1"Cyrus is my anointed king. I take hold of his right hand. I give him the power to bring nations under his control. I help him strip kings of their power to go to war against him. I break city gates open so he can go through them. I say to him,2'I will march out ahead of you. I will make the mountains level. I will break down bronze gates. I will cut through their heavy iron bars.3I will give you treasures that are hidden away in dark places. I will give you riches that are stored up in secret places. Then you will know that I am the Lord. I am the God of Israel. I am sending for you by name.4Cyrus, I am sending for you by name. I am doing it for the good of the family of Jacob. They are my servants. I am doing it for Israel. They are my chosen people. You do not know anything about me. But I am giving you a title of honor.5I am the Lord. There is no other Lord. I am the one and only God. You do not know anything about me. But I will make you strong.6Then people will know there is no God but me. Everyone from where the sun rises in the east to where it sets in the west will know it. I am the Lord. There is no other Lord.7I cause light to shine. I also create darkness. I bring good times. I also create hard times. I do all of those things. I am the Lord.8" 'Rain down godliness, you heavens above. Let the clouds shower it down. Let the earth open wide to receive it. Let freedom spring to life. Let godliness grow along with it. I have created all of those things. I am the Lord.' "9How terrible it will be for anyone who argues with his Maker! He is like a broken piece of pottery lying on the ground. Does clay say to a potter, "What are you making?" Does a pot say, "You don't have any skill"?10How terrible it will be for anyone who says to his father, "Why did you give me life?" How terrible for anyone who says to his mother, "Why have you brought me into the world?"11The LORD is the Holy One of Israel. He made them. He says to them, "Are you asking me about what will happen to my children? Are you telling me what I should do with what my hands have made?12I made the earth. I created man to live there. My own hands spread out the heavens. I put all of the stars in their places.13I will stir up Cyrus and help him win his battles. I will make all of his roads straight. He will rebuild Jerusalem. My people have been taken away from their country. But he will set them free. I will not pay him to do it. He will not receive a reward for it," says the LORD who rules over all.14The LORD says to the people of Jerusalem, "You will get everything Egypt produces. You will receive everything the people of Cush and the tall Sabeans get in trade. All of it will belong to you. And all of those people will walk behind you as slaves. They will be put in chains and come over to you. They will bow down to you. They will admit, 'God is with you. There is no other God.' "15You are a God who hides yourself. You are the God of Israel. You save us.16All those who make statues of gods will be put to shame. They will be dishonored. They will be led away in shame together.17But the LORD will save Israel. He will save them forever. They will never be put to shame or dishonored. That will be true for all time to come.18The LORD created the heavens. He is God. He formed the earth and made it. He set it firmly in place. He didn't create it to be empty. Instead, he formed it for people to live on. He says, "I am the Lord. There is no other Lord.19I have not spoken in secret. I have not spoken from a dark place. I have not said to Jacob's people, 'It is useless to look for me.' I am the Lord. I always speak the truth. I always say what is right.20"Come together, you people of the nations who escaped from Babylonia. Gather together and come into court. Only people who do not know anything would carry around gods that are made out of wood. They pray to gods that can't save them.21Tell me what will happen. State your case. Talk it over together. Who spoke long ago about what would happen? Who said it a long time ago? I did. I am the Lord. I am the one and only God. I always do what is right. I am the one who saves. There is no God but me.22"All of you who live anywhere on earth, turn to me and be saved. I am God. There is no other God.23I have made a promise with an oath in my own name. I have spoken with complete honesty. I will not take back a single word. I said, 'Everyone's knee will bow down to me. Everyone's mouth will take an oath in my name.'24They will say, 'The LORD always does what is right. Only he can make us strong.' " All those who have been angry with the LORD will come to him. And they will be put to shame.25But the LORD will help all of the people of Israel. He will make them right with himself. And they will praise him.
1The gods Bel and Nebo are brought down in shame. The statues of them are being carried away on the backs of animals. They used to be carried around by the people who worshiped them. But now they've become a heavy load for tired animals.2Bel and Nebo are brought down in shame together. They aren't able to save their own statues. They themselves are carried off as prisoners.3The LORD says, "Family of Jacob, listen to me. Pay attention, you people of Israel who are left alive. I have taken good care of you since your life began. I have carried you since you were born as a nation.4I will continue to carry you even when you are old. I will take good care of you even when your hair is gray. I have made you. And I will carry you. I will take care of you. And I will save you. I am the Lord.5"Who will you compare me to? Who is equal to me? What am I like? Who can you compare me to?6Some people pour gold out of their bags. They weigh out silver on the scales. They hire someone who works with gold to make it into a god. They bow down to it and worship it.7They lift it up on their shoulders and carry it. They set it up in its place. And there it stands. It can't move from that spot. Someone might cry out to it. But it does not answer him. It can't save him from his troubles.8So remember that, you who refuse to obey me. Keep it in your minds and hearts.9"Remember what happened in the past. Think about what took place long ago. I am God. There is no other God. I am God. There is no one like me.10Before something even happens, I announce how it will end. In fact, from times long ago I announced what was still to come. I say, 'My plan will succeed. I will do anything I want to do.'11I will send for a man from the east to carry out my plan. From a land far away, he will come like a bird that eats dead bodies. I will bring about what I have said. I will do what I have planned.12Listen to me, you stubborn people. Pay attention, you who refuse to do what is right.13The time is almost here for me to make everything right. It is not far away. The time for me to save you will not be put off. I will save the city of Zion. I will bring honor to Israel.
