Isaiah Tells Us God’s Good News

A note on the book of Isaiah

There are 66 chapters in Isaiah’s book. We can understand the book more easily if we put it into 5 parts. We have done that below. The word list explains the words prophet and messiah. The words king, servant and messiah do not always mean the same people in Isaiah’s book. That might confuse us in Isaiah’s book if we do not remember it.

The five parts of Isaiah

PART 1: (Chapters 1-5) Isaiah describes the people in Judah and in its capital city, Jerusalem.

PART 2: (Chapter 6) God makes Isaiah into a prophet.

PART 3: (Chapters 7-37) God’s KING rules God’s people.

PART 4: (Chapters 38-55) God’s SERVANT saves God’s people.

PART 5: (Chapters 56-66) God’s MESSIAH beats God’s enemies.

PART 1: Chapters 1-5 Isaiah describes the people who live in the country called Judah and in its capital city, Jerusalem

We can put PART 1 into smaller parts. This makes it easier to understand.

Isaiah 1:1-9 The Problems of their Country

Isaiah 1:10-20 and 2:6-21 The Problems of their Religion

Isaiah 1:21-31 and 2:22-4:1 The Problems of their People

Isaiah 2:1-5 and 4:2-6 are not about problems. They contain promises.

Chapter 5 is not about problems. It tells the people what God will do to them. Because they have not obeyed him, he will punish them.

Chapter 1

The sins of the people in the country called Judah

1 This is what Isaiah, the son of Amoz, saw. He saw things about his country that was called Judah. And he saw things about the city called Jerusalem. It happened when Uzziah, then Jotham, then Ahaz and then Hezekiah were kings of Judah.

2 Hear the LORD, those who live in heaven! And listen to him, you earth, because the LORD has spoken! He has said, ‘I have helped my sons to grow. And I have loved them. But even they have fought against me!

3 A cow knows its master. And a horse knows where the farmer feeds it. But Israel’s people do not know me. My people do not understand me.’

4 Oh! You are a country of people who do not obey me. All your people are like people who are carrying heavy things. They are the wrong things that you have done. You are a family of people who are always doing bad things. You are sons who destroy everything. They have left the LORD. They think that the Holy God of Israel is silly. They have become strangers. Their backs are towards him.

5 So, you continue to fight against God. God will only hurt you again. Your whole head is not well and your whole heart is ill.

6 From the part under the feet, even to the head, there is no health in you. There are only places where people have hit you. There are only places that hurt. People have cut you until you bleed. Nobody has cleaned you. Nobody has tied a cloth round the places where you are bleeding. Nobody has put medicine on them.

7 Your country is empty. Fire has burned your cities. Foreign people have taken everything from your fields. They did it in front of you. Strangers have destroyed your country.

8 The Daughter of Zion, (Jerusalem), is still there like an empty hut in a vineyard. (Jerusalem is) like a hut in a field of fruit. It is like a city that an enemy is attacking.

9 Unless the LORD of all his angels had left some people alive, we would have been like Sodom. We would have been like Gomorrah.

The problems of the religion of the country called Judah

10 Hear what the LORD says, you rulers of Sodom. Listen to our God. He is saying what you must do, you people in Gomorrah.

11 ‘All your sacrifices do not matter to me.’ The LORD is saying, ‘I have had enough sacrifices that you have burned as gifts to me. I have had enough male sheep and the best bits of fat animals. I have had enough of the blood of male cows, goats and young sheep. They do not give pleasure to me.

12 You come to appear in front of me at certain times. But nobody asked you to do that. Do not walk heavily round my temple.

13 Do not bring gifts to me that do not mean anything! I do not like your incense. I do not like your new moons, your Sabbaths and your special meetings. Those meetings are bad.

14 I really do not like your new moon meetings and your holy days. They have become like a heavy thing for me. I am tired because I have to carry them.

15 I will hide my eyes from you, when you lift up your hands to me. I will not listen to you, even if you pray often. Your hands are full of blood.

16 Wash yourselves and make yourselves clean! Take away the bad things that you are doing. Then I will not see them. Do not continue to do what is wrong.

17 Learn to do what is right. Your purpose must be justice. Do not let masters be very cruel to people. Do not let people hurt children who have no father. Say good things on behalf of widows.

18 Come, now’, the LORD is saying. ‘We should talk about this together. Even if your sins are as bright red, they will be as white as snow. Even if they are as dark red, they will be like wool.

19 Agree with me. And obey me. If you do those things, you will eat the best food in the country.

20 But if you do not do those things, the sword will kill you. It will kill you if you do not obey me. It will kill you if you continue to fight against me.’ That is what God himself has said.

The problems of the people who live in the country called Judah

21 Oh! The City that Loved the LORD (as a wife) has become like a prostitute! The city was full of justice. Good people lived in her. But now there are people who murder other people there.

22 Your silver has become dirt and you have mixed water with your best wine.

23 Your rulers are fighting against God. And they are friends of robbers. They all accept gifts from people. And then they help people that they should not help because of those gifts. And they all hope for gifts like those. But they do not help children who have no father. They do not help those children when people hurt them. The widows have problems. But nobody tells the rulers about those problems.

24 So the Lord says this. He is the LORD of all his angels and he is the Powerful God of Israel. ‘Oh! I will get rest from my enemies. And I will punish those people who fight against me.

25 And I will turn my hand against you. And I will burn with very hot fire everything that makes you not clean. So then you will be clean.

26 And I will give back to you your judges, as you had them a long time ago. And I will give back to you your advisors, as you had them at the beginning. After that, you will be called The Good City, and The City that Loves Me.’

27 God will use justice to make Zion free. He will make things right for the people who return to him.

28 But he will kill people who sin. And he will kill those people who continue to fight against him. The LORD will kill everybody who goes away from him.

29 Really, they will be ashamed of their special trees called oaks. You have found a lot of pleasure in them. The gardens that you have chosen will make you really ashamed.

30 You will be like an oak tree with dying leaves. You will be like a garden without water.

31 The strong man will become like something that burns easily. His work will be like something that causes things to burn. They will both burn together and nobody will put out the fire.

Chapter 2

Words that cause us to hope in God

1 This is what Isaiah, the son of Amoz, ‘saw’ about Judah and Jerusalem.

2 This is what will happen in the last days. The mountain, where the house of the LORD is, will always be there. It will be the most important mountain. It will be higher than the hills round it. People from every country will come towards it.

3 And people from many countries will come to it. And they will say, ‘Come! We will go to the mountain of the LORD. We must go to the house of the God of Jacob. Then he will teach us what he wants us to do. Then we can walk in his paths.’ So, the law (of God) will go out from Zion. The LORD’s words will go out from Jerusalem.

