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Isaiah 45-50 Common English Bible (CEB)

Cyrus as God’s anointed

45 The Lord says to his anointed, to Cyrus,
    whom I have grasped by the strong hand,
    to conquer nations before him,
    disarming kings,
    and opening doors before him,
    so no gates will be shut:
I myself will go before you,
    and I will level mountains.
I will shatter bronze doors;
    I will cut through iron bars.
I will give you hidden treasures of secret riches,
    so you will know that I am the Lord,
    the God of Israel, who calls you by name.
For the sake of my servant Jacob and Israel my chosen,
    I called you by name.
I gave you an honored title,
    though you didn’t know me.
I am the Lord, and there is no other;
    besides me there is no God.
I strengthen you—
    though you don’t know me—
so all will know, from the rising of the sun to its setting,
    that there is nothing apart from me.
I am the Lord; there’s no other.
    I form light and create darkness,
    make prosperity and create doom;
    I am the Lord, who does all these things.

Pour down, you heavens above,
    and let the clouds flow with righteousness.
Let the earth open for salvation to bear fruit;
    let righteousness sprout as well.
    I, the Lord, have created these things.

Potter and clay

Doom to the one who argues with the potter,[a]
    as if he were just another clay pot!
Does the clay say to the potter, “What are you making?”
    or “Your work has no handles”?
10 Doom to one who says to a father,
    “What have you fathered?”
    and to a woman,
    “With what are you in labor?”
11 The Lord, the holy one of Israel and its maker,[b] says:
Are you questioning me[c] about my own children?
    Are you telling me what to do with the work of my hands?
12 I myself made the earth,
    and created humans upon it.
    My own hands stretched out the heavens.
    I commanded all their forces.
13 I have a right to awaken Cyrus;
    I will smooth all his paths.
He will build my city
    and set my exiles free,
    not for a price and not for a bribe,
    says the Lord of heavenly forces.

14 The Lord says:
Egypt will grow weary, Cush will be sold,[d]
    and the tall Sabeans will cross over to you.
They will be yours, and after you they will go.
    In chains they will come;
    to you they will bow down.
    They will plead with you:
“Truly God is with you;
    there’s no other, no other God.”
15 Surely you are a god who hides himself,
    Israel’s God and savior.

Idols contrasted with God

16 They will all be shamed and disgraced;
    the makers of idols will end up disgraced together.
17 Israel has been saved by the Lord of everlasting salvation.
You won’t be shamed,
    and you won’t be disgraced forever and always.
18 For this is what the Lord said, who created the heavens,
    who is God,
    who formed the earth and made it,
    who established it,
    who didn’t create it a wasteland but formed it as a habitation:
    I, the Lord, and none other!
19 I didn’t speak in secret
    or in some land of darkness;
I didn’t say to the offspring of Jacob,
    “Seek me in chaos.”
I am the Lord, the one who speaks truth,
    who announces what is correct.
20 Gather and come,
    draw near together,
    fugitives of the nations!
Those who carry their wooden idols don’t know;
    those who pray to a god who won’t save.
21 Announce! Approach! Confer together!
    Who proclaimed this from the beginning, announced it from long ago?
Wasn’t it I, the Lord?
    There’s no other God except me,
    a righteous God and a savior;
    there’s none besides me!
22 Turn to me and be saved,
    all you ends of the earth,
    for I am God, and there’s no other.
23 I have sworn a solemn pledge;
    a word has left my mouth;
    it is reliable and won’t fail.
Surely every knee will bow
and every tongue will confess;
24     they will say, “Righteousness and strength come only from the Lord.
    All who are angry with him will come to shame.
25 All the Israelites
    will be victorious and rejoice.”

Babylon’s idols can’t compare

46 Bel crouches down; Nebo cowers.
    Their idols sit on animals, on beasts.
The objects you once carried about
    are now borne as burdens by the weary animals.
They crouch down and cower together.
They aren’t able to rescue the burden,
    but they themselves go into captivity.
Listen to me, house of Jacob,
    all that remains from the house of Israel
    who have been borne by me since pregnancy,
    whom I carried from the womb
    until you grow old. I am the one,
    and until you turn gray I will support you.
I have done it, and I will continue to bear it;
    I will support and I will rescue.
To whom will you liken me and count me equal
    and compare me so that we are alike?
Those who pour out gold from a bag
    and weigh silver with a balance
    hire a metalworker; then he makes a god.
They bow down; they worship;
    they carry the idol[e] on their shoulders and support it;
    they set it down, and it stands still,
    unable to move from its place.
If one cries out to it, it doesn’t answer.
    It can’t save people from their distress.

