Isaiah 49; Isaiah 50; Isaiah 51; Isaiah 52; Isaiah 53

1 People who live on the islands, listen to me. Pay attention, you nations far away. Before I was born the LORD chose me to serve him. He appointed me by name. 2 He made my words like a sharp sword. He hid me in the palm of his hand. He made me into a sharpened arrow. He took good care of me and kept me safe. 3 He said to me, "You are my true servant Israel. I will show my glory through you." 4 But I said, "In spite of my hard work, I feel as if I haven't accomplished anything. I've used up all of my strength. It seems as if everything I've done is worthless. But the LORD will give me what I should receive. My God will reward me." 5 The LORD formed me in my mother's body to be his servant. He wanted me to bring the family of Jacob back to him. He wanted me to gather the people of Israel to himself. The LORD will honor me. My God will give me strength. 6 The LORD says to me, "It is not enough for you as my servant to bring the tribes of Jacob back to their land. It is not enough for you to bring back the people of Israel I have kept alive. I will also make you a light for other nations. Then you will make it possible for the whole world to be saved." 7 The LORD sets his people free. He is the Holy One of Israel. He speaks to his servant, who is looked down on and hated by the nations. He speaks to the servant of rulers. He says to him, "Kings will see you and rise up to honor you. Princes will see you and bow down to show you their respect. I am the Lord. I am faithful. I am the Holy One of Israel. I have chosen you." 8 The LORD says to his servant, "When it is time to show you my favor, I will answer your prayers. When it is time to save you, I will help you. I will keep you safe. You will put my covenant with the people of Israel into effect. Then their land will be made like new again. Each tribe will be sent back to its territory that was left empty. 9 I want you to say to the prisoners, 'Come out.' Tell those who are in their dark cells, 'You are free!' "On their way home they will eat beside the roads. They will find plenty to eat on every bare hill. 10 They will not get hungry or thirsty. The heat from the desert sun will not beat down on them. The One who shows his tender love to them will guide them. Like a shepherd, he will lead them beside springs of water. 11 I will make roads across the mountains. I will build wide roads for my people. 12 They will come from far away. Some of them will come from the north. Others will come from the west. Still others will come from Aswan in the south." 13 Shout with joy, you heavens! Be glad, you earth! Burst into song, you mountains! The LORD will comfort his people. He will show his tender love to those who are suffering. 14 But the city of Zion said, "The LORD has deserted me. The Lord has forgotten me." 15 The LORD answers, "Can a mother forget the baby who is nursing at her breast? Can she stop showing her tender love to the child who was born to her? She might forget her child. But I will not forget you. 16 I have written your name on the palms of my hands. Your walls are never out of my sight. 17 Your people will hurry back. Those who destroyed you so completely will leave you. 18 Look up. Look all around you. All of your people are getting together to come back to you. You can be sure that I live," announces the Lord. "And you can be just as sure that your people will be like decorations you will wear. Like a bride, you will wear them proudly. 19 "Zion, you were destroyed. Your land was left empty. It was turned into a dry and empty desert. But now you will be too small to hold all of your people. And those who destroyed you will be far away. 20 The children who were born during your time of sorrow will speak to you. They will say, 'This city is too small for us. Give us more space to live in.' 21 Then you will say to yourself, 'Whose children are these? I lost my children. And I couldn't have any more. My children were taken far away from me. And no one wanted them. Who brought these children up? I was left all alone. So where have these children come from?' " 22 The LORD and King continues, "I will call out to the nations. I will give a signal to them. They will bring back your sons in their arms. They will carry your daughters on their shoulders. 23 Their kings will become like fathers to you. Their queens will be like mothers who nurse you. They will bow down to you with their faces toward the ground. They will kiss the dust at your feet to show you their respect. Then you will know that I am the Lord. Those who put their hope in me will not be ashamed." 24 Can goods that were stolen by soldiers be taken away from them? Can prisoners be set free from the powerful Babylonians? 25 "Yes, they can," the LORD answers. "Prisoners will be taken away from soldiers. Stolen goods will be taken back from the powerful Babylonians. Zion, I will fight against those who fight against you. And I will save your people. 26 I will make those who beat you down eat the flesh of others. They will drink blood and get drunk on it as if it were wine. Then everyone on earth will know that I am the one who saves you. I am the Lord. I set you free. I am the Mighty One of Jacob."
