Isaiah 44

Chapter 44

1 Now listen to me, O Jacob, my servant,
Israel whom I have chosen.
2 Thus says the Lord who made you,
who formed you in the womb
and will continue to help you:
Do not fear, O Jacob, my servant,
Jeshurun[a] whom I have chosen.
3 For I will pour down rain on the thirsty land
and open up streams on the dry ground.
I will pour out my Spirit upon your offspring
and my blessing upon your descendants.
4 They will spring up amid the grass
like willows besides flowing waters.
5 One person will say, “I am the Lord’s,”
while another will call himself a son of Jacob.
And on his hand still another will write “The Lord’s,”
and adopt Israel as a surname.

The One True God and False Gods

6 Thus says the Lord, the Lord Almighty,
Israel’s king and redeemer:
I am the first and I am the last;
there is no god but me.
7 Who is like me? Let him stand up and speak.
Let him declare it and set forth his evidence.
Who in the past has foretold future events?
Let him foretell to us what is yet to occur.
8 Do not fear or be afraid.
Did I not proclaim all this
and foretell it long ago?
You are my witnesses in this regard.
Is there any god besides me?
There is no other Rock;
I am aware of none.

9 All those who make idols amount to nothing, and the images in which they take such pride profit no one. Their witnesses are blind and ignorant, and therefore they become objects of scorn. 10 Who would waste his time in fashioning a god or casting an image that will serve no purpose? 11 All who believe in their power will be put to shame, as will the craftsmen who fashioned them. Let them all assemble and approach me with terror and with shame.

12 The blacksmith fashions an ax over the coals, shaping it with hammers and forging it with his strong arm. Then he becomes hungry and his strength fails, and he becomes exhausted because he has not consumed any water.

13 The woodworker measures with a line and marks out an outline with a stylus. He shapes it with a plane and marks it with a compass. Then he carves it into the shape of a man, comely in appearance and dignity, to be placed in a shrine.

14 He also cuts down cedars or chooses a cypress or an oak that he has allowed to grow strong among the other trees of the forest, and a pine tree that he had planted and the rain has nourished. 15 When such trees are suitable to burn, he can use some of them to keep warm or to bake bread, but with others he fashions a god and worships it, shaping it into an idol and bowing down before it.

16 Half of the trees he uses to burn in the fire to roast meat which he eats and is satisfied, while at the same time he warms himself and says, “Ah, how warm I am from the heat of the fire.” 17 With the remainder he fashions a god, an idol before which he bows down and offers worship. He prays to it and says, “Save me, for you are my god.”

18 Such idols possess neither knowledge nor understanding, for their eyes are shut so that they cannot see, and their minds are incapable of reasoning. 19 Yet such a workman does not have the wisdom or the discernment to reflect, “Half of the wood I have burned in the fire, and I also used its embers to bake bread and to roast meat which I ate. Does it make sense to fashion an abomination with the remainder? Am I right to worship a block of wood?” 20 He feeds on ashes. His deluded mind has led him astray, and he cannot save himself. He will not admit to himself, “What I have in my hand is a fraud.”

21 Remember these things, O Lord,
and you also, O Israel,
for you are my servant.
I fashioned you to be my servant;
O Israel, I will never forget you.
22 I have swept away your transgressions like a cloud
and your sins like a mist.
Return to me,
for I have redeemed you.
23 Shout in triumphant joy, O heavens,
for the Lord has done this;
shout aloud, O depths of the earth.
Break forth into song, you mountains,
you forests, with all your trees.
For the Lord has redeemed Jacob
and displayed his glory in Israel.
24 Thus says the Lord, your redeemer,
who formed you in the womb:
I am the Lord who made all things;
by myself I stretched out the heavens
by myself I spread out the earth.
25 I frustrate the omens of false prophets
and make fools of diviners.
I confound wise men
and reveal the foolishness of their thoughts.
26 I confirm the words of my servants
and carry out the plans revealed by my messengers.
I say to Jerusalem, You will be inhabited,
and to the cities of Judah, You will be rebuilt.
I will raise up their ruins.
27 I say to the deep waters, Become dry;
I will dry up your rivers.
28 I say to Cyrus, You will be my shepherd,
and he will carry out my every wish,
so that Jerusalem will be rebuilt
and the foundations of the temple will be laid.

Footnotes

  1. Isaiah 44:2 Jeshurun: a poetic endearment of uncertain meaning. See Deut 33:5, 26, where it is put on the lips of Moses.

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