The Lord versus the Nations’ Gods

41 “Be silent before me, coasts and islands!(A)
And let peoples renew their strength.
Let them approach; let them testify;
let’s come together for the trial.
Who has stirred up someone from the east?(B)
In righteousness he calls him to serve.[a][b](C)
The Lord hands nations over to him,(D)
and he subdues kings.
He makes them like dust with his sword,
like wind-driven stubble with his bow.
He pursues them, going on safely,
hardly touching the path with his feet.
Who has performed and done this,
calling the generations from the beginning?
I am the Lord, the first
and with the last(E)—I am he.”(F)

The coasts and islands see and are afraid,
the whole earth trembles.(G)
They approach and arrive.
Each one helps the other,
and says to another, “Take courage!”
The craftsman encourages the metalworker;(H)
the one who flattens with the hammer
encourages the one who strikes the anvil,
saying of the soldering, “It is good.”
He fastens it with nails so that it will not fall over.(I)

But you, Israel, my servant,(J)
Jacob, whom I have chosen,(K)
descendant of Abraham, my friend(L)
I brought[c] you from the ends of the earth
and called you from its farthest corners.
I said to you: You are my servant;
I have chosen you; I haven’t rejected you.(M)
10 Do not fear, for I am with you;(N)
do not be afraid, for I am your God.(O)
I will strengthen you; I will help you;
I will hold on to you with my righteous right hand.(P)

11 Be sure that all who are enraged against you
will be ashamed and disgraced;(Q)
those who contend with you
will become as nothing and will perish.
12 You will look for those who contend with you,
but you will not find them.
Those who war against you
will become absolutely nothing.
13 For I am the Lord your God,(R)
who holds your right hand,
who says to you, “Do not fear,
I will help you.
14 Do not fear, you worm Jacob,(S)
you men[d] of Israel.
I will help you”—
this is the Lord’s declaration.
Your Redeemer(T) is the Holy One of Israel.(U)
15 See, I will make you into a sharp threshing board,
new, with many teeth.
You will thresh mountains and pulverize them
and make hills into chaff.(V)
16 You will winnow them(W)
and a wind will carry them away,
a whirlwind will scatter them.
But you will rejoice in the Lord;
you will boast in the Holy One of Israel.

17 The poor and the needy seek water, but there is none;
their tongues are parched with thirst.
I will answer them.(X)
I am the Lord, the God of Israel. I will not abandon them.
18 I will open rivers on the barren heights,(Y)
and springs in the middle of the plains.
I will turn the desert into a pool
and dry land into springs.(Z)
19 I will plant cedar, acacia, myrtle, and olive trees
in the wilderness.(AA)
I will put juniper, elm, and cypress trees together
in the desert.
20 so that all may see and know,
consider and understand,
that the hand of the Lord has done this,(AB)
the Holy One of Israel has created(AC) it.

21 “Submit your case,” says the Lord.
“Present your arguments,” says Jacob’s King.
22 “Let them come and tell us
what will happen.(AD)
Tell us the past events,
so that we may reflect on them
and know the outcome,
or tell us the future.
23 Tell us the coming events,(AE)
then we will know that you are gods.
Indeed, do something good or bad,
then we will be in awe[e] when we see it.
24 Look, you are nothing(AF)
and your work is worthless.
Anyone who chooses you is detestable.

25 “I have stirred up one from the north,(AG) and he has come,
one from the east(AH) who invokes my[f] name.(AI)
He will march over rulers as if they were mud,
like a potter who treads the clay.
26 Who told about this from the beginning,
so that we might know,
and from times past,
so that we might say, ‘He is right’?
No one announced it,
no one told it,
no one heard your words.
27 I was the first to say to Zion,[g]
‘Look! Here they are!’
And I gave Jerusalem a herald with good news.(AJ)
28 When I look, there is no one;
there is no counselor among them;
when I ask them, they have nothing to say.(AK)
29 Look, all of them are a delusion;[h]
their works are nonexistent;
their images are wind and emptiness.

Footnotes

  1. 41:2 Or Righteousness calls him to serve
  2. 41:2 Lit to his foot
  3. 41:9 Or seized
  4. 41:14 LXX reads small number; DSS read dead ones
  5. 41:23 DSS read we may hear
  6. 41:25 DSS read his
  7. 41:27 Lit First to Zion
  8. 41:29 DSS, Syr read are nothing

The Helper of Israel

41 “Be silent(A) before me, you islands!(B)
    Let the nations renew their strength!(C)
Let them come forward(D) and speak;
    let us meet together(E) at the place of judgment.

