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Isaiah 41

41
XLI
1Keep silence before me, O Islands;
And let the nations renew their strength:
Let them draw near; then let them speak;
Let us come near together to judgment.
2Who hath stirred up from the east him,
Whom justice met at his feet?
Who hath given up the nations before him, that he should rule over kings?
Hath made as the dust, his sword;
As chaff driven by the wind, his bow?
3He hath pursued them, he hath passed safely,
By a way which no man had ever gone with his feet.
4Who hath wrought and done it,
Calling the generations from the beginning?
I Jehovah, the first;
And with the last, I am the same.
5The isles saw it, and feared;
The ends of the earth were terrified:
They drew near, they came together.
6They helped every one his neighbour,
And everyone said to his brother, Be of good courage.
7So the carpenter encouraged the goldsmith,
And he that smootheth with the hammer him that smiteth on the anvil:
Saying of the soldering, It is good;
And he fastened it with nails, that it should not be moved.
8But thou, O Israel, my servant,
O Jacob, whom I have chosen,
The seed of Abraham my friend;
9Thou, whom I have taken from the ends of the earth,
And called thee from the extremities thereof;
And said unto thee, Thou art my servant;
I have chosen thee, and will not reject thee.
10Fear 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.
11Behold, all they that were enraged against thee shall be ashamed and confounded:
They that contended with thee shall become as nothing, and shall utterly perish.
12Thou shalt seek them, and shalt not find them, even the men that strove with thee:
They shall become as nothing, and as mere nought, even the men that opposed thee in battle.
13For I Jehovah thy God, hold thee fast by thy right hand,
Saying unto thee, Fear not: I am thy helper.
14Fear not, thou worm Jacob; ye mortals of Israel;
I will help thee, saith Jehovah;
And thy Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel.
15Behold, I have made thee a new sharp threshing wain, armed with pointed teeth:
Thou shalt thresh the mountains, and beat them small;
And shalt make the hills as chaff.
16Thou shalt winnow them, and the wind shall carry them away,
And the whirlwind shall scatter them:
But thou shalt rejoice in Jehovah,
And shalt glory in the Holy One of Israel.
17The poor and needy who seek for water, and there is none;
Whose tongue is parched with thirst:
I Jehovah will hear them;
I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them.
18I will open rivers in the 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 waters.
19I will plant in the wilderness the cedar, the acacia,
And the myrtle, and the oil-tree;
I will set in the desert the fir-tree,
The plane-tree, and the box together:
20That they might see, and know,
And consider, and understand together,
That the hand of Jehovah hath done this,
And the Holy One of Israel hath created it.
21Bring forward your cause, saith Jehovah:
Produce your strong arguments, saith the King of Jacob,
22Let them approach, and tell us the things that shall happen;
The things that shall first happen, what they are, let them tell us;
That we may consider them, and know the event of them:
Or declare to us things to come hereafter.
23Tell us the things that will come to pass in the later times,
That we may know if ye be gods:
Yea, do good, or do evil,
That we may look around us, and behold together.
24Lo, ye are worse than nothing;
And your work is less than nought:
An abomination is he that maketh choice of you.
25I 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 trample on princes, as on mortar;
And as the potter treadeth down the clay.
26Who hath declared this from the beginning, that we should know it?
And beforehand, that we should say, It is right?
Yea, there was not one that declared it; yea, not one who had spread the report;
Yea, there was not one that heard your words.
27I am the first who said unto Zion, Behold, behold them I
And gave to Jerusalem a messenger of glad tidings.
28And I looked, but there was no man;
Even among these, but there was no counsellor;
And I inquired of them, but there was no one that could return an answer.
29Behold, they are all of them vanity;
Their works are nought:
Mere wind and emptiness are their molten images.

Isaiah 41

41
The Lord Controls Human Events
1Be silent and listen,
every island in the sea.
Have courage and come near,
every one of you nations.
Let's settle this matter!
2Who appointed this ruler
from the east?#41.2 ruler from the east: Probably Cyrus (see 44.28; 45.1; 48.14).
Who puts nations and kings
in his power?#41.2 Who puts … power: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
His sword and his arrows
turn them to dust
blown by the wind.
3He goes after them so quickly
that his feet
barely touch the ground—
he doesn't even get hurt.
4Who makes these things happen?
Who controls human events?
I do! I am the Lord.
I was there at the beginning;
I will be there at the end.
5Islands and foreign nations
saw what I did and trembled
as they came near.
What Can Idols Do?
6Worshipers of idols
comfort each other,
saying, “Don't worry!”
7Woodcarvers, goldsmiths,
and other workers#41.7 and other workers: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
encourage one another and say,
“We've done a great job!”
Then they nail the idol down,
so it won't fall over.
The Lord's Chosen Servant
8 # 2 Ch 20.7; Jas 2.23. Israel, you are my servant.
I chose you, the family
of my friend Abraham.
9From far across the earth
I brought you here and said,
“You are my chosen servant.
I haven't forgotten you.”
10Don't be afraid. I am with you.
Don't tremble with fear.
I am your God.
I will make you strong,
as I protect you with my arm
and give you victories.
11Everyone who hates you
will be terribly disgraced;
those who attack
will vanish into thin air.
12You will look around
for those brutal enemies,
but you won't find them—
they will be gone.
13I am the Lord your God.
I am holding your hand,
so don't be afraid.
I am here to help you.
14People of Israel, don't worry,
though others may say,
“Israel is only a worm!”
I am the holy God of Israel,
who saves and protects you.
15I will let you be like a log
covered with sharp spikes.#41.15 I will let … sharp spikes: In ancient times a heavy object was sometimes dragged over wheat or barley to separate the grain from the husk. This was called threshing.
You will grind and crush
every mountain and hill#41.15 mountain and hill: These stand for the power and pride of Israel's enemies.
until they turn to dust.
16A strong wind will scatter them
in all directions.
Then you will celebrate
and praise me, your Lord,
the holy God of Israel.
The Lord Helps the Poor
17When the poor and needy
are dying of thirst
and cannot find water,
I, the Lord God of Israel,
will come to their rescue.
I won't forget them.
18I will make rivers flow
on mountain peaks.
I will send streams
to fill the valleys.
Dry and barren land
will flow with springs
and become a lake.
19I will fill the desert
with all kinds of trees—
cedars, acacias, and myrtles;
olive and cypress trees;
fir trees and pines.
20Everyone will see this
and know that I,
the holy Lord God of Israel,
created it all.
Idols Are Useless
21I am the Lord,
the King of Israel!
Come argue your case with me.
Present your evidence.
22Come near me, you idols.#41.22 Come near … idols: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
Tell us about the past,
and we will think about it.
Tell us about the future,
so we will know
what is going to happen.
23Prove that you are gods
by making your predictions
come true.
Do something good or evil,
so we can be amazed
and terrified.#41.23 and terrified: Or “when we see it.”
24You idols are nothing,
and you are powerless.#41.24 powerless: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
To worship you
would be disgusting.
25I, the Lord, appointed a ruler
in the north;
now he comes from the east
to honor my name.
He tramples#41.25 tramples: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text. kings like mud,
as potters trample clay.#41.25 trample clay: This was done to soften the clay and make it easier to shape.
26Did any of you idols predict
what would happen?
Did any of you get it right?
None of you told about this
or even spoke a word.
27I was the first to tell
the people of Jerusalem,
“Look, it's happening!”#41.27 Look … happening: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
I was the one who announced
this good news to Zion.
28None of these idols
are able to give advice
or answer questions.
29They are nothing,#41.29 nothing: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
and they can do nothing—
they are merely
a passing breeze.