“Be silent and listen to me, you distant lands!
Get ready to present your case in court;
you will have your chance to speak.
Let us come together to decide who is right.
2“Who was it that brought the conqueror from the east,41.2 the conqueror from the east: Cyrus, the emperor of Persia (see 45.1).
and makes him triumphant wherever he goes?
Who gives him victory over kings and nations?
His sword strikes them down as if they were dust.
His arrows scatter them like straw before the wind.
3He follows in pursuit and marches safely on,
so fast that he hardly touches the ground!
4Who was it that made this happen?
Who has determined the course of history?
I, the LORD, was there at the beginning,
and I, the LORD, will be there at the end.
5“The people of distant lands have seen what I have done;
they are frightened and tremble with fear.
So they all assemble and come.
6The craftsmen help and encourage one another.
7The carpenter says to the goldsmith, ‘Well done!’
The man who beats the idol smooth
encourages the one who nails it together.
They say, ‘The soldering is good’ —
and they fasten the idol in place with nails.
“But you, Israel my servant,
you are the people that I have chosen,
the descendants of Abraham, my friend.
9I brought you from the ends of the earth;
I called you from its farthest corners
and said to you, ‘You are my servant.’
I did not reject you, but chose you.
10Do not be afraid — I am with you!
I am your God — let nothing terrify you!
I will make you strong and help you;
I will protect you and save you.
11“Those who are angry with you
will know the shame of defeat.
Those who fight against you will die
12and will disappear from the earth.
13I am the LORD your God;
I strengthen you and say,
‘Do not be afraid; I will help you.’ ”
14The LORD says,
“Small and weak as you are, Israel,
don't be afraid; I will help you.
I, the holy God of Israel, am the one who saves you.
15I will make you like a threshing board,
with spikes that are new and sharp.
You will thresh mountains and destroy them;
hills will crumble into dust.
16You will toss them in the air;
the wind will carry them off,
and they will be scattered by the storm.
Then you will be happy because I am your God;
you will praise me, the holy God of Israel.
17“When my people in their need look for water,
when their throats are dry with thirst,
then I, the LORD, will answer their prayer;
I, the God of Israel, will never abandon them.
18I will make rivers flow among barren hills
and springs of water run in the valleys.
I will turn the desert into pools of water
and the dry land into flowing springs.
19I will make cedars grow in the desert,
and acacias and myrtles and olive trees.
Forests will grow in barren land,
forests of pine and juniper and cypress.
20People will see this and know
that I, the LORD, have done it.
They will come to understand
that Israel's holy God has made it happen.”
21The LORD, the king of Israel, has this to say:
“You gods of the nations, present your case.
Bring the best arguments you have!
22Come here and predict what will happen,
so that we will know it when it takes place.
Explain to the court the events of the past,
and tell us what they mean.
23Tell us what the future holds —
then we will know that you are gods!
Do something good or bring some disaster;
fill us with fear and awe!
24You and all you do are nothing;
those who worship you are disgusting!
25“I have chosen a man who lives in the east;41.25 a man who lives in the east: See 41.2.
I will bring him to attack from the north.
He tramples on rulers as if they were mud,
like a potter trampling clay.
26Which of you predicted that this would happen,
so that we could say that you were right?
None of you said a word about it;
no one heard you say a thing!
27I, the LORD, was the first to tell Zion the news;
I sent a messenger to Jerusalem to say,
‘Your people are coming! They are coming home!’41.27 Verse 27 in Hebrew is unclear.
28When I looked among the gods,
none of them had a thing to say;
not one could answer the questions I asked.
29All these gods are useless;
they can do nothing at all —
these idols are weak and powerless.”
The LORD says,
“Here is my servant, whom I strengthen —
the one I have chosen, with whom I am pleased.
I have filled him with my Spirit,
and he will bring justice to every nation.
2He will not shout or raise his voice
or make loud speeches in the streets.
3He will not break off a bent reed
or put out a flickering lamp.
He will bring lasting justice to all.
4He will not lose hope or courage;
he will establish justice on the earth.
Distant lands eagerly wait for his teaching.”
God created the heavens and stretched them out;
he fashioned the earth and all that lives there;
he gave life and breath to all its people.
And now the LORD God says to his servant,
“I, the LORD, have called you and given you power
to see that justice is done on earth.
Through you I will make a covenant with all peoples;
through you I will bring light to the nations.
7You will open the eyes of the blind
and set free those who sit in dark prisons.
8“I alone am the LORD your God.
No other god may share my glory;
I will not let idols share my praise.
9The things I predicted have now come true.
Now I will tell you of new things
even before they begin to happen.”
10Sing a new song to the LORD;
sing his praise, all the world!
Praise him, you that sail the sea;
praise him, all creatures of the sea!
Sing, distant lands and all who live there!
11Let the desert and its towns praise God;
let the people of Kedar praise him!
Let those who live in the city of Sela
shout for joy from the tops of the mountains!
