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Isaiah 40-55 Expanded Bible (EXB)

Israel’s Punishment Will End

40 Your God says,

“Comfort, comfort my people.
Speak kindly to ·the people of Jerusalem [L Jerusalem]
    and tell them
that their time of ·service [or warfare] is finished,
    that ·they have paid for their sins [or her sins are pardoned],
that ·the Lord has punished Jerusalem [L she has received from the Lord]
    ·twice [double] for every sin they did.”
This is the voice of one who calls out:
“Prepare in the ·desert [wilderness]
    the way for the Lord.
Make a straight road in the ·dry lands [arid plain]
    for our God.
Every valley will be ·raised up [elevated],
    and every mountain and hill will be made ·flat [level; low].
The rough ground will be ·made level [smoothed out],
    and the rugged ground will be made ·smooth [into a plain].
Then the glory of the Lord [C his manifest presence] will be ·shown [revealed],
    and all ·people [flesh] together will see it.
·The Lord himself said these things [L For the mouth of the Lord has spoken].”

A voice says, “Cry out!”
Then I[a] said, “What shall I cry out?”

“Say all ·people [flesh] are like the grass,
    and all their glory[b] is like the flowers of the field.
The grass ·dies [withers] and the flowers fall
    when the breath of the Lord blows on them.
    Surely the people are like grass.
The grass ·dies [withers] and the flowers fall,
    but the word of our God will ·live [endure; stand] forever.”
·Jerusalem [L Zion], ·you have good news to tell [herald of good news].
    Go up on a high mountain.
Jerusalem, ·you have good news to tell [herald of good news].
    Shout out loud the good news.
Shout it out and don’t be afraid.
    Say to the towns of Judah,
    “Here is your God.”
10 Look, the Lord God is coming with power
    ·to rule all the people [L his arm rules for him].
Look, ·he will bring reward for his people [L his reward is with him];
    ·he will have their payment with him [L his payment/prize is before him].
11 He ·takes care of his people [L tends his flock] like a shepherd.
    He gathers them like lambs in his arms
    and carries them ·close to him [on his chest/bosom].
He gently leads the mothers of the lambs.

God Is Supreme

12 Who has measured the ·oceans [L waters] in the ·palm [hollow] of his hand?
    Who has used ·his hand [L a span; C the distance between the extended thumb and little finger] to measure the ·sky [heavens]?
Who has used a bowl to measure all the dust of the earth
    and ·scales to weigh the mountains and [L a balance (to weigh) the] hills?
13 Who has ·known [comprehended; or directed; or measured] the ·mind [or Spirit] of the Lord
    or been able to ·give him advice [instruct him as counselor; Job 38:2; Rom. 11:34]?
14 Whom did he ·ask for help [take counsel from]?
    Who taught him the ·right way [path/way of justice/judgment]?
Who taught him knowledge
    and showed him the way to understanding?

15 [L Look; T Behold] The nations are like one small drop in a bucket;
    they are ·no more than [regarded as] the dust on his measuring scales.
    ·To him the islands are no more than fine dust on his scales [L He weighs/or lifts the coastlands/islands like fine dust].
16 ·All the trees in Lebanon are not enough [L Lebanon is not sufficient] for the altar fires,
    and all the animals in Lebanon are not enough for burnt offerings.
17 ·Compared to the Lord [L Before him] all the nations are worth nothing;
    to him they are ·less than nothing [L nothing and void/empty].

18 To whom can you compare God?
    To what image can you compare him?
19 An idol is ·formed [cast] by a craftsman,
    and a goldsmith ·covers [overlays] it with gold
    and ·makes [forms; refines] silver chains for it.
20 A poor person cannot ·buy those expensive statues [make such an offering],
    so he finds a tree that will not rot.
Then he finds a skilled craftsman
    to make it into an idol that will not fall over.

21 ·Surely you [L Do you not…?] know. ·Surely you have [L Have you not…?] heard.
    ·Surely [L Has not…?] from the beginning someone told you.
    ·Surely you [L Do you not…?] understand ·how the earth was created [or from the foundations of the earth].
22 ·God sits on his throne [L He sits] above the ·circle [horizon] of the earth,
    and ·compared to him, [L its] people are like grasshoppers.
He stretches out the ·skies [heavens] like a ·piece of cloth [canopy; curtain]
    and spreads them out like a tent to ·sit under [or live in].
23 He makes rulers ·unimportant [nothing]
    and the judges of this world ·worth nothing [insignificant; useless].
24 ·They are like plants that are placed in the ground [L Indeed, they are barely planted],
    ·like seeds that are planted [L indeed, they are barely sown].
·As soon as they begin to grow strong [L Indeed, they barely take root],
    he blows on them and they ·die [wither],
and the ·wind [storm; whirlwind] blows them away like ·chaff [straw].

25 The Holy One [1:4], says, “To whom can you compare me?
    Is anyone equal to me?”
26 Look up to the ·skies [heavens].
    Who created ·all these stars [L these]?
He leads out the ·army [hosts] of heaven one by one
    and calls ·all the stars [L them all] by name.
Because ·he is strong and powerful [L of his great strength and mighty power],
    not one of them is missing.

27 ·People of Jacob [L Jacob], why do you complain?
    ·People of Israel [L Israel], why do you say,
“The Lord does not see ·what happens to me [L my way/path];
    he ·does not care if I am treated fairly [disregards my cause]”?
28 ·Surely you [L Do you not…?] know.
    ·Surely you have [L Have you not…?] heard.
The Lord is the ·God who lives forever [everlasting God],
    who created ·all [L the ends of] the ·world [earth].
He does not become tired or ·need to rest [weary].
    No one can ·understand [fathom; comprehend] how great his ·wisdom [knowledge] is.
29 He gives strength to those who are tired
    and more power to those who are weak.
30 Even ·children [youths; young people] become tired and ·need to rest [weary],
    and young ·people [men] ·trip and fall [fall in exhaustion].
31 But the people who ·trust [hope in; wait on] the Lord will become strong again.
They will rise up ·as an eagle in the sky [L with wings like eagles];
    they will run and not ·need rest [grow weary];
they will walk and not ·become tired [T faint].

The Lord Will Help Israel

41 The Lord says, “·Faraway countries [or Coastlands; or Islands], listen to me.
    Let the nations ·become strong [renew their strength].
·Come to me [Approach] and speak;
    ·we will [or let us] meet together ·to decide who is right [for judgment/or debate].

“Who ·caused the one to come [stirs up one] from the east [C the Persian king Cyrus the Great; 44:28—45:6; 46:11; 48:14–16]?
    Who ·gives him victories everywhere he goes [or calls him in righteousness to his service/L foot]?
He [C the Lord] gives nations over to him
    and ·defeats [subdues] kings.
He uses his sword, and kings become like dust.
    He uses his bow, and they are blown away like ·chaff [straw].
He chases them and ·is never hurt [L passes by in peace],
    ·going places he has never been before [L by a path his feet have not gone].
Who caused this to happen?
    ·Who has controlled history [L …calling generations] since the beginning?
I, the Lord, am the one. ·I was here at the beginning,
    and I will be here when all things are finished [or…the First and the Last; or…with them at the first and the last; L first and with them at the last].”

All you ·faraway places [or islands; or coastlands], look and be afraid;
    all you ·places far away on [ends of] the earth, shake with fear.
Come close and ·listen to [approach] me.
    ·The workers help each other [A man helps his companion/neighbor]
    and say to ·each other [his brother], “Be strong!”
The ·craftsman [engraver; metal worker] encourages the goldsmith,
    and the workman who smooths the metal with a hammer encourages the one who ·shapes the metal [strikes the anvil].
He says, “This ·metal work [welding; soldering] is ·good [sound; well crafted].”
    He nails the statue to a base so it can’t fall over [C the nations find false hope and baseless courage in their idols; vv. 28–29].

Only the Lord Can Save Us

·The Lord says, “People of Israel, you are my servants [L “You Israel, my servant].
    ·People of Jacob, I chose you [L Jacob, whom I have chosen; 44:1].
    You are ·from the family [descendants; offspring; seed] of my friend Abraham [Gen. 12:1–3].
I took you from ·places far away on [L the ends of] the earth
    and called you from ·a faraway country [its farthest parts].
I said, ‘You are my ·servants [L servant].’
    I have chosen you and have not ·turned against [rejected; thrown away] you.
10 So don’t ·worry [fear], because I am with you.
    Don’t be ·afraid [dismayed], because I am your God.
I will ·make you strong [strengthen you] and will help you;
    I will ·support [uphold] you with my ·right hand that saves you [or righteous right hand; C a symbol of power to save and protect; Ex. 15:6; Ps. 63:8].

11 [L Look; T Behold] All those people who ·are angry with [seethe/rage against] you
    will be ashamed and disgraced.
Those who ·are [strive] against you
    will ·disappear [become nothing] and ·be lost [perish].
12 You will look for your enemies,
    but you will not find them.
Those who ·fought [wage war] against you
    will ·vanish completely [be as nothing].
13 [L For; Because] I am the Lord your God,
    who holds your right hand,
and I tell you, ‘Don’t be afraid.
    I will help you.’
14 Do not be afraid ·even though you are weak as a worm [L you worm, Jacob],
    you ·few people of Israel who are left [or people of Israel; or maggot, Israel].
I myself will help you,” says the Lord.
    “·The one who saves you [Your redeemer/protector] is the Holy One of Israel [1:4].
15 Look, I ·have made [or will make] you like a new threshing ·board [sledge]
    with many sharp teeth.
So you will ·walk on [thresh the] mountains and crush them;
    you will make the hills like ·chaff [straw].
16 You will ·throw them into the air [winnow them], and the wind will carry them away;
    a ·windstorm [gale; tempest] will scatter them.
Then you will ·be happy [rejoice] in the Lord;
    you will ·be proud of [boast in] the Holy One of Israel [1:4].

