The helper of Israel
1‘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.
2‘Who has stirred up one from the east,
calling him in righteousness to his service#41:2 Or east, / whom victory meets at every step?
He hands nations over to him
and subdues kings before him.
He turns them to dust with his sword,
to wind-blown chaff with his bow.
3He pursues them and moves on unscathed,
by a path his feet have not travelled before.
4Who 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.’
5The islands have seen it and fear;
the ends of the earth tremble.
They approach and come forward;
6they help each other
and say to their companions, ‘Be strong!’
7The 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 that it will not topple.
8‘But you, Israel, my servant,
Jacob, whom I have chosen,
you descendants of Abraham my friend,
9I 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.
10So 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.
12Though you search for your enemies,
you will not find them.
Those who wage war against you
will be as nothing at all.
13For I am the Lord your God
who takes hold of your right hand
and says to you, Do not fear;
I will help you.
14Do 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.
16You 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.
18I 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.
19I 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,
20so 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,
23tell us what the future holds,
so that we may know you are gods.
Do something, whether good or bad,
so that we will be dismayed and filled with fear.
24But 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.
26Who told of this from the beginning, so that we could know,
or beforehand, so that we could say, “He was right”?
No-one told of this,
no-one foretold it,
no-one heard any words from you.
27I was the first to tell Zion, “Look, here they are!”
I gave to Jerusalem a messenger of good news.
28I look but there is no-one –
no-one among the gods to give counsel,
no-one to give answer when I ask them.
29See, they are all false!
Their deeds amount to nothing;
their images are but wind and confusion.