Comfort for God’s People
40 zComfort, comfort my people, says your God.
2 aSpeak tenderly to Jerusalem,
and cry to her
that her iniquity is pardoned,
that she has received from the Lord’s hand
double for all her sins.
d“In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord;
emake straight in the desert a highway for our God.
4 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.
5 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
6 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.
7 The grass withers, the flower fades
when the breath of the Lord blows on it;
surely the people are grass.
8 jThe grass withers, the flower fades,
but the word of our God will stand forever.
The Greatness of God
9 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,
h“My 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.
Fear Not, for I Am with You
41 nListen to me in silence, oO coastlands;
let the peoples renew their strength;
let them approach, then let them speak;
let us together draw near for judgment.
2 pWho stirred up one from the east
whom victory meets at every qstep?1
rHe gives up nations before him,
so that he tramples kings underfoot;
he makes them like dust with his sword,
slike driven stubble with his bow.
3 He pursues them and passes on safely,
by paths his feet have not trod.
4 tWho has performed and done this,
calling the generations from the beginning?
uI, the Lord, the first,
and with the last; I am he.
5 vThe coastlands have seen and are afraid;
the ends of the earth tremble;
they have drawn near and come.
6 Everyone helps his neighbor
and says to his brother, “Be strong!”
7 wThe craftsman strengthens the goldsmith,
and he who smooths with the hammer him who strikes the anvil,
saying of the soldering, “It is good”;
and they strengthen it with nails xso that it cannot be moved.
8 But you, Israel, ymy servant,
Jacob, zwhom I have chosen,
the offspring of Abraham, amy friend;
9 you whom I took from the ends of the earth,
and called bfrom its farthest corners,
saying to you, “You are ymy servant,
zI have chosen you and not cast you off”;
10 fear not, for I am with you;
be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with cmy righteous right hand.
11 dBehold, all who are incensed against you
shall be put to shame and confounded;
those who strive against you
shall be as nothing and shall perish.
12 eYou shall seek those who contend with you,
but you shall not find them;
fthose who war against you
shall be as nothing at all.
13 For I, the Lord your God,
hold your right hand;
it is I who say to you, “Fear not,
I am the one who helps you.”
14 Fear not, you gworm Jacob,
you men of Israel!
I am the one who helps you, declares the Lord;
your hRedeemer is the Holy One of Israel.
15 iBehold, I make of you a threshing sledge,
new, sharp, and having teeth;
you shall thresh jthe mountains and crush them,
and you shall make the hills like chaff;
16 kyou shall winnow them, and lthe wind shall carry them away,
and the tempest shall scatter them.
mAnd you shall rejoice in the Lord;
in the Holy One of Israel you shall glory.
17 nWhen the poor and needy seek water,
and there is none,
and their tongue is parched with thirst,
I the Lord will answer them;
I the God of Israel will not forsake them.
18 oI will open rivers on the bare heights,
and fountains in the midst of the valleys.
pI will make the wilderness a pool of water,
and the dry land springs of water.
19 qI will put in the wilderness the cedar,
the acacia, the myrtle, and the olive.
I will set in the desert rthe cypress,
the plane and the pine together,
20 that they may see and know,
may consider and understand together,
that sthe hand of the Lord has done this,
the Holy One of Israel has created it.
The Futility of Idols
21 Set forth your case, says the Lord;
bring your proofs, says the King of Jacob.
22 Let them bring them, and ttell us
what is to happen.
Tell us the former things, what they are,
that we may consider them,
that we may know their outcome;
or declare to us the things to come.
23 tTell us what is to come hereafter,
that we may know that you are gods;
udo good, or do harm,
that we may be dismayed and terrified.2
24 Behold, vyou are nothing,
and your work is less than nothing;
an abomination is he who chooses you.
25 wI stirred up one from the north, and he has come,
xfrom the rising of the sun, yand he shall call upon my name;
he shall trample on rulers as on mortar,
as the potter treads clay.
26 zWho declared it from the beginning, that we might know,
and beforehand, that we might say, “He is right”?
There was none who declared it, none who proclaimed,
none who heard your words.
27 aI was the first to say3 to Zion, “Behold, here they are!”
and bI give to Jerusalem a herald of good news.
28 cBut when I look, there is no one;
among these there is no counselor
who, when I ask, gives an answer.
29 dBehold, they are all a delusion;
their works are nothing;
their metal images are empty wind.
The Lord’s Chosen Servant
42 eBehold fmy servant, whom I uphold,
my chosen, gin whom my soul delights;
hI have put my Spirit upon him;
ihe will bring forth justice to the nations.
2 He will not cry aloud or lift up his voice,
or make it heard in the street;
3 ja bruised reed he will not break,
and a faintly burning wick he will not quench;
khe will faithfully bring forth justice.
4 He will not grow faint or be discouraged1
till he has established justice in the earth;
and lthe coastlands wait for his law.
