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Isaiah 43-44 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 43

Promises of Redemption and Restoration

But now, thus says the Lord,
    who created you, Jacob, and formed you, Israel:
Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
    I have called you by name: you are mine.
When you pass through waters, I will be with you;
    through rivers, you shall not be swept away.
When you walk through fire, you shall not be burned,
    nor will flames consume you.
For I, the Lord, am your God,
    the Holy One of Israel, your savior.
I give Egypt as ransom for you,
    Ethiopia and Seba[a] in exchange for you.
Because you are precious in my eyes
    and honored, and I love you,
I give people in return for you
    and nations in exchange for your life.
Fear not, for I am with you;
    from the east I will bring back your offspring,
    from the west I will gather you.
I will say to the north: Give them up!
    and to the south: Do not hold them!
Bring back my sons from afar,
    and my daughters from the ends of the earth:
All who are called by my name
    I created for my glory;
    I formed them, made them.
Lead out the people, blind though they have eyes,
    deaf though they have ears.

Let all the nations gather together,
    let the peoples assemble!
Who among them could have declared this,
    or announced to us the earlier things?[b]
Let them produce witnesses to prove themselves right,
    that one may hear and say, “It is true!”
10 You are my witnesses[c]—oracle of the Lord
    my servant whom I have chosen
To know and believe in me
    and understand that I am he.
Before me no god was formed,
    and after me there shall be none.
11 I, I am the Lord;
    there is no savior but me.
12 It is I who declared, who saved,
    who announced, not some strange god among you;
You are my witnesses—oracle of the Lord.
    I am God,
13     yes, from eternity I am he;
There is none who can deliver from my hand:
    I act and who can cancel it?

14 Thus says the Lord, your redeemer,[d]
    the Holy One of Israel:
For your sake I send to Babylon;
    I will bring down all her defenses,
    and the Chaldeans shall cry out in lamentation.
15 I am the Lord, your Holy One,
    the creator of Israel, your King.
16 Thus says the Lord,
    who opens a way in the sea,
    a path in the mighty waters,
17 Who leads out chariots and horsemen,
    a powerful army,
Till they lie prostrate together, never to rise,
    snuffed out, quenched like a wick.
18 Remember not[e] the events of the past,
    the things of long ago consider not;
19 See, I am doing something new!
    Now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
In the wilderness I make a way,
    in the wasteland, rivers.
20 Wild beasts honor me,
    jackals and ostriches,
For I put water in the wilderness
    and rivers in the wasteland
    for my chosen people to drink,
21 The people whom I formed for myself,
    that they might recount my praise.

22 Yet you did not call upon me, Jacob,[f]
    for you grew weary of me, Israel.
23 You did not bring me sheep for your burnt offerings,
    nor honor me with your sacrifices.
I did not exact from you the service of offerings,
    nor weary you for frankincense.
24 You did not buy me sweet cane,[g]
    nor did you fill me with the fat of your sacrifices;
Instead, you burdened me with your sins,
    wearied me with your crimes.
25 It is I, I, who wipe out,
    for my own sake, your offenses;
    your sins I remember no more.
26 Would you have me remember, have us come to trial?
    Speak up, prove your innocence!
27 Your first father[h] sinned;
    your spokesmen rebelled against me
28 Till I repudiated the holy princes,
    put Jacob under the ban,
    exposed Israel to scorn.

Chapter 44

Hear then, Jacob, my servant,
    Israel, whom I have chosen.
Thus says the Lord who made you,
    your help, who formed you from the womb:
Do not fear, Jacob, my servant,
    Jeshurun,[i] whom I have chosen.
I will pour out water upon the thirsty ground,
    streams upon the dry land;
I will pour out my spirit upon your offspring,
    my blessing upon your descendants.
They shall spring forth amid grass
    like poplars beside flowing waters.
One shall say, “I am the Lord’s,”
    another shall be named after Jacob,
And this one shall write on his hand,[j] “The Lord’s,”
    and receive the name Israel.

The True God and False Gods

[k]Thus says the Lord, Israel’s king,
    its redeemer, the Lord of hosts:
I am the first, I am the last;
    there is no God but me.[l]
Who is like me? Let him stand up and declare,
    make it evident, and confront me with it.
Who of old announced future events?
    Let them foretell to us the things to come.
Do not fear or be troubled.
Did I not announce it to you long ago?
    I declared it, and you are my witnesses.
Is there any God but me?
    There is no other Rock,[m] I know of none!

