The LORD's Comforting Words to Zion
40 1 “Comfort, comfort my people,” says your God. 2 “Speak comfortably to Jerusalem; and call out to her that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned, that she has received of Yahweh’s hand double for all her sins.”
The voice of one who calls out,
“Prepare the way of Yahweh in the wilderness!
Make a level highway in the desert for our God. 4 Every valley shall be exalted,
and every mountain and hill shall be made low.
The uneven shall be made level,
and the rough places a plain. 5 The glory of Yahweh shall be revealed,
and all flesh shall see it together;
for the mouth of Yahweh has spoken it.” 6 The voice of one saying, “Cry!”
One said, “What shall I cry?”
“All flesh is like grass,
and all its glory is like the flower of the field. 7 The grass withers,
the flower fades,
because Yahweh’s breath blows on it.
Surely the people are like grass. 8 The grass withers,
the flower fades;
but the word of our God stands forever.”
9 You who tell good news to Zion, go up on a high mountain.
You who tell good news to Jerusalem, lift up your voice with strength.
Lift it up. Don’t be afraid.
Say to the cities of Judah, “Behold, your God!” 10 Behold, the Lord Yahweh will come as a mighty one,
and his arm will rule for him.
Behold, 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 arm,
and carry them in his bosom.
He will gently lead those who have their young.
Israel's Incomparable God
12 Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand,
and marked off the sky with his span,
and calculated 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 Yahweh,
or has taught him as his counselor? 14 Who did he take counsel with,
and who instructed him,
and taught him in the path of justice,
and taught him knowledge,
and showed him the way of understanding? 15 Behold, the nations are like a drop in a bucket,
and are regarded as a speck of dust on a balance.
Behold, he lifts up the islands like a very little thing. 16 Lebanon is not sufficient to burn,
nor its animals sufficient for a burnt offering. 17 All the nations are like nothing before him.
They are regarded by him as less than nothing, and vanity.
18 To whom then will you liken God?
Or what likeness will you compare to him? 19 A workman has cast an image,
and the goldsmith overlays it with gold,
and casts silver chains for it. 20 He who is too impoverished for such an offering chooses a tree that will not rot.
He seeks a skillful workman to set up an engraved image for him that will not be moved. 21 Haven’t you known?
Haven’t you heard, yet?
Haven’t you been told from the beginning?
Haven’t you 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 out like a tent to dwell in; 23 who brings princes to nothing;
who makes the judges of the earth like meaningless. 24 They are planted scarcely.
They are sown scarcely.
Their stock has scarcely taken root in the ground.
He merely blows on them, and they wither,
and the whirlwind takes them away as stubble. 25 “To whom then will you liken me?
Who is my equal?” says the Holy One. 26 Lift up your eyes on high,
and see who has created these,
who brings out their army by number.
He calls them all by name.
by the greatness of his might,
and because he is strong in power,
Not one is lacking.
27 Why do you say, Jacob,
and speak, Israel,
“My way is hidden from Yahweh,
and the justice due me is disregarded by my God?” 28 Haven’t you known?
Haven’t you heard?
The everlasting God, Yahweh,
The Creator of the ends of the earth, doesn’t faint.
He isn’t weary.
His understanding is unsearchable. 29 He gives power to the weak.
He increases the strength of him who has no might. 30 Even the youths faint and get weary,
and the young men utterly fall; 31 But those who wait for Yahweh will renew their strength.
They will mount up with wings like eagles.
They will run, and not be weary.
They will walk, and not faint.
God's Assurance to Israel
41 1 “Keep silent before me, islands,
and let the peoples renew their strength.
Let them come near,
then let them speak.
Let’s meet together for judgment. 2 Who has raised up one from the east?
Whom called him to his foot in righteousness?
He hands over nations to him,
and makes him rule over kings.
He gives them like the dust to his sword,
like the driven stubble to his bow. 3 He pursues them,
and passes by safely,
Even by a way that he had not gone with his feet. 4 Who has worked and done it,
calling the generations from the beginning?
I, Yahweh, the first, and with the last, I am he.” 5 The islands have seen, and fear.
The ends of the earth tremble.
They approach, and come. 6 Everyone helps his neighbor.
They say to their brothers, “Be strong!” 7 So the carpenter encourages the goldsmith.
He who smoothes with the hammer encourages him who strikes the anvil,
saying of the soldering, “It is good;”
and he fastens it with nails, that it might not totter. 8 “But you, Israel, my servant,
Jacob whom I have chosen,
the seed of Abraham my friend, 9 You whom I have taken hold of from the ends of the earth,
and called from its corners,
and said to you, ‘You are my servant, I have chosen you and not cast you away;’
10 Don’t you be afraid, for I am with you.
Don’t be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you.
