Comfort for God’s People

40 Comfort, comfort(A) my people,
    says your God.
Speak tenderly(B) to Jerusalem,
    and proclaim to her
that her hard service(C) has been completed,(D)
    that her sin has been paid for,(E)
that she has received from the Lord’s hand
    double(F) for all her sins.

A voice of one calling:
“In the wilderness prepare
    the way(G) for the Lord[a];
make straight(H) in the desert
    a highway for our God.[b](I)
Every valley shall be raised up,(J)
    every mountain and hill(K) made low;
the rough ground shall become level,(L)
    the rugged places a plain.
And the glory(M) of the Lord will be revealed,
    and all people will see it together.(N)
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”(O)

A voice says, “Cry out.”
    And I said, “What shall I cry?”

“All people are like grass,(P)
    and all their faithfulness is like the flowers of the field.
The grass withers(Q) and the flowers fall,
    because the breath(R) of the Lord blows(S) on them.
    Surely the people are grass.
The grass withers and the flowers(T) fall,
    but the word(U) of our God endures(V) forever.(W)

You who bring good news(X) to Zion,
    go up on a high mountain.
You who bring good news to Jerusalem,[c](Y)
    lift up your voice with a shout,
lift it up, do not be afraid;
    say to the towns of Judah,
    “Here is your God!”(Z)
10 See, the Sovereign Lord comes(AA) with power,(AB)
    and he rules(AC) with a mighty arm.(AD)
See, his reward(AE) is with him,
    and his recompense accompanies him.
11 He tends his flock like a shepherd:(AF)
    He gathers the lambs in his arms(AG)
and carries them close to his heart;(AH)
    he gently leads(AI) those that have young.(AJ)

12 Who has measured the waters(AK) in the hollow of his hand,(AL)
    or with the breadth of his hand marked off the heavens?(AM)
Who has held the dust of the earth in a basket,
    or weighed the mountains on the scales
    and the hills in a balance?(AN)
13 Who can fathom the Spirit[d](AO) of the Lord,
    or instruct the Lord as his counselor?(AP)
14 Whom did the Lord consult to enlighten him,
    and who taught him the right way?
Who was it that taught him knowledge,(AQ)
    or showed him the path of understanding?(AR)

15 Surely the nations are like a drop in a bucket;
    they are regarded as dust on the scales;(AS)
    he weighs the islands as though they were fine dust.(AT)
16 Lebanon(AU) is not sufficient for altar fires,
    nor its animals(AV) enough for burnt offerings.
17 Before him all the nations(AW) are as nothing;(AX)
    they are regarded by him as worthless
    and less than nothing.(AY)

18 With whom, then, will you compare God?(AZ)
    To what image(BA) will you liken him?
19 As for an idol,(BB) a metalworker casts it,
    and a goldsmith(BC) overlays it with gold(BD)
    and fashions silver chains for it.
20 A person too poor to present such an offering
    selects wood(BE) that will not rot;
they look for a skilled worker
    to set up an idol(BF) that will not topple.(BG)

21 Do you not know?
    Have you not heard?(BH)
Has it not been told(BI) you from the beginning?(BJ)
    Have you not understood(BK) since the earth was founded?(BL)
22 He sits enthroned(BM) above the circle of the earth,
    and its people are like grasshoppers.(BN)
He stretches out the heavens(BO) like a canopy,(BP)
    and spreads them out like a tent(BQ) to live in.(BR)
23 He brings princes(BS) to naught
    and reduces the rulers of this world to nothing.(BT)
24 No sooner are they planted,
    no sooner are they sown,
    no sooner do they take root(BU) in the ground,
than he blows(BV) on them and they wither,(BW)
    and a whirlwind sweeps them away like chaff.(BX)

25 “To whom will you compare me?(BY)
    Or who is my equal?” says the Holy One.(BZ)
26 Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens:(CA)
    Who created(CB) all these?
He who brings out the starry host(CC) one by one
    and calls forth each of them by name.
Because of his great power and mighty strength,(CD)
    not one of them is missing.(CE)

27 Why do you complain, Jacob?
    Why do you say, Israel,
“My way is hidden from the Lord;
    my cause is disregarded by my God”?(CF)
28 Do you not know?
    Have you not heard?(CG)
The Lord is the everlasting(CH) God,
    the Creator(CI) of the ends of the earth.(CJ)
He will not grow tired or weary,(CK)
    and his understanding no one can fathom.(CL)
29 He gives strength(CM) to the weary(CN)
    and increases the power of the weak.
30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
    and young men(CO) stumble and fall;(CP)
31 but those who hope(CQ) in the Lord
    will renew their strength.(CR)
They will soar on wings like eagles;(CS)
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint.(CT)

Footnotes

  1. Isaiah 40:3 Or A voice of one calling in the wilderness: / “Prepare the way for the Lord
  2. Isaiah 40:3 Hebrew; Septuagint make straight the paths of our God
  3. Isaiah 40:9 Or Zion, bringer of good news, / go up on a high mountain. / Jerusalem, bringer of good news
  4. Isaiah 40:13 Or mind

Judgment and Hope

66 This is what the Lord says:

“Heaven is my throne,(A)
    and the earth is my footstool.(B)
Where is the house(C) you will build for me?
    Where will my resting place be?
Has not my hand made all these things,(D)
    and so they came into being?”
declares the Lord.

