“Was your mother sent away because I divorced her? Did I sell you as slaves to my creditors? No, you were sold because of your sins. And your mother, too, was taken because of your sins. 2 Why was no one there when I came? Why didn’t anyone answer when I called? Is it because I have no power to rescue? No, that is not the reason! For I can speak to the sea and make it dry up! I can turn rivers into deserts covered with dying fish. 3 I dress the skies in darkness, covering them with clothes of mourning.”
The Lord’s Obedient Servant
4 The Sovereign Lord has given me his words of wisdom, so that I know how to comfort the weary. Morning by morning he wakens me and opens my understanding to his will. 5 The Sovereign Lord has spoken to me, and I have listened. I have not rebelled or turned away. 6 I offered my back to those who beat me and my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard. I did not hide my face from mockery and spitting.
7 Because the Sovereign Lord helps me, I will not be disgraced. Therefore, I have set my face like a stone, determined to do his will. And I know that I will not be put to shame. 8 He who gives me justice is near. Who will dare to bring charges against me now? Where are my accusers? Let them appear! 9 See, the Sovereign Lord is on my side! Who will declare me guilty? All my enemies will be destroyed like old clothes that have been eaten by moths!
10 Who among you fears the Lord and obeys his servant? If you are walking in darkness, without a ray of light, trust in the Lord and rely on your God. 11 But watch out, you who live in your own light and warm yourselves by your own fires. This is the reward you will receive from me: You will soon fall down in great torment.
A Call to Trust the Lord
51 “Listen to me, all who hope for deliverance— all who seek the Lord! Consider the rock from which you were cut, the quarry from which you were mined. 2 Yes, think about Abraham, your ancestor, and Sarah, who gave birth to your nation. Abraham was only one man when I called him. But when I blessed him, he became a great nation.”
3 The Lord will comfort Israel[a] again and have pity on her ruins. Her desert will blossom like Eden, her barren wilderness like the garden of the Lord. Joy and gladness will be found there. Songs of thanksgiving will fill the air.
4 “Listen to me, my people. Hear me, Israel, for my law will be proclaimed, and my justice will become a light to the nations. 5 My mercy and justice are coming soon. My salvation is on the way. My strong arm will bring justice to the nations. All distant lands will look to me and wait in hope for my powerful arm. 6 Look up to the skies above, and gaze down on the earth below. For the skies will disappear like smoke, and the earth will wear out like a piece of clothing. The people of the earth will die like flies, but my salvation lasts forever. My righteous rule will never end!
7 “Listen to me, you who know right from wrong, you who cherish my law in your hearts. Do not be afraid of people’s scorn, nor fear their insults. 8 For the moth will devour them as it devours clothing. The worm will eat at them as it eats wool. But my righteousness will last forever. My salvation will continue from generation to generation.”
9 Wake up, wake up, O Lord! Clothe yourself with strength! Flex your mighty right arm! Rouse yourself as in the days of old when you slew Egypt, the dragon of the Nile.[b] 10 Are you not the same today, the one who dried up the sea, making a path of escape through the depths so that your people could cross over? 11 Those who have been ransomed by the Lord will return. They will enter Jerusalem[c] singing, crowned with everlasting joy. Sorrow and mourning will disappear, and they will be filled with joy and gladness.
12 “I, yes I, am the one who comforts you. So why are you afraid of mere humans, who wither like the grass and disappear? 13 Yet you have forgotten the Lord, your Creator, the one who stretched out the sky like a canopy and laid the foundations of the earth. Will you remain in constant dread of human oppressors? Will you continue to fear the anger of your enemies? Where is their fury and anger now? It is gone! 14 Soon all you captives will be released! Imprisonment, starvation, and death will not be your fate! 15 For I am the Lord your God, who stirs up the sea, causing its waves to roar. My name is the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. 16 And I have put my words in your mouth and hidden you safely in my hand. I stretched out[d] the sky like a canopy and laid the foundations of the earth. I am the one who says to Israel, ‘You are my people!’”
17 Wake up, wake up, O Jerusalem! You have drunk the cup of the Lord’s fury. You have drunk the cup of terror, tipping out its last drops. 18 Not one of your children is left alive to take your hand and guide you. 19 These two calamities have fallen on you: desolation and destruction, famine and war. And who is left to sympathize with you? Who is left to comfort you?[e] 20 For your children have fainted and lie in the streets, helpless as antelopes caught in a net. The Lord has poured out his fury; God has rebuked them.
