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Isaiah 39-41

Envoys from Babylon Welcomed

39At that time King Merodach-baladan son of Baladan of Babylon sent envoys with letters and a present to Hezekiah, for he heard that he had been sick and had recovered. 2Hezekiah welcomed them; he showed them his treasure-house, the silver, the gold, the spices, the precious oil, his whole armoury, all that was found in his storehouses. There was nothing in his house or in all his realm that Hezekiah did not show them. 3Then the prophet Isaiah came to King Hezekiah and said to him, ‘What did these men say? From where did they come to you?’ Hezekiah answered, ‘They have come to me from a far country, from Babylon.’ 4He 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: 6Days are coming when all that is in your house, and that which your ancestors have stored up until this day, shall be carried to Babylon; nothing shall be left, says the Lord. 7Some of your own sons who are born to you shall be taken away; they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.’ 8Then Hezekiah said to Isaiah, ‘The word of the Lord that you have spoken is good.’ For he thought, ‘There will be peace and security in my days.’

God’s People Are Comforted

40Comfort, O comfort my people,
   says your God.
2 Speak tenderly to Jerusalem,
   and cry to her
that she has served her term,
   that her penalty is paid,
that she has received from the Lord’s hand
   double for all her sins.


3 A voice cries out:
‘In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord,
   make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
4 Every 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 Then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed,
   and all people shall see it together,
   for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.’


6 A voice says, ‘Cry out!’
   And I said, ‘What shall I cry?’
All people are grass,
   their constancy is like the flower of the field.
7 The grass withers, the flower fades,
   when the breath of the Lord blows upon it;
   surely the people are grass.
8 The grass withers, the flower fades;
   but the word of our God will stand for ever.
9 Get you up to a high mountain,
   O Zion, herald of good tidings;*
lift up your voice with strength,
   O Jerusalem, herald of good tidings,*
   lift it up, do not fear;
say to the cities of Judah,
   ‘Here is your God!’
10 See, the Lord God comes with might,
   and his arm rules for him;
his reward is with him,
   and his recompense before him.
11 He will feed his flock like a shepherd;
   he will gather the lambs in his arms,
and carry them in his bosom,
   and gently lead the mother sheep.


12 Who 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 Who has directed the spirit of the Lord,
   or as his counsellor has instructed him?
14 Whom did he consult for his enlightenment,
   and who taught him the path of justice?
Who taught him knowledge,
   and showed him the way of understanding?
15 Even the nations are like a drop from a bucket,
   and are accounted as dust on the scales;
   see, he takes up the isles like fine dust.
16 Lebanon would not provide fuel enough,
   nor are its animals enough for a burnt-offering.
17 All the nations are as nothing before him;
   they are accounted by him as less than nothing and emptiness.


18 To whom then will you liken God,
   or what likeness compare with him?
19 An idol? —A workman casts it,
   and a goldsmith overlays it with gold,
   and casts for it silver chains.
20 As a gift one chooses mulberry wood*
   —wood that will not rot—
then seeks out a skilled artisan
   to set up an image that will not topple.


21 Have you not known? Have you not heard?
   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 like grasshoppers;
who stretches out the heavens like a curtain,
   and spreads them like a tent to live in;
23 who brings princes to naught,
   and makes the rulers of the earth as nothing.


24 Scarcely are they planted, scarcely sown,
   scarcely has their stem taken root in the earth,
when he blows upon them, and they wither,
   and the tempest carries them off like stubble.


25 To whom then will you compare me,
   or who is my equal? says the Holy One.
26 Lift up your eyes on high and see:
   Who created these?
He who brings out their host and numbers them,
   calling them all by name;
because he is great in strength,
   mighty in power,
   not one is missing.


27 Why do you say, O Jacob,
   and speak, O Israel,
‘My way is hidden from the Lord,
   and my right is disregarded by my God’?
28 Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
   the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
   his understanding is unsearchable.
29 He gives power to the faint,
   and strengthens the powerless.
30 Even youths will faint and be weary,
   and the young will fall exhausted;
31 but those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength,
   they shall mount up with wings like eagles,
they shall run and not be weary,
   they shall walk and not faint.

Israel Assured of God’s Help

41Listen to me in silence, O coastlands;
   let the peoples renew their strength;
let them approach, then let them speak;
   let us together draw near for judgement.


2 Who has roused a victor from the east,
   summoned him to his service?
He delivers up nations to him,
   and tramples kings under foot;
he makes them like dust with his sword,
   like driven stubble with his bow.
3 He pursues them and passes on safely,
   scarcely touching the path with his feet.
4 Who has performed and done this,
   calling the generations from the beginning?
I, the Lord, am first,
   and will be with the last.
5 The coastlands have seen and are afraid,
   the ends of the earth tremble;
   they have drawn near and come.
6 Each one helps the other,
   saying to one another, ‘Take courage!’
7 The artisan encourages the goldsmith,
   and the one who smooths with the hammer encourages the one who strikes the anvil,
saying of the soldering, ‘It is good’;
   and they fasten it with nails so that it cannot be moved.
8 But you, Israel, my servant,
   Jacob, whom I have chosen,
   the offspring of Abraham, my friend;
9 you whom I took from the ends of the earth,
   and called from its farthest corners,
saying to you, ‘You are my servant,
   I have chosen you and not cast you off ’;
10 do not fear, for I am with you,
   do not be afraid, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
   I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.