4 God will be the judge between the nations. He will say who is right. And he will say who is wrong. They will use hammers to change their swords into parts of ploughs. And they will use their knives to prune plants. Nations will not attack other nations with swords. Neither will they learn how to fight again.

5 Jacob’s people, come and we will walk in the light of the LORD.

Jacob’s people means Israel’s people. God changed Jacob’s name to Israel.

The problems of religion in Judah and in Israel

6 But you, LORD, have gone away from your people. They are the descendants of Jacob. They are full of ideas from countries in the east. They are like the people called Philistines. They have people who use magic. Those people hope to find out about future events. Also, they join hands with foreign people.

7 Their country is full of silver and gold and they have many valuable things. Their country is full of horses and they have many chariots.

8 Idols that are worth nothing fill their country. They get down on the ground in front of things that their hands have made. They are things that their own fingers have made.

9 So, the LORD makes people humble and everyone becomes low! LORD, do not lift them up again!

10 Go into the holes in the rocks and hide in the ground. Hide because you are afraid. You are afraid of what the LORD will do. Hide from his great power.

11 The LORD will stop the way that proud people look at other people. And he will make very proud people humble. On that day, only the LORD will be important.

12 Yes! The LORD of all his angels will choose a day. Then, in that day, the LORD will make humble everyone who is proud, very proud and important.

13-16 The LORD will be against all these things:

·        the high, the really high cedar trees in Lebanon

·        the oak trees in Bashan

·        the very high mountains

·        the highest hills

·        tall buildings

·        strong walls

·        boats from Tarshish

·        beautiful ships.

17 The LORD will stop the way that proud people look at other people. And he will make very proud people humble. On that day, only the LORD will be important.

18 And nobody will see any of the idols again.

19 And people will run to holes in the sides of the rocks and to holes in the ground. They will run because they are afraid of the LORD. They will run from his great power when he comes. He will come to punish the earth.

20 In that day, people will throw away their silver idols and their gold idols. They will throw them to rats and to bats. They made those idols so that they could worship them.

21 But then people will run to large holes in the rocks and to holes in the sides of mountains. They will run because they are afraid of the LORD. And they will be afraid of his great power, when he comes. He will come to shake the earth very much.

22 Do not ask human people to help you. They are so weak that they might die very soon! They are worth nothing.

Chapter 3

The problems of the people in Judah and in Israel

1 I will show you what the Lord, the LORD of all his angels will do. He will remove from Jerusalem and Judah everything that helps them. He will take away everything that supplies their food and their water.

2-3 He will take away these people:

·        the strong man and the soldier

·        the judge and the prophet

·        the person who uses magic to find out about future events and the older leader

·        the captain of 50 soldiers and the very important man

·        the person who tells people the best thing to do and the good worker

·        the person who uses magic.

4 ‘And I, the LORD, will cause boys to become their leaders. And children will rule over them.’

5 The people will be cruel to each other. Each man will be cruel to another man. And each man will be cruel the person who lives near him. Young people will say bad things to older people. And bad people will say bad things to good people.

6 Then a man will hold his brother strongly in the house of his father. The man will say, ‘You have a coat. So, you can be our leader! Then you can rule over these buildings that the enemy destroyed!’

7 On that day, the brother will refuse. He will say, ‘I cannot help! There is no food and no coat in my house. Do not choose me as a leader of people.’

8 That will happen because the leaders of Jerusalem and Judah have started to fall. Then they have fallen down. Their words and the things that they do are against the LORD. They have said bad things about his great glory.

9 Their faces show what they are really like. It is clear that they have sinned, like the people in Sodom. They do not hide it. It is very sad! They have caused great trouble for themselves.

10 Tell the very good people that good things will happen to them. They will enjoy the results of the good things that they have done.

11 The very bad person will be very sad. He will have great trouble. Here is the reason. What he has done to other people will happen to him.

12 Children are cruel to my people and women rule over them. My people, your leaders have not ruled you well. They have led you away from the right paths.

13 The LORD stands up to speak to people. He will tell them that they have done wrong things. He stands as a judge of the people in many countries.

14 The LORD comes as judge of those people who are in the government. He comes as judge of the leaders. He says that they burned the vineyard. Also, they kept what they took away from the poor people.

15 The Lord who is the LORD of all his angels says to them,

·    ‘Do not hit my people, so that they break into pieces.

·    You are like someone who walks on the faces of the poor people.

      You must stop being cruel to them.’

16 The LORD says, ‘The Daughters of Zion are very proud. They lift up their necks when they walk. They glance at the men. They hope that the men are looking at them. They walk so that men do look at them. The little bells on their ankles make a sound when they walk.

17 So the LORD will make places that hurt them on their heads. He will make their heads bald.’

18-23 In that day, the Lord will take away the valuable stones that they wear. They wear them on their ankles, heads, necks, ears, arms, fingers and noses. He will take away their beautiful clothes and belts, their perfumes and charms.

24 There will not be perfume. There will be a bad smell instead. There will not be a belt. There will be a rope instead. They will not have lovely hair. They will be bald instead. They will not wear good clothes. They will wear cheap hairy cloth instead. They will not be beautiful. Instead, there will be only shame.

25 Swords will kill your men. Your strong men will die in wars.

26 And the gates of Zion will seem like sad people. And they will be like people who cry. Zion’s people will be like people who sit on the ground. And the city will be empty.

Chapter 4

1 In that day, 7 women will find one man and they will hold him. They will say, ‘We will eat our own bread and we will wear our own clothes. But, let us call ourselves by your name. Take away our shame.’

Good news

2 In that day, the Branch of the LORD will be something pretty and something that has glory. And the fruit of the land will be like something proud and something beautiful. It will be for the few people who are still alive in Israel. 3 Everyone who remains in Zion will be called holy. Also, everyone who stays in Jerusalem will be called holy. All their names will be on a list of people who are alive in Jerusalem. 4 That will happen when the Lord will wash away the dirt from the Daughters of Zion. Also, then he will make Jerusalem clean from the marks that blood left. He will do that by a spirit that will be a judge and by a spirit of fire. 5 The LORD will make that over all the mountain called Zion. And it will be over all the people who come together there. He will make a lot of smoke over them during the day. And he will make a fire, which shines in the night. The glory will be like a coat over everything. 6 It will be a place to hide from the heat in the day. And it will be a place to hide from storms and from rain.

Chapter 5

God punishes his people

The song of the vineyard

1 Now I will sing for the person that I love. I will sing a song of love about his vineyard.

        ‘The person that I love has a vineyard. It is on a hill where plants grow well.

