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Isaiah 40-65 Revised Standard Version (RSV)

God’s People Are Comforted

40 Comfort, comfort my people,
says your God.
Speak tenderly to Jerusalem,
    and cry to her
that her warfare[a] is ended,
    that her iniquity is pardoned,
that she has received from the Lord’s hand
    double for all her sins.

A voice cries:
“In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord,
    Make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
Every valley shall be lifted up,
    and every mountain and hill be made low;
the uneven ground shall become level,
    and the rough places a plain.
And 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, “Cry!”
    And I said, “What shall I cry?”
All flesh is grass,
    and all its beauty is like the flower of the field.
The grass withers, the flower fades,
    when the breath of the Lord blows upon it;
    surely the people is grass.
The grass withers, the flower fades;
    but the word of our God will stand for ever.

Get you up to a high mountain,
    O Zion, herald of good tidings;[b]
lift up your voice with strength,
    O Jerusalem, herald of good tidings,[c]
    lift it up, fear not;
say to the cities of Judah,
    “Behold your God!”
10 Behold, the Lord God comes with might,
    and his arm rules for him;
behold, his reward is with him,
    and his recompense before him.
11 He will feed his flock like a shepherd,
    he will gather the lambs in his arms,
he will carry them in his bosom,
    and gently lead those that are with young.

12 Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand
    and marked off the heavens with a span,
enclosed the dust of the earth in a measure
    and weighed the mountains in scales
    and the hills in a balance?
13 Who has directed the Spirit of the Lord,
    or as his counselor has instructed him?
14 Whom did he consult for his enlightenment,
    and who taught him the path of justice,
and taught him knowledge,
    and showed him the way of understanding?
15 Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket,
    and are accounted as the dust on the scales;
    behold, he takes up the isles like fine dust.
16 Lebanon would not suffice for fuel,
    nor are its beasts enough for a burnt offering.
17 All the nations are as nothing before him,
    they are accounted by him as less than nothing and emptiness.

18 To whom then will you liken God,
    or what likeness compare with him?
19 The idol! a workman casts it,
    and a goldsmith overlays it with gold,
    and casts for it silver chains.
20 He who is impoverished[d] chooses for an offering
    wood that will not rot;
he seeks out a skilful craftsman
    to set up an image that will not move.

21 Have you not known? Have you not heard?
    Has it not been told you from the beginning?
    Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth?
22 It is he who sits above the circle of the earth,
    and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers;
who stretches out the heavens like a curtain,
    and spreads them 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 has their stem taken root in the earth,
when he blows upon them, and they wither,
    and the tempest carries them off like stubble.

25 To whom then will you compare me,
    that I should be like him? says the Holy One.
26 Lift up your eyes on high and see:
    who created these?
He who brings out their host by number,
    calling them all by name;
by the greatness of his might,
    and because he is strong in power
    not one is missing.

27 Why do you say, O Jacob,
    and speak, O Israel,
“My way is hid from the Lord,
    and my right is disregarded by my God”?
28 Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
    the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary,
    his understanding is unsearchable.
29 He gives power to the faint,
    and to him who has no might he increases strength.
30 Even youths shall faint and be weary,
    and young men shall fall exhausted;
31 but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength,
    they shall mount up with wings like eagles,
they shall run and not be weary,
    they shall walk and not faint.

Israel Assured of God’s Help

41 Listen to me in silence, O coastlands;
    let the peoples renew their strength;
let them approach, then let them speak;
    let us together draw near for judgment.

Who stirred up one from the east
    whom victory meets at every step?
He gives up nations before him,
    so that he tramples kings under foot;
he makes them like dust with his sword,
    like driven stubble with his bow.
He pursues them and passes on safely,
    by paths his feet have not trod.
Who has performed and done this,
    calling the generations from the beginning?
I, the Lord, the first,
    and with the last; I am He.

The coastlands have seen and are afraid,
    the ends of the earth tremble;
    they have drawn near and come.
Every one helps his neighbor,
    and says to his brother, “Take courage!”
The craftsman encourages the goldsmith,
    and he who smooths with the hammer him who strikes the anvil,
saying of the soldering, “It is good”;
    and they fasten it with nails so that it cannot be moved.

But you, Israel, my servant,
    Jacob, whom I have chosen,
    the offspring of Abraham, my friend;
you whom I took from the ends of the earth,
    and called from its farthest corners,
saying to you, “You are my servant,
    I have chosen you and not cast you off”;
10 fear not, for I am with you,
    be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
    I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.

11 Behold, all who are incensed against you
    shall be put to shame and confounded;
those who strive against you
    shall be as nothing and shall perish.
12 You shall seek those who contend with you,
    but you shall not find them;
those who war against you
    shall be as nothing at all.
13 For I, the Lord your God,
    hold your right hand;
it is I who say to you, “Fear not,
    I will help you.”

14 Fear not, you worm Jacob,
    you men of Israel!
I will help you, says the Lord;
    your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel.
15 Behold, I will make of you a threshing sledge,
    new, sharp, and having teeth;
you shall thresh the mountains and crush them,
    and you shall make the hills like chaff;
16 you shall winnow them and the wind shall carry them away,
    and the tempest shall scatter them.
And you shall rejoice in the Lord;
    in the Holy One of Israel you shall glory.

17 When the poor and needy seek water,
    and there is none,
    and their tongue is parched with thirst,
I the Lord will answer them,
    I the God of Israel will not forsake them.
18 I will open rivers on the bare heights,
    and fountains in the midst of the valleys;
I will make the wilderness a pool of water,
    and the dry land springs of water.
19 I will put in the wilderness the cedar,
    the acacia, the myrtle, and the olive;
I will set in the desert the cypress,
    the plane and the pine together;
20 that men may see and know,
    may consider and understand together,
that the hand of the Lord has done this,
    the Holy One of Israel has created it.

The Futility of Idols

21 Set forth your case, says the Lord;
    bring your proofs, says the King of Jacob.
22 Let them bring them, and tell us what is to happen.
Tell us the former things, what they are,
    that we may consider them,
that we may know their outcome;
    or declare to us the things to come.
23 Tell us what is to come hereafter,
    that we may know that you are gods;
do good, or do harm,
    that we may be dismayed and terrified.
24 Behold, you are nothing,
    and your work is nought;
    an abomination is he who chooses you.

25 I stirred up one from the north, and he has come,
    from the rising of the sun, and he shall call on my name;
he shall trample[e] on rulers as on mortar,
    as the potter treads clay.
26 Who declared it from the beginning, that we might know,
    and beforetime, that we might say, “He is right”?
There was none who declared it, none who proclaimed,
    none who heard your words.
27 I first have declared it to Zion,[f]
    and I give to Jerusalem a herald of good tidings.
28 But when I look there is no one;
    among these there is no counselor
    who, when I ask, gives an answer.
29 Behold, they are all a delusion;
    their works are nothing;
    their molten images are empty wind.

The Servant, a Light to the Nations

42 Behold my servant, whom I uphold,
    my chosen, in whom my soul delights;
I have put my Spirit upon him,
    he will bring forth justice to the nations.
He will not cry or lift up his voice,
    or make it heard in the street;
a bruised reed he will not break,
    and a dimly burning wick he will not quench;
    he will faithfully bring forth justice.
He will not fail[g] or be discouraged[h]
    till he has established justice in the earth;
    and the coastlands wait for his law.

Thus says God, the Lord,
    who created the heavens and stretched them out,
    who spread forth the earth and what comes from it,
who gives breath to the people upon it
    and spirit to those who walk in it:
“I am the Lord, I have called you in righteousness,
    I have taken you by the hand and kept you;
I have given you as a covenant to the people,
    a light to the nations,
    to open the eyes that are blind,
to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon,
    from the prison those who sit in darkness.
I am the Lord, that is my name;
    my glory I give to no other,
    nor my praise to graven images.
Behold, the former things have come to pass,
    and new things I now declare;
before they spring forth
    I tell you of them.”

A Hymn of Praise

10 Sing to the Lord a new song,
    his praise from the end of the earth!
Let the sea roar[i] and all that fills it,
    the coastlands and their inhabitants.
11 Let the desert and its cities lift up their voice,
    the villages that Kedar inhabits;
let the inhabitants of Sela sing for joy,
    let them shout from the top of the mountains.
12 Let them give glory to the Lord,
    and declare his praise in the coastlands.
13 The Lord goes forth like a mighty man,
    like a man of war he stirs up his fury;
he cries out, he shouts aloud,
    he shows himself mighty against his foes.

14 For a long time I have held my peace,
    I have kept still and restrained myself;
now I will cry out like a woman in travail,
    I will gasp and pant.
15 I will lay waste mountains and hills,
    and dry up all their herbage;
I will turn the rivers into islands,
    and dry up the pools.
16 And I will lead the blind
    in a way that they know not,
in paths that they have not known
    I will guide them.
I will turn the darkness before them into light,
    the rough places into level ground.
These are the things I will do,
    and I will not forsake them.
17 They shall be turned back and utterly put to shame,
    who trust in graven images,
who say to molten images,
    “You are our gods.”

18 Hear, you deaf;
    and look, you blind, that you may see!
19 Who is blind but my servant,
    or deaf as my messenger whom I send?
Who is blind as my dedicated one,
    or blind as the servant of the Lord?
20 He sees[j] many things, but does not observe them;
    his ears are open, but he does not hear.

Israel’s Disobedience

21 The Lord was pleased, for his righteousness’ sake,
    to magnify his law and make it glorious.
22 But this is a people robbed and plundered,
    they are all of them trapped in holes
    and hidden in prisons;
they have become a prey with none to rescue,
    a spoil with none to say, “Restore!”
23 Who among you will give ear to this,
    will attend and listen for the time to come?
24 Who gave up Jacob to the spoiler,
    and Israel to the robbers?
Was it not the Lord, against whom we have sinned,
    in whose ways they would not walk,
    and whose law they would not obey?
25 So he poured upon him the heat of his anger
    and the might of battle;
it set him on fire round about, but he did not understand;
    it burned him, but he did not take it to heart.

Restoration and Protection Promised

43 But now thus says the Lord,
he who created you, O Jacob,
    he who formed you, O Israel:
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
    I have called you by name, you are mine.
When you pass through the waters I will be with you;
    and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
    and the flame shall not consume you.
For I am the Lord your God,
    the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
I give Egypt as your ransom,
    Ethiopia and Seba in exchange for you.
Because you are precious in my eyes,
    and honored, and I love you,
I give men in return for you,
    peoples in exchange for your life.
Fear not, for I am with you;
    I will bring your offspring from the east,
    and from the west I will gather you;
I will say to the north, Give up,
    and to the south, Do not withhold;
bring my sons from afar
    and my daughters from the end of the earth,
every one who is called by my name,
    whom I created for my glory,
    whom I formed and made.”

Bring forth the people who are blind, yet have eyes,
    who are deaf, yet have ears!
Let all the nations gather together,
    and let the peoples assemble.
Who among them can declare this,
    and show us the former things?
Let them bring their witnesses to justify them,
    and let them hear and say, It is true.
10 “You are my witnesses,” says the Lord,
    “and my servant whom I have chosen,
that you may know and believe me
    and understand that I am He.
Before me no god was formed,
    nor shall there be any after me.
11 I, I am the Lord,
    and besides me there is no savior.
12 I declared and saved and proclaimed,
    when there was no strange god among you;
    and you are my witnesses,” says the Lord.
13 “I am God, and also henceforth I am He;
    there is none who can deliver from my hand;
    I work and who can hinder it?”

14 Thus says the Lord,
    your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel:
“For your sake I will send to Babylon
    and break down all the bars,
    and the shouting of the Chalde′ans will be turned to lamentations.[k]
15 I am the Lord, your Holy One,
    the Creator of Israel, your King.”
16 Thus says the Lord,
    who makes a way in the sea,
    a path in the mighty waters,
17 who brings forth chariot and horse,
    army and warrior;
they lie down, they cannot rise,
    they are extinguished, quenched like a wick:
18 “Remember not the former things,
    nor consider the things of old.
19 Behold, I am doing a new thing;
    now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
    and rivers in the desert.
20 The wild beasts will honor me,
    the jackals and the ostriches;
for I give water in the wilderness,
    rivers in the desert,
to give drink to my chosen people,
21     the people whom I formed for myself
that they might declare my praise.

22 “Yet you did not call upon me, O Jacob;
    but you have been weary of me, O Israel!
23 You have not brought me your sheep for burnt offerings,
    or honored me with your sacrifices.
I have not burdened you with offerings,
    or wearied you with frankincense.
24 You have not bought me sweet cane with money,
    or satisfied me with the fat of your sacrifices.
But you have burdened me with your sins,
    you have wearied me with your iniquities.

