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Isaiah 39-40 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 39

Embassy from Merodach-baladan. At that time Merodach-baladan,[a] son of Baladan, king of Babylon, sent letters and gifts to Hezekiah, when he heard that he had been sick and had recovered. Hezekiah was pleased at their coming, and then showed the messengers his treasury, the silver and gold, the spices and perfumed oil, his whole armory, and everything in his storerooms; there was nothing in his house or in all his realm that Hezekiah did not show them.

Then Isaiah the prophet came to King Hezekiah and asked him, “What did these men say to you? Where did they come from?” Hezekiah replied, “They came to me from a distant land, from Babylon.” He asked, “What did they see in your house?” Hezekiah answered, “They saw everything in my house. There is nothing in my storerooms that I did not show them.” Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, “Hear the word of the Lord of hosts: The time is coming when all that is in your house, everything that your ancestors have stored up until this day, shall be carried off to Babylon;[b] nothing shall be left, says the Lord. Some of your own descendants, your progeny, shall be taken and made attendants in the palace of the king of Babylon.” Hezekiah replied to Isaiah, “The word of the Lord which you have spoken is good.”[c] For he thought, “There will be peace and stability in my lifetime.”

II. Isaiah 40—55[d]

A. The Lord’s Glory in Israel’s Liberation

Chapter 40

Promise of Salvation

[e]Comfort, give comfort to my people,
    says your God.
Speak to the heart of Jerusalem, and proclaim to her
    that her service[f] has ended,
    that her guilt is expiated,
That she has received from the hand of the Lord
    double for all her sins.

    A voice proclaims:[g]
In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord!
    Make straight in the wasteland a highway for our God!
Every valley shall be lifted up,
    every mountain and hill made low;
The rugged land shall be a plain,
    the rough country, a broad valley.
Then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed,
    and all flesh shall see it together;
    for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.

A voice says, “Proclaim!”
    I answer, “What shall I proclaim?”
“All flesh is grass,
    and all their loyalty like the flower of the field.
The grass withers, the flower wilts,
    when the breath of the Lord blows upon it.”
“Yes, the people is grass!
    The grass withers, the flower wilts,
    but the word of our God stands forever.”

Go up onto a high mountain,
    Zion, herald of good news![h]
Cry out at the top of your voice,
    Jerusalem, herald of good news!
Cry out, do not fear!
    Say to the cities of Judah:
    Here is your God!
10 Here comes with power
    the Lord God,
    who rules by his strong arm;
Here is his reward with him,
    his recompense before him.
11 Like a shepherd he feeds his flock;
    in his arms he gathers the lambs,
Carrying them in his bosom,
    leading the ewes with care.

Power of God and the Vanity of Idols

12 Who has measured with his palm the waters,
    marked off the heavens with a span,
    held in his fingers the dust of the earth,
    weighed the mountains in scales
    and the hills in a balance?[i]
13 Who has directed the spirit of the Lord,
    or instructed him as his counselor?
14 Whom did he consult to gain knowledge?
    Who taught him the path of judgment,
    or showed him the way of understanding?

15 See, the nations count as a drop in the bucket,
    as a wisp of cloud on the scales;
    the coastlands weigh no more than a speck.[j]
16 Lebanon would not suffice for fuel,[k]
    nor its animals be enough for burnt offerings.
17 Before him all the nations are as nought,
    as nothing and void he counts them.

18 To whom can you liken God?
    With what likeness can you confront him?
19 An idol? An artisan casts it,
    the smith plates it with gold,
    fits it with silver chains.[l]
20 Is mulberry wood the offering?
    A skilled artisan picks out
    a wood that will not rot,
    Seeks to set up for himself
    an idol that will not totter.

21 Do you not know? Have you not heard?
    Was it not told you from the beginning?
    Have you not understood from the founding of the earth?
22 The one who is enthroned above the vault of the earth,
    its inhabitants like grasshoppers,
Who stretches out the heavens like a veil
    and spreads them out like a tent to dwell in,
23 Who brings princes to nought
    and makes the rulers of the earth as nothing.
24 Scarcely are they planted, scarcely sown,
    scarcely their stem rooted in the earth,
When he breathes upon them and they wither,
    and the stormwind carries them away like straw.

25 To whom can you liken me as an equal?
    says the Holy One.
26 Lift up your eyes on high
    and see who created[m] these:
He leads out their army and numbers them,
    calling them all by name.
By his great might and the strength of his power
    not one of them is missing!
27 Why, O Jacob, do you say,[n]
    and declare, O Israel,
“My way is hidden from the Lord,
    and my right is disregarded by my God”?
28 Do you not know?
    Have you not heard?
The Lord is God from of old,
    creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary,
    and his knowledge is beyond scrutiny.
29 He gives power to the faint,
    abundant strength to the weak.
30 Though young men faint and grow weary,
    and youths stagger and fall,
31 They that hope in the Lord will renew their strength,
    they will soar on eagles’ wings;
They will run and not grow weary,
    walk and not grow faint.