2        He dug the ground and he removed the stones. He planted the best vines in it.

        He made a tall building in the middle of the vineyard where he could watch the vineyard.

        He also made a place to make wine in it. Then he waited for the vineyard to give good grapes to him.

        But bad grapes grew in it.’

3 And now, listen to me, you people who live in Jerusalem. And listen, all you people who live in Judah. You decide who was wrong. Decide whether I or my vineyard was wrong.

4 There was nothing else that I ought to have done for my vineyard. I had done everything for it! I waited for good grapes. But it gave bad grapes to me. I do not think that you can explain that!

5 And now I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard. I will take away its wall. Then animals will eat all the grapes. I will knock down its wall and the animals will walk all over the vineyard.

6 I will make the land so that nobody can use it. Nobody will prune the vines or dig the ground round them. So weeds and plants with thorns will grow there. I will say to the clouds, ‘Do not drop rain on it.’

7 Now the vineyard of the LORD of all his angels is like a picture of Israel. The plants in it that he likes are like the people in Judah. The LORD looked for justice, but he saw only the opposite. He wanted people to be very good. But he only heard people who were crying for help.

The wrong things that the people in Jerusalem and Judah have done

8 The people who build one house next to another house will be very sad. Also, they join one field to another field. They do that until there is no more room. So you people live alone on the land.

9 I have heard the LORD of all his angels promise this: ‘Many houses will certainly be empty. There will be large and beautiful houses that nobody lives in.

10 Also, large parts of the vineyard will give only a small amount of wine. Very large amounts of seed will cause only a few plants to grow.’

11 There will be trouble for the people who get up early in the morning. They do that so that they can get a drink of alcohol. They go to bed late in the evening, so that wine can cause them to become drunks.

12 At their parties there is music from lyre and harp, tambourine and flute. And there is wine. But they do not think about the things that God has done. They do not really like what he has made.

13 So my people will go into exile, because they do not understand God. Their leaders will die because they do not have enough food. And very many people will not have anything to drink.

14 So Sheol will open its mouth very much to eat more people. The leaders and the people will go into it. It will take in the crowds that make a lot of noise. Also, it will take in the people who have parties in Jerusalem.

15 So the LORD will make people humble. Then God will make everybody low! He will take away their proud faces.

16 But his justice will make the LORD of all his angels great! The Holy God is holy because he is very, very good. And he will show that that is true.

17 Then the sheep will eat grass as they do in their own fields. Young sheep will eat in the rich people’s houses that the enemy destroyed.

18 Some people do very bad things everywhere that they go. They are like someone who pulls something behind him with pieces of string. Some people take sin with them as a horse pulls a cart with ropes. There will be trouble for those people.

19 Those people who say, ‘The LORD must hurry!’ will be very sad. They say ‘He must do his work quickly, so that we can see it. We want to hear the ideas of the Holy God of Israel. We want them to happen! Then we will really know that they are true!’

20 There are people who call wrong things right. And they call right things wrong. They say, ‘It is light’, when it is dark. And they say, ‘It is dark’, when it is light. They say that bitter things are sweet. And they say that sweet things are bitter. But soon they will be sad.

21 Some people think that they are wise. They think that they are clever. But God will punish them and then they will be very sad.

22 Some people think that they are great. They think that because they drink a lot of wine. Those people will be very sad. Also, some people are strong when they mix strong drink. Those people will be very sad.

23 They do not punish guilty people, if the guilty people give money to them. But there is no justice for people who are not guilty.

24 So as certainly as fire burns dry plants, parts of them will fall into pieces. And as fire burns away dry grass, their flowers will blow away like small pieces of dirt. That will happen because they refused to obey the LORD of all his angels. He said what they should do. But they did not do it. And they thought that the words of the Holy God of Israel were silly.

25 So the LORD became angry with his people. He punished them, as if someone had hit them with his hand. And the mountains moved and his people’s dead bodies became like dirt in the streets. The LORD has done all that but he is still angry with them. And his hand is still ready to hit them again.

God will send a message to another nation from a long way away to punish his people

26 Also, the LORD will send a message to nations that are a long way from here. And he will use his whistle so that a nation at the ends of the earth hears it. And look! Here that nation’s soldiers come, very quickly!

27 Nobody is tired; nobody falls down. Nobody rests; nobody sleeps. Nobody has a belt that they have not fastened. And nobody has broken a part of a shoe.

28 Their arrows are sharp. And their bows are ready to shoot. Their horses’ feet are as hard as stones. And the wheels on their chariots go as fast as a very strong wind.

29 They roar like a lion; they make a noise like a young lion. Lions roar while they catch an animal. They want to eat it. They carry it away and nobody can save it. These soldiers make a noise like that.

30 On that day, the enemy will roar over what they catch. Their roar will be like the sea. And if anybody looks to the land they will see darkness. And they will see people who are very much afraid. Also, clouds will hide the light of the sun.

PART 2: Chapter 6 God makes Isaiah into a prophet

Chapter 6

1 In the year when King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord. He was sitting on a king’s seat. The ends of his very long coat filled the temple. 2 Above him were seraphs. They were waiting to work for him. Each one had 6 wings. Two wings were covering the seraphs’ faces. Two wings were covering their feet. With two wings they were flying.

3 One seraph spoke to another. They said, ‘Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of all his angels! The whole earth is full of his glory.’

4 When each seraph spoke, the door-steps of the temple shook. Also, the temple was full of smoke.

5 Then I said, ‘I am very frightened! I am a man with lips that are not clean. And I live among people with lips that are not clean. And with my own eyes I have seen the King, the LORD of all his angels. So I am afraid that I will die!’

6 Then one of the seraphs flew towards me. In his hand was a piece of burning coal. He had taken it from the altar with a special tool.

7 And he touched my mouth with it. And he said, ‘Look! This has touched your lips and it has taken away your guilt. It has covered your sin.’

8 Then I heard the Lord when he spoke. He said, ‘Whom will I send and who will go for us?’ Then I said, ‘I am here. Send me.’

9 And God said, ‘Go! And tell this to the people (in Judah):

·        “Always listen, but you will never understand!

·        Always look. But you will never see what it means!”

10 Make the heart of these people fat. Close their ears and shut their eyes. If you do not do that, they will see with their eyes. They will hear with their ears and they will understand with their hearts. Then they will turn and I will make them well again.’

11 Then I said, ‘For how long, Lord, must I do that?’ And this is what he answered:

·        ’Do it until their enemy destroys the cities. Then nobody will live there.

·        Do it until nobody lives in the houses.

·        Do it until they cannot use the land in any way.

·        12 Do it until the LORD removes people to places a long way away from here.

