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Isaiah 41-42 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 41

The Liberator of Israel

Keep silence before me, O coastlands;[a]
    let the nations renew their strength.
Let them draw near and speak;
    let us come together for judgment.
Who has stirred up from the East the champion of justice,
    and summoned him to be his attendant?
To him he delivers nations
    and subdues kings;
With his sword he reduces them to dust,
    with his bow, to driven straw.
He pursues them, passing on without loss,
    by a path his feet scarcely touch.
Who has performed these deeds?
    Who has called forth the generations from the beginning?
I, the Lord, am the first,
    and at the last[b] I am he.
The coastlands see, and fear;
    the ends of the earth tremble:
    they approach, they come on.

Each one helps his neighbor,
    one says to the other, “Courage!”
The woodworker encourages the goldsmith,
    the one who beats with the hammer, him who strikes on the anvil,
Saying of the soldering, “It is good!”
    then fastening it with nails so it will not totter.

But you, Israel, my servant,
    Jacob, whom I have chosen,
    offspring of Abraham my friend—
You whom I have taken from the ends of the earth
    and summoned from its far-off places,
To whom I have said, You are my servant;
    I chose you, I have not rejected you—
10 Do not fear: I am with you;
    do not be anxious: I am your God.
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
    I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.

11 Yes, all shall be put to shame and disgrace
    who vent their anger against you;
Those shall be as nothing and perish
    who offer resistance.
12 You shall seek but not find
    those who strive against you;
They shall be as nothing at all
    who do battle with you.

13 For I am the Lord, your God,
    who grasp your right hand;
It is I who say to you, Do not fear,
    I will help you.
14 Do not fear, you worm Jacob,
    you maggot Israel;
I will help you—oracle of the Lord;
    the Holy One of Israel is your redeemer.[c]
15 I will make of you a threshing sledge,
    sharp, new, full of teeth,
To thresh the mountains and crush them,
    to make the hills like chaff.
16 When you winnow them, the wind shall carry them off,
    the storm shall scatter them.
But you shall rejoice in the Lord;
    in the Holy One of Israel you shall glory.

17 The afflicted and the needy seek water in vain,
    their tongues are parched with thirst.
I, the Lord, will answer them;
    I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them.
18 I will open up rivers on the bare heights,
    and fountains in the broad valleys;
I will turn the wilderness into a marshland,
    and the dry ground into springs of water.
19 In the wilderness I will plant the cedar,
    acacia, myrtle, and olive;
In the wasteland I will set the cypress,
    together with the plane tree and the pine,
20 That all may see and know,
    observe and understand,
That the hand of the Lord has done this,
    the Holy One of Israel has created it.

21 Present your case, says the Lord;[d]
    bring forward your arguments, says the King of Jacob.
22 Let them draw near and foretell to us
    what it is that shall happen!
What are the things of long ago?
    Tell us, that we may reflect on them
    and know their outcome;
Or declare to us the things to come,[e]
23     tell what is to be in the future,
    that we may know that you are gods!
Do something, good or evil,
    that will put us in awe and in fear.
24 Why, you are nothing
    and your work is nought;
    to choose you is an abomination!

25 I have stirred up one from the north, and he comes;
    from the east I summon him[f] by name;
He shall trample the rulers down like mud,
    like a potter treading clay.
26 Who announced this from the beginning, that we might know;
    beforehand, that we might say, “True”?
Not one of you foretold it, not one spoke;
    not one heard you say,
27 “The first news for Zion: here they come,”
    or, “I will give Jerusalem a herald of good news.”
28 When I look, there is not one,
    not one of them to give counsel,
    to make an answer when I question them.
29 Ah, all of them are nothing,
    their works are nought,
    their idols, empty wind!

Chapter 42

The Servant of the Lord

Here is my servant[g] whom I uphold,
    my chosen one with whom I am pleased.
Upon him I have put my spirit;
    he shall bring forth justice to the nations.
He will not cry out, nor shout,
    nor make his voice heard in the street.
A bruised reed[h] he will not break,
    and a dimly burning wick he will not quench.
    He will faithfully bring forth justice.
He will not grow dim or be bruised
    until he establishes justice on the earth;
    the coastlands[i] will wait for his teaching.

