Isaiah 49-53 Bible in Basic English

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Israel the LORD's Servant

49 1  Give ear, O sea-lands, to me; and take note, you peoples from far: I have been marked out by the Lord from the first; when I was still in my mother's body, he had my name in mind: 2  And he has made my mouth like a sharp sword, in the shade of his hand he has kept me; and he has made me like a polished arrow, keeping me in his secret place; 3  And he said to me, You are my servant, Israel, in whom my glory will be seen; 4  And I said, I have undergone weariness for nothing, I have given my strength for no purpose or profit: but still the Lord will take up my cause, and my God will give me my reward. 5  And now, says the Lord, who made me his servant when I was still in my mother's body, so that I might make Jacob come back to him, and so that Israel might come together to him: and I was honoured in the eyes of the Lord, and my God became my strength. 6  It is not enough for one who is my servant to put the tribes of Jacob again in their place, and to get back those of Israel who have been sent away: my purpose is to give you as a light to the nations, so that you may be my salvation to the end of the earth.

7  The Lord who takes up Israel's cause, even his Holy One, says to him whom men make sport of, who is hated by the nations, a servant of rulers: Kings will see and get up from their places, and chiefs will give worship: because of the Lord who keeps faith; even the Holy One of Israel who has taken you for himself.

The Restoration of Zion Promised

8  This is the word of the Lord: I have given ear to you at a good time, and I have been your helper in a day of salvation: and I will keep you safe, and will make you a glory for the people, putting the land in order, and giving them the heritages which now are waste; 9  Saying to those who are in chains, Go free; to those who are in the dark, Come out into the light. They will get food by the way wherever they go, and have grass-lands on all the dry mountain-tops. 10  They will not be in need of food or drink, or be troubled by the heat or the sun: for he who has mercy on them will be their guide, taking them by the springs of water. 11  And I will make all my mountains a way, and my highways will be lifted up. 12  See, these are coming from far; and these from the north and the west; and these from the land of Sinim.

13  Let your voice be loud in song, O heavens; and be glad, O earth; make sounds of joy, O mountains, for the Lord has given comfort to his people, and will have mercy on his crushed ones. 14  But Zion said, The Lord has given me up, I have gone from his memory. 15  Will a woman give up the child at her breast, will she be without pity for the fruit of her body? yes, these may, but I will not let you go out of my memory. 16  See, your name is marked on my hands; your walls are ever before me. 17  Your builders are coming quickly; your haters and those who made you waste will go out of you.

18  Let your eyes be lifted up round about, and see: they are all coming together to you. By my life, says the Lord, truly you will put them all on you as an ornament, and be clothed with them like a bride. 19  For though the waste places of your land have been given to destruction, now you will not be wide enough for your people, and those who made you waste will be far away. 20  The children to whom you gave birth in other lands will say in your ears, The place is not wide enough for me: make room for me to have a resting-place. 21  Then you will say in your heart, Who has given me all these children? when my children had been taken from me, and I was no longer able to have others, who took care of these? when I was by myself, where then were these? 22  This is the word of the Lord God: See, I will make a sign with my hand to the nations, and put up my flag for the peoples; and they will take up your sons on their beasts, and your daughters on their backs. 23  And kings will take care of you, and queens will give you their milk: they will go down on their faces before you, kissing the dust of your feet; and you will be certain that I am the Lord, and that those who put their hope in me will not be shamed.

24  Will the goods of war be taken from the strong man, or the prisoners of the cruel one be let go? 25  But the Lord says, Even the prisoners of the strong will be taken from him, and the cruel made to let go his goods: for I will take up your cause against your haters, and I will keep your children safe. 26  And the flesh of your attackers will be taken by themselves for food; and they will take their blood for drink, as if it was sweet wine: and all men will see that I the Lord am your saviour, even he who takes up your cause, the Strong One of Jacob.

The LORD Helps Those Who Trust in Him

50 1  This is the word of the Lord: Where is the statement which I gave your mother when I put her away? or to which of my creditors have I given you for money? It was for your sins that you were given into the hands of others, and for your evil-doing was your mother put away. 2  Why, then, when I came, was there no man? and no one to give answer to my voice? has my hand become feeble, so that it is unable to take up your cause? or have I no power to make you free? See, at my word the sea becomes dry, I make the rivers a waste land: their fish are dead for need of water, and make an evil smell. 3  By me the heavens are clothed with black, and I make haircloth their robe.

