warm, I can feel the fire!”17The rest of it he makes into a god, his idol, bows down to it and worships it; he prays to it and says, “Save me, for you are my god!”18They do not know, nor do they comprehend; for their eyes are shut, so that they cannot see, and their minds as well, so that they cannot understand.19No one considers, nor is there knowledge or discernment to say, “Half of it I burned in the fire; I also baked bread on its coals, I roasted meat and have eaten. Now shall I make the rest of it an abomination? Shall I fall down before a block of wood?”20He feeds on ashes; a deluded mind has led him astray, and he cannot save himself or say, “Is not this thing in my right hand a fraud?” Israel Is Not Forgotten 21Remember these things, O Jacob, and Israel, for you are my servant; I formed you, you are my servant; O Israel, you will not be forgotten by me.22I have swept away your transgressions like a cloud, and your sins like mist; return to me, for I have redeemed you. 23Sing, O heavens, for the Lord has done it; shout, O depths of the earth; break forth into singing, O mountains, O forest, and every tree in it! For the Lord has redeemed Jacob, and will be glorified in Israel. 24Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, who formed you in the womb: I am the Lord, who made all things, who alone stretched out the heavens, who by myself spread out the earth;25who frustrates the omens of liars, and makes fools of diviners; who turns back the wise, and makes their knowledge foolish;26who confirms the word of his servant, and fulfills the prediction of his messengers; who says of Jerusalem, “It shall be inhabited,” and of the cities of Judah, “They shall be rebuilt, and I will raise up their ruins”;27who says to the deep, “Be dry— I will dry up your rivers”;28who says of Cyrus, “He is my shepherd, and he shall carry out all my purpose”; and who says of Jerusalem, “It shall be rebuilt,” and of the temple, “Your foundation shall be laid.” Chapter 45Cyrus, God's Instrument 1Thus says the Lord to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have grasped to subdue nations before him and strip kings of their robes, to open doors before him— and the gates shall not be closed:2I will go before you and level the mountains, I will break in pieces the doors of bronze and cut through the bars of iron,3I will give you the treasures of darkness and riches hidden in secret places, so that you may know that it is I, the Lord, the God of Israel, who call you by your name.4For the sake of my servant Jacob, and Israel my chosen, I call you by your name, I surname you, though you do not know me.5I am the Lord, and there is no other; besides me there is no god. I arm you, though you do not know me,6so that they may know, from the rising of the sun and from the west, that there is no one besides me; I am the Lord, and there is no other.7I form light and create darkness, I make weal and create woe; I the Lord do all these things. 8Shower, O heavens, from above, and let the skies rain down righteousness; let the earth open, that salvation may spring up, and let it cause righteousness to sprout up also; I the Lord have created it. 9Woe to you who strive with your Maker, earthen vessels with the potter! Does the clay say to the one who fashions it, “What are you making”? or “Your work has no handles”?10Woe to anyone who says to a father, “What are you begetting?” or to a woman, “With what are you in labor?”11Thus says the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, and its Maker: Will you question me about my children, or command me concerning the work of my hands?12I made the earth, and created humankind upon it; it was my hands that stretched out the heavens, and I commanded all their host.13I have aroused Cyrus in righteousness, and I will make all his paths straight; he shall build my city and set my exiles free, not for price or reward, says the Lord of hosts.14Thus says the Lord: The wealth of Egypt and the merchandise of Ethiopia, and the Sabeans, tall of stature, shall come over to you and be yours, they shall follow you; they shall come over in chains and bow down to you. They will make supplication to you, saying, “God is with you alone, and there is no other; there is no god besides him.”15Truly, you are a God who hides himself, O God of Israel, the Savior.16All of them are put to shame and confounded, the makers of idols go in confusion together.17But Israel is saved by the Lord with everlasting salvation; you shall not be put to shame or confounded to all eternity. 18For thus says the Lord, who created the heavens (he is God!), who formed the earth and made it (he established it; he did not create it a chaos, he formed it to be inhabited!): I am the Lord, and there is no other.19I did not speak in secret, in a land of darkness; I did not say to the offspring of Jacob, “Seek me in chaos.” I the Lord speak the truth, I declare what is right. Idols Cannot Save Babylon 20Assemble yourselves and come together, draw near, you survivors of the nations! They have no knowledge— those who carry about their wooden idols, and keep on praying to a god that cannot save.21Declare and present your case; let them take counsel together! Who told this long ago? Who declared it of old? Was it not I, the Lord? There is no other god besides me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is no one besides me. 22Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other.23By myself I have sworn, from my mouth has gone forth in righteousness a word that shall not return: “To me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.” 24Only in the Lord, it shall be said of me, are righteousness and strength; all who were incensed against him shall come to him and be ashamed.25In the Lord all the offspring of Israel shall triumph and glory. Chapter 461Bel bows down, Nebo stoops, their idols are on beasts and cattle; these things you carry are loaded as burdens on weary animals.2They stoop, they bow down together; they cannot save the burden, but themselves go into captivity. 