Remember past events

Remember this and take courage;
    take it to heart, you rebels.
Remember the prior things—from long ago;
    I am God, and there’s no other.
I am God! There’s none like me,
10     who tells the end at the beginning,
    from ancient times things not yet done,
    saying, “My plan will stand;
    all that I decide I will do,”
11 I call a bird of prey from the east,
    a man from a distant land for my plan.
As surely as I have spoken, I’ll make it happen;
    I have planned, and yes, I’ll do it.
12 Listen to me, you bullheaded people
    who are far from victory:
13 I’m bringing my victory near—it isn’t far,
    and my salvation—it won’t delay.
I will establish salvation in Zion
    and grant my splendor to Israel.

Daughter Babylon dethroned

47 Go down and sit in the dust,
    virgin Daughter Babylon!
Sit on the ground without a throne,
    Daughter Chaldea,
    because they will no longer call you tender and pampered.
Take the millstones and grind flour!
Remove your veil, strip off your robe,
    expose your thighs, wade through the rivers!
Your nakedness will be exposed,
    and your disgrace will be seen.
I will take vengeance;
    no one will intervene.[f]
Our redeemer has spoken;
    the Lord of heavenly forces is his name,
    the holy one of Israel.

Sit silent and go into darkness, Daughter Chaldea,
    because they will no longer call you Queen of Kingdoms.
I was enraged with my people;
    I made my inheritance impure
    and put them under your power.
You took no pity on them.
    You made your yoke heavy even on the elderly.
    You said, “I’m forever; I’m the eternal mistress.”
    You didn’t stop and think;
    you didn’t consider the outcome.
So listen to this,
luxuriant one who sits secure,
    who says in her heart,
    I’m utterly unique;
    I’ll never sit as a widow;
    I’ll never know childlessness:
Both of these will happen to you at once, on a single day:
    childlessness and widowhood
    will envelop you in full measure,
    despite your many sorceries,
    despite your very powerful spells.
10 You felt secure in your evil;
    you said, “No one sees me.”
Your wisdom and knowledge spun you around.
    You thought to yourself, I and no one else.
11 Now evil will come against you,
    something you won’t anticipate.
A curse will fall upon you,
    something you won’t be able to dispel.
Destruction will come upon you suddenly,
    something you won’t foresee.

12 Continue with your enchantments,
    and with your many spells,
    which you have practiced since childhood.
Maybe you will be able to succeed.
    Maybe you will inspire terror.
13 You are weary from all your consultations;
    let the astrologers stand up and save you,
    those who gaze at the stars,
    and predict what will happen to you at each new moon.
14 They are just like stubble;
    the fire burns them.
They won’t save themselves from the powerful flames.
    This is no warming ember or fire to sit beside.
15 Those with whom you have wearied yourself are like this,
    those with whom you were in business from your youth:
    each has wandered off on their own way;
    none will save you.

New things from now on

48 Listen to this, house of Jacob,
    who are known by the name of Israel,
        descendants of Judah,[g]
    who swear by the Lord’s name
        and invoke Israel’s God dishonestly and unrighteously.

    They are known as residents of the holy city,
        those who depend upon the God of Israel—
        the Lord of heavenly forces is his name.
Past things I announced long ago;
    from my mouth I proclaimed them.
    I acted suddenly, and they came about.
Because I know that you are stubborn,
    your neck is made of iron,
    and your forehead is bronze.
I informed you long ago;
    before they came about I proclaimed them to you
    so you wouldn’t say, “My idol did them;
    my wood statue and metal god commanded them.”
You’ve heard and seen all this—
    won’t you admit it?
From now on I’ll tell you new things,
    guarded secrets that you don’t know.
They are created now, not long ago;
    before today you hadn’t heard of them,
    so you won’t say, “I already knew them.”
You haven’t heard, nor have you known;
    as in ages past your ears are closed,
    because I knew what a traitor you were;
    you were known as a rebel from birth.
For the sake of my reputation I control my anger;
    for your sake I restrain my powerful radiance
    so as to not destroy you.
10 See, I have refined you, but not like silver;
    I have tested you[h] in the furnace of misery.
11 For the sake of my reputation, for my own sake, I will act,
    for why will my name be made impure?
    I won’t give my glory to another.

