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Isaiah 40 Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)

Israel’s Punishment Will End

40 Your God says,
    “Comfort, comfort my people.
Speak kindly to Jerusalem and tell her,
    ‘Your time of service is finished.
    You have paid the price for your sins.’
I, the Lord, have punished you twice
    for every sin you committed.”

Listen, there is someone shouting:
“Prepare a way in the desert for the Lord.
    Make a straight road there for our God.
Every valley must be filled.
    Every mountain and hill should be made flat.
The crooked roads should be made straight,
    and the rough ground made smooth.
Then the Glory of the Lord will be shown to everyone.
    Together, all people will see it.
Yes, this is what the Lord himself said!”

A voice said, “Speak!”
    So the man said, “What should I say?”
The voice said, “People are like grass.
    Any glory they enjoy is like a wildflower.
When a wind from the Lord blows on them,
    the grass dies and the flower falls.
    Yes, all people are like grass.
Grass dies and flowers fall,
    but the word of our God lasts forever.”

Salvation: God’s Good News

Zion, you have good news to tell.
    Go up on a high mountain and shout the good news.
Jerusalem, you have good news to tell.
    Don’t be afraid; speak loudly.
Tell this news to all the cities of Judah:
    “Look, here is your God!”
10 The Lord God is coming with power.
    He will use his power to rule all the people.
He will bring rewards for his people.
    He will have their payment with him.
11 Like a good shepherd, he takes care of his people.
    He gathers them like lambs in his arms.
    He holds them close, while their mothers walk beside him.

God Made the World; He Rules It

12 Who measured the oceans in the palm of his hand?
    Who used his hand to measure the sky?
Who used a bowl to measure all the dust of the earth?
    Who used scales to measure the mountains and hills?
13 Who could know the Lord’s mind?
    Who could be his teacher or give him advice?
14 Did the Lord ask for anyone’s help?
    Did anyone teach him to be fair?
Did anyone teach him knowledge?
    Did anyone teach him to be wise?
15 Look, all the nations in the world are like one small drop in the bucket.
    If the Lord took all the faraway nations and put them on his scales,
    they would be like small pieces of dust.
16 All the trees in Lebanon are not enough
    to burn on the altar for the Lord.
And all the animals in Lebanon
    are not enough to kill for a sacrifice.
17 Compared to God, all the nations of the world are nothing.
    Compared to him, they are worth nothing at all.

People Cannot Imagine What God Is Like

18 Can you compare God to anything?
    Can you make a picture of God?
19 No, but some people make statues from rock or wood,
    and they call them gods.
One worker makes a statue.
    Then another worker covers it with gold and makes silver chains for it.
20 For the base he chooses special wood,
    a kind of wood that will not rot.
Then he finds a good wood worker,
    and the worker makes a “god” that will not fall over.
21 Surely you know the truth, don’t you?
    Surely you have heard.
    Surely someone told you long ago.
    Surely you understand who made the earth.
22 It is the Lord who sits above the circle of the earth.
    And compared to him, people are like grasshoppers.
He rolled open the skies like a piece of cloth.
    He stretched out the skies like a tent to sit under.
23 He takes away the power of rulers.
    He makes the world’s leaders completely worthless.
24 They are like plants that are planted in the ground.
    But before they can send their roots into the ground,
God blows on the “plants”;
    they become dead and dry,
    and the wind blows them away like straw.
25 The Holy One says, “Can you compare me to anyone?
    No one is equal to me.”

26 Look up to the skies.
    Who created all those stars?
Who created all those “armies” in the sky?
    Who knows every star by name?
He is very strong and powerful,
    so not one of these stars is lost.

27 People of Jacob, this is true.
    Israel, you should believe it.
So why do you say, “The Lord cannot see the way I live;
    he will not find me and punish me”[a]?

28 Surely you know the truth.
    Surely you have heard.
The Lord is the God who lives forever!
    He created all the faraway places on earth.
He does not get tired and weary.
    You cannot learn all he knows.
29 He helps tired people be strong.
    He gives power to those without it.
30 Young men get tired and need to rest.
    Even young boys stumble and fall.
31 But those who trust in the Lord will become strong again.
    They will be like eagles that grow new feathers.[b]
They will run and not get weak.
    They will walk and not get tired.

