Isaiah Chapter 39 to 41 : Easy-to-Read Version  | SearchSearch | Next Version | Previous Page | Next Page |

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Messengers from Babylon

39 At that time, Merodach Baladan son of Baladan was king of Babylon. Merodach sent letters and a gift to Hezekiah. Merodach did this because he heard that Hezekiah had been sick. 2These things made Hezekiah very happy. So Hezekiah showed the men all the valuable things in his storehouses. Hezekiah showed them the silver, the gold, the spices, and the expensive perfumes. Hezekiah showed them the swords and shields used for war. Hezekiah showed them everything he had saved. Hezekiah showed them everything in his house and in his kingdom. 3Then Isaiah the prophet went to King Hezekiah and asked him, “What did these men say? Where did they come from?” Hezekiah said, “These men came from a faraway country to see me! They came from Babylon.” 4So Isaiah asked him, “What did they see in your house?” Hezekiah said, “They saw everything in my palace.* I showed them all my wealth.” 5Then Isaiah said this to Hezekiah: “Listen to the words from the Lord All-Powerful. 6’The time is coming when all the things in your house and all the things your ancestors* have saved until today will be carried away to Babylon. Nothing will be left!’ The Lord All- Powerful said this. 7The Babylonians will take your own sons. And your sons will become officers* in the palace* of the king of Babylon.” 8Hezekiah told Isaiah, “This message from the Lord is good.” (Hezekiah said this because he thought, “There will be real peace and security while I am king.”)

palace A large house for the king and his family. ancestors Literally, “fathers.” This means a person’s parents, grandparents, and all the people they are descended from. officers Literally, “eunuchs.” Usually this means men whose male sex organs were removed so they could not have children. These men often served in important positions.

Israel’s Punishment Will End

40 Your God says, “Comfort, comfort my people! 2Speak kindly to Jerusalem! Tell Jerusalem, ‘Your time of service is finished. You have paid the price for your sins.’” The Lord punished Jerusalem—twice for every sin she did. 3Listen, there is a person shouting! “Prepare a way in the desert for the Lord! Make the road in the desert level for our God! 4Fill every valley. Make every mountain and hill flat. Make the crooked roads straight. Make the rough ground smooth. 5Then, the Glory of the Lord* will be revealed (shown). And together, all people will see the Lord’s Glory. Yes, the Lord himself said these things!” 6A voice said, “Speak!” So the man said, “What should I say?” The voice said, “People {don't live forever; they} are all like grass. Their goodness is like a wildflower. 7A powerful wind from the Lord blows on the grass, and the grass dies and the wildflower falls.” Yes, all people are like grass. 8Grass dies and wildflowers fall. But the word of our God continues forever.”

Salvation: God’s Good News

9Zion,* you have good news to tell. Go up on a high mountain and shout the good news! Jerusalem, you have good news to tell. Don’t be afraid, speak loudly! Tell this news to all of the cities of Judah: “Look, here is your God! 10The Lord my Master is coming with power. He will use his power to rule all the people. The Lord will bring rewards for his people. He will have their payment with him. 11The Lord will lead his people like a shepherd leads sheep. The Lord will use his arm (power) and gather his sheep together. The Lord will pick up the little sheep and hold them in his arms. Their mothers will walk beside him.

God Made the World; He Rules It

12Who measured the oceans in the palm of his hand? Who used his hand to measure the sky? Who used a bowl to measure all the dust of the earth? Who used measuring scales to measure the mountains and hills? {It was the Lord!} 13No person told the Lord’s Spirit what he should do. No person told the Lord how to do the things he did. 14Did the Lord ask for any person’s help? Did any person teach the Lord to be fair? Did any person teach the Lord knowledge? Did any person teach the Lord to be wise? {No! The Lord already knew these things}. 15Look, all the nations in the world are like one small drop in the bucket. If the Lord took all the faraway nations, and put them on his weighing scales, they would be like small pieces of dust. 16{All the trees in} Lebanon are not enough to burn for the Lord. And all the animals in Lebanon are not enough to kill {for a sacrifice}. 17Compared to God, all the nations of the world are nothing. Compared to God, all the nations are worth nothing at all.

People Can’t Imagine What God Is Like

18Can you compare God to anything? No! Can you make a picture of God? No! 19But some people make statues from rock or wood, and they call them gods. One worker makes a statue. Then another worker covers it with gold and makes silver chains for it. 20And for the base, he chooses a special kind of wood, a kind of wood that will not rot. Then he finds a good wood worker. And the worker makes a “god” that won’t fall over. 21Surely you know the truth, don’t you? Surely you have heard! Surely someone told you long ago! Surely you understand who made the earth! 22{The Lord is the true God!} He sits above the circle of the earth, {and compared to him} people are like grasshoppers. He rolled open the skies like a piece of cloth. He stretched the skies like a tent to sit under. 23He makes rulers not important. He makes the judges of this world completely worthless. 24{Those rulers are like plants}; they are planted in the ground, but before they can send their roots into the ground, God blows on the “plants,” and they become dead and dry, and the wind blows them away like straw. 25The Holy One (God) says: “Can you compare me to anyone? No! No one is equal to me. 26Look up to the skies. Who created all those stars? Who created all those ‘armies’ {in the sky}? Who knows every star by name? {The true God} is very strong and powerful, so none of these stars is lost.” 27People of Jacob, this is true! Israel, you should believe this! So why do you say: “The Lord can’t see the way I live. God will not find me and punish me.” 28Surely you have heard and know that the Lord God is very wise. People can’t learn everything he knows. The Lord does not become tired and need to rest. The Lord made all the faraway places on earth. The Lord lives forever. 29The Lord helps weak people to be strong. He causes the people without power to become powerful. 30Young men become tired and need to rest. Even young boys stumble and fall. 31But people that trust the Lord become strong again like eagles that grow new feathers. These people run without becoming weak. These people walk without becoming tired.