·        And do it until an enemy has destroyed many places inside this country.

13 And even if one in every 10 places still has living people in it, an enemy will burn those places again! They will do it as they burn terebinth trees and oak trees. But from what remains, a holy people will grow.’

PART 3: Chapters 7-37 God’s king rules God’s people

We can put PART 3 into 6 smaller parts. That makes it easier to understand.

Chapters 7-12: King Ahaz

Chapters 13-23: Countries near Judah

Chapters 24-27: The Little Apocalypse

Chapters 28-33: The Sad People

Chapters 34-35: The Centre of the Book

Chapters 36-37: King Hezekiah

Chapter 7

King Ahaz refuses to ask God for a message

1 Ahaz became the king of Judah. He was the son of Jotham and Jotham was the son of Uzziah. When Ahaz was king, Rezin, the king of Syria, and Pekah, the king of Israel, both attacked Jerusalem. But they did not win the fight. Pekah was the son of Remaliah. 2 People told this to (Ahaz, who was from) the descendants of David. They said, ‘People from Syria and Ephraim have agreed to attack you.’ Ahaz and his people were afraid. Their hearts moved, as trees in the forest move in the wind.

3 Then the LORD said to Isaiah, ‘Go out and meet Ahaz. You and Shear-Jashub, your son, will meet him at the end of the water stream. The water comes from the higher pool down to where people wash clothes.’ 4 The LORD said, ‘Say to Ahaz, “Be careful. And be very quiet. Do not be afraid. Do not be afraid because Rezin and the people from Syria and Pekah, the son of Remaliah, are angry. They are trying to ‘start a fire’, but their ‘fire’ will soon finish. 5 (The rulers of) Syria and Ephraim and the son of Remaliah have made bad plans against you. But do not be afraid because of that. They have said, 6 ‘We must attack Judah. We will frighten the people. We will destroy their country and it will become ours. We will make the son of Tabeal king there.’ 7 The LORD, who is the master, says this. 8 It will not happen, because the capital city of Syria is Damascus. And the king of Damascus is Rezin. And 65 years from now Ephraim will not be a country! There will be no people of Ephraim there. 9 And the capital city of Ephraim is Samaria. And the king of Samaria is the son of Remaliah. And if you do not believe the LORD, you will not be alive either.’ ” ’

10 And the LORD spoke again to Ahaz (by Isaiah). 11 He said, ‘Ask the LORD your God for a message. Ask for it deep in the earth or high in the sky.’ 12 But Ahaz said, ‘I will never ask for a message or ask the LORD to do something.’ 13 And Isaiah said, ‘Now listen, you descendants of David! You are making your people angry with you. And you are making God angry with you too. 14 So the Lord himself will give a message to you. Look, the virgin will become pregnant. She will have a son and she will call his name Immanuel. 15 One day he will know the difference between right things and wrong things. Then he will not be too young to eat butter or sugar. 16 The child will know how to choose right things. He will also know how to refuse bad things. He will know those things before he is very old. But even before the child knows those things, enemies will make two countries empty. The countries are the countries of the two kings that you are afraid of.

17 The LORD will bring the king of Assyria to you and to your people. He will come to the descendants of your father. It will be a very bad time. There have been no days like it since Ephraim became separate from Judah.’ 18 Then the LORD will tell the flies at the higher end of the river in Egypt that they must come. And he will speak to the bees in the country called Assyria. He will tell them that they must come. 19 And they will all come and they will land on these places:

·        the valleys with high sides

·        the holes in the rocks

·        all the bushes with thorns

·        all the places where there is water.

20 On that day, the Lord will use the king of Assyria. He will come from beyond the river. He will cut off the hair from your head, the hair from your legs and your beard.

21 On that day, a man will keep alive a young cow and two goats. 22 They will give a lot of milk. So he will have butter to eat. Everyone who remains in the country will eat butter and sugar. 23 On that day, in every place where there were 1000 vines, there will be weeds and plants with thorns. 1000 vines are worth 1000 pieces of silver. 24 A man will go there with a bow and arrows. He will do that because there will be brambles and plants with thorns on all the land. 25 Nobody will go to the hills because they will be afraid of the brambles and of the plants with thorns. Those are the hills where people dug the ground. They dug so that they could put plants in the ground. Now cows go there and sheep run about.

Chapter 8

God will use Assyria to destroy Israel and Syria

1 And the LORD said to me, ‘Get something big to write on. Then write on it, with a tool that will write words on stones. Write “This is about Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz.” 2 And I will ask two special people to come to me. They must say what is true. One will be Uriah the priest and the other will be Zechariah the son of Jeberechiah. They will be my special people. They must say what is true.’ 3 Then I went to the prophetess. She became pregnant and she had a son. And the LORD said to me, ‘Call his name Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz. 4 Before the child knows how to say “my father” or “my mother” this will happen. The king of Assyria will carry away the valuable things from Damascus and from Samaria.’

5 The LORD spoke to me again. He told me that I must say,

6 ‘These people have refused to accept the waters of Shiloah, which move quietly. And they are very happy about Rezin and the son of Remaliah.

7 So, see what will happen. The LORD will bring against them the waters of the River Euphrates. The waters will be strong and powerful. Really, the waters will be the king of Assyria and his powerful armies. They will come like a great river that rises. And it goes over its sides.

8 Then its water will come quickly into Judah. It will rise over its sides and it will go over the land. It will even reach people’s necks! His wings will open out and they will cover all your country, Immanuel.

9 Join together against your enemies, you people, but they will kill almost all of you. Listen carefully, all you far countries. Get ready for war, but your enemies will kill almost all your people. Get ready to fight. But your enemies will kill almost all of you.

10 Make plans together, but the plans will fail! Talk about what you will do. But it will not happen. Your plans will fail because God is with us!’

11 Now the LORD spoke to me. He said this while his strong hand was upon me. He said that I must not be like these people (in Judah). He said,

12 ‘You must not think, “Everything that these people call a secret plan is a secret plan.” Also, do not be afraid of what they are afraid of. And do not let it frighten you.

13 Instead, be afraid of the LORD of all his angels! You should think of him as holy. You should be afraid of him.

14 That is because he will be a safe place.

        But for both nations in Israel he will become like a stone that will make people angry. And he will become like a rock that will cause them to fall over. To the people in Jerusalem, the LORD will become someone to catch them. And then he will hold them.

15 Many people’s feet will hit something and they will fall. The LORD will hurt them very badly. He will catch them and he will hold them!’

