Hezekiah’s Illness(A)

38 In those days Hezekiah became ill and was at the point of death. The prophet Isaiah son of Amoz(B) went to him and said, “This is what the Lord says: Put your house in order,(C) because you are going to die; you will not recover.”(D)

Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord, “Remember, Lord, how I have walked(E) before you faithfully and with wholehearted devotion(F) and have done what is good in your eyes.(G)” And Hezekiah wept(H) bitterly.

Then the word(I) of the Lord came to Isaiah: “Go and tell Hezekiah, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of your father David,(J) says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears;(K) I will add fifteen years(L) to your life. And I will deliver you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria. I will defend(M) this city.

“‘This is the Lord’s sign(N) to you that the Lord will do what he has promised: I will make the shadow cast by the sun go back the ten steps it has gone down on the stairway of Ahaz.’” So the sunlight went back the ten steps it had gone down.(O)

A writing of Hezekiah king of Judah after his illness and recovery:

10 I said, “In the prime of my life(P)
    must I go through the gates of death(Q)
    and be robbed of the rest of my years?(R)
11 I said, “I will not again see the Lord himself(S)
    in the land of the living;(T)
no longer will I look on my fellow man,
    or be with those who now dwell in this world.
12 Like a shepherd’s tent(U) my house
    has been pulled down(V) and taken from me.
Like a weaver I have rolled(W) up my life,
    and he has cut me off from the loom;(X)
    day and night(Y) you made an end of me.
13 I waited patiently(Z) till dawn,
    but like a lion he broke(AA) all my bones;(AB)
    day and night(AC) you made an end of me.
14 I cried like a swift or thrush,
    I moaned like a mourning dove.(AD)
My eyes grew weak(AE) as I looked to the heavens.
    I am being threatened; Lord, come to my aid!”(AF)

15 But what can I say?(AG)
    He has spoken to me, and he himself has done this.(AH)
I will walk humbly(AI) all my years
    because of this anguish of my soul.(AJ)
16 Lord, by such things people live;
    and my spirit finds life in them too.
You restored me to health
    and let me live.(AK)
17 Surely it was for my benefit(AL)
    that I suffered such anguish.(AM)
In your love you kept me
    from the pit(AN) of destruction;
you have put all my sins(AO)
    behind your back.(AP)
18 For the grave(AQ) cannot praise you,
    death cannot sing your praise;(AR)
those who go down to the pit(AS)
    cannot hope for your faithfulness.
19 The living, the living—they praise(AT) you,
    as I am doing today;
parents tell their children(AU)
    about your faithfulness.

20 The Lord will save me,
    and we will sing(AV) with stringed instruments(AW)
all the days of our lives(AX)
    in the temple(AY) of the Lord.

21 Isaiah had said, “Prepare a poultice of figs and apply it to the boil, and he will recover.”

22 Hezekiah had asked, “What will be the sign(AZ) that I will go up to the temple of the Lord?”

Envoys From Babylon(BA)

39 At that time Marduk-Baladan son of Baladan king of Babylon(BB) sent Hezekiah letters and a gift, because he had heard of his illness and recovery. Hezekiah received the envoys(BC) gladly and showed them what was in his storehouses—the silver, the gold,(BD) the spices, the fine olive oil—his entire armory and everything found among his treasures.(BE) There was nothing in his palace or in all his kingdom that Hezekiah did not show them.

Then Isaiah the prophet went to King Hezekiah and asked, “What did those men say, and where did they come from?”

“From a distant land,(BF)” Hezekiah replied. “They came to me from Babylon.”

The prophet asked, “What did they see in your palace?”

“They saw everything in my palace,” Hezekiah said. “There is nothing among my treasures that I did not show them.”

Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, “Hear the word(BG) of the Lord Almighty: The time will surely come when everything in your palace, and all that your predecessors have stored up until this day, will be carried off to Babylon.(BH) Nothing will be left, says the Lord. And some of your descendants, your own flesh and blood who will be born to you, will be taken away, and they will become eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.(BI)

“The word of the Lord you have spoken is good,(BJ)” Hezekiah replied. For he thought, “There will be peace and security in my lifetime.(BK)

Comfort for God’s People

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

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

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

“All people are like grass,(CA)
    and all their faithfulness is like the flowers of the field.
The grass withers(CB) and the flowers fall,
    because the breath(CC) of the Lord blows(CD) on them.
    Surely the people are grass.
The grass withers and the flowers(CE) fall,
    but the word(CF) of our God endures(CG) forever.(CH)

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

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

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

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

21 Do you not know?
    Have you not heard?(DS)
Has it not been told(DT) you from the beginning?(DU)
    Have you not understood(DV) since the earth was founded?(DW)
22 He sits enthroned(DX) above the circle of the earth,
    and its people are like grasshoppers.(DY)
He stretches out the heavens(DZ) like a canopy,(EA)
    and spreads them out like a tent(EB) to live in.(EC)
23 He brings princes(ED) to naught
    and reduces the rulers of this world to nothing.(EE)
24 No sooner are they planted,
    no sooner are they sown,
    no sooner do they take root(EF) in the ground,
than he blows(EG) on them and they wither,(EH)
    and a whirlwind sweeps them away like chaff.(EI)

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

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

The Helper of Israel

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

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

The islands(FW) have seen it and fear;
    the ends of the earth(FX) tremble.
They approach and come forward;
    they help each other
    and say to their companions, “Be strong!(FY)
The metalworker(FZ) encourages the goldsmith,(GA)
    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.(GB)

“But you, Israel, my servant,(GC)
    Jacob, whom I have chosen,(GD)
    you descendants of Abraham(GE) my friend,(GF)
I took you from the ends of the earth,(GG)
    from its farthest corners I called(GH) you.
I said, ‘You are my servant’;(GI)
    I have chosen(GJ) you and have not rejected you.
10 So do not fear,(GK) for I am with you;(GL)
    do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen(GM) you and help(GN) you;
    I will uphold you(GO) with my righteous right hand.(GP)

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

17 “The poor and needy search for water,(HM)
    but there is none;
    their tongues are parched with thirst.(HN)
But I the Lord will answer(HO) them;
    I, the God of Israel, will not forsake(HP) them.
18 I will make rivers flow(HQ) on barren heights,
    and springs within the valleys.
I will turn the desert(HR) into pools of water,(HS)
    and the parched ground into springs.(HT)
19 I will put in the desert(HU)
    the cedar and the acacia,(HV) the myrtle and the olive.
I will set junipers(HW) in the wasteland,
    the fir and the cypress(HX) together,(HY)
20 so that people may see and know,(HZ)
    may consider and understand,(IA)
that the hand(IB) of the Lord has done this,
    that the Holy One(IC) of Israel has created(ID) it.

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

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

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

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