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Isaiah 45-47 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

Cyrus, God’s Instrument

45 Thus says the Lord to his anointed, to Cyrus,
    whose right hand I have grasped
to subdue nations before him
    and strip kings of their robes,
to open doors before him—
    and the gates shall not be closed:
I will go before you
    and level the mountains,[a]
I will break in pieces the doors of bronze
    and cut through the bars of iron,
I will give you the treasures of darkness
    and riches hidden in secret places,
so that you may know that it is I, the Lord,
    the God of Israel, who call you by your name.
For the sake of my servant Jacob,
    and Israel my chosen,
I call you by your name,
    I surname you, though you do not know me.
I am the Lord, and there is no other;
    besides me there is no god.
    I arm you, though you do not know me,
so that they may know, from the rising of the sun
    and from the west, that there is no one besides me;
    I am the Lord, and there is no other.
I form light and create darkness,
    I make weal and create woe;
    I the Lord do all these things.

Shower, O heavens, from above,
    and let the skies rain down righteousness;
let the earth open, that salvation may spring up,[b]
    and let it cause righteousness to sprout up also;
    I the Lord have created it.

Woe to you who strive with your Maker,
    earthen vessels with the potter![c]
Does the clay say to the one who fashions it, “What are you making”?
    or “Your work has no handles”?
10 Woe to anyone who says to a father, “What are you begetting?”
    or to a woman, “With what are you in labor?”
11 Thus says the Lord,
    the Holy One of Israel, and its Maker:
Will you question me[d] about my children,
    or command me concerning the work of my hands?
12 I made the earth,
    and created humankind upon it;
it was my hands that stretched out the heavens,
    and I commanded all their host.
13 I have aroused Cyrus[e] in righteousness,
    and I will make all his paths straight;
he shall build my city
    and set my exiles free,
not for price or reward,
    says the Lord of hosts.
14 Thus says the Lord:
The wealth of Egypt and the merchandise of Ethiopia,[f]
    and the Sabeans, tall of stature,
shall come over to you and be yours,
    they shall follow you;
    they shall come over in chains and bow down to you.
They will make supplication to you, saying,
    “God is with you alone, and there is no other;
    there is no god besides him.”
15 Truly, you are a God who hides himself,
    O God of Israel, the Savior.
16 All of them are put to shame and confounded,
    the makers of idols go in confusion together.
17 But Israel is saved by the Lord
    with everlasting salvation;
you shall not be put to shame or confounded
    to all eternity.

18 For thus says the Lord,
who created the heavens
    (he is God!),
who formed the earth and made it
    (he established it;
he did not create it a chaos,
    he formed it to be inhabited!):
I am the Lord, and there is no other.
19 I did not speak in secret,
    in a land of darkness;
I did not say to the offspring of Jacob,
    “Seek me in chaos.”
I the Lord speak the truth,
    I declare what is right.

Idols Cannot Save Babylon

20 Assemble yourselves and come together,
    draw near, you survivors of the nations!
They have no knowledge—
    those who carry about their wooden idols,
and keep on praying to a god
    that cannot save.
21 Declare and present your case;
    let them take counsel together!
Who told this long ago?
    Who declared it of old?
Was it not I, the Lord?
    There is no other god besides me,
a righteous God and a Savior;
    there is no one besides me.

22 Turn to me and be saved,
    all the ends of the earth!
    For I am God, and there is no other.
23 By myself I have sworn,
    from my mouth has gone forth in righteousness
    a word that shall not return:
“To me every knee shall bow,
    every tongue shall swear.”

24 Only in the Lord, it shall be said of me,
    are righteousness and strength;
all who were incensed against him
    shall come to him and be ashamed.
25 In the Lord all the offspring of Israel
    shall triumph and glory.

46 Bel bows down, Nebo stoops,
    their idols are on beasts and cattle;
these things you carry are loaded
    as burdens on weary animals.
They stoop, they bow down together;
    they cannot save the burden,
    but themselves go into captivity.

Listen to me, O house of Jacob,
    all the remnant of the house of Israel,
who have been borne by me from your birth,
    carried from the womb;
even to your old age I am he,
    even when you turn gray I will carry you.
I have made, and I will bear;
    I will carry and will save.