16 Tie up what I have said (in a scroll). Make safe and secret what I have taught to my disciples. 17 And I will wait for the LORD. He is hiding his face from the descendants of Jacob. But I believe that he will do something. 18 Here am I and the children that the LORD has given to me. We are messages. We are messages from the LORD of all his angels to the people in Israel. He lives on the mountain called Zion.

19 And they will say to you, ‘Ask the mediums and wizards. They will tell you what you should do.’ Mediums and wizards make noises like birds or animals! People should ask their God what to do. People who are alive should not talk to dead people. 20 Listen again to what I have said. And listen to what I have taught you. If people say different things, there is no dawn for them. And that is why they say the wrong things. 21 Then they will go through the country and they will not be very happy. They will not have enough to eat. And so they will become angry. They will look up (to where God lives). Then they will say bad things about their king and about their God. 22 And they will look to the earth. But they will see that it is dark. And they will see that people are not very happy. In the dark, people will be very sad. It will push people into something even blacker.

Chapter 9

Good news for God’s people

1 But at a future time everything will be better for the people who were not very happy. In past years, God let trouble happen to the people in the places called Zebulun and Naphtali. But in future years, he will send glory to these places:

·        the country by the sea

·        the land at the other side of the River Jordan

·        Galilee, where people from other countries live.

2 The people who walk in the dark will see a great light. The light will shine on those people who live on land full of dark shadows.

3 You (LORD) will make the country bigger. And you will make its people much happier. They will be happy with you as when people are happy at the harvest. Soldiers are also happy, because of what they have won in war. And the country’s people will be happy like them.

4 That is because, as in the fight with Midian, you will break these things:

·        the yoke that carries the heavy weights (that our enemies have put on us)

·        the sticks that they hit our backs with

·        the stick that hurts us.

5 Then they will burn as material for the fire every boot that soldiers wore in war. And they will burn the clothes with blood on them.

6 They will do that because a child is born for us. God has given a son to us. And that son will always have authority to rule. And people will call him by these names:

·        Wonderful Friend

·        Great God

·        Father for Always

·        Leader who brings Peace

7 His authority will become greater. And the peace that he will bring will never have an end. He will be king over the land that David ruled. He will make it safe. He will make sure that it has justice. And its people will be very good, now and always. The LORD of all his angels will cause those things to happen, because he loves his people.

God has punished Israel and he will do it again

Note. Isaiah says this 4 times. The words are in Isaiah 9:12, 17, 21 and 10:3.

8 The Lord sent a message against Jacob and it came to Israel.

9 And all the people who live in Ephraim and Samaria know about it. They praise themselves with these words.

10 ‘We built houses with bricks and they fell down. But we will build them again with stones that we have cut. People have knocked down buildings that we made from sycamore trees. But we will build them again with cedar trees (which are better).’

11 But the LORD will make the enemies of Rezin stronger against him. Also, he will help those enemies.

12 The people from Syria on the east and the people from Philistia on the west have opened their mouths. It is like they have eaten Israel. But the LORD is still angry. And his hand is still ready (to hit them again).

‘They have eaten Israel’ means ‘They have beaten the people in many places and now they rule those places.’

Isaiah says four times what he said at the end of verse 12. The other places are Isaiah 9:17, Isaiah 9:21 and Isaiah 10:3.

13 But the people did not turn to him who hit them. Neither did they go to the LORD of all his angels.

14 So, in one day, the LORD will cut off from Israel head and tail. He will also cut off palm branch and reed.

15 The head means the older men and the important people. The tail means the (false) prophets. They teach what is not true.

16 The leaders of this people lead them away from what is true. They confuse the people that they are leaders of.

17 So the Lord will not feel happy with their young men. And he will not be kind to children without fathers. He will not help them. He will not help women whose husbands are dead. That is because nobody obeys God. Everyone does wrong things. What everyone says tells us this. They are fools. But the LORD is still angry. And his hand is still ready (to hit them again).

18 The wrong things that people do burn like a fire. Fires eat up briars and plants with thorns. They burn up the bushes in the forest. And they rise up into the sky like a lot of smoke.

19 He is very angry, so the LORD of all his angels will burn the land. Also, the people will be like material for the fire. No man will be kind to his brother (another Jew).

20 They will take food on their right side, but they will still be hungry. And they will eat what is on the left side. But it will not fill them. Everyone will eat the body of the person who lives near him.

21 The people from the tribe of Ephraim and the people from the tribe of Manasseh will attack each other. And both of them will fight against Judah. But the LORD is still angry. And his hand is still ready (to hit them again).

Chapter 10

1 Some people make rules that are not fair. They also make rules that are cruel to other people. There will be trouble for the people who make those rules.

2 They do these things:

·        Some people need many things. But their rulers do not let them get what is fair.

·        They take away what poor people should have.

·        They rob women whose husbands are dead. They rob them of everything.

·        And they are cruel to children whose parents are dead.

3 You cannot do anything when God punishes you. And you cannot do anything in a storm that comes from a long way away. Nobody will help you. And there will be nowhere to hide your valuable things.

4 You may go to be with the people who are in a prison. Or perhaps you will die with those that the enemy kills in war. Those are the only two things that can happen to you. But the LORD is still angry. And his hand is still ready (to hit Israel’s people again).

Then God will punish Assyria

5 The people in Assyria will be very sad. I will use them like a stick, because I am angry. They will be like someone who hits (Israel’s people) with a heavy stick. They will do that because I am very, very angry.

6 I will send the people from Assyria against this nation of people who do not obey God. I will tell the people from Assyria that they must attack this nation. I am angry with the people in this nation. The people from Assyria will take what these people have. And they will rob them of their things. Then the people from Assyria will walk all over them, as if this nation’s people were dirt in the streets.

7 But that is not what Assyria’s people are thinking. Their ideas are different. They want to beat as many countries as they can. They want to destroy them.

8 They boast, ‘All the leaders of our armies are like kings!

9 The city that is called Calno is like Carchemish. Hamath is like Arpad and Samaria is like Damascus.

10 I got power over all those places and I took their idols. They had more idols than Jerusalem and Samaria.

11 So I will do to Jerusalem and to her idols what I did to Samaria and to her idols.’

12 The Lord will finish all his work against the hill called Zion and Jerusalem. Then he will say, ‘I will punish the king of Assyria. He boasts in his mind and there is pride in his eyes.’

13 This is what the king of Assyria says. ‘I have done this because I am very strong. Also, I am very clever. So I know what I should do. I have removed the borders between countries. Also, I have taken their valuable things. Like a wild animal, I have attacked their people.

14 My hand found the valuable things of many countries. I did that as one finds a bird’s home. I have got power over all the earth as easily as people take eggs from a bird’s empty home. And it was like not one wing moved. And not one mouth opened to make a noise.’

