41 “Listen to Me in silence, you islands and coastlands,
And let the nations gain their strength;
Let them come near, then let them speak;
Let us come together for judgment [and decide the issue between us concerning the enemy from the east].
“Who has stirred up and put into action one from the east [the king of Persia, Cyrus the Great]
Whom He calls in righteousness to His service and whom victory meets at every step?
The Lord turns nations over to him
And subdues kings.
He makes them like dust with his sword,
Like wind-driven chaff with his bow.(A)
“He (Cyrus) pursues them and passes along safely,
By a way his feet had not traveled before.
“Who has performed and done this,
Calling forth [and guiding the destinies of] the generations [of the nations] from the beginning?
‘I, the Lord—the first, and with the last [existing before history began, the ever-present, unchanging God]—I am He.’”
The islands and coastlands have seen and they fear;
The ends of the earth tremble;
They have drawn near and have come.
They each help his neighbor
And say to his brother [as he fashions his idols], “Be of good courage!”
So the craftsman encourages the goldsmith,
And he who smooths metal with the smith’s hammer encourages him who beats the anvil,
Saying of the soldering (welding), “That is good”;
And he fastens the idol with nails,
So that it will not totter nor be moved.
“But you, Israel, My servant,
Jacob whom I have chosen,
The offspring of Abraham My friend,(B)
You whom I [the Lord] have [a]taken from the ends of the earth,
And called from its remotest parts
And said to you, ‘You are My servant,
I have chosen you and have not rejected you [even though you are exiled].
‘Do not fear [anything], for I am with you;
Do not be afraid, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you, be assured I will help you;
I will certainly take hold of you with My righteous right hand [a hand of justice, of power, of victory, of salvation].’(C)
“Indeed, all those who are angry with you will be put to shame and humiliated;
Those who strive against you will be as nothing and will perish.
“You shall search for those who quarrel with you, but will not find them;
They who war against you will be as nothing, as nothing at all.
“For I the Lord your God keep hold of your right hand; [I am the Lord],
Who says to you, ‘Do not fear, I will help you.’
“Do not fear, you worm Jacob, you men of Israel;
I will help you,” declares the Lord, “and your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel.
“In fact, I have made of you a new, sharp [b]threshing implement with sharp edges;
You will thresh the mountains and crush them,
And make the hills like chaff.
“You will winnow them, and the wind will carry them away,
And a high wind will scatter them;
But you will rejoice in the Lord,
You will glory in the Holy One of Israel.
“The poor and needy are seeking water, but there is none;
Their tongues are parched with thirst.
I, the Lord, will answer them Myself;
I, the God of Israel, will not neglect them.
“I will open rivers on the barren heights
And springs in the midst of the valleys;
I will make the wilderness a reed-pool of water
And the dry land springs of water.
“I will put the cedar in the wilderness,
The acacia, the myrtle and the olive tree;
I will place the juniper in the desert
Together with the box tree and the cypress,
So that they may see and know,
And consider and understand together,
That the hand of the Lord has done this,
That the Holy One of Israel has created it.
“Present your case [for idols made by men’s hands],” says the Lord.
“Produce your evidence [of divinity],”
Says the king of Jacob.
Let them bring forward [their evidence] and tell us what is going to happen.
Regarding the former events, tell what they were,
That we may consider them and know their outcome;
Or announce to us the things that are going to come.
Tell us the things that are to come afterward,
That we may know that you are gods;
Indeed, you should do something good or do evil, [c]that we may be afraid and fear [you] together [as we observe the miracle].
Hear this! You [idols] are less than nothing,
And your work is worthless;
The worshiper who chooses you [as a god] is repulsive.(D)
“I have stirred up and put into action [d]one from the north [the king of Persia, Cyrus the Great], and he has come;
From the rising of the sun he will call on My Name [in prayer].
And he will trample on [the Babylonian] officials as on mortar,
Even as a potter treads clay.”(E)
Who [among the idols] has declared this from the beginning, so that we could know?
Or from earlier times, so that we could say, “He is [unquestionably] right!”?
In fact, there was no one who declared it,
Indeed, there was no one who proclaimed it;
There was no one at all who heard you speak [for you pagan gods are speechless].
“I was first to say to Zion, ‘Listen carefully, here they are [the Jews who will be restored to their own land].’
