Contemporary English Version
The Lord’s Promise to Israel
44 People of Israel,
I have chosen you
as my servant.
2 I am your Creator.
You were in my care
even before you were born.
Israel, don’t be terrified!
You are my chosen servant,
my very favorite.[a]
3 I will bless the thirsty land
by sending streams of water;
I will bless your descendants
by giving them my Spirit.
4 They will spring up like grass[b]
or like willow trees
near flowing streams.
5 They will worship me
and become my people.
They will write my name
on the back of their hands.[c]
6 I am the Lord All-Powerful,
the first and the last,
the one and only God.
Israel, I have rescued you!
I am your King.
7 Can anyone compare with me?
If so, let them speak up
and tell me now.
Let them say what has happened
since I made my nation
and let them tell
what is going to happen.[d]
8 Don’t tremble with fear!
Didn’t I tell you long ago?
Didn’t you hear me?
I alone am God—
no one else is a mighty rock.[e]
Idols Can’t Do a Thing
The Lord said:
9 Those people who make idols
are nothing themselves,
and the idols they treasure
are just as worthless.
Worshipers of idols are blind,
stupid, and foolish.
10 Why make an idol or an image
that can’t do a thing?
11 Everyone who makes idols
and all who worship them
are mere humans,
who will end up
Let them face me in court
and be terrified.
Idols and Firewood
12 A metalworker shapes an idol
by using a hammer[f]
and heat from the fire.
In his powerful hand
he holds a hammer,
as he pounds the metal
into the proper shape.
But he gets hungry and thirsty
and loses his strength.
13 Some woodcarver measures
a piece of wood,
then draws an outline.
The idol is carefully carved
with each detail exact.
At last it looks like a person
and is placed in a temple.
14 Either cedar, cypress, oak,
or any tree from the forest
may be chosen.
Or even a pine tree planted
by the woodcarver
and watered by the rain.
15 Some of the wood is used
to make a fire for heating
or for cooking.
One piece is made into an idol,
then the woodcarver bows down
and worships it.
16 He enjoys the warm fire
and the meat that was roasted
over the burning coals.
17 Afterwards, he bows down
to worship the wooden idol.
“Protect me!” he says.
“You are my god.”
18 Those who worship idols are stupid and blind! 19 They don’t have enough sense to say to themselves, “I made a fire with half of the wood and cooked my bread and meat on it. Then I made something worthless with the other half. Why worship a block of wood?”
20 How can anyone be stupid enough to trust something that can be burned to ashes?[g] No one can save themselves like that. Don’t they realize that the idols they hold in their hands are not really gods?
The Lord Won’t Forget His People
21 People of Israel,
you are my servant,
so remember all of this.
Israel, I created you,
and you are my servant.
I won’t forget you.[h]
22 Turn back to me!
I have rescued you
and swept away your sins
as though they were clouds.
Sing Praises to the Lord
23 Tell the heavens and the earth
to start singing!
Tell the mountains
and every tree in the forest
to join in the song!
The Lord has rescued his people;
now they will worship him.
The Lord Created Everything
24 Israel, I am your Lord.
I am your source of life,
and I have rescued you.
I created everything
from the sky above
to the earth below.
25 I make liars of false prophets
and fools of fortunetellers.
I take human wisdom
and turn it into nonsense.
26 I will make the message
of my prophets come true.
They are saying, “Jerusalem
will be filled with people,
and the Lord will rebuild
the towns of Judah.”
27 I am the one who commands
the sea and its streams
to run dry.
28 I am also the one who says,
“Cyrus will lead my people
and obey my orders.
Jerusalem and the temple
will be rebuilt.”
- 44.2 my very favorite: Or “Jeshurun.”
- 44.4 like grass: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
- 44.5 write. . . hands: To show that they belong to the Lord and to Israel.
- 44.7 Let them say. . . happen: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
- 44.8 mighty rock: See the note at 17.10.
- 44.12 by using a hammer: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
- 44.20 How. . . ashes: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
- 44.21 I won’t forget you: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
New International Version
Israel the Chosen
44 “But now listen, Jacob, my servant,(A)
Israel, whom I have chosen.(B)
2 This is what the Lord says—
he who made(C) you, who formed you in the womb,(D)
and who will help(E) you:
Do not be afraid,(F) Jacob, my servant,(G)
Jeshurun,[a](H) whom I have chosen.
3 For I will pour water(I) on the thirsty land,
and streams on the dry ground;(J)
I will pour out my Spirit(K) on your offspring,
and my blessing(L) on your descendants.(M)
4 They will spring up like grass(N) in a meadow,
like poplar trees(O) by flowing streams.(P)
5 Some will say, ‘I belong(Q) to the Lord’;
others will call themselves by the name of Jacob;
still others will write on their hand,(R) ‘The Lord’s,’(S)
and will take the name Israel.