5 Thus says God, the Lord,
who created the heavens mand stretched them out,
who spread out the earth and what comes from it,
nwho gives breath to the people on it
and spirit to those who walk in it:
6 “I am the Lord; oI have called you2 in righteousness;
I will take you by the hand and keep you;
I will give you pas a covenant for the people,
qa light for the nations,
7 rto open the eyes that are blind,
to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon,
sfrom the prison those who sit in darkness.
8 I am the Lord; that is my name;
tmy glory I give to no other,
nor my praise to carved idols.
9 Behold, the former things have come to pass,
uand new things I now declare;
before they spring forth
I tell you of them.”
Sing to the Lord a New Song
10 vSing to the Lord a new song,
his praise from the end of the earth,
wyou who go down to the sea, and all that fills it,
lthe coastlands and their inhabitants.
11 Let the desert and its cities lift up their voice,
the villages that xKedar inhabits;
let the habitants of ySela sing for joy,
let them shout from the top of the mountains.
12 Let them give glory to the Lord,
and declare his praise in lthe coastlands.
13 zThe Lord goes out like a mighty man,
like a man of war ahe stirs up his zeal;
he cries out, bhe shouts aloud,
he shows himself mighty against his foes.
14 For a long time I have held my peace;
I have kept still and restrained myself;
now I will cry out clike a woman in labor;
I will gasp and pant.
15 dI will lay waste mountains and hills,
and dry up all their vegetation;
I will turn the rivers into islands,3
and dry up the pools.
16 eAnd I will lead the blind
in a way that they do not know,
in paths that they have not known
I will guide them.
I will turn the darkness before them into light,
fthe rough places into level ground.
These are the things I do,
and I do not forsake them.
17 gThey are turned back and utterly put to shame,
who trust in carved idols,
who say to metal images,
“You are our gods.”
Israel’s Failure to Hear and See
18 Hear, you deaf,
and look, you blind, that you may see!
19 Who is blind but my servant,
or deaf as my messenger whom I send?
Who is blind as my dedicated one,4
or blind as the servant of the Lord?
20 hHe sees many things, but does not observe them;
ihis ears are open, but he does not hear.
21 The Lord was pleased, for his righteousness’ sake,
to magnify his law and make it glorious.
22 But this is a people plundered and looted;
they are all of them trapped in holes
jand hidden in prisons;
they have become plunder with none to rescue,
spoil with none to say, “Restore!”
23 Who among you will give ear to this,
will attend and listen for the time to come?
24 Who gave up Jacob to the looter,
and Israel to the plunderers?
Was it not the Lord, against whom we have sinned,
in whose ways they would not walk,
and whose law they would not obey?
25 So he poured on him the heat of his anger
and the might of battle;
it set him on fire all around, kbut he did not understand;
it burned him up, lbut he did not take it to heart.
Israel’s Only Savior
43 But now thus says the Lord,
mhe who created you, O Jacob,
he who formed you, O Israel:
n“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
oI have called you by name, you are mine.
2 pWhen you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
pwhen you walk through fire qyou shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you.
3 For rI am the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
sI give Egypt as your ransom,
Cush and tSeba in exchange for you.
4 Because you are precious in my eyes,
and honored, and I love you,
I give men in return for you,
peoples in exchange for your life.
5 uFear not, for I am with you;
vI will bring your offspring from the east,
and from the west I will gather you.
6 I will say to the north, Give up,
and to the south, Do not withhold;
bring wmy sons from afar
and wmy daughters from the end of the earth,
7 everyone who is called by my name,
whom I created for my glory,
whom I formed and made.”
8 Bring out xthe people who are blind, yet have eyes,
who are deaf, yet have ears!
9 yAll the nations gather together,
and the peoples assemble.
Who among them can declare this,
and show us the former things?
Let them bring their witnesses to prove them right,
and let them hear and say, It is true.
10 z“You are my witnesses,” declares the Lord,
“and amy servant whom I have chosen,
that you may know and believe me
and understand that I am he.
bBefore me no god was formed,
nor shall there be any after me.
11 cI, I am the Lord,
and besides me there is no savior.
12 I declared and saved and proclaimed,
when there was no strange god among you;
and zyou are my witnesses,” declares the Lord, “and I am God.
13 Also dhenceforth I am he;
there is none who can deliver from my hand;
I work, and who can turn it back?”
14 Thus says the Lord,
your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel:
e“For your sake I send to Babylon
and fbring them all down as fugitives,
geven the Chaldeans, in the ships in which they rejoice.
15 I am the Lord, your Holy One,
the Creator of Israel, your King.”
16 Thus says the Lord,
hwho makes a way in the sea,
a path in the mighty waters,
17 who ibrings forth chariot and horse,
army and warrior;
they lie down, they cannot rise,
jthey are extinguished, kquenched like a wick:
18 l“Remember not the former things,
nor consider the things of old.
19 mBehold, I am doing a new thing;
now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
nI will make a way in the wilderness
oand rivers in the desert.
20 The wild beasts will honor me,
pthe jackals and the ostriches,
qfor I give water in the wilderness,
rivers in the desert,
to give drink to my chosen people,
21 the people whom I formed for myself
rthat they might declare my praise.