25 “I, I am He
    who blots out your transgressions for my own sake,
    and I will not remember your sins.
26 Put me in remembrance, let us argue together;
    set forth your case, that you may be proved right.
27 Your first father sinned,
    and your mediators transgressed against me.
28 Therefore I profaned the princes of the sanctuary,
    I delivered Jacob to utter destruction
    and Israel to reviling.

God’s Blessing on Israel

44 “But now hear, O Jacob my servant,
    Israel whom I have chosen!
Thus says the Lord who made you,
    who formed you from the womb and will help you:
Fear not, O Jacob my servant,
    Jesh′urun whom I have chosen.
For I will pour water on the thirsty land,
    and streams on the dry ground;
I will pour my Spirit upon your descendants,
    and my blessing on your offspring.
They shall spring up like grass amid waters,[l]
    like willows by flowing streams.
This one will say, ‘I am the Lord’s,’
    another will call himself by the name of Jacob,
and another will write on his hand, ‘The Lord’s,’
    and surname himself by the name of Israel.”

Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel
    and his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts:
“I am the first and I am the last;
    besides me there is no god.
Who is like me? Let him proclaim it,
    let him declare and set it forth before me.
Who has announced from of old the things to come?[m]
    Let them tell us[n] what is yet to be.
Fear not, nor be afraid;
    have I not told you from of old and declared it?
    And you are my witnesses!
Is there a God besides me?
    There is no Rock; I know not any.”

The Absurdity of Idol Worship

All who make idols are nothing, and the things they delight in do not profit; their witnesses neither see nor know, that they may be put to shame. 10 Who fashions a god or casts an image, that is profitable for nothing? 11 Behold, all his fellows shall be put to shame, and the craftsmen are but men; let them all assemble, let them stand forth, they shall be terrified, they shall be put to shame together.

12 The ironsmith fashions it[o] and works it over the coals; he shapes it with hammers, and forges it with his strong arm; he becomes hungry and his strength fails, he drinks no water and is faint. 13 The carpenter stretches a line, he marks it out with a pencil; he fashions it with planes, and marks it with a compass; he shapes it into the figure of a man, with the beauty of a man, to dwell in a house. 14 He cuts down cedars; or he chooses a holm tree or an oak and lets it grow strong among the trees of the forest; he plants a cedar and the rain nourishes it. 15 Then it becomes fuel for a man; he takes a part of it and warms himself, he kindles a fire and bakes bread; also he makes a god and worships it, he makes it a graven image and falls down before it. 16 Half of it he burns in the fire; over the half he eats flesh, he roasts meat and is satisfied; also he warms himself and says, “Aha, I am warm, I have seen the fire!” 17 And the rest of it he makes into a god, his idol; and falls down to it and worships it; he prays to it and says, “Deliver me, for thou art my god!”

18 They know not, nor do they discern; for he has shut their eyes, so that they cannot see, and their minds, so that they cannot understand. 19 No one considers, nor is there knowledge or discernment to say, “Half of it I burned in the fire, I also baked bread on its coals, I roasted flesh and have eaten; and shall I make the residue of it an abomination? Shall I fall down before a block of wood?” 20 He feeds on ashes; a deluded mind has led him astray, and he cannot deliver himself or say, “Is there not a lie in my right hand?”

Israel Is Not Forgotten

21 Remember these things, O Jacob,
    and Israel, for you are my servant;
I formed you, you are my servant;
    O Israel, you will not be forgotten by me.
22 I have swept away your transgressions like a cloud,
    and your sins like mist;
return to me, for I have redeemed you.

23 Sing, O heavens, for the Lord has done it;
    shout, O depths of the earth;
break forth into singing, O mountains,
    O forest, and every tree in it!
For the Lord has redeemed Jacob,
    and will be glorified in Israel.

24 Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer,
    who formed you from the womb:
“I am the Lord, who made all things,
    who stretched out the heavens alone,
    who spread out the earth—Who was with me?[p]
25 who frustrates the omens of liars,
    and makes fools of diviners;
who turns wise men back,
    and makes their knowledge foolish;
26 who confirms the word of his servant,
    and performs the counsel of his messengers;
who says of Jerusalem, ‘She shall be inhabited,’
    and of the cities of Judah, ‘They shall be built,
    and I will raise up their ruins’;
27 who says to the deep, ‘Be dry,
    I will dry up your rivers’;
28 who says of Cyrus, ‘He is my shepherd,
    and he shall fulfil all my purpose’;
saying of Jerusalem. ‘She shall be built,’
    and of the temple, ‘Your foundation shall be laid.’”

Cyrus, God’s Instrument

45 Thus says the Lord to his anointed, to Cyrus,
    whose right hand I have grasped,
to subdue nations before him
    and ungird the loins of kings,
to open doors before him
    that gates may not be closed:
“I will go before you
    and level the mountains,[q]
I will break in pieces the doors of bronze
    and cut asunder the bars of iron,
I will give you the treasures of darkness
    and the hoards in secret places,
that you may know that it is I, the Lord,
    the God of Israel, who call you by your name.
For the sake of my servant Jacob,
    and Israel my chosen,
I call you by your name,
    I surname you, though you do not know me.
I am the Lord, and there is no other,
    besides me there is no God;
    I gird you, though you do not know me,
that men may know, from the rising of the sun
    and from the west, that there is none besides me;
    I am the Lord, and there is no other.
I form light and create darkness,
    I make weal and create woe,
    I am the Lord, who do all these things.

“Shower, O heavens, from above,
    and let the skies rain down righteousness;
let the earth open, that salvation may sprout forth,[r]
    and let it cause righteousness to spring up also;
    I the Lord have created it.

“Woe to him who strives with his Maker,
    an earthen vessel with the potter![s]
Does the clay say to him who fashions it, ‘What are you making?’
    or ‘Your work has no handles’?
10 Woe to him who says to a father, ‘What are you begetting?’
    or to a woman, ‘With what are you in travail?’”
11 Thus says the Lord,
    the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker:
“Will you question me[t] about my children,
    or command me concerning the work of my hands?
12 I made the earth,
    and created man upon it;
it was my hands that stretched out the heavens,
    and I commanded all their host.
13 I have aroused him in righteousness,
    and I will make straight all his ways;
he shall build my city
    and set my exiles free,
not for price or reward,”
    says the Lord of hosts.

14 Thus says the Lord:
“The wealth of Egypt and the merchandise of Ethiopia,
    and the Sabe′ans, men of stature,
shall come over to you and be yours,
    they shall follow you;
    they shall come over in chains and bow down to you.
They will make supplication to you, saying:
    ‘God is with you only, and there is no other,
    no god besides him.’”
15 Truly, thou art a God who hidest thyself,
    O God of Israel, the Savior.
16 All of them are put to shame and confounded,
    the makers of idols go in confusion together.
17 But Israel is saved by the Lord
    with everlasting salvation;
you shall not be put to shame or confounded
    to all eternity.

18 For thus says the Lord,
who created the heavens
    (he is God!),
who formed the earth and made it
    (he established it;
he did not create it a chaos,
    he formed it to be inhabited!):
“I am the Lord, and there is no other.
19 I did not speak in secret,
    in a land of darkness;
I did not say to the offspring of Jacob,
    ‘Seek me in chaos.’
I the Lord speak the truth,
    I declare what is right.

Idols Cannot Save Babylon

20 “Assemble yourselves and come,
    draw near together,
    you survivors of the nations!
They have no knowledge
    who carry about their wooden idols,
and keep on praying to a god
    that cannot save.
21 Declare and present your case;
    let them take counsel together!
Who told this long ago?
    Who declared it of old?
Was it not I, the Lord?
    And there is no other god besides me,
a righteous God and a Savior;
    there is none besides me.

22 “Turn to me and be saved,
    all the ends of the earth!
    For I am God, and there is no other.
23 By myself I have sworn,
    from my mouth has gone forth in righteousness
    a word that shall not return:
‘To me every knee shall bow,
    every tongue shall swear.’

24 “Only in the Lord, it shall be said of me,
    are righteousness and strength;
to him shall come and be ashamed,
    all who were incensed against him.
25 In the Lord all the offspring of Israel
    shall triumph and glory.”

46 Bel bows down, Nebo stoops,
their idols are on beasts and cattle;
these things you carry are loaded
    as burdens on weary beasts.
They stoop, they bow down together,
    they cannot save the burden,
    but themselves go into captivity.

“Hearken to me, O house of Jacob,
    all the remnant of the house of Israel,
who have been borne by me from your birth,
    carried from the womb;
even to your old age I am He,
    and to gray hairs I will carry you.
I have made, and I will bear;
    I will carry and will save.

“To whom will you liken me and make me equal,
    and compare me, that we may be alike?
Those who lavish gold from the purse,
    and weigh out silver in the scales,
hire a goldsmith, and he makes it into a god;
    then they fall down and worship!
They lift it upon their shoulders, they carry it,
    they set it in its place, and its stands there;
    it cannot move from its place.
If one cries to it, it does not answer
    or save him from his trouble.

“Remember this and consider,
    recall it to mind, you transgressors,
    remember the former things of old;
for I am God, and there is no other;
    I am God, and there is none like me,
10 declaring the end from the beginning
    and from ancient times things not yet done,
saying, ‘My counsel shall stand,
    and I will accomplish all my purpose,’
11 calling a bird of prey from the east,
    the man of my counsel from a far country.
I have spoken, and I will bring it to pass;
    I have purposed, and I will do it.

12 “Hearken to me, you stubborn of heart,
    you who are far from deliverance:
13 I bring near my deliverance, it is not far off,
    and my salvation will not tarry;
I will put salvation in Zion,
    for Israel my glory.”

The Humiliation of Babylon

47 Come down and sit in the dust,
O virgin daughter of Babylon;
sit on the ground without a throne,
    O daughter of the Chalde′ans!
For you shall no more be called
    tender and delicate.
Take the millstones and grind meal,
    put off your veil,
strip off your robe, uncover your legs,
    pass through the rivers.
Your nakedness shall be uncovered,
    and your shame shall be seen.
I will take vengeance,
    and I will spare no man.
Our Redeemer—the Lord of hosts is his name—
    is the Holy One of Israel.

Sit in silence, and go into darkness,
    O daughter of the Chalde′ans;
for you shall no more be called
    the mistress of kingdoms.
I was angry with my people,
    I profaned my heritage;
I gave them into your hand,
    you showed them no mercy;
on the aged you made your yoke
    exceedingly heavy.
You said, “I shall be mistress for ever,”
    so that you did not lay these things to heart
    or remember their end.

Now therefore hear this, you lover of pleasures,
    who sit securely,
who say in your heart,
    “I am, and there is no one besides me;
I shall not sit as a widow
    or know the loss of children”:
These two things shall come to you
    in a moment, in one day;
the loss of children and widowhood
    shall come upon you in full measure,
in spite of your many sorceries
    and the great power of your enchantments.

10 You felt secure in your wickedness,
    you said, “No one sees me”;
your wisdom and your knowledge
    led you astray,
and you said in your heart,
    “I am, and there is no one besides me.”
11 But evil shall come upon you,
    for which you cannot atone;
disaster shall fall upon you,
    which you will not be able to expiate;
and ruin shall come on you suddenly,
    of which you know nothing.

12 Stand fast in your enchantments
    and your many sorceries,
    with which you have labored from your youth;
perhaps you may be able to succeed,
    perhaps you may inspire terror.
13 You are wearied with your many counsels;
    let them stand forth and save you,
those who divide the heavens,
    who gaze at the stars,
who at the new moons predict
    what[u] shall befall you.

14 Behold, they are like stubble,
    the fire consumes them;
they cannot deliver themselves
    from the power of the flame.
No coal for warming oneself is this,
    no fire to sit before!
15 Such to you are those with whom you have labored,
    who have trafficked with you from your youth;
they wander about each in his own direction;
    there is no one to save you.

God the Creator and Redeemer

48 Hear this, O house of Jacob,
who are called by the name of Israel,
    and who came forth from the loins[v] of Judah;
who swear by the name of the Lord,
    and confess the God of Israel,
    but not in truth or right.
For they call themselves after the holy city,
    and stay themselves on the God of Israel;
    the Lord of hosts is his name.

“The former things I declared of old,
    they went forth from my mouth and I made them known;
    then suddenly I did them and they came to pass.
Because I know that you are obstinate,
    and your neck is an iron sinew
    and your forehead brass,
I declared them to you from of old,
    before they came to pass I announced them to you,
lest you should say, ‘My idol did them,
    my graven image and my molten image commanded them.’

“You have heard; now see all this;
    and will you not declare it?
From this time forth I make you hear new things,
    hidden things which you have not known.
They are created now, not long ago;
    before today you have never heard of them,
    lest you should say, ‘Behold, I knew them.’
You have never heard, you have never known,
    from of old your ear has not been opened.
For I knew that you would deal very treacherously,
    and that from birth you were called a rebel.