17 “The poor and needy people look for water,
    but ·they can’t find any [there is none].
    Their tongues are ·dry [parched] with thirst.
But I, the Lord, will answer ·their prayers [L them];
    I, the God of Israel, will not ·leave them to die [L abandon/forsake them].
18 I will ·make rivers flow [L open rivers] on the ·dry hills [barren heights]
    and springs flow through the valleys.
I will change the ·desert [wilderness] into ·a lake [pools] of water
    and the ·dry [arid; parched] land into ·fountains [springs] of water.
19 I will ·make trees grow [plant; put] in the ·desert [wilderness]
    cedars, acacia, myrtle, and olive trees.
I will put pine, fir, and cypress trees
    growing together in the desert.
20 [L …so that] People will see these things and ·understand [know];
    they will ·think carefully about these things [consider] and ·learn [comprehend]
that the Lord’s ·power [L hand] did this,
    that the Holy One of Israel [1:4] ·made these things [created it].”

The Lord Challenges False Gods

21 The Lord says, “Present your case.”
    The King of Jacob says, “·Tell me [Produce; Bring forth] your ·arguments [evidence; L strong words].
22 ·Bring in your idols [L Let them come forward] to tell us
    what is going to happen.
Have them tell us ·what happened in the beginning [the former things].
    Then we will ·think about [consider] these things,
    and we will know ·how they will turn out [their outcome; how they were fulfilled].
Or tell us ·what will happen in the future [things to come].
23     Tell us what is coming next
    so we will ·believe [know] that you are gods.
Do something, whether it is good or bad,
    and make us ·afraid [or dismayed and afraid].
24 [L Look; T Behold] ·You gods [L You] are less than nothing;
    you can’t do anything.
Those who ·worship [L choose] you ·should be hated [are detestable/an abomination].

25 “I have ·brought [stirred up] someone to come out of the north [C Cyrus, king of Persia; 41:2; 44:28—45:6; 46:11; 48:14–16].
    ·I have called him by name from the east [or…one from the east/rising sun who calls on my name].
He ·walks on kings [tramples on rulers] as if they were ·mud [mortar],
    just as a potter ·walks [treads] on the clay.
26 Who ·told us about [declared; decreed] this ·before it happened [L from the beginning]?
    Who told us ahead of time so we could say, ‘He was right’?
·None of you [L Indeed no one] told us anything;
    ·none of you [L indeed no one] told us before it happened;
    ·no one [L indeed no one] heard you tell about it.
27 I, the Lord, was the first one to tell ·Jerusalem [L Zion] ·that the people were coming home [or “Look, help is coming!”; L “Look, here they are!”].
    I sent a messenger to Jerusalem with the good news.
28 I ·look at the idols [L look], but there is ·not one that can answer [L no one/man].
    None of them can give ·advice [counsel];
    none of them can answer my questions.
29 Look, all these idols are ·false [a deception/delusion; or foolish; worthless].
    They cannot do anything;
their images are ·worth nothing [wind and confusion/chaos; or empty wind].

The Lord’s Special Servant

42 “Here is my servant [41:8; 43:10; 52:13; 53:11], the one I ·support [strengthen; uphold; C the first of four “servant songs” in Isaiah, concerning Israel, and applied to the mission and suffering of the Messiah; 42:1–7; 49:1–13; 50:4–11; 52:13—53:12].
    He is ·the one I chose [my chosen], and ·I am pleased with [my soul delights in] him [Matt. 3:17; 17:5; Luke 9:35].
I have put my Spirit upon him [11:1–9],
    and he will bring justice to the nations [Matt. 12:18–20].
He will not cry out or yell
    or speak loudly in the streets.
He will not break a ·crushed blade of grass [bruised reed]
    or ·put out [extinguish] even a ·weak flame [dim/smoldering wick; C symbols of care for the weak and oppressed].
He will ·truly [faithfully] bring justice;
    he will not ·lose hope [falter; or grow dim] or ·give up [be discouraged; or be bruised/crushed]
until he brings justice to the world.
And ·people far away [or the islands; or the coastlands] will ·trust [wait/put hope in] his ·teachings [instruction; law; L Torah].”

God, the Lord, said these things.
He created the ·skies [heavens] and stretched them out.
    He spread out the earth and ·everything on it [L its offspring].
He gives breath to all people on earth,
    and life to everyone who walks on the earth.
The Lord says, “I, the Lord, called you ·to do right [or to demonstrate my righteousness/justice; or by my righteous decree; L in righteousness],
    and I will hold your hand
and ·protect [keep; guard] you.
    ·You will be the sign of my agreement with [L I will give/establish you as a covenant/treaty for] the people,
    a light to shine for ·all people [the nations/Gentiles; 49:6; Luke 2:32; Acts 13:47].
You will ·help the blind to see [L open blind eyes].
    You will free those who are in prison,
and you will lead those who live in darkness out of their prison [35:5; 49:9; 61:1; Luke 4:18].

“I am the Lord. That is my name.
    I will not ·give [share; yield] my glory to another;
    I will not let idols take ·the praise that should be mine [L my praise].
[L Look; T Behold] The ·things I said would happen [L former things] have happened,
    and now I ·tell you about [declare/announce] new things.
Before those things ·happen [spring forth; sprout],
    I tell you about them.”

A Song of Praise to the Lord

10 Sing a ·new song [C celebrating victory; Ps. 33:3; 40:3; 96:1; 98:1; 144:9; 149:1; Rev. 5:9; 14:3] to the Lord;
    sing his praise ·everywhere on [L from the end of] the earth.
Praise him, you people who ·sail on [go down to] the seas and ·you animals who live in them [L its fullness].
    Praise him, you people living in ·faraway places [or islands; or coastlands].
11 The ·deserts [wilderness] and their ·cities [towns] should ·praise him [shout; raise their voices].
    The settlements of Kedar [C desert nomads, descended from Ishmael; Gen. 25:13] should praise him.
The people living in Sela [C an Edomite city; 16:1] should sing for joy;
    they should shout from the mountaintops.
12 They should give glory to the Lord.
    People in ·faraway lands [or the islands; or the coastlands] should praise him.
13 The Lord will march out like a ·strong soldier [mighty man/hero];
    he will ·be excited [arouse/stir up zeal] like a man ready to fight a war.
He ·will shout out the battle cry [L shouts, indeed he cries out]
    and ·defeat [prevails/triumphs over] his enemies.

14 The Lord says, “For a long time I have ·said nothing [kept silent/still];
    I have been ·quiet [still] and held myself back.
But now I will cry out
    and ·strain [pant and gasp] like a woman giving birth to a child.
15 I will ·destroy [level; lay waste] the hills and mountains
    and dry up all their plants.
I will make the rivers become ·dry land [L islands; or coastlands]
    and dry up the pools of water.
16 Then I will lead the blind along a way they never knew;
    I will guide them along paths they have not known.
I will make the darkness become light for them,
    and the rough ground smooth.
These are the things I will do;
    I will not ·leave [abandon; forsake] my people.
17 But those who trust in idols,
    who say to their ·statues [idols; carved images],
‘You are our gods’
    will be ·rejected [turned away/back] in ·disgrace [shame; humiliations].

Israel Refused to Listen to the Lord

18 “You who are deaf, hear me.
    You who are blind, look and see.
19 ·No one [L Who…?] is more blind than my servant Israel
    or more deaf than the messenger I send.
·No one [L Who…?] is more blind than ·the person I own [or my covenant people]
    or more blind than the servant of the Lord.
20 Israel, you have seen much, but you have not ·obeyed [kept/guarded them].
    ·You hear [Your ears are open], but you refuse to listen.”
21 The Lord ·made his teachings wonderful [L magnified and made glorious his instruction/law/Torah],
    because ·he is good [or of his righteousness].
22 These people have been ·defeated and robbed [plundered and looted].
    They are trapped in pits
    or ·locked up [hidden] in prison.
·Like robbers, enemies have taken them away [L They have become plunder],
    and there is no one to ·save [rescue] them.
·Enemies carried them off [L They have become loot],
    and no one said, “Bring them back.”

23 Will any of you listen to this?
    Will you ·listen carefully [pay attention] in the future?
24 Who ·let [gave up; handed over] ·the people of Jacob [L Jacob] ·be carried off [to the looter; for plunder]?
    Who let ·robbers [plunderers] take Israel away?
·The Lord [L Was it not the Lord who…?] allowed this to happen,
    because we sinned against him.
We did not ·live the way he wanted us to live [L walk in his ways]
    and did not obey his ·teaching [law; instruction; L Torah].
25 So he ·became very angry with us [L poured out on him his burning anger; C on Jacob/Israel]
    and brought ·terrible wars [the violence/L power of war] against ·us [L him].
It ·was as if the people of Israel had fire all around them [L enveloped him in flame],
    but they didn’t ·know what was happening [understand].
It ·was as if they were burning [L burned him up],
    but they didn’t ·pay any attention [lay/take it to heart].

