“Comfort my people! Comfort them!” says your God. 2 “Speak tenderly to Jerusalem and announce to it that its time of hard labor is over and its wrongs have been paid for. It has received from the Lord double for all its sins.”
3 A voice cries out in the desert:
“Clear a way for the Lord. Make a straight highway in the wilderness for our God. 4 Every valley will be raised. Every mountain and hill will be lowered. Steep places will be made level. Rough places will be made smooth. 5 Then the Lord’s glory will be revealed and all people will see it together. The Lord has spoken.”
6 A voice called, “Call out!”
I asked, “What should I call out?”
“Call out: All people are like grass, and all their beauty is like a flower in the field. 7 Grass dries up, and flowers wither when the Lord’s breath blows on them. Yes, people are like grass. 8 Grass dries up, and flowers wither, but our God’s word will last forever.”
9 Go up a high mountain, Zion. Tell the good news! Call out with a loud voice, Jerusalem. Tell the good news! Raise your voice without fear. Tell the cities of Judah: “Here is your God!”
10 The Almighty Lord is coming with power to rule with authority. His reward is with him, and the people he has won arrive ahead of him. 11 Like a shepherd he takes care of his flock. He gathers the lambs in his arms. He carries them in his arms. He gently helps the sheep and their lambs.
God Gives Strength to Those Who Depend on Him
12 Who has measured the water of the sea[a] with the palm of his hand or measured the sky with the length of his hand? Who has held the dust of the earth in a bushel basket or weighed the mountains on a scale and the hills on a balance? 13 Who has directed the Spirit of the Lord or instructed him as his adviser? 14 Whom did he consult? Who gave him understanding? Who taught him the right way? Who taught him knowledge? Who informed him about the way to understanding?
15 The nations are like a drop in a bucket and are considered to be like dust on a scale. The weight of the islands is like fine dust. 16 All the trees in Lebanon are not enough to burn an offering. Its wild animals are not enough for a single burnt offering. 17 All the nations amount to nothing in his presence. He considers them less than nothing and worthless. 18 To whom, then, can you compare God? To what statue can you compare him?
19 Craftsmen make idols. Goldsmiths cover them with gold. Silversmiths make silver chains for them. 20 The poorest people choose wood that will not rot and search out skillful craftsmen to set up idols that will not fall over. 21 Don’t you know? Haven’t you heard? Haven’t you been told from the beginning? Don’t you understand the foundations of the earth? 22 God is enthroned above the earth, and those who live on it are like grasshoppers. He stretches out the sky like a canopy and spreads it out like a tent to live in. 23 He makes rulers unimportant and makes earthly judges worth nothing. 24 They have hardly been planted. They have hardly been sown. They have hardly taken root in the ground. Then he blows on them and they wither, and a windstorm sweeps them away like straw. 25 “To whom, then, can you compare me? Who is my equal?” asks the Holy One.
26 Look at the sky and see. Who created these things? Who brings out the stars one by one? He calls them all by name. Because of the greatness of his might and the strength of his power, not one of them is missing. 27 Jacob, why do you complain? Israel, why do you say, “My way is hidden from the Lord, and my rights are ignored by my God”? 28 Don’t you know? Haven’t you heard? The eternal God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, doesn’t grow tired or become weary. His understanding is beyond reach. 29 He gives strength to those who grow tired and increases the strength of those who are weak. 30 Even young people grow tired and become weary, and young men will stumble and fall. 31 Yet, the strength of those who wait with hope in the Lord will be renewed. They will soar on wings like eagles. They will run and won’t become weary. They will walk and won’t grow tired.
Isaiah 40:12Dead Sea Scrolls; Masoretic Text “Who has measured the water.”
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