[n]Those who fashion idols are all nothing;
    their precious works are of no avail.
They are their witnesses:[o]
    they see nothing, know nothing,
    and so they are put to shame.
10 Who would fashion a god or cast an idol,
    that is of no use?
11 Look, all its company will be shamed;
    they are artisans, mere human beings!
They all assemble and stand there,
    only to cower in shame.
12 The ironsmith fashions a likeness,
    he works it over the coals,
Shaping it with hammers,
    working it with his strong arm.
With hunger his strength wanes,
    without water, he grows faint.
13 The woodworker stretches a line,
    and marks out a shape with a stylus.
He shapes it with scraping tools,
    with a compass measures it off,
Making it the copy of a man,[p]
    human display, enthroned in a shrine.
14 He goes out to cut down cedars,
    takes a holm tree or an oak.
He picks out for himself trees of the forest,
    plants a fir, and the rain makes it grow.
15 It is used for fuel:
    with some of the wood he warms himself,
    makes a fire and bakes bread.
Yet he makes a god and worships it,
    turns it into an idol and adores it!
16 Half of it he burns in the fire,
    on its embers he roasts meat;
    he eats the roast and is full.
He warms himself and says, “Ah!
    I am warm! I see the flames!”
17 The rest of it he makes into a god,
    an image to worship and adore.
He prays to it and says,
    “Help me! You are my god!”
18 They do not know, do not understand;
    their eyes are too clouded to see,
    their minds, to perceive.
19 He does not think clearly;
    he lacks the wit and knowledge to say,
“Half the wood I burned in the fire,
    on its embers I baked bread,
    I roasted meat and ate.
Shall I turn the rest into an abomination?
    Shall I worship a block of wood?”
20 He is chasing ashes![q]
A deluded mind has led him astray;
    He cannot save himself,
    does not say, “This thing in my right hand—is it not a fraud?”

21 Remember these things, Jacob,
    Israel, for you are my servant!
I formed you, a servant to me;
    Israel, you shall never be forgotten by me:
22 I have brushed away your offenses like a cloud,
    your sins like a mist;
    return to me, for I have redeemed you.

23 Raise a glad cry, you heavens—the Lord has acted!
    Shout, you depths of the earth.
Break forth, mountains, into song,
    forest, with all your trees.
For the Lord has redeemed Jacob,
    shows his glory through Israel.

Cyrus, Anointed of the Lord, Agent of Israel’s Liberation

24 Thus says the Lord, your redeemer,
    who formed you from the womb:
I am the Lord, who made all things,
    who alone stretched out the heavens,
    I spread out the earth by myself.
25 I bring to nought the omens of babblers,
    make fools of diviners,
Turn back the wise
    and make their knowledge foolish.
26 I confirm the words of my servant,
    carry out the plan my messengers announce.
I say to Jerusalem, Be inhabited!
    To the cities of Judah, Be rebuilt!
    I will raise up their ruins.
27 I say to the deep, Be dry!
    I will dry up your rivers.
28 I say of Cyrus,[r] My shepherd!
    He carries out my every wish,
Saying of Jerusalem, “Let it be rebuilt,”
    and of the temple, “Lay its foundations.”