God Is Always with His People

43 Now this is what the Lord says.
    He created you, ·people of Jacob [L Jacob];
    he formed you, ·people of Israel [L Israel].
He says, “Don’t be afraid, because I have ·saved [ransomed; redeemed] you.
    I have called you by name, and you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you [C as at the Red/or Reed Sea; Ex. 13–14].
    When you cross rivers, ·you will not drown [L they will not overflow you; C as when Israel crossed the Jordan River into the Promised Land; Josh. 3–4].
When you walk through fire, you will not be burned [Dan. 3:25–27],
    nor will the flames hurt you.
This is because I, the Lord, am your God,
    the Holy One of Israel [1:4], your Savior.
I gave Egypt ·to pay for you [for your ransom],
    and I gave ·Cush [Ethiopia] and Seba ·to make you mine [in place of you].
Because you are precious ·to me [L in my eyes],
    because I give you honor and love you,
I will give other people in your place;
    I will give other nations ·to save [in exchange for] your life.
Don’t be afraid, because I am with you.
    I will bring your ·children [descendants; offspring; seed] from the east
    and gather you from the west.
I will tell the north: Give my people to me.
    I will tell the south: Don’t ·keep my people in prison [or hold them back; restrain them].
Bring my sons from far away
    and my daughters from ·faraway places [L the end of the earth].
Bring to me all the people who are ·mine [L called by my name],
    whom I ·made [created] for my glory,
whom I formed and made.”

Judah Is God’s Witness

Bring out the people who have eyes but ·don’t see [are blind]
    and those who have ears but ·don’t hear [are deaf; 42:19].
All the nations gather together,
    and all the people ·come together [assemble].
·Which of their gods [L Who among them] said this would happen?
    ·Which of their gods can tell what happened in the beginning [L …and caused us to hear former things]?
Let them bring their witnesses to prove they were right.
    Then others will say, “It is true.”
10 The Lord says, “You are my witnesses
    and the servant I chose [42:1].
I chose you so you would know and believe me,
    so you would understand that I am ·the true God [L he].
There was no God ·created [formed] before me,
    and there will be ·no God [none] after me.
11 I myself am the Lord;
    I am the only Savior.
12 I myself have ·spoken [made known] to you, saved you, and ·told [proclaimed to] you these things.
    It was not some foreign god among you.
You are my witnesses, and I am God,”
    says the Lord.
13     “·I have always been God [L Indeed from the day, I am he; C “day” may mean the first day of creation or from this day forward].
No one can save people from my ·power [L hand];
when I do something, no one can ·change [undo; reverse] it.”

14 This is what the Lord, ·who saves you [your protector/redeemer; 41:14],
    the Holy One of Israel [1:4], says:
“I will ·send armies [L send] to Babylon for you,
    and I will ·knock down all its locked gates [or bring them down as fugitives].
The ·Babylonians [L Chaldeans] will ·shout their cries of sorrow [or flee in the ships they take such pride in].
15 I am the Lord, your Holy One [1:4],
the Creator of Israel, your King.”

God Will Save His People Again

16 This is what the Lord says.
    He is the one who made a road through the sea [v. 2]
    and a path through ·rough [strong; mighty] waters.
17 He is the one who ·defeated [L led out] the chariots and horses
    and the mighty armies [Ex. 14:4–9].
They ·fell together [lay down] and will never rise again.
    They were ·destroyed [extinguished] as a ·flame [L wick] is put out.
18 The Lord says, “Forget what happened before,
    and do not ·think about [consider; dwell on] the past.
19 Look at the new thing I am going to do.
    It is already ·happening [L sprouting/springing up]. Don’t you see it?
I will make a ·road [path; way] in the ·desert [wilderness; C the return from Babylon is portrayed as a new Exodus]
    and ·rivers[c] [streams] in the ·dry land [desert; wasteland].
20 Even the wild animals will ·be thankful to [honor] me—
    the ·wild dogs [jackals] and ·owls [or ostriches].
They will honor me when I put water in the ·desert [wilderness]
    and ·rivers [streams] in the ·dry land [desert; wasteland]
to give ·water [drink] to my people, ·the ones I chose [my chosen; 42:1].
21 The people I ·made [L formed for myself]
    will ·sing songs to praise me [L declare/proclaim my praise].

22 “People of Jacob, you have not ·called to me [called upon me; asked for my help];
    people of Israel, you have ·become tired of [or not wearied yourself for] me.
23 You have not brought me your ·sacrifices [burnt offerings; Lev. 1:1–17] of sheep
    nor honored me with your sacrifices.
I did not ·weigh you down [burden you] with ·sacrifices to offer [grain/or gift; tribute offering; Lev. 2:1]
    or make you tired with incense to burn.
24 So you did not buy ·incense [fragrant calamus; aromatic cane] for me;
    you did not ·freely bring me [saturate/lavish me with] fat from your sacrifices.
Instead you have ·weighed me down [burdened me] with your many sins;
    you have made me tired of your ·many wrongs [iniquities].

25 “I, I am the One who ·erases [blots out] all your ·sins [transgressions], for my sake;
    I will not remember your sins.
26 But you should ·remind [or review with] me.
    Let’s ·meet and decide what is right [argue/contend together].
    Tell what you have done and show ·you are right [your innocence].
27 Your first father sinned [C probably Jacob (58:14; 63:16), though possibly Abraham (51:2)],
    and your ·leaders [mediators; spokesmen] have ·turned [transgressed] against me.
28 So I will make your ·holy rulers [or princes of the sanctuary; C either rulers or priests] ·unholy [defiled; disgraced].
    I will ·bring destruction on [devote to destruction; Josh. 2:10] ·the people of Jacob [L Jacob],
and I will let Israel be ·insulted [reviled; scorned].”

The Lord Is the Only God

44 The Lord says, “·People of Jacob, you are my servants [L Jacob, my servant]. Listen to me!
    ·People of Israel, I chose you [L Israel, my chosen; 41:8].”
This is what the Lord says, who made you,
    who formed you in ·your mother’s body [L the womb],
    who will help you:
“·People of Jacob, my servants [L Jacob, my servant], don’t be afraid.
    ·Israel [L Jeshurun; C the location of the Temple; Deut. 32:15; 33:5, 26], I chose you.
I will pour out water for the thirsty land
    and make streams flow on dry land.
I will pour out my Spirit ·into your children [on your descendants/offspring/seed]
    and my blessing on your ·descendants [offspring].
·Your children [L They] will ·grow [sprout up] like a tree in the grass,
    like ·poplar trees [or willows] growing beside streams of water.
One person will say, ‘I belong to the Lord,’
    and another will use the name Jacob.
Another will ·sign his name [or write on his hand] ‘I am the Lord’s,’
    and another will ·use [call himself by] the name Israel.”

The Lord, the king of Israel,
    is the Lord ·All-Powerful [Almighty; of Heaven’s Armies; T of hosts], who saves Israel.
This is what he says: “I am the ·beginning and the end [L first and the last].
    ·I am the only God [There is no god but me].
Who is like me?
    Let him ·come and prove [proclaim; claim] it.
Let him tell and explain all that has happened since I ·set up [established] my ancient people.
    He should also tell what will happen in the future.
Don’t be afraid! Don’t ·worry [fear]!
    ·I have always told you what will happen [Have I not proclaimed it long ago?].
You are my witnesses.
    ·There is no other [L Is there another…?] God but me.
I know of no other Rock; I am the only One.”

Idols Are Useless

Some people make idols, but they are ·worth nothing [nothing; void].
    People treasure them, but they are ·useless [worthless].
Those people are witnesses for the statues, but those people cannot see.
    They know nothing, so they will be ·ashamed [put to shame; C idolmakers are as ignorant as their idols].
10 Who makes a god or ·shapes [casts; molds] an idol
    that can do nothing for him?
11 [L Look; T Behold] ·The workmen who made them [L All his compansions] will be ·ashamed [put to shame],
    because ·they [L the craftsmen] are only human.
If they all would come together to stand against me,
    they would all be ·afraid [terrified] and ·ashamed [put to shame].

12 One ·workman [blacksmith] uses tools to heat iron,
    and he works over hot coals.
With his hammer he beats the metal and makes a statue,
    using his powerful arms.
But when he becomes hungry, he loses his ·power [strength].
    If he does not drink water, he becomes tired.

13 ·Another workman [A carpenter/craftsman] ·uses a line and a compass [L stretches a line]
    to draw on the wood.
Then he uses his chisels to cut a statue
    and his ·calipers [compass] to measure the statue.
In this way, the workman makes the wood ·look exactly like a person [like the pattern of a man],
    and this statue of a person ·sits [or dwells] in ·the house [or a shrine].
14 He cuts down cedars
    or cypress or oak trees.
·Those trees grew by their own power in [or He secures it for himself from] the forest.
    Or he plants a pine tree, and the rain makes it grow.
15 Then he burns the tree.
    He uses some of the wood for a fire to keep himself warm.
    He also starts a fire to bake his bread.
But he uses part of the wood to make a god, and then he worships it!
    He makes the idol and bows down to it [C showing the absurdity of worshiping an idol made from the same material he burns]!
16 The man burns half of the wood in the fire.
    He uses the fire to cook his meat,
    and he eats the meat until he is full.
He also burns the wood to keep himself warm. He says,
    “Good! Now I am warm. ·I can see because of the fire’s light [or …as I watch the fire; L I have seen the fire].”
17 But he makes a statue from the wood that is left and calls it his god.
    He bows down to it and worships it.
He prays to it and says,
    “You are my god. ·Save [Rescue] me!”
18 Those people ·don’t know what they are doing [or know nothing]. They ·don’t understand [are ignorant]!
    ·It is as if their eyes are covered [or They shut their eyes] so they can’t see.
    Their minds don’t understand.
19 ·They have not thought about these things [No one considers];
    they don’t understand.
They have never thought to themselves,
    “I burned half of the wood in the fire
    and used the hot coals to bake my bread.
    I cooked and ate my meat.
·And I used the wood that [or Should I use what…?] was left to make this ·hateful [abominable; detestable] thing.
    ·I am worshiping [or Should I bow down to…?] a block of wood!”
20 He ·doesn’t know what he is doing [L feeds on ashes; or eats on a pile of ashes];
    his ·confused mind [deluded/deceived heart] leads him ·the wrong way [astray].
He cannot ·save [rescue; T deliver] himself
    or say, “·This statue I am holding is a false god [L Is there not a lie in my right hand?].”

