Isaiah 40

Hezekiah's Sickness and Recovery

38 qIn those days Hezekiah became rsick and was at the point of death. And sIsaiah the prophet the son of Amoz came to him, and said to him, Thus says the Lord: Set your house in order, for you shall die, you shall not recover.1 Then Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord, and said, Please, O Lord, remember how tI have walked before you in faithfulness and with a whole heart, and have done what is good in your sight. And Hezekiah wept bitterly.

Then the word of the Lord came to Isaiah: Go and say to Hezekiah, Thus says the Lord, the God of David your father: I have heard your prayer; I have seen your tears. Behold, I will add ufifteen years to your life.2 vI will deliver you and this city out of the hand of the king of Assyria, and will defend this city.

This shall be the sign to you from the Lord, that the Lord will do this thing that he has promised: wBehold, I will make the shadow cast by the declining sun on the dial of Ahaz turn back ten steps. So the sun turned back on the dial the ten steps by which it had declined.3

A writing of Hezekiah king of Judah, after he had been sick and had recovered from his sickness:

10  I said, xIn the middle4 of my days

I must depart;

I am consigned to the gates of Sheol

for the rest of my years.

11  I said, I shall not see the Lord,

the Lord yin the land of the living;

I shall look on man no more

among the inhabitants of the world.

12  My dwelling is plucked up and removed from me

zlike a shepherd's tent;

alike a weaver bI have rolled up my life;

che cuts me off from the loom;

dfrom day to night you bring me to an end;

13  eI calmed myself5 until morning;

like a lion fhe breaks all my bones;

from day to night you bring me to an end.

14  Like ga swallow or a crane I chirp;

hI moan like a dove.

iMy eyes are weary with looking upward.

O Lord, I am oppressed; jbe my pledge of safety!

15  What shall I say? For he has spoken to me,

and he himself has done it.

kI walk slowly all my years

because of the bitterness of my soul.

16  lO Lord, by these things men live,

and in all these is the life of my spirit.

Oh restore me to health and make me live!

17  mBehold, it was for my welfare

that I had great bitterness;

nbut in love you have delivered my life

from the pit of destruction,

nfor you have cast all my sins

behind your back.

18  oFor Sheol does not thank you;

death does not praise you;

those who go down to the pit do not hope

for your faithfulness.

19  The living, the living, he thanks you,

as I do this day;

pthe father makes known to the children

your faithfulness.

20  The Lord will save me,

and we will play my music on stringed instruments

all the days of our lives,

qat the house of the Lord.

21 rNow Isaiah had said, Let them take a cake of figs and apply it to the boil, that he may recover. 22 Hezekiah also had said, What is the sign that I shall go up to the house of the Lord?

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.

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.

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.

He pursues them and passes on safely,

by paths his feet have not trod.

tWho has performed and done this,

calling the generations from the beginning?

uI, the Lord, the first,

and with the last; I am he.

vThe coastlands have seen and are afraid;

the ends of the earth tremble;

they have drawn near and come.

Everyone helps his neighbor

and says to his brother, Be strong!

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.

But you, Israel, ymy servant,

Jacob, zwhom I have chosen,

the offspring of Abraham, amy friend;

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.

He will not cry aloud or lift up his voice,

or make it heard in the street;

ja bruised reed he will not break,

and a faintly burning wick he will not quench;

khe will faithfully bring forth justice.

He will not grow faint or be discouraged1

till he has established justice in the earth;

and lthe coastlands wait for his law.

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:

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,

rto open the eyes that are blind,

to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon,

sfrom the prison those who sit in darkness.

I am the Lord; that is my name;

tmy glory I give to no other,

nor my praise to carved idols.

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.