3Listen to me, O house of Jacob, all the remnant of the house of Israel, who have been borne by me from your birth, carried from the womb;4even to your old age I am he, even when you turn gray I will carry you. I have made, and I will bear; I will carry and will save. 5To whom will you liken me and make me equal, and compare me, as though we were alike?6Those who lavish gold from the purse, and weigh out silver in the scales— they hire a goldsmith, who makes it into a god; then they fall down and worship!7They lift it to their shoulders, they carry it, they set it in its place, and it stands there; it cannot move from its place. If one cries out to it, it does not answer or save anyone from trouble. 8Remember this and consider, recall it to mind, you transgressors,9remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like me,10declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, “My purpose shall stand, and I will fulfill my intention,”11calling a bird of prey from the east, the man for my purpose from a far country. I have spoken, and I will bring it to pass; I have planned, and I will do it. 12Listen to me, you stubborn of heart, you who are far from deliverance:13I bring near my deliverance, it is not far off, and my salvation will not tarry; I will put salvation in Zion, for Israel my glory. Chapter 47The Humiliation of Babylon 1Come down and sit in the dust, virgin daughter Babylon! Sit on the ground without a throne, daughter Chaldea! For you shall no more be called tender and delicate.2Take the millstones and grind meal, remove your veil, strip off your robe, uncover your legs, pass through the rivers.3Your nakedness shall be uncovered, and your shame shall be seen. I will take vengeance, and I will spare no one.4Our Redeemer—the Lord of hosts is his name— is the Holy One of Israel. 5Sit in silence, and go into darkness, daughter Chaldea! For you shall no more be called the mistress of kingdoms.6I was angry with my people, I profaned my heritage; I gave them into your hand, you showed them no mercy; on the aged you made your yoke exceedingly heavy.7You said, “I shall be mistress forever,” so that you did not lay these things to heart or remember their end. 8Now therefore hear this, you lover of pleasures, who sit securely, who say in your heart, “I am, and there is no one besides me; I shall not sit as a widow or know the loss of children”—9both these things shall come upon you in a moment, in one day: the loss of children and widowhood shall come upon you in full measure, in spite of your many sorceries and the great power of your enchantments. 10You felt secure in your wickedness; you said, “No one sees me.” Your wisdom and your knowledge led you astray, and you said in your heart, “I am, and there is no one besides me.”11But evil shall come upon you, which you cannot charm away; disaster shall fall upon you, which you will not be able to ward off; and ruin shall come on you suddenly, of which you know nothing. 12Stand fast in your enchantments and your many sorceries, with which you have labored from your youth; perhaps you may be able to succeed, perhaps you may inspire terror.13You are wearied with your many consultations; let those who study the heavens stand up and save you, those who gaze at the stars, and at each new moon predict what shall befall you. 14See, they are like stubble, the fire consumes them; they cannot deliver themselves from the power of the flame. No coal for warming oneself is this, no fire to sit before!15Such to you are those with whom you have labored, who have trafficked with you from your youth; they all wander about in their own paths; there is no one to save you. Chapter 48God the Creator and Redeemer 1Hear this, O house of Jacob, who are called by the name of Israel, and who came forth from the loins of Judah; who swear by the name of the Lord, and invoke the God of Israel, but not in truth or right.2For they call themselves after the holy city, and lean on the God of Israel; the Lord of hosts is his name. 3The former things I declared long ago, they went out from my mouth and I made them known; then suddenly I did them and they came to pass.4Because I know that you are obstinate, and your neck is an iron sinew and your forehead brass,5I declared them to you from long ago, before they came to pass I announced them to you, so that you would not say, “My idol did them, my carved image and my cast image commanded them.” 6You have heard; now see all this; and will you not declare it? From this time forward I make you hear new things, hidden things that you have not known.7They are created now, not long ago; before today you have never heard of them, so that you could not say, “I already knew them.”8You have never heard, you have never known, from of old your ear has not been opened. For I knew that you would deal very treacherously, and that from birth you were called a rebel. 9For my name's sake I defer my anger, for the sake of my praise I restrain it for you, so that I may not cut you off.10See, I have refined you, but not like silver; I have tested you in the furnace of adversity.11For my own sake, for my own sake, I do it, for why should my name be profaned? My glory I will not give to another. 12Listen to me, O Jacob, and Israel, whom I called: I am He; I am the first, and I am the last.13My hand laid the foundation of the earth, and my right hand spread out the heavens; when I summon them, they stand at attention. 14Assemble, all of you, and hear! Who among them has declared these things? The Lord loves him; he shall perform his purpose on Babylon, and his arm shall be against the Chaldeans.15I, even I, have spoken and called him, I have brought him, and he will prosper in his way.16Draw near to me, hear this! From the beginning I have not spoken in secret, from the time it came to be I have been there. And now the Lord GOD has sent me and his spirit. 17Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: I am the Lord your God, who teaches you for your own good, who leads you in the way you should go.18O that you had paid attention to my commandments! Then your prosperity would have been like a river, and your success like the waves of the sea;19your offspring would have been like the sand, and your descendants like its grains; their name would never be cut off or destroyed from before me. 20Go out from Babylon, flee from Chaldea, declare this with a shout of joy, proclaim it, send it forth to the end of the earth; say, “The Lord has redeemed his servant Jacob!”21They did not thirst when he led them through the deserts; he made water flow for them from the rock; he split open the rock and the water gushed out. 22“There is no peace,” says the Lord, “for the wicked.”