Isaiah 39–40; Colossians 4

Envoys from Babylon

39 sAt that time Merodach-baladan the son of Baladan, king of Babylon, tsent envoys with letters and a present to Hezekiah, for he heard that he had been sick and had recovered. And Hezekiah welcomed them gladly. And he showed them his treasure house, uthe silver, the gold, the spices, the precious oil, his whole armory, all that was found in his storehouses. vThere was nothing in his house or in all his realm that Hezekiah did not show them. Then Isaiah the prophet came to King Hezekiah, and said to him, What did these men say? And from where did they come to you? Hezekiah said, They have come to me from a far country, from Babylon. He said, What have they seen in your house? Hezekiah answered, They have seen all that is in my house. There is nothing in my storehouses that I did not show them.

Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, Hear the word of the Lord of hosts: wBehold, the days are coming, when all that is in your house, and that which your fathers have stored up till this day, shall be carried to Babylon. Nothing shall be left, says the Lord. xAnd some of your own sons, who will come from you, whom you will father, shall be taken away, and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon. Then Hezekiah said to Isaiah, The word of the Lord that you have spoken is good. For he thought, yThere will be peace and security in my days.

Comfort for God’s People

40  zComfort, comfort my people, says your God.

aSpeak tenderly to Jerusalem,

and cry to her

that bher warfare1 is ended,

that her iniquity is pardoned,

that she has received from the Lord’s hand

double for all her sins.

cA voice cries:2

dIn the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord;

emake straight in the desert a highway for our God.

fEvery valley shall be lifted up,

and every mountain and hill be made low;

the uneven ground shall become level,

and the rough places a plain.

gAnd the glory of the Lord shall be revealed,

and all flesh shall see it together,

hfor the mouth of the Lord has spoken.

The Word of God Stands Forever

A voice says, Cry!

And I said,3 What shall I cry?

iAll flesh is grass,

and all its beauty4 is like the flower of the field.

The grass withers, the flower fades

when the breath of the Lord blows on it;

surely the people are grass.

jThe grass withers, the flower fades,

but the word of our God will stand forever.

The Greatness of God

Go on up to a high mountain,

O Zion, kherald of good news;5

lift up your voice with strength,

O Jerusalem, herald of good news;6

lift it up, fear not;

say to the cities of Judah,

Behold your God!

10  lBehold, the Lord God comes with might,

and his arm rules for him;

mbehold, his reward is with him,

and his recompense before him.

11  nHe will tend his flock like a shepherd;

ohe will gather the lambs in his arms;

phe will carry them in his bosom,

and gently lead those that are with young.

12  qWho has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand

and marked off the heavens with a span,

enclosed the dust of the earth in a measure

and weighed the mountains in scales

and the hills in a balance?

13  rWho has measured7 the Spirit of the Lord,

or what man shows him his counsel?

14  Whom did he consult,

and who made him understand?

sWho taught him the path of justice,

and taught him knowledge,

and showed him the way of understanding?

15  Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket,

and are accounted tas the dust on the scales;

behold, he takes up uthe coastlands like fine dust.

16  Lebanon would not suffice for fuel,

nor are vits beasts enough for a burnt offering.

17  wAll the nations are as nothing before him,

they are accounted by him as less than nothing and emptiness.

18  xTo whom then will you liken God,

yor what likeness compare with him?

19  yAn idol! A craftsman casts it,

and a goldsmith overlays it with gold

and casts for it silver chains.

20  zHe who is too impoverished for an offering

chooses wood8 that will not rot;

he seeks out a skillful craftsman

to set up an idol that will not move.

21  aDo you not know? Do you not hear?

Has it not been told you from the beginning?

Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth?

22  It is he who sits above the circle of the earth,

and its inhabitants are blike grasshoppers;

cwho stretches out the heavens like a curtain,

and spreads them like a tent to dwell in;

23  dwho brings princes to nothing,

and makes the rulers of the earth as emptiness.

24  Scarcely are they planted, scarcely sown,

scarcely has their stem taken root in the earth,

when he blows on them, and they wither,

eand the tempest carries them off like stubble.

25  fTo whom then will you compare me,

that I should be like him? says the Holy One.

26  Lift up your eyes on high and see:

who created these?

gHe who brings out their host by number,

calling them all by name;

by the greatness of his might

and because he is strong in power,

not one is missing.

27  Why do you say, O Jacob,

and speak, O Israel,

hMy way is hidden from the Lord,

iand my right is disregarded by my God?

28  Have you not known? Have you not heard?

The Lord is jthe everlasting God,

the Creator of the ends of the earth.

He does not faint or grow weary;

khis understanding is unsearchable.

29  He gives power to the faint,

and to him who has no might he increases strength.

30  Even youths shall faint and be weary,

and young men shall fall exhausted;

31  but lthey who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;

they shall mount up with wings mlike eagles;

they shall run and not be weary;

they shall walk and not faint.


Masters, treat your bondservants1 justly and fairly, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven.

Further Instructions

cContinue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it dwith thanksgiving. At the same time, pray also for us, that God may eopen to us a door for the word, fto declare the mystery of Christ, gon account of which I am in prison that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak.

hWalk in wisdom toward ioutsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always jbe gracious, kseasoned with salt, lso that you may know how you ought to answer each person.

Final Greetings

Tychicus will tell you mall about my activities. He is a beloved brother and faithful minister and fellow servant2 in the Lord. I have sent him to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we are and that he may encourage your hearts, and with him nOnesimus, our faithful and obeloved brother, who is one of you. They will tell you of everything that has taken place here.

10 pAristarchus my fellow prisoner greets you, and Mark qthe cousin of Barnabas (concerning whom you have received instructionsrif he comes to you, welcome him), 11 and Jesus who is called sJustus. tThese are the only men of the circumcision among my fellow workers for the kingdom of God, and uthey have been a comfort to me. 12 vEpaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ Jesus, greets you, always wstruggling on your behalf in his prayers, that you may stand xmature and fully assured in all the will of God. 13 For I bear him witness that he has worked hard for you and for those in Laodicea and in Hierapolis. 14 yLuke the beloved physician greets you, as does zDemas. 15 Give my greetings to the brothers3 at Laodicea, and to Nympha and athe church in her house. 16 And when bthis letter has been read among you, have it also read in the church of the Laodiceans; and see that you also read the letter from Laodicea. 17 And say to cArchippus, See that you fulfill dthe ministry that you have received in the Lord.

18 I, Paul, ewrite this greeting with my own hand. fRemember gmy chains. hGrace be with you.