Isaiah – Chapter 40

The Bible – Old Testament



Chapter 40


Comfort, give comfort to my people, says your God.


1 Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her service is at an end, her guilt is expiated; Indeed, she has received from the hand of the LORD double for all her sins.


2 A voice cries out: In the desert prepare the way of the LORD! Make straight in the wasteland a highway for our God!


Every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill shall be made low; The rugged land shall be made a plain, the rough country, a broad valley.


Then the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all mankind shall see it together; for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.


A voice says, «Cry out!» I answer, «What shall I cry out?» «All mankind is grass, and all their glory like the flower of the field.


The grass withers, the flower wilts, when the breath of the LORD blows upon it. (So then, the people is the grass.)


Though the grass withers and the flower wilts, the word of our God stands forever.»


Go up onto a high mountain, Zion, herald of glad tidings; Cry out at the top of your voice, Jerusalem, herald of good news! Fear not to cry out and say to the cities of Judah: Here is your God!


Here comes with power the Lord GOD, who rules by his strong arm; Here is his reward with him, his recompense before him.


Like a shepherd he feeds his flock; in his arms he gathers the lambs, Carrying them in his bosom, and leading the ewes with care.


3 Who has cupped in his hand the waters of the sea, and marked off the heavens with a span? Who has held in a measure the dust of the earth, weighed the mountains in scales and the hills in a balance?


Who has directed the spirit of the LORD, or has instructed him as his counselor?


Whom did he consult to gain knowledge? Who taught him the path of judgment, or showed him the way of understanding?


Behold, the nations count as a drop in the bucket, as dust on the scales; the coastlands weigh no more than powder.


4 Lebanon would not suffice for fuel, nor its animals be enough for holocausts.


Before him all the nations are as nought, as nothing and void he accounts them.


To whom can you liken God? With what equal can you confront him?


An idol, cast by a craftsman, which the smith plates with gold and fits with silver chains?


Mulberry wood, the choice portion which a skilled craftsman picks out for himself, Choosing timber that will not rot, to set up an idol that will not be unsteady?


5 One man helps another, one says to the other, «Keep on!»


The craftsman encourages the goldsmith, the one who beats with the hammer, him who strikes on the anvil; He says the soldering is good, and he fastens it with nails to steady it.


Do you not know? Have you not heard? Was it not foretold you from the beginning? Have you not understood? Since the earth was founded


He sits enthroned above the vault of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers; He stretches out the heavens like a veil, spreads them out like a tent to dwell in.


He brings princes to nought and makes the rulers of the earth as nothing.


Scarcely are they planted or sown, scarcely is their stem rooted in the earth, When he breathes upon them and they wither, and the stormwind carries them away like straw.


To whom can you liken me as an equal? says the Holy One.


6 Lift up your eyes on high and see who has created these: He leads out their army and numbers them, calling them all by name. By his great might and the strength of his power not one of them is missing!


7 Why, O Jacob, do you say, and declare, O Israel, «My way is hidden from the LORD, and my right is disregarded by my God»?


Do you not know or have you not heard? The LORD is the eternal God, creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint nor grow weary, and his knowledge is beyond scrutiny.


He gives strength to the fainting; for the weak he makes vigor abound.


Though young men faint and grow weary, and youths stagger and fall,


They that hope in the LORD will renew their strength, they will soar as with eagles’ wings; They will run and not grow weary, walk and not grow faint.


1 [2] Service: servitude and exile.

2 [3-5] The figurative language here describes the actual return of the exiles from Babylon to Jerusalem. It is the Lord who leads them; their road is made easy for them. ⇒ Matthew 3:3 and parallels see in these verses a prophecy of the Baptizer and Christ.

3 [12] Span: the distance between the extended little finger and the thumb. Measure: literally, «third»; here a small container.

4 [16] Lebanon . . . fuel: the famed cedars would not be enough to keep the fires of sacrifice burning.

5 [6] (41:6-7)These two verses have been transposed from Isaiah 40.

6 [26] Created: see note on ⇒ Genesis 1:1. By name: for he is their Creator.

7 [27-28] God’s people, here called Jacob and Israel, must not give way to discouragement: their Lord is the eternal God.