4  The Lord God has given me the tongue of those who are experienced, so that I may be able to give the word a special sense for the feeble: every morning my ear is open to his teaching, like those who are experienced: 5  And I have not put myself against him, or let my heart be turned back from him. 6  I was offering my back to those who gave me blows, and my face to those who were pulling out my hair: I did not keep my face covered from marks of shame. 7  For the Lord God is my helper; I will not be put to shame: so I have made my face like a rock, and I am certain that he will give me my right. 8  He who takes up my cause is near; who will go to law with me? let us come together before the judge: who is against me? let him come near to me. 9  See, the Lord God is my helper; who will give a decision against me? truly, all of them will become old like a robe; they will be food for the worm.

10  Who among you has the fear of the Lord, giving ear to the voice of his servant who has been walking in the dark and has no light? Let him put his faith in the name of the Lord, looking to his God for support. 11  See, all you who make a fire, arming yourselves with burning branches: go in the flame of your fire, and among the branches you have put a light to. This will you have from my hand, you will make your bed in sorrow.

Words of Comfort to Zion

51 1  Give ear to me, you who are searching for righteousness, who are looking for the Lord: see the rock from which you were cut out, and the hole out of which you were taken. 2  Let your thoughts be turned to Abraham, your father, and to Sarah, who gave you birth: for when he was but one, my voice came to him, and I gave him my blessing, and made him a great people. 3  For the Lord has given comfort to Zion: he has made glad all her broken walls; making her waste places like Eden, and changing her dry land into the garden of the Lord; joy and delight will be there, praise and the sound of melody.

4  Give attention to me, O my people; and give ear to me, O my nation; for teaching will go out from me, and the knowledge of the true God will be a light to the peoples. 5  Suddenly will my righteousness come near, and my salvation will be shining out like the light; the sea-lands will be waiting for me, and they will put their hope in my strong arm. 6  Let your eyes be lifted up to the heavens, and turned to the earth which is under them: for the heavens will go in flight like smoke, and the earth will become old like a coat, and its people will come to destruction like insects: but my salvation will be for ever, and my righteousness will not come to an end. 7  Give ear to me, you who have knowledge of righteousness, in whose heart is my law; have no fear of the evil words of men, and give no thought to their curses. 8  For like a coat they will be food for the insect, the worm will make a meal of them like wool: but my righteousness will be for ever, and my salvation to all generations.

9  Awake! awake! put on strength, O arm of the Lord, awake! as in the old days, in the generations long past. Was it not by you that Rahab was cut in two, and the dragon Wounded? 10  Did you not make the sea dry, the waters of the great deep? did you not make the deep waters of the sea a way for the Lord's people to go through? 11  Those whom the Lord has made free will come back with songs to Zion; and on their heads will be eternal joy: delight and joy will be theirs, and sorrow and sounds of grief will be gone for ever. 12  I, even I, am your comforter: are you so poor in heart as to be in fear of man who will come to an end, and of the son of man who will be like grass? 13  And you have given no thought to the Lord your Maker, by whom the heavens were stretched out, and the earth placed on its base; and you went all day in fear of the wrath of the cruel one, when he was making ready for your destruction. And where is the wrath of the cruel one? 14  The prisoner, bent under his chain, will quickly be made free, and will not go down into the underworld, and his bread will not come to an end. 15  For I am the Lord your God, who makes the sea calm when its waves are thundering: the Lord of armies is his name. 16  And I have put my words in your mouth, covering you with the shade of my hand, stretching out the heavens, and placing the earth on its base, and saying to Zion, You are my people.