21 But now listen to this, you afflicted ones who sit in a drunken stupor, though not from drinking wine. 22 This is what the Sovereign Lord, your God and Defender, says: “See, I have taken the terrible cup from your hands. You will drink no more of my fury. 23 Instead, I will hand that cup to your tormentors, those who said, ‘We will trample you into the dust and walk on your backs.’”
Deliverance for Jerusalem
52 Wake up, wake up, O Zion! Clothe yourself with strength. Put on your beautiful clothes, O holy city of Jerusalem, for unclean and godless people will enter your gates no longer. 2 Rise from the dust, O Jerusalem. Sit in a place of honor. Remove the chains of slavery from your neck, O captive daughter of Zion. 3 For this is what the Lord says: “When I sold you into exile, I received no payment. Now I can redeem you without having to pay for you.”
4 This is what the Sovereign Lord says: “Long ago my people chose to live in Egypt. Now they are oppressed by Assyria.5 What is this?” asks the Lord. “Why are my people enslaved again? Those who rule them shout in exultation.[f] My name is blasphemed all day long.[g]6 But I will reveal my name to my people, and they will come to know its power. Then at last they will recognize that I am the one who speaks to them.”
7 How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of the messenger who brings good news, the good news of peace and salvation, the news that the God of Israel[h] reigns! 8 The watchmen shout and sing with joy, for before their very eyes they see the Lord returning to Jerusalem.[i] 9 Let the ruins of Jerusalem break into joyful song, for the Lord has comforted his people. He has redeemed Jerusalem. 10 The Lord has demonstrated his holy power before the eyes of all the nations. All the ends of the earth will see the victory of our God.
11 Get out! Get out and leave your captivity, where everything you touch is unclean. Get out of there and purify yourselves, you who carry home the sacred objects of the Lord. 12 You will not leave in a hurry, running for your lives. For the Lord will go ahead of you; yes, the God of Israel will protect you from behind.
The Lord’s Suffering Servant
13 See, my servant will prosper; he will be highly exalted. 14 But many were amazed when they saw him.[j] His face was so disfigured he seemed hardly human, and from his appearance, one would scarcely know he was a man. 15 And he will startle[k] many nations. Kings will stand speechless in his presence. For they will see what they had not been told; they will understand what they had not heard about.[l]
53 Who has believed our message? To whom has the Lord revealed his powerful arm? 2 My servant grew up in the Lord’s presence like a tender green shoot, like a root in dry ground. There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance, nothing to attract us to him. 3 He was despised and rejected— a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way. He was despised, and we did not care.
4 Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows[m] that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God, a punishment for his own sins! 5 But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed. 6 All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the Lord laid on him the sins of us all.
7 He was oppressed and treated harshly, yet he never said a word. He was led like a lamb to the slaughter. And as a sheep is silent before the shearers, he did not open his mouth. 8 Unjustly condemned, he was led away.[n] No one cared that he died without descendants, that his life was cut short in midstream.[o] But he was struck down for the rebellion of my people. 9 He had done no wrong and had never deceived anyone. But he was buried like a criminal; he was put in a rich man’s grave.
10 But it was the Lord’s good plan to crush him and cause him grief. Yet when his life is made an offering for sin, he will have many descendants. He will enjoy a long life, and the Lord’s good plan will prosper in his hands. 11 When he sees all that is accomplished by his anguish, he will be satisfied. And because of his experience, my righteous servant will make it possible for many to be counted righteous, for he will bear all their sins. 12 I will give him the honors of a victorious soldier, because he exposed himself to death. He was counted among the rebels. He bore the sins of many and interceded for rebels.
52:15bGreek version reads Those who have never been told about him will see, / and those who have never heard of him will understand. Compare Rom 15:21.
53:4Or Yet it was our sicknesses he carried; / it was our diseases.
53:8aGreek version reads He was humiliated and received no justice. Compare Acts 8:33.
53:8bOr As for his contemporaries, / who cared that his life was cut short in midstream? Greek version reads Who can speak of his descendants? / For his life was taken from the earth. Compare Acts 8:33.
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