New International Version

Isaiah 41

The Helper of Israel

1“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 Living Translation

Isaiah 41

God’s Help for Israel

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

“Who has stirred up this king from the east,
    rightly calling him to God’s service?
Who gives this man victory over many nations
    and permits him to trample their kings underfoot?
With his sword, he reduces armies to dust.
    With his bow, he scatters them like chaff before the wind.
He chases them away and goes on safely,
    though he is walking over unfamiliar ground.
Who has done such mighty deeds,
    summoning each new generation from the beginning of time?
It is I, the Lord, the First and the Last.
    I alone am he.”

The lands beyond the sea watch in fear.
    Remote lands tremble and mobilize for war.
The idol makers encourage one another,
    saying to each other, “Be strong!”
The carver encourages the goldsmith,
    and the molder helps at the anvil.
    “Good,” they say. “It’s coming along fine.”
Carefully they join the parts together,
    then fasten the thing in place so it won’t fall over.

“But as for you, Israel my servant,
    Jacob my chosen one,
    descended from Abraham my friend,
I have called you back from the ends of the earth,
    saying, ‘You are my servant.’
For I have chosen you
    and will not throw you away.
10 Don’t be afraid, for I am with you.
    Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you.
    I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.

11 “See, all your angry enemies lie there,
    confused and humiliated.
Anyone who opposes you will die
    and come to nothing.
12 You will look in vain
    for those who tried to conquer you.
Those who attack you
    will come to nothing.
13 For I hold 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 Though you are a lowly worm, O Jacob,
    don’t be afraid, people of Israel, for I will help you.
I am the Lord, your Redeemer.
    I am the Holy One of Israel.’
15 You will be a new threshing instrument
    with many sharp teeth.
You will tear your enemies apart,
    making chaff of mountains.
16 You will toss them into the air,
    and the wind will blow them all away;
    a whirlwind will scatter them.
Then you will rejoice in the Lord.
    You will glory in the Holy One of Israel.

17 “When the poor and needy search for water and there is none,
    and their tongues are parched from thirst,
then I, the Lord, will answer them.
    I, the God of Israel, will never abandon them.
18 I will open up rivers for them on the high plateaus.
    I will give them fountains of water in the valleys.
I will fill the desert with pools of water.
    Rivers fed by springs will flow across the parched ground.
19 I will plant trees in the barren desert—
    cedar, acacia, myrtle, olive, cypress, fir, and pine.
20 I am doing this so all who see this miracle
    will understand what it means—
that it is the Lord who has done this,
    the Holy One of Israel who created it.

21 “Present the case for your idols,”
    says the Lord.
“Let them show what they can do,”
    says the King of Israel.[a]
22 “Let them try to tell us what happened long ago
    so that we may consider the evidence.
Or let them tell us what the future holds,
    so we can know what’s going to happen.
23 Yes, tell us what will occur in the days ahead.
    Then we will know you are gods.
In fact, do anything—good or bad!
    Do something that will amaze and frighten us.
24 But no! You are less than nothing and can do nothing at all.
    Those who choose you pollute themselves.

25 “But I have stirred up a leader who will approach from the north.
    From the east he will call on my name.
I will give him victory over kings and princes.
    He will trample them as a potter treads on clay.

26 “Who told you from the beginning
    that this would happen?
Who predicted this,
    making you admit that he was right?
    No one said a word!
27 I was the first to tell Zion,
    ‘Look! Help is on the way!’[b]
    I will send Jerusalem a messenger with good news.
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.
    All your idols are as empty as the wind.

Footnotes

  1. 41:21 Hebrew the King of Jacob. See note on 14:1.
  2. 41:27 Or ‘Look! They are coming home.’