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The Oxford Study Bible Study Bible supplemented with commentary from scholars of various religions.

Chapter 44

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1Hear me now, Jacob my servant; Israel, my chosen one, hear me. 2Thus says the LORD your maker, your helper, who fashioned you from birth: Have no fear, Jacob my servant, Jeshurun whom I have chosen, 3for I shall pour down rain on thirsty land, showers on dry ground. I shall pour out my spirit on your offspring and my blessing on your children. 4They will grow up like a green tamarisk, like willows a 44:4 willows: or poplars. by flowing streams. 5This person will say, ‘I am the LORD's’; that one will call himself a son of Jacob; another will write the LORD's name on his hand and the name of Israel will be added to his own.

6Thus says the LORD, Israel's King, the LORD of Hosts, his Redeemer: I am the first and I am the last, and there is no god but me. 7Who is like me? Let him speak up; let him declare his proof and set it out for me: let him announce beforehand b 44:7 let him announce beforehand: prob. rdg; Heb. since my appointing an ancient people and. things to come, let him foretell what is yet to be. 8Take heart, have no fear. Did I not tell you this long ago? I foretold it, and you are my witnesses. Is there any god apart from me, any other deity c 44:8 deity: lit. rock. ? I know none!

9Those who make idols are all less than nothing; their cherished images profit nobody; their worshippers are blind; their ignorance shows up their foolishness. 10Whoever makes a god or casts an image, his labour is wasted. 11All the votaries are put to shame; the craftsmen are but mortals. Let them all assemble and confront me; they will be afraid and utterly shamed.

12The blacksmith sharpens d 44:12 sharpens: so Gk; Heb. omits. a graving tool and hammers out his work e his work: prob. rdg; Heb. he works. hot from the coals and shapes it with his strong arm. Should he go hungry his strength fails; if he has no water to drink he feels exhausted. 13The woodworker draws his line taut and marks out a figure with a scriber; he planes the wood and measures it with calipers, and he carves it to the shape of a man, comely as the human form, to be set up in a shrine f 44:13 shrine: or house. .

14A man plants a cedar and the rain makes it grow, so that later on he will have a tree to cut down; or he picks out in the forest an ilex or an oak which he will raise into a stout tree for himself. 15It becomes fuel for his fire: some of it he uses to warm himself, some he kindles and bakes bread on it. Some he even makes into a god, and prostrates himself; he shapes it into an idol and bows down before it. 16One half of the wood he burns in the fire and on this he roasts meat, so that he may eat this and be satisfied; he also warms himself and he says, ‘Good! I can feel the heat as I watch the flames.’ 17Then what is left of the wood he makes into a god, an image to which he bows down and prostrates himself; he prays to it and says, ‘Save me; for you are my god.’

18Such people neither know nor understand, their eyes made too blind to see, their minds too narrow to discern. 19Such a one will not use his reason; he has neither the wit nor the sense to say, ‘Half of it I have burnt, and even used its embers to bake bread; I have roasted meat on them and eaten it; but the rest of it I turn into this abominable object; really I am worshipping a block of wood.’ 20He feeds on ashes indeed! His deluded mind has led him astray, and he cannot recover his senses so far as to say, ‘This thing I am holding is a sham.’

21Jacob, remember all this; Israel, remember, for you are my servant: I have fashioned you, and you are in my service;: Israel, never forget me. 22I have swept away your transgressions like mist, and your sins are dispersed like clouds; turn back to me, for I have redeemed you. 23Shout in triumph, you heavens, for it is the LORD's doing; cry out for joy, you lowest depths of the earth; break into songs of triumph, you mountains, you forest and all your trees; for the LORD has redeemed Jacob and through Israel he wins glory.

24Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer, who formed you from birth: I am the LORD who made all things, by myself I stretched out the heavens, alone I fashioned the earth. 25I frustrate false prophets and their omens, and make fools of diviners; I reverse what wise men say and make nonsense of their wisdom. 26I confirm my servants' prophecies and bring about my messengers' plans. Of Jerusalem I say, ‘She will be inhabited once more,’ and of the towns of Judah, ‘They will be rebuilt; I shall restore their ruins.’ 27I say to the deep waters, ‘Be dried up; I shall make your streams run dry.’ 28I say to Cyrus, ‘You will be my shepherd to fulfil all my purpose, so that Jerusalem may be rebuilt and the foundations of the temple be laid g 44:28 be laid: prob. rdg, cp. Scroll; Heb. you may be laid. .’

Notes:

a 44:4 willows: or poplars.

b 44:7 let him announce beforehand: prob. rdg; Heb. since my appointing an ancient people and.

c 44:8 deity: lit. rock.

d 44:12 sharpens: so Gk; Heb. omits.

e his work: prob. rdg; Heb. he works.

f 44:13 shrine: or house.

g 44:28 be laid: prob. rdg, cp. Scroll; Heb. you may be laid.

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