“Who has stirred(F) up one from the east,(G)
    calling him in righteousness(H) to his service[a]?(I)
He hands nations over to him
    and subdues kings before him.
He turns them to dust(J) with his sword,
    to windblown chaff(K) with his bow.(L)
He pursues them and moves on unscathed,(M)
    by a path his feet have not traveled before.
Who has done this and carried it through,
    calling(N) forth the generations from the beginning?(O)
I, the Lord—with the first of them
    and with the last(P)—I am he.(Q)

The islands(R) have seen it and fear;
    the ends of the earth(S) tremble.
They approach and come forward;
    they help each other
    and say to their companions, “Be strong!(T)
The metalworker(U) encourages the goldsmith,(V)
    and the one who smooths with the hammer
    spurs on the one who strikes the anvil.
One says of the welding, “It is good.”
    The other nails down the idol so it will not topple.(W)

“But you, Israel, my servant,(X)
    Jacob, whom I have chosen,(Y)
    you descendants of Abraham(Z) my friend,(AA)
I took you from the ends of the earth,(AB)
    from its farthest corners I called(AC) you.
I said, ‘You are my servant’;(AD)
    I have chosen(AE) you and have not rejected you.
10 So do not fear,(AF) for I am with you;(AG)
    do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen(AH) you and help(AI) you;
    I will uphold you(AJ) with my righteous right hand.(AK)

11 “All who rage(AL) against you
    will surely be ashamed and disgraced;(AM)
those who oppose(AN) you
    will be as nothing and perish.(AO)
12 Though you search for your enemies,
    you will not find them.(AP)
Those who wage war against you
    will be as nothing(AQ) at all.
13 For I am the Lord your God
    who takes hold of your right hand(AR)
and says to you, Do not fear;
    I will help(AS) you.
14 Do not be afraid,(AT) you worm(AU) Jacob,
    little Israel, do not fear,
for I myself will help(AV) you,” declares the Lord,
    your Redeemer,(AW) the Holy One(AX) of Israel.
15 “See, I will make you into a threshing sledge,(AY)
    new and sharp, with many teeth.
You will thresh the mountains(AZ) and crush them,
    and reduce the hills to chaff.(BA)
16 You will winnow(BB) them, the wind will pick them up,
    and a gale(BC) will blow them away.(BD)
But you will rejoice(BE) in the Lord
    and glory(BF) in the Holy One(BG) of Israel.

17 “The poor and needy search for water,(BH)
    but there is none;
    their tongues are parched with thirst.(BI)
But I the Lord will answer(BJ) them;
    I, the God of Israel, will not forsake(BK) them.
18 I will make rivers flow(BL) on barren heights,
    and springs within the valleys.
I will turn the desert(BM) into pools of water,(BN)
    and the parched ground into springs.(BO)
19 I will put in the desert(BP)
    the cedar and the acacia,(BQ) the myrtle and the olive.
I will set junipers(BR) in the wasteland,
    the fir and the cypress(BS) together,(BT)
20 so that people may see and know,(BU)
    may consider and understand,(BV)
that the hand(BW) of the Lord has done this,
    that the Holy One(BX) of Israel has created(BY) it.

21 “Present your case,(BZ)” says the Lord.
    “Set forth your arguments,” says Jacob’s King.(CA)
22 “Tell us, you idols,
    what is going to happen.(CB)
Tell us what the former things(CC) were,
    so that we may consider them
    and know their final outcome.
Or declare to us the things to come,(CD)
23     tell us what the future holds,
    so we may know(CE) that you are gods.
Do something, whether good or bad,(CF)
    so that we will be dismayed(CG) and filled with fear.
24 But you are less than nothing(CH)
    and your works are utterly worthless;(CI)
    whoever chooses you is detestable.(CJ)

25 “I have stirred(CK) up one from the north,(CL) and he comes—
    one from the rising sun who calls on my name.
He treads(CM) on rulers as if they were mortar,
    as if he were a potter treading the clay.
26 Who told of this from the beginning,(CN) so we could know,
    or beforehand, so we could say, ‘He was right’?
No one told of this,
    no one foretold(CO) it,
    no one heard any words(CP) from you.
27 I was the first to tell(CQ) Zion, ‘Look, here they are!’
    I gave to Jerusalem a messenger of good news.(CR)
28 I look but there is no one(CS)
    no one among the gods to give counsel,(CT)
    no one to give answer(CU) when I ask them.
29 See, they are all false!
    Their deeds amount to nothing;(CV)
    their images(CW) are but wind(CX) and confusion.

Footnotes

  1. Isaiah 41:2 Or east, / whom victory meets at every step

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