The Passion Translation
God Promises to Help Israel
41 “You lands of the sea, stand silent before me![a]
Let the people renew their strength!
Let them approach me and state their case.
Let’s come together to decide who is right.
2 Who raised up the conqueror from the east?[b]
Who commissioned him for his righteous purpose?[c]
The Lord hands nations over to him[d]
to trample kings under his feet,[e]
to make them like dust with his sword[f]
and like windblown chaff with his bow.[g]
3 Swiftly he pursues them and advances unscathed
as he passes over unfamiliar land.[h]
4 Who achieved all this and made it happen?
Who guides the destiny of each generation[i]
from the first until now?
I am the one! I am Yahweh, the first,
the unchanging one who will be there in the end!”
5 The islands see it and panic;
the ends of the earth tremble;
they approach and draw near.
6 The idol-makers all bolster one another up,
saying, “Take courage!”
7 The woodworker encourages the metalsmith;
the one who flattens with the hammer
spurs on the one who strikes the anvil,
saying of the welding, “Looks good!”
They nail down the idol so it won’t topple.
8 “But you—my servant, Israel,[j]
Jacob, whom I’ve chosen,
seed of my beloved friend[k] Abraham—
9 I drew you to myself from the ends of the earth
and called you from its farthest corner.
I say to you:
‘You are my servant; I have chosen you.
I have not rejected you!
10 Do not yield to fear, for I am always near.
Never turn your gaze from me,[l] for I am your faithful God.
I will infuse you with my strength
and help you in every situation.[m]
I will hold you firmly with my victorious right hand.’
11 “All who rage against you will be ashamed and disgraced.
All who contend with you will perish and disappear.
12 You will look for your enemies in vain;
those who war against you will vanish without a trace!
13 I am Yahweh, your mighty God!
I grip your right hand and won’t let you go!
I whisper to you:
‘Don’t be afraid; I am here to help you!’
14 “Jacob, although you feel like a grub worm,[n] have no fear!
O men of Israel, I am here to help you!
I am your Kinsman-Redeemer,[o]
the Holy One of Israel![p]
15 I am making you into a powerful threshing instrument,[q]
with teeth[r] new and sharp!
You will reduce hills to chaff and crush mountains[s] into dust!
16 You will winnow them, and the stormy wind will blow them away!
Then you will spin and dance with rejoicing[t] in Yahweh,
boasting with admiration in the Holy One of Israel![u]
17 “I, Yahweh, will respond to the cry of the poor and needy
when they are thirsty and their tongues are parched with thirst!
When they seek a drink of water but there is none,
I, the God of Israel, will not abandon them.
18 I will open up refreshing streams[v] on the barren hills
and springing fountains in the valleys.[w]
I will make the desert a pleasant pool[x]
and the dry land springs of water.[y]
19 I will plant in the treeless desert cedars and achaia,[z]
myrtle[aa] and olive trees.[ab]
I will set in the wilderness evergreens,[ac]
together with many elm and cypress.[ad]
20 Everyone will see
and know that I, Yahweh, with my mighty hands have done this.
They will consider and comprehend
that the Holy One of Israel has created it.”[ae]
Pagan Gods Are Nothing
21 Yahweh says, “Present your case.”
“Let’s hear your arguments,” says the King of Jacob’s tribes.
22 “Come, you idols, and let’s hear your prophecy for the future.
Tell us, tell us about your former prophecies
so we can test them and see if they were fulfilled,
or decree some future event for us.
23 Prophesy what the future holds
to prove to us that you are gods.
Frighten us or put us in awe!
24 But you are nothing at all! What have you ever accomplished?
Whoever chooses to worship you is disgusting!
25 “I stirred up one from the north,
who comes from the rising of the sun.
He will call on my name.[ag]
He will trample rulers into the mud as a potter treads clay.
26 Which of you foretold this from the start?
Who prophesied it from long ago that we can say, ‘He is right’?
None of you prophesied it!
None of you announced it ahead of time!
No one heard you say a thing about it!
27 I was the first to decree to Zion, ‘Look, this is what’s about to happen!’[ah]
I am bringing a messenger to Jerusalem with good news.
28 But when I look, I find no one who is capable to counsel me!
There is no one who can respond to me with the right answer!
Who could I even ask?
29 Look, all these gods are nothingness!
What have they ever accomplished?
Their metal images are nothing but empty wind and confusion!