12 Listen to me, Jacob;
    Israel, whom I called:
        I am the one;
        I am the first and I am the last.
13 My hand founded the earth;
    my strong hand spread out the heavens.
    When I call to them, they all stand up.
14 Gather yourselves, all of you, and listen.
    Who among you announced these things?
        “The Lord loves him.
        He will do what God wants with Babylon
        and with the descendants[i] of Chaldea.”
15 I, I have spoken and told him
    the things that will happen to him;
    I will make him succeed.
16 Come close to me; listen to this:
    Since the very beginning I haven’t spoken in secret.
    Whenever anything happens, I am there.
    (And now the Lord God has sent me with his spirit.)

17 The Lord your redeemer,
    the holy one of Israel, proclaims:
    I am the Lord your God
        who teaches you for your own good,
        who leads you in the way you should go.
18 If you would pay attention to my commands,
    your well-being would be like a river,
    and your righteousness like the waves of the sea.
19 Your offspring would be like the sand,
    and your descendants like its grains.
    Their name would never be eliminated,
        never wiped out from before me.

20 Go out from Babylon;
    flee from the Chaldeans!
Report this with a loud shout, proclaim it;
    broadcast it out to the end of the earth.
    Say, “The Lord has redeemed his servant Jacob!”
21 They weren’t thirsty when he led them through the deserts.
    God made water flow from the rock for them;
    split the rock, and water flowed out.
22 There is no well-being, says the Lord, for the wicked.

The servant speaks up

49 Listen to me, coastlands;
    pay attention, peoples far away.
The Lord called me before my birth,
    called my name when I was in my mother’s womb.
He made my mouth like a sharp sword,
    and hid me in the shadow of God’s own hand.
He made me a sharpened arrow,
        and concealed me in God’s quiver,
    saying to me, “You are my servant,
        Israel, in whom I show my glory.”
But I said, “I have wearied myself in vain.
    I have used up my strength for nothing.”
Nevertheless, the Lord will grant me justice;
    my reward is with my God.
And now the Lord has decided—
    the one who formed me from the womb as his servant—
    to restore Jacob to God,
    so that Israel might return to him.
    Moreover, I’m honored in the Lord’s eyes;
    my God has become my strength.
He said: It is not enough, since you are my servant,
    to raise up the tribes of Jacob
    and to bring back the survivors of Israel.
    Hence, I will also appoint you as light to the nations
    so that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.

The Lord, redeemer of Israel and its holy one,
    says to one despised,
    rejected by nations,
    to the slave of rulers:
    Kings will see and stand up;
    commanders will bow down
    on account of the Lord, who is faithful,
    the holy one of Israel,
    who has chosen you.
The Lord said:
At the right time, I answered you;
    on a day of salvation, I helped you.
    I have guarded you,
    and given you as a covenant to the people, to restore the land,
    and to reassign deserted properties,
    saying to the prisoners, “Come out,”
    and to those in darkness, “Show yourselves.”
Along the roads animals[j] will graze;
    their pasture will be on every treeless hilltop.
10 They won’t hunger or thirst;
    the burning heat and sun won’t strike them,
    because one who has compassion for them will lead them
    and will guide them by springs of water.
11 I will turn all my mountains into roads;
    my highways will be built up.
12 Look! These will come from far away.
    Look! These from the north and west,
    and these from the southland.[k]

13 Sing, heavens! Rejoice, earth!
    Break out, mountains, with a song.
The Lord has comforted his people,
    and taken pity on those who suffer.

