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isaiah 44-49

God’s Blessing on Israel

44But now hear, O Jacob my servant,
   Israel whom I have chosen!
2 Thus says the Lord who made you,
   who formed you in the womb and will help you:
Do not fear, O Jacob my servant,
   Jeshurun whom I have chosen.
3 For I will pour water on the thirsty land,
   and streams on the dry ground;
I will pour my spirit upon your descendants,
   and my blessing on your offspring.
4 They shall spring up like a green tamarisk,
   like willows by flowing streams.
5 This one will say, ‘I am the Lord’s’,
   another will be called by the name of Jacob,
yet another will write on the hand, ‘The Lord’s’,
   and adopt the name of Israel.


6 Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel
   and his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts:
I am the first and I am the last;
   besides me there is no god.
7 Who is like me? Let them proclaim it,
   let them declare and set it forth before me.
Who has announced from of old the things to come?*
   Let them tell us* what is yet to be.
8 Do not fear, or be afraid;
   have I not told you from of old and declared it?
   You are my witnesses!
Is there any god besides me?
   There is no other rock; I know not one.

The Absurdity of Idol-Worship

9 All who make idols are nothing, and the things they delight in do not profit; their witnesses neither see nor know. And so they will be put to shame. 10Who would fashion a god or cast an image that can do no good? 11Look, all its devotees shall be put to shame; the artisans too are merely human. Let them all assemble, let them stand up; they shall be terrified, they shall all be put to shame.

12 The blacksmith fashions it* and works it over the coals, shaping it with hammers, and forging it with his strong arm; he becomes hungry and his strength fails, he drinks no water and is faint. 13The carpenter stretches a line, marks it out with a stylus, fashions it with planes, and marks it with a compass; he makes it in human form, with human beauty, to be set up in a shrine. 14He cuts down cedars or chooses a holm tree or an oak and lets it grow strong among the trees of the forest. He plants a cedar and the rain nourishes it. 15Then it can be used as fuel. Part of it he takes and warms himself; he kindles a fire and bakes bread. Then he makes a god and worships it, makes it a carved image and bows down before it. 16Half of it he burns in the fire; over this half he roasts meat, eats it, and is satisfied. He also warms himself and says, ‘Ah, I am warm, I can feel the fire!’ 17The rest of it he makes into a god, his idol, bows down to it, and worships it; he prays to it and says, ‘Save me, for you are my god!’

18 They do not know, nor do they comprehend; for their eyes are shut, so that they cannot see, and their minds as well, so that they cannot understand. 19No 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. Now shall I make the rest of it an abomination? Shall I fall down before a block of wood?’ 20He feeds on ashes; a deluded mind has led him astray, and he cannot save himself or say, ‘Is not this thing in my right hand a fraud?’

Israel Is Not Forgotten


21 Remember these things, O Jacob,
   and Israel, for you are my servant;
I formed you, you are my servant;
   O Israel, you will not be forgotten by me.
22 I have swept away your transgressions like a cloud,
   and your sins like mist;
return to me, for I have redeemed you.


23 Sing, O heavens, for the Lord has done it;
   shout, O depths of the earth;
break forth into singing, O mountains,
   O forest, and every tree in it!
For the Lord has redeemed Jacob,
   and will be glorified in Israel.


24 Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer,
   who formed you in the womb:
I am the Lord, who made all things,
   who alone stretched out the heavens,
   who by myself spread out the earth;
25 who frustrates the omens of liars,
   and makes fools of diviners;
who turns back the wise,
   and makes their knowledge foolish;
26 who confirms the word of his servant,
   and fulfils the prediction of his messengers;
who says of Jerusalem, ‘It shall be inhabited’,
   and of the cities of Judah, ‘They shall be rebuilt,
   and I will raise up their ruins’;
27 who says to the deep, ‘Be dry—
   I will dry up your rivers’;
28 who says of Cyrus, ‘He is my shepherd,
   and he shall carry out all my purpose’;
and who says of Jerusalem, ‘It shall be rebuilt’,
   and of the temple, ‘Your foundation shall be laid.’

Cyrus, God’s Instrument

45Thus says the Lord to his anointed, to Cyrus,
   whose right hand I have grasped
to subdue nations before him
   and strip kings of their robes,
to open doors before him—
   and the gates shall not be closed:
2 I will go before you
   and level the mountains,*
I will break in pieces the doors of bronze
   and cut through the bars of iron,
3 I will give you the treasures of darkness
   and riches hidden in secret places,
so that you may know that it is I, the Lord,
   the God of Israel, who call you by your name.
4 For the sake of my servant Jacob,
   and Israel my chosen,
I call you by your name,
   I surname you, though you do not know me.
5 I am the Lord, and there is no other;
   besides me there is no god.
   I arm you, though you do not know me,
6 so that they may know, from the rising of the sun
   and from the west, that there is no one besides me;
   I am the Lord, and there is no other.
7 I form light and create darkness,
   I make weal and create woe;
   I the Lord do all these things.