“For my name’s sake I defer my anger,
    for the sake of my praise I restrain it for you,
    that I may not cut you off.
10 Behold, I have refined you, but not like[w] silver;
    I have tried you in the furnace of affliction.
11 For my own sake, for my own sake, I do it,
    for how should my name[x] be profaned?
    My glory I will not give to another.

12 “Hearken to me, O Jacob,
    and Israel, whom I called!
I am He, I am the first,
    and I am the last.
13 My hand laid the foundation of the earth,
    and my right hand spread out the heavens;
when I call to them,
    they stand forth together.

14 “Assemble, all of you, and hear!
    who among them has declared these things?
The Lord loves him;
    he shall perform his purpose on Babylon,
    and his arm shall be against the Chalde′ans.
15 I, even I, have spoken and called him,
    I have brought him, and he will prosper in his way.
16 Draw near to me, hear this:
    from the beginning I have not spoken in secret,
    from the time it came to be I have been there.”
And now the Lord God has sent me and his Spirit.

17 Thus says the Lord,
    your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel:
“I am the Lord your God,
    who teaches you to profit,
    who leads you in the way you should go.
18 O that you had hearkened to my commandments!
    Then your peace would have been like a river,
    and your righteousness like the waves of the sea;
19 your offspring would have been like the sand,
    and your descendants like its grains;
their name would never be cut off
    or destroyed from before me.”

20 Go forth from Babylon, flee from Chalde′a,
    declare this with a shout of joy, proclaim it,
send it forth to the end of the earth;
    say, “The Lord has redeemed his servant Jacob!”
21 They thirsted not when he led them through the deserts;
    he made water flow for them from the rock;
    he cleft the rock and the water gushed out.
22 “There is no peace,” says the Lord, “for the wicked.”

The Servant’s Mission

49 Listen to me, O coastlands,
and hearken, you peoples from afar.
The Lord called me from the womb,
    from the body of my mother he named my name.
He made my mouth like a sharp sword,
    in the shadow of his hand he hid me;
he made me a polished arrow,
    in his quiver he hid me away.
And he said to me, “You are my servant,
    Israel, in whom I will be glorified.”
But I said, “I have labored in vain,
    I have spent my strength for nothing and vanity;
yet surely my right is with the Lord,
    and my recompense with my God.”

And now the Lord says,
    who formed me from the womb to be his servant,
to bring Jacob back to him,
    and that Israel might be gathered to him,
for I am honored in the eyes of the Lord,
    and my God has become my strength—
he says:
“It is too light a thing that you should be my servant
    to raise up the tribes of Jacob
    and to restore the preserved of Israel;
I will give you as a light to the nations,
    that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.”

Thus says the Lord,
    the Redeemer of Israel and his Holy One,
to one deeply despised, abhorred by the nations,
    the servant of rulers:
“Kings shall see and arise;
    princes, and they shall prostrate themselves;
because of the Lord, who is faithful,
    the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen you.”

Zion’s Children to Be Brought Home

Thus says the Lord:
“In a time of favor I have answered you,
    in a day of salvation I have helped you;
I have kept you and given you
    as a covenant to the people,
to establish the land,
    to apportion the desolate heritages;
saying to the prisoners, ‘Come forth,’
    to those who are in darkness, ‘Appear.’
They shall feed along the ways,
    on all bare heights shall be their pasture;
10 they shall not hunger or thirst,
    neither scorching wind nor sun shall smite them,
for he who has pity on them will lead them,
    and by springs of water will guide them.
11 And I will make all my mountains a way,
    and my highways shall be raised up.
12 Lo, these shall come from afar,
    and lo, these from the north and from the west,
    and these from the land of Syene.”[y]
13 Sing for joy, O heavens, and exult, O earth;
    break forth, O mountains, into singing!
For the Lord has comforted his people,
    and will have compassion on his afflicted.

14 But Zion said, “The Lord has forsaken me,
    my Lord has forgotten me.”
15 “Can a woman forget her sucking child,
    that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb?
Even these may forget,
    yet I will not forget you.
16 Behold, I have graven you on the palms of my hands;
    your walls are continually before me.
17 Your builders outstrip your destroyers,
    and those who laid you waste go forth from you.
18 Lift up your eyes round about and see;
    they all gather, they come to you.
As I live, says the Lord,
    you shall put them all on as an ornament,
    you shall bind them on as a bride does.

19 “Surely your waste and your desolate places
    and your devastated land—
surely now you will be too narrow for your inhabitants,
    and those who swallowed you up will be far away.
20 The children born in the time of your bereavement
    will yet say in your ears:
‘The place is too narrow for me;
    make room for me to dwell in.’
21 Then you will say in your heart:
    ‘Who has borne me these?
I was bereaved and barren,
    exiled and put away,
    but who has brought up these?
Behold, I was left alone;
    whence then have these come?’”

22 Thus says the Lord God:
“Behold, I will lift up my hand to the nations,
    and raise my signal to the peoples;
and they shall bring your sons in their bosom,
    and your daughters shall be carried on their shoulders.
23 Kings shall be your foster fathers,
    and their queens your nursing mothers.
With their faces to the ground they shall bow down to you,
    and lick the dust of your feet.
Then you will know that I am the Lord;
    those who wait for me shall not be put to shame.”

24 Can the prey be taken from the mighty,
    or the captives of a tyrant[z] be rescued?
25 Surely, thus says the Lord:
“Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken,
    and the prey of the tyrant be rescued,
for I will contend with those who contend with you,
    and I will save your children.
26 I will make your oppressors eat their own flesh,
    and they shall be drunk with their own blood as with wine.
Then all flesh shall know
    that I am the Lord your Savior,
    and your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.”

50 Thus says the Lord:
“Where is your mother’s bill of divorce,
    with which I put her away?
Or which of my creditors is it
    to whom I have sold you?
Behold, for your iniquities you were sold,
    and for your transgressions your mother was put away.
Why, when I came, was there no man?
    When I called, was there no one to answer?
Is my hand shortened, that it cannot redeem?
    Or have I no power to deliver?
Behold, by my rebuke I dry up the sea,
    I make the rivers a desert;
their fish stink for lack of water,
    and die of thirst.
I clothe the heavens with blackness,
    and make sackcloth their covering.”

The Servant’s Humiliation and Vindication

The Lord God has given me
    the tongue of those who are taught,
that I may know how to sustain with a word
    him that is weary.
Morning by morning he wakens,
    he wakens my ear
    to hear as those who are taught.
The Lord God has opened my ear,
    and I was not rebellious,
    I turned not backward.
I gave my back to the smiters,
    and my cheeks to those who pulled out the beard;
I hid not my face
    from shame and spitting.

For the Lord God helps me;
    therefore I have not been confounded;
therefore I have set my face like a flint,
    and I know that I shall not be put to shame;
    he who vindicates me is near.
Who will contend with me?
    Let us stand up together.
Who is my adversary?
    Let him come near to me.
Behold, the Lord God helps me;
    who will declare me guilty?
Behold, all of them will wear out like a garment;
    the moth will eat them up.

10 Who among you fears the Lord
    and obeys the voice of his servant,
who walks in darkness
    and has no light,
yet trusts in the name of the Lord
    and relies upon his God?
11 Behold, all you who kindle a fire,
    who set brands alight![aa]
Walk by the light of your fire,
    and by the brands which you have kindled!
This shall you have from my hand:
    you shall lie down in torment.

Blessings in Store for God’s People

51 “Hearken to me, you who pursue deliverance,
    you who seek the Lord;
look to the rock from which you were hewn,
    and to the quarry from which you were digged.
Look to Abraham your father
    and to Sarah who bore you;
for when he was but one I called him,
    and I blessed him and made him many.
For the Lord will comfort Zion;
    he will comfort all her waste places,
and will make her wilderness like Eden,
    her desert like the garden of the Lord;
joy and gladness will be found in her,
    thanksgiving and the voice of song.

“Listen to me, my people,
    and give ear to me, my nation;
for a law will go forth from me,
    and my justice for a light to the peoples.
My deliverance draws near speedily,
    my salvation has gone forth,
    and my arms will rule the peoples;
the coastlands wait for me,
    and for my arm they hope.
Lift up your eyes to the heavens,
    and look at the earth beneath;
for the heavens will vanish like smoke,
    the earth will wear out like a garment,
    and they who dwell in it will die like gnats;[ab]
but my salvation will be for ever,
    and my deliverance will never be ended.

“Hearken to me, you who know righteousness,
    the people in whose heart is my law;
fear not the reproach of men,
    and be not dismayed at their revilings.
For the moth will eat them up like a garment,
    and the worm will eat them like wool;
but my deliverance will be for ever,
    and my salvation to all generations.”

Awake, awake, put on strength,
    O arm of the Lord;
awake, as in days of old,
    the generations of long ago.
Was it not thou that didst cut Rahab in pieces,
    that didst pierce the dragon?
10 Was it not thou that didst dry up the sea,
    the waters of the great deep;
that didst make the depths of the sea a way
    for the redeemed to pass over?
11 And the ransomed of the Lord shall return,
    and come to Zion with singing;
everlasting joy shall be upon their heads;
    they shall obtain joy and gladness,
    and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

12 “I, I am he that comforts you;
    who are you that you are afraid of man who dies,
    of the son of man who is made like grass,
13 and have forgotten the Lord, your Maker,
    who stretched out the heavens
    and laid the foundations of the earth,
and fear continually all the day
    because of the fury of the oppressor,
when he sets himself to destroy?
    And where is the fury of the oppressor?
14 He who is bowed down shall speedily be released;
    he shall not die and go down to the Pit,
    neither shall his bread fail.
15 For I am the Lord your God,
    who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar—
    the Lord of hosts is his name.
16 And I have put my words in your mouth,
    and hid you in the shadow of my hand,
stretching out[ac] the heavens
    and laying the foundations of the earth,
    and saying to Zion, ‘You are my people.’”

17 Rouse yourself, rouse yourself,
    stand up, O Jerusalem,
you who have drunk at the hand of the Lord
    the cup of his wrath,
who have drunk to the dregs
    the bowl of staggering.
18 There is none to guide her
    among all the sons she has borne;
there is none to take her by the hand
    among all the sons she has brought up.
19 These two things have befallen you—
    who will condole with you?—
devastation and destruction, famine and sword;
    who will comfort you?[ad]
20 Your sons have fainted,
    they lie at the head of every street
    like an antelope in a net;
they are full of the wrath of the Lord,
    the rebuke of your God.

21 Therefore hear this, you who are afflicted,
    who are drunk, but not with wine:
22 Thus says your Lord, the Lord,
    your God who pleads the cause of his people:
“Behold, I have taken from your hand
    the cup of staggering;
the bowl of my wrath
    you shall drink no more;
23 and I will put it into the hand of your tormentors,
    who have said to you,
    ‘Bow down, that we may pass over’;
and you have made your back like the ground
    and like the street for them to pass over.”

Let Zion Rejoice

52 Awake, awake,
put on your strength, O Zion;
put on your beautiful garments,
    O Jerusalem, the holy city;
for there shall no more come into you
    the uncircumcised and the unclean.
Shake yourself from the dust, arise,
    O captive[ae] Jerusalem;
loose the bonds from your neck,
    O captive daughter of Zion.

For thus says the Lord: “You were sold for nothing, and you shall be redeemed without money. For thus says the Lord God: My people went down at the first into Egypt to sojourn there, and the Assyrian oppressed them for nothing. Now therefore what have I here, says the Lord, seeing that my people are taken away for nothing? Their rulers wail, says the Lord, and continually all the day my name is despised. Therefore my people shall know my name; therefore in that day they shall know that it is I who speak; here am I.”

How beautiful upon the mountains
    are the feet of him who brings good tidings,
who publishes peace, who brings good tidings of good,
    who publishes salvation,
    who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.”
Hark, your watchmen lift up their voice,
    together they sing for joy;
for eye to eye they see
    the return of the Lord to Zion.
Break forth together into singing,
    you waste places of Jerusalem;
for the Lord has comforted his people,
    he has redeemed Jerusalem.
10 The Lord has bared his holy arm
    before the eyes of all the nations;
and all the ends of the earth shall see
    the salvation of our God.

11 Depart, depart, go out thence,
    touch no unclean thing;
go out from the midst of her, purify yourselves,
    you who bear the vessels of the Lord.
12 For you shall not go out in haste,
    and you shall not go in flight,
for the Lord will go before you,
    and the God of Israel will be your rear guard.

The Suffering Servant

13 Behold, my servant shall prosper,
    he shall be exalted and lifted up,
    and shall be very high.
14 As many were astonished at him[af]
    his appearance was so marred, beyond human semblance,
    and his form beyond that of the sons of men—
15 so shall he startle[ag] many nations;
    kings shall shut their mouths because of him;
for that which has not been told them they shall see,
    and that which they have not heard they shall understand.