The Lord Is the True God

21 “·People of Jacob [L Jacob], remember these things!
    ·People of Israel [L Israel], remember you are my servants.
I ·made [shaped; formed] you, and you are my servants.
    So Israel, I will not forget you.
22 I have ·swept away [removed; or blotted out] your ·sins [offenses; transgressions] like a big cloud;
    I have removed your sins like a ·cloud that disappears into the air [mist].
Come back to me because I ·saved [redeemed] you.”

23 ·Skies [or Heavens], sing for joy because the Lord ·did great things [or acts; intervenes; L has done this]!
    Earth, shout for joy, even in your deepest parts!
·Sing [Break into song], you mountains, with thanks to God.
    Sing, too, you forests and all your trees!
The Lord ·saved [redeemed] ·the people of Jacob [L Jacob]!
    He ·showed his glory when he saved [L is glorified in] Israel.
24 This is what the Lord ·who saved you [your redeemer] says,
    the one who formed you in ·your mother’s body [L the womb]:
“I, the Lord, made everything,
    stretching out the skies by myself
    and spreading out the earth all alone.
25 I ·show that the signs of the lying prophets are false [L frustrate the signs of babblers/or empty talkers];
    I make fools of ·those who do magic [diviners].
I ·confuse even [reverse what is said by] the wise;
    they think they know much, but I make ·them look foolish [their knowledge into foolishness].
26 I ·make the messages of my servants come true [confirm my servants’ words];
    I make the ·advice [or prophecies] of my messengers come true.
I say to Jerusalem,
    ‘·People will live in you again [L It will be inhabited]!’
I say to the towns of Judah,
    ‘You will be built again!’
I say to Jerusalem’s ruins,
    ‘I will ·repair you [raise you up].’
27 I tell the deep waters, ‘Become dry!
    I will make your streams become dry!’
28 I say of Cyrus [C the Persian king (ruled 550–530 bc) who allowed Israel to return from exile; 41:2; 44:28—45:6; 46:11; 48:14–16], ‘He is my shepherd
    and will ·do [fulfill] all that I want him to do.
    He will say to Jerusalem, “You will be built again!”
He will tell the Temple, “Your foundations will be rebuilt.”’”

God Chooses Cyrus to Free Israel

45 This is what the Lord says to Cyrus [44:28], his ·appointed king [anointed one; messiah]:
    “I hold your right hand
and will help you ·defeat [subdue] nations
    and ·take away other kings’ power [or remove kings’ armor; L open the loins of kings].
I will open doors for you
    so city gates will not ·stop you [be shut].
I will go before you
    and ·make the mountains flat [level mountains; 40:4].
I will ·break down [shatter; smash] the bronze gates of the cities
    and cut through their iron bars.
I will give you the ·wealth that is stored away [L treasures of darkness]
    and the ·hidden riches [hoards in secret places]
so you will know I am the Lord,
    the God of Israel, who calls you by name.
I do these things for ·my servants, the people of Jacob [L the sake of Jacob my servant],
    and for ·my chosen people, the Israelites [Israel, my chosen].
·Cyrus, I call [L I call] you by name,
    and I give you a title of honor even though you don’t know me.
I am the Lord. There is no other God;
    I am the only God.
I will ·make you strong [or arm you for battle; L gird you],
    even though you don’t know me,
so that everyone will know
    there is ·no other God [none besides me].
From the ·east [rising of the sun] to ·the west [its setting] they will know
    I alone am the Lord.
I make the light
    and create the darkness.
I bring ·peace [prosperity; wholeness; C Hebrew shalom], and I ·cause [create] ·troubles [disaster; calamity].
    I, the Lord, do all these things.

“·Sky [Heavens] above, make ·victory [or righteousness] fall like rain;
    clouds, pour down ·victory [or righteousness].
Let the earth ·receive it [open up],
    and let salvation grow,
and let ·victory [or righteousness] grow with it.
    I, the Lord, have created it.

“·How terrible it will be for [L Woe to] those who argue with ·the God who made them [their Maker].
    ·They are like a piece of broken pottery [L A potsherd] among ·many pieces [L potsherds of the earth].
·The clay does not [L Does the clay…?] ask the potter [64:8; Rom. 9:20],
    ‘What are you doing?’
The thing that is made doesn’t say to its maker,
    ‘You have no ·hands [or skill].’
10 ·How terrible it will be for [L Woe to] the child who says to his father,
    ‘·Why are you giving me life [or What have you fathered]?’
·How terrible it will be for [L Woe to] the child who says to his mother,
    ‘·Why are you giving birth to me [or What have you given birth to]?’”

11 This is what the Lord,
    the Holy One of Israel [1:4], and its Maker, says:
“You ask me about what will happen.
    ·You [or Do you…?; or How dare you…!] question me about my children.
    ·You [or Do you…?; or How dare you…!] give me orders about ·what I have made [the work of my hands].
12 I made the earth
    and all the people living on it.
With my own hands I stretched out the ·skies [heavens],
    and I commanded all ·the armies in the sky [or the stars in the sky; T their host].
13 I will ·bring [raise/stir up] ·Cyrus [L him; 44:28] ·to do good things [or for my righteous purpose; in my righteousness],
    and I will make his ·work easy [ways/paths straight].
He will rebuild my city
    and set my ·people [L exiles] free
without any payment or ·reward [gift; or bribe].
    The Lord ·All-Powerful [Almighty; of Heaven’s Armies; T of hosts] says this.”

14 The Lord says,
“The ·goods made in [L labor of] Egypt and the ·products [merchandise; or revenue] of ·Cush [Ethiopia]
    and the tall people of Seba [43:3]
will ·come to [or be brought to] you
    and will become yours.
·The Sabeans [L They] will walk behind you,
    coming along in chains [C Israel is depicted as a great empire, receiving tribute from other nations].
They will bow down before you
    and pray to you [C because they recognize Israel as God’s representative], saying,
‘God is with you,
    and there is no other God.’”

15 God and Savior of Israel,
    ·you are [or how, then, can you be…?] a God ·that people cannot see [L who hides himself].
16 All the people who make idols will be put to great shame;
    they will go off together in ·disgrace [humiliation; or confusion].
17 But Israel will be saved by the Lord,
    and that salvation will continue forever.
Never again will Israel be ·put to shame [shamed; disgraced].

18 The Lord created the heavens.
    He is the God who formed the earth and made it.
He did not ·want [create] it to be ·empty [or formless; chaotic; Gen. 1:2],
    but he ·wanted life on the earth [L formed it to be inhabited].
This is what the Lord says:
    “I am the Lord. There is no other God.
19 I did not speak in secret
    or hide my words in some dark place.
I did not tell the ·family [descendants; offspring; seed] of Jacob
    to ·look for me in empty places [or seek me in vain].
I am the Lord, and I speak the truth;
    I say what is right.

20 “You ·people who have escaped [fugitives; refugees] from other nations,
    gather together and come before me;
    come near together.
People who carry idols of wood ·don’t know what they are doing [know nothing; or are fools].
    They pray to a god who cannot save them.
21 ·Tell these people to come to me [or Declare and bring your case].
    Let them ·talk about these things [take counsel] together.
Who told you long ago that this would happen?
    Who told about it long ago?
I, the Lord, said these things.
    There is no other God besides me.
I am the only good God. I am the Savior.
    There is no other God.

22 “All ·people everywhere [the ends of the earth],
    ·follow [turn] and be saved.
    I am God. There is no other God.
23 I ·will make a promise by my own power [L have sworn by myself],
    and ·my promise is true [L a righteous/right/true word goes out of my mouth];
    what I say will not ·be changed [be revoked; L return].
·I promise that everyone will bow before me [L For to me every knee will bow]
    and ·will promise to follow me [L every tongue will swear; C allegiance; Rom. 14:11; Phil. 2:10].
24 People will say about me, ‘·Goodness [Righteousness; or Deliverance] and ·power [strength]
    come only from the Lord.’”
Everyone who has been angry with him
    will come to him and be ashamed.
25 But with the Lord’s help, the ·people [descendants; offspring; seed] of Israel
    will be ·found to be good [justified; vindicated; or victorious],
and they will ·praise [boast/glory in] him.

False Gods Are Useless

46 Bel bows down and Nebo bends low [C important gods of Babylon].
    Their ·idols [images] ·are carried by animals [L belong to beasts and cattle].
The statues are only heavy loads
    carried by tired animals.
·These gods will all ·bow [stoop and bow] down.
    They cannot save themselves
but will all be carried away ·like prisoners [into captivity].

“·Family [L House] of Jacob, listen to me!
    All ·you people from Israel who are still alive [the remnant of the house of Israel], listen!
I have carried you since you were born;
    I have taken care of you from ·your birth [L the womb].
Even when you are old, I ·will be the same [L am he].
    Even when your hair has turned gray, I will ·take care of [sustain; carry] you.
I made you and will carry you.
    I will ·take care of [sustain; carry] and ·save [rescue] you.

“To whom can you compare me?
    ·No one [Who…?] is equal to me or ·like [comparable to] me.
Some people ·are rich with gold [L pour out gold from their bags]
    and weigh their silver on the scales.
They hire a goldsmith, and he makes it into a god.
    Then they bow down and worship it.
They put it on their shoulders and carry it.
    They set it in its place, and there it stands;
    it cannot move from its place.
People may ·yell at [or cry out to] it, but it cannot answer.
    It cannot save them from their troubles.