1"City of Babylon, go down and sit in the dust. Leave your throne and sit on the ground. City of the Babylonians, your life will not be comfortable and easy anymore.2Get millstones and grind some flour like a female slave. Take your veil off. Lift your skirts up. Make your legs bare. Wade through the streams.3Everyone will see your naked body. Everyone will see your shame. I will pay you back for what you did. I will not spare any of your people."4The one who sets us free is the Holy One of Israel. His name is The LORD Who Rules Over All.5The LORD says, "City of the Babylonians, go into a dark prison and sit there quietly. You will not be called the queen of kingdoms anymore.6I was angry with my people. I treated them as if they did not belong to me. I handed them over to you. And you did not show them any pity. You even placed heavy loads on their old people.7You said, 'I will continue to be queen forever!' But you did not think about what you were doing. You did not consider how things might turn out.8"So listen, you who love pleasure. You think you are safe and secure. You say to yourself, 'I am like a god. No one is greater than I am. I'll never be a widow. And my children will never be taken away from me.'9But both of those things will happen to you in a moment. They will take place on a single day. You will lose your children. And you will become a widow. That is what will happen to you. All of your evil magic and powerful spells will not save you.10You have felt secure in your evil ways. You have said, 'No one sees what I'm doing.' Your wisdom and knowledge lead you down the wrong path. You say to yourself, 'I am like a god. No one is greater than I am.'11So horrible trouble will come on you. You will not know how to use your evil magic to make it go away. Great trouble will fall on you. No amount of money can keep it away. Something terrible will happen to you all at once. You will not see it coming ahead of time.12"So keep on casting your magic spells. Keep on practicing your evil magic. You have been doing those things ever since you were a child. Perhaps they will help you. Maybe they will scare your enemies away.13All of the advice you have received has only worn you out! Let those who study the heavens come forward. They claim to know what is going to happen by watching the stars every month. So let them save you from the trouble that is coming on you.14They are just like straw. Fire will burn them up. They can't even save themselves from the powerful flames. They are not like coals that can warm anyone. They are not like a fire to sit by.15They can't do you any good. You have done business with them ever since you were a child. You have always asked them for advice. All of them are bewildered and continue in their own ways. None of them can save you."
1People of Jacob, listen to me. You are called by the name of Israel. You come from the family line of Judah. You take oaths in the name of the Lord. You pray to Israel's God. But you aren't honest. You don't mean what you say.2You call yourselves citizens of the holy city of Jerusalem. You say you depend on Israel's God. His name is The LORD Who Rules Over All. He says,3"Long ago I told you ahead of time what would happen. I announced it and made it known. Then all of a sudden I acted. And those things took place.4I knew how stubborn you were. Your neck was as unbending as iron. Your forehead was as hard as bronze.5So I told you those things long ago. Before they happened I announced them to you. I did it so you would not be able to say, 'My statues of gods did them. My wooden and metal gods made them happen.'6You have heard me tell you those things. Think about all of them. Won't you admit they have taken place? "From now on I will tell you about new things that will happen. I have not made them known to you before.7Those things are taking place right now. They did not happen long ago. You have not heard of them before today. So you can't say, 'Oh, yes. I already knew about them.'8You have not heard or understood what I said. Your ears have been plugged up for a long time. I knew very well that you would turn against me. From the day you were born, you have refused to obey me.9For the honor of my own name I put off showing my anger. I hold it back from you so people will continue to praise me. I do not want to destroy you.10I have put you to the test in the furnace of suffering. I have tried to make you pure. But I did not use as much heat as it takes to make silver pure.11I tried to purify you for my own honor. I did it for the honor of my name. How can I let myself be dishonored? I will not give up my glory to any other god.12"Family of Jacob, listen to me. People of Israel, pay attention. I have chosen you. I am the First and the Last. I am the Lord.13With my own hand I laid the foundations of the earth. With my right hand I spread out the heavens. When I send for them, they come and stand ready to obey me.14"People of Israel, come together and listen to me. What other god has said ahead of time that certain things would happen? I have chosen Cyrus. He will carry out my plans against Babylon. He will use his powerful arm against the Babylonians.15I myself have spoken. I have chosen him to carry out my purpose. I will bring him to Babylon. He will succeed in what I tell him to do.16"Come close and listen to me. "From the first time I said Cyrus was coming, I did not do it in secret. When he comes, I will be there." The LORD and King has filled me with his Spirit. People of Israel, he has sent me to you.17The LORD is the Holy One of Israel. He sets his people free. He says to them, "I am the LORD your God. I teach you what is best for you. I direct you in the way you should go.18I wish you would pay attention to my commands. If you did, peace would flow over you like a river. Holiness would sweep over you like the waves of the ocean.19Your family would be like the sand. Your children after you would be as many as the grains of sand by the sea. It would be impossible to count them. I would always accept the members of your family line. They would never be cut off or destroyed."20People of Israel, leave Babylon! Hurry up and get away from the Babylonians! Here is what I want you to announce. Make it known with shouts of joy. Send the news out from one end of the earth to the other. Say, "The LORD has set Jacob's people free. They are his servants."21They didn't get thirsty when he led them through the deserts. He made water flow out of the rock for them. He broke the rock open, and water came out of it.22"There is no peace for those who are evil," says the Lord.