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Isaiah 41 Living Bible (TLB)

41 Listen in silence before me, O lands beyond the sea. Bring your strongest arguments. Come now and speak. The court is ready for your case.

Who has stirred up this one from the east,[a] whom victory meets at every step? Who, indeed, but the Lord? God has given him victory over many nations and permitted him to trample kings underfoot and to put entire armies to the sword. He chases them away and goes on safely, though the paths he treads are new. Who has done such mighty deeds, directing the affairs of generations of mankind as they march by? It is I, the Lord, the First and Last; I alone am he.

The lands beyond the sea watch in fear and wait for word of Cyrus’s[b] new campaigns. Remote lands tremble and mobilize for war. 6-7 The craftsmen encourage each other as they rush to make new idols to protect them. The carver hurries the goldsmith, and the molder helps at the anvil. “Good,” they say. “It’s coming along fine. Now we can solder on the arms.” Carefully they join the parts together and then fasten the thing in place so it won’t fall over!

But as for you, O Israel, you are mine, my chosen ones; for you are Abraham’s family, and he was my friend. I have called you back from the ends of the earth and said that you must serve but me alone, for I have chosen you and will not throw you away. 10 Fear not, for I am with you. Do not be dismayed. I am your God. I will strengthen you; I will help you; I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.[c]

11 See, all your angry enemies lie confused and shattered. Anyone opposing you will die. 12 You will look for them in vain—they will all be gone. 13 I am holding you by your right hand—I, the Lord your God—and I say to you, Don’t be afraid; I am here to help you. 14 Despised though you are, fear not, O Israel; for I will help you. I am the Lord, your Redeemer; I am the Holy One of Israel. 15 You shall be a new and sharp-toothed threshing instrument to tear all enemies apart, making chaff of mountains. 16 You shall toss them in the air; the wind shall blow them all away; whirlwinds shall scatter them. And the joy of the Lord shall fill you full; you shall glory in the God of Israel.

17 When the poor and needy seek water and there is none, and their tongues are parched from thirst, then I will answer when they cry to me. I, Israel’s God, will never forsake them. 18 I will open up rivers for them on high plateaus! I will give them fountains of water in the valleys! In the deserts will be pools of water, and rivers fed by springs shall flow across the dry, parched ground. 19 I will plant trees—cedars, myrtle, olive trees, cypress, fir, and pine—on barren land. 20 Everyone will see this miracle and understand that it is God who did it, Israel’s Holy One.

21 Can your idols make such claims as these? Let them come and show what they can do, says God, the King of Israel. 22 Let them try to tell us what occurred in years gone by or what the future holds. 23 Yes, that’s it! If you are gods, tell what will happen in the days ahead! Or do some mighty miracle that makes us stare, amazed. 24 But no! You are less than nothing and can do nothing at all. Anyone who chooses you needs to have his head examined!

25 But I have stirred up Cyrus from the north and east; he will come against the nations and call on my name, and I will give him victory over kings and princes. He will tread them as a potter tramples clay.

26 Who but I have told you this would happen? Who else predicted this, making you admit that he was right? No one else! None other said one word! 27 I was the first to tell Jerusalem, “Look! Look! Help is on the way!” 28 Not one of your idols told you this. Not one gave any answer when I asked. 29 See, they are all foolish, worthless things; your idols are all as empty as the wind.

Footnotes:

  1. Isaiah 41:2 this one from the east. Doubtless Cyrus the Great of Persia; see 44:28.
  2. Isaiah 41:5 Cyrus’s, implied from 45:1.
  3. Isaiah 41:10 with my victorious right hand, or “with the right hand of my righteousness.”
Living Bible (TLB)

The Living Bible copyright © 1971 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

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.

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