8 Shower, O heavens, from above,
   and let the skies rain down righteousness;
let the earth open, that salvation may spring up,*
   and let it cause righteousness to sprout up also;
   I the Lord have created it.


9 Woe to you who strive with your Maker,
   earthen vessels with the potter!*
Does the clay say to the one who fashions it, ‘What are you making?’
   or ‘Your work has no handles’?
10 Woe to anyone who says to a father, ‘What are you begetting?’
   or to a woman, ‘With what are you in labour?’
11 Thus says the Lord,
   the Holy One of Israel, and its Maker:
Will you question me* about my children,
   or command me concerning the work of my hands?
12 I made the earth,
   and created humankind upon it;
it was my hands that stretched out the heavens,
   and I commanded all their host.
13 I have aroused Cyrus* in righteousness,
   and I will make all his paths straight;
he shall build my city
   and set my exiles free,
not for price or reward,
   says the Lord of hosts.
14 Thus says the Lord:
The wealth of Egypt and the merchandise of Ethiopia,*
   and the Sabeans, tall of stature,
shall come over to you and be yours,
   they shall follow you;
   they shall come over in chains and bow down to you.
They will make supplication to you, saying,
   ‘God is with you alone, and there is no other;
   there is no god besides him.’
15 Truly, you are a God who hides himself,
   O God of Israel, the Saviour.
16 All of them are put to shame and confounded,
   the makers of idols go in confusion together.
17 But Israel is saved by the Lord
   with everlasting salvation;
you shall not be put to shame or confounded
   to all eternity.


18 For thus says the Lord,
who created the heavens
   (he is God!),
who formed the earth and made it
   (he established it;
he did not create it a chaos,
   he formed it to be inhabited!):
I am the Lord, and there is no other.
19 I did not speak in secret,
   in a land of darkness;
I did not say to the offspring of Jacob,
   ‘Seek me in chaos.’
I the Lord speak the truth,
   I declare what is right.

Idols Cannot Save Babylon


20 Assemble yourselves and come together,
   draw near, you survivors of the nations!
They have no knowledge—
   those who carry about their wooden idols,
and keep on praying to a god
   that cannot save.
21 Declare and present your case;
   let them take counsel together!
Who told this long ago?
   Who declared it of old?
Was it not I, the Lord?
   There is no other god besides me,
a righteous God and a Saviour;
   there is no one besides me.


22 Turn to me and be saved,
   all the ends of the earth!
   For I am God, and there is no other.
23 By myself I have sworn,
   from my mouth has gone forth in righteousness
   a word that shall not return:
‘To me every knee shall bow,
   every tongue shall swear.’


24 Only in the Lord, it shall be said of me,
   are righteousness and strength;
all who were incensed against him
   shall come to him and be ashamed.
25 In the Lord all the offspring of Israel
   shall triumph and glory.

46Bel bows down, Nebo stoops,
   their idols are on beasts and cattle;
these things you carry are loaded
   as burdens on weary animals.
2 They stoop, they bow down together;
   they cannot save the burden,
   but themselves go into captivity.


3 Listen to me, O house of Jacob,
   all the remnant of the house of Israel,
who have been borne by me from your birth,
   carried from the womb;
4 even to your old age I am he,
   even when you turn grey I will carry you.
I have made, and I will bear;
   I will carry and will save.


5 To whom will you liken me and make me equal,
   and compare me, as though we were alike?
6 Those who lavish gold from the purse,
   and weigh out silver in the scales—
they hire a goldsmith, who makes it into a god;
   then they fall down and worship!
7 They lift it to their shoulders, they carry it,
   they set it in its place, and it stands there;
   it cannot move from its place.
If one cries out to it, it does not answer
   or save anyone from trouble.


8 Remember this and consider,*
   recall it to mind, you transgressors,
9   remember the former things of old;
for I am God, and there is no other;
   I am God, and there is no one like me,
10 declaring the end from the beginning
   and from ancient times things not yet done,
saying, ‘My purpose shall stand,
   and I will fulfil my intention’,
11 calling a bird of prey from the east,
   the man for my purpose from a far country.
I have spoken, and I will bring it to pass;
   I have planned, and I will do it.


12 Listen to me, you stubborn of heart,
   you who are far from deliverance:
13 I bring near my deliverance, it is not far off,
   and my salvation will not tarry;
I will put salvation in Zion,
   for Israel my glory.