  1. 43:3–4 Egypt…Ethiopia and Seba: countries which God permitted the Persians to conquer in return for having given Israel its freedom.
  2. 43:9 Who among them…?: God, and only God, can foretell the future because it is he who brings it to pass. The argument from prediction is an important theme in Second Isaiah and occurs also in 41:22; 43:10; 44:7–8, 26.
  3. 43:10 You are my witnesses: Israel’s role as chosen people now takes a new turn as they are given the active role of bearing witness before humankind to the Lord’s role in history by proclaiming events beforehand and bringing them to pass; see also 44:8. The false gods, on the other hand, cannot produce such witnesses (v. 9; cf. 44:9). I am he: this formula of self-identification, repeated in vv. 13 and 25, is used here to support the assertion that the Lord alone is God; see also 41:4; 46:4; 48:12; 51:12; 52:6. This expression in part may be behind the self-identification formula used by Jesus in John’s gospel (cf. Jn 8:58). Before…after: another example of the same assertion, that the Lord alone is God; see also note on 44:6.
  4. 43:14–17 The destruction of Babylon is described in language that recalls the drowning of the Egyptian army in the Red Sea (Ex 14–15).
  5. 43:18 Remember not: God’s new act of delivering Israel from the Babylonian captivity is presented as so great a marvel as to eclipse even the memory of the exodus from Egypt. This comparison of the return from Babylon to the exodus from Egypt recurs throughout Second Isaiah (cf. 41:17–20; 43:18–21; 48:20–21; 49:8–13; 51:9–11).
  6. 43:22–28 The reason for the liberation of the Israelites is not their constancy but rather God’s faithfulness to his promise (cf. 40:6–8).
  7. 43:24 Sweet cane: a fragrant substance used in making incense and the sacred anointing oil; cf. Ex 30:23; Jer 6:20.
  8. 43:27 First father: Jacob. Spokesmen: leaders, priests, prophets.
  9. 44:2 Jeshurun: see note on Dt 32:15; cf. also Dt 33:5, 26.
  10. 44:5 Write on his hand: an allusion to the Babylonian custom of tattooing the owner’s name on the hand of his slave.
  11. 44:6–8 Prediction and fulfillment are here seen as the hallmarks of true divinity. See note on 43:9.
  12. 44:6 No god but me: with Second Isaiah, Israel’s faith is declared to be explicitly monotheistic. However implicit it may have been, earlier formulas did not exclude the existence of other gods, not even that of the first commandment: “You shall not have other gods besides me” (Ex 20:3). Cf. also note on 41:21–29.
  13. 44:8 Rock: place of refuge, a title here used of God; cf., e.g., Dt 32:4, 18; 1 Sm 2:2; Ps 18:3.
  14. 44:9–20 A satire on the makers and worshipers of idols.
  15. 44:9 Their witnesses: Israel has been called to bear witness to the awesome power of God (cf. 43:10, 12; 44:8), but idol makers cannot testify in support of their creations, for idols cannot act (Dt 4:28; Ps 135:15–18).
  16. 44:13 Copy of a man: in the biblical view human beings are made in the image of God; here gods are made in the image of human beings.
  17. 44:20 Chasing ashes: an exercise in futility.
  18. 44:28 Cyrus: king of Persia (559–529 B.C.); cf. note on 41:1–4.
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 2:12-18 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

12 Woe to timid hearts and drooping hands,[a]
    to the sinner who walks a double path!
13 Woe to the faint of heart! For they do not trust,
    and therefore have no shelter!
14 Woe to you that have lost hope!
    what will you do at the Lord’s visitation?

15 Those who fear the Lord do not disobey his words;
    those who love him keep his ways.
16 Those who fear the Lord seek to please him;
    those who love him are filled with his law.
17 Those who fear the Lord prepare their hearts
    and humble themselves before him.

18 Let us fall into the hands of the Lord
    and not into the hands of mortals,
For equal to his majesty is his mercy;
    and equal to his name are his works.


  1. 2:12–18 A stern warning to those who compromise their faith in time of affliction; they fail in courage and trust and therefore have no security (vv. 12–14). But those who fear the Lord through obedience, reverence, love, and humility find his “mercy equal to his majesty” (vv. 15–18).
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.

Hebrews 3 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

III. Jesus, Faithful and Compassionate High Priest

Chapter 3

Jesus, Superior to Moses.[a] Therefore, holy “brothers,” sharing in a heavenly calling, reflect on Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession, who was faithful to the one who appointed him, just as Moses was “faithful in [all] his house.” But he is worthy of more “glory” than Moses, as the founder of a house has more “honor” than the house itself. Every house is founded by someone, but the founder of all is God. Moses was “faithful in all his house” as a “servant” to testify to what would be spoken, [b]but Christ was faithful as a son placed over his house. We are his house, if [only] we hold fast to our confidence and pride in our hope.

Israel’s Infidelity a Warning. [c]Therefore, as the holy Spirit says:

“Oh, that today you would hear his voice,
    ‘Harden not your hearts as at the rebellion
        in the day of testing in the desert,
    where your ancestors tested and tried me
and saw my works 10         for forty years.
    Because of this I was provoked with that generation
        and I said, “They have always been of erring heart,
        and they do not know my ways.”
11     As I swore in my wrath,
        “They shall not enter into my rest.”’”