The Lord, Not Idols
6 “This is what the Lord says—
Israel’s King(T) and Redeemer,(U) the Lord Almighty:
I am the first and I am the last;(V)
apart from me there is no God.(W)
7 Who then is like me?(X) Let him proclaim it.
Let him declare and lay out before me
what has happened since I established my ancient people,
and what is yet to come—
yes, let them foretell(Y) what will come.
8 Do not tremble, do not be afraid.
Did I not proclaim(Z) this and foretell it long ago?
You are my witnesses. Is there any God(AA) besides me?
No, there is no other Rock;(AB) I know not one.”
9 All who make idols(AC) are nothing,
and the things they treasure are worthless.(AD)
Those who would speak up for them are blind;(AE)
they are ignorant, to their own shame.(AF)
10 Who shapes a god and casts an idol,(AG)
which can profit nothing?(AH)
11 People who do that will be put to shame;(AI)
such craftsmen are only human beings.
Let them all come together and take their stand;
they will be brought down to terror and shame.(AJ)
12 The blacksmith(AK) takes a tool
and works with it in the coals;
he shapes an idol with hammers,
he forges it with the might of his arm.(AL)
He gets hungry and loses his strength;
he drinks no water and grows faint.(AM)
13 The carpenter(AN) measures with a line
and makes an outline with a marker;
he roughs it out with chisels
and marks it with compasses.
He shapes it in human form,(AO)
human form in all its glory,
that it may dwell in a shrine.(AP)
14 He cut down cedars,
or perhaps took a cypress or oak.
He let it grow among the trees of the forest,
or planted a pine,(AQ) and the rain made it grow.
15 It is used as fuel(AR) for burning;
some of it he takes and warms himself,
he kindles a fire and bakes bread.
But he also fashions a god and worships(AS) it;
he makes an idol and bows(AT) down to it.
16 Half of the wood he burns in the fire;
over it he prepares his meal,
he roasts his meat and eats his fill.
He also warms himself and says,
“Ah! I am warm; I see the fire.(AU)”
17 From the rest he makes a god, his idol;
he bows down to it and worships.(AV)
He prays(AW) to it and says,
“Save(AX) me! You are my god!”
18 They know nothing, they understand(AY) nothing;
their eyes(AZ) are plastered over so they cannot see,
and their minds closed so they cannot understand.
19 No one stops to think,
no one has the knowledge or understanding(BA) to say,
“Half of it I used for fuel;(BB)
I even baked bread over its coals,
I roasted meat and I ate.
Shall I make a detestable(BC) thing from what is left?
Shall I bow down to a block of wood?”(BD)
20 Such a person feeds on ashes;(BE) a deluded(BF) heart misleads him;
he cannot save himself, or say,
“Is not this thing in my right hand a lie?(BG)”
21 “Remember(BH) these things, Jacob,
for you, Israel, are my servant.(BI)
I have made you, you are my servant;(BJ)
Israel, I will not forget you.(BK)
22 I have swept away(BL) your offenses like a cloud,
your sins like the morning mist.
Return(BM) to me,
for I have redeemed(BN) you.”
23 Sing for joy,(BO) you heavens, for the Lord has done this;
shout aloud, you earth(BP) beneath.
Burst into song, you mountains,(BQ)
you forests and all your trees,(BR)
for the Lord has redeemed(BS) Jacob,
he displays his glory(BT) in Israel.
Jerusalem to Be Inhabited
I am the Lord,
the Maker of all things,
who stretches out the heavens,(BX)
who spreads out the earth(BY) by myself,
25 who foils(BZ) the signs of false prophets
and makes fools of diviners,(CA)
who overthrows the learning of the wise(CB)
and turns it into nonsense,(CC)
26 who carries out the words(CD) of his servants
and fulfills(CE) the predictions of his messengers,
who says of Jerusalem,(CF) ‘It shall be inhabited,’
of the towns of Judah, ‘They shall be rebuilt,’
and of their ruins,(CG) ‘I will restore them,’(CH)
27 who says to the watery deep, ‘Be dry,
and I will dry up(CI) your streams,’
28 who says of Cyrus,(CJ) ‘He is my shepherd
and will accomplish all that I please;
he will say of Jerusalem,(CK) “Let it be rebuilt,”
and of the temple,(CL) “Let its foundations(CM) be laid.”’
- Isaiah 44:2 Jeshurun means the upright one, that is, Israel.