And to Jerusalem, ‘I will provide a messenger (Isaiah) to bring the good news [[e]that Cyrus will be stirred up and put into action to save them].’(F)
“But when I look [on the pagan prophets and priests], there is no one [who could predict these events],
And there is no counselor [f]among them,
Who, if I ask, can give an answer.
“In fact, all of these [pagan prophets and priests] are false;
Their works are worthless,
Their cast images are [merely] wind and emptiness.
- Isaiah 41:9 Lit seized.
- Isaiah 41:15 A heavy flat wooden sledge composed of several thick boards with sharp pieces of flint or metal embedded on one side. It was dragged over harvested stalks of grain to separate the kernels from the straw.
- Isaiah 41:23 Lit and let us be.
- Isaiah 41:25 Cyrus originally came from the east (Is 41:2), but defeated a number of kingdoms north of Babylon early in his reign.
- Isaiah 41:27 This prophecy was declared about a hundred and fifty years before it occurred.
- Isaiah 41:28 Lit out of those.
New International Version
The Helper of Israel
2 “Who has stirred(F) up one from the east,(G)
calling him in righteousness(H) to his service[a]?(I)
He hands nations over to him
and subdues kings before him.
He turns them to dust(J) with his sword,
to windblown chaff(K) with his bow.(L)
3 He pursues them and moves on unscathed,(M)
by a path his feet have not traveled before.
4 Who has done this and carried it through,
calling(N) forth the generations from the beginning?(O)
I, the Lord—with the first of them
and with the last(P)—I am he.(Q)”
5 The islands(R) have seen it and fear;
the ends of the earth(S) tremble.
They approach and come forward;
6 they help each other
and say to their companions, “Be strong!(T)”
7 The metalworker(U) encourages the goldsmith,(V)
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.(W)
8 “But you, Israel, my servant,(X)
Jacob, whom I have chosen,(Y)
you descendants of Abraham(Z) my friend,(AA)
9 I took you from the ends of the earth,(AB)
from its farthest corners I called(AC) you.
I said, ‘You are my servant’;(AD)
I have chosen(AE) you and have not rejected you.
10 So do not fear,(AF) for I am with you;(AG)
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen(AH) you and help(AI) you;
I will uphold you(AJ) with my righteous right hand.(AK)
11 “All who rage(AL) against you
will surely be ashamed and disgraced;(AM)
those who oppose(AN) you
will be as nothing and perish.(AO)
12 Though you search for your enemies,
you will not find them.(AP)
Those who wage war against you
will be as nothing(AQ) at all.
13 For I am the Lord your God
who takes hold of your right hand(AR)
and says to you, Do not fear;
I will help(AS) you.
14 Do not be afraid,(AT) you worm(AU) Jacob,
little Israel, do not fear,
for I myself will help(AV) you,” declares the Lord,
your Redeemer,(AW) the Holy One(AX) of Israel.
15 “See, I will make you into a threshing sledge,(AY)
new and sharp, with many teeth.
You will thresh the mountains(AZ) and crush them,
and reduce the hills to chaff.(BA)
16 You will winnow(BB) them, the wind will pick them up,
and a gale(BC) will blow them away.(BD)
But you will rejoice(BE) in the Lord
and glory(BF) in the Holy One(BG) of Israel.
17 “The poor and needy search for water,(BH)
but there is none;
their tongues are parched with thirst.(BI)
But I the Lord will answer(BJ) them;
I, the God of Israel, will not forsake(BK) them.
18 I will make rivers flow(BL) on barren heights,
and springs within the valleys.
I will turn the desert(BM) into pools of water,(BN)
and the parched ground into springs.(BO)
19 I will put in the desert(BP)
the cedar and the acacia,(BQ) the myrtle and the olive.
I will set junipers(BR) in the wasteland,
the fir and the cypress(BS) together,(BT)
20 so that people may see and know,(BU)
may consider and understand,(BV)
that the hand(BW) of the Lord has done this,
that the Holy One(BX) of Israel has created(BY) it.
21 “Present your case,(BZ)” says the Lord.
“Set forth your arguments,” says Jacob’s King.(CA)
22 “Tell us, you idols,
what is going to happen.(CB)
Tell us what the former things(CC) were,
so that we may consider them
and know their final outcome.
Or declare to us the things to come,(CD)
23 tell us what the future holds,
so we may know(CE) that you are gods.
