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The Lord Will Help Israel

41 The Lord says, “·Faraway countries [or Coastlands; or Islands], listen to me.
    Let the nations ·become strong [renew their strength].
·Come to me [Approach] and speak;
    ·we will [or let us] meet together ·to decide who is right [for judgment/or debate].

“Who ·caused the one to come [stirs up one] from the east [C the Persian king Cyrus the Great; 44:28—45:6; 46:11; 48:14–16]?
    Who ·gives him victories everywhere he goes [or calls him in righteousness to his service/L foot]?
He [C the Lord] gives nations over to him
    and ·defeats [subdues] kings.
He uses his sword, and kings become like dust.
    He uses his bow, and they are blown away like ·chaff [straw].
He chases them and ·is never hurt [L passes by in peace],
    ·going places he has never been before [L by a path his feet have not gone].
Who caused this to happen?
    ·Who has controlled history [L …calling generations] since the beginning?
I, the Lord, am the one. ·I was here at the beginning,
    and I will be here when all things are finished [or…the First and the Last; or…with them at the first and the last; L first and with them at the last].”

All you ·faraway places [or islands; or coastlands], look and be afraid;
    all you ·places far away on [ends of] the earth, shake with fear.
Come close and ·listen to [approach] me.
    ·The workers help each other [A man helps his companion/neighbor]
    and say to ·each other [his brother], “Be strong!”
The ·craftsman [engraver; metal worker] encourages the goldsmith,
    and the workman who smooths the metal with a hammer encourages the one who ·shapes the metal [strikes the anvil].
He says, “This ·metal work [welding; soldering] is ·good [sound; well crafted].”
    He nails the statue to a base so it can’t fall over [C the nations find false hope and baseless courage in their idols; vv. 28–29].

Only the Lord Can Save Us

·The Lord says, “People of Israel, you are my servants [L “You Israel, my servant].
    ·People of Jacob, I chose you [L Jacob, whom I have chosen; 44:1].
    You are ·from the family [descendants; offspring; seed] of my friend Abraham [Gen. 12:1–3].
I took you from ·places far away on [L the ends of] the earth
    and called you from ·a faraway country [its farthest parts].
I said, ‘You are my ·servants [L servant].’
    I have chosen you and have not ·turned against [rejected; thrown away] you.
10 So don’t ·worry [fear], because I am with you.
    Don’t be ·afraid [dismayed], because I am your God.
I will ·make you strong [strengthen you] and will help you;
    I will ·support [uphold] you with my ·right hand that saves you [or righteous right hand; C a symbol of power to save and protect; Ex. 15:6; Ps. 63:8].

11 [L Look; T Behold] All those people who ·are angry with [seethe/rage against] you
    will be ashamed and disgraced.
Those who ·are [strive] against you
    will ·disappear [become nothing] and ·be lost [perish].
12 You will look for your enemies,
    but you will not find them.
Those who ·fought [wage war] against you
    will ·vanish completely [be as nothing].
13 [L For; Because] I am the Lord your God,
    who holds your right hand,
and I tell you, ‘Don’t be afraid.
    I will help you.’
14 Do not be afraid ·even though you are weak as a worm [L you worm, Jacob],
    you ·few people of Israel who are left [or people of Israel; or maggot, Israel].
I myself will help you,” says the Lord.
    “·The one who saves you [Your redeemer/protector] is the Holy One of Israel [1:4].
15 Look, I ·have made [or will make] you like a new threshing ·board [sledge]
    with many sharp teeth.
So you will ·walk on [thresh the] mountains and crush them;
    you will make the hills like ·chaff [straw].
16 You will ·throw them into the air [winnow them], and the wind will carry them away;
    a ·windstorm [gale; tempest] will scatter them.
Then you will ·be happy [rejoice] in the Lord;
    you will ·be proud of [boast in] the Holy One of Israel [1:4].

17 “The poor and needy people look for water,
    but ·they can’t find any [there is none].
    Their tongues are ·dry [parched] with thirst.
But I, the Lord, will answer ·their prayers [L them];
    I, the God of Israel, will not ·leave them to die [L abandon/forsake them].
18 I will ·make rivers flow [L open rivers] on the ·dry hills [barren heights]
    and springs flow through the valleys.
I will change the ·desert [wilderness] into ·a lake [pools] of water
    and the ·dry [arid; parched] land into ·fountains [springs] of water.
19 I will ·make trees grow [plant; put] in the ·desert [wilderness]
    cedars, acacia, myrtle, and olive trees.
I will put pine, fir, and cypress trees
    growing together in the desert.
20 [L …so that] People will see these things and ·understand [know];
    they will ·think carefully about these things [consider] and ·learn [comprehend]
that the Lord’s ·power [L hand] did this,
    that the Holy One of Israel [1:4] ·made these things [created it].”

The Lord Challenges False Gods

21 The Lord says, “Present your case.”
    The King of Jacob says, “·Tell me [Produce; Bring forth] your ·arguments [evidence; L strong words].
22 ·Bring in your idols [L Let them come forward] to tell us
    what is going to happen.
Have them tell us ·what happened in the beginning [the former things].
    Then we will ·think about [consider] these things,
    and we will know ·how they will turn out [their outcome; how they were fulfilled].
Or tell us ·what will happen in the future [things to come].
23     Tell us what is coming next
    so we will ·believe [know] that you are gods.
Do something, whether it is good or bad,
    and make us ·afraid [or dismayed and afraid].
24 [L Look; T Behold] ·You gods [L You] are less than nothing;
    you can’t do anything.
Those who ·worship [L choose] you ·should be hated [are detestable/an abomination].

25 “I have ·brought [stirred up] someone to come out of the north [C Cyrus, king of Persia; 41:2; 44:28—45:6; 46:11; 48:14–16].
    ·I have called him by name from the east [or…one from the east/rising sun who calls on my name].
He ·walks on kings [tramples on rulers] as if they were ·mud [mortar],
    just as a potter ·walks [treads] on the clay.
26 Who ·told us about [declared; decreed] this ·before it happened [L from the beginning]?
    Who told us ahead of time so we could say, ‘He was right’?
·None of you [L Indeed no one] told us anything;
    ·none of you [L indeed no one] told us before it happened;
    ·no one [L indeed no one] heard you tell about it.
27 I, the Lord, was the first one to tell ·Jerusalem [L Zion] ·that the people were coming home [or “Look, help is coming!”; L “Look, here they are!”].
    I sent a messenger to Jerusalem with the good news.
28 I ·look at the idols [L look], but there is ·not one that can answer [L no one/man].
    None of them can give ·advice [counsel];
    none of them can answer my questions.
29 Look, all these idols are ·false [a deception/delusion; or foolish; worthless].
    They cannot do anything;
their images are ·worth nothing [wind and confusion/chaos; or empty wind].