11 Yes, all who are incensed against you
   shall be ashamed and disgraced;
those who strive against you
   shall be as nothing and shall perish.
12 You shall seek those who contend with you,
   but you shall not find them;
those 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, ‘Do not fear,
   I will help you.’


14 Do not fear, you worm Jacob,
   you insect* Israel!
I will help you, says the Lord;
   your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel.
15 Now, I will make of you a threshing-sledge,
   sharp, new, and having teeth;
you shall thresh the mountains and crush them,
   and you shall make the hills like chaff.
16 You shall winnow them and the wind shall carry them away,
   and the tempest shall scatter them.
Then you shall rejoice in the Lord;
   in the Holy One of Israel you shall glory.


17 When 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 I will open rivers on the bare heights,*
   and fountains in the midst of the valleys;
I will make the wilderness a pool of water,
   and the dry land springs of water.
19 I will put in the wilderness the cedar,
   the acacia, the myrtle, and the olive;
I will set in the desert the cypress,
   the plane and the pine together,
20 so that all may see and know,
   all may consider and understand,
that the 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 tell us
   what is to happen.
Tell us the former things, what they are,
   so that we may consider them,
and that we may know their outcome;
   or declare to us the things to come.
23 Tell us what is to come hereafter,
   that we may know that you are gods;
do good, or do harm,
   that we may be afraid and terrified.
24 You, indeed, are nothing
   and your work is nothing at all;
   whoever chooses you is an abomination.


25 I stirred up one from the north, and he has come,
   from the rising of the sun he was summoned by name.*
He shall trample* on rulers as on mortar,
   as the potter treads clay.
26 Who declared it from the beginning, so that we might know,
   and beforehand, so that we might say, ‘He is right’?
There was no one who declared it, none who proclaimed,
   none who heard your words.
27 I first have declared it to Zion,*
   and I give to Jerusalem a herald of good tidings.
28 But when I look there is no one;
   among these there is no counsellor
   who, when I ask, gives an answer.
29 No, they are all a delusion;
   their works are nothing;
   their images are empty wind.

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Psalm 118

A Song of Victory


1 O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
   his steadfast love endures for ever!


2 Let Israel say,
   ‘His steadfast love endures for ever.’
3 Let the house of Aaron say,
   ‘His steadfast love endures for ever.’
4 Let those who fear the Lord say,
   ‘His steadfast love endures for ever.’


5 Out of my distress I called on the Lord;
   the Lord answered me and set me in a broad place.
6 With the Lord on my side I do not fear.
   What can mortals do to me?
7 The Lord is on my side to help me;
   I shall look in triumph on those who hate me.
8 It is better to take refuge in the Lord
   than to put confidence in mortals.
9 It is better to take refuge in the Lord
   than to put confidence in princes.


10 All nations surrounded me;
   in the name of the Lord I cut them off!
11 They surrounded me, surrounded me on every side;
   in the name of the Lord I cut them off!
12 They surrounded me like bees;
   they blazed* like a fire of thorns;
   in the name of the Lord I cut them off!
13 I was pushed hard,* so that I was falling,
   but the Lord helped me.
14 The Lord is my strength and my might;
   he has become my salvation.


15 There are glad songs of victory in the tents of the righteous:
‘The right hand of the Lord does valiantly;
16   the right hand of the Lord is exalted;
   the right hand of the Lord does valiantly.’
17 I shall not die, but I shall live,
   and recount the deeds of the Lord.
18 The Lord has punished me severely,
   but he did not give me over to death.


19 Open to me the gates of righteousness,
   that I may enter through them
   and give thanks to the Lord.


20 This is the gate of the Lord;
   the righteous shall enter through it.


21 I thank you that you have answered me
   and have become my salvation.
22 The stone that the builders rejected
   has become the chief cornerstone.
23 This is the Lord’s doing;
   it is marvellous in our eyes.
24 This is the day that the Lord has made;
   let us rejoice and be glad in it.*
25 Save us, we beseech you, O Lord!
   O Lord, we beseech you, give us success!


26 Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.*
   We bless you from the house of the Lord.
27 The Lord is God,
   and he has given us light.
Bind the festal procession with branches,
   up to the horns of the altar.*


28 You are my God, and I will give thanks to you;
   you are my God, I will extol you.


29 O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
   for his steadfast love endures for ever.

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29 April 2019

From the oremus Bible Browser https://bible.oremus.org v2.5.1 29 April 2019.