15 The LORD says, ‘The axe is not more powerful than the person who uses it. A tool is not more important than the person who uses it. That would be like a stick that moves its user. It would be like a thick stick that moves a man.

16 So the Lord, the LORD of all his angels, will send an illness to Assyria’s fat soldiers. They will become thin! It will be like he has lit a fire under their pride. It will be like the fire is burning with a bright light.

17 And (the LORD, who is) the Light of Israel, will become like a fire. The Holy God of Israel will become like a bright fire. And the fire will burn and destroy Assyria’s plants with thorns and briars in one day.

18 The LORD will completely destroy Assyria’s great forests and its good fields. Its people’s spirit and body will become as nothing.

19 Only a few forest trees will remain. Even a child will be able to count those that do remain!

But God will help the people who continue to love him

20 When that happens, this will happen to the remnant of Israel. They are the people of Jacob who are still alive.

·        They will not try to get help from the country that beat them.

·        Instead, they will really want to get all their help from the LORD, the Holy God of Israel.

21 A remnant, a remnant of Jacob, will return and they will get help from the Great God.

22 Israel, only a remnant of you will return. That is even when there are so many of you. There are as many of you as there are bits of sand on the sea shore.

23 That will happen because the Lord, the LORD of all his angels, will destroy the whole country. He will destroy it, as he promised to do.’

24 So, this is what the Lord, the LORD of all his angels says. ‘My people who live in Zion, do not be afraid of the people from Assyria. They will be like someone who hits you with a stick. They will lift up a big stick against you like the people in Egypt did. 25 But soon I will not be angry with you. Instead, I will be angry with the people from Assyria and I will kill them. 26 And it will be like the LORD of all his angels is using a whip against them. He will do that as when he killed Midian’s people at the Rock of Oreb. His stick will be over the sea, and he will lift it up. He will lift it up as he did in Egypt. 27 In that day, the weight will come off your shoulder. The LORD will destroy the yoke on your neck.’

28 Assyria’s army will attack Aiath. He will pass through Migron. He will store his things at Michmash.

29 They will pass through the hills, and they will stay for a night at Geba. The people in Ramah will be afraid and the people in Gibeah of Saul will run away.

30 People in Gallim, shout for help! Listen, people in Laishah. Answer them, people in Anathoth.

31 The people in Madmenah will run away. And those who live in Gebim will rush to a safe place.

32 He will stop at Nob on the day that he arrives there. He will move his fist angrily towards the people who live in Zion and on the hill of Jerusalem.

33 But look! The Lord, the LORD of all his angels, will cut off the branches with his frightening power. He will cut down the tallest trees. And he will cause those that are very high to lie low.

34 He will cut down the trees in the forest with an axe. Also, the great trees from Lebanon will fall down.

Chapter 11

The good king, called the Branch, that God will send

1 The part of the Tree of Jesse that is still there will start to grow. Then a Branch will grow from the part of it that is under the ground.

2 The Spirit of the LORD will come on him. It will be:

·        a spirit that knows what is right; and one that knows what things mean

·        a spirit that tells people the right thing to do and one that has authority

·        a spirit that knows everything and one that is afraid to make the LORD angry.

3 To obey the LORD will give pleasure to the Branch. He will not decide about things (only) with what his eyes see. He will not decide (only) with what his ears hear.

4 But what he decides about poor people will be with justice. Also, he will decide about people who are not powerful. He will be fair. He will punish bad people and his words will kill them.

5 He will wear true justice like a belt round him. He will also wear like clothes the fact that he is always there.

6 Wolves will live with young sheep! And leopards will lie down with young goats! Young cows and lions will feed together and young children will lead them!

7 Cows and bears will feed together and their young animals will lie down together. And lions will eat dry grass like cows.

8 And a small baby will play near the hole where a dangerous snake lives. And a young child will put his hand on to the home of another dangerous snake.

9 They will not hurt nor kill each other in all my holy mountain. Then everyone on the earth will know the LORD like water fills the sea.

10 In that day, the ancestor of Jesse will be a like a sign to all peoples. Other countries will come to him. And the place where he lives will be wonderful.

11 And on that day, my Lord will do something for the second time. He will save the remnant of his people who are still alive. He will take them from Assyria, Egypt, Pathros, Elam, Shinar, Hamath and from countries by the sea.

12 The Lord will lift up a sign for those countries to see. He will bring together the people from Israel that enemies took away. He will bring back the exiles of Judah from all over the earth.

13 Ephraim will not still be angry with Judah and Judah will not still attack Ephraim. Ephraim will not still want what Judah has. Also, Judah will not cause trouble for Ephraim again. And Judah’s enemies will all be dead.

14 But together they will attack the low hills of Philistia to the west. They will beat the people to the east of Israel. They will fight against Edom and Moab, and the people in Ammon will obey them.

15 The LORD completely destroyed part of the Sea of Egypt. He will lift his hand over the River. Then he will send a hot wind that burns things. It will make the river into 7 streams, so that people can cross it with dry feet.

16 And there will be a good road from Assyria for the remnant. They are the LORD’s people who remain. It will be as good a road as when Israel came up from Egypt.

Chapter 12

Isaiah’s song to God

1 You will say in that day, ‘I praise you, LORD. You were angry with me, but now, you are not angry with me. Now you are being kind to me.

2 Listen! God has made me safe! I will continue to trust him. And I will not be afraid because the LORD, yes, the LORD, has made me strong. He is the person that I am singing about. He has made me safe.’

3 You will enjoy the fact that you are safe. It will be like when people happily get water from good wells.

4 And you will say in that day, ‘Praise the LORD! Shout aloud his name! Tell everybody what God has done. Cause them to remember that he is very great.

5 Sing psalms to the LORD because he has done wonderful things! Cause everyone in the world to know it!

6 Everyone who lives in Zion, shout! And sing because you are very happy! The Holy God of Israel is great and he is living with you.’

Chapter 13

God will destroy Babylon

1 These are serious words about Babylon that Isaiah the son of Amoz ‘saw’.

The word ‘saw’ here means ‘understood’. He may also have seen in his mind something that God showed to him.

2 Lift up a sign on an empty hill. Shout aloud to them and lift a hand! Then they will go through the gates of the kings.

3 I myself have sent my special men. I have told them what they must do. Also, my brave soldiers must say that I am very angry. I have sent them. They are my proud soldiers. Nobody has ever beaten them.

4 Listen to the sound of a very big crowd! They are people who are on the mountains! Listen to the sound of these people. They are shouting while they come together from many countries! The LORD of Many Armies is preparing an army ready for war.

