Isaiah 41
God Helps Israel
1Listen to me in silence, coastlands,
and let nations renew their strength.
Let them approach, then let them speak;
let us draw near together for judgment.
2Who has roused salvation from the east,
summoned#Or “called” him to his foot,
gives nations in his presence,#Literally “before his face”
and subjugates kings?
He makes#Or “gives” them like the dust with his sword,
like scattered stubble with his bow.
3He pursues them and passes on in peace;
he does not enter the path with his feet.
4Who has accomplished and done this,
calling the generations from the beginning?#Literally “head”
I, Yahweh, am first;
and I am the one with the last.
5The coastlands have seen and are afraid;
the ends of the earth tremble.
They have drawn near,
and they have come.
6Each one helps#Hebrew “help” his neighbor;
he says to his brother, “Take courage!”
7And the artisan encourages the goldsmith,#Literally “refiner”
the one who makes smooth with the hammer encourages the one who strikes the anvil,
saying of the soldering, “It is good!”
And they strengthen it with nails so it cannot be knocked over.
8But#Or “And” you, Israel, my servant, Jacob, whom I have chosen,
you, the offspring#Literally “seed” of Abraham my friend,#Literally “beloved”
9you whom I grasped from the ends of the earth
and called from its remotest parts
and told, “You are my servant;
I have chosen you and I have not rejected you.”
10You must not fear, for I am with you;
you must not be afraid, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you, indeed I will help you,
indeed I will take hold of you with the right hand of my salvation.
11Look! All those who are angry with you shall be ashamed and humiliated;
your opponents#Literally “the men of your strife” shall be like nothing and shall become lost.
12You shall seek them,
but#Or “and” you shall not find them;
your opponents#Literally “the men of your strife” shall be like nothing,
and the men of your war like nothing.
13For I, Yahweh your God, am grasping your right hand;
it is I who say#Literally “the sayer” to you,
“You must not fear;
I myself, I will help you.
14You must not fear, O worm of Jacob;
people of Israel, I myself, I will help you,”
declares#Literally “declaration of” Yahweh,
“and your redeemer is the holy one of Israel.
15Look! I will make you into a new sharp threshing sledge,
with#Literally “owner of” sharp edges.
You shall thresh and crush the mountains,
and you shall make the hills like chaff.
16You shall winnow them and the wind shall carry them,
and the tempest shall scatter them.
And you yourself shall rejoice in Yahweh;
you shall boast in the holy one of Israel.
17The poor and the needy are seeking water and there is none;
their tongue is dried up with thirst.
I, Yahweh, will answer them;
I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them.
18I will open rivers on the barren heights
and fountains in the midst of the valleys.
I will make the wilderness like a pool of water
and the land of dryness like springs of water.
19I will put#Literally “give” the cedar, acacia, myrtle, and olive oil tree in the wilderness;
I will set the cypress, elm, and box tree together in the desert
20so that they may see and know,
and take to heart and understand together
that the hand of Yahweh has done this,
and the holy one of Israel has created it.”
21“Present your legal case,” says Yahweh.
“Bring your evidence,” says the king of Jacob.
22Let them bring them,
and let them tell us what will happen.
Tell us what the former things are
so that#Or “And” we may take them to our heart
and know their outcome.#Or “end”
Declare to us the things to come;
23tell us the things coming hereafter,#Literally “later”
that#Or “and” we may know that you are gods.
Indeed, do good or#Or “and” do evil,
that#Or “and” we may be afraid and see#Following the reading tradition (Qere); the written text (Kethib) has “fear” together.
24Look! you are nothing,
and your work is something worthless;
whoever chooses you is an abomination.
25I stirred up one from the north,
and he has come from the rising of the sun.
He shall call on my name,
and he shall come on officials as on mortar,
and as the potter#Literally “creator” treads clay.
26Who declared it from the beginning#Literally “head” so that#Or “and” we might know,
and beforehand#Literally “from before faces” so that#Or “and” we might say, “He is right!”#Literally “righteous”
Indeed, there was no one who declared it;
Indeed, there was no one who proclaimed it.
Indeed there was no one who heard your words.
27First to Zion, look! Look at them!
And I give a herald#Or “bringer” of good tidings to Jerusalem.
28But#Or “And” I look and there is no man,
and I look among these and there is no counselor,
that#Or “and” I might ask them and they might answer a word.
29Look! All of them are deception;
their works are nothing;
their images are wind and emptiness.
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