44 Listen to me, O my servant Israel, O my chosen ones:
2 The Lord who made you, who will help you, says: O servant of mine, don’t be afraid. O Jerusalem, my chosen ones, don’t be afraid. 3 For I will give you abundant water for your thirst and for your parched fields. And I will pour out my Spirit and my blessings on your children. 4 They shall thrive like watered grass, like willows on a riverbank. 5 “I am the Lord’s,” they’ll proudly[a] say, or, “I am a Jew,” and tattoo upon their hands the name of God or the honored name of Israel.
6 The Lord, the King of Israel, says—yes, it is Israel’s Redeemer, the Lord Almighty, who says it—I am the First and Last; there is no other God. 7 Who else can tell you what is going to happen in the days ahead? Let them tell you if they can and prove their power. Let them do as I have done since ancient times. 8 Don’t, don’t be afraid. Haven’t I proclaimed from ages past that I would save you[b]? You are my witnesses—is there any other God? No! None that I know about! There is no other Rock!
9 What fools they are who manufacture idols for their gods. Their hopes remain unanswered. They themselves are witnesses that this is so, for their idols neither see nor know. No wonder those who worship them are so ashamed. 10 Who but a fool would make his own god—an idol that can help him not one whit! 11 All that worship these will stand before the Lord in shame, along with all these carpenters—mere men—who claim that they have made a god. Together they will stand in terror. 12 The metalsmith stands at his forge to make an ax, pounding on it with all his might. He grows hungry and thirsty, weak and faint. 13 Then the wood-carver takes the ax and uses it to make an idol. He measures and marks out a block of wood and carves the figure of a man. Now he has a wonderful idol that can’t so much as move from where it is placed. 14 He cuts down cedars, he selects the cypress and the oak, he plants the ash in the forest to be nourished by the rain. 15 And after his care, he uses part of the wood to make a fire to warm himself and bake his bread, and then—he really does—he takes the rest of it and makes himself a god—a god for men to worship! An idol to fall down before and praise! 16 Part of the tree he burns to roast his meat and to keep him warm and fed and well content, 17 and with what’s left he makes his god: a carved idol! He falls down before it and worships it and prays to it. “Deliver me,” he says. “You are my god!”
18 Such stupidity and ignorance! God has shut their eyes so that they cannot see and closed their minds from understanding. 19 The man never stops to think or figure out, “Why, it’s just a block of wood! I’ve burned it for heat and used it to bake my bread and roast my meat. How can the rest of it be a god? Should I fall down before a chunk of wood?” 20 The poor, deluded fool feeds on ashes; he is trusting what can never give him any help at all. Yet he cannot bring himself to ask, “Is this thing, this idol that I’m holding in my hand, a lie?”
21 Pay attention, Israel, for you are my servant; I made you, and I will not forget to help you. 22 I’ve blotted out your sins; they are gone like morning mist at noon! Oh, return to me, for I have paid the price to set you free.
23 Sing, O heavens, for the Lord has done this wondrous thing. Shout, O earth; break forth into song, O mountains and forests, yes, and every tree; for the Lord redeemed Jacob and is glorified in Israel! 24 The Lord, your Redeemer who made you, says: All things were made by me; I alone stretched out the heavens. By myself I made the earth and everything in it.
25 I am the one who shows what liars all false prophets are, by causing something else to happen than the things they say. I make wise men give opposite advice to what they should and make them into fools. 26 But what my prophets say, I do; when they say Jerusalem will be delivered and the cities of Judah lived in once again—it shall be done! 27 When I speak to the rivers and say, “Be dry!” they shall be dry. 28 When I say of Cyrus,[c] “He is my shepherd,” he will certainly do as I say; and Jerusalem will be rebuilt and the Temple restored, for I have spoken it.