  1. 39:1 Merodach-baladan: twice king of Babylon, probably from 721 to 710 B.C., and again for nine months, in 704–703. This visit of his messengers, certainly before 701, was in reality a political one. Babylon hoped to lead an anti-Assyrian confederation composed of neighboring states and wanted Judah to join.
  2. 39:6 Because Judah preferred to follow a pro-Babylonian policy, instead of trusting in the Lord, it would later be exiled to Babylon.
  3. 39:8 Hezekiah was relieved that the disaster would not occur in his lifetime.
  4. 40:1–55:13 Chapters 40–55 are usually designated Second Isaiah (or Deutero-Isaiah) and are believed to have been written by an anonymous prophet toward the end of the Babylonian exile. Isaiah, who is named frequently in chaps. 1–39, does not appear here; the Assyrians, the great threat during the eighth century, hardly appear; the Judeans are in Babylon, having been taken there by the victorious Babylonians; Cyrus, the Persian king, is named; he will defeat Babylon and release the captives. Second Isaiah, who sees this not as a happy circumstance but as part of God’s age-old plan, exhorts the Judeans to resist the temptations of Babylonian religion and stirs up hopes of an imminent return to Judah, where the Lord will again be acknowledged as King (52:7). Because the prophet proclaimed the triumph of Persia over Babylon, his message would have been considered seditious, and it is very likely for this reason that the collection would have circulated anonymously. At some point it was appended to Is 1–39 and consequently was long considered the work of Isaiah of Jerusalem of the eighth century. But the fact that it is addressed to Judean exiles in Babylon indicates a sixth-century date. Nevertheless, this eloquent prophet in many ways works within the tradition of Isaiah and develops themes found in the earlier chapters, such as the holiness of the Lord (cf. note on 1:4) and his lordship of history. Second Isaiah also develops other Old Testament themes, such as the Lord as Israel’s redeemer or deliverer (cf. Ex 3:8; 6:6; 15:13; 18:8).
  5. 40:1 The “voices” of vv. 3, 6 are members of the heavenly court addressing the prophet; then v. 1 can be understood as the Lord addressing them. It is also possible to translate, with the Vulgate, “Comfort, give comfort, O my people” (i.e., the exiles are called to comfort Jerusalem). The juxtaposition of “my people” and “your God” recalls the covenant formulary.
  6. 40:2 Service: servitude (cf. Jb 7:1) and exile.
  7. 40:3–5 A description of the return of the exiles from Babylon to Jerusalem (Zion). The language used here figuratively describes the way the exiles will take. The Lord leads them, so their way lies straight across the wilderness rather than along the well-watered routes usually followed from Mesopotamia to Israel. Mt 3:3 and gospel parallels adapt these verses to the witness of John the Baptizer to Jesus.
  8. 40:9 Herald of good news: i.e., of the imminent restoration of the people to their land. This theme of the proclamation of the good news occurs elsewhere in Second Isaiah; cf. also 41:27; 52:7.
  9. 40:12 The implicit answer is “the hand of the Lord” (v. 2). Waters…heavens…earth: together form the universe; cf. Gn 1:1–2. Span: the distance between the extended little finger and the thumb. Fingers: lit., “three fingers” (i.e., thumb, index, and middle).
  10. 40:15 Drop…wisp of cloud…a speck: the smallest constituent parts of the cosmic waters, heavens, and earth mentioned in v. 12.
  11. 40:16 Lebanon…fuel: the famed cedars would not be enough to keep the fires of sacrifice burning.
  12. 40:19 Chains: needed to hold the idol steady when carried in processions; cf. v. 20; Jer 10:4.
  13. 40:26 Created: see note on Gn 1:1–2:3. By name: for he is their Creator.
  14. 40:27–28 The exiles, here called Jacob-Israel (Gn 32:29), must not give way to discouragement: their Lord is the eternal God.
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Ben Sira 1:16-29 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

16 The fullness of wisdom is to fear the Lord;
    she inebriates them with her fruits.
17 Their entire house she fills with choice foods,
    their granaries with her produce.

18 The crown of wisdom is the fear of the Lord,
    flowering with peace and perfect health.[a]
19 Knowledge and full understanding she rains down;
    she heightens the glory of those who possess her.

20 The root of wisdom is to fear the Lord;
    her branches are long life.
21 The fear of the Lord drives away sins;
    where it abides it turns back all anger.

22 Unjust anger can never be justified;
    anger pulls a person to utter ruin.
23 [b]Until the right time, the patient remain calm,
    then cheerfulness comes back to them.
24 Until the right time they hold back their words;
    then the lips of many will tell of their good sense.

25 Among wisdom’s treasures is the model for knowledge;
    but godliness is an abomination to the sinner.
26 If you desire wisdom, keep the commandments,
    and the Lord will bestow her upon you;
27 For the fear of the Lord is wisdom and discipline;
    faithfulness and humility are his delight.