22 “Yet you did not call upon me, O Jacob;
but syou have been weary of me, O Israel!
23 tYou have not brought me your sheep for burnt offerings,
or honored me with your sacrifices.
I have not burdened you with offerings,
sor wearied you with frankincense.
24 You have not bought me sweet cane with money,
or satisfied me with the fat of your sacrifices.
But you have burdened me with your sins;
you have wearied me with your iniquities.
25 “I, I am he
uwho blots out vyour transgressions for my own sake,
and I will not remember your sins.
26 Put me in remembrance; wlet us argue together;
set forth your case, that you may be proved right.
27 xYour first father sinned,
and yyour mediators transgressed against me.
28 Therefore zI will profane the princes of the sanctuary,
and adeliver Jacob to utter destruction
and Israel to reviling.
Israel the Lord’s Chosen
44 “But now hear, bO Jacob my servant,
Israel whom I have chosen!
2 Thus says the Lord who made you,
cwho formed you from the womb and will help you:
dFear not, O Jacob my servant,
eJeshurun whom I have chosen.
3 fFor I will pour water on the thirsty land,
and streams on the dry ground;
I will pour my Spirit upon your offspring,
and my blessing on your descendants.
4 They shall spring up among the grass
glike willows by flowing streams.
5 hThis one will say, ‘I am the Lord’s,’
another will call on the name of Jacob,
and another will write on his hand, ‘The Lord’s,’
and name himself by the name of Israel.”
Besides Me There Is No God
6 Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel
and ihis Redeemer, the Lord of hosts:
j“I am the first and I am the last;
besides me there is no god.
7 kWho is like me? Let him proclaim it.1
Let him declare and set it before me,
since I appointed an ancient people.
Let them declare what is to come, and what will happen.
8 Fear not, nor be afraid;
have I not told you from of old and declared it?
lAnd you are my witnesses!
mIs there a God besides me?
There is no nRock; I know not any.”
The Folly of Idolatry
9 oAll who fashion idols are nothing, and the things they delight in do not profit. Their witnesses neither see nor know, that they may be put to shame. 10 pWho fashions a god or casts an idol that is profitable for nothing? 11 qBehold, all his companions shall be put to shame, and the craftsmen are only human. Let them all assemble, let them stand forth. They shall be terrified; they shall be put to shame together.
12 pThe ironsmith takes a cutting tool and works it over the coals. He fashions it with hammers and works it with his strong arm. He becomes hungry, and his strength fails; he drinks no water and is faint. 13 The carpenter stretches a line; he marks it out with a pencil.2 He shapes it with planes and marks it with a compass. rHe shapes it into the figure of a man, with the beauty of a man, to dwell in a house. 14 sHe cuts down cedars, or he chooses a cypress tree or an oak and lets it grow strong among the trees of the forest. He plants a cedar and the rain nourishes it. 15 Then it becomes fuel for a man. He takes a part of it and warms himself; he kindles a fire and bakes bread. Also he makes a god and worships it; he makes it an idol and falls down before it. 16 Half of it he burns in the fire. Over the half he eats meat; he roasts it and is satisfied. Also he warms himself and says, “Aha, I am warm, I have seen the fire!” 17 And the rest of it he makes into a god, his idol, and falls down to it and worships it. tHe prays to it and says, “Deliver me, for you are my god!”
18 They know not, nor do they discern, for he has shut their eyes, so that they cannot see, and their hearts, so that they cannot understand. 19 No one considers, nor is there knowledge or discernment to say, “Half of it I burned in the fire; I also baked bread on its coals; I roasted meat and have eaten. And shall I make the rest of it an uabomination? Shall I fall down before a block of wood?” 20 vHe feeds on washes; a deluded heart has led him astray, and he cannot deliver himself or say, “Is there not xa lie in my right hand?”
The Lord Redeems Israel
21 Remember these things, O Jacob,
and Israel, for you are ymy servant;
I formed you; you are my servant;
zO Israel, you will not be forgotten by me.
22 aI have blotted out your transgressions like a cloud
and your sins like mist;
return to me, for I have redeemed you.
23 bSing, O heavens, for the Lord has done it;
shout, O cdepths of the earth;
break forth into singing, O mountains,
O forest, and every tree in it!
For the Lord has redeemed Jacob,
24 Thus says the Lord, eyour Redeemer,
fwho formed you from the womb:
g“I am the Lord, who made all things,
hwho alone stretched out the heavens,
who spread out the earth by myself,
25 who frustrates the signs of liars
and makes fools of diviners,
iwho turns wise men back
and makes their knowledge foolish,
26 jwho confirms the word of his servant
and fulfills the counsel of his messengers,
who says of Jerusalem, ‘She shall be inhabited,’
kand of the cities of Judah, ‘They shall be built,
and I will raise up their ruins’;
27 lwho says to the deep, ‘Be dry;
I will dry up your rivers’;
28 who says of mCyrus, ‘He is nmy shepherd,
and he shall fulfill all my purpose’;
saying of Jerusalem, ‘She shall be built,’
oand of the temple, ‘Your foundation shall be laid.’”