Yes, I will help you.
Yes, I will uphold you with the right hand of my righteousness. 11 Behold, all those who are incensed against you will be disappointed and confounded.
Those who strive with you will be like nothing, and shall perish. 12 You will seek them, and won’t find them,
even those who contend with you.
Those who war against you will be as nothing,
as a non-existent thing. 13 For I, Yahweh your God, will hold your right hand,
saying to you, ‘Don’t be afraid.
I will help you.’ 14 Don’t be afraid, you worm Jacob,
and you men of Israel.
I will help you,” says Yahweh,
“and your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel. 15 Behold, I have made you into a new sharp threshing instrument with teeth.
You will thresh the mountains,
and beat them small,
and will make the hills like chaff. 16 You will winnow them,
and the wind will carry them away,
and the whirlwind will scatter them.
You will rejoice in Yahweh.
You will glory in the Holy One of Israel. 17 The poor and needy seek water, and there is none.
Their tongue fails for thirst.
I, Yahweh, will answer them.
I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them. 18 I will open rivers on the bare heights,
and springs 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 cedar, acacia, myrtle, and oil trees in the wilderness.
I will set fir trees, pine, and box trees together in the desert; 20 that they may see, know, consider, and understand together,
that the hand of Yahweh has done this,
and the Holy One of Israel has created it.
The LORD's Challenge to False Gods
21 Produce your cause,” says Yahweh.
“Bring forth your strong reasons,” says the King of Jacob. 22 “Let them announce, and declare to us what shall happen.
Declare the former things, what they are,
that we may consider them, and know the latter end of them;
or show us things to come. 23 Declare the things that are to come hereafter,
that we may know that you are gods.
Yes, do good, or do evil,
that we may be dismayed,
and see it together. 24 Behold, you are of nothing,
and your work is of nothing.
He who chooses you is an abomination. 25 “I have raised up one from the north, and he has come;
from the rising of the sun, one who calls on my name;
and he shall come on rulers as on mortar,
and as the potter treads clay. 26 Who has declared it from the beginning, that we may know?
And before, that we may say, ‘He is right?’
Surely, there is no one who declares.
Surely, there is no one who shows.
Surely, there is no one who hears your words. 27 I am the first to say to Zion, ‘Behold, look at them;’
and I will give one who brings good news to Jerusalem. 28 When I look, there is no man;
even among them there is no counselor who, when I ask of them, can answer a word. 29 Behold, all of them, their works are vanity and nothing.
Their molten images are wind and confusion.
The LORD's Servant
42 1 “Behold, my servant, whom I uphold;
my chosen, in whom my soul delights—
I have put my Spirit on him.
He will bring justice to the nations. 2 He will not shout,
nor raise his voice,
nor cause it to be heard in the street. 3 He won’t break a bruised reed.
He won’t quench a dimly burning wick.
He will faithfully bring justice. 4 He will not fail nor be discouraged,
until he has set justice in the earth,
and the islands will wait for his law.”
5 Thus says God Yahweh,
he who created the heavens and stretched them out,
he who spread out the earth and that which comes out of it,
he who gives breath to its people and spirit to those who walk in it. 6 “I, Yahweh, have called you in righteousness,
and will hold your hand,
and will keep you,
and make you a covenant for the people,
as a light for the nations; 7 to open the blind eyes,
to bring the prisoners out of the dungeon,
and those who sit in darkness out of the prison. 8 “I am Yahweh.
That is my name.
I will not give my glory to another,
nor my praise to engraved images. 9 Behold, the former things have happened,
and I declare new things.
I tell you about them before they come up.”
Praise for the LORD's Mighty Deliverance
10 Sing to Yahweh a new song,
and his praise from the end of the earth,
you who go down to the sea,
and all that is therein,
the islands and their inhabitants. 11 Let the wilderness and its cities raise their voices,
with the villages that Kedar inhabits.
Let the inhabitants of Sela sing.
Let them shout from the top of the mountains! 12 Let them give glory to Yahweh,
and declare his praise in the islands.
13 Yahweh will go out like a mighty man.
He will stir up zeal like a man of war.
He will raise a war cry.
Yes, he will shout aloud.
He will triumph over his enemies. 14 “I have been silent a long time.
I have been quiet and restrained myself.
Now I will cry out like a travailing woman. I will both gasp and pant. 15 I will destroy mountains and hills,
and dry up all their herbs.