12Let those who live in distant lands
give praise and glory to the LORD!
13The LORD goes out to fight like a warrior;
he is ready and eager for battle.
He gives a war cry, a battle shout;
he shows his power against his enemies.
“For a long time I kept silent;
I did not answer my people.
But now the time to act has come;
I cry out like a woman in labour.
15I will destroy the hills and mountains
and dry up the grass and trees.
I will turn the river valleys into deserts42.15 Probable text deserts; Hebrew coastlands.
and dry up the pools of water.
16“I will lead my blind people
by roads they have never travelled.
I will turn their darkness into light
and make rough country smooth before them.
These are my promises,
and I will keep them without fail.
17All who trust in idols,
who call images their gods,
will be humiliated and disgraced.”
18The LORD says,
“Listen, you deaf people!
Look closely, you that are blind!
19Is anyone more blind than my servant,
more deaf than the messenger I send?
20Israel, you have seen so much,
but what has it meant to you?
You have ears to hear with,
but what have you really heard?”
21The LORD is a God who is eager to save,
so he exalted his laws and teachings,
and he wanted his people to honour them.
22But now his people have been plundered;
they are locked up in dungeons
and hidden away in prisons.
They were robbed and plundered,
with no one to come to their rescue.
23Will any of you listen to this?
From now on will you listen with care?
24Who gave Israel up to the looters?
It was the LORD himself, against whom we sinned!
We would not live as he wanted us to live
or obey the teachings he gave us.
25So he made us feel the force of his anger
and suffer the violence of war.
Like fire his anger burned throughout Israel,
but we never knew what was happening;
we learnt from it nothing at all.
431Israel, the LORD who created you says,
“Do not be afraid — I will save you.
I have called you by name — you are mine.
2When you pass through deep waters, I will be with you;
your troubles will not overwhelm you.
When you pass through fire, you will not be burnt;
the hard trials that come will not hurt you.
3For I am the LORD your God,
the holy God of Israel, who saves you.
I will give up Egypt to set you free;
I will give up Ethiopia43.3 Ethiopia: See Word List. and Seba.
4I will give up whole nations to save your life,
because you are precious to me
and because I love you and give you honour.
5Do not be afraid — I am with you!
“From the distant east and the farthest west,
I will bring your people home.
6I will tell the north to let them go
and the south not to hold them back.
Let my people return from distant lands,
from every part of the world.
7They are my own people,
and I created them to bring me glory.”
“Summon my people to court.
They have eyes, but they are blind;
they have ears, but they are deaf!
9Summon the nations to come to the trial.
Which of their gods can predict the future?
Which of them foretold what is happening now?
Let these gods bring in their witnesses
to prove that they are right,
to testify to the truth of their words.
10“People of Israel, you are my witnesses;
I chose you to be my servant,
so that you would know me and believe in me
and understand that I am the only God.
Besides me there is no other god;
there never was and never will be.
11“I alone am the LORD,
the only one who can save you.
12I predicted what would happen,
and then I came to your aid.
No foreign god has ever done this;
you are my witnesses.
13I am God and always will be.
No one can escape from my power;
no one can change what I do.”
14Israel's holy God, the LORD who saves you, says,
“To save you, I will send an army against Babylon;
I will break down the city gates,
and the shouts of her people will turn into crying.
15I am the LORD, your holy God.
I created you, Israel, and I am your king.”
16Long ago the LORD made a road through the sea,
a path through the swirling waters.
17He led a mighty army to destruction,
an army of chariots and horses.
Down they fell, never to rise,
snuffed out like the flame of a lamp!
18But the LORD says,
“Do not cling to events of the past
or dwell on what happened long ago.
19Watch for the new thing I am going to do.
It is happening already — you can see it now!
I will make a road through the wilderness
and give you streams of water there.
20Even the wild animals will honour me;
jackals and ostriches will praise me
when I make rivers flow in the desert
to give water to my chosen people.
21They are the people I made for myself,
and they will sing my praises!”
22The LORD says,
“But you were tired of me, Israel;
you did not worship me.
23You did not bring me your burnt offerings of sheep;
you did not honour me with your sacrifices.
I did not burden you by demanding offerings
or wear you out by asking for incense.
24You didn't buy incense for me
or satisfy me with the fat of your animals.
Instead you burdened me with your sins;
you wore me out with the wrongs you committed.
25And yet, I am the God who forgives your sins,
and I do this because of who I am.
I will not hold your sins against you.
26“Let us go to court; bring your accusation!
Present your case to prove you are in the right!
27Your earliest ancestor43.27 your earliest ancestor: A reference either to Jacob or to Abraham, or possibly to Adam. sinned;
your leaders sinned against me,
28and your rulers profaned43.28 One ancient translation your rulers profaned; Hebrew I profaned the rulers of. my sanctuary.
So I brought destruction on Israel;
I let my own people be insulted.”