53 Who has believed what we have heard?
    And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
For he grew up before him like a young plant,
    and like a root out of dry ground;
he had no form or comeliness that we should look at him,
    and no beauty that we should desire him.
He was despised and rejected[ah] by men;
    a man of sorrows,[ai] and acquainted with grief;[aj]
and as one from whom men hide their faces
    he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Surely he has borne our griefs[ak]
    and carried our sorrows;[al]
yet we esteemed him stricken,
    smitten by God, and afflicted.
But he was wounded for our transgressions,
    he was bruised for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that made us whole,
    and with his stripes we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
    we have turned every one to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
    the iniquity of us all.

He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,
    yet he opened not his mouth;
like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,
    and like a sheep that before its shearers is dumb,
    so he opened not his mouth.
By oppression and judgment he was taken away;
    and as for his generation, who considered
that he was cut off out of the land of the living,
    stricken for the transgression of my people?
And they made his grave with the wicked
    and with a rich man in his death,
although he had done no violence,
    and there was no deceit in his mouth.

10 Yet it was the will of the Lord to bruise him;
    he has put him to grief;[am]
when he makes himself[an] an offering for sin,
    he shall see his offspring, he shall prolong his days;
the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand;
11     he shall see the fruit of the travail of his soul and be satisfied;
by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant,
    make many to be accounted righteous;
    and he shall bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore I will divide him a portion with the great,
    and he shall divide the spoil with the strong;
because he poured out his soul to death,
    and was numbered with the transgressors;
yet he bore the sin of many,
    and made intercession for the transgressors.

The Eternal Covenant of Peace

54 “Sing, O barren one, who did not bear;
    break forth into singing and cry aloud,
    you who have not been in travail!
For the children of the desolate one will be more
    than the children of her that is married, says the Lord.
Enlarge the place of your tent,
    and let the curtains of your habitations be stretched out;
hold not back, lengthen your cords
    and strengthen your stakes.
For you will spread abroad to the right and to the left,
    and your descendants will possess the nations
    and will people the desolate cities.

“Fear not, for you will not be ashamed;
    be not confounded, for you will not be put to shame;
for you will forget the shame of your youth,
    and the reproach of your widowhood you will remember no more.
For your Maker is your husband,
    the Lord of hosts is his name;
and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer,
    the God of the whole earth he is called.
For the Lord has called you
    like a wife forsaken and grieved in spirit,
like a wife of youth when she is cast off,
    says your God.
For a brief moment I forsook you,
    but with great compassion I will gather you.
In overflowing wrath for a moment
    I hid my face from you,
but with everlasting love I will have compassion on you,
    says the Lord, your Redeemer.

“For this is like the days of Noah to me:
    as I swore that the waters of Noah
    should no more go over the earth,
so I have sworn that I will not be angry with you
    and will not rebuke you.
10 For the mountains may depart
    and the hills be removed,
but my steadfast love shall not depart from you,
    and my covenant of peace shall not be removed,
    says the Lord, who has compassion on you.

11 “O afflicted one, storm-tossed, and not comforted,
    behold, I will set your stones in antimony,
    and lay your foundations with sapphires.[ao]
12 I will make your pinnacles of agate,
    your gates of carbuncles,
    and all your wall of precious stones.
13 All your sons shall be taught by the Lord,
    and great shall be the prosperity of your sons.
14 In righteousness you shall be established;
    you shall be far from oppression, for you shall not fear;
    and from terror, for it shall not come near you.
15 If any one stirs up strife,
    it is not from me;
whoever stirs up strife with you
    shall fall because of you.
16 Behold, I have created the smith
    who blows the fire of coals,
    and produces a weapon for its purpose.
I have also created the ravager to destroy;
17     no weapon that is fashioned against you shall prosper,
    and you shall confute every tongue that rises against you in judgment.
This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord
    and their vindication from me, says the Lord.”

An Invitation to Abundant Life

55 “Ho, every one who thirsts,
    come to the waters;
and he who has no money,
    come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
    without money and without price.
Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread,
    and your labor for that which does not satisfy?
Hearken diligently to me, and eat what is good,
    and delight yourselves in fatness.
Incline your ear, and come to me;
    hear, that your soul may live;
and I will make with you an everlasting covenant,
    my steadfast, sure love for David.
Behold, I made him a witness to the peoples,
    a leader and commander for the peoples.
Behold, you shall call nations that you know not,
    and nations that knew you not shall run to you,
because of the Lord your God, and of the Holy One of Israel,
    for he has glorified you.

“Seek the Lord while he may be found,
    call upon him while he is near;
let the wicked forsake his way,
    and the unrighteous man his thoughts;
let him return to the Lord, that he may have mercy on him,
    and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways, says the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts.

10 “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven,
    and return not thither but water the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
    giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
11 so shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth;
    it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
    and prosper in the thing for which I sent it.

12 “For you shall go out in joy,
    and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and the hills before you
    shall break forth into singing,
    and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
13 Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress;
    instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle;
and it shall be to the Lord for a memorial,
    for an everlasting sign which shall not be cut off.”

The Covenant Extended to All Who Obey

56 Thus says the Lord:
“Keep justice, and do righteousness,
for soon my salvation will come,
    and my deliverance be revealed.
Blessed is the man who does this,
    and the son of man who holds it fast,
who keeps the sabbath, not profaning it,
    and keeps his hand from doing any evil.”

Let not the foreigner who has joined himself to the Lord say,
    “The Lord will surely separate me from his people”;
and let not the eunuch say,
    “Behold, I am a dry tree.”
For thus says the Lord:
“To the eunuchs who keep my sabbaths,
    who choose the things that please me
    and hold fast my covenant,
I will give in my house and within my walls
    a monument and a name
    better than sons and daughters;
I will give them an everlasting name
    which shall not be cut off.

“And the foreigners who join themselves to the Lord,
    to minister to him, to love the name of the Lord,
    and to be his servants,
every one who keeps the sabbath, and does not profane it,
    and holds fast my covenant—
these I will bring to my holy mountain,
    and make them joyful in my house of prayer;
their burnt offerings and their sacrifices
    will be accepted on my altar;
for my house shall be called a house of prayer
    for all peoples.
Thus says the Lord God,
    who gathers the outcasts of Israel,
I will gather yet others to him
    besides those already gathered.”[ap]

The Corruption of Israel’s Rulers

All you beasts of the field, come to devour—
    all you beasts in the forest.
10 His watchmen are blind,
    they are all without knowledge;
they are all dumb dogs,
    they cannot bark;
dreaming, lying down,
    loving to slumber.
11 The dogs have a mighty appetite;
    they never have enough.
The shepherds also have no understanding;
    they have all turned to their own way,
    each to his own gain, one and all.
12 “Come,” they say, “let us[aq] get wine,
    let us fill ourselves with strong drink;
and tomorrow will be like this day,
    great beyond measure.”

Israel’s Futile Idolatry

57 The righteous man perishes,
and no one lays it to heart;
devout men are taken away,
    while no one understands.
For the righteous man is taken away from calamity,
    he enters into peace;
they rest in their beds
    who walk in their uprightness.
But you, draw near hither,
    sons of the sorceress,
    offspring of the adulterer and the harlot.
Of whom are you making sport?
    Against whom do you open your mouth wide
    and put out your tongue?
Are you not children of transgression,
    the offspring of deceit,
you who burn with lust among the oaks,
    under every green tree;
who slay your children in the valleys,
    under the clefts of the rocks?
Among the smooth stones of the valley is your portion;
    they, they, are your lot;
to them you have poured out a drink offering,
    you have brought a cereal offering.
    Shall I be appeased for these things?
Upon a high and lofty mountain
    you have set your bed,
    and thither you went up to offer sacrifice.
Behind the door and the doorpost
    you have set up your symbol;
for, deserting me, you have uncovered your bed,
    you have gone up to it,
    you have made it wide;
and you have made a bargain for yourself with them,
    you have loved their bed,
    you have looked on nakedness.[ar]
You journeyed to Molech[as] with oil
    and multiplied your perfumes;
you sent your envoys far off,
    and sent down even to Sheol.
10 You were wearied with the length of your way,
    but you did not say, “It is hopeless”;
you found new life for your strength,
    and so you were not faint.

11 Whom did you dread and fear,
    so that you lied,
and did not remember me,
    did not give me a thought?
Have I not held my peace, even for a long time,
    and so you do not fear me?
12 I will tell of your righteousness and your doings,
    but they will not help you.
13 When you cry out, let your collection of idols deliver you!
    The wind will carry them off,
    a breath will take them away.
But he who takes refuge in me shall possess the land,
    and shall inherit my holy mountain.

A Promise of Help and Healing

14 And it shall be said,
“Build up, build up, prepare the way,
    remove every obstruction from my people’s way.”
15 For thus says the high and lofty One
    who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy:
“I dwell in the high and holy place,
    and also with him who is of a contrite and humble spirit,
to revive the spirit of the humble,
    and to revive the heart of the contrite.
16 For I will not contend for ever,
    nor will I always be angry;
for from me proceeds the spirit,
    and I have made the breath of life.
17 Because of the iniquity of his covetousness I was angry,
    I smote him, I hid my face and was angry;
    but he went on backsliding in the way of his own heart.
18 I have seen his ways, but I will heal him;
    I will lead him and requite him with comfort,
    creating for his mourners the fruit of the lips.
19 Peace, peace, to the far and to the near, says the Lord;
    and I will heal him.
20 But the wicked are like the tossing sea;
    for it cannot rest,
    and its waters toss up mire and dirt.
21 There is no peace, says my God, for the wicked.”

False and True Worship

58 “Cry aloud, spare not,
lift up your voice like a trumpet;
declare to my people their transgression,
    to the house of Jacob their sins.
Yet they seek me daily,
    and delight to know my ways,
as if they were a nation that did righteousness
    and did not forsake the ordinance of their God;
they ask of me righteous judgments,
    they delight to draw near to God.
‘Why have we fasted, and thou seest it not?
    Why have we humbled ourselves, and thou takest no knowledge of it?’
Behold, in the day of your fast you seek your own pleasure,[at]
    and oppress all your workers.
Behold, you fast only to quarrel and to fight
    and to hit with wicked fist.
Fasting like yours this day
    will not make your voice to be heard on high.
Is such the fast that I choose,
    a day for a man to humble himself?
Is it to bow down his head like a rush,
    and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him?
Will you call this a fast,
    and a day acceptable to the Lord?

“Is not this the fast that I choose:
    to loose the bonds of wickedness,
    to undo the thongs of the yoke,
to let the oppressed go free,
    and to break every yoke?
Is it not to share your bread with the hungry,
    and bring the homeless poor into your house;
when you see the naked, to cover him,
    and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?
Then shall your light break forth like the dawn,
    and your healing shall spring up speedily;
your righteousness shall go before you,
    the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.
Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer;
    you shall cry, and he will say, Here I am.

“If you take away from the midst of you the yoke,
    the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness,
10 if you pour yourself out for the hungry
    and satisfy the desire of the afflicted,
then shall your light rise in the darkness
    and your gloom be as the noonday.
11 And the Lord will guide you continually,
    and satisfy your desire with good things,[au]
    and make your bones strong;
and you shall be like a watered garden,
    like a spring of water,
    whose waters fail not.
12 And your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt;
    you shall raise up the foundations of many generations;
you shall be called the repairer of the breach,
    the restorer of streets to dwell in.

13 “If you turn back your foot from the sabbath,
    from doing your pleasure[av] on my holy day,
and call the sabbath a delight
    and the holy day of the Lord honorable;
if you honor it, not going your own ways,
    or seeking your own pleasure,[aw] or talking idly;
14 then you shall take delight in the Lord,
    and I will make you ride upon the heights of the earth;
I will feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father,
    for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”

Injustice and Oppression to Be Punished

59 Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save,
    or his ear dull, that it cannot hear;
but your iniquities have made a separation
    between you and your God,
and your sins have hid his face from you
    so that he does not hear.
For your hands are defiled with blood
    and your fingers with iniquity;
your lips have spoken lies,
    your tongue mutters wickedness.
No one enters suit justly,
    no one goes to law honestly;
they rely on empty pleas, they speak lies,
    they conceive mischief and bring forth iniquity.
They hatch adders’ eggs,
    they weave the spider’s web;
he who eats their eggs dies,
    and from one which is crushed a viper is hatched.
Their webs will not serve as clothing;
    men will not cover themselves with what they make.
Their works are works of iniquity,
    and deeds of violence are in their hands.
Their feet run to evil,
    and they make haste to shed innocent blood;
their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity,
    desolation and destruction are in their highways.
The way of peace they know not,
    and there is no justice in their paths;
they have made their roads crooked,
    no one who goes in them knows peace.