“Remember this, and ·do not forget it [be firm/steadfast]!
    Think about these things, you ·who turn against God [rebels; transgressors].
Remember ·what happened long ago [L the former things of antiquity].
    Remember that I am God, and there is no other God.
    I am God, and there is no one like me.
10 From the beginning I told you what would happen in the end.
    ·A long time ago [From ancient times] I told you things that have not yet happened.
·When I plan something, it happens [L …saying, “My counsel will stand”].
    What I want to do, I will do.
11 I am calling a man from the east to carry out my plan;
    he will come like a ·hawk [bird of prey; eagle] from a country far away.
I will make what I have said come true;
    I will do what I have planned.
12 Listen to me, you stubborn ·people [hearted],
    who are far from ·what is right [righteousness].
13 I ·will soon do the things that are right [L am bringing my righteousness near].
    ·I will bring salvation soon[L It is not far away].
I will save ·Jerusalem [L Zion; C the location of the Temple]
    ·and bring glory to Israel [L Israel, my splendor/glory].”

God Will Destroy Babylon

47 The Lord says, “·City of [L Virgin daughter] Babylon, go down and sit in the ·dirt [dust].

·People of Babylon [L Daughter of the Chaldeans], sit on the ground.
    ·You are no longer the ruler [L …without a throne].
You will no longer be called
    tender or ·beautiful [delicate; pampered].
Take millstones and grind grain into flour.
Remove your veil and ·take [strip] off your nice skirts.
    Uncover your legs and cross the rivers [C actions of a servant, not a queen].
People will see your nakedness;
    they will see your shame [C probably a euphemism for sexual organs].
I will ·punish you [take vengeance];
    I will ·punish every one of you [spare no one].”

Our ·Savior [Redeemer] is named the Lord ·All-Powerful [Almighty; of Heaven’s Armies; T of hosts];
he is the Holy One of Israel [1:4].

“·Babylon [L Daughter of the Chaldeans], sit in ·darkness and say nothing [L silence and go into darkness].
    You will no longer be called the queen of kingdoms.
I was angry with my people,
    so I ·rejected [defiled; desecrated; profaned] ·those who belonged to me [my inheritance/possession].
I gave them ·to you [L into your hand],
    but you showed them no mercy.
You even ·made the old people
    work very hard [L laid a very heavy yoke on the aged].
You said, ‘I will ·live [reign; be] forever as the queen.’
But you did not think about these things
or consider ·what would happen [the outcome/end].

“Now, listen, you lover of pleasure.
    You ·think you are safe [who dwell in security].
You tell yourself,
    ‘·I am the only one [L I am], and there is no other [Zeph. 2:15].
I will never be a widow
    or ·lose [L know the loss of] my children.’
Two things will happen to you suddenly, in a single day.
    You will lose your children and ·your husband [L become a widow].
These things will ·truly happen to [or overwhelm; L come in abundance upon] you,
    in spite of all your ·magic [sorceries],
    in spite of your powerful ·tricks [spells; enchantments].
10 You ·do evil things, but you feel safe [L trusted/felt secure in your evil/wickedness]
    and say, ‘No one sees ·what I do [L me].’
Your wisdom and knowledge
    have ·fooled [mislead] you.
You say to yourself,
    ‘·I am the only one [L I am], and there is no other [v. 8].’
11 But ·troubles [disaster; evil] will come ·to [upon] you,
    and you will not know how to ·stop them [conjure/charm it away].
·Disaster [Calamity; Destruction] will fall on you,
    and you will not be able to ·keep it away [appease it; make atonement/pay ransom for it].
A catastrophe will strike ·quickly [suddenly];
    you will not even ·see it coming [L know].

12 “Keep on using your ·tricks [magic spells; enchantments]
    and doing all your ·magic [sorceries]
    that you have ·used [practiced; labored at] since you were young.
Maybe ·they will help you [you will succeed/profit];
    maybe you will be able to ·scare someone [provoke terror].
13 You are tired of the ·advice [counsel] you have received.
    So let ·those who study the sky [the astrologers; L those who divide the heavens]
those who ·tell the future by looking at the stars and the new moons [L gaze at the stars to know the months]
    let them save you from what is about to happen to you.
14 But they are like straw;
    fire will quickly burn them up.
They cannot save themselves
    from the power of the fire.
They are not like coals that give warmth
    nor like a fire that you may sit beside.
15 You have ·worked [labored] with these people,
    and they have ·been [or done business] with you since you were young,
    but they will not be able to help you.
Everyone will ·go [or wander off] his own way,
    and there will be no one left to save you.”

God Controls the Future

48 The Lord says, “·Family [L House] of Jacob, listen to me.
    You are called [L by the name of] Israel,
    and you come from the ·family [L waters; wellsprings] of Judah.
You ·swear [take oaths] by the Lord’s name
    and ·praise [confess; call on] the God of Israel,
    but ·you are not honest or sincere [L not in truth or in righteousness].
You call yourselves ·people of [or by the name of; L from] the holy city,
    and you ·depend on [trust in] the God of Israel,
    who is named the Lord ·All-Powerful [Almighty; of Heaven’s Armies; T of hosts].
Long ago I told you ·what would happen [L the former things].
    ·I said these things and [L They went out from my mouth and I] made them known;
    suddenly I acted, and these things happened.
I knew you were stubborn;
    your neck was like an iron muscle,
    and your ·head [forehead; brow] was like bronze.
So a long time ago I told you about these things;
    I told you about them before they happened
so you couldn’t say, ‘My idols did this,
    and my ·wooden [carved images] and metal statues ·made these things happen [decreed/ordained/commanded them].’

“You heard and saw everything that happened,
    ·so you should [L will you not…?] tell this news to others.
·Now [From this time on] I will tell you about new things,
    hidden things that you don’t know yet.
·These things are happening [L They are created] now, not long ago;
    you have not heard about them before today.
So you cannot say, ‘[L Look; or Yes; T Behold] We already knew about that.’
But you have not heard; you have not understood.
    Even long ago ·you did not listen [L your ear has not been opened].
I knew you would surely ·turn [act treacherously] against me;
    you ·have fought against me [L were called a rebel] ·since you were born [L from the womb].
But for my ·own [L name’s] sake I will ·be patient [L hold back my anger].
    ·People will praise me because [L For the sake of my praise] I did not become angry
    and ·destroy you [cut you off].
10 I have ·made you pure [refined you], but not by fire, as silver is made pure.
    I have purified you ·by giving you troubles [L in the furnace of affliction/suffering].
11 I do this for myself, for my own sake.
    ·I will not [L How could I…?] let ·people speak evil against me [L my name be defiled/profaned],
and I will not ·let some god take my glory [L give/share my glory with another].

Israel Will Be Free

12 “·People of Jacob [L Jacob], listen to me.
    ·People of Israel [L Israel], ·I have called you to be my people [L whom I called].
I am ·God [L he; the one];
    I am the ·beginning and the end [L first and I am the last; 41:4; 44:5].
13 I ·made [L laid the foundation of] the earth with my own hands.
    With my right hand I spread out the skies.
When I call them,
    they ·come [stand] together before me.”

14 All of you, come together and listen.
    ·None of the gods [L Who among them…?] said these things would happen.
The Lord ·has chosen someone [has an ally; or loves him; C a reference to Cyrus, king of Persia; see 41:2; 44:28–45:6; 46:11; 48:14–16]
    to carry out his ·wishes [desire; purpose] against Babylon,
·to attack [L his arm will be against] the Babylonians;

15 “I have spoken; I have called him.
    I have brought him, and I will make him successful.
16 Come to me and listen to this.
    From the ·beginning [first] I have ·spoken openly [L not spoken in secret].
From the time it ·began [happened], I was there.”

Now, the Lord God
·has sent me with his Spirit [or and his Spirit have sent me; C Cyrus is probably speaking here; vv. 14–15].

17 This is what the Lord, ·who saves you [your Redeemer],
    the Holy One of Israel [1:4], says:
“I am the Lord your God,
    who teaches you ·to do what is good [what is best; or how to succeed],
    who leads you in the way you should go.
18 If you had obeyed my commands,
    you would have had peace like a river [C abundant and overflowing; 66:12].
    ·Good things [Your righteousness] would have flowed to you like the waves of the sea.
19 ·Your ·children [descendants] would have been ·as numerous as [L like] ·sand in the sea [L sand]
    and your ·descendants [offspring/seed of your body] like grains of sand [10:22; Gen. 15:5; 22:17; Hos. 1:10].
·They [L Their name] would never have ·died out [been cut off]
    nor been destroyed.”

20 ·My people, leave [L Go out from] Babylon!
    Run from the ·Babylonians [L Chaldeans]!
Tell this news with shouts of joy to the people;
    spread it ·everywhere on [L to the end of] earth.
Say, “The Lord has ·saved [redeemed] his ·servants, the people of Jacob [L servant Jacob].”
21 They did not become thirsty when he led them through the deserts.
    He made water flow from a rock for them.
He split the rock,
    and water flowed out [43:19; Ex. 17:6; Num. 20:11].

22 “There is no peace for ·evil people [the wicked],” says the Lord.

God Calls His Special Servant

49 All of you ·people in faraway places [or islands; or coastlands], listen to me.
    ·Listen [Pay attention], all you nations far away.
·Before I was born [L From the womb], the Lord called me to serve him.
    The Lord named me while I was still in my mother’s womb [C this passage (49:1–13) is the second of four “servant songs” in Isaiah; 42:1].
He made my ·tongue [mouth] like a sharp sword [C his words enact judgment; 11:4; Heb. 4:12; Rev. 1:16].
    He hid me in the shadow of his hand.
He made me like a ·sharp [or polished] arrow.
    He hid me in ·the holder for his arrows [his quiver].
He told me, “Israel, you are my servant.
    I will show my glory ·through [in] you.”
But I said, “I have worked hard ·for nothing [in vain];
    I have used all my power, ·but I did nothing useful [for nothing; in futility].
But ·the Lord will decide what my work is worth [L my judgment/vindication is the Lord’s];
    God will decide my reward.”
The Lord made me in the ·body [womb] of my mother
    to be his servant,
to lead ·the people of Jacob [L Jacob] back to him
    so that Israel might be gathered to him.
·The Lord will honor me [L I am honored in the eyes of the Lord],
    and ·I will get my strength from my God [L God will be my strength].
Now he told me,
“·You are an important servant to me [It is too small a thing; or Is it too small a thing…?]
    to ·bring back [restore; raise up] the tribes of Jacob,
    to bring back the ·people of Israel who are left alive [remnant/preserved ones of Israel].
I will make you a light for the nations [42:6; Luke 2:32; Acts 13:47]
    so that my salvation will reach ·people all over the world [L the end of the earth].”