12 Take care, brothers, that none of you may have an evil and unfaithful heart, so as to forsake the living God. 13 Encourage yourselves daily while it is still “today,” so that none of you may grow hardened by the deceit of sin. 14 We have become partners of Christ if only we hold the beginning of the reality firm until the end, 15 for it is said:

“Oh, that today you would hear his voice:
‘Harden not your hearts as at the rebellion.’”

16 Who were those who rebelled when they heard? Was it not all those who came out of Egypt under Moses? 17 With whom was he “provoked for forty years”? Was it not those who had sinned, whose corpses fell in the desert? 18 And to whom did he “swear that they should not enter into his rest,” if not to those who were disobedient? 19 And we see that they could not enter for lack of faith.


  1. 3:1–6 The author now takes up the two qualities of Jesus mentioned in Hb 2:17, but in inverse order: faithfulness (Hb 3:1–4:13) and mercy (Hb 4:14–5:10). Christians are called holy “brothers” because of their common relation to him (Hb 2:11), the apostle, a designation for Jesus used only here in the New Testament (cf. Jn 13:16; 17:3), meaning one sent as God’s final word to us (Hb 1:2). He is compared with Moses probably because he is seen as mediator of the new covenant (Hb 9:15) just as Moses was of the old (Hb 9:19–22, including his sacrifice). But when the author of Hebrews speaks of Jesus’ sacrifice, he does not consider Moses as the Old Testament antitype, but rather the high priest on the Day of Atonement (Hb 9:6–15). Moses’ faithfulness “in [all] his house” refers back to Nm 12:7, on which this section is a midrashic commentary. In Hb 3:3–6, the author does not indicate that he thinks of either Moses or Christ as the founder of the household. His house (Hb 3:2, 5, 6) means God’s house, not that of Moses or Christ; in the case of Christ, compare Hb 3:6 with Hb 10:21. The house of Hb 3:6 is the Christian community; the author suggests its continuity with Israel by speaking not of two houses but of only one. Hb 3:6 brings out the reason why Jesus is superior to Moses: the latter was the faithful servant laboring in the house founded by God, but Jesus is God’s son, placed over the house.
  2. 3:6 The majority of manuscripts add “firm to the end,” but these words are not found in the three earliest and best witnesses and are probably an interpolation derived from Hb 3:14.
  3. 3:7–4:13 The author appeals for steadfastness of faith in Jesus, basing his warning on the experience of Israel during the Exodus. In the Old Testament the Exodus had been invoked as a symbol of the return of Israel from the Babylonian exile (Is 42:9; 43:16–21; 51:9–11). In the New Testament the redemption was similarly understood as a new exodus, both in the experience of Jesus himself (Lk 9:31) and in that of his followers (1 Cor 10:1–4). The author cites Ps 95:7–11, a salutary example of hardness of heart, as a warning against the danger of growing weary and giving up the journey. To call God living (Hb 3:12) means that he reveals himself in his works (cf. Jos 3:10; Jer 10:11). The rest (Hb 3:11) into which Israel was to enter was only a foreshadowing of that rest to which Christians are called. They are to remember the example of Israel’s revolt in the desert that cost a whole generation the loss of the promised land (Hb 3:15–19; cf. Nm 14:20–29). In Hb 4:1–11, the symbol of rest is seen in deeper dimension: because the promise to the ancient Hebrews foreshadowed that given to Christians, it is good news; and because the promised land was the place of rest that God provided for his people, it was a share in his own rest, which he enjoyed after he had finished his creative work (Hb 3:3–4; cf. Gn 2:2). The author attempts to read this meaning of God’s rest into Ps 95:7–11 (Hb 3:6–9). The Greek form of the name of Joshua, who led Israel into the promised land, is Jesus (Hb 3:8). The author plays upon the name but stresses the superiority of Jesus, who leads his followers into heavenly rest. Hb 3:12, 13 are meant as a continuation of the warning, for the word of God brings judgment as well as salvation. Some would capitalize the word of God and see it as a personal title of Jesus, comparable to that of Jn 1:1–18.
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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