Bible: Isa 40:1-44:28
The Lord Returns to Jerusalem
40:1 “Comfort, comfort my people,”
says your 1 God.
that her time of warfare is over, 4
that her punishment is completed. 5
40:3 A voice cries out,
“In the wilderness clear a way for the
construct in the desert a road for our God.
40:4 Every valley must be elevated,
and every mountain and hill leveled.
The rough terrain will become a level plain,
the rugged landscape a wide valley.
40:5 The splendor 7 of the
and all people 8 will see it at the same time.
40:6 A voice says, “Cry out!”
Another asks, 11 “What should I cry out?”
and all their promises 14 are like the flowers in the field.
40:7 The grass dries up,
the flowers wither,
when the wind sent by the
Surely humanity 16 is like grass.
40:8 The grass dries up,
the flowers wither,
but the decree of our God is forever reliable.” 17
40:9 Go up on a high mountain, O herald Zion!
Shout out loudly, O herald Jerusalem! 18
Shout, don’t be afraid!
Say to the towns of Judah,
“Here is your God!”
40:10 Look, the sovereign
his military power establishes his rule. 20
Look, his reward is with him;
his prize goes before him. 21
40:11 Like a shepherd he tends his flock;
he gathers up the lambs with his arm;
he carries them close to his heart; 22
he leads the ewes along.
The Lord is Incomparable
40:12 Who has measured out the waters 23 in the hollow of his hand,
or carefully weighed 26 the soil of the earth,
or weighed the mountains in a balance,
or the hills on scales? 27
or gives him instruction as his counselor? 30
40:14 From whom does he receive directions? 31
or imparts knowledge to him,
or instructs him in skillful design? 34
40:15 Look, the nations are like a drop in a bucket;
they are regarded as dust on the scales.
40:16 Not even Lebanon could supply enough firewood for a sacrifice; 37
its wild animals would not provide enough burnt offerings. 38
40:17 All the nations are insignificant before him;
they are regarded as absolutely nothing. 39
40:18 To whom can you compare God?
To what image can you liken him?
40:19 A craftsman casts 40 an idol;
a metalsmith overlays it with gold
and forges silver chains for it.
40:20 To make a contribution one selects wood that will not rot; 41
he then seeks a skilled craftsman
to make 42 an idol that will not fall over.
40:21 Do you not know?
Do you not hear?
Has it not been told to you since the very beginning?
Have you not understood from the time the earth’s foundations were made?
40:22 He is the one who sits on the earth’s horizon; 43
its inhabitants are like grasshoppers before him. 44
He is the one who stretches out the sky like a thin curtain, 45
40:23 He is the one who reduces rulers to nothing;
he makes the earth’s leaders insignificant.
40:24 Indeed, they are barely planted;
yes, they are barely sown;
yes, they barely take root in the earth,
and then he blows on them, causing them to dry up,
and the wind carries them away like straw.
40:25 “To whom can you compare me? Whom do I resemble?”
says the Holy One. 48
40:26 Look up at the sky! 49
Who created all these heavenly lights? 50
He is the one who leads out their ranks; 51
he calls them all by name.
Because of his absolute power and awesome strength,
not one of them is missing.
40:27 Why do you say, Jacob,
Why do you say, Israel,
My God is not concerned with my vindication”? 53
40:28 Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
the creator of the whole earth. 54
He does not get tired or weary;
there is no limit to his wisdom. 55
40:29 He gives strength to those who are tired;
to the ones who lack power, he gives renewed energy.
40:30 Even youths get tired and weary;
even strong young men clumsily stumble. 56
40:31 But those who wait for the
they rise up as if they had eagles’ wings, 58
they run without growing weary,
they walk without getting tired.
The Lord Challenges the Nations
41:1 “Listen to me in silence, you coastlands! 59
Let the nations find renewed strength!
Let them approach and then speak;
let us come together for debate! 60
41:2 Who stirs up this one from the east? 61
He hands nations over to him, 64
and enables him to subdue 65 kings.
He makes them like dust with his sword,
like windblown straw with his bow. 66
41:3 He pursues them and passes by unharmed; 67
he advances with great speed. 68
41:4 Who acts and carries out decrees? 69
Who 70 summons the successive generations from the beginning?
and at the very end – I am the one. 71
41:5 The coastlands 72 see and are afraid;
the whole earth 73 trembles;
they approach and come.
41:6 They help one another; 74
one says to the other, ‘Be strong!’
41:7 The craftsman encourages the metalsmith,
the one who wields the hammer encourages 75 the one who pounds on the anvil.
He approves the quality of the welding, 76
and nails it down so it won’t fall over.”