5 People are coming from a country that is a long way from here. They are coming from the ends of the skies. The LORD is coming with arms for war, because he is angry. He will destroy your whole country.

6 Weep, because the day of the LORD is near. It will happen when Shaddai destroys your country.

7 Everybody’s hands will become weak because of it. And every human heart will become very weak.

8 And they will be very much afraid. They will hurt and they will feel a lot of pain. They will be afraid like a woman who is having a baby. They will look at each other and their faces will frighten each other.

9 Think! The day of the LORD will happen soon! It will be cruel. The LORD will be angry. He will be like an angry fire! It will make your country empty and it will kill all the sinners in it.

10 Yes! The stars in the skies, all of them, will give no light. When the sun appears in the morning, it will still be dark. The moon will not shine.

11 I will cause very bad things to happen to the world. And I will punish bad people for their sins. I will not let proud people think that they are better than anyone else. And I will beat strong people who hurt weak people.

12 I will make men harder to find than the best gold. And men and women will be more difficult to find than gold from Ophir.

13 So I will cause the skies to shake. The earth will move out of its proper place. And people will see how angry the LORD of Many Armies is.

14 And people will look at each other and they will run away to their own country. They will be like wild animals that run away from the hunter. Or they will be like sheep with nobody to lead them.

15 The foreign army will kill with sharp knives anyone who tries to run away. And they will kill with the sword anyone that they catch.

16 They will break young children into pieces while the children’s parents watch. They will rob the people’s homes and they will have sex with their wives.

17 Look, I will cause the Medes to come. They will come to fight against Babylon. The Medes do not ask for silver or gold.

18 Their bows will kill the young men. They will not be kind to babies. And they will not seem sorry for the children.

19 And Babylon will be like Sodom and Gomorrah when God destroyed them. That will happen even if other countries think, ‘Babylon is beautiful.’ The people in Chaldea are proud of the city called Babylon.

20 But people will never live there again. And none of its children will ever live there again. No Arab will put his tent there. No farmers will cause their animals to lie down there.

21 Only wild animals will lie down there. Its houses will be full of owls that scream. And ostriches will live there. Wild goats will dance about in it.

22 Hyenas will make a noise in its tall buildings and jackals will live in its beautiful palaces. Enemies will soon destroy it. It does not have many more days.

Chapter 14

A few words about Israel

1 The LORD will be sorry for Jacob and he will choose Israel again. Then he will give them rest in their own country. Also, people from a foreign country will join themselves to the people of Jacob. They will really become united with them. 2 And the foreign people will take the people of Israel and they will bring them to their own country, Israel. Then Israel’s people will rule the foreign people in the LORD’s country. The foreign people will become male and female slaves. So the people who made Israel prisoners, will be prisoners themselves! Israel will rule over the people who were cruel to them.

Words about the king of Babylon

3 On that day, this will happen. The LORD will give you rest from these things:

·        all your pain and illnesses

·        the cruel way that your enemies caused you to work.

4 You will laugh at the king of Babylon. Then you will say to him, ‘Now you cannot be cruel to us, nor can you attack us!

5 The LORD has destroyed the authority of bad people. He has removed the power of the rulers of Babylon.

6 The rulers of Babylon hit many people because they were angry with them. They never stopped hitting them. They were very angry, so they attacked other countries. They never stopped fighting them.

7 But now there is no war in the whole world and it can rest. Everyone is so happy that they are singing!

8 Even the pine trees and the cedar trees in Lebanon are happy. They say this to you, king of Babylon: “Since the LORD beat you, nobody has come to cut us down!”

9 When you arrive there, you will get much interest from the people in Sheol. People there will come to meet you! You will wake the Rephaim, who were all leaders on the earth. They will come to say, “welcome” to you. All who were kings of their countries will stand up from their seats.

10 All of them will speak to you and they will say this. “Even you have become as weak as we are! You have become like us!”

11 Your pride will bring you down to Sheol with the noise of your harps. Under you will be a bed of maggots and over you will be a blanket of worms.’

More words about the king of Babylon

Some Christians believe that these words in verses 12-15 are really about Satan.

12        ‘Look at you! You have fallen from the skies!

        You shine. You are called the Son of the Dawn!

        You made many countries low, but now you are low yourself!

13        You said in your mind, “I will go up into the heavens.

        I will put my seat above the stars of God.

        I will sit in the mountain in the far north with God’s leaders.

14        I will rise above the tops of the clouds. I will be like the Most-High.”

15        But he has brought you down to Sheol, to the deepest Pit!’

More words about the king of Babylon

16 ‘The people who see you will really look at you. They will think this about you. “This is the man who caused the earth to shake. He caused countries to shake. It is hard to believe it now.

17 This is the man who made the world like a desert. He destroyed its cities. He did not let his prisoners go back to their homes.”

18 All the kings of all the countries – yes! all of them – lie down in a good place. Each king lies in his own grave.

19 But you, they will throw you out without a grave! You will be like a branch that people throw away. Or you will be like the clothes of a dead man that a sword has cut. You will be like someone who fell on to the stones in a big hole. Or you will be like a dead body that people have kicked.

20 They will not bury you with those other kings. Here are the reasons:

·        You have destroyed your country.

·        You have killed your own people.

Nobody will ever remember again this son of very bad people!

21 Prepare a place where they will kill his children. They will kill them because their parents sinned. Then his children will not rule the world and they will not fill it with cities.’

22 ‘I will fight against them’, says the LORD of Many Armies. The LORD of Many Armies also says, ‘I will remove the name of Babylon. I will remove its people who remain, their children and their children’s children.’ 23 The LORD of Many Armies says this also: ‘I will make Babylon a place where owls live. Also, it will be a place where there are pools of water. And I will take it away completely like a man sweeps things away with a brush.’

A few words about the man from Assyria

24 The LORD of Many Armies has made a serious promise. ‘It will happen as my plan says. I have decided what I will do. And I will really do it. 25 I will kill the man from Assyria in my country. Also, I will put him under my feet on my mountains. Then, he will not be cruel to my people. Also, they will not have to carry his heavy weights again.’ 26 That is the plan that he made for the whole earth. And it is the hand that he lifted over all the nations. 27 It is the plan of the LORD of Many Armies. Nobody can change it. He has lifted up his hand. Nobody can change it.

A few words about Philistia

28 In the year that King Ahaz died, Isaiah received this message:

29 ‘Do not feel happy, you people in Philistia. God has broken the stick that hit you. But from that stick a dangerous snake will come. And from that snake will come a snake that can fly!

30 The poorest people among my people will sleep safely. And they will be able to feed their sheep in my green fields. But I will cause your people in Philistia to die because there will be no food. And I will kill the people who remain.