1 The LORD says to the people in Jerusalem, "Do you think I divorced your people before you? Is that why I sent them away? If it is, show me the letter of divorce. I did not sell you into slavery to pay someone I owe. You were sold because you sinned against me. Your people were sent away because of their lawless acts. 2 When I came to save you, why didn't anyone welcome me? When I called out to you, why didn't anyone answer me? Wasn't my arm powerful enough to set you free? Wasn't I strong enough to save you? I dry up the sea with a single command. I turn rivers into a desert. Then fish rot because they do not have any water. They die because they are thirsty. 3 I make the sky turn dark. It looks as if it is dressed in black clothes." 4 The LORD and King has taught me what to say. He has taught me how to help those who are tired. He wakes me up every morning. He makes me want to listen like a good student. 5 The LORD and King has unplugged my ears. I've always obeyed him. I haven't turned away from him. 6 I let my enemies beat me on my bare back. I let them pull the hair out of my beard. I didn't turn my face away when they made fun of me and spit on me. 7 The LORD and King helps me. He won't let me be dishonored. So I've made up my mind to keep on serving him. I know he won't let me be put to shame. 8 He is near. He will prove I haven't done anything wrong. So who will bring charges against me? Let's face each other in court! Who can bring charges against me? Let him come and face me! 9 The LORD and King helps me. So who will judge me? My enemies will be like clothes that moths have eaten up. They will disappear. 10 Does anyone among you have respect for the LORD? Does anyone obey the message of the LORD's servant? Let the person who walks in the dark trust in the Lord. Let the one who doesn't have any light to guide him depend on his God. 11 But all of you sinners who light fires should go ahead and walk in their light. You who carry flaming torches should walk in their light. Here's what I'm going to do to you. I'll make you lie down in great pain.
1 The LORD says, "Listen to me, you who want to do what is right. Pay attention, you who look to me. Consider the rock you were cut out of. Think about the rock pit you were dug from. 2 Consider Abraham. He is the father of your people. Think about Sarah. She is your mother. When I chose Abraham, he did not have any children. But I blessed him and gave him many of them. 3 You can be sure that I will comfort Zion's people. I will look with loving concern on all of their destroyed buildings. I will make their deserts like Eden. I will make their dry and empty land like my very own garden. Joy and gladness will be there. People will sing and give thanks to me. 4 "Listen to me, my people. Pay attention, my nation. My law will go out to the nations. I make everything right. That will be a guiding light for them. 5 The time for me to set you free is near. I will soon save you. My powerful arm will make everything right among the nations. The islands will put their hope in me. They will wait for my powerful arm to act. 6 Look up toward the heavens. Then look at the earth. The heavens will vanish like smoke. The earth will wear out like clothes. Those who live there will die like flies. But I will save you forever. My saving power will never end. 7 "Listen to me, you who know what is right. Pay attention, you who have my law in your hearts. Do not be afraid when mere people make fun of you. Do not be terrified when they laugh at you. 8 They will be like clothes that moths have eaten up. They will be like wool that worms have chewed up. But my saving power will last forever. I will save you for all time to come." 9 Wake up! Lord, wake up! Dress your powerful arm with strength as if it were your clothes. Wake up, just as you did in the past. Wake up, as you did long ago. Didn't you cut Rahab to pieces? Didn't you stab that sea monster to death? 10 Didn't you dry up the Red Sea? Didn't you dry up those deep waters? You made a road on the bottom of that sea. Then those who were set free went across. 11 Those the LORD has saved will return to their land. They will sing as they enter the city of Zion. Joy that lasts forever will be like beautiful crowns on their heads. They will be filled with gladness and joy. Sorrow and sighing will be gone. 12 The LORD says to his people, "I comfort you because of who I am. Why are you afraid of mere men? They are only human beings. They are like grass that dries up. 13 How can you forget me? I made you. I spread out the heavens. I laid the foundations of the earth. Why are you terrified every day? Is it because those who are angry with you are crushing you? Is it because they are trying to destroy you? Their anger can't harm you anymore. 14 You prisoners who are so afraid will soon be set free. You will not die in your prison cells. You will not go without food. 15 I am the LORD your God. I stir up the ocean. I make its waves roar. My name is The LORD Who Rules Over All. 16 I have put my words in your mouth. I have kept you safe in the palm of my hand. I set the heavens in place. I laid the foundations of the earth. I say to Zion, 'You are my people.' " 17 Wake up, Jerusalem! Wake up! Get up! The LORD has handed you the cup of his burning anger. And you have drunk from it. That cup makes men unsteady on their feet. And you have drunk from it to the very last drop. 18 None of the children who were born to you are left to guide you. None of the children you brought up are left to lead you by the hand. 19 Nothing but trouble has come to you. You have been wiped out and destroyed. And you have suffered hunger and war. No one feels sorry for you. No one can comfort you. 20 Your children have fainted. They lie helpless at every street corner. They are like antelope that have been caught in a net. They have felt the full force of the LORD's burning anger. Jerusalem, your God had to warn them strongly. 21 So listen to me, you suffering people of Jerusalem. You have been made drunk, but not by drinking wine. 22 Your LORD and King speaks. He is your God. He stands up for his people. He says, "I have taken from you the cup of my burning anger. It made you unsteady on your feet. But you will never drink from that cup again. 23 Instead, I will give it to those who made you suffer. They said to you, 'Fall down flat on the ground. Then we can walk all over you.' And that is exactly what you did. You made your back like a street to be walked on."
