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Isaiah 41 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 41

The Liberator of Israel

Keep silence before me, O coastlands;[a]
    let the nations renew their strength.
Let them draw near and speak;
    let us come together for judgment.
Who has stirred up from the East the champion of justice,
    and summoned him to be his attendant?
To him he delivers nations
    and subdues kings;
With his sword he reduces them to dust,
    with his bow, to driven straw.
He pursues them, passing on without loss,
    by a path his feet scarcely touch.
Who has performed these deeds?
    Who has called forth the generations from the beginning?
I, the Lord, am the first,
    and at the last[b] I am he.
The coastlands see, and fear;
    the ends of the earth tremble:
    they approach, they come on.

Each one helps his neighbor,
    one says to the other, “Courage!”
The woodworker encourages the goldsmith,
    the one who beats with the hammer, him who strikes on the anvil,
Saying of the soldering, “It is good!”
    then fastening it with nails so it will not totter.

But you, Israel, my servant,
    Jacob, whom I have chosen,
    offspring of Abraham my friend—
You whom I have taken from the ends of the earth
    and summoned from its far-off places,
To whom I have said, You are my servant;
    I chose you, I have not rejected you—
10 Do not fear: I am with you;
    do not be anxious: I am your God.
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
    I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.

11 Yes, all shall be put to shame and disgrace
    who vent their anger against you;
Those shall be as nothing and perish
    who offer resistance.
12 You shall seek but not find
    those who strive against you;
They shall be as nothing at all
    who do battle with you.

13 For I am the Lord, your God,
    who grasp your right hand;
It is I who say to you, Do not fear,
    I will help you.
14 Do not fear, you worm Jacob,
    you maggot Israel;
I will help you—oracle of the Lord;
    the Holy One of Israel is your redeemer.[c]
15 I will make of you a threshing sledge,
    sharp, new, full of teeth,
To thresh the mountains and crush them,
    to make the hills like chaff.
16 When you winnow them, the wind shall carry them off,
    the storm shall scatter them.
But you shall rejoice in the Lord;
    in the Holy One of Israel you shall glory.

17 The afflicted and the needy seek water in vain,
    their tongues are parched with thirst.
I, the Lord, will answer them;
    I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them.
18 I will open up rivers on the bare heights,
    and fountains in the broad valleys;
I will turn the wilderness into a marshland,
    and the dry ground into springs of water.
19 In the wilderness I will plant the cedar,
    acacia, myrtle, and olive;
In the wasteland I will set the cypress,
    together with the plane tree and the pine,
20 That all may see and know,
    observe and understand,
That the hand of the Lord has done this,
    the Holy One of Israel has created it.

21 Present your case, says the Lord;[d]
    bring forward your arguments, says the King of Jacob.
22 Let them draw near and foretell to us
    what it is that shall happen!
What are the things of long ago?
    Tell us, that we may reflect on them
    and know their outcome;
Or declare to us the things to come,[e]
23     tell what is to be in the future,
    that we may know that you are gods!
Do something, good or evil,
    that will put us in awe and in fear.
24 Why, you are nothing
    and your work is nought;
    to choose you is an abomination!

25 I have stirred up one from the north, and he comes;
    from the east I summon him[f] by name;
He shall trample the rulers down like mud,
    like a potter treading clay.
26 Who announced this from the beginning, that we might know;
    beforehand, that we might say, “True”?
Not one of you foretold it, not one spoke;
    not one heard you say,
27 “The first news for Zion: here they come,”
    or, “I will give Jerusalem a herald of good news.”
28 When I look, there is not one,
    not one of them to give counsel,
    to make an answer when I question them.
29 Ah, all of them are nothing,
    their works are nought,
    their idols, empty wind!

Footnotes:

  1. 41:1–4 Earlier prophets had spoken of the Assyrians and Babylonians as the Lord’s instruments for the punishment of Israel’s sins; here the Lord is described as raising up and giving victory to a foreign ruler in order to deliver Israel from the Babylonian exile. The ruler is Cyrus (44:28; 45:1), king of Anshan in Persia, a vassal of the Babylonians. He rebelled against the Babylonian overlords in 556 B.C., and after a series of victories, entered Babylon as victor in 539; the following year he issued a decree which allowed the Jewish captives to return to their homeland (2 Chr 36:22–23; Ezr 1:1–4). For Second Isaiah, the meteoric success of Cyrus was the work of the Lord to accomplish the deliverance promised by earlier prophets.
  2. 41:4 The first…the last: God as the beginning and end encompasses all reality. The same designation is used in 44:6 and 48:12.
  3. 41:14 Redeemer: in Hebrew, go’el, one who frees others from slavery and avenges their sufferings; cf. Lv 25:48; Dt 19:6, 12. Cf. note on Ru 2:20.
  4. 41:21–29 This indictment of Babylonian gods is patterned on a legal trial, in which they are challenged to prove power over events of history and so justify their status as gods (vv. 21–24). Israel’s God, on the other hand, has foretold and now brings to pass Israel’s deliverance (vv. 25–27). The accused are unable to respond (vv. 28–29). By such polemics (see also 43:12) the prophet declares that all gods other than the Lord are nonexistent; this implicit claim of monotheism later becomes explicit (see 43:10–11; 45:5–7, 14, 18, 21–22; 46:9; and note on 44:6).
  5. 41:22 Things of long ago…things to come: there are no predictions attributed to idols that have since been fulfilled. Second Isaiah makes frequent reference to “things of long ago,” sometimes in conjunction with “things to come” or “new things” in connection with the Lord’s activity (cf. 42:9; 43:9, 18; 46:9–10; 48:3–8); both the old things (e.g., creation, exodus) and the new things (release from exile) God brings to pass (cf. 51:9–11), which is why he can declare them beforehand.
  6. 41:25 I summon him: Cyrus.
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Isaiah 41 New International Version (NIV)