28 Do not disobey the fear of the Lord,[c]
    do not approach it with duplicity of heart.
29 Do not be a hypocrite before others;
    over your lips keep watch.


  1. 1:18

    Other ancient texts read as v. 18cd:

    Both are gifts of God toward peace;

    splendor opens out for those who love him.

  2. 1:23–24 Ben Sira pays close attention to kaīros, the right time, occurring some sixty times in his book.
  3. 1:28–30 Attempting to serve the Lord with duplicity of heart is hypocrisy and self-exaltation, deserving of public disgrace.
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Hebrews 1 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

I. Introduction[a]

Chapter 1

In times past, God spoke in partial and various ways to our ancestors through the prophets; in these last days, he spoke to us through a son, whom he made heir of all things and through whom he created the universe,

who is the refulgence of his glory,
    the very imprint of his being,
and who sustains all things by his mighty word.
When he had accomplished purification from sins,
he took his seat at the right hand of the Majesty on high,
as far superior to the angels
as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.

II. The Son Higher Than the Angels

Messianic Enthronement.[b] For to which of the angels did God ever say:

“You are my son; this day I have begotten you”?

Or again:

“I will be a father to him, and he shall be a son to me”?

And again, when he leads[c] the first-born into the world, he says:

“Let all the angels of God worship him.”

Of the angels he says:

“He makes his angels winds
    and his ministers a fiery flame”;

but of the Son:

“Your throne, O God,[d] stands forever and ever;
    and a righteous scepter is the scepter of your kingdom.
You loved justice and hated wickedness;
    therefore God, your God, anointed you
    with the oil of gladness above your companions”;

10 and:

“At the beginning, O Lord, you established the earth,
    and the heavens are the works of your hands.
11 They will perish, but you remain;
    and they will all grow old like a garment.
12 You will roll them up like a cloak,
    and like a garment they will be changed.
But you are the same, and your years will have no end.”

13 But to which of the angels has he ever said:

“Sit at my right hand
    until I make your enemies your footstool”?

14 Are they not all ministering spirits sent to serve, for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation?


  1. 1:1–4 The letter opens with an introduction consisting of a reflection on the climax of God’s revelation to the human race in his Son. The divine communication was initiated and maintained during Old Testament times in fragmentary and varied ways through the prophets (Hb 1:1), including Abraham, Moses, and all through whom God spoke. But now in these last days (Hb 1:2) the final age, God’s revelation of his saving purpose is achieved through a son, i.e., one who is Son, whose role is redeemer and mediator of creation. He was made heir of all things through his death and exaltation to glory, yet he existed before he appeared as man; through him God created the universe. Hb 1:3–4, which may be based upon a liturgical hymn, assimilate the Son to the personified Wisdom of the Old Testament as refulgence of God’s glory and imprint of his being (Hb 1:3; cf. Wis 7:26). These same terms are used of the Logos in Philo. The author now turns from the cosmological role of the preexistent Son to the redemptive work of Jesus: he brought about purification from sins and has been exalted to the right hand of God (see Ps 110:1). The once-humiliated and crucified Jesus has been declared God’s Son, and this name shows his superiority to the angels. The reason for the author’s insistence on that superiority is, among other things, that in some Jewish traditions angels were mediators of the old covenant (see Acts 7:53; Gal 3:19). Finally, Jesus’ superiority to the angels emphasizes the superiority of the new covenant to the old because of the heavenly priesthood of Jesus.
  2. 1:5–14 Jesus’ superiority to the angels is now demonstrated by a series of seven Old Testament texts. Some scholars see in the stages of Jesus’ exaltation an order corresponding to that of enthronement ceremonies in the ancient Near East, especially in Egypt, namely, elevation to divine status (Hb 1:5–6); presentation to the angels and proclamation of everlasting lordship (Hb 1:7–12); enthronement and conferral of royal power (Hb 1:13). The citations from the Psalms in Hb 1:5, 13 were traditionally used of Jesus’ messianic sonship (cf. Acts 13:33) through his resurrection and exaltation (cf. Acts 2:33–35); those in Hb 1:8, 10–12 are concerned with his divine kingship and his creative function. The central quotation in Hb 1:7 serves to contrast the angels with the Son. The author quotes it according to the Septuagint translation, which is quite different in meaning from that of the Hebrew (“You make the winds your messengers, and flaming fire your ministers”). The angels are only sent to serve…those who are to inherit salvation (Hb 1:14).
  3. 1:6 And again, when he leads: the Greek could also be translated “And when he again leads” in reference to the parousia.
  4. 1:8–12 O God: the application of the name “God” to the Son derives from the preexistence mentioned in Hb 1:2–3; the psalmist had already used it of the Hebrew king in the court style of the original. See note on Ps 45:7. It is also important for the author’s christology that in Hb 1:10–12 an Old Testament passage addressed to God is redirected to Jesus.
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.


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