31 Gate of the city, cry! City itself, scream! Move away, all you people in Philistia! Do that because smoke will come from the north. Everybody in that army will march quickly.’

Verse 31 The gate in a city was the place where important people met. So the word ‘gate’ here may mean those important people.

32 ‘What should we say to the people who bring messages from the government? Say that the LORD has built Zion. And say that his poor people will be safe there.’

Chapter 15

Words about Moab

1 This is a serious message about Moab.

        It is true! In one night an enemy destroyed Ar. But Moab did not make any noise.

        It is true! In one night an enemy destroyed Kir in Moab. But Moab did not make any noise.

2 The people in Dibon have gone up to their temple to weep. They have gone up to the high-places. Moab is crying about Nebo and Medeba. Every head is bald and they have cut off every beard.

3 They are wearing hairy cloth in the streets. On the roofs of their houses they are weeping. And in the open places in their towns they are weeping. There are a lot of tears on their faces.

4 Then the people in Heshbon and Elealeh cried aloud. People as far as Jahaz heard the sound! The soldiers of Moab cry aloud because they are afraid. The minds of Moab’s people are afraid.

5 Inside, I feel like a man who is crying aloud for Moab! Its people have run away as far as Zoar and Eglath-Shelishiyah.

        It is true! They weep while they climb up the hill to Luhith.

        It is true! On the road to Horonaim they shout aloud, ‘An enemy has destroyed us!’

‘Inside, I feel like a man who is crying aloud for Moab!’ Isaiah means that he feels very sad.

6 It is true! It is not wet; it is dry in the Valley of Nimrim.

        It is true! The grass is dead. Nothing new is growing. And there is nothing that is green.

7 So, they carry away over the little River of the Willow Trees everything that they found still in the fields. And they are carrying away what they have saved.

8 It is true! The sounds of people who ask for help reach the edges of Moab. People as far as Eglaim heard Moab’s sad songs. Moab’s sad songs reached Beer-Elim.

9 It is true! Blood fills the waters of Dimon.

        It is true! More bad things will happen to Dimon. A lion will wait for those who run away from Moab. And it will wait for those who remain in the country.

Chapter 16

More about Moab

1 Send young sheep from the ruler of the country to Jerusalem. Send them from Sela across the desert to the mountain of the Daughter of Zion (Jerusalem).

2 The women from Moab are crossing the River Arnon. They are like birds that are learning to fly. The mother bird pushes those little birds out from their home.

3 Tell us what we should do! Be fair about what you say! Cause your shadow over us to seem like it is night in the middle of the day! Hide the refugees! Do not show to their enemies the people who have run away!

4 Let the people from Moab who are running away stay with you. Hide them from the enemy that is killing them.

        It is true! People will not be cruel to those who are weak. People will not destroy things. People who fight will disappear from the country.

5 Someone from David’s descendants will make a kingdom. The man who rules it will be fair and honest. He will be a fair judge. He will decide rightly. And he will quickly cause his people to do what is right.

6 We have heard about the pride of Moab. Moab was very proud. Because of its pride, Moab thought that it was better than other people. And Moab said things that were not kind to them.

7 So Moab weeps. All Moab weeps for itself. Sing a sad song. And cry for the cakes that they made with very dry grapes from Kir-Hareseth!

8 It is true! There are no plants in the fields in Heshbon. And there is nothing on the vine of Sibmah. The rulers of other countries have destroyed its branches. The branches reached to Jazer and as far as the desert. Its new branches grew and they crossed over the (Dead) Sea.

9 Because of that, I weep for the vine of Sibmah, as Jazer weeps. I put my tears all over you, Heshbon and Elealeh.

        It is true! The noise of war has fallen on your plants and on your fruit.

Verses 8 and 9 Isaiah seems to write about the vines in Sibmah like they were one big vine.

10 Nobody is really happy in the fields. Nobody sings in the vineyards. And no happy people are shouting in them. Nobody jumps on the grapes in the places where they make wine. I have caused the noise to stop.

11 So, I cry deep inside me for Moab. It is like the sad sound of a harp. And I am hurting for Kir-Hareseth.

12 And when the people in Moab come to their high-place, they will become very tired. They come to pray at their temple. But when they pray at it, nothing will happen.

13 Those are the words that the LORD has already spoken about Moab. 14 But now the LORD says, ‘In the next three years, all Moab’s glory will have gone. Count those years like the years that people pay a worker. Then the LORD will cause all Moab’s many proud people to become a small group. And only a few of them will still be alive, a very small number. Nobody will think that they are important.’

Chapter 17

Words about Damascus

1 This is a serious message about Damascus. Look! The enemy broke the city called Damascus into a lot of stones.

2 Nobody lives in the cities of Aroer. They have become places where groups of animals lie down. Nobody makes them afraid.

3 There are no strong cities in Ephraim and no kings in Damascus. The few people who remain in Aram are as great as Israel’s people! That is what the LORD of Many Armies is saying.

4 On that day, the LORD removed the things that Jacob was proud of. It was like Jacob’s fat body became thin!

5 And it was like when a farmer got all the grain. He did it while it was still in a field. With his arm he cut off the fruit from the plants. Then it was like when someone gleans some of the grain in the Valley of Rephaim.

6 There was not much (in Israel). It was like when someone has hit an olive-tree. And there are only two or three small olives on the highest branch. Or it was like when someone has hit a fruit-tree. And there are only 4 or 5 fruits on the branches of that fruit tree. That is what the LORD, the God of Israel, is saying.

7 On a day like that, people should obey their Maker. They should turn to the Holy God of Israel.

8 They should not think that the altars can help them. Their hands have made those altars. They should not turn to what their fingers have made. They made their images of the female god called Asherah. And they made the altars where they burn incense.

9 On that day, Israel’s strong cities became like empty cities. They were like those other empty forests and woods. People had left them when Israel first attacked them. So the cities were empty groups of stones. 10 They were empty for these reasons:

     You forgot the God who made you safe.

     You did not remember the Rock that hid you from danger.

     You planted gardens for a false god and you planted vines for a foreign god.

In verse 10, ‘the Rock’ means God.

11 So, there were no fruits. On the day that you planted them, you caused them to grow well. They had flowers on the morning that you planted them! But all that finished in a day that was very sad. And there was pain that nothing could take away.

12 Oh, listen! The people in many countries are roaring. They are making a noise like the sea in a storm! And listen! The people in those countries are roaring. They are roaring like a lot of water!

13 The people in those countries are roaring. They are roaring like a lot of water! But when the LORD will shout at them, they will run a long way from here. The wind will blow them away like dead bits of plants