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].
2 “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]. 3 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]. 4 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].”
5 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. 6 ·The workers help each other [A man helps his companion/neighbor] and say to ·each other [his brother], “Be strong!” 7 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
8 ·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]. 9 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].
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