- Isaiah 41:1 Or “hold a feast to me” (LXX).
- Isaiah 41:2 See Isa. 46:11.
- Isaiah 41:2 Or “Righteousness summoned him to his foot.” Some see King Cyrus as the conqueror mentioned here; others, Abraham. It can also be viewed as a prophecy of the Lord Jesus. He is the Mighty One who conquers nations with his love.
- Isaiah 41:2 See Gen. 12:1-3; Ps. 2:8; Rev. 2:26-29.
- Isaiah 41:2 See Ps. 149:6-9.
- Isaiah 41:2 See Eph. 6:17-18; Heb. 4:12.
- Isaiah 41:2 See Rev. 6:1-2.
- Isaiah 41:3 Or “No shackle is placed on his feet” (Old Aramaic).
- Isaiah 41:4 Or “calling nations (to be formed) from the beginning.”
- Isaiah 41:8 Yahweh sings three poems of comfort in this chapter: to his chosen servant, Israel (vv. 8–13), to his redeemed warrior-bride (vv. 14–16), and to the poor and needy (vv. 17–20).
- Isaiah 41:8 See James 2:23.
- Isaiah 41:10 Or “Don’t be frightened.” The Hebrew root word sha ah means “to gaze, to look around.”
- Isaiah 41:10 See Deut. 31:6-8.
- Isaiah 41:14 David used this term to prophetically point to Jesus as he was being crucified. See Ps. 22:6. The Hebrew word is tola, which is a species of worm found in the Middle East (Coccus ilicus) that reproduces itself when the female fastens herself to a tree and lays eggs between her body and the tree. When the eggs hatch, the baby worms feed on her living body. When the eggs emerge, the blood remains on the tree as a crimson stain. When Jesus died on the cross (tree), his blood left a crimson stain and he gave birth to the church. He nourishes us and sustains us with body and blood.
- Isaiah 41:14 A kinsman-redeemer (go’el) is a male relative who was culturally responsible to act on behalf of a relative who was in trouble or danger, needed to be redeemed from slavery, or was in need of rescue. He became like a “savior” or “family protector” for his next of kin. Jesus, our next of kin, is our Kinsman-Redeemer. The Hebrew verb ga’al (“to act as redeemer”) is found more than one hundred times in the Hebrew Bible. See Ruth 2:20.
- Isaiah 41:14 Although God is holy, he stoops to tenderly help those who feel unholy.
- Isaiah 41:15 Or “a threshing sledge,” a board with iron studs like teeth that is driven over wheat to grind the chaff off the grain, which is then winnowed.
- Isaiah 41:15 Or “the owner of two mouths.” The Word of God is like a “two-mouthed sword” (Heb. 4:12), for it is spoken from God’s mouth and is released in power as it is spoken from our mouths. We will become God’s two-mouthed threshing instrument!
- Isaiah 41:15 Mountains are a frequent biblical metaphor for kingdoms and nations.
- Isaiah 41:16 The Hebrew word for “rejoice” (giyl) implies “twirling, spinning, shouting with delight and joy.”
- Isaiah 41:16 Or “You will rejoice among the holy things of Israel.”
- Isaiah 41:18 See John 7:37-39.
- Isaiah 41:18 See Ps. 84:6.
- Isaiah 41:18 See Isa. 35:1-10.
- Isaiah 41:18 See 68:5–6.
- Isaiah 41:19 Acacia wood was used extensively in the tabernacle and was used to form the ark of the covenant.
- Isaiah 41:19 “Myrtle” is the Hebrew word Hadassah, Esther’s Jewish name.
- Isaiah 41:19 Or “trees of oil” (the Holy Spirit).
- Isaiah 41:19 Or “fir trees.”
- Isaiah 41:19 These seven trees speak of fullness of new creation life. Compare them to the seven branches of the lampstand and the seven Spirits of God.
- Isaiah 41:20 That is, the Lord created the unity of this forest. God is the one who makes us one.
- Isaiah 41:23 Or “Do good, do harm.”
- Isaiah 41:25 Or “He is summoned in my name.” Some believe that Cyrus fulfilled this prophecy, for he came from the east (Persia) and descended on Israel from the north. Others see the Messiah, who came from the north (Ps. 48:2) and is the Dayspring from the rising of the sun.
- Isaiah 41:27 Fulfilled prophecy is one of many evidences that God is real and powerful and that he knows all things.