The Humiliation of Babylon

47Come down and sit in the dust,
   virgin daughter Babylon!
Sit on the ground without a throne,
   daughter Chaldea!
For you shall no more be called
   tender and delicate.
2 Take the millstones and grind meal,
   remove your veil,
strip off your robe, uncover your legs,
   pass through the rivers.
3 Your nakedness shall be uncovered,
   and your shame shall be seen.
I will take vengeance,
   and I will spare no one.
4 Our Redeemer—the Lord of hosts is his name—
   is the Holy One of Israel.


5 Sit in silence, and go into darkness,
   daughter Chaldea!
For you shall no more be called
   the mistress of kingdoms.
6 I was angry with my people,
   I profaned my heritage;
I gave them into your hand,
   you showed them no mercy;
on the aged you made your yoke
   exceedingly heavy.
7 You said, ‘I shall be mistress for ever’,
   so that you did not lay these things to heart
   or remember their end.


8 Now therefore hear this, you lover of pleasures,
   who sit securely,
who say in your heart,
   ‘I am, and there is no one besides me;
I shall not sit as a widow
   or know the loss of children’—
9 both these things shall come upon you
   in a moment, in one day:
the loss of children and widowhood
   shall come upon you in full measure,
in spite of your many sorceries
   and the great power of your enchantments.


10 You felt secure in your wickedness;
   you said, ‘No one sees me.’
Your wisdom and your knowledge
   led you astray,
and you said in your heart,
   ‘I am, and there is no one besides me.’
11 But evil shall come upon you,
   which you cannot charm away;
disaster shall fall upon you,
   which you will not be able to ward off;
and ruin shall come on you suddenly,
   of which you know nothing.


12 Stand fast in your enchantments
   and your many sorceries,
   with which you have laboured from your youth;
perhaps you may be able to succeed,
   perhaps you may inspire terror.
13 You are wearied with your many consultations;
   let those who study* the heavens
stand up and save you,
   those who gaze at the stars
and at each new moon predict
   what* shall befall you.


14 See, they are like stubble,
   the fire consumes them;
they cannot deliver themselves
   from the power of the flame.
No coal for warming oneself is this,
   no fire to sit before!
15 Such to you are those with whom you have laboured,
   who have trafficked with you from your youth;
they all wander about in their own paths;
   there is no one to save you.

God the Creator and Redeemer

48Hear this, O house of Jacob,
   who are called by the name of Israel,
   and who came forth from the loins* of Judah;
who swear by the name of the Lord,
   and invoke the God of Israel,
   but not in truth or right.
2 For they call themselves after the holy city,
   and lean on the God of Israel;
   the Lord of hosts is his name.


3 The former things I declared long ago,
   they went out from my mouth and I made them known;
   then suddenly I did them and they came to pass.
4 Because I know that you are obstinate,
   and your neck is an iron sinew
   and your forehead brass,
5 I declared them to you from long ago,
   before they came to pass I announced them to you,
so that you would not say, ‘My idol did them,
   my carved image and my cast image commanded them.’


6 You have heard; now see all this;
   and will you not declare it?
From this time forward I make you hear new things,
   hidden things that you have not known.
7 They are created now, not long ago;
   before today you have never heard of them,
   so that you could not say, ‘I already knew them.’
8 You have never heard, you have never known,
   from of old your ear has not been opened.
For I knew that you would deal very treacherously,
   and that from birth you were called a rebel.


9 For my name’s sake I defer my anger,
   for the sake of my praise I restrain it for you,
   so that I may not cut you off.
10 See, I have refined you, but not like* silver;
   I have tested you in the furnace of adversity.
11 For my own sake, for my own sake, I do it,
   for why should my name* be profaned?
   My glory I will not give to another.


12 Listen to me, O Jacob,
   and Israel, whom I called:
I am He; I am the first,
   and I am the last.
13 My hand laid the foundation of the earth,
   and my right hand spread out the heavens;
when I summon them,
   they stand at attention.


14 Assemble, all of you, and hear!
   Who among them has declared these things?
The Lord loves him;
   he shall perform his purpose on Babylon,
   and his arm shall be against the Chaldeans.
15 I, even I, have spoken and called him,
   I have brought him, and he will prosper in his way.
16 Draw near to me, hear this!
   From the beginning I have not spoken in secret,
   from the time it came to be I have been there.
And now the Lord God has sent me and his spirit.


17 Thus says the Lord,
   your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel:
I am the Lord your God,
   who teaches you for your own good,
   who leads you in the way you should go.
18 O that you had paid attention to my commandments!
   Then your prosperity would have been like a river,
   and your success like the waves of the sea;
19 your offspring would have been like the sand,
   and your descendants like its grains;
their name would never be cut off
   or destroyed from before me.


