Isaiah 40-43 English Standard Version

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The LORD's Comforting Words to Zion

40 Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. 2  Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that her warfare[1] is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned, that she has received from the Lord's hand double for all her sins.

3  A voice cries:[2] "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  And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken." 6  A voice says, "Cry!" And I said[3], "What shall I cry?" All flesh is grass, and all its beauty[4] 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  The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.

9  Get you up to a high mountain, O Zion, herald 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  Behold, the Lord GOD comes with might, and his arm rules for him; behold, his reward is with him, and his recompense before him. 11  He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young.

Israel's Incomparable God

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 measured[7] the Spirit of the Lord, or what man shows him his counsel? 14  Whom did he consult, and who made him understand? Who 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 as the dust on the scales; behold, he takes up the coastlands like fine dust. 16  Lebanon would not suffice for fuel, nor are its beasts 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 craftsman casts it, and a goldsmith overlays it with gold and casts for it silver chains. 20  He who is too impoverished for an offering chooses wood[8] that will not rot; he seeks out a skillful craftsman to set up an idol that will not move. 21  Do 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 like grasshoppers; who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them like a tent to dwell in; 23  who 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, and the tempest carries them off like stubble. 25  To 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? He 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, "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 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 they 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.

God's Assurance to Israel

41 Listen 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 judgment. 2  Who stirred up one from the east whom victory meets at every step?[9] He gives up nations before him, so that he tramples kings underfoot; he makes them like dust with his sword, like driven stubble with his bow. 3  He pursues them and passes on safely, by paths his feet have not trod. 4  Who has performed and done this, calling the generations from the beginning? I, the Lord, the first, and with the last; I am he. 5  The 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  The 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 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  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 my righteous right hand. 11  Behold, 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  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, "Fear not, I am the one who helps you." 14  Fear not, you worm Jacob, you men of Israel! I am the one who helps you, declares the Lord; your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel. 15  Behold, I make of you a threshing sledge, new, sharp, 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. And 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  that they may see and know, may consider and understand together, that the hand of the Lord has done this, the Holy One of Israel has created it.

The LORD's Challenge to False Gods

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, that we may consider them, 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 dismayed and terrified.[10] 24  Behold, you are nothing, and your work is less than nothing; an abomination is he who chooses you. 25  I stirred up one from the north, and he has come, from the rising of the sun, and he shall call upon my name; he shall trample on rulers as on mortar, as the potter treads clay. 26  Who 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  I was the first to say[11] to Zion, "Behold, here they are!" and I give to Jerusalem a herald of good news. 28  But when I look, there is no one; among these there is no counselor who, when I ask, gives an answer. 29  Behold, they are all a delusion; their works are nothing; their metal images are empty wind.

The LORD's Servant

42 Behold my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights; I have put my Spirit upon him; he 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  a bruised reed he will not break, and a faintly burning wick he will not quench; he will faithfully bring forth justice. 4  He will not grow faint or be discouraged[12] till he has established justice in the earth; and the coastlands wait for his law.

5  Thus says God, the Lord, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and what comes from it, who gives breath to the people on it and spirit to those who walk in it: 6  "I am the Lord; I have called you in righteousness; I will take you by the hand and keep you; I will give you as a covenant for the people, a light for the nations, 7  to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness. 8  I am the Lord; that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to carved idols. 9  Behold, the former things have come to pass, and new things I now declare; before they spring forth I tell you of them."

Praise for the LORD's Mighty Deliverance

10  Sing to the Lord a new song, his praise from the end of the earth, you who go down to the sea, and all that fills it, the coastlands and their inhabitants. 11  Let the desert and its cities lift up their voice, the villages that Kedar inhabits; let the habitants of Sela 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 the coastlands.

13  The Lord goes out like a mighty man, like a man of war he stirs up his zeal; he cries out, he 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 like a woman in labor; I will gasp and pant. 15  I will lay waste mountains and hills, and dry up all their vegetation; I will turn the rivers into islands,[13] and dry up the pools. 16  And 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, the rough places into level ground. These are the things I do, and I do not forsake them. 17  They 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 Profit from Discipline

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,[14] or blind as the servant of the Lord? 20  He sees many things, but does not observe them; his 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 and 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, but he did not understand; it burned him up, but he did not take it to heart.

The LORD the Only Redeemer

43 But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: "Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. 2  When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. 3  For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. I give Egypt as your ransom, Cush and Seba 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  Fear not, for I am with you; I 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 my sons from afar and my 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 the people who are blind, yet have eyes, who are deaf, yet have ears! 9  All 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  "You are my witnesses," declares the Lord, "and my servant whom I have chosen, that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor shall there be any after me. 11  I, 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 you are my witnesses," declares the Lord, "and I am God. 13  Also henceforth 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: "For your sake I send to Babylon and bring them all down as fugitives, even 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, who makes a way in the sea, a path in the mighty waters, 17  who brings forth chariot and horse, army and warrior; they lie down, they cannot rise, they are extinguished, quenched like a wick: 18  "Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. 19  Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. 20  The wild beasts will honor me, the jackals and the ostriches, for 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 that they might declare my praise.

22  "Yet you did not call upon me, O Jacob; but you have been weary of me, O Israel! 23  You have not brought me your sheep for burnt offerings, or honored me with your sacrifices. I have not burdened you with offerings, or 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 who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins. 26  Put me in remembrance; let us argue together; set forth your case, that you may be proved right. 27  Your first father sinned, and your mediators transgressed against me. 28  Therefore I will profane the princes of the sanctuary, and deliver Jacob to utter destruction and Israel to reviling.

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Footnotes

[1] 40:2 Or time of service

[2] 40:3 Or A voice of one crying

[3] 40:6 Revocalization based on Dead Sea Scroll, Septuagint, Vulgate; Masoretic Text And someone says

[4] 40:6 Or all its constancy

[5] 40:9 Or O herald of good news to Zion

[6] 40:9 Or O herald of good news to Jerusalem

[7] 40:13 Or has directed

[8] 40:20 Or He chooses valuable wood

[9] 41:2 Or whom righteousness calls to follow?

[10] 41:23 Or that we may both be dismayed and see

[11] 41:27 Or Formerly I said

[12] 42:4 Or bruised

[13] 42:15 Or into coastlands

[14] 42:19 Or as the one at peace with me

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