The Helper of Israel

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

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

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

“But you, Israel, my servant,
    Jacob, whom I have chosen,
    you descendants of Abraham my friend,
I took you from the ends of the earth,
    from its farthest corners I called you.
I said, ‘You are my servant’;
    I have chosen you and have not rejected you.
10 So do not fear, for I am with you;
    do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

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

17 “The poor and needy search for water,
    but there is none;
    their tongues are parched with thirst.
But I the Lord will answer them;
    I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them.
18 I will make rivers flow on barren heights,
    and springs within the valleys.
I will turn the desert into pools of water,
    and the parched ground into springs.
19 I will put in the desert
    the cedar and the acacia, the myrtle and the olive.
I will set junipers in the wasteland,
    the fir and the cypress together,
20 so that people may see and know,
    may consider and understand,
that the hand of the Lord has done this,
    that the Holy One of Israel has created it.

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

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

Footnotes:

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

Isaiah 41 King James Version (KJV)

41 Keep silence before me, O islands; and let the people renew their strength: let them come near; then let them speak: let us come near together to judgment.

Who raised up the righteous man from the east, called him to his foot, gave the nations before him, and made him rule over kings? he gave them as the dust to his sword, and as driven stubble to his bow.

He pursued them, and passed safely; even by the way that he had not gone with his feet.

Who hath wrought and done it, calling the generations from the beginning? I the Lord, the first, and with the last; I am he.

The isles saw it, and feared; the ends of the earth were afraid, drew near, and came.

They helped every one his neighbour; and every one said to his brother, Be of good courage.

So the carpenter encouraged the goldsmith, and he that smootheth with the hammer him that smote the anvil, saying, It is ready for the sodering: and he fastened it with nails, that it should not be moved.

But thou, Israel, art my servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham my friend.

Thou whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, and called thee from the chief men thereof, and said unto thee, Thou art my servant; I have chosen thee, and not cast thee away.

10 Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.

11 Behold, all they that were incensed against thee shall be ashamed and confounded: they shall be as nothing; and they that strive with thee shall perish.

12 Thou shalt seek them, and shalt not find them, even them that contended with thee: they that war against thee shall be as nothing, and as a thing of nought.

13 For I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee.

14 Fear not, thou worm Jacob, and ye men of Israel; I will help thee, saith the Lord, and thy redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.

15 Behold, I will make thee a new sharp threshing instrument having teeth: thou shalt thresh the mountains, and beat them small, and shalt make the hills as chaff.

16 Thou shalt fan them, and the wind shall carry them away, and the whirlwind shall scatter them: and thou shalt rejoice in the Lord, and shalt glory in the Holy One of Israel.

17 When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue faileth for thirst, I the Lord will hear them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them.

18 I will open rivers in high places, and fountains in the midst of the valleys: I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water.

19 I will plant in the wilderness the cedar, the shittah tree, and the myrtle, and the oil tree; I will set in the desert the fir tree, and the pine, and the box tree together:

20 That they may see, and know, and consider, and understand together, that the hand of the Lord hath done this, and the Holy One of Israel hath created it.

21 Produce your cause, saith the Lord; bring forth your strong reasons, saith the King of Jacob.

22 Let them bring them forth, and shew us what shall happen: let them shew the former things, what they be, that we may consider them, and know the latter end of them; or declare us things for to come.

23 Shew the things that are to come hereafter, that we may know that ye are gods: yea, do good, or do evil, that we may be dismayed, and behold it together.

24 Behold, ye are of nothing, and your work of nought: an abomination is he that chooseth you.

25 I have raised up one from the north, and he shall come: from the rising of the sun shall he call upon my name: and he shall come upon princes as upon morter, and as the potter treadeth clay.

26 Who hath declared from the beginning, that we may know? and beforetime, that we may say, He is righteous? yea, there is none that sheweth, yea, there is none that declareth, yea, there is none that heareth your words.

27 The first shall say to Zion, Behold, behold them: and I will give to Jerusalem one that bringeth good tidings.

28 For I beheld, and there was no man; even among them, and there was no counsellor, that, when I asked of them, could answer a word.

29 Behold, they are all vanity; their works are nothing: their molten images are wind and confusion.

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