Therefore justice is far from us,
    and righteousness does not overtake us;
we look for light, and behold, darkness,
    and for brightness, but we walk in gloom.
10 We grope for the wall like the blind,
    we grope like those who have no eyes;
we stumble at noon as in the twilight,
    among those in full vigor we are like dead men.
11 We all growl like bears,
    we moan and moan like doves;
we look for justice, but there is none;
    for salvation, but it is far from us.
12 For our transgressions are multiplied before thee,
    and our sins testify against us;
for our transgressions are with us,
    and we know our iniquities:
13 transgressing, and denying the Lord,
    and turning away from following our God,
speaking oppression and revolt,
    conceiving and uttering from the heart lying words.
14 Justice is turned back,
    and righteousness stands afar off;
for truth has fallen in the public squares,
    and uprightness cannot enter.
15 Truth is lacking,
    and he who departs from evil makes himself a prey.

The Lord saw it, and it displeased him
    that there was no justice.
16 He saw that there was no man,
    and wondered that there was no one to intervene;
then his own arm brought him victory,
    and his righteousness upheld him.
17 He put on righteousness as a breastplate,
    and a helmet of salvation upon his head;
he put on garments of vengeance for clothing,
    and wrapped himself in fury as a mantle.
18 According to their deeds, so will he repay,
    wrath to his adversaries, requital to his enemies;
    to the coastlands he will render requital.
19 So they shall fear the name of the Lord from the west,
    and his glory from the rising of the sun;
for he will come like a rushing stream,
    which the wind of the Lord drives.

20 “And he will come to Zion as Redeemer,
    to those in Jacob who turn from transgression, says the lord.

21 “And as for me, this is my covenant with them, say the Lord: my spirit which is upon you, and my words which I have put in your mouth, shall not depart out of your mouth, or out of the mouth of your children, or out of the mouth of your children’s children, says the Lord, from this time forth and for evermore.”

The Ingathering of the Dispersed

60 Arise, shine; for your light has come,
    and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.
For behold, darkness shall cover the earth,
    and thick darkness the peoples;
but the Lord will arise upon you,
    and his glory will be seen upon you.
And nations shall come to your light,
    and kings to the brightness of your rising.

Lift up your eyes round about, and see;
    they all gather together, they come to you;
your sons shall come from far,
    and your daughters shall be carried in the arms.
Then you shall see and be radiant,
    your heart shall thrill and rejoice;[ax]
because the abundance of the sea shall be turned to you,
    the wealth of the nations shall come to you.
A multitude of camels shall cover you,
    the young camels of Mid′ian and Ephah;
    all those from Sheba shall come.
They shall bring gold and frankincense,
    and shall proclaim the praise of the Lord.
All the flocks of Kedar shall be gathered to you,
    the rams of Nebai′oth shall minister to you;
they shall come up with acceptance on my altar,
    and I will glorify my glorious house.

Who are these that fly like a cloud,
    and like doves to their windows?
For the coastlands shall wait for me,
    the ships of Tarshish first,
to bring your sons from far,
    their silver and gold with them,
for the name of the Lord your God,
    and for the Holy One of Israel,
    because he has glorified you.

10 Foreigners shall build up your walls,
    and their kings shall minister to you;
for in my wrath I smote you,
    but in my favor I have had mercy on you.
11 Your gates shall be open continually;
    day and night they shall not be shut;
that men may bring to you the wealth of the nations,
    with their kings led in procession.
12 For the nation and kingdom
    that will not serve you shall perish;
    those nations shall be utterly laid waste.
13 The glory of Lebanon shall come to you,
    the cypress, the plane, and the pine,
to beautify the place of my sanctuary;
    and I will make the place of my feet glorious.
14 The sons of those who oppressed you
    shall come bending low to you;
and all who despised you
    shall bow down at your feet;
they shall call you the City of the Lord,
    the Zion of the Holy One of Israel.

15 Whereas you have been forsaken and hated,
    with no one passing through,
I will make you majestic for ever,
    a joy from age to age.
16 You shall suck the milk of nations,
    you shall suck the breast of kings;
and you shall know that I, the Lord, am your Savior
    and your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.

17 Instead of bronze I will bring gold,
    and instead of iron I will bring silver;
instead of wood, bronze,
    instead of stones, iron.
I will make your overseers peace
    and your taskmasters righteousness.
18 Violence shall no more be heard in your land,
    devastation or destruction within your borders;
you shall call your walls Salvation,
    and your gates Praise.

God the Glory of Zion

19 The sun shall be no more
    your light by day,
nor for brightness shall the moon
    give light to you by night;[ay]
but the Lord will be your everlasting light,
    and your God will be your glory.
20 Your sun shall no more go down,
    nor your moon withdraw itself;
for the Lord will be your everlasting light,
    and your days of mourning shall be ended.
21 Your people shall all be righteous;
    they shall possess the land for ever,
the shoot of my planting, the work of my hands,
    that I might be glorified.
22 The least one shall become a clan,
    and the smallest one a mighty nation;
I am the Lord;
    in its time I will hasten it.

The Good News of Deliverance

61 The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
    because the Lord has anointed me
to bring good tidings to the afflicted;[az]
    he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
    and the opening of the prison[ba] to those who are bound;
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor,
    and the day of vengeance of our God;
    to comfort all who mourn;
to grant to those who mourn in Zion—
    to give them a garland instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
    the mantle of praise instead of a faint spirit;
that they may be called oaks of righteousness,
    the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified.
They shall build up the ancient ruins,
    they shall raise up the former devastations;
they shall repair the ruined cities,
    the devastations of many generations.

Aliens shall stand and feed your flocks,
    foreigners shall be your plowmen and vinedressers;
but you shall be called the priests of the Lord,
    men shall speak of you as the ministers of our God;
you shall eat the wealth of the nations,
    and in their riches you shall glory.
Instead of your shame you shall have a double portion,
    instead of dishonor you[bb] shall rejoice in your[bc] lot;
therefore in your[bd] land you[be] shall possess a double portion;
    yours[bf] shall be everlasting joy.

For I the Lord love justice,
    I hate robbery and wrong;[bg]
I will faithfully give them their recompense,
    and I will make an everlasting covenant with them.
Their descendants shall be known among the nations,
    and their offspring in the midst of the peoples;
all who see them shall acknowledge them,
    that they are a people whom the Lord has blessed.

10 I will greatly rejoice in the Lord,
    my soul shall exult in my God;
for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation,
    he has covered me with the robe of righteousness,
as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland,
    and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
11 For as the earth brings forth its shoots,
    and as a garden causes what is sown in it to spring up,
so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise
    to spring forth before all the nations.

The Vindication and Salvation of Zion

62 For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent,
    and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest,
until her vindication goes forth as brightness,
    and her salvation as a burning torch.
The nations shall see your vindication,
    and all the kings your glory;
and you shall be called by a new name
    which the mouth of the Lord will give.
You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the Lord,
    and a royal diadem in the hand of your God.
You shall no more be termed Forsaken,[bh]
    and your land shall no more be termed Desolate;[bi]
but you shall be called My delight is in her,[bj]
    and your land Married;[bk]
for the Lord delights in you,
    and your land shall be married.
For as a young man marries a virgin,
    so shall your sons marry you,
and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride,
    so shall your God rejoice over you.

Upon your walls, O Jerusalem,
    I have set watchmen;
all the day and all the night
    they shall never be silent.
You who put the Lord in remembrance,
    take no rest,
and give him no rest
    until he establishes Jerusalem
    and makes it a praise in the earth.
The Lord has sworn by his right hand
    and by his mighty arm:
“I will not again give your grain
    to be food for your enemies,
and foreigners shall not drink your wine
    for which you have labored;
but those who garner it shall eat it
    and praise the Lord,
and those who gather it shall drink it
    in the courts of my sanctuary.”

10 Go through, go through the gates,
    prepare the way for the people;
build up, build up the highway,
    clear it of stones,
    lift up an ensign over the peoples.
11 Behold, the Lord has proclaimed
    to the end of the earth:
Say to the daughter of Zion,
    “Behold, your salvation comes;
behold, his reward is with him,
    and his recompense before him.”
12 And they shall be called The holy people,
    The redeemed of the Lord;
and you shall be called Sought out,
    a city not forsaken.

Vengeance on Edom

63 Who is this that comes from Edom,
    in crimsoned garments from Bozrah,
he that is glorious in his apparel,
    marching in the greatness of his strength?

“It is I, announcing vindication,
    mighty to save.”

Why is thy apparel red,
    and thy garments like his that treads in the wine press?

“I have trodden the wine press alone,
    and from the peoples no one was with me;
I trod them in my anger
    and trampled them in my wrath;
their lifeblood is sprinkled upon my garments,
    and I have stained all my raiment.
For the day of vengeance was in my heart,
    and my year of redemption[bl] has come.
I looked, but there was no one to help;
    I was appalled, but there was no one to uphold;
so my own arm brought me victory,
    and my wrath upheld me.
I trod down the peoples in my anger,
    I made them drunk in my wrath,
    and I poured out their lifeblood on the earth.”

God’s Mercy Remembered

I will recount the steadfast love of the Lord,
    the praises of the Lord,
according to all that the Lord has granted us,
    and the great goodness to the house of Israel
which he has granted them according to his mercy,
    according to the abundance of his steadfast love.
For he said, Surely they are my people,
    sons who will not deal falsely;
    and he became their Savior.
In all their affliction he was afflicted,[bm]
    and the angel of his presence saved them;
in his love and in his pity he redeemed them;
    he lifted them up and carried them all the days of old.

10 But they rebelled
    and grieved his holy Spirit;
therefore he turned to be their enemy,
    and himself fought against them.
11 Then he remembered the days of old,
    of Moses his servant.
Where is he who brought up out of the sea
    the shepherds of his flock?
Where is he who put in the midst of them
    his holy Spirit,
12 who caused his glorious arm
    to go at the right hand of Moses,
who divided the waters before them
    to make for himself an everlasting name,
13     who led them through the depths?
Like a horse in the desert,
    they did not stumble.
14 Like cattle that go down into the valley,
    the Spirit of the Lord gave them rest.
So thou didst lead thy people,
    to make for thyself a glorious name.

A Prayer of Penitence

15 Look down from heaven and see,
    from thy holy and glorious habitation.
Where are thy zeal and thy might?
    The yearning of thy heart and thy compassion
    are withheld from me.
16 For thou art our Father,
    though Abraham does not know us
    and Israel does not acknowledge us;
thou, O Lord, art our Father,
    our Redeemer from of old is thy name.
17 O Lord, why dost thou make us err from thy ways
    and harden our heart, so that we fear thee not?
Return for the sake of thy servants,
    the tribes of thy heritage.
18 Thy holy people possessed thy sanctuary a little while;
    our adversaries have trodden it down.
19 We have become like those over whom thou hast never ruled,
    like those who are not called by thy name.

64 O that thou wouldst rend the heavens and come down,
    that the mountains might quake at thy presence—
[bn]as when fire kindles brushwood
    and the fire causes water to boil—
to make thy name known to thy adversaries,
    and that the nations might tremble at thy presence!
When thou didst terrible things which we looked not for,
    thou camest down, the mountains quaked at thy presence.
From of old no one has heard
    or perceived by the ear,
no eye has seen a God besides thee,
    who works for those who wait for him.
Thou meetest him that joyfully works righteousness,
    those that remember thee in thy ways.
Behold, thou wast angry, and we sinned;
    in our sins we have been a long time, and shall we be saved?[bo]
We have all become like one who is unclean,
    and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment.
We all fade like a leaf,
    and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.
There is no one that calls upon thy name,
    that bestirs himself to take hold of thee;
for thou hast hid thy face from us,
    and hast delivered[bp] us into the hand of our iniquities.

Yet, O Lord, thou art our Father;
    we are the clay, and thou art our potter;
    we are all the work of thy hand.
Be not exceedingly angry, O Lord,
    and remember not iniquity for ever.
    Behold, consider, we are all thy people.
10 Thy holy cities have become a wilderness,
    Zion has become a wilderness,
    Jerusalem a desolation.
11 Our holy and beautiful house,
    where our fathers praised thee,
has been burned by fire,
    and all our pleasant places have become ruins.
12 Wilt thou restrain thyself at these things, O Lord?
    Wilt thou keep silent, and afflict us sorely?

The Righteousness of God’s Judgment

65 I was ready to be sought by those who did not ask for me;
    I was ready to be found by those who did not seek me.
I said, “Here am I, here am I,”
    to a nation that did not call on my name.
I spread out my hands all the day
    to a rebellious people,
who walk in a way that is not good,
    following their own devices;
a people who provoke me
    to my face continually,
sacrificing in gardens
    and burning incense upon bricks;
who sit in tombs,
    and spend the night in secret places;
who eat swine’s flesh,
    and broth of abominable things is in their vessels;
who say, “Keep to yourself,
    do not come near me, for I am set apart from you.”
These are a smoke in my nostrils,
    a fire that burns all the day.
Behold, it is written before me:
    “I will not keep silent, but I will repay,
yea, I will repay into their bosom
    their[bq] iniquities and their[br] fathers’ iniquities together,
                says the Lord;
because they burned incense upon the mountains
    and reviled me upon the hills,
I will measure into their bosom
    payment for their former doings.”