The Lord Encourages His People
41:8 “You, my servant Israel,
Jacob whom I have chosen,
offspring of Abraham my friend, 77
41:9 you whom I am bringing back 78 from the earth’s extremities,
and have summoned from the remote regions –
I told you, “You are my servant.”
I have chosen you and not rejected you.
41:10 Don’t be afraid, for I am with you!
Don’t be frightened, for I am your God! 79
I strengthen you –
yes, I help you –
yes, I uphold you with my saving right hand! 80
41:11 Look, all who were angry at you will be ashamed and humiliated;
41:12 When you will look for your opponents, 83 you will not find them;
your enemies 84 will be reduced to absolutely nothing.
41:13 For I am the
the one who takes hold of your right hand,
who says to you, ‘Don’t be afraid, I am helping you.’
41:14 Don’t be afraid, despised insignificant Jacob, 85
men of 86 Israel.
I am helping you,” says the
41:15 “Look, I am making you like 89 a sharp threshing sledge,
new and double-edged. 90
You will thresh the mountains and crush them;
you will make the hills like straw. 91
41:16 You will winnow them and the wind will blow them away;
the wind will scatter them.
You will rejoice in the
you will boast in the Holy One of Israel.
41:17 The oppressed and the poor look for water, but there is none;
their tongues are parched from thirst.
I, the God of Israel, will not abandon them.
41:18 I will make streams flow down the slopes
and produce springs in the middle of the valleys.
I will turn the desert into a pool of water
and the arid land into springs.
41:19 I will make cedars, acacias, myrtles, and olive trees grow in the wilderness;
I will make evergreens, firs, and cypresses grow together in the desert.
so they will pay attention and understand
and that the Holy One of Israel has brought it into being.” 96
The Lord Challenges the Pagan Gods
41:21 “Present your argument,” says the
41:22 “Let them produce evidence! Let them tell us what will happen!
Tell us about your earlier predictive oracles, 99
Or decree for us some future events!
41:23 Predict how future events will turn out, 102
so we might know you are gods.
Yes, do something good or bad,
so we might be frightened and in awe. 103
41:24 Look, you are nothing, and your accomplishments are nonexistent;
the one who chooses to worship you is disgusting. 104
41:25 I have stirred up one out of the north 105 and he advances,
one from the eastern horizon who prays in my name. 106
He steps on 107 rulers as if they were clay,
like a potter treading the clay.
41:26 Who decreed this from the beginning, so we could know?
Who announced it 108 ahead of time, so we could say, ‘He’s correct’?
Indeed, none of them decreed it!
Indeed, none of them announced it!
Indeed, no one heard you say anything!
41:27 I first decreed to Zion, ‘Look, here’s what will happen!’ 109
I sent a herald to Jerusalem. 110
41:28 I look, but there is no one,
among them there is no one who serves as an adviser,
that I might ask questions and receive answers.
41:29 Look, all of them are nothing, 111
their accomplishments are nonexistent;
their metal images lack any real substance. 11242:1
The Lord Commissions His Special Servant
“Here is my servant whom I support,
my chosen one in whom I take pleasure.
I have placed my spirit on him;
42:2 He will not cry out or shout;
he will not publicize himself in the streets. 116
42:3 A crushed reed he will not break,
a dim wick he will not extinguish; 117
he will faithfully make just decrees. 118
42:4 He will not grow dim or be crushed 119
before establishing justice on the earth;
42:5 This is what the true God, 122 the
the one who created the sky and stretched it out,
the one who fashioned the earth and everything that lives on it, 123
the one who gives breath to the people on it,
and life to those who live on it: 124
42:6 “I, the
I take hold of your hand.
42:7 to open blind eyes, 130
to release prisoners 131 from dungeons,
those who live in darkness from prisons.
The Lord Intervenes
42:8 I am the
I will not share my glory with anyone else,
or the praise due me with idols.
42:9 Look, my earlier predictive oracles have come to pass; 132
now I announce new events.
Before they begin to occur,
I reveal them to you.” 133
42:10 Sing to the
Praise him 134 from the horizon of the earth,
you who go down to the sea, and everything that lives in it, 135
you coastlands 136 and those who live there!
42:11 Let the desert and its cities shout out,
the towns where the nomads of Kedar live!
Let the residents of Sela shout joyfully;
let them shout loudly from the mountaintops.
42:12 Let them give the
let them praise his deeds in the coastlands. 138
like a warrior he inspires himself for battle; 139
he shouts, yes, he yells,
he shows his enemies his power. 140
42:14 “I have been inactive 141 for a long time;
I kept quiet and held back.
Like a woman in labor I groan;
I pant and gasp. 142
42:15 I will make the trees on the mountains and hills wither up; 143
I will dry up all their vegetation.
