Isaiah – Chapter 41

The Bible – Old Testament



Chapter 41


1 Keep silence before me, O coastlands; you peoples, wait for my words! Let them draw near and speak; let us come together for judgment.


2 Who has stirred up from the East the champion of justice, and summoned him to be his attendant? To him he delivers the nations and subdues the kings; With his sword he reduces them to dust, with his bow, to driven straw.


He pursues them, passing on without loss, by a path his feet do not even tread.


Who has performed these deeds? He who has called forth the generations since the beginning. I, the LORD, am the first, and with the last I will also be.


The coastlands see, and fear; the ends of the earth tremble: these things are near, they come to pass.


But you, Israel, my servant, Jacob, whom I have chosen, offspring of Abraham my friend – 


You whom I have taken from the ends of the earth and summoned from its far-off places, You whom I have called my servant, whom I have chosen and will not cast off – 


Fear not, I am with you; be not dismayed; I am your God. I will strengthen you, and help you, and uphold you with my right hand of justice.


Yes, all shall be put to shame and disgrace who vent their anger against you; Those shall perish and come to nought who offer resistance.


You shall seek out, but shall not find, those who strive against you; They shall be as nothing at all who do battle with you.


For I am the LORD, your God, who grasp your right hand; It is I who say to you, «Fear not, I will help you.»


3 Fear not, O worm Jacob, O maggot Israel; I will help you, says the LORD; your redeemer is the Holy One of Israel.


I will make of you a threshing sledge, sharp, new, and double-edged, To thresh the mountains and crush them, to make the hills like chaff.


When you winnow them, the wind shall carry them off and the storm shall scatter them. But you shall rejoice in the LORD, and glory in the Holy One of Israel.


The afflicted and the needy seek water in vain, their tongues are parched with thirst. I, the LORD, will answer them; I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them.


I will open up rivers on the bare heights, and fountains in the broad valleys; I will turn the desert into a marshland, and the dry ground into springs of water.


I will plant in the desert the cedar, acacia, myrtle, and olive; I will set in the wasteland the cypress, together with the plane tree and the pine,


That all may see and know, observe and understand, That the hand of the LORD has done this, the Holy One of Israel has created it.


4 Present your case, says the LORD; bring forward your reasons, says the King of Jacob.


Let them come near and foretell to us what it is that shall happen! What are the things of long ago? Tell us, that we may reflect on them And know their outcome; or declare to us the things to come!


Foretell the things that shall come afterward, that we may know that you are gods! Do something, good or evil, that will put us in awe and in fear.


Why, you are nothing and your work is nought! To choose you is an abomination.


5 I have stirred up one from the north, and he comes; from the east I summon him by name; He shall trample the rulers down like red earth, as the potter treads the clay.


Who announced this from the beginning, that we might know; beforehand, that we might say it is true? Not one of you foretold it, not one spoke; no one heard you say,


«The first news for Zion: they are coming now,» or, «For Jerusalem I will pick out a bearer of the glad tidings.»


When I look, there is not one, no one of them to give counsel, to make an answer when I question them.


Ah, all of them are nothing, their works are nought, their idols are empty wind!


1 [1-4] It is generally agreed that these verses describe the vocation and victory of Cyrus, whom the Lord used as his instrument to redeem Israel.

2 [2] Cyrus is the champion of justice and God’s attendant.

3 [14] Redeemer: in Hebrew, goel, one who frees another from slavery and avenges his sufferings; cf ⇒ Lev 25:48; ⇒ Deut 19:6, ⇒ 12.

4 [21-24] An indictment of idols.

5 [25] I summon him: Cyrus.