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Isaiah 51 Good News Translation (GNT)

Words of Comfort to Jerusalem

51 The Lord says,

“Listen to me, you that want to be saved,
    you that come to me for help.
Think of the rock from which you came,
    the quarry from which you were cut.
Think of your ancestor, Abraham,
    and of Sarah, from whom you are descended.
When I called Abraham, he was childless,
    but I blessed him and gave him children;
    I made his descendants numerous.

“I will show compassion to Jerusalem,
    to all who live in her ruins.
Though her land is a desert, I will make it a garden,
    like the garden I planted in Eden.
Joy and gladness will be there,
    and songs of praise and thanks to me.

“Listen to me, my people,
    listen to what I say:
I give my teaching to the nations;
    my laws will bring them light.
I will come quickly and save them;
    the time of my victory is near.
I myself will rule over the nations.
    Distant lands wait for me to come;
    they wait with hope for me to save them.
Look up at the heavens; look at the earth!
    The heavens will disappear like smoke;
    the earth will wear out like old clothing,
    and all its people will die like flies.
But the deliverance I bring will last forever;
    my victory will be final.

“Listen to me, you that know what is right,
    who have my teaching fixed in your hearts.
Do not be afraid when people taunt and insult you;
    they will vanish like moth-eaten clothing!
But the deliverance I bring will last forever;
    my victory will endure for all time.”

Wake up, Lord, and help us!
Use your power and save us;
    use it as you did in ancient times.
It was you that cut the sea monster Rahab[a] to pieces.
10 It was you also who dried up the sea
    and made a path through the water,
    so that those you were saving could cross.
11 Those whom you have rescued
    will reach Jerusalem with gladness,
    singing and shouting for joy.
They will be happy forever,
    forever free from sorrow and grief.

12 The Lord says,

“I am the one who strengthens you.
    Why should you fear mortals,
    who are no more enduring than grass?
13 Have you forgotten the Lord who made you,
    who stretched out the heavens
    and laid the earth's foundations?
Why should you live in constant fear
    of the fury of those who oppress you,
    of those who are ready to destroy you?
Their fury can no longer touch you.
14 Those who are prisoners will soon be set free;
    they will live a long life
    and have all the food they need.

15 “I am the Lord your God;
    I stir up the sea
    and make its waves roar.
My name is the Lord Almighty!
16 I stretched out[b] the heavens
    and laid the earth's foundations;
I say to Jerusalem, ‘You are my people!
    I have given you my teaching,
    and I protect you with my hand.’”

The End of Jerusalem's Suffering

17 Jerusalem, wake up!
    Rouse yourself and get up!
You have drunk the cup of punishment
    that the Lord in his anger gave you to drink;
    you drank it down, and it made you stagger.
18 There is no one to lead you,
    no one among your people
    to take you by the hand.

19 A double disaster has fallen on you:
    your land has been devastated by war,
    and your people have starved.
    There is no one to show you sympathy.
20 At the corner of every street
    your people collapse from weakness;
    they are like deer caught in a hunter's net.
    They have felt the force of God's anger.

21 You suffering people of Jerusalem,
    you that stagger as though you were drunk,
22 the Lord your God defends you and says,
“I am taking away the cup
    that I gave you in my anger.
You will no longer have to drink
    the wine that makes you stagger.
23 I will give it to those who oppressed you,
    to those who made you lie down in the streets
    and trampled on you as if you were dirt.”


  1. Isaiah 51:9 A legendary sea monster, which represented the forces of chaos and evil, was sometimes a symbol of Egypt.
  2. Isaiah 51:16 One ancient translation stretched out; Hebrew planted.
Good News Translation (GNT)

Copyright © 1992 by American Bible Society

Isaiah 51 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

Blessings in Store for God’s People

51 Listen to me, you that pursue righteousness,
    you that seek the Lord.
Look to the rock from which you were hewn,
    and to the quarry from which you were dug.
Look to Abraham your father
    and to Sarah who bore you;
for he was but one when I called him,
    but I blessed him and made him many.
For the Lord will comfort Zion;
    he will comfort all her waste places,
and will make her wilderness like Eden,
    her desert like the garden of the Lord;
joy and gladness will be found in her,
    thanksgiving and the voice of song.

Listen to me, my people,
    and give heed to me, my nation;
for a teaching will go out from me,
    and my justice for a light to the peoples.
I will bring near my deliverance swiftly,
    my salvation has gone out
    and my arms will rule the peoples;
the coastlands wait for me,
    and for my arm they hope.
Lift up your eyes to the heavens,
    and look at the earth beneath;
for the heavens will vanish like smoke,
    the earth will wear out like a garment,
    and those who live on it will die like gnats;[a]
but my salvation will be forever,
    and my deliverance will never be ended.

Listen to me, you who know righteousness,
    you people who have my teaching in your hearts;
do not fear the reproach of others,
    and do not be dismayed when they revile you.
For the moth will eat them up like a garment,
    and the worm will eat them like wool;
but my deliverance will be forever,
    and my salvation to all generations.