17  Awake! awake! up! O Jerusalem, you who have taken from the Lord's hand the cup of his wrath; tasting in full measure the wine which overcomes. 18  She has no one among all her children to be her guide; not one of the sons she has taken care of takes her by the hand. 19  These two things have come on you; who will be weeping for you? wasting and destruction; death from need of food, and from the sword; how may you be comforted? 20  Your sons are overcome, like a roe in a net; they are full of the wrath of the Lord, the punishment of your God. 21  So now give ear to this, you who are troubled and overcome, but not with wine: 22  This is the word of the Lord your master, even your God who takes up the cause of his people: See, I have taken out of your hand the cup which overcomes, even the cup of my wrath; it will not again be given to you: 23  And I will put it into the hand of your cruel masters, and of those whose yoke has been hard on you; who have said to your soul, Down on your face! so that we may go over you: and you have given your backs like the earth, even like the street, for them to go over.

God Will Deliver Zion from Captivity

52 1  Awake! awake! put on your strength, O Zion; put on your beautiful robes, O Jerusalem, the holy town: for from now there will never again come into you the unclean and those without circumcision. 2  Make yourself clean from the dust; up! and take the seat of your power, O Jerusalem: the bands of your neck are loose, O prisoned daughter of Zion. 3  For the Lord says, You were given for nothing, and you will be made free without price. 4  For the Lord God says, My people went down at first into Egypt, to get a place for themselves there: and the Assyrian put a cruel yoke on them without cause. 5  Now then, what have I here? says the Lord, for my people are taken away without cause; they are made waste and give cries of sorrow, says the Lord, and all the day the nations put shame on my name. 6  For this cause I will make my name clear to my people; in that day they will be certain that it is my word which comes to them; see, here am I.

7  How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of him who comes with good news, who gives word of peace, saying that salvation is near; who says to Zion, Your God is ruling! 8  The voice of your watchmen! their voices are loud in song together; for they will see him, eye to eye, when the Lord comes back to Zion. 9  Give sounds of joy, make melody together, waste places of Jerusalem: for the Lord has given comfort to his people, he has taken up the cause of Jerusalem. 10  The Lord has let his holy arm be seen by the eyes of all nations; and all the ends of the earth will see the salvation of our God. 11  Away! away! go out from there, touching no unclean thing; go out from among her; be clean, you who take up the vessels of the Lord. 12  For you will not go out suddenly, and you will not go in flight: for the Lord will go before you, and the God of Israel will come after you to keep you.

The Suffering of the LORD's Servant

13  See, my servant will do well in his undertakings, he will be honoured, and lifted up, and be very high. 14  As peoples were surprised at him, And his face was not beautiful, so as to be desired: his face was so changed by disease as to be unlike that of a man, and his form was no longer that of the sons of men. 15  So will nations give him honour; kings will keep quiet because of him: for what had not been made clear to them they will see; and they will give their minds to what had not come to their ears.

53 1  Who would have had faith in the word which has come to our ears, and to whom had the arm of the Lord been unveiled? 2  For his growth was like that of a delicate plant before him, and like a root out of a dry place: he had no grace of form, to give us pleasure; 3  Men made sport of him, turning away from him; he was a man of sorrows, marked by disease; and like one from whom men's faces are turned away, he was looked down on, and we put no value on him.

4  But it was our pain he took, and our diseases were put on him: while to us he seemed as one diseased, on whom God's punishment had come. 5  But it was for our sins he was wounded, and for our evil doings he was crushed: he took the punishment by which we have peace, and by his wounds we are made well. 6  We all went wandering like sheep; going every one of us after his desire; and the Lord put on him the punishment of us all. 7  Men were cruel to him, but he was gentle and quiet; as a lamb taken to its death, and as a sheep before those who take her wool makes no sound, so he said not a word. 8  They took away from him help and right, and who gave a thought to his fate? for he was cut off from the land of the living: he came to his death for the sin of my people. 9  And they put his body into the earth with sinners, and his last resting-place was with the evil-doers, though he had done no wrong, and no deceit was in his mouth.

10  And the Lord was pleased ... see a seed, long life, ... will do well in his hand. ... 11  ... made clear his righteousness before men ... had taken their sins on himself. 12  For this cause he will have a heritage with the great, and he will have a part in the goods of war with the strong, because he gave up his life, and was numbered with the evil-doers; taking on himself the sins of the people, and making prayer for the wrongdoers.

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