Footnotes:

  1. Isaiah 40:27 The Lord … punish me Or “My way is hidden from the Lord; he ignores my case.”
  2. Isaiah 40:31 like … feathers This probably refers to the ancient belief that eagles regain their youth when they molt (lose and grow back their feathers). See Ps. 103:5. This line could also be translated, “They will rise up like eagles on their wings.”
Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)

Copyright © 2006 by Bible League International

Isaiah 40 New International Version (NIV)

Comfort for God’s People

40 Comfort, comfort my people,
    says your God.
Speak tenderly to Jerusalem,
    and proclaim to her
that her hard service has been completed,
    that her sin has been paid for,
that she has received from the Lord’s hand
    double for all her sins.

A voice of one calling:
“In the wilderness prepare
    the way for the Lord[a];
make straight in the desert
    a highway for our God.[b]
Every valley shall be raised up,
    every mountain and hill made low;
the rough ground shall become level,
    the rugged places a plain.
And the glory of the Lord will be revealed,
    and all people will see it together.
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”

A voice says, “Cry out.”
    And I said, “What shall I cry?”

“All people are like grass,
    and all their faithfulness is like the flowers of the field.
The grass withers and the flowers fall,
    because the breath of the Lord blows on them.
    Surely the people are grass.
The grass withers and the flowers fall,
    but the word of our God endures forever.

You who bring good news to Zion,
    go up on a high mountain.
You who bring good news to Jerusalem,[c]
    lift up your voice with a shout,
lift it up, do not be afraid;
    say to the towns of Judah,
    “Here is your God!”
10 See, the Sovereign Lord comes with power,
    and he rules with a mighty arm.
See, his reward is with him,
    and his recompense accompanies him.
11 He tends his flock like a shepherd:
    He gathers the lambs in his arms
and carries them close to his heart;
    he gently leads those that have young.

12 Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand,
    or with the breadth of his hand marked off the heavens?
Who has held the dust of the earth in a basket,
    or weighed the mountains on the scales
    and the hills in a balance?
13 Who can fathom the Spirit[d] of the Lord,
    or instruct the Lord as his counselor?
14 Whom did the Lord consult to enlighten him,
    and who taught him the right way?
Who was it that taught him knowledge,
    or showed him the path of understanding?

15 Surely the nations are like a drop in a bucket;
    they are regarded as dust on the scales;
    he weighs the islands as though they were fine dust.
16 Lebanon is not sufficient for altar fires,
    nor its animals enough for burnt offerings.
17 Before him all the nations are as nothing;
    they are regarded by him as worthless
    and less than nothing.

18 With whom, then, will you compare God?
    To what image will you liken him?
19 As for an idol, a metalworker casts it,
    and a goldsmith overlays it with gold
    and fashions silver chains for it.
20 A person too poor to present such an offering
    selects wood that will not rot;
they look for a skilled worker
    to set up an idol that will not topple.

21 Do you not know?
    Have you not heard?
Has it not been told you from the beginning?
    Have you not understood since the earth was founded?
22 He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth,
    and its people are like grasshoppers.
He stretches out the heavens like a canopy,
    and spreads them out like a tent to live in.
23 He brings princes to naught
    and reduces the rulers of this world to nothing.
24 No sooner are they planted,
    no sooner are they sown,
    no sooner do they take root in the ground,
than he blows on them and they wither,
    and a whirlwind sweeps them away like chaff.

25 “To whom will you compare me?
    Or who is my equal?” says the Holy One.
26 Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens:
    Who created all these?
He who brings out the starry host one by one
    and calls forth each of them by name.
Because of his great power and mighty strength,
    not one of them is missing.

27 Why do you complain, Jacob?
    Why do you say, Israel,
“My way is hidden from the Lord;
    my cause is disregarded by my God”?
28 Do you not know?
    Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
    the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
    and his understanding no one can fathom.
29 He gives strength to the weary
    and increases the power of the weak.
30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
    and young men stumble and fall;
31 but those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint.

Footnotes:

  1. Isaiah 40:3 Or A voice of one calling in the wilderness: / “Prepare the way for the Lord
  2. Isaiah 40:3 Hebrew; Septuagint make straight the paths of our God
  3. Isaiah 40:9 Or Zion, bringer of good news, / go up on a high mountain. / Jerusalem, bringer of good news
  4. Isaiah 40:13 Or mind
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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