Awake, awake, put on strength,
    O arm of the Lord!
Awake, as in days of old,
    the generations of long ago!
Was it not you who cut Rahab in pieces,
    who pierced the dragon?
10 Was it not you who dried up the sea,
    the waters of the great deep;
who made the depths of the sea a way
    for the redeemed to cross over?
11 So the ransomed of the Lord shall return,
    and come to Zion with singing;
everlasting joy shall be upon their heads;
    they shall obtain joy and gladness,
    and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

12 I, I am he who comforts you;
    why then are you afraid of a mere mortal who must die,
    a human being who fades like grass?
13 You have forgotten the Lord, your Maker,
    who stretched out the heavens
    and laid the foundations of the earth.
You fear continually all day long
    because of the fury of the oppressor,
who is bent on destruction.
    But where is the fury of the oppressor?
14 The oppressed shall speedily be released;
    they shall not die and go down to the Pit,
    nor shall they lack bread.
15 For I am the Lord your God,
    who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar—
    the Lord of hosts is his name.
16 I have put my words in your mouth,
    and hidden you in the shadow of my hand,
stretching out[b] the heavens
    and laying the foundations of the earth,
    and saying to Zion, “You are my people.”

17 Rouse yourself, rouse yourself!
    Stand up, O Jerusalem,
you who have drunk at the hand of the Lord
    the cup of his wrath,
who have drunk to the dregs
    the bowl of staggering.
18 There is no one to guide her
    among all the children she has borne;
there is no one to take her by the hand
    among all the children she has brought up.
19 These two things have befallen you
    —who will grieve with you?—
devastation and destruction, famine and sword—
    who will comfort you?[c]
20 Your children have fainted,
    they lie at the head of every street
    like an antelope in a net;
they are full of the wrath of the Lord,
    the rebuke of your God.

21 Therefore hear this, you who are wounded,[d]
    who are drunk, but not with wine:
22 Thus says your Sovereign, the Lord,
    your God who pleads the cause of his people:
See, I have taken from your hand the cup of staggering;
you shall drink no more
    from the bowl of my wrath.
23 And I will put it into the hand of your tormentors,
    who have said to you,
    “Bow down, that we may walk on you”;
and you have made your back like the ground
    and like the street for them to walk on.


  1. Isaiah 51:6 Or in like manner
  2. Isaiah 51:16 Syr: Heb planting
  3. Isaiah 51:19 Q Ms Gk Syr Vg: MT how may I comfort you?
  4. Isaiah 51:21 Or humbled
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.

Isaiah 51 Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)

51 “Listen to me, you pursuers of justice,
you who seek Adonai:
consider the rock from which you were cut,
the quarry from which you were dug —
consider Avraham your father
and Sarah, who gave birth to you;
in that I called him when he was only one person,
then blessed him and made him many.
For Adonai will comfort Tziyon,
will comfort all her ruined places,
will make her desert like ‘Eden,
her ‘Aravah like the garden of Adonai.
Joy and gladness will be there,
thanksgiving and the sound of music.
“Pay attention to me, my people!
My nation, listen to me!
For Torah will go out from me;
I will calm them with my justice
as a light for the peoples.
My righteousness is at hand,
my salvation goes out,
my arms will judge the peoples.
The coastlands are putting their hope in me,
trusting in my arm.

“Raise your eyes toward the skies,
look at the earth below.
The skies will vanish like smoke,
the earth will wear out like clothing.
Those living on it will die like flies;
but my salvation will be forever,
and my justice will never end.

“Listen to me, you who know justice,
you people who have my Torah in your heart:
don’t be afraid of people’s taunts,
don’t be upset by their insults.
For the moth will eat them up like clothing,
the worm will eat them like wool;
but my justice will be forever,
and my salvation for all generations.”

Awake! Awake! Arm of Adonai,
clothe yourself with strength!
Awake, as in days of old,
as in ancient generations!
Wasn’t it you who hacked Rahav to pieces,
you who pierced the sea monster?*

10 Wasn’t it you who dried up the sea,
the waters of the great deep;
you who made the sea bottom a road
for the redeemed to cross?
11 Those ransomed by Adonai will return
and come with singing to Tziyon;
on their heads will be everlasting joy.
They will acquire gladness and joy,
while sorrow and sighing will flee.

12 “I, yes I, am the one who comforts you!
Why are you afraid of a man, who must die;
of a human being, who will wither like grass?
13 You have forgotten Adonai, your maker,
who stretched out the heavens
and laid the foundations of the earth.
Instead, you are in constant fear all day
because of the oppressor’s rage,
as he prepares to destroy!
But where is the oppressor’s rage?
14 The captive will soon be set free;
he will not die and go down to Sh’ol;
on the contrary, his food supply will be secure.
15 For I am Adonai your God,
who stirs up the sea, who makes its waves roar —
Adonai-Tzva’ot is my name.
16 I have put my words in your mouth
and covered you with the shadow of my hand,
in order to plant the skies [anew],
lay the foundations of the earth [anew]
and say to Tziyon, ‘You are my people.’”