Glory of the Lord One of the forms God used when he appeared to people. It was like a bright shining light. See Ex. 40:34–36. Zion The southeast part of the mountain Jerusalem is built on. Sometimes it means the people of God living in Jerusalem.

The Lord Is the Eternal Creator

41 The Lord says, “Faraway countries, be quiet and come to me! Nations be brave.* Come to me and speak. We will meet together, and we will decide who is right. 2{Tell me the answers to these questions:} Who woke the man {that is coming} from the east? Goodness walks with him. He uses his sword {and defeats nations}—they become like dust. He uses his bow and conquers kings—they run away like straw blown by the wind. 3He chases armies and is never hurt. He goes places he has never been before. 4Who caused {these things to happen}? Who did this? Who called all people from the beginning? {I, the Lord, did these things}! I, the Lord, am the first. I was here before the beginning. And I will be here when all things are finished. 5All you faraway places, look, and be afraid! All you places far away on the earth, shake with fear! Come here {and listen to me}!” And they came. 6“Workers help each other. They encourage each other to be strong. 7One worker cuts {wood to make a statue}. That person encourages the man that works with gold. Another worker uses a hammer and makes the metal smooth. Then that worker encourages the man at the anvil.* This last worker says, ‘This work is good; the metal will not come off.’ Then he nails the statue to a base so it won’t fall over. And it never moves!”

Only The Lord Can Save Us

8{The Lord says}: “You, Israel, are my servant. Jacob, I chose you. You are from Abraham’s family. And I loved Abraham. 9You were in a far away country, but I reached out to you. I called you from that faraway place. I said, ‘You are my servant.’ I chose you. And I have not rejected you. 10Don’t worry, I am with you. Don’t be afraid, I am your God. I will make you strong. I will help you. I will support you with my good right hand. 11Look, some people are angry with you. But they will be shamed. Your enemies will be lost and disappear. 12You will look for the people that were against you, but you will not be able to find them. The people that fought against you will disappear completely. 13I am the Lord your God. I am holding your right hand. And I tell you: Don’t be afraid! I will help you. 14Precious Judah, don’t be afraid! My dear* people of Israel, don’t be scared! I really will help you.” The Lord himself said those things. The Holy One (God) of Israel, the One who saves you, said these things: 15“Look, I have made you like a new threshing board. That tool has many sharp teeth, Farmers use it to crush the hulls so they will separate from the grain. You will trample (walk on) mountains and crush them. You will make the hills like those hulls. 16You will throw them into the air, and the wind will blow them away and scatter them. Then you will be happy in the Lord. You will be very proud of the Holy One (God) of Israel.” 17“The poor and needy people look for water, but they can’t find any. They are thirsty. Their tongues are very dry. I will answer their prayers. I will not leave them and let them die. 18I will make rivers flow on dry hills. I will make springs of water flow through the valleys. I will change the desert into a lake filled with water. There will be springs of water in that dry land. 19Trees will grow in the desert. There will be cedar trees, acacia trees, olive trees, cypress trees, fir trees, and pine trees. 20People will see these things, and they will know that the Lord’s power did this. The people will see these things, and they will begin to understand that the Holy One (God) of Israel did these things.”

The Lord Challenges the False Gods

21The Lord, the king of Jacob, says, “Come, tell me your arguments. Show me your proof, {and we will decide the things that are right}. 22{Your statues (false gods) should come and tell us what is happening. “What happened in the beginning? What will happen in the future? Tell us! We will listen closely. Then we will know what will happen next. 23Tell us the things we should look for to know what will happen. Then we will believe that you really are gods. Do something! Do anything, good or bad! Then we will see that you are alive. And we will follow you. 24“Look, you false gods are less than nothing! You can’t do anything! Only a worthless person would want to worship you!”

The Lord Proves He Is the Only God

25“I woke a person in the north.* He is coming from the east where the sun rises. He worships my name. A man that makes pots walks on wet clay. In the same way, this special man will trample (walk on) kings.” 26Who told us about this before it happened? We should call him God.* {Did one of your statues tell us these things}? No! None of those statues told us anything. Those statues did not say a word—and those false gods can’t hear the words that you say. 27I, the Lord, was the first person to tell Zion* about these things. I sent a messenger to Jerusalem with this message: “Look, your people are coming back!” 28I looked at those false gods. None of them were wise enough to say anything. I asked them questions, and they did not say a word! 29All of those gods are less than nothing! They can’t do anything! Those statues are absolutely worthless!  

be brave Or, “be strong again,” as in Isa. 40:31. anvil A heavy metal block. A worker puts hot metal on an anvil and beats the hot metal to change its shape. Precious Judah … dear Literally, “worm … men.” These are like Aramaic words meaning “scarlet … silk,” very expensive pieces of cloth.” person in the north This probably means Cyrus, a king of Persia. He ruled about 550–530 B.C. God Literally, “the Good One.” Zion The southeast part of the mountain Jerusalem is built on. Sometimes it means the people of God living in Jerusalem.

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