20 Go out from Babylon, flee from Chaldea,
   declare this with a shout of joy, proclaim it,
send it forth to the end of the earth;
   say, ‘The Lord has redeemed his servant Jacob!’
21 They did not thirst when he led them through the deserts;
   he made water flow for them from the rock;
   he split open the rock and the water gushed out.


22 ‘There is no peace’, says the Lord, ‘for the wicked.’

The Servant’s Mission

49Listen to me, O coastlands,
   pay attention, you peoples from far away!
The Lord called me before I was born,
   while I was in my mother’s womb he named me.
2 He made my mouth like a sharp sword,
   in the shadow of his hand he hid me;
he made me a polished arrow,
   in his quiver he hid me away.
3 And he said to me, ‘You are my servant,
   Israel, in whom I will be glorified.’
4 But I said, ‘I have laboured in vain,
   I have spent my strength for nothing and vanity;
yet surely my cause is with the Lord,
   and my reward with my God.’


5 And now the Lord says,
   who formed me in the womb to be his servant,
to bring Jacob back to him,
   and that Israel might be gathered to him,
for I am honoured in the sight of the Lord,
   and my God has become my strength—
6 he says,
‘It is too light a thing that you should be my servant
   to raise up the tribes of Jacob
   and to restore the survivors of Israel;
I will give you as a light to the nations,
   that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.’


7 Thus says the Lord,
   the Redeemer of Israel and his Holy One,
to one deeply despised, abhorred by the nations,
   the slave of rulers,
‘Kings shall see and stand up,
   princes, and they shall prostrate themselves,
because of the Lord, who is faithful,
   the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen you.’

Zion’s Children to Be Brought Home


8 Thus says the Lord:
In a time of favour I have answered you,
   on a day of salvation I have helped you;
I have kept you and given you
   as a covenant to the people,*
to establish the land,
   to apportion the desolate heritages;
9 saying to the prisoners, ‘Come out’,
   to those who are in darkness, ‘Show yourselves.’
They shall feed along the ways,
   on all the bare heights* shall be their pasture;
10 they shall not hunger or thirst,
   neither scorching wind nor sun shall strike them down,
for he who has pity on them will lead them,
   and by springs of water will guide them.
11 And I will turn all my mountains into a road,
   and my highways shall be raised up.
12 Lo, these shall come from far away,
   and lo, these from the north and from the west,
   and these from the land of Syene.*


13 Sing for joy, O heavens, and exult, O earth;
   break forth, O mountains, into singing!
For the Lord has comforted his people,
   and will have compassion on his suffering ones.


14 But Zion said, ‘The Lord has forsaken me,
   my Lord has forgotten me.’
15 Can a woman forget her nursing-child,
   or show no compassion for the child of her womb?
Even these may forget,
   yet I will not forget you.
16 See, I have inscribed you on the palms of my hands;
   your walls are continually before me.
17 Your builders outdo your destroyers,*
   and those who laid you waste go away from you.
18 Lift up your eyes all around and see;
   they all gather, they come to you.
As I live, says the Lord,
   you shall put all of them on like an ornament,
   and like a bride you shall bind them on.


19 Surely your waste and your desolate places
   and your devastated land—
surely now you will be too crowded for your inhabitants,
   and those who swallowed you up will be far away.
20 The children born in the time of your bereavement
   will yet say in your hearing:
‘The place is too crowded for me;
   make room for me to settle.’
21 Then you will say in your heart,
   ‘Who has borne me these?
I was bereaved and barren,
   exiled and put away—
   so who has reared these?
I was left all alone—
   where then have these come from?’


22 Thus says the Lord God:
I will soon lift up my hand to the nations,
   and raise my signal to the peoples;
and they shall bring your sons in their bosom,
   and your daughters shall be carried on their shoulders.
23 Kings shall be your foster-fathers,
   and their queens your nursing-mothers.
With their faces to the ground they shall bow down to you,
   and lick the dust of your feet.
Then you will know that I am the Lord;
   those who wait for me shall not be put to shame.


24 Can the prey be taken from the mighty,
   or the captives of a tyrant* be rescued?
25 But thus says the Lord:
Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken,
   and the prey of the tyrant be rescued;
for I will contend with those who contend with you,
   and I will save your children.
26 I will make your oppressors eat their own flesh,
   and they shall be drunk with their own blood as with wine.
Then all flesh shall know
   that I am the Lord your Saviour,
   and your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.

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From the oremus Bible Browser http://bible.oremus.org v2.2.8 14 July 2018.