To whom will you liken me and make me equal,
    and compare me, as though we were alike?
Those who lavish gold from the purse,
    and weigh out silver in the scales—
they hire a goldsmith, who makes it into a god;
    then they fall down and worship!
They lift it to their shoulders, they carry it,
    they set it in its place, and it stands there;
    it cannot move from its place.
If one cries out to it, it does not answer
    or save anyone from trouble.

Remember this and consider,[g]
    recall it to mind, you transgressors,
    remember the former things of old;
for I am God, and there is no other;
    I am God, and there is no one like me,
10 declaring the end from the beginning
    and from ancient times things not yet done,
saying, “My purpose shall stand,
    and I will fulfill my intention,”
11 calling a bird of prey from the east,
    the man for my purpose from a far country.
I have spoken, and I will bring it to pass;
    I have planned, and I will do it.

12 Listen to me, you stubborn of heart,
    you who are far from deliverance:
13 I bring near my deliverance, it is not far off,
    and my salvation will not tarry;
I will put salvation in Zion,
    for Israel my glory.

The Humiliation of Babylon

47 Come down and sit in the dust,
    virgin daughter Babylon!
Sit on the ground without a throne,
    daughter Chaldea!
For you shall no more be called
    tender and delicate.
Take the millstones and grind meal,
    remove your veil,
strip off your robe, uncover your legs,
    pass through the rivers.
Your nakedness shall be uncovered,
    and your shame shall be seen.
I will take vengeance,
    and I will spare no one.
Our Redeemer—the Lord of hosts is his name—
    is the Holy One of Israel.

Sit in silence, and go into darkness,
    daughter Chaldea!
For you shall no more be called
    the mistress of kingdoms.
I was angry with my people,
    I profaned my heritage;
I gave them into your hand,
    you showed them no mercy;
on the aged you made your yoke
    exceedingly heavy.
You said, “I shall be mistress forever,”
    so that you did not lay these things to heart
    or remember their end.

Now therefore hear this, you lover of pleasures,
    who sit securely,
who say in your heart,
    “I am, and there is no one besides me;
I shall not sit as a widow
    or know the loss of children”—
both these things shall come upon you
    in a moment, in one day:
the loss of children and widowhood
    shall come upon you in full measure,
in spite of your many sorceries
    and the great power of your enchantments.

10 You felt secure in your wickedness;
    you said, “No one sees me.”
Your wisdom and your knowledge
    led you astray,
and you said in your heart,
    “I am, and there is no one besides me.”
11 But evil shall come upon you,
    which you cannot charm away;
disaster shall fall upon you,
    which you will not be able to ward off;
and ruin shall come on you suddenly,
    of which you know nothing.

12 Stand fast in your enchantments
    and your many sorceries,
    with which you have labored from your youth;
perhaps you may be able to succeed,
    perhaps you may inspire terror.
13 You are wearied with your many consultations;
    let those who study[h] the heavens
stand up and save you,
    those who gaze at the stars,
and at each new moon predict
    what[i] shall befall you.

14 See, they are like stubble,
    the fire consumes them;
they cannot deliver themselves
    from the power of the flame.
No coal for warming oneself is this,
    no fire to sit before!
15 Such to you are those with whom you have labored,
    who have trafficked with you from your youth;
they all wander about in their own paths;
    there is no one to save you.

Footnotes:

  1. Isaiah 45:2 Q Ms Gk: MT the swellings
  2. Isaiah 45:8 Q Ms: MT that they may bring forth salvation
  3. Isaiah 45:9 Cn: Heb with the potsherds, or with the potters
  4. Isaiah 45:11 Cn: Heb Ask me of things to come
  5. Isaiah 45:13 Heb him
  6. Isaiah 45:14 Or Nubia; Heb Cush
  7. Isaiah 46:8 Meaning of Heb uncertain
  8. Isaiah 47:13 Meaning of Heb uncertain
  9. Isaiah 47:13 Gk Syr Compare Vg: Heb from what
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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