451The LORD has chosen Cyrus to be king!
He has appointed him to conquer nations;
he sends him to strip kings of their power;
the LORD will open the gates of cities for him.
To Cyrus the LORD says,
2“I myself will prepare your way,
levelling mountains and hills.
I will break down bronze gates
and smash their iron bars.
3I will give you treasures from dark, secret places;
then you will know that I am the LORD,
and that the God of Israel has called you by name.
4I appoint you to help my servant Israel,
the people that I have chosen.
I have given you great honour,
although you do not know me.
5“I am the LORD; there is no other god.
I will give you the strength you need,
although you do not know me.
6I do this so that everyone
from one end of the world to the other
may know that I am the LORD
and that there is no other god.
7I create both light and darkness;
I bring both blessing and disaster.
I, the LORD, do all these things.
8I will send victory from the sky like rain;
the earth will open to receive it
and will blossom with freedom and justice.
I, the LORD, will make this happen.”
Does a clay pot dare to argue with its maker,
a pot that is like all the others?
Does the clay ask the potter what he is doing?
Does the pot complain that its maker has no skill?
10Does anyone dare to say to his parents,
“Why did you make me like this?”
11The LORD, the holy God of Israel,
the one who shapes the future, says:
“You have no right to question me about my children
or to tell me what I ought to do!
12I am the one who made the earth
and created the human race to live there.
By my power I stretched out the heavens;
I control the sun, the moon, and the stars.
13I myself have stirred Cyrus to action
to fulfil my purpose and put things right.
I will straighten every road that he travels.
He will rebuild my city, Jerusalem,
and set my captive people free.
No one has hired him or bribed him to do this.”
The LORD Almighty has spoken.
14The LORD says to Israel,
“The wealth of Egypt and Ethiopia45.14 Ethiopia: See Word List. will be yours,
and the tall men of Seba will be your slaves;
they will follow you in chains.
They will bow down to you and confess,
‘God is with you — he alone is God.
15The God of Israel, who saves his people,
is a God who conceals himself.
16Those who make idols will all be ashamed;
all of them will be disgraced.
17But Israel is saved by the LORD,
and her victory lasts for ever;
her people will never be disgraced.’ ”
18The LORD created the heavens —
he is the one who is God!
He formed and made the earth —
he made it firm and lasting.
He did not make it a desolate waste,
but a place for people to live in.
It is he who says, “I am the LORD,
and there is no other god.
19I have not spoken in secret
or kept my purpose hidden.
I did not require the people of Israel
to look for me in a desolate waste.
I am the LORD, and I speak the truth;
I make known what is right.”
20The LORD says,
“Come together, people of the nations,
all who survive the fall of the empire;
present yourselves for the trial!
The people who parade with their idols of wood
and pray to gods that cannot save them —
those people know nothing at all!
21Come and present your case in court;
let the defendants consult one another.
Who predicted long ago what would happen?
Was it not I, the LORD, the God who saves his people?
There is no other god.
22“Turn to me now and be saved,
people all over the world!
I am the only God there is.
My promise is true,
and it will not be changed.
I solemnly promise by all that I am:
Everyone will come and kneel before me
and vow to be loyal to me.
24“They will say that only through me
are victory and strength to be found;
but all who hate me will suffer disgrace.
25I, the LORD, will rescue all the descendants of Jacob,
and they will give me praise.
461“This is the end for Babylon's gods!
Bel and Nebo once were worshipped,
but now they are loaded on donkeys,
a burden for the backs of tired animals.
2The idols cannot save themselves;
they are captured and carried away.
This is the end for Babylon's gods!
3“Listen to me, descendants of Jacob,
all who are left of my people.
I have cared for you from the time you were born.
4I am your God and will take care of you
until you are old and your hair is grey.
I made you and will care for you;
I will give you help and rescue you.
5“With whom will you compare me?” says the LORD.
“Is there anyone else like me?
6People open their purses and pour out gold;
they weigh out silver on the scales.
They hire a goldsmith to make a god;
then they bow down and worship it!
7They lift it to their shoulders and carry it;
they put it in place, and there it stands,
unable to move from where it is.
If anyone prays to it, it cannot answer
or save him from disaster.
8“Remember this, you sinners;
consider what I have done.
9Remember what happened long ago;
acknowledge that I alone am God
and that there is no one else like me.
10From the beginning I predicted the outcome;
long ago I foretold what would happen.
I said that my plans would never fail,
that I would do everything I intended to do.
11I am calling a man to come from the east;46.11 a man to come from the east: See 41.2.
he will swoop down like a hawk
and accomplish what I have planned.
I have spoken, and it will be done.
12“Listen to me, you stubborn people
who think that victory is far away.
13I am bringing the day of victory near —
it is not far away at all.
My triumph will not be delayed.
I will save Jerusalem
and bring honour to Israel there.”
The LORD says,
“Babylon, come down from your throne,
and sit in the dust on the ground.
You were once like a virgin, a city unconquered,
but you are soft and delicate no longer!
You are now a slave!
2Turn the millstone! Grind the flour!
Off with your veil! Strip off your fine clothes!
Lift up your skirts to cross the streams!47.2 cross the streams: This probably refers to going into exile.
3People will see you naked;
they will see you humbled and shamed.
I will take vengeance, and no one will stop me.”
4The holy God of Israel sets us free —
his name is the LORD Almighty.
5The LORD says to Babylon,
“Sit in silence and darkness;
no more will they call you the queen of nations!
6I was angry with my people;
I treated them as no longer mine:
I put them in your power,
and you showed them no mercy;
even the aged you treated harshly.
7You thought you would always be a queen,
and did not take these things to heart
or think how it all would end.
“Listen to this, you lover of pleasure,
you that think you are safe and secure.
You claim you are as great as God —
that there is no one else like you.
You thought that you would never be a widow
or suffer the loss of your children.
9But in a moment, in a single day,
both of these things will happen.
In spite of all the magic you use,
you will lose your husband and children.
10“You felt sure of yourself in your evil;
you thought that no one could see you.
Your wisdom and knowledge led you astray,
and you said to yourself, ‘I am God —
there is no one else like me.’
11Disaster will come upon you,
and none of your magic can stop it.
Ruin will come on you suddenly —
ruin you never dreamt of!
12Keep all your magic spells and charms;
you have used them since you were young.
Perhaps they will be of some help to you;
perhaps you can frighten your enemies.
13You are powerless in spite of the advice you get.
Let your astrologers come forward and save you —
those people who study the stars,
who map out the zones of the heavens
and tell you from month to month
what47.13 Some ancient translations what; Hebrew from what. is going to happen to you.
14“They will be like bits of straw,
and a fire will burn them up!
They will not even be able to save themselves —
the flames will be too hot for them,
not a cosy fire to warm themselves by.
15That is all the good they will do you —
those astrologers you've consulted all your life.
They all will leave you and go their own way,
and none will be left to save you.”