“These are the ones I look on with favor:
    those who are humble and contrite in spirit,(E)
    and who tremble at my word.(F)
But whoever sacrifices a bull(G)
    is like one who kills a person,
and whoever offers a lamb
    is like one who breaks a dog’s neck;
whoever makes a grain offering
    is like one who presents pig’s(H) blood,
and whoever burns memorial incense(I)
    is like one who worships an idol.
They have chosen their own ways,(J)
    and they delight in their abominations;(K)
so I also will choose harsh treatment for them
    and will bring on them what they dread.(L)
For when I called, no one answered,(M)
    when I spoke, no one listened.
They did evil(N) in my sight
    and chose what displeases me.”(O)

Hear the word of the Lord,
    you who tremble at his word:(P)
“Your own people who hate(Q) you,
    and exclude you because of my name, have said,
‘Let the Lord be glorified,
    that we may see your joy!’
    Yet they will be put to shame.(R)
Hear that uproar from the city,
    hear that noise from the temple!
It is the sound(S) of the Lord
    repaying(T) his enemies all they deserve.

“Before she goes into labor,(U)
    she gives birth;
before the pains come upon her,
    she delivers a son.(V)
Who has ever heard of such things?
    Who has ever seen(W) things like this?
Can a country be born in a day(X)
    or a nation be brought forth in a moment?
Yet no sooner is Zion in labor
    than she gives birth to her children.(Y)
Do I bring to the moment of birth(Z)
    and not give delivery?” says the Lord.
“Do I close up the womb
    when I bring to delivery?” says your God.
10 “Rejoice(AA) with Jerusalem and be glad for her,
    all you who love(AB) her;
rejoice greatly with her,
    all you who mourn(AC) over her.
11 For you will nurse(AD) and be satisfied
    at her comforting breasts;(AE)
you will drink deeply
    and delight in her overflowing abundance.”(AF)

12 For this is what the Lord says:

“I will extend peace(AG) to her like a river,(AH)
    and the wealth(AI) of nations like a flooding stream;
you will nurse and be carried(AJ) on her arm
    and dandled on her knees.
13 As a mother comforts her child,(AK)
    so will I comfort(AL) you;
    and you will be comforted over Jerusalem.”

14 When you see this, your heart will rejoice(AM)
    and you will flourish(AN) like grass;
the hand(AO) of the Lord will be made known to his servants,(AP)
    but his fury(AQ) will be shown to his foes.
15 See, the Lord is coming with fire,(AR)
    and his chariots(AS) are like a whirlwind;(AT)
he will bring down his anger with fury,
    and his rebuke(AU) with flames of fire.
16 For with fire(AV) and with his sword(AW)
    the Lord will execute judgment(AX) on all people,
    and many will be those slain(AY) by the Lord.

17 “Those who consecrate and purify themselves to go into the gardens,(AZ) following one who is among those who eat the flesh of pigs,(BA) rats(BB) and other unclean things—they will meet their end(BC) together with the one they follow,” declares the Lord.

18 “And I, because of what they have planned and done,(BD) am about to come[a] and gather the people of all nations(BE) and languages, and they will come and see my glory.(BF)

19 “I will set a sign(BG) among them, and I will send some of those who survive(BH) to the nations—to Tarshish,(BI) to the Libyans[b] and Lydians(BJ) (famous as archers), to Tubal(BK) and Greece,(BL) and to the distant islands(BM) that have not heard of my fame or seen my glory.(BN) They will proclaim my glory among the nations. 20 And they will bring(BO) all your people, from all the nations, to my holy mountain(BP) in Jerusalem as an offering to the Lord—on horses, in chariots and wagons, and on mules and camels,”(BQ) says the Lord. “They will bring them, as the Israelites bring their grain offerings, to the temple of the Lord in ceremonially clean vessels.(BR) 21 And I will select some of them also to be priests(BS) and Levites,” says the Lord.

22 “As the new heavens and the new earth(BT) that I make will endure before me,” declares the Lord, “so will your name and descendants endure.(BU) 23 From one New Moon to another and from one Sabbath(BV) to another, all mankind will come and bow down(BW) before me,” says the Lord. 24 “And they will go out and look on the dead bodies(BX) of those who rebelled(BY) against me; the worms(BZ) that eat them will not die, the fire that burns them will not be quenched,(CA) and they will be loathsome to all mankind.”

Footnotes

  1. Isaiah 66:18 The meaning of the Hebrew for this clause is uncertain.
  2. Isaiah 66:19 Some Septuagint manuscripts Put (Libyans); Hebrew Pul