1 Wake up! Zion, wake up! Dress yourself with strength as if it were your clothes. Holy city of Jerusalem, put on your clothes of glory. Those who haven't been circumcised will never enter you again. Neither will those who are "unclean." 2 Get up, Jerusalem! Shake off your dust. Take your place on your throne. Captured people of Zion, remove the chains from your neck. 3 The LORD says, "When you were sold as slaves, no one paid anything for you. Now no one will pay any money to set you free." 4 The LORD and King continues, "Long ago my people went down to Egypt. They lived there for a while. Later, Assyria crushed them without any reason. 5 "Now look at what has happened to them," announces the Lord. "Once again my people have been taken away. And no one paid anything for them. Those who rule over them brag about it," announces the Lord. "All day long without stopping, people speak evil things against my name. 6 So the day will come when my people will really know the meaning of my name. They will know what kind of God I am. They will know that I told them ahead of time they would return to their land. They will know that it was I." 7 What a beautiful sight it is to see messengers coming with good news! How beautiful to see them coming down from the mountains with a message about peace! How wonderful it is when they bring the good news that we are saved! How wonderful when they say to Zion, "Your God rules!" 8 Listen! Those on guard duty are shouting out the message. With their own eyes they see the LORD returning to Zion. So they shout with joy. 9 Burst into songs of joy together, you broken-down buildings in Jerusalem. The LORD has comforted his people. He has set Jerusalem free. 10 The LORD will use the power of his holy arm to save his people. All of the nations will see him do it. Everyone from one end of the earth to the other will see it. 11 You who carry the articles that belong to the LORD's temple, leave Babylon! Leave it! Get out of there! Don't touch anything that isn't pure and clean. Come out of Babylon and be pure. 12 But this time you won't have to leave in a hurry. You won't have to rush away. The LORD will go ahead of you and lead you. The God of Israel will follow behind you and guard you. 13 The LORD says, "My servant will act wisely and accomplish his task. He will be highly honored. He will be greatly respected. 14 Many people were shocked when they saw him. He was so scarred that he did not look like a man at all. His body was so twisted that he did not look like a human being anymore. 15 But many nations will be surprised when they see what he has done. Kings will be so amazed that they will not be able to say anything. They will understand things they were never told about. They will know the meaning of things they never heard about."
1 Who has believed what we've been saying? Who has seen the LORD's saving power? 2 His servant grew up like a tender young plant. He grew like a root coming up out of dry ground. He didn't have any beauty or majesty that made us notice him. There wasn't anything special about the way he looked that drew us to him. 3 Men looked down on him. They didn't accept him. He knew all about sorrow and suffering. He was like someone people turn their faces away from. We looked down on him. We didn't have any respect for him. 4 He suffered the things we should have suffered. He took on himself the pain that should have been ours. But we thought God was punishing him. We thought God was wounding him and making him suffer. 5 But the servant was pierced because we had sinned. He was crushed because we had done what was evil. He was punished to make us whole again. His wounds have healed us. 6 All of us are like sheep. We have wandered away from God. All of us have turned to our own way. And the LORD has placed on his servant the sins of all of us. 7 He was beaten down and made to suffer. But he didn't open his mouth. He was led away like a sheep to be killed. Lambs are silent while their wool is being cut off. In the same way, he didn't open his mouth. 8 He was arrested and sentenced to death. Then he was taken away. He was cut off from this life. He was punished for the sins of my people. Who among those who were living at that time could have understood those things? 9 He was given a grave with those who were evil. But his body was buried in the tomb of a rich man. He was killed even though he hadn't harmed anyone. And he had never lied to anyone. 10 The LORD says, "It was my plan to crush him and cause him to suffer. I made his life a guilt offering to pay for sin. But he will see all of his children after him. In fact, he will continue to live. My plan will be brought about through him. 11 After he suffers, he will see the light that leads to life. And he will be satisfied. My godly servant will make many people godly because of what he will accomplish. He will be punished for their sins. 12 So I will give him a place of honor among those who are great. He will be rewarded just like others who win the battle. That is because he was willing to give his life as a sacrifice. He was counted among those who had committed crimes. He took the sins of many people on himself. And he gave his life for those who had done what is wrong."
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