Thus says the Lord:
“As the wine is found in the cluster,
    and they say, ‘Do not destroy it,
    for there is a blessing in it,’
so I will do for my servants’ sake,
    and not destroy them all.
I will bring forth descendants from Jacob,
    and from Judah inheritors of my mountains;
my chosen shall inherit it,
    and my servants shall dwell there.
10 Sharon shall become a pasture for flocks,
    and the Valley of Achor a place for herds to lie down,
    for my people who have sought me.
11 But you who forsake the Lord,
    who forget my holy mountain,
who set a table for Fortune
    and fill cups of mixed wine for Destiny;
12 I will destine you to the sword,
    and all of you shall bow down to the slaughter;
because, when I called, you did not answer,
    when I spoke, you did not listen,
but you did what was evil in my eyes,
    and chose what I did not delight in.”

13 Therefore thus says the Lord God:
“Behold, my servants shall eat,
    but you shall be hungry;
behold, my servants shall drink,
    but you shall be thirsty;
behold, my servants shall rejoice,
    but you shall be put to shame;
14 behold, my servants shall sing for gladness of heart,
    but you shall cry out for pain of heart,
    and shall wail for anguish of spirit.
15 You shall leave your name to my chosen for a curse,
    and the Lord God will slay you;
    but his servants he will call by a different name.
16 So that he who blesses himself in the land
    shall bless himself by the God of truth,
and he who takes an oath in the land
    shall swear by the God of truth;
because the former troubles are forgotten
    and are hid from my eyes.

The Glorious New Creation

17 “For behold, I create new heavens
    and a new earth;
and the former things shall not be remembered
    or come into mind.
18 But be glad and rejoice for ever
    in that which I create;
for behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing,
    and her people a joy.
19 I will rejoice in Jerusalem,
    and be glad in my people;
no more shall be heard in it the sound of weeping
    and the cry of distress.
20 No more shall there be in it
    an infant that lives but a few days,
    or an old man who does not fill out his days,
for the child shall die a hundred years old,
    and the sinner a hundred years old shall be accursed.
21 They shall build houses and inhabit them;
    they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit.
22 They shall not build and another inhabit;
    they shall not plant and another eat;
for like the days of a tree shall the days of my people be,
    and my chosen shall long enjoy the work of their hands.
23 They shall not labor in vain,
    or bear children for calamity;[bs]
for they shall be the offspring of the blessed of the Lord,
    and their children with them.

Footnotes:

  1. Isaiah 40:2 Or time of service
  2. Isaiah 40:9 Or O herald of good tidings to Zion
  3. Isaiah 40:9 Or O herald of good tidings to Jerusalem
  4. Isaiah 40:20 Heb uncertain
  5. Isaiah 41:25 Cn: Heb come
  6. Isaiah 41:27 Cn: Heb first to Zion, Behold, behold them
  7. Isaiah 42:4 Or burn dimly
  8. Isaiah 42:4 Or bruised
  9. Isaiah 42:10 Cn Compare Ps 96.11; 98.7: Heb Those who go down to the sea
  10. Isaiah 42:20 Heb you see
  11. Isaiah 43:14 Heb obscure
  12. Isaiah 44:4 Gk Compare Tg: Heb They shall spring up in among grass
  13. Isaiah 44:7 Cn: Heb from my placing an eternal people and things to come
  14. Isaiah 44:7 Tg: Heb them
  15. Isaiah 44:12 Cn: Heb an axe
  16. Isaiah 44:24 Another reading is who spread out the earth by myself
  17. Isaiah 45:2 One ancient Ms Gk: Heb the swellings
  18. Isaiah 45:8 One ancient Ms: Heb that they may bring forth salvation
  19. Isaiah 45:9 Cn: Heb potsherds or potters
  20. Isaiah 45:11 Cn: Heb Ask me of things to come
  21. Isaiah 47:13 Gk Syr Compare Vg: Heb from what
  22. Isaiah 48:1 Cn: Heb waters
  23. Isaiah 48:10 Cn: Heb with
  24. Isaiah 48:11 Gk Old Latin: Heb lacks my name
  25. Isaiah 49:12 Cn: Heb Sinim
  26. Isaiah 49:24 One ancient Ms Syr Vg: Heb righteous man
  27. Isaiah 50:11 Syr: Heb gird yourselves with brands
  28. Isaiah 51:6 Or in like manner
  29. Isaiah 51:16 Syr: Heb plant
  30. Isaiah 51:19 One ancient Ms Gk Syr Vg: Heb how may I comfort you
  31. Isaiah 52:2 Cn: Heb sit
  32. Isaiah 52:14 Syr Tg: Heb you
  33. Isaiah 52:15 The meaning of the Hebrew word is uncertain
  34. Isaiah 53:3 Or forsaken
  35. Isaiah 53:3 Or pains
  36. Isaiah 53:3 Or sickness
  37. Isaiah 53:4 Or sicknesses
  38. Isaiah 53:4 Or pains
  39. Isaiah 53:10 Heb made him sick
  40. Isaiah 53:10 Vg: Heb thou makest his soul
  41. Isaiah 54:11 Or lapis lazuli
  42. Isaiah 56:8 Heb his gathered ones
  43. Isaiah 56:12 One ancient Ms Syr Vg Tg: Heb me
  44. Isaiah 57:8 The meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain
  45. Isaiah 57:9 Or the king
  46. Isaiah 58:3 Or pursue your own business
  47. Isaiah 58:11 The meaning of the Hebrew word is uncertain
  48. Isaiah 58:13 Or business
  49. Isaiah 58:13 Or pursuing your own business
  50. Isaiah 60:5 Heb be enlarged
  51. Isaiah 60:19 One ancient Ms Gk Old Latin Tg: Heb lacks by night
  52. Isaiah 61:1 Or poor
  53. Isaiah 61:1 Or the opening of the eyes: Heb the opening
  54. Isaiah 61:7 Heb they
  55. Isaiah 61:7 Heb their
  56. Isaiah 61:7 Heb their
  57. Isaiah 61:7 Heb they
  58. Isaiah 61:7 Heb theirs
  59. Isaiah 61:8 Or robbery with a burnt offering
  60. Isaiah 62:4 Heb Azubah
  61. Isaiah 62:4 Heb Shemamah
  62. Isaiah 62:4 Heb Hephzibah
  63. Isaiah 62:4 Heb Beulah
  64. Isaiah 63:4 Or the year of my redeemed
  65. Isaiah 63:9 Another reading is he did not afflict
  66. Isaiah 64:2 Ch 64.1 in Heb
  67. Isaiah 64:5 Hebrew obscure
  68. Isaiah 64:7 Gk Syr Old Latin Tg: Heb melted
  69. Isaiah 65:7 Gk Syr: Heb your
  70. Isaiah 65:7 Gk Syr: Heb your
  71. Isaiah 65:23 Or sudden terror
Revised Standard Version (RSV)

Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946, 1952, and 1971 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Isaiah 40-50 New International Version (NIV)

Comfort for God’s People

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

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

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

“All people are like grass,
    and all their faithfulness is like the flowers of the field.
The grass withers and the flowers fall,
    because the breath of the Lord blows on them.
    Surely the people are grass.
The grass withers and the flowers fall,
    but the word of our God endures forever.

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

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

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

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

21 Do you not know?
    Have you not heard?
Has it not been told you from the beginning?
    Have you not understood since the earth was founded?
22 He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth,
    and its people are like grasshoppers.
He stretches out the heavens like a canopy,
    and spreads them out like a tent to live in.
23 He brings princes to naught
    and reduces the rulers of this world to nothing.
24 No sooner are they planted,
    no sooner are they sown,
    no sooner do they take root in the ground,
than he blows on them and they wither,
    and a whirlwind sweeps them away like chaff.

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

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”?
28 Do you not know?
    Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
    the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
    and his understanding no one can fathom.
29 He gives strength to the weary
    and increases the power of the weak.
30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
    and young men stumble and fall;
31 but those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint.

The Helper of Israel

41 “Be silent before me, you islands!
    Let the nations renew their strength!
Let them come forward and speak;
    let us meet together at the place of judgment.

“Who has stirred up one from the east,
    calling him in righteousness to his service[e]?
He hands nations over to him
    and subdues kings before him.
He turns them to dust with his sword,
    to windblown chaff with his bow.
He pursues them and moves on unscathed,
    by a path his feet have not traveled before.
Who has done this and carried it through,
    calling forth the generations from the beginning?
I, the Lord—with the first of them
    and with the last—I am he.

The islands have seen it and fear;
    the ends of the earth tremble.
They approach and come forward;
    they help each other
    and say to their companions, “Be strong!
The metalworker encourages the goldsmith,
    and the one who smooths with the hammer
    spurs on the one who strikes the anvil.
One says of the welding, “It is good.”
    The other nails down the idol so it will not topple.

“But you, Israel, my servant,
    Jacob, whom I have chosen,
    you descendants of Abraham my friend,
I took you from the ends of the earth,
    from its farthest corners I called you.
I said, ‘You are my servant’;
    I have chosen you and have not rejected you.
10 So do not fear, for I am with you;
    do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

11 “All who rage against you
    will surely be ashamed and disgraced;
those who oppose you
    will be as nothing and perish.
12 Though you search for your enemies,
    you will not find them.
Those who wage war against you
    will be as nothing at all.
13 For I am the Lord your God
    who takes hold of your right hand
and says to you, Do not fear;
    I will help you.
14 Do not be afraid, you worm Jacob,
    little Israel, do not fear,
for I myself will help you,” declares the Lord,
    your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.
15 “See, I will make you into a threshing sledge,
    new and sharp, with many teeth.
You will thresh the mountains and crush them,
    and reduce the hills to chaff.
16 You will winnow them, the wind will pick them up,
    and a gale will blow them away.
But you will rejoice in the Lord
    and glory in the Holy One of Israel.

17 “The poor and needy search for water,
    but there is none;
    their tongues are parched with thirst.
But I the Lord will answer them;
    I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them.
18 I will make rivers flow on barren heights,
    and springs within the valleys.
I will turn the desert into pools of water,
    and the parched ground into springs.
19 I will put in the desert
    the cedar and the acacia, the myrtle and the olive.
I will set junipers in the wasteland,
    the fir and the cypress together,
20 so that people may see and know,
    may consider and understand,
that the hand of the Lord has done this,
    that the Holy One of Israel has created it.

21 “Present your case,” says the Lord.
    “Set forth your arguments,” says Jacob’s King.
22 “Tell us, you idols,
    what is going to happen.
Tell us what the former things were,
    so that we may consider them
    and know their final outcome.
Or declare to us the things to come,
23     tell us what the future holds,
    so we may know that you are gods.
Do something, whether good or bad,
    so that we will be dismayed and filled with fear.
24 But you are less than nothing
    and your works are utterly worthless;
    whoever chooses you is detestable.

25 “I have stirred up one from the north, and he comes—
    one from the rising sun who calls on my name.
He treads on rulers as if they were mortar,
    as if he were a potter treading the clay.
26 Who told of this from the beginning, so we could know,
    or beforehand, so we could say, ‘He was right’?
No one told of this,
    no one foretold it,
    no one heard any words from you.
27 I was the first to tell Zion, ‘Look, here they are!’
    I gave to Jerusalem a messenger of good news.
28 I look but there is no one
    no one among the gods to give counsel,
    no one to give answer when I ask them.
29 See, they are all false!
    Their deeds amount to nothing;
    their images are but wind and confusion.

The Servant of the Lord

42 “Here is my servant, whom I uphold,
    my chosen one in whom I delight;
I will put my Spirit on him,
    and he will bring justice to the nations.
He will not shout or cry out,
    or raise his voice in the streets.
A bruised reed he will not break,
    and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.
In faithfulness he will bring forth justice;
    he will not falter or be discouraged
till he establishes justice on earth.
    In his teaching the islands will put their hope.”

This is what God the Lord says—
the Creator of the heavens, who stretches them out,
    who spreads out the earth with all that springs from it,
    who gives breath to its people,
    and life to those who walk on it:
“I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness;
    I will take hold of your hand.
I will keep you and will make you
    to be a covenant for the people
    and a light for the Gentiles,
to open eyes that are blind,
    to free captives from prison
    and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.

“I am the Lord; that is my name!
    I will not yield my glory to another
    or my praise to idols.
See, the former things have taken place,
    and new things I declare;
before they spring into being
    I announce them to you.”

Song of Praise to the Lord

10 Sing to the Lord a new song,
    his praise from the ends of the earth,
you who go down to the sea, and all that is in it,
    you islands, and all who live in them.
11 Let the wilderness and its towns raise their voices;
    let the settlements where Kedar lives rejoice.
Let the people of Sela sing for joy;
    let them shout from the mountaintops.
12 Let them give glory to the Lord
    and proclaim his praise in the islands.
13 The Lord will march out like a champion,
    like a warrior he will stir up his zeal;
with a shout he will raise the battle cry
    and will triumph over his enemies.