Do something, whether good or bad,(CF)
so that we will be dismayed(CG) and filled with fear.
24 But you are less than nothing(CH)
and your works are utterly worthless;(CI)
whoever chooses you is detestable.(CJ)
25 “I have stirred(CK) up one from the north,(CL) and he comes—
one from the rising sun who calls on my name.
He treads(CM) on rulers as if they were mortar,
as if he were a potter treading the clay.
26 Who told of this from the beginning,(CN) so we could know,
or beforehand, so we could say, ‘He was right’?
No one told of this,
no one foretold(CO) it,
no one heard any words(CP) from you.
27 I was the first to tell(CQ) Zion, ‘Look, here they are!’
I gave to Jerusalem a messenger of good news.(CR)
28 I look but there is no one(CS)—
no one among the gods to give counsel,(CT)
no one to give answer(CU) when I ask them.
29 See, they are all false!
Their deeds amount to nothing;(CV)
their images(CW) are but wind(CX) and confusion.
- Isaiah 41:2 Or east, / whom victory meets at every step
King James Version
41 Keep silence before me, O islands; and let the people renew their strength: let them come near; then let them speak: let us come near together to judgment.
2 Who raised up the righteous man from the east, called him to his foot, gave the nations before him, and made him rule over kings? he gave them as the dust to his sword, and as driven stubble to his bow.
3 He pursued them, and passed safely; even by the way that he had not gone with his feet.
4 Who hath wrought and done it, calling the generations from the beginning? I the Lord, the first, and with the last; I am he.
5 The isles saw it, and feared; the ends of the earth were afraid, drew near, and came.
6 They helped every one his neighbour; and every one said to his brother, Be of good courage.
7 So the carpenter encouraged the goldsmith, and he that smootheth with the hammer him that smote the anvil, saying, It is ready for the sodering: and he fastened it with nails, that it should not be moved.
8 But thou, Israel, art my servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham my friend.
9 Thou whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, and called thee from the chief men thereof, and said unto thee, Thou art my servant; I have chosen thee, and not cast thee away.
10 Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.
11 Behold, all they that were incensed against thee shall be ashamed and confounded: they shall be as nothing; and they that strive with thee shall perish.
12 Thou shalt seek them, and shalt not find them, even them that contended with thee: they that war against thee shall be as nothing, and as a thing of nought.
13 For I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee.
14 Fear not, thou worm Jacob, and ye men of Israel; I will help thee, saith the Lord, and thy redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.
15 Behold, I will make thee a new sharp threshing instrument having teeth: thou shalt thresh the mountains, and beat them small, and shalt make the hills as chaff.
16 Thou shalt fan them, and the wind shall carry them away, and the whirlwind shall scatter them: and thou shalt rejoice in the Lord, and shalt glory in the Holy One of Israel.
17 When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue faileth for thirst, I the Lord will hear them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them.
18 I will open rivers in high places, and fountains in the midst of the valleys: I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water.
19 I will plant in the wilderness the cedar, the shittah tree, and the myrtle, and the oil tree; I will set in the desert the fir tree, and the pine, and the box tree together:
20 That they may see, and know, and consider, and understand together, that the hand of the Lord hath done this, and the Holy One of Israel hath created it.
21 Produce your cause, saith the Lord; bring forth your strong reasons, saith the King of Jacob.
22 Let them bring them forth, and shew us what shall happen: let them shew the former things, what they be, that we may consider them, and know the latter end of them; or declare us things for to come.
23 Shew the things that are to come hereafter, that we may know that ye are gods: yea, do good, or do evil, that we may be dismayed, and behold it together.
24 Behold, ye are of nothing, and your work of nought: an abomination is he that chooseth you.
25 I have raised up one from the north, and he shall come: from the rising of the sun shall he call upon my name: and he shall come upon princes as upon morter, and as the potter treadeth clay.
26 Who hath declared from the beginning, that we may know? and beforetime, that we may say, He is righteous? yea, there is none that sheweth, yea, there is none that declareth, yea, there is none that heareth your words.
27 The first shall say to Zion, Behold, behold them: and I will give to Jerusalem one that bringeth good tidings.
28 For I beheld, and there was no man; even among them, and there was no counsellor, that, when I asked of them, could answer a word.
29 Behold, they are all vanity; their works are nothing: their molten images are wind and confusion.