The Lord ·who saves you [the Redeemer], the Holy One of Israel [1:4].
    says to the one who is ·hated [L despised and abhorred] by the ·people [or nation; or nations],
    to the servant of rulers.
This is what he says: “Kings will see you and ·stand [rise; C to honor him];
    ·great leaders [princes] will bow down before you,
because the Lord ·can be trusted [is faithful].
    He is the Holy One of Israel [1:4], who has chosen you.”

The Day of Salvation

This is what the Lord says:

“At the ·right time [time of favor] I will ·hear your prayers [answer you].
    On the day of salvation I will help you [2 Cor. 6:2].
I will protect you,
    and ·you will be the sign of my agreement with [L I will give/establish you as a covenant for] the people [42:6].
·You will bring back the people to the land [L …to restore/rebuild the land]
    and ·give the land that is now ruined back to its owners [L bequeath its desolate inheritances].
You will tell the prisoners, ‘·Come out [42:7].’
    You will tell those in darkness, ‘·Come into the light [Show yourselves; Appear].’
·The people [L They] will ·eat [feed; graze] beside the roads [C the people are symbolically pictured as sheep],
    and they will find ·food [pasture] even on bare hills.
10 They will not be hungry or thirsty.
    Neither the ·desert wind [L heat] nor the hot sun will ·hurt [strike] them.
The God who comforts them will lead them
    and guide them by springs of water.
11 I will make my mountains into roads,
    and the ·roads [highways] will be raised up [C to make a level road; 40:4].
12 Look, people are coming to me from far away,
    from the north and from the west,
from ·Aswan in southern Egypt [L the land of Sinim].”

13 Heavens, shout with joy;
    earth, be happy;
    mountains, burst into song,
because the Lord comforts his people
    and will have ·pity [compassion] on ·those who suffer [the oppressed].

Jerusalem and Her Children

14 But ·Jerusalem [L Zion; C the location of the Temple] said, “The Lord has ·left [abandoned; forsaken] me;
the Lord has forgotten me.”

15 The Lord answers, “Can a woman forget the baby she nurses?
    Can she feel no kindness for the child ·to which she gave birth [of her womb]?
Even if she could forget her children,
    I will not forget you.
16 See, I have ·written [engraved; inscribed] your name on my ·hand [palms].
    ·Jerusalem, I always think about your walls [L Your walls are always before me; C destroyed by the Babylonians].
17 Your children ·will soon return to you [L hurry; hasten],
    and the people who defeated you and destroyed you will leave.
18 ·Look up [L Lift up your eyes] and look around you.
    All your children are gathering to return to you.”
The Lord says, “As surely as I live,
    ·your children will be [L you will wear them all] like ·jewels [or ornaments]
·that a bride wears proudly [L you will put them on like a bride].

19 “You were destroyed and defeated,
    and your land was made ·useless [desolate].
But now you will have more people than the land can hold,
    and those people who ·destroyed [devoured] you will be far away.
20 The children ·born to you while you were sad [L of your bereavement]
    will say to you,
‘This place is too small for us.
    Give us a bigger place to live.’
21 Then you will say ·to yourself [L in your heart],
    ‘Who ·gave me all these children [bore me these]?
I was ·sad [bereaved] and ·lonely [barren],
    ·defeated [rejected] and ·separated from my people [exiled].
    So who reared these children?
I was left all alone.
    Where did all these children come from?’”

22 This is what the Lord God says:
“See, I will lift my hand ·to signal [L to] the nations;
    I will raise my banner for all the people to see.
Then they will bring your sons back to you in their ·arms [L bosom; lap],
    and they will carry your daughters on their shoulders [C Jews returning from exile are pictured as children returning to their parents].
23 Kings will ·teach your children [be guardians/foster parents],
    and ·daughters of kings [princesses; or queens] will take care of them.
They will bow down before you with their faces to the ground
    and ·kiss the dirt [lick the dust] at your feet.
Then you will know I am the Lord.
    Anyone who ·trusts in [hopes in; waits on] me will not be ·disappointed [or ashamed].”

24 Can ·the wealth a soldier wins in war [spoils; plunder] be taken away from ·him [a warrior; a strong man]?
    Can a prisoner be freed from a ·powerful soldier [tyrant][d]?
25 This is what the Lord says:
“The ·prisoners [captives] will be taken from the ·strong soldiers [mighty one].
    ·What the soldiers have taken will be saved [L …and spoils/plunder rescued from the tyrant].
I will fight ·your enemies [L those who fight with you],
    and I will save your children.
26 I will force ·those who trouble you [your enemies/oppressors] to eat their own flesh.
    Their own blood will be the wine that makes them drunk.
Then ·everyone [all flesh] will know
    I, the Lord, am the One who saves you;
I am the Powerful One of Jacob ·who saves you [your redeemer].”

Israel Was Punished for Its Sin

50 This is what the Lord says :

“People of Israel, you say I ·divorced [L sent away] your mother.
    Then where is the certificate of divorce that proves it?
Or ·do you think I sold you to pay a debt [L to which of my creditors did I sell you]?
Because of ·the evil things you did [your sins/iniquities], I sold you.
    Because of ·the times she turned against me [your transgressions], your mother was sent away.
·I came home and found [L Why, when I came, did I find…?] no one there;
    I called, but no one answered.
·Do you think I am not able [L Is my hand too short] to ·save [redeem] you [59:1]?
    Do I not have the power to save you?
·Look [T Behold], ·I need only to shout and [L With my rebuke] the sea becomes dry [Ex. 14:21].
    I change rivers into a desert [Josh. 3:16],
and their fish rot because there is no water;
    they die of thirst.
I can ·make the skies dark [L clothe the skies/heavens in darkness; Rev. 6:12];
    I can make ·them black like clothes of sadness [L sackcloth their covering].”

God’s Servant Obeys

The Lord God gave me the ·ability to teach [L tongue of a student/learned one]
    so that I know what to say to make the ·weak [weary] strong.
Every morning he wakes me.
    He ·teaches me [L awakens my ear] to listen like a student [C this passage (50:4–11) is the third of four “servant songs” in Isaiah; see 42:1].
The Lord God ·helps me learn [or speaks clearly to me; L has opened my ear],
    and I have not ·turned against him [rebelled]
    nor ·stopped following him [turned away/back].
I offered my back to those who beat me.
    I offered my cheeks to those who ·pulled [ripped out] my beard.
I ·won’t [or did not] hide my face from them
    when they ·make fun of [mocked; insulted; shamed] me and spit at me [53:5; Matt. 26:67; 27:26; Mark 15:19; Luke 22:63].
The Lord God helps me,
    so I will not be ·ashamed [disgraced].
I ·will be determined [L have set my face like flint; Ezek. 3:8–9],
    and I know I will not be ·disgraced [put to shame].
He ·shows that I am innocent [vindicates], and he is ·close to me [near].
    So who can ·accuse me [bring charges against me; Rom. 8:33–34]?
    If there is someone, let us ·go to court [L stand up] together.
·If someone wants to prove I have done wrong [L Who are my accusers?],
    he should ·come and tell [challenge; L come near] me.
Look! It is the Lord God who helps me.
    So who can ·prove me guilty [condemn me]?
Look! All those who try will ·become useless like old clothes [wear out like a garment];
    moths will eat them.

10 Who among you fears the Lord
    and obeys his servant?
The person who walks in the dark without light
    should trust in the [L name of the] Lord and depend on his God.
11 ·But instead [or Look; Behold], ·some of you want to [L all of you who] light your own fires
    and make your own light.
So, go, walk in the light of your fires,
    and trust ·your own light to guide you [the torches you have ignited].
But this is what you will receive from ·me [my hand]:
    You will lie down in ·a place of pain [torment; C could refer to physical pain in the present world or to the torment of hell].

Jerusalem Will Be Saved

51 The Lord says, “Listen to me,
    those of you who ·try to live right [L pursue righteousness] and ·follow [seek] the Lord.
Look ·at [or to] the rock from which you were cut;
    look ·at [or to] the stone quarry from which you were dug [C referring to their ancestors Abraham and Sarah; see v. 2].
Look at Abraham, your ·ancestor [father],
    and Sarah, who gave birth to ·your ancestors [L you].
Abraham ·had no children [was just one person; L was one] when I called him [Gen. 12:1–3],
    but I blessed him and ·gave him many descendants [L made him many].
So the Lord will comfort ·Jerusalem [L Zion; C the location of the Temple];
    he will ·show mercy to [comfort] ·those who live in [L all] her ruins.
He will change her ·deserts [wilderness] into ·a garden like Eden [L Eden];
    he will make her ·empty lands [desert; arid plains] like the garden of the Lord.
·People there will be very happy [L Joy and gladness will be found in her];
    ·they will give thanks and sing songs [L thanksgiving and the voice of song].