14 “For a long time I have kept silent,
    I have been quiet and held myself back.
But now, like a woman in childbirth,
    I cry out, I gasp and pant.
15 I will lay waste the mountains and hills
    and dry up all their vegetation;
I will turn rivers into islands
    and dry up the pools.
16 I will lead the blind by ways they have not known,
    along unfamiliar paths I will guide them;
I will turn the darkness into light before them
    and make the rough places smooth.
These are the things I will do;
    I will not forsake them.
17 But those who trust in idols,
    who say to images, ‘You are our gods,’
    will be turned back in utter shame.

Israel Blind and Deaf

18 “Hear, you deaf;
    look, you blind, and see!
19 Who is blind but my servant,
    and deaf like the messenger I send?
Who is blind like the one in covenant with me,
    blind like the servant of the Lord?
20 You have seen many things, but you pay no attention;
    your ears are open, but you do not listen.”
21 It pleased the Lord
    for the sake of his righteousness
    to make his law great and glorious.
22 But this is a people plundered and looted,
    all of them trapped in pits
    or hidden away in prisons.
They have become plunder,
    with no one to rescue them;
they have been made loot,
    with no one to say, “Send them back.”

23 Which of you will listen to this
    or pay close attention in time to come?
24 Who handed Jacob over to become loot,
    and Israel to the plunderers?
Was it not the Lord,
    against whom we have sinned?
For they would not follow his ways;
    they did not obey his law.
25 So he poured out on them his burning anger,
    the violence of war.
It enveloped them in flames, yet they did not understand;
    it consumed them, but they did not take it to heart.

Israel’s Only Savior

43 But now, this is what the Lord says—
    he who created you, Jacob,
    he who formed you, Israel:
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
    I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters,
    I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
    they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
    you will not be burned;
    the flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the Lord your God,
    the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;
I give Egypt for your ransom,
    Cush[f] and Seba in your stead.
Since you are precious and honored in my sight,
    and because I love you,
I will give people in exchange for you,
    nations in exchange for your life.
Do not be afraid, for I am with you;
    I will bring your children from the east
    and gather you from the west.
I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’
    and to the south, ‘Do not hold them back.’
Bring my sons from afar
    and my daughters from the ends of the earth
everyone who is called by my name,
    whom I created for my glory,
    whom I formed and made.

Lead out those who have eyes but are blind,
    who have ears but are deaf.
All the nations gather together
    and the peoples assemble.
Which of their gods foretold this
    and proclaimed to us the former things?
Let them bring in their witnesses to prove they were right,
    so that others may hear and say, “It is true.”
10 “You are my witnesses,” declares the Lord,
    “and my servant whom I have chosen,
so that you may know and believe me
    and understand that I am he.
Before me no god was formed,
    nor will there be one after me.
11 I, even I, am the Lord,
    and apart from me there is no savior.
12 I have revealed and saved and proclaimed—
    I, and not some foreign god among you.
You are my witnesses,” declares the Lord, “that I am God.
13     Yes, and from ancient days I am he.
No one can deliver out of my hand.
    When I act, who can reverse it?”

God’s Mercy and Israel’s Unfaithfulness

14 This is what the Lord says—
    your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel:
“For your sake I will send to Babylon
    and bring down as fugitives all the Babylonians,[g]
    in the ships in which they took pride.
15 I am the Lord, your Holy One,
    Israel’s Creator, your King.

16 This is what the Lord says—
    he who made a way through the sea,
    a path through the mighty waters,
17 who drew out the chariots and horses,
    the army and reinforcements together,
and they lay there, never to rise again,
    extinguished, snuffed out like a wick:
18 “Forget the former things;
    do not dwell on the past.
19 See, I am doing a new thing!
    Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
    and streams in the wasteland.
20 The wild animals honor me,
    the jackals and the owls,
because I provide water in the wilderness
    and streams in the wasteland,
to give drink to my people, my chosen,
21     the people I formed for myself
    that they may proclaim my praise.

22 “Yet you have not called on me, Jacob,
    you have not wearied yourselves for[h] me, Israel.
23 You have not brought me sheep for burnt offerings,
    nor honored me with your sacrifices.
I have not burdened you with grain offerings
    nor wearied you with demands for incense.
24 You have not bought any fragrant calamus for me,
    or lavished on me the fat of your sacrifices.
But you have burdened me with your sins
    and wearied me with your offenses.

25 “I, even I, am he who blots out
    your transgressions, for my own sake,
    and remembers your sins no more.
26 Review the past for me,
    let us argue the matter together;
    state the case for your innocence.
27 Your first father sinned;
    those I sent to teach you rebelled against me.
28 So I disgraced the dignitaries of your temple;
    I consigned Jacob to destruction[i]
    and Israel to scorn.

Israel the Chosen

44 “But now listen, Jacob, my servant,
    Israel, whom I have chosen.
This is what the Lord says—
    he who made you, who formed you in the womb,
    and who will help you:
Do not be afraid, Jacob, my servant,
    Jeshurun,[j] whom I have chosen.
For I will pour water on the thirsty land,
    and streams on the dry ground;
I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring,
    and my blessing on your descendants.
They will spring up like grass in a meadow,
    like poplar trees by flowing streams.
Some will say, ‘I belong to the Lord’;
    others will call themselves by the name of Jacob;
still others will write on their hand, ‘The Lord’s,’
    and will take the name Israel.

The Lord, Not Idols

“This is what the Lord says—
    Israel’s King and Redeemer, the Lord Almighty:
I am the first and I am the last;
    apart from me there is no God.
Who then is like me? Let him proclaim it.
    Let him declare and lay out before me
what has happened since I established my ancient people,
    and what is yet to come—
    yes, let them foretell what will come.
Do not tremble, do not be afraid.
    Did I not proclaim this and foretell it long ago?
You are my witnesses. Is there any God besides me?
    No, there is no other Rock; I know not one.”

All who make idols are nothing,
    and the things they treasure are worthless.
Those who would speak up for them are blind;
    they are ignorant, to their own shame.
10 Who shapes a god and casts an idol,
    which can profit nothing?
11 People who do that will be put to shame;
    such craftsmen are only human beings.
Let them all come together and take their stand;
    they will be brought down to terror and shame.

12 The blacksmith takes a tool
    and works with it in the coals;
he shapes an idol with hammers,
    he forges it with the might of his arm.
He gets hungry and loses his strength;
    he drinks no water and grows faint.
13 The carpenter measures with a line
    and makes an outline with a marker;
he roughs it out with chisels
    and marks it with compasses.
He shapes it in human form,
    human form in all its glory,
    that it may dwell in a shrine.
14 He cut down cedars,
    or perhaps took a cypress or oak.
He let it grow among the trees of the forest,
    or planted a pine, and the rain made it grow.
15 It is used as fuel for burning;
    some of it he takes and warms himself,
    he kindles a fire and bakes bread.
But he also fashions a god and worships it;
    he makes an idol and bows down to it.
16 Half of the wood he burns in the fire;
    over it he prepares his meal,
    he roasts his meat and eats his fill.
He also warms himself and says,
    “Ah! I am warm; I see the fire.
17 From the rest he makes a god, his idol;
    he bows down to it and worships.
He prays to it and says,
    “Save me! You are my god!”
18 They know nothing, they understand nothing;
    their eyes are plastered over so they cannot see,
    and their minds closed so they cannot understand.
19 No one stops to think,
    no one has the knowledge or understanding to say,
“Half of it I used for fuel;
    I even baked bread over its coals,
    I roasted meat and I ate.
Shall I make a detestable thing from what is left?
    Shall I bow down to a block of wood?”
20 Such a person feeds on ashes; a deluded heart misleads him;
    he cannot save himself, or say,
    “Is not this thing in my right hand a lie?

21 “Remember these things, Jacob,
    for you, Israel, are my servant.
I have made you, you are my servant;
    Israel, I will not forget you.
22 I have swept away your offenses like a cloud,
    your sins like the morning mist.
Return to me,
    for I have redeemed you.”

23 Sing for joy, you heavens, for the Lord has done this;
    shout aloud, you earth beneath.
Burst into song, you mountains,
    you forests and all your trees,
for the Lord has redeemed Jacob,
    he displays his glory in Israel.

Jerusalem to Be Inhabited

24 “This is what the Lord says—
    your Redeemer, who formed you in the womb:

I am the Lord,
    the Maker of all things,
    who stretches out the heavens,
    who spreads out the earth by myself,
25 who foils the signs of false prophets
    and makes fools of diviners,
who overthrows the learning of the wise
    and turns it into nonsense,
26 who carries out the words of his servants
    and fulfills the predictions of his messengers,

who says of Jerusalem, ‘It shall be inhabited,’
    of the towns of Judah, ‘They shall be rebuilt,’
    and of their ruins, ‘I will restore them,’
27 who says to the watery deep, ‘Be dry,
    and I will dry up your streams,’
28 who says of Cyrus, ‘He is my shepherd
    and will accomplish all that I please;
he will say of Jerusalem, “Let it be rebuilt,”
    and of the temple, “Let its foundations be laid.”’

45 “This is what the Lord says to his anointed,
    to Cyrus, whose right hand I take hold of
to subdue nations before him
    and to strip kings of their armor,
to open doors before him
    so that gates will not be shut:
I will go before you
    and will level the mountains[k];
I will break down gates of bronze
    and cut through bars of iron.
I will give you hidden treasures,
    riches stored in secret places,
so that you may know that I am the Lord,
    the God of Israel, who summons you by name.
For the sake of Jacob my servant,
    of Israel my chosen,
I summon you by name
    and bestow on you a title of honor,
    though you do not acknowledge me.
I am the Lord, and there is no other;
    apart from me there is no God.
I will strengthen you,
    though you have not acknowledged me,
so that from the rising of the sun
    to the place of its setting
people may know there is none besides me.
    I am the Lord, and there is no other.
I form the light and create darkness,
    I bring prosperity and create disaster;
    I, the Lord, do all these things.

“You heavens above, rain down my righteousness;
    let the clouds shower it down.
Let the earth open wide,
    let salvation spring up,
let righteousness flourish with it;
    I, the Lord, have created it.

“Woe to those who quarrel with their Maker,
    those who are nothing but potsherds
    among the potsherds on the ground.
Does the clay say to the potter,
    ‘What are you making?’
Does your work say,
    ‘The potter has no hands’?
10 Woe to the one who says to a father,
    ‘What have you begotten?’
or to a mother,
    ‘What have you brought to birth?’

11 “This is what the Lord says—
    the Holy One of Israel, and its Maker:
Concerning things to come,
    do you question me about my children,
    or give me orders about the work of my hands?
12 It is I who made the earth
    and created mankind on it.
My own hands stretched out the heavens;
    I marshaled their starry hosts.
13 I will raise up Cyrus[l] in my righteousness:
    I will make all his ways straight.
He will rebuild my city
    and set my exiles free,
but not for a price or reward,
    says the Lord Almighty.”

14 This is what the Lord says:

“The products of Egypt and the merchandise of Cush,[m]
    and those tall Sabeans
they will come over to you
    and will be yours;
they will trudge behind you,
    coming over to you in chains.
They will bow down before you
    and plead with you, saying,
‘Surely God is with you, and there is no other;
    there is no other god.’”

15 Truly you are a God who has been hiding himself,
    the God and Savior of Israel.
16 All the makers of idols will be put to shame and disgraced;
    they will go off into disgrace together.
17 But Israel will be saved by the Lord
    with an everlasting salvation;
you will never be put to shame or disgraced,
    to ages everlasting.

18 For this is what the Lord says—
he who created the heavens,
    he is God;
he who fashioned and made the earth,
    he founded it;
he did not create it to be empty,
    but formed it to be inhabited
he says:
“I am the Lord,
    and there is no other.
19 I have not spoken in secret,
    from somewhere in a land of darkness;
I have not said to Jacob’s descendants,
    ‘Seek me in vain.’
I, the Lord, speak the truth;
    I declare what is right.

20 “Gather together and come;
    assemble, you fugitives from the nations.
Ignorant are those who carry about idols of wood,
    who pray to gods that cannot save.
21 Declare what is to be, present it—
    let them take counsel together.
Who foretold this long ago,
    who declared it from the distant past?
Was it not I, the Lord?
    And there is no God apart from me,
a righteous God and a Savior;
    there is none but me.

22 “Turn to me and be saved,
    all you ends of the earth;
    for I am God, and there is no other.
23 By myself I have sworn,
    my mouth has uttered in all integrity
    a word that will not be revoked:
Before me every knee will bow;
    by me every tongue will swear.
24 They will say of me, ‘In the Lord alone
    are deliverance and strength.’”
All who have raged against him
    will come to him and be put to shame.
25 But all the descendants of Israel
    will find deliverance in the Lord
    and will make their boast in him.

