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Isaiah: Chapter 40

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1Comfort, oh comfort My people, Says your God. 2Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, And declare to her That her term of service is over, That her iniquity is expiated; For she has received at the hand of the LORD Double for all her sins. 3A voice rings out: “Clear in the desert A road for the LORD! Level in the wilderness A highway for our God! 4Let every valley be raised, Every hill and mount made low. Let the rugged ground become level And the ridges become a plain. 5The Presence of the LORD shall appear, And all flesh, as one, shall behold— For the LORD Himself has spoken.”

6A voice rings out: “Proclaim!” a‐ 1QIsa and Septuagint read “And I asked.” Another asks, ‐a 1QIsa and Septuagint read “And I asked.” “What shall I proclaim?” “All flesh is grass, All its goodness like flowers of the field: 7Grass withers, flowers fade When the breath of the LORD blows on them. Indeed, man is but grass: 8Grass withers, flowers fade— But the word of our God is always fulfilled!”

9Ascend a lofty mountain, O herald of joy to Zion; Raise your voice with power, O herald of joy to Jerusalem— Raise it, have no fear; Announce to the cities of Judah: Behold your God! 10Behold, the Lord GOD comes in might, And His arm wins triumph for Him; See, His reward a The reward and recompense to the cities of Judah; cf. Jer. 31.14, 16. is with Him, His recompense before Him. 11Like a shepherd He pastures His flock: He gathers the lambs in His arms And carries them in His bosom; Gently He drives the mother sheep.

12Who measured the waters with the hollow of His hand, And gauged the skies with a span, And meted earth's dust with a measure, b Heb. shalish “third,” probably a third of an ephah. And weighed the mountains with a scale And the hills with a balance? 13Who has plumbed the mind of the LORD, What man could tell Him His plan? 14Whom did He consult, and who taught Him, Guided Him in the way of right? Who guided Him in knowledge And showed Him the path of wisdom?

15The nations are but a drop in a bucket, Reckoned as dust on a balance; The very coastlands He lifts like motes. 16Lebanon is not fuel enough, Nor its beasts enough for sacrifice. 17All nations are as naught in His sight; He accounts them as less than nothing.

18To whom, then, can you liken God, What form compare to Him? 19The idol? A woodworker shaped it, And a smith overlaid it with gold, a‐ Meaning of Heb. uncertain. Forging links of silver. ‐a Meaning of Heb. uncertain. 20As a gift, he chooses the mulberry b Heb. mesukkan; according to a Jewish tradition, preserved by Jerome, a kind of wood; a similar word denotes a kind of wood in Akkadian. A wood that does not rot— Then seeks a skillful woodworker To make a firm idol, That will not topple.

21Do you not know? Have you not heard? Have you not been told From the very first? Have you not discerned a‐ Meaning of Heb. uncertain. How the earth was founded? ‐a Meaning of Heb. uncertain. 22It is He who is enthroned above the vault of the earth, So that its inhabitants seem as grasshoppers; Who spread out the skies like gauze, Stretched them out like a tent to dwell in. 23He brings potentates to naught, Makes rulers of the earth as nothing. 24Hardly are they planted, Hardly are they sown, Hardly has their stem Taken root in earth, When He blows upon them and they dry up, And the storm bears them off like straw.

25To whom, then, can you liken Me, To whom can I be compared?

—says the Holy One.

26Lift high your eyes and see: Who created these? He who sends out their host by count, Who calls them each by name: Because of His great might and vast power, Not one fails to appear.

27Why do you say, O Jacob, Why declare, O Israel, “My way is hid from the LORD, My cause is ignored by my God”? 28Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is God from of old, Creator of the earth from end to end, He never grows faint or weary, His wisdom cannot be fathomed. 29He gives strength to the weary, Fresh vigor to the spent. 30Youths may grow faint and weary, And young men stumble and fall; 31But they who trust in the LORD shall renew their strength As eagles grow new plumes: a Alluding to a popular belief that eagles regain their youth when they molt; cf. Ps. 103.5. They shall run and not grow weary, They shall march and not grow faint.

Notes:

a‐a 1QIsa and Septuagint read “And I asked.”

a The reward and recompense to the cities of Judah; cf. Jer. 31.14, 16.

b Heb. shalish “third,” probably a third of an ephah.

a‐a Meaning of Heb. uncertain.

b Heb. mesukkan; according to a Jewish tradition, preserved by Jerome, a kind of wood; a similar word denotes a kind of wood in Akkadian.

a Alluding to a popular belief that eagles regain their youth when they molt; cf. Ps. 103.5.

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