1 This is what the Lord says to his chosen1 one,
to Cyrus, whose right hand I hold2
in order to subdue nations before him,
and disarm kings,3
to open doors before him,
so gates remain unclosed:
2I will go before you
and level mountains.4
Bronze doors I will shatter
and iron bars5 I will hack through.
3 I will give you hidden treasures,6
riches stashed away in secret places,
so you may recognize that I am the Lord,
the one who calls you by name, the God of Israel.
4 For the sake of my servant Jacob,
Israel, my chosen one,
I call you by name
and give you a title of respect, even though you do not recognize7 me.
5 I am the Lord, I have no peer,8
there is no God but me.
I arm you for battle,9 even though you do not recognize10 me.
6 I do this11 so people12 will recognize from east to west
that there is no God but me;
I am the Lord, I have no peer.
7 I am13 the one who forms light
and creates darkness;14
the one who brings about peace
and creates calamity.15
I am the Lord, who accomplishes all these things.
8 O sky, rain down from above!
Let the clouds send down showers16 of deliverance!
Let the earth absorb it17 so salvation may grow,18
and deliverance may sprout up19 along with it.
I, the Lord, create it.20
The Lord Gives a Warning
9 One who argues with his creator is in grave danger,21
one who is like a mere22 shard among the other shards on the ground!
The clay should not say to the potter,23
“What in the world24 are you doing?
Your work lacks skill!25
10 Danger awaits one who says26 to his father,
What in the world27 are you fathering?”
and to his mother,
“What in the world are you bringing forth?28
11 This is what the Lord says,
the Holy One of Israel,29 the one who formed him,
concerning things to come:30
“How dare you question me31 about my children!
How dare you tell me what to do with32 the work of my own hands!
12 I made the earth,
I created the people who live33 on it.
It was me – my hands34 stretched out the sky,35
I give orders to all the heavenly lights.36
13 It is me – I stir him up and commission him;37
I will make all his ways level.
He will rebuild my city;
he will send my exiled people home,
but not for a price or a bribe,”
says the Lord who commands armies.
The Lord is the Nations’ Only Hope
14 This is what the Lord says:
“The profit38 of Egypt and the revenue39 of Ethiopia,
along with the Sabeans, those tall men,
will be brought to you40 and become yours.
They will walk behind you, coming along in chains.41
They will bow down to you
and pray to you:42
‘Truly God is with43 you; he has no peer;44
there is no other God!’
15 Yes, you are a God who keeps hidden,
O God of Israel, deliverer!
16 They will all be ashamed and embarrassed;
those who fashion idols will all be humiliated.45
17 Israel will be delivered once and for all by the Lord;46
you will never again be ashamed or humiliated.47
18 For this is what the Lord says,
the one who created the sky
he is the true God,48
the one who formed the earth and made it;
he established it,
he did not create it without order,49
he formed it to be inhabited
“I am the Lord, I have no peer.
19 I have not spoken in secret,
in some hidden place.50
I did not tell Jacob’s descendants,
Seek me in vain!’51
I am the Lord,
the one who speaks honestly,
who makes reliable announcements.52
20 Gather together and come!
Approach together, you refugees from the nations!
Those who carry wooden idols know nothing,
those who pray to a god that cannot deliver.
21 Tell me! Present the evidence!53
Let them consult with one another!
Who predicted this in the past?
Who announced it beforehand?
Was it not I, the Lord?
I have no peer, there is no God but me,
a God who vindicates and delivers;54
there is none but me.
22 Turn to me so you can be delivered,55
all you who live in the earth’s remote regions!
For I am God, and I have no peer.