I will make the rivers islands,
and will dry up the pools. 16 I will bring the blind by a way that they don’t know.
I will lead them in paths that they don’t know.
I will make darkness light before them,
and crooked places straight.
I will do these things,
and I will not forsake them. 17 “Those who trust in engraved images,
who tell molten images,
‘You are our gods’
will be turned back.
They will be utterly disappointed.
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 who is as deaf as my messenger whom I send?
Who is as blind as he who is at peace,
and as blind as Yahweh’s servant? 20 You see many things, but don’t observe.
His ears are open, but he doesn’t listen. 21 It pleased Yahweh, for his righteousness’ sake, to magnify the law,
and make it honorable. 22 But this is a robbed and plundered people.
All of them are snared in holes,
and they are hidden in prisons.
They have become a prey, and no one delivers;
and a spoil, and no one says, ‘Restore them!’ 23 Who is there among you who will give ear to this?
Who will listen and hear for the time to come? 24 Who gave Jacob as plunder,
and Israel to the robbers?
Didn’t Yahweh, he against whom we have sinned?
For they would not walk in his ways,
and they disobeyed his law. 25 Therefore he poured the fierceness of his anger on him,
and the strength of battle;
and it set him on fire all around, but he didn’t know;
and it burned him, but he didn’t take it to heart.”
The LORD the Only Redeemer
43 1 But now thus says Yahweh who created you, Jacob,
and he who formed you, Israel:
“Don’t be afraid, for I have redeemed you.
I have called you by your name.
You are mine. 2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they will not overflow you.
When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned,
and flame will not scorch you. 3 For I am Yahweh your God,
the Holy One of Israel,
I have given Egypt as your ransom,
Ethiopia and Seba in your place. 4 Since you have been precious and honored in my sight,
and I have loved you;
therefore I will give people in your place,
and nations instead of your life. 5 Don’t be afraid; for I am with you.
I will bring your seed from the east,
and gather you from the west. 6 I will tell the north, ‘Give them up!’
and tell the south, ‘Don’t hold them back!
Bring my sons from far,
and my daughters from the ends of the earth— 7 everyone who is called by my name,
and whom I have created for my glory,
whom I have formed,
yes, whom I have made.’”
8 Bring out the blind people who have eyes,
and the deaf who have ears. 9 Let all the nations be gathered together,
and let the peoples be assembled.
Who among them can declare this,
and show us former things?
Let them bring their witnesses, that they may be justified;
or let them hear, and say, “That is true.” 10 “You are my witnesses,” says Yahweh,
“With my servant whom I have chosen;
that you may know and believe me,
and understand that I am he.
Before me there was no God formed,
neither will there be after me. 11 I myself am Yahweh;
and besides me there is no savior. 12 I have declared, I have saved, and I have shown;
and there was no strange god among you.
Therefore you are my witnesses,”
says Yahweh, “and I am God. 13 Yes, since the day was I am he;
and there is no one who can deliver out of my hand.
I will work, and who can hinder it?”
14 Thus says Yahweh, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “For your sake, I have sent to Babylon, and I will bring all of them down as fugitives, even the Chaldeans, in the ships of their rejoicing. 15 I am Yahweh, your Holy One, the Creator of Israel, your King.” 16
Thus says Yahweh, who makes a way in the sea,
and a path in the mighty waters; 17 who brings forth the chariot and horse,
the army and the mighty man
(they lie down together, they shall not rise;
they are extinct, they are quenched like a wick): 18 “Don’t remember the former things,
and don’t consider the things of old. 19 Behold, I will do a new thing.
It springs forth now.
Don’t you know it?
I will even make a way in the wilderness,
and rivers in the desert. 20 The animals of the field shall honor me,
the jackals and the ostriches;
because I give water in the wilderness and rivers in the desert,
to give drink to my people, my chosen, 21 the people which I formed for myself,
that they might set forth my praise.
22 Yet you have not called on me, Jacob;
but you have been weary of me, Israel. 23 You have not brought me of your sheep for burnt offerings;
neither have you honored me with your sacrifices.
I have not burdened you with offerings,
nor wearied you with frankincense. 24 You have bought me no sweet cane with money,
nor have you filled me with the fat of your sacrifices;
but you have burdened me with your sins.
You have wearied me with your iniquities. 25 I, even 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 plead together.
Set forth your case,
that you may be justified. 27 Your first father sinned,
and your teachers have transgressed against me. 28 Therefore I will profane the princes of the sanctuary;
and I will make Jacob a curse,
and Israel a reviling.”