“My people, listen to me;
    my nation, pay attention to me.
·I will give the people my teachings [L Law/Instruction/Torah will go out from me],
    and my ·decisions [justice] will be like a light to the ·people [nations].
·I will soon show that I do what is right [L My righteousness/justice draws near].
    ·I will soon save you [L My salvation goes out].
    ·I will use my power and [L My arms will] judge the nations.
The ·faraway places [or islands; or coastlands] are ·waiting for [looking to; hoping in] me;
    they wait for my ·power to help them [L arm].
·Look up [L Lift your eyes] to the heavens [40:26].
    Look at the earth below.
The skies will disappear like clouds of smoke.
    The earth will ·become useless [wear out] like old clothes [Ps. 102:26],
    and its people will die like flies.
But my salvation will continue forever,
    and my ·goodness [righteousness] will never end.

“You people who know ·what is right [righteousness] should listen to me;
    you people who ·follow my teachings [have my law/L Torah in your heart] should hear what I say.
Don’t be afraid of the ·evil things people say [L reproach/scorn of people],
    and don’t be ·upset [discouraged; dismayed] by their insults.
Moths will eat those people as if they were clothes,
    and worms will eat them as if they were wool.
But my goodness will continue forever,
    and my salvation ·will continue from now on [L from generation to generation].”

Wake up, wake up, and ·use your [clothe yourself with] strength,
    ·powerful [L arm of the] Lord.
Wake up as you did in the ·old times [ancient days],
    as you did ·a long time ago [L in generations everlasting].
·With your own power, you [L Were you not the one who…?] cut Rahab [C a mythical sea monster symbolizing chaos; 30:7; Ps. 89:10] into pieces
    and ·killed [pierced] that ·sea monster [serpent; dragon; 27:1; Ps. 74:13–14].
10 ·You dried [L Did you not dry…?] up the sea
    and the waters of the deep ocean.
You made a road through the deepest parts of the sea
    for your ·people to cross over and be saved [or redeemed people to cross over; 43:16; Ex. 14:21; Ps. 106:9].
11 The people the Lord has ·freed [rescued; ransomed] will return
    and enter ·Jerusalem [L Zion; v. 3] with ·joy [singing].
    ·Their happiness will last forever [L Everlasting joy will crown them/be on their head].
They will ·have [be overwhelmed/overtaken with] joy and gladness,
    and all sadness and sorrow will ·be gone far [flee] away [35:10].

12 The Lord says, “·I [L I, even I] am the one who ·comforts you [40:1].
    So why should you be afraid of people, who die?
    ·Why should you fear people [L …or the son of man; C human beings] who ·die [L is given up] like the grass [40:6]?
13 Have you forgotten the Lord who made you,
    who stretched out the ·skies [heavens]
    and ·made [L laid the foundations of] the earth [48:13]?
Why are you always afraid
    of ·those angry people who trouble you [the anger/wrath of the oppressor]
    and who ·want [seek; plan] to destroy?
But where ·are those angry people [is the anger/wrath of the oppressor] now?
14     ·People in prison [L Those who are burdened/stooped over] will soon be set free;
they will not die in prison,
    and they will ·have enough food [not lack bread].
15 I am the Lord your God,
    who stirs the sea and makes the waves roar.
    My name is the Lord ·All-Powerful [Almighty; of Heaven’s Armies; T of hosts].
16 I will ·give you the words I want you to say [L put my words in your mouth].
    I will cover you with ·my hands and protect you [L the shadow of my hand].
I ·made [established] the heavens and [L laid the foundation of] the earth,
    and I say to ·Jerusalem [L Zion; v. 3], ‘You are my people.’”

God Punished Israel

17 Awake! Awake!
    Get up, Jerusalem.
·The Lord was very angry with you;
    your punishment was like wine in a cup.
The Lord made you drink that wine [L You have drunk from the hand of the Lord the cup of his wrath];
    you ·drank the whole cup [L drained the goblet to its dregs] until you stumbled.
18 ·Though Jerusalem had many people [L Among all the children she bore],
    there was not one to lead her.
Of all the people ·who grew up there [she raised],
    no one was there to ·guide her [L take her by the hand].
19 ·Troubles [Calamities] came to you two by two,
    but no one will ·feel sorry for [or console] you.
There was ruin and ·disaster [destruction], ·great hunger [famine] and ·fighting [L sword].
    ·No one [L But who…?] can comfort you.
20 Your ·people [L children; sons] have ·become weak [fainted].
    They fall down and lie ·on every street corner [L at the head of every street],
    like ·animals [L antelope] caught in a net.
They ·have felt the full anger [or are filled with the wrath] of the Lord
    and have heard God’s ·angry shout [rebuke].

21 So listen to me, ·poor Jerusalem [L oppressed/afflicted one],
    you who are drunk but not from wine.
22 Your God will ·defend [plead the case of] his people.
    This is what the Lord your God says:
“·The punishment I gave you is like a cup of wine.
    You drank it and could not walk straight.
But I am taking that cup of my anger away from you, [L Look/T Behold, I have taken from your hand the cup of staggering,
the dregs of the cup of my wrath]
    and you will never ·be punished by my anger [L drink from it] again.
23 I will now give that cup of punishment to ·those who gave you pain [your tormentors; Jer. 25:17, 26, 28],
who told you,
    ‘Bow down so we can walk over you.’
·They [L You] made your back like dirt for them to walk on;
    you were like a street for them to travel on.”

Jerusalem Will Be Saved

52 Wake up, wake up, ·Jerusalem [L Zion; C the location of the Temple]! ·Become strong [L Clothe yourself with/Put on strength]!

·Be beautiful again [L Put on beautiful/glorious clothes],
    holy city of Jerusalem.
The ·people who do not worship God and who are not pure [L uncircumcised and defiled/unclean]
    will not enter you again.
Jerusalem, ·you once were a prisoner [or be enthroned/seated].
    Now shake off the dust and ·stand up [arise].
·Jerusalem, you once were a prisoner [L Captive daughter of Zion,].
    Now free yourself from the chains around your neck.
This is what the Lord says:
“You were ·not sold for a price [L sold for nothing],
    so you will be ·saved [redeemed] without cost.”
This is what the Lord God says:
“First my people went down to Egypt to live.
Later Assyria ·made them slaves [oppressed them].

“Now ·see what has happened [what do I have here…?],” says the Lord.
    “Another nation has taken away my people for nothing.
Those who rule them ·make fun of me [mock; taunt][e],” says the Lord.
    “All day long they ·speak against [slander; blaspheme] me.
This has happened so my people will know ·who I am [L my name],
    and so, ·on that future [L in that] day, they will know
that I am the one speaking to them.
    ·It will really be me [L Look/T Behold, I].”

·How beautiful [or How beautiful on the mountains] ·is the person [L are the feet of him]
    who ·comes over the mountains to bring [or brings] good news,
who announces peace
    and brings good news,
    who announces salvation [Nah. 1:15]
and says to ·Jerusalem [L Zion; v. 1],
    “Your God ·is King [or reigns].”
Listen! Your ·guards [watchmen] ·are shouting [raise their voices].
    They are all shouting [L together] for joy!
They all will see ·with their own eyes [right in front of their eyes; L eye in eye]
    when the Lord returns to ·Jerusalem [L Zion; v. 1].
·Jerusalem, although your buildings are destroyed now [L You ruins of Jerusalem],
    shout and rejoice together,
because the Lord has comforted his people.
    He has ·saved [redeemed] Jerusalem.
10 The Lord ·will show his holy power [flexes his holy muscles; L bared his holy arm]
    ·to [L to the eyes of] all the nations.
Then ·everyone on [L all the ends of the] earth
    will see the salvation of our God.

11 You people, leave, leave; get out ·of Babylon [L from there]!
    Touch nothing that is ·unclean [defiled].
You who carry the ·Lord’s things used in worship [articles/vessels of the Lord],
    leave there and make yourselves pure.
12 You will not ·be forced to leave Babylon quickly [leave in haste];
    you will not be forced to run away,
because the Lord will go before you,
    and the God of Israel will ·guard you from behind [be your rear guard].

The Lord’s Suffering Servant

13 The Lord says, “See, my servant will ·act wisely [or have success].
    ·People will greatly honor and respect him [He will be raised and exalted; C 52:13—53:12 is the fourth of four “servant songs” in Isaiah; see 42:1].
14 Many people were ·shocked [astonished; appalled] when they saw him.
    His appearance was so ·damaged [disfigured; marred] he did not look like a man;
    his form ·was so changed they could barely tell he was human [L beyond the sons of man/children of humanity].
15 But now he will ·surprise [startle; or sprinkle; C as the blood of a sacrifice sprinkled on the altar; Lev. 4:6, 17] many nations.
    Kings will ·be amazed [L shut their mouths because of him].
They will see things they had not been ·told about him [L told],
    and they will understand things they had not heard.”

53 Who ·would have [or has] believed ·what we heard [or our message; John 12:38; Rom. 10:16]?
    ·Who saw the Lord’s power in this [L And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed]?
He grew up like a ·small plant [young plant; tender shoot; 11:1] before ·the Lord [L him],
    like a root growing in a ·dry land [parched soil].
He had no special beauty or ·form [majesty] to make us notice him;
    there was nothing in his appearance to make us desire him.
He was ·hated [despised] and rejected by people.
    ·He had much pain [L A man of pain/suffering/T sorrows] and ·suffering [one who knew/was acquainted with pain/grief].
People ·would not even look at [turned their backs on; L hid their faces from] him.
    He was ·hated [despised], and we ·didn’t even notice him [or did not esteem him].

But he ·took [bore] our suffering on him
    and ·felt our pain for us [carried our sorrows/sickness].
·We saw his suffering
    and thought God was punishing him [L …stricken and afflicted by him; C God].
But he was wounded for ·the wrong we did [T our transgressions];
    he was crushed for ·the evil we did [T our iniquities].
The punishment, which ·made us well [brought us wholeness/peace], was given to him,
    and we are healed because of his ·wounds [lacerations; T stripes; 1 Pet. 2:24].
We all have ·wandered away [T gone astray] like sheep;
    each of us has gone his own way [1 Pet. 2:25].
But the Lord has put on him ·the punishment
    for all the evil we have done [L all of our sins/iniquity].

