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Chapter 46

The Gods of Babylon

Bel bows down, Nebo[a] stoops,
    their idols set upon beasts and cattle;
They must be borne upon shoulders,
    a load for weary animals.
They stoop and bow down together;
    unable to deliver those who bear them,
    they too go into captivity.

Hear me, O house of Jacob,
    all the remnant of the house of Israel,
My burden from the womb,
    whom I have carried since birth.(A)
Even to your old age I am he,
    even when your hair is gray I will carry you;
I have done this, and I will lift you up,
    I will carry you to safety.

To whom would you liken me as an equal,
    compare me, as though we were alike?
There are those who pour out gold from a purse
    and weigh out silver on the scales;
They hire a goldsmith to make it into a god
    before which they bow down in worship.
They lift it to their shoulders to carry;
    when they set it down, it stays,
    and does not move from the place.
They cry out to it, but it cannot answer;
    it delivers no one from distress.

Remember this and be firm,
    take it to heart, you rebels;
    remember the former things, those long ago:
I am God, there is no other;
    I am God, there is none like me.
10 At the beginning I declare the outcome;
    from of old, things not yet done.
I say that my plan shall stand,
    I accomplish my every desire.

11 I summon from the east a bird of prey,[b]
    from a distant land, one to carry out my plan.
Yes, I have spoken, I will accomplish it;
    I have planned it, and I will do it.
12 Listen to me, you fainthearted,
    far from the victory of justice:
13 I am bringing on that victory, it is not far off,
    my salvation shall not tarry;
I will put salvation within Zion,
    give to Israel my glory.


  1. 46:1–4 Bel…Nebo: gods of Babylon; their complete helplessness is here contrasted with God’s omnipotence; whereas they must be carried about, the Lord carries Israel as a parent does a child.
  2. 46:11 From the east a bird of prey: Cyrus; cf. 41:2–4.