23 I solemnly make this oath56
what I say is true and reliable:57
‘Surely every knee will bow to me,
every tongue will solemnly affirm;58
24 they will say about me,
“Yes, the Lord is a powerful deliverer.”’59
All who are angry at him will cower before him.60
25 All the descendants of Israel will be vindicated by the Lord
and will boast in him.61
145:1tn Heb “anointed” (so KJV, NAB, NIV, NRSV, NLT); NCV “his appointed king.” 245:1sn The “right hand” is a symbol of activity and strength; the Lord directs Cyrus’ activities and assures his success. 345:1tn Heb “and the belts of kings I will loosen”; NRSV “strip kings of their robes”; NIV “strip kings of their armor.” 445:2tc The form הֲדוּרִים (hadurim) makes little, if any, sense here. It is probably a corruption of an original הָרָרִים (hararim, “mountains”), the reduplicated form of הָר (har, “mountain”). 545:2tn That is, on the gates. Cf. CEV “break the iron bars on bronze gates.” 645:3tn Heb “treasures of darkness” (KJV, NASB, NIV, NRSV); TEV “treasures from dark, secret places.” 745:4tn Or “know” (NCV, NRSV, TEV, NLT); NIV “acknowledge.” 845:5tn Heb “and there is none besides.” On the use of עוֹד (’od) here, see BDB 729 s.v. 1.c. 945:5tn Heb “gird you” (so NASB) or “strengthen you” (so NIV). 1045:5tn Or “know” (NAB, NCV, NRSV, TEV, CEV, NLT); NIV “have not acknowledged.” 1145:6tn The words “I do this” are supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons. 1245:6tn Heb “they” (so KJV, ASV); TEV, CEV “everyone”; NLT “all the world.” 1345:7tn The words “I am” are supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons. In the Hebrew text the participle at the beginning of v. 7 stands in apposition to “the Lord” in v. 6. 1445:7tn On the surface v. 7a appears to describe God’s sovereign control over the cycle of day and night, but the following statement suggests that “light” and “darkness” symbolize “deliverance” and “judgment.” 1545:7sn This verses affirms that God is ultimately sovereign over his world, including mankind and nations. In accordance with his sovereign will, he can cause wars to cease and peace to predominate (as he was about to do for his exiled people through Cyrus), or he can bring disaster and judgment on nations (as he was about to do to Babylon through Cyrus). 1645:8tn Heb “let the clouds drip with”; KJV “let the skies pour down.” 1745:8tn Heb “open up” (so NASB); NIV, NLT “open wide.” 1845:8tc The plural verb should be emended to a singular form. The vav (ו) ending is probably virtually dittographic (note the yod at the beginning of the following word). 1945:8tc The Hiphil verb form (תַצְמִיחַ, tatsmiakh) should probably be emended to a Qal (תִצְמַח, titsmakh). The יח sequence at the end of the form is probably due to dittography (note the following יַחַד, yakhad). 2045:8tn The masculine singular pronominal suffix probably refers back to יָשַׁע (yasha’, “salvation”). 2145:9tn Heb “Woe [to] the one who argues with the one who formed him.” 2245:9tn The words “one who is like a mere” are supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons and clarification. 2345:9tn Heb “Should the clay say to the one who forms it?” The rhetorical question anticipates a reply, “Of course not!” 2445:9tn The words “in the world” are supplied in the translation to approximate in English idiom the force of the sarcastic question. 2545:9tn Heb “your work, there are no hands for it,” i.e., “your work looks like something made by a person who has no hands.” 2645:10tn Heb “Woe [to] one who says” (NASB and NIV both similar); NCV “How terrible it will be.” 2745:10tn See the note at v. 9. This phrase occurs a second time later in this verse. 2845:10sn Verses 9-10 may allude to the exiles’ criticism that the Lord does not appear to know what he is doing. 2945:11sn See the note on the phrase “the Holy One of Israel” in 1:4. 