1 LISTEN IN silence before Me, O islands and regions bordering on the sea! And let the people gather and renew their strength [for the argument; let them offer their strongest arguments]! Let them come near, then let them speak; let us come near together for judgment [and decide the point at issue between us concerning the enemy advancing from the east].
2 Who has roused up one [Cyrus] from the east, whom He calls in righteousness to His service and whom victory meets at every step? He [the Lord] subdues nations before him and makes him ruler over kings. He turns them to dust with the sword [of Cyrus], and to driven straw and chaff with his bow. [Ezra 1:2.]
3 He [Cyrus] pursues them and passes safely and unhindered, even by a way his feet had not trod and so swiftly that his feet do not touch the ground.
4 Who has prepared and done this, calling forth and guiding the destinies of the generations [of the nations] from the beginning? I, the Lord–the first [existing before history began] and with the last [an ever-present, unchanging God]–I am He.
5 The islands and coastlands have seen and fear; the ends of the earth tremble. They draw near and come;
6 They help every one his neighbor and say to his brother [in his tiresome idol making], Be of good courage!
7 So the carpenter encourages the goldsmith, and he who smooths [the metal] with the hammer [encourages] him who smites the anvil, saying of the soldering, That is good! And he fastens it with nails so that it cannot be moved.
8 But you, Israel, My servant, Jacob, whom I have chosen, the offspring of Abraham My friend, [Heb. 2:16; James 2:23.]
9 You whom I [the Lord] have taken from the ends of the earth and have called from the corners of it, and said to you, You are My servant–I have chosen you and not cast you off [even though you are exiled].
10 Fear not [there is nothing to fear], for I am with you; do not look around you in terror and be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen and harden you to difficulties, yes, I will help you; yes, I will hold you up and retain you with My [victorious] right hand of rightness and justice. [Acts 18:10.]
11 Behold, all they who are enraged and inflamed against you shall be put to shame and confounded; they who strive against you shall be as nothing and shall perish.
12 You shall seek those who contend with you but shall not find them; they who war against you shall be as nothing, as nothing at all.
13 For I the Lord your God hold your right hand; I am the Lord, Who says to you, Fear not; I will help you!
14 Fear not, you worm Jacob, you men of Israel! I will help you, says the Lord; your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel.
15 Behold, I will make you to be a new, sharp, threshing instrument which has teeth; you shall thresh the mountains and beat them small, and shall make the hills like chaff.
16 You shall winnow them, and the wind shall carry them away, and the tempest or whirlwind shall scatter them. And you shall rejoice in the Lord, you shall glory in the Holy One of Israel.
17 The poor and needy are seeking water when there is none; 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 rivers on the bare heights, 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 acacia, the myrtle, and the wild olive; I will set the cypress in the desert, the plane [tree] and the pine [tree] together,
20 That men may see and know and consider and understand together that the hand of the Lord has done this, that the Holy One of Israel has created it.
21 [You idols made by men's hands, prove your divinity!] Produce your cause [set forth your case], says the Lord. Bring forth your strong proofs, says the King of Jacob.
22 Let them bring them forth and tell us what is to happen. Let them tell us the former things, what they are, that we may consider them and know the outcome of them; or declare to us the things to come.
23 Tell us the things that are to come hereafter, that we may know that you are gods; yes, do good or do evil [something or other], that we may stare in astonishment and be dismayed as we behold [the miracle] together!
24 Behold, you [idols] are nothing, and your work is nothing! The worshiper who chooses you is an abomination [extremely disgusting and shamefully vile in God's sight]. [I Cor. 8:4.]
25 I have raised up and impelled to action one from the north [Cyrus], and he comes; from the rising of the sun he calls upon My name [recognizing that his victories have been granted to him by Me]. And he shall tread upon rulers and deputies as upon mortar and as the potter treads clay. [He comes with the suddenness of a comet, but none of the idol oracles of the nations has anticipated it.] [II Chron. 36:23; Ezra 1:1-3.]
26 [What idol] has declared this from the beginning, that we could know? And beforetime, that we could say that he is [unquestionably] right? Yes, there is none who declares it, yes, there is none who proclaims it; yes, [for the truth is, O you dumb idols] there is none who hears you speak!
27 I [the Lord] first gave to Zion the announcement, Behold, [the Jews will be restored to their own land, and the man Cyrus shall be raised up who will deliver them] behold them! And to Jerusalem I gave a herald [Isaiah] bringing the good news. [Isa. 40:9; 52:7.]
28 For I look [upon the heathen prophets and the priests of pagan practices] and there is no man among them [who could predict these events], and among these [idols] there is no counselor who, when I ask of him, can answer a word.
29 Behold, these [pagan prophets and priests] are all emptiness (falseness and futility)! Their works are worthless; their molten images are empty wind (confusion and waste).