I will turn streams into islands, 144
and dry up pools of water. 145
42:16 I will lead the blind along an unfamiliar way; 146
I will guide them down paths they have never traveled. 147
I will turn the darkness in front of them into light,
and level out the rough ground. 148
This is what I will do for them.
I will not abandon them.
42:17 Those who trust in idols
will turn back and be utterly humiliated, 149
those who say to metal images, ‘You are our gods.’”
The Lord Reasons with His People
42:18 “Listen, you deaf ones!
Take notice, 150 you blind ones!
42:19 My servant is truly blind,
my messenger is truly deaf.
their ears are open, but do not hear.”
by magnifying his law and displaying it. 155
42:22 But these people are looted and plundered;
all of them are trapped in pits 156
and held captive 157 in prisons.
They were carried away as loot with no one to rescue them;
they were carried away as plunder, and no one says, “Bring that back!” 158
42:23 Who among you will pay attention to this?
Who will listen attentively in the future? 159
42:24 Who handed Jacob over to the robber?
Who handed Israel over to the looters? 160
Was it not the
They refused to follow his commands;
they disobeyed his law. 161
42:25 So he poured out his fierce anger on them,
along with the devastation 162 of war.
Its flames encircled them, but they did not realize it; 163
it burned against them, but they did notice. 164
The Lord Will Rescue His People
43:1 Now, this is what the
the one who created you, O Jacob,
and formed you, O Israel:
“Don’t be afraid, for I will protect 165 you.
I call you by name, you are mine.
43:2 When you pass through the waters, I am with you;
when you pass 166 through the streams, they will not overwhelm you.
When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned;
the flames will not harm 167 you.
43:3 For I am the
the Holy One of Israel, 168 your deliverer.
I have handed over Egypt as a ransom price,
Ethiopia and Seba 169 in place of you.
43:4 Since you are precious and special in my sight, 170
and I love you,
I will hand over people in place of you,
nations in place of your life.
43:5 Don’t be afraid, for I am with you.
From the east I will bring your descendants;
from the west I will gather you.
43:6 I will say to the north, ‘Hand them over!’
and to the south, ‘Don’t hold any back!’
Bring my sons from distant lands,
and my daughters from the remote regions of the earth,
43:7 everyone who belongs to me, 171
whom I created for my glory,
whom I formed – yes, whom I made!
The Lord Declares His Sovereignty
43:8 Bring out the people who are blind, even though they have eyes,
those who are deaf, even though they have ears!
43:9 All nations gather together,
the peoples assemble.
Who among them announced this?
Who predicted earlier events for us? 172
Let them produce their witnesses to testify they were right;
let them listen and affirm, ‘It is true.’
43:10 You are my witnesses,” says the
“my servant whom I have chosen,
so that you may consider 173 and believe in me,
and understand that I am he.
No god was formed before me,
and none will outlive me. 174
43:11 I, I am the
and there is no deliverer besides me.
43:12 I decreed and delivered and proclaimed,
and there was no other god among you.
You are my witnesses,” says the
43:13 From this day forward I am he;
no one can deliver from my power; 175
I will act, and who can prevent it?”
The Lord Will Do Something New
43:14 This is what the
“For your sake I send to Babylon
and make them all fugitives, 178
turning the Babylonians’ joyful shouts into mourning songs. 179
43:15 I am the
the one who created Israel, your king.”
43:16 This is what the
the one who made a road through the sea,
a pathway through the surging waters,
43:17 the one who led chariots and horses to destruction, 181
together with a mighty army.
They fell down, 182 never to rise again;
they were extinguished, put out like a burning wick:
43:18 “Don’t remember these earlier events; 183
don’t recall these former events.
43:19 “Look, I am about to do something new.
Yes, I will make a road in the desert
and paths 186 in the wilderness.
43:20 The wild animals of the desert honor me,
the jackals and ostriches,
because I put water in the desert
and streams in the wilderness,
to quench the thirst of my chosen people,
43:21 the people whom I formed for myself,
so they might praise me.” 187
The Lord Rebukes His People
43:22 “But you did not call for me, O Jacob;
you did not long 188 for me, O Israel.
43:23 You did not bring me lambs for your burnt offerings;
you did not honor me with your sacrifices.
I did not burden you with offerings;
I did not make you weary by demanding 189 incense.
43:24 You did not buy me aromatic reeds; 190
you did not present to me 191 the fat of your sacrifices.
Yet you burdened me with your sins;
you made me weary with your evil deeds. 192
43:25 I, I am the one who blots out your rebellious deeds for my sake;
your sins I do not remember.
43:26 Remind me of what happened! Let’s debate!
You, prove to me that you are right! 193
43:27 The father of your nation 194 sinned;
your spokesmen 195 rebelled against me.