Compassion for Zion

14 But Zion says, “The Lord has abandoned me;
    my Lord has forgotten me.”
15 Can a woman forget her nursing child,
    fail to pity the child of her womb?
        Even these may forget,
        but I won’t forget you.
16 Look, on my palms I’ve inscribed you;
    your walls are before me continually.
17 Your builders[l] come quickly;
    those who destroy and demolish you will depart from you.
18 Look up all around and see:
    they are all gathered;
    they come to you.
As surely as I live, says the Lord,
    you will put them all on like ornaments,
    bind them on like a bride.

19 As for your ruins and desolate places
    and destroyed land—
    you will soon be crowded with settlers,
    and those who swallowed you will be far away.
20 You will again hear the children who were born bereaved say,
    “The place is too crowded for me;
    make room for me to settle.”
21 And you will think to yourself,
    Who bore me these?
    I was bereaved and desolate, exiled and sent off.
So who raised these?
    I was left behind, I was alone;
    where were these?

22 The Lord God says:
Look, I will raise my hand to the nations,
    and to the peoples I will lift up my signal.
They will bring your sons in their arms,
    and will carry your daughters on their shoulders.
23 Kings will be your attendants,
    and their queens your nursemaids.
With faces to the ground they will bow down to you;
    they will lick the dust from your feet.
You will know that I am the Lord;
    the one who hopes in me won’t be ashamed.
24 Can loot be taken from warriors?
    Can a tyrant’s captives escape?
25 The Lord says:
Even the captives of warriors will be taken,
    and the tyrant’s loot will escape.
I myself will oppose those who oppose you,
    and I myself will save your children.
26 I will make your oppressors eat their own flesh;
    and as with wine, with their own blood they will be drunk,
    so that all flesh will know that I, the Lord, am your savior,
    and the mighty one of Jacob is your redeemer.

50 The Lord says:
Where’s your mother’s divorce decree,
    with which I sent her away?
Or to which lender did I sell you?
    On account of your sins you were sold;
    on account of your transgressions
    your mother was sent away.
Why did I come and find no one?
    Why did I call when no one answered?
Is my hand too small to redeem you?[m]
    Don’t I have enough power to save?
With my rebuke I dry up the sea
    and make the rivers into wilderness.
Their fish stink from lack of water;
    they die of thirst.
I clothe the heavens with darkness
    and cover them with funeral clothing.

God’s faithful servant

The Lord God gave me an educated tongue
    to know how to respond to the weary
    with a word that will awaken them in the morning.[n]
    God awakens my ear in the morning to listen,
    as educated people do.
The Lord God opened my ear;
    I didn’t rebel; I didn’t turn my back.
Instead, I gave my body to attackers,
    and my cheeks to beard pluckers.
I didn’t hide my face
    from insults and spitting.
The Lord God will help me;
    therefore, I haven’t been insulted.
Therefore, I set my face like flint,
    and knew I wouldn’t be ashamed.
The one who will declare me innocent is near.
    Who will argue with me?
Let’s stand up together.
    Who will bring judgment against me?
    Let him approach me.
Look! The Lord God will help me.
    Who will condemn me?
Look, they will wear out like clothing;
    the moth will eat them.

10 Who among you fears the Lord?
    Who listens to the voice of his servant,
    who walks in darkness
    and has no light?
They will trust in the Lord’s name,
    and rely upon their God.
11 Look! All of you are kindling fire,
    igniting torches.
    Walk by the light of your fire,
    by the torches you have ignited.
    This is what will happen to you by my hand:
    you will lie down in grief.

Footnotes:

  1. Isaiah 45:9 Or maker
  2. Isaiah 45:11 Or potter
  3. Isaiah 45:11 Or about future things ask me
  4. Isaiah 45:14 Heb uncertain
  5. Isaiah 46:7 Or it
  6. Isaiah 47:3 Syr, cf Vulg; MT I won’t meet a man
  7. Isaiah 48:1 Or came out from the waters of Judah
  8. Isaiah 48:10 Or I have chosen
  9. Isaiah 48:14 LXX; MT his arm
  10. Isaiah 49:9 Heb lacks animals.
  11. Isaiah 49:12 Heb Sinim
  12. Isaiah 49:17 Or children
  13. Isaiah 50:2 Heb lacks you.
  14. Isaiah 50:4 Heb uncertain
Common English Bible (CEB)

Copyright © 2011 by Common English Bible

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