Gods of Babylon

46 Bel bows down, Nebo stoops low;
    their idols are borne by beasts of burden.[n]
The images that are carried about are burdensome,
    a burden for the weary.
They stoop and bow down together;
    unable to rescue the burden,
    they themselves go off into captivity.

“Listen to me, you descendants of Jacob,
    all the remnant of the people of Israel,
you whom I have upheld since your birth,
    and have carried since you were born.
Even to your old age and gray hairs
    I am he, I am he who will sustain you.
I have made you and I will carry you;
    I will sustain you and I will rescue you.

“With whom will you compare me or count me equal?
    To whom will you liken me that we may be compared?
Some pour out gold from their bags
    and weigh out silver on the scales;
they hire a goldsmith to make it into a god,
    and they bow down and worship it.
They lift it to their shoulders and carry it;
    they set it up in its place, and there it stands.
    From that spot it cannot move.
Even though someone cries out to it, it cannot answer;
    it cannot save them from their troubles.

“Remember this, keep it in mind,
    take it to heart, you rebels.
Remember the former things, those of long ago;
    I am God, and there is no other;
    I am God, and there is none like me.
10 I make known the end from the beginning,
    from ancient times, what is still to come.
I say, ‘My purpose will stand,
    and I will do all that I please.’
11 From the east I summon a bird of prey;
    from a far-off land, a man to fulfill my purpose.
What I have said, that I will bring about;
    what I have planned, that I will do.
12 Listen to me, you stubborn-hearted,
    you who are now far from my righteousness.
13 I am bringing my righteousness near,
    it is not far away;
    and my salvation will not be delayed.
I will grant salvation to Zion,
    my splendor to Israel.

The Fall of Babylon

47 “Go down, sit in the dust,
    Virgin Daughter Babylon;
sit on the ground without a throne,
    queen city of the Babylonians.[o]
No more will you be called
    tender or delicate.
Take millstones and grind flour;
    take off your veil.
Lift up your skirts, bare your legs,
    and wade through the streams.
Your nakedness will be exposed
    and your shame uncovered.
I will take vengeance;
    I will spare no one.

Our Redeemer—the Lord Almighty is his name
    is the Holy One of Israel.

“Sit in silence, go into darkness,
    queen city of the Babylonians;
no more will you be called
    queen of kingdoms.
I was angry with my people
    and desecrated my inheritance;
I gave them into your hand,
    and you showed them no mercy.
Even on the aged
    you laid a very heavy yoke.
You said, ‘I am forever
    the eternal queen!’
But you did not consider these things
    or reflect on what might happen.

“Now then, listen, you lover of pleasure,
    lounging in your security
and saying to yourself,
    ‘I am, and there is none besides me.
I will never be a widow
    or suffer the loss of children.’
Both of these will overtake you
    in a moment, on a single day:
    loss of children and widowhood.
They will come upon you in full measure,
    in spite of your many sorceries
    and all your potent spells.
10 You have trusted in your wickedness
    and have said, ‘No one sees me.’
Your wisdom and knowledge mislead you
    when you say to yourself,
    ‘I am, and there is none besides me.’
11 Disaster will come upon you,
    and you will not know how to conjure it away.
A calamity will fall upon you
    that you cannot ward off with a ransom;
a catastrophe you cannot foresee
    will suddenly come upon you.

12 “Keep on, then, with your magic spells
    and with your many sorceries,
    which you have labored at since childhood.
Perhaps you will succeed,
    perhaps you will cause terror.
13 All the counsel you have received has only worn you out!
    Let your astrologers come forward,
those stargazers who make predictions month by month,
    let them save you from what is coming upon you.
14 Surely they are like stubble;
    the fire will burn them up.
They cannot even save themselves
    from the power of the flame.
These are not coals for warmth;
    this is not a fire to sit by.
15 That is all they are to you—
    these you have dealt with
    and labored with since childhood.
All of them go on in their error;
    there is not one that can save you.

Stubborn Israel

48 “Listen to this, you descendants of Jacob,
    you who are called by the name of Israel
    and come from the line of Judah,
you who take oaths in the name of the Lord
    and invoke the God of Israel—
    but not in truth or righteousness—
you who call yourselves citizens of the holy city
    and claim to rely on the God of Israel—
    the Lord Almighty is his name:
I foretold the former things long ago,
    my mouth announced them and I made them known;
    then suddenly I acted, and they came to pass.
For I knew how stubborn you were;
    your neck muscles were iron,
    your forehead was bronze.
Therefore I told you these things long ago;
    before they happened I announced them to you
so that you could not say,
    ‘My images brought them about;
    my wooden image and metal god ordained them.’
You have heard these things; look at them all.
    Will you not admit them?

“From now on I will tell you of new things,
    of hidden things unknown to you.
They are created now, and not long ago;
    you have not heard of them before today.
So you cannot say,
    ‘Yes, I knew of them.’
You have neither heard nor understood;
    from of old your ears have not been open.
Well do I know how treacherous you are;
    you were called a rebel from birth.
For my own name’s sake I delay my wrath;
    for the sake of my praise I hold it back from you,
    so as not to destroy you completely.
10 See, I have refined you, though not as silver;
    I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.
11 For my own sake, for my own sake, I do this.
    How can I let myself be defamed?
    I will not yield my glory to another.

Israel Freed

12 “Listen to me, Jacob,
    Israel, whom I have called:
I am he;
    I am the first and I am the last.
13 My own hand laid the foundations of the earth,
    and my right hand spread out the heavens;
when I summon them,
    they all stand up together.

14 “Come together, all of you, and listen:
    Which of the idols has foretold these things?
The Lord’s chosen ally
    will carry out his purpose against Babylon;
    his arm will be against the Babylonians.[p]
15 I, even I, have spoken;
    yes, I have called him.
I will bring him,
    and he will succeed in his mission.

16 “Come near me and listen to this:

“From the first announcement I have not spoken in secret;
    at the time it happens, I am there.”

And now the Sovereign Lord has sent me,
    endowed with his Spirit.

17 This is what the Lord says—
    your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel:
“I am the Lord your God,
    who teaches you what is best for you,
    who directs you in the way you should go.
18 If only you had paid attention to my commands,
    your peace would have been like a river,
    your well-being like the waves of the sea.
19 Your descendants would have been like the sand,
    your children like its numberless grains;
their name would never be blotted out
    nor destroyed from before me.”

20 Leave Babylon,
    flee from the Babylonians!
Announce this with shouts of joy
    and proclaim it.
Send it out to the ends of the earth;
    say, “The Lord has redeemed his servant Jacob.”
21 They did not thirst when he led them through the deserts;
    he made water flow for them from the rock;
he split the rock
    and water gushed out.

22 “There is no peace,” says the Lord, “for the wicked.”

The Servant of the Lord

49 Listen to me, you islands;
    hear this, you distant nations:
Before I was born the Lord called me;
    from my mother’s womb he has spoken my name.
He made my mouth like a sharpened sword,
    in the shadow of his hand he hid me;
he made me into a polished arrow
    and concealed me in his quiver.
He said to me, “You are my servant,
    Israel, in whom I will display my splendor.
But I said, “I have labored in vain;
    I have spent my strength for nothing at all.
Yet what is due me is in the Lord’s hand,
    and my reward is with my God.”

And now the Lord says—
    he who formed me in the womb to be his servant
to bring Jacob back to him
    and gather Israel to himself,
for I am[q] honored in the eyes of the Lord
    and my God has been my strength
he says:
“It is too small a thing for you to be my servant
    to restore the tribes of Jacob
    and bring back those of Israel I have kept.
I will also make you a light for the Gentiles,
    that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.”

This is what the Lord says—
    the Redeemer and Holy One of Israel
to him who was despised and abhorred by the nation,
    to the servant of rulers:
“Kings will see you and stand up,
    princes will see and bow down,
because of the Lord, who is faithful,
    the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen you.”

Restoration of Israel

This is what the Lord says:

“In the time of my favor I will answer you,
    and in the day of salvation I will help you;
I will keep you and will make you
    to be a covenant for the people,
to restore the land
    and to reassign its desolate inheritances,
to say to the captives, ‘Come out,’
    and to those in darkness, ‘Be free!’

“They will feed beside the roads
    and find pasture on every barren hill.
10 They will neither hunger nor thirst,
    nor will the desert heat or the sun beat down on them.
He who has compassion on them will guide them
    and lead them beside springs of water.
11 I will turn all my mountains into roads,
    and my highways will be raised up.
12 See, they will come from afar
    some from the north, some from the west,
    some from the region of Aswan.[r]

13 Shout for joy, you heavens;
    rejoice, you earth;
    burst into song, you mountains!
For the Lord comforts his people
    and will have compassion on his afflicted ones.

14 But Zion said, “The Lord has forsaken me,
    the Lord has forgotten me.”

15 “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast
    and have no compassion on the child she has borne?
Though she may forget,
    I will not forget you!
16 See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands;
    your walls are ever before me.
17 Your children hasten back,
    and those who laid you waste depart from you.
18 Lift up your eyes and look around;
    all your children gather and come to you.
As surely as I live,” declares the Lord,
    “you will wear them all as ornaments;
    you will put them on, like a bride.

19 “Though you were ruined and made desolate
    and your land laid waste,
now you will be too small for your people,
    and those who devoured you will be far away.
20 The children born during your bereavement
    will yet say in your hearing,
‘This place is too small for us;
    give us more space to live in.’
21 Then you will say in your heart,
    ‘Who bore me these?
I was bereaved and barren;
    I was exiled and rejected.
    Who brought these up?
I was left all alone,
    but these—where have they come from?’”

22 This is what the Sovereign Lord says:

“See, I will beckon to the nations,
    I will lift up my banner to the peoples;
they will bring your sons in their arms
    and carry your daughters on their hips.
23 Kings will be your foster fathers,
    and their queens your nursing mothers.
They will bow down before you with their faces to the ground;
    they will lick the dust at your feet.
Then you will know that I am the Lord;
    those who hope in me will not be disappointed.

24 Can plunder be taken from warriors,
    or captives be rescued from the fierce[s]?

25 But this is what the Lord says:

“Yes, captives will be taken from warriors,
    and plunder retrieved from the fierce;
I will contend with those who contend with you,
    and your children I will save.
26 I will make your oppressors eat their own flesh;
    they will be drunk on their own blood, as with wine.
Then all mankind will know
    that I, the Lord, am your Savior,
    your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.

Israel’s Sin and the Servant’s Obedience

50 This is what the Lord says:

“Where is your mother’s certificate of divorce
    with which I sent her away?
Or to which of my creditors
    did I sell you?
Because of your sins you were sold;
    because of your transgressions your mother was sent away.
When I came, why was there no one?
    When I called, why was there no one to answer?
Was my arm too short to deliver you?
    Do I lack the strength to rescue you?
By a mere rebuke I dry up the sea,
    I turn rivers into a desert;
their fish rot for lack of water
    and die of thirst.
I clothe the heavens with darkness
    and make sackcloth its covering.”

The Sovereign Lord has given me a well-instructed tongue,
    to know the word that sustains the weary.
He wakens me morning by morning,
    wakens my ear to listen like one being instructed.
The Sovereign Lord has opened my ears;
    I have not been rebellious,
    I have not turned away.
I offered my back to those who beat me,
    my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard;
I did not hide my face
    from mocking and spitting.
Because the Sovereign Lord helps me,
    I will not be disgraced.
Therefore have I set my face like flint,
    and I know I will not be put to shame.
He who vindicates me is near.
    Who then will bring charges against me?
    Let us face each other!
Who is my accuser?
    Let him confront me!

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
  5. Isaiah 41:2 Or east, / whom victory meets at every step
  6. Isaiah 43:3 That is, the upper Nile region
  7. Isaiah 43:14 Or Chaldeans
  8. Isaiah 43:22 Or Jacob; / surely you have grown weary of
  9. Isaiah 43:28 The Hebrew term refers to the irrevocable giving over of things or persons to the Lord, often by totally destroying them.
  10. Isaiah 44:2 Jeshurun means the upright one, that is, Israel.
  11. Isaiah 45:2 Dead Sea Scrolls and Septuagint; the meaning of the word in the Masoretic Text is uncertain.
  12. Isaiah 45:13 Hebrew him
  13. Isaiah 45:14 That is, the upper Nile region
  14. Isaiah 46:1 Or are but beasts and cattle
  15. Isaiah 47:1 Or Chaldeans; also in verse 5
  16. Isaiah 48:14 Or Chaldeans; also in verse 20
  17. Isaiah 49:5 Or him, / but Israel would not be gathered; / yet I will be
  18. Isaiah 49:12 Dead Sea Scrolls; Masoretic Text Sinim
  19. Isaiah 49:24 Dead Sea Scrolls, Vulgate and Syriac (see also Septuagint and verse 25); Masoretic Text righteous
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