3045:11tc The Hebrew text reads “the one who formed him, the coming things.” Among various suggestions, some have proposed an emendation of יֹצְרוֹ (yotsÿro, “the one who formed him”) to יֹצֵר (yotser, “the one who forms”; the suffixed form in the Hebrew text may be influenced by vv. 9-10, where the same form appears twice) and takes “coming things” as the object of the participle (either objective genitive or accusative): “the one who brings the future into being.” 3145:11tn Heb “Ask me” The rhetorical command sarcastically expresses the Lord’s disgust with those who question his ways. 3245:11tn Heb “Do you command me about…?” The rhetorical question sarcastically expresses the Lord’s disgust with those who question his ways. 3345:12tn The words “who live” are supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons. 3445:12tn Heb “I, even my hands”; NASB “I stretched out…with My hands”; NRSV “it was my hands that stretched out.” The same construction occurs at the beginning of v. 13. 3545:12tn Or “the heavens.” The Hebrew term שָׁמַיִם (shamayim) may be translated “heavens” or “sky” depending on the context. 3645:12tn Heb “and to all their host I commanded.” See the notes at 40:26. 3745:13tn Heb “I stir him up in righteousness”; NASB “I have aroused him.” See the note at 41:2. Cyrus (cf. 44:28) is in view here. 3845:14tn Heb “labor,” which stands metonymically for the fruits of labor, either “monetary profit,” or “products.” 3945:14tn Or perhaps, “merchandise” (so KJV, NASB, NIV, NRSV); NAB “the gain of Ethiopia”; CEV “the treasures of Ethiopia.” 4045:14tn Heb “they will pass over to you”; NASB, NIV “will come over to you”; CEV “will belong to you.” 4145:14sn Restored Israel is depicted here in typical ancient Near Eastern fashion as an imperial power that receives riches and slaves as tribute. 4245:14sn Israel’s vassals are portrayed as so intimidated and awed that they treat Israel as an intermediary to God or sub-deity. 4345:14tn Or perhaps, “among.” Cf. KJV, ASV “Surely God is in thee.” 4445:14tn Heb “there is no other” (so NIV, NRSV). The same phrase occurs at the end of v. 18, in v. 21, and at the end of v. 22. 4545:16tn “together they will walk in humiliation, the makers of images.” 4645:17tn Heb “Israel will be delivered by the Lord [with] a permanent deliverance.” 4745:17tn Heb “you will not be ashamed and you will not be humiliated for ages of future time.” 4845:18tn Heb “he [is] the God.” The article here indicates uniqueness. 4945:18tn Or “unformed.” Gen 1:2 describes the world as “unformed” (תֹהוּ, tohu) prior to God’s creative work, but God then formed the world and made it fit for habitation. 5045:19tn Heb “in a place of a land of darkness” (ASV similar); NASB “in some dark land.” 5145:19tn “In vain” translates תֹהוּ (tohu), used here as an adverbial accusative: “for nothing.” 5245:19tn The translation above assumes that צֶדֶק (tsedeq) and מֵישָׁרִים (mesharim) are adverbial accusatives (see 33:15). If they are taken as direct objects, indicating the content of what is spoken, one might translate, “who proclaims deliverance, who announces justice.” 5345:21tn Heb “Declare! Bring near!”; NASB “Declare and set forth your case.” See 41:21. 5445:21tn Or “a righteous God and deliverer”; NASB, NIV, NRSV “a righteous God and a Savior.” 5545:22tn The Niphal imperative with prefixed vav (ו) indicates purpose after the preceding imperative. The Niphal probably has a tolerative sense, “allow yourselves to be delivered, accept help.” 5645:23tn Heb “I swear by myself”; KJV, NASB “have sworn.” 5745:23tn Heb “a word goes out from my mouth [in] truth and will not return.” 5845:23tn Heb “swear” (so KJV, NAB, NIV, NRSV); NLT “confess allegiance.” 5945:24tn Heb “‘Yes, in the Lord,’ one says about me, ‘is deliverance and strength.’” 6045:24tn Heb “will come to him and be ashamed.” 6145:25tn Heb “In the Lord all the offspring of Israel will be vindicated and boast.”