He was ·beaten down [oppressed] and ·punished [treated harshly; T afflicted],
    but he didn’t ·say a word [L open his mouth].
He was like a lamb being led to be ·killed [slaughtered].
    He was quiet, as a sheep is quiet ·while its wool is being cut [L before its shearers; Acts 8:32; Matt. 26:63; Mark 14:61; John 19:9; 1 Pet. 2:23];
    he never opened his mouth.
Men took him away ·roughly and unfairly [or after unjustly condemning him; L from oppression and judgment].
    ·He died without children to continue his family [or Yet no one of his generation objected; L and his generation, who considers/speaks of it?].
He was ·put to death [L cut off from the land of the living];
    he was ·punished [struck down] for the ·sins [transgressions] of my people.
He was ·buried [assigned his grave] with ·wicked men [criminals],
    and ·he died with the rich [or he was put in a rich man’s tomb; L with the rich in his death; Matt. 27:57, 60].
He had done ·nothing wrong [L no violence],
    and he had ·never lied [L no deceit in his mouth; 1 Pet. 2:22].

10 But it was the ·Lord who decided [Lord’s will]
    to crush him and make him suffer.
    The Lord made his life a ·penalty [sin] offering,
but he will still see his ·descendants [offspring; seed] and ·live a long life [L extend his days].
    ·He will complete the things the Lord wants him to do [L The pleasure/will/purpose of the Lord will prosper in his hands].
11 “After his soul suffers many things,
    he will see ·life[f] [or light; or the light of life] and be satisfied.
[By his knowledge/experience] My ·good [righteous] servant will ·make many people right with God [justify many];
    he will carry away their ·sins [iniquities].
12 For this reason I will ·make him a great man among people [or give him a portion with the great ones],
    and he will ·share in all things [divide the spoils] with those who are strong,
because he ·willingly gave [laid bare; T poured out] his life
    and was ·treated like a criminal [L numbered/counted with rebels/trangressors].
But he ·carried away [bore] the sins of many people
    and ·asked forgiveness [made intercession] for ·those who sinned [rebels; transgressors].”

People Will Return to Jerusalem

54 The Lord says, “Sing, ·Jerusalem [L barren one; Gal. 4:27].
    ·You are like a woman who [L …who] never gave birth to children.
Start singing and shout for joy.
    You never ·felt the pain of giving birth [were in labor],
·but you will have more children [L for more are the children of the desolate one]
    than the woman who has a husband.
Make your tent bigger;
    stretch ·it [L your tent curtains] out and make it wider.
    Do not hold back.
Make the ·ropes [cords] longer
    and its stakes stronger,
because you will spread out to the right and to the left.
    Your ·children [descendants; offspring; seed] will take ·over [possession of] other nations,
and they will ·again live in [resettle] cities that once were ·destroyed [ruined; desolate].

“Don’t be afraid, because you will not be ashamed.
    Don’t be ·embarrassed [discouraged], because you will not be disgraced.
You will forget the shame ·you felt earlier [L of your youth];
    you will not remember the ·shame [disgrace; reproach] ·you felt when you lost your husband [of your widowhood; or of your abandonment].
·The God who made you is like [L For your Maker is] your husband.
    His name is the Lord ·All-Powerful [Almighty; of Heaven’s Armies; T of hosts].
The Holy One of Israel [1:4] is ·the one who saves you [your redeemer].
    He is called the God of all the earth.
You were like a woman ·whose husband left her [deserted; abandoned],
    ·and you were very sad [L grieved/distressed in spirit].
You were like a wife who married young
    and then ·her husband left her [was rejected].
But the Lord ·called you to be his [or will call you back],”
    says your God.
God says, “I left you for a ·short time [moment],
    but with great ·kindness [mercy; compassion] I will bring you back again.
I ·became very angry [had a surge/burst of anger]
    and hid from you for a ·time [moment],
but I will show you ·mercy [compassion] with ·kindness [lovingkindness; loyalty; covenant love] forever,”
    says the Lord ·who saves you [your redeemer].

The Lord says, “This day is like the ·time [days] of Noah to me [Gen. 6–9].
    I ·promised [swore] then that ·I [L the waters of Noah] would never ·flood [cover] the world again [Gen. 9:11].
In the same way, I ·promise [swore] I will not be angry with you
    or ·punish [rebuke] you again.
10 The mountains may ·disappear [move; be shaken],
    and the hills may ·come to an end [be removed; disappear],
but my ·love [lovingkindness; loyalty; covenant love] will never ·disappear [be moved/shaken];
    my ·promise [covenant; treaty] of peace will not ·come to an end [be removed; disappear],”
says the Lord who ·shows mercy to [has compassion for] you.

11 “·You poor city [L Afflicted one]. Storms have ·hurt [battered; tossed] you,
    and you have not been comforted.
But I will rebuild you with ·turquoise stones [gems],
    and I will build your foundations with ·sapphires [or lapis lazuli].
12 I will use ·rubies [or agate; or jasper] to build your ·walls [towers; battlements; pinnacles]
    and ·shining jewels [or beryl; or garnet; or crystal] for the gates
    and precious jewels for all your outer walls.
13 All your children will be taught by the Lord,
    and they will have much ·peace [prosperity; wholeness; C Hebrew: shalom].
14 I will ·build [establish] you ·using fairness [in righteousness].
·You will be safe from those who would hurt you [L Tyranny/oppression will be far from you],
    ·so you will have nothing to fear [terror will be far away].
    Nothing will come to make you afraid.
15 ·I will not send anyone to attack you [L If anyone attacks, it is not from me],
    and you will defeat those who do attack you.

16 “See, I made the blacksmith.
    He fans the fire to make it hotter,
    and he ·makes the kind of tool he wants [forges a weapon for his purpose].
In the same way I have made the destroyer to destroy.
17     So no weapon ·that is used [forged] against you will ·defeat you [succeed].
    You will ·show that those who speak against you are wrong [refute every accusation against you; L refute every tongue that rises against you in judgment].
These are the ·good things [heritage] my servants receive.
    Their ·victory [vindication; righteousness] comes from me,” says the Lord.

God Gives What Is Good

55 The Lord says, “All you who are thirsty,
    come ·and drink [L to the waters; John 7:37].
Those of you who do not have money,
    come, buy and eat [Prov. 9:5]!
Come buy wine and milk
    without money and without cost.
Why spend your money on something that is not ·real food [bread]?
    Why work for something that doesn’t really satisfy you?
Listen closely to me, and you will eat what is good;
    your soul will ·enjoy [delight in] the ·rich food that satisfies [L fat].
Come to me and ·listen [extend your ear];
    listen to me so you may live.
I will make an ·agreement with you that will last forever [everlasting covenant/treaty with you].
    I will give you the ·blessings [covenant love; loyalty; lovingkindness; T sure mercies] I promised to David [2 Sam. 7:11–14; Ps. 89:33–35; Acts 13:34].
[L Look; T Behold] I made David a witness ·of my power for all [L to the] nations,
    a ruler and commander of many nations.
[L Look; T Behold] You will call for nations that you don’t yet know.
    And these nations that do not know you will run to you
because of the Lord your God,
    because of the Holy One of Israel [1:4] who ·honors [has glorified] you.”

·So you should look for [L Seek] the Lord ·before it is too late [while he may be found];
    you should call to him while he is near.
The wicked should ·stop doing wrong [abandon/forsake their ways],
    and ·they [L the unrighteous person] should stop their evil thoughts.
They should return to the Lord so he may have ·mercy [compassion] on them.
    They should come to our God, because he will freely forgive them [Deut. 4:25–31; 30:1–10; 1 Kin. 8:46–53].

The Lord says, “My thoughts are not like your thoughts.
    Your ways are not like my ways.
Just as the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts higher than your thoughts [Ps. 103:11].
10 Rain and snow fall from the sky
    and don’t return without watering the ground.
They cause the plants to sprout and grow,
    making seeds for the ·farmer [sower]
    and bread for the ·people [L eater].
11 The same thing is true of the words ·I speak [L that go out of my mouth].
    They will not return to me empty.
They ·make the things happen that I want to happen [accomplish what I desire/purpose],
    and they succeed in doing what I send them to do.

12 “So you will go out with joy [C returning from the Babylonian exile]
    and be led out in peace.
The mountains and hills will burst into song before you,
    and all the trees in the fields will clap their hands [C the earth rejoices at God’s restoration of creation].
13 ·Large cypress [or Juniper; Evergreen] trees will grow where thornbushes were.
    Myrtle trees will grow where ·weeds [briers] were.
These things will be ·a reminder of the Lord’s promise [or for the Lord’s honor/renown; L to the Lord for a name],
    ·and this reminder will never be destroyed [L for an eternal sign that will not be cut off].”

Footnotes:

  1. Isaiah 40:6 I The Dead Sea Scrolls and come Greek copies read “I.” Some Hebrew copies read “he,” meaning a second voice responds to the first.
  2. Isaiah 40:6 glory Some Greek copies read “glory.” Hebrew copies read “loyalty.”
  3. Isaiah 43:19 rivers A Dead Sea Scroll copy has “paths.”
  4. Isaiah 49:24 tyrant The Dead Sea Scrolls read “tyrant.” Some Hebrew copies have “righteous one.”
  5. Isaiah 52:5 taunt The Dead Sea Scrolls read “wail.”
  6. Isaiah 53:11 see life The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Septuagint read “see light” (meaning “see life” or “live”). Some Hebrew copies have “see.”
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