17 Awake! Awake! Stand up, Yerushalayim!
At Adonai’s hand you drank the cup of his fury;
you have drained to the dregs
the goblet of drunkenness.
18 There is no one to guide her
among all the sons she has borne.
Not one of all the children she raised
is taking her by the hand.
19 These two disasters have overcome you —
yet who will grieve with you? —
plunder and destruction, famine and sword;
by whom can I comfort you?
20 Your children lie helpless at every street corner,
like an antelope trapped in a net;
they are full of Adonai’s fury,
the rebuke of your God.
21 Therefore, please hear this in your affliction,
you who are drunk, but not with wine;
22 this is what your Lord Adonai says,
your God, who defends his people:
“Here, I have removed from your hand
the cup of drunkenness,
the goblet of my fury.
You will never drink it again.
23 I will put it in the hands of your tormentors,
who said to you, ‘Bend down, so we can trample you,’
and you flattened your back on the ground
like a street for them to walk on.”

Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)

Copyright © 1998 by David H. Stern. All rights reserved.

Isaiah 51 The Message (MSG)

Committed to Seeking God

51 1-3 “Listen to me, all you who are serious about right living
    and committed to seeking God.
Ponder the rock from which you were cut,
    the quarry from which you were dug.
Yes, ponder Abraham, your father,
    and Sarah, who bore you.
Think of it! One solitary man when I called him,
    but once I blessed him, he multiplied.
Likewise I, God, will comfort Zion,
    comfort all her mounds of ruins.
I’ll transform her dead ground into Eden,
    her moonscape into the garden of God,
A place filled with exuberance and laughter,
    thankful voices and melodic songs.

4-6 “Pay attention, my people.
    Listen to me, nations.
Revelation flows from me.
    My decisions light up the world.
My deliverance arrives on the run,
    my salvation right on time.
    I’ll bring justice to the peoples.
Even faraway islands will look to me
    and take hope in my saving power.
Look up at the skies,
    ponder the earth under your feet.
The skies will fade out like smoke,
    the earth will wear out like work pants,
    and the people will die off like flies.
But my salvation will last forever,
    my setting-things-right will never be obsolete.

7-8 “Listen now, you who know right from wrong,
    you who hold my teaching inside you:
Pay no attention to insults, and when mocked
    don’t let it get you down.
Those insults and mockeries are moth-eaten,
    from brains that are termite-ridden,
But my setting-things-right lasts,
    my salvation goes on and on and on.”

9-11 Wake up, wake up, flex your muscles, God!
    Wake up as in the old days, in the long ago.
Didn’t you once make mincemeat of Rahab,
    dispatch the old chaos-dragon?
And didn’t you once dry up the sea,
    the powerful waters of the deep,
And then made the bottom of the ocean a road
    for the redeemed to walk across?
In the same way God’s ransomed will come back,
    come back to Zion cheering, shouting,
Joy eternal wreathing their heads,
    exuberant ecstasies transporting them—
    and not a sign of moans or groans.

What Are You Afraid of—or Who?

12-16 “I, I’m the One comforting you.
    What are you afraid of—or who?
Some man or woman who’ll soon be dead?
    Some poor wretch destined for dust?
You’ve forgotten me, God, who made you,
    who unfurled the skies, who founded the earth.
And here you are, quaking like an aspen
    before the tantrums of a tyrant
    who thinks he can kick down the world.
But what will come of the tantrums?
    The victims will be released before you know it.
They’re not going to die.
    They’re not even going to go hungry.
For I am God, your very own God,
    who stirs up the sea and whips up the waves,
    named God-of-the-Angel-Armies.
I teach you how to talk, word by word,
    and personally watch over you,
Even while I’m unfurling the skies,
    setting earth on solid foundations,
    and greeting Zion: ‘Welcome, my people!’”

17-20 So wake up! Rub the sleep from your eyes!
    Up on your feet, Jerusalem!
You’ve drunk the cup God handed you,
    the strong drink of his anger.
You drank it down to the last drop,
    staggered and collapsed, dead-drunk.
And nobody to help you home,
    no one among your friends or children
    to take you by the hand and put you in bed.
You’ve been hit with a double dose of trouble
    —does anyone care?
Assault and battery, hunger and death
    —will anyone comfort?
Your sons and daughters have passed out,
    strewn in the streets like stunned rabbits,
Sleeping off the strong drink of God’s anger,
    the rage of your God.

21-23 Therefore listen, please,
    you with your splitting headaches,
You who are nursing the hangovers
    that didn’t come from drinking wine.
Your Master, your God, has something to say,
    your God has taken up his people’s case:
“Look, I’ve taken back the drink that sent you reeling.
    No more drinking from that jug of my anger!
I’ve passed it over to your abusers to drink, those who ordered you,
    ‘Down on the ground so we can walk all over you!’
And you had to do it. Flat on the ground,
    you were the dirt under their feet.”

The Message (MSG)

Copyright © 1993, 2002, 2018 by Eugene H. Peterson

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