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44 Listen to me, O my servant Israel, O my chosen ones:

The Lord who made you, who will help you, says: O servant of mine, don’t be afraid. O Jerusalem, my chosen ones, don’t be afraid. For I will give you abundant water for your thirst and for your parched fields. And I will pour out my Spirit and my blessings on your children. They shall thrive like watered grass, like willows on a riverbank. “I am the Lord’s,” they’ll proudly[a] say, or, “I am a Jew,” and tattoo upon their hands the name of God or the honored name of Israel.

The Lord, the King of Israel, says—yes, it is Israel’s Redeemer, the Lord Almighty, who says it—I am the First and Last; there is no other God. Who else can tell you what is going to happen in the days ahead? Let them tell you if they can and prove their power. Let them do as I have done since ancient times. Don’t, don’t be afraid. Haven’t I proclaimed from ages past that I would save you[b]? You are my witnesses—is there any other God? No! None that I know about! There is no other Rock!

What fools they are who manufacture idols for their gods. Their hopes remain unanswered. They themselves are witnesses that this is so, for their idols neither see nor know. No wonder those who worship them are so ashamed. 10 Who but a fool would make his own god—an idol that can help him not one whit! 11 All that worship these will stand before the Lord in shame, along with all these carpenters—mere men—who claim that they have made a god. Together they will stand in terror. 12 The metalsmith stands at his forge to make an ax, pounding on it with all his might. He grows hungry and thirsty, weak and faint. 13 Then the wood-carver takes the ax and uses it to make an idol. He measures and marks out a block of wood and carves the figure of a man. Now he has a wonderful idol that can’t so much as move from where it is placed. 14 He cuts down cedars, he selects the cypress and the oak, he plants the ash in the forest to be nourished by the rain. 15 And after his care, he uses part of the wood to make a fire to warm himself and bake his bread, and then—he really does—he takes the rest of it and makes himself a god—a god for men to worship! An idol to fall down before and praise! 16 Part of the tree he burns to roast his meat and to keep him warm and fed and well content, 17 and with what’s left he makes his god: a carved idol! He falls down before it and worships it and prays to it. “Deliver me,” he says. “You are my god!”

18 Such stupidity and ignorance! God has shut their eyes so that they cannot see and closed their minds from understanding. 19 The man never stops to think or figure out, “Why, it’s just a block of wood! I’ve burned it for heat and used it to bake my bread and roast my meat. How can the rest of it be a god? Should I fall down before a chunk of wood?” 20 The poor, deluded fool feeds on ashes; he is trusting what can never give him any help at all. Yet he cannot bring himself to ask, “Is this thing, this idol that I’m holding in my hand, a lie?”

21 Pay attention, Israel, for you are my servant; I made you, and I will not forget to help you. 22 I’ve blotted out your sins; they are gone like morning mist at noon! Oh, return to me, for I have paid the price to set you free.

23 Sing, O heavens, for the Lord has done this wondrous thing. Shout, O earth; break forth into song, O mountains and forests, yes, and every tree; for the Lord redeemed Jacob and is glorified in Israel! 24 The Lord, your Redeemer who made you, says: All things were made by me; I alone stretched out the heavens. By myself I made the earth and everything in it.

25 I am the one who shows what liars all false prophets are, by causing something else to happen than the things they say. I make wise men give opposite advice to what they should and make them into fools. 26 But what my prophets say, I do; when they say Jerusalem will be delivered and the cities of Judah lived in once again—it shall be done! 27 When I speak to the rivers and say, “Be dry!” they shall be dry. 28 When I say of Cyrus,[c] “He is my shepherd,” he will certainly do as I say; and Jerusalem will be rebuilt and the Temple restored, for I have spoken it.

Footnotes

  1. Isaiah 44:5 proudly, implied.
  2. Isaiah 44:8 that I would save you, implied.
  3. Isaiah 44:28 This was written many years before Cyrus began his meteoric rise to power.

Israel the Chosen

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

The Lord, Not Idols

“This is what the Lord says—
    Israel’s King(T) and Redeemer,(U) the Lord Almighty:
I am the first and I am the last;(V)
    apart from me there is no God.(W)
Who then is like me?(X) 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(Y) what will come.
Do not tremble, do not be afraid.
    Did I not proclaim(Z) this and foretell it long ago?
You are my witnesses. Is there any God(AA) besides me?
    No, there is no other Rock;(AB) I know not one.”

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

12 The blacksmith(AK) 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.(AL)
He gets hungry and loses his strength;
    he drinks no water and grows faint.(AM)
13 The carpenter(AN) 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,(AO)
    human form in all its glory,
    that it may dwell in a shrine.(AP)
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,(AQ) and the rain made it grow.
15 It is used as fuel(AR) 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(AS) it;
    he makes an idol and bows(AT) 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.(AU)
17 From the rest he makes a god, his idol;
    he bows down to it and worships.(AV)
He prays(AW) to it and says,
    “Save(AX) me! You are my god!”
18 They know nothing, they understand(AY) nothing;
    their eyes(AZ) 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(BA) to say,
“Half of it I used for fuel;(BB)
    I even baked bread over its coals,
    I roasted meat and I ate.
Shall I make a detestable(BC) thing from what is left?
    Shall I bow down to a block of wood?”(BD)
20 Such a person feeds on ashes;(BE) a deluded(BF) heart misleads him;
    he cannot save himself, or say,
    “Is not this thing in my right hand a lie?(BG)

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

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

Jerusalem to Be Inhabited

24 “This is what the Lord says—
    your Redeemer,(BU) who formed(BV) you in the womb:(BW)

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

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

Footnotes

  1. Isaiah 44:2 Jeshurun means the upright one, that is, Israel.

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