43:28 So I defiled your holy princes,
and handed Jacob over to destruction,
and subjected 196 Israel to humiliating abuse.”
The Lord Will Renew Israel
44:1 “Now, listen, Jacob my servant,
Israel whom I have chosen!”
44:2 This is what the
the one who formed you in the womb and helps you:
“Don’t be afraid, my servant Jacob,
Jeshurun, 197 whom I have chosen!
44:3 For I will pour water on the parched ground 198
and cause streams to flow 199 on the dry land.
I will pour my spirit on your offspring
and my blessing on your children.
44:4 They will sprout up like a tree in the grass, 200
like poplars beside channels of water.
44:5 One will say, ‘I belong to the
and another will use 201 the name ‘Jacob.’
One will write on his hand, ‘The
and use the name ‘Israel.’” 202
The Absurdity of Idolatry
44:6 This is what the
their protector, 203 the
“I am the first and I am the last,
there is no God but me.
44:7 Who is like me? Let him make his claim! 204
Let him announce it and explain it to me –
since I established an ancient people – 205
let them announce future events! 206
44:8 Don’t panic! Don’t be afraid! 207
Did I not tell you beforehand and decree it?
You are my witnesses! Is there any God but me?
There is no other sheltering rock; 208 I know of none.
44:9 All who form idols are nothing;
the things in which they delight are worthless.
Their witnesses cannot see;
they recognize nothing, so they are put to shame.
44:10 Who forms a god and casts an idol
that will prove worthless? 209
44:11 Look, all his associates 210 will be put to shame;
the craftsmen are mere humans. 211
Let them all assemble and take their stand!
They will panic and be put to shame.
44:12 A blacksmith works with his tool 212
and forges metal over the coals.
He forms it 213 with hammers;
he makes it with his strong arm.
He gets hungry and loses his energy; 214
he drinks no water and gets tired.
44:13 A carpenter takes measurements; 215
he marks out an outline of its form; 216
he scrapes 217 it with chisels,
and marks it with a compass.
He patterns it after the human form, 218
like a well-built human being,
and puts it in a shrine. 219
44:14 He cuts down cedars
and acquires a cypress 220 or an oak.
He gets 221 trees from the forest;
he plants a cedar 222 and the rain makes it grow.
44:15 A man uses it to make a fire; 223
he takes some of it and warms himself.
Yes, he kindles a fire and bakes bread.
Then he makes a god and worships it;
he makes an idol and bows down to it. 224
44:16 Half of it he burns in the fire –
over that half he cooks 225 meat;
he roasts a meal and fills himself.
Yes, he warms himself and says,
‘Ah! I am warm as I look at the fire.’
44:17 With the rest of it he makes a god, his idol;
he bows down to it and worships it.
He prays to it, saying,
‘Rescue me, for you are my god!’
44:18 They do not comprehend or understand,
for their eyes are blind and cannot see;
their minds do not discern. 226
44:19 No one thinks to himself,
nor do they comprehend or understand and say to themselves:
‘I burned half of it in the fire –
yes, I baked bread over the coals;
I roasted meat and ate it.
With the rest of it should I make a disgusting idol?
Should I bow down to dry wood?’ 227
44:20 He feeds on ashes; 228
his deceived mind misleads him.
He cannot rescue himself,
nor does he say, ‘Is this not a false god I hold in my right hand?’ 229
44:21 Remember these things, O Jacob,
O Israel, for you are my servant.
I formed you to be my servant;
O Israel, I will not forget you! 230
44:22 I remove the guilt of your rebellious deeds as if they were a cloud,
the guilt of your sins as if they were a cloud. 231
Come back to me, for I protect 232 you.”
44:23 Shout for joy, O sky, for the
shout out, you subterranean regions 234 of the earth.
O mountains, give a joyful shout;
you too, O forest and all your trees! 235
he reveals his splendor through Israel. 237
The Lord Empowers Cyrus
44:24 This is what the
the one who formed you in the womb:
“I am the
who alone stretched out the sky,
who fashioned the earth all by myself, 239
44:25 who frustrates the omens of the empty talkers 240
and humiliates 241 the omen readers,
who overturns the counsel of the wise men 242
and makes their advice 243 seem foolish,
44:26 who fulfills the oracles of his prophetic servants 244
and brings to pass the announcements 245 of his messengers,
who says about Jerusalem, 246 ‘She will be inhabited,’
and about the towns of Judah, ‘They will be rebuilt,
her ruins I will raise up,’
44:27 who says to the deep sea, ‘Be dry!
I will dry up your sea currents,’
to carry out all my wishes 249
and to decree concerning Jerusalem, ‘She will be rebuilt,’
and concerning the temple, ‘It will be reconstructed.’” 250