Thus says God, the Lord,
    who created the heavens and stretched them out,
    who spread out the earth and its produce,
Who gives breath to its people
    and spirit to those who walk on it:
I, the Lord, have called you for justice,
    I have grasped you by the hand;
I formed you, and set you
    as a covenant for the people,
    a light for the nations,
To open the eyes of the blind,
    to bring out prisoners from confinement,
    and from the dungeon, those who live in darkness.
I am the Lord, Lord is my name;
    my glory I give to no other,
    nor my praise to idols.
See, the earlier things have come to pass,
    new ones I now declare;
Before they spring forth
    I announce them to you.

The Lord’s Purpose for Israel

10 Sing to the Lord a new song,
    his praise from the ends of the earth:
Let the sea and what fills it resound,
    the coastlands, and those who dwell in them.
11 Let the wilderness and its cities cry out,
    the villages where Kedar[j] dwells;
Let the inhabitants of Sela exult,
    and shout from the top of the mountains.
12 Let them give glory to the Lord,
    and utter his praise in the coastlands.

13 The Lord goes forth like a warrior,
    like a man of war he stirs up his fury;
He shouts out his battle cry,
    against his enemies he shows his might:
14 For a long time I have kept silent,
    I have said nothing, holding myself back;
Now I cry out like a woman in labor,
    gasping and panting.
15 [k]I will lay waste mountains and hills,
    all their undergrowth I will dry up;
I will turn the rivers into marshes,
    and the marshes I will dry up.
16 I will lead the blind on a way they do not know;
    by paths they do not know I will guide them.
I will turn darkness into light before them,
    and make crooked ways straight.
These are my promises:
    I made them, I will not forsake them.

17 They shall be turned back in utter shame
    who trust in idols;
Who say to molten images,
    “You are our gods.”
18 You deaf ones, listen,[l]
    you blind ones, look and see!
19 Who is blind but my servant,
    or deaf like the messenger I send?
Who is blind like the one I restore,
    blind like the servant of the Lord?
20 You see many things but do not observe;
    ears open, but do not hear.
21 It was the Lord’s will for the sake of his justice
    to make his teaching great and glorious.

22 This is a people[m] plundered and despoiled,
    all of them trapped in holes,
    hidden away in prisons.
They are taken as plunder, with no one to rescue them,
    as spoil, with no one to say, “Give back!”
23 Who among you will give ear to this,
    listen and pay attention from now on?
24 Who was it that gave Jacob to be despoiled,
    Israel to the plunderers?[n]
Was it not the Lord, against whom we have sinned?
    In his ways they refused to walk,
    his teaching they would not heed.
25 So he poured out wrath upon them,
    his anger, and the fury of battle;
It blazed all around them, yet they did not realize,
    it burned them, but they did not take it to heart.

Footnotes:

  1. 41:1–4 Earlier prophets had spoken of the Assyrians and Babylonians as the Lord’s instruments for the punishment of Israel’s sins; here the Lord is described as raising up and giving victory to a foreign ruler in order to deliver Israel from the Babylonian exile. The ruler is Cyrus (44:28; 45:1), king of Anshan in Persia, a vassal of the Babylonians. He rebelled against the Babylonian overlords in 556 B.C., and after a series of victories, entered Babylon as victor in 539; the following year he issued a decree which allowed the Jewish captives to return to their homeland (2 Chr 36:22–23; Ezr 1:1–4). For Second Isaiah, the meteoric success of Cyrus was the work of the Lord to accomplish the deliverance promised by earlier prophets.
  2. 41:4 The first…the last: God as the beginning and end encompasses all reality. The same designation is used in 44:6 and 48:12.
  3. 41:14 Redeemer: in Hebrew, go’el, one who frees others from slavery and avenges their sufferings; cf. Lv 25:48; Dt 19:6, 12. Cf. note on Ru 2:20.
  4. 41:21–29 This indictment of Babylonian gods is patterned on a legal trial, in which they are challenged to prove power over events of history and so justify their status as gods (vv. 21–24). Israel’s God, on the other hand, has foretold and now brings to pass Israel’s deliverance (vv. 25–27). The accused are unable to respond (vv. 28–29). By such polemics (see also 43:12) the prophet declares that all gods other than the Lord are nonexistent; this implicit claim of monotheism later becomes explicit (see 43:10–11; 45:5–7, 14, 18, 21–22; 46:9; and note on 44:6).
  5. 41:22 Things of long ago…things to come: there are no predictions attributed to idols that have since been fulfilled. Second Isaiah makes frequent reference to “things of long ago,” sometimes in conjunction with “things to come” or “new things” in connection with the Lord’s activity (cf. 42:9; 43:9, 18; 46:9–10; 48:3–8); both the old things (e.g., creation, exodus) and the new things (release from exile) God brings to pass (cf. 51:9–11), which is why he can declare them beforehand.
  6. 41:25 I summon him: Cyrus.
  7. 42:1–4 Servant: three other passages have been popularly called “servant of the Lord” poems: 49:1–7; 50:4–11; 52:13–53:12. Whether the servant is an individual or a collectivity is not clear (e.g., contrast 49:3 with 49:5). More important is the description of the mission of the servant. In the early Church and throughout Christian tradition, these poems have been applied to Christ; cf. Mt 12:18–21.
  8. 42:3 Bruised reed…: images to express the gentle manner of the servant’s mission.
  9. 42:4 Coastlands: for Israel, the world to the west: the islands and coastal nations of the Mediterranean.
  10. 42:11 Kedar: cf. note on 21:16. Sela: Petra, the capital of Edom.
  11. 42:15–16 Active once more, God will remove the obstacles that hinder the exiles’ return, and will lead them by new roads to Jerusalem; cf. 40:3–4.
  12. 42:18–20 The Lord rebukes his people for their failures, but their role and their mission endure: they remain his servant, his messenger to the nations.
  13. 42:22 A people: Israel in exile.
  14. 42:24 Plunderers: the Assyrians and Babylonians. We…they: the switch from first- to third-person speech, though puzzling, does not obscure the fact that “the people” is meant.
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 2:1-11 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 2

Trust in God

My child, when you come to serve the Lord,[a]
    prepare yourself for trials.
Be sincere of heart and steadfast,
    and do not be impetuous in time of adversity.
Cling to him, do not leave him,
    that you may prosper in your last days.

Accept whatever happens to you;
    in periods of humiliation be patient.
For in fire gold is tested,
    and the chosen, in the crucible of humiliation.
Trust in God, and he will help you;
    make your ways straight and hope in him.

You that fear the Lord, wait for his mercy,
    do not stray lest you fall.
You that fear the Lord, trust in him,
    and your reward will not be lost.
You that fear the Lord, hope for good things,
    for lasting joy and mercy.

10 Consider the generations long past and see:
    has anyone trusted in the Lord and been disappointed?
Has anyone persevered in his fear and been forsaken?
    has anyone called upon him and been ignored?
11 For the Lord is compassionate and merciful;
    forgives sins and saves in time of trouble.

Footnotes:

  1. 2:1–11 Serving the Lord is not without its trials (v. 1); but no matter what happens, the genuine believer will remain sincere, steadfast, and faithful (vv. 2–3). Misfortune and humiliation are means of purification to prove one’s worth (vv. 4–5). Ben Sira believed that patience and unwavering trust in God are ultimately rewarded with the benefits of God’s mercy and of lasting joy (vv. 6–11).
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 2 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 2

Exhortation to Faithfulness.[a] Therefore, we must attend all the more to what we have heard, so that we may not be carried away. For if the word announced through angels proved firm, and every transgression and disobedience received its just recompense, how shall we escape if we ignore so great a salvation? Announced originally through the Lord, it was confirmed for us by those who had heard. God added his testimony by signs, wonders, various acts of power, and distribution of the gifts of the holy Spirit according to his will.

Exaltation Through Abasement.[b] For it was not to angels that he subjected the world to come, of which we are speaking. Instead, someone has testified somewhere:

“What is man that you are mindful of him,
    or the son of man that you care for him?
You made him for a little while lower than the angels;
    you crowned him with glory and honor,
    subjecting all things under his feet.”

In “subjecting” all things [to him], he left nothing not “subject to him.” Yet at present we do not see “all things subject to him,” but we do see Jesus “crowned with glory and honor” because he suffered death, he who “for a little while” was made “lower than the angels,” that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.

10 For it was fitting that he, for whom and through whom all things exist, in bringing many children to glory, should make the leader to their salvation perfect through suffering. 11 He who consecrates and those who are being consecrated all have one origin. Therefore, he is not ashamed to call them “brothers,” 12 saying:

“I will proclaim your name to my brothers,
    in the midst of the assembly I will praise you”;

13 and again:

“I will put my trust in him”;

and again:

“Behold, I and the children God has given me.”

14 Now since the children share in blood and flesh, he likewise shared in them, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and free those who through fear of death had been subject to slavery all their life. 16 Surely he did not help angels but rather the descendants of Abraham; 17 therefore, he had to become like his brothers in every way, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest before God to expiate the sins of the people. 18 Because he himself was tested through what he suffered, he is able to help those who are being tested.

Footnotes:

  1. 2:1–4 The author now makes a transition into exhortation, using an a fortiori argument (as at Hb 7:21–22; 9:13–14; 10:28–29; 12:25). The word announced through angels (Hb 2:2), the Mosaic law, is contrasted with the more powerful word that Christians have received (Hb 2:3–4). Christ’s supremacy strengthens Christians against being carried away from their faith.
  2. 2:5–18 The humanity and the suffering of Jesus do not constitute a valid reason for relinquishing the Christian faith. Ps 8:6–7 is also applied to Jesus in 1 Cor 15:27; Eph 1:22; and probably 1 Pt 3:22. This christological interpretation, therefore, probably reflects a common early Christian tradition, which may have originated in the expression the son of man (Hb 2:6). The psalm contrasts God’s greatness with man’s relative insignificance but also stresses the superiority of man to the rest of creation, of which he is lord. Hebrews applies this christologically: Jesus lived a truly human existence, lower than the angels, in the days of his earthly life, particularly in his suffering and death; now, crowned with glory and honor, he is raised above all creation. The author considers all things as already subject to him because of his exaltation (Hb 2:8–9), though we do not see this yet. The reference to Jesus as leader (Hb 2:10) sounds the first note of an important leitmotif in Hebrews: the journey of the people of God to the sabbath rest (Hb 4:9), the heavenly sanctuary, following Jesus, their “forerunner” (Hb 6:20). It was fitting that God should make him perfect through suffering, consecrated by obedient suffering. Because he is perfected as high priest, Jesus is then able to consecrate his people (Hb 2:11); access to God is made possible by each of these two consecrations. If Jesus is able to help human beings, it is because he has become one of us; we are his “brothers.” The author then cites three Old Testament texts as proofs of this unity between ourselves and the Son. Ps 22:23 is interpreted so as to make Jesus the singer of this lament, which ends with joyful praise of the Lord in the assembly of “brothers.” The other two texts are from Is 8:17, 18. The first of these seems intended to display in Jesus an example of the trust in God that his followers should emulate. The second curiously calls these followers “children”; probably this is to be understood to mean children of Adam, but the point is our solidarity with Jesus. By sharing human nature, including the ban of death, Jesus broke the power of the devil over death (Hb 2:14); the author shares the view of Hellenistic Judaism that death was not intended by God and that it had been introduced into the world by the devil. The fear of death (Hb 2:15) is a religious fear based on the false conception that death marks the end of a person’s relations with God (cf. Ps 115:17–18; Is 38:18). Jesus deliberately allied himself with the descendants of Abraham (Hb 2:16) in order to be a merciful and faithful high priest. This is the first appearance of the central theme of Hebrews, Jesus the great high priest expiating the sins of the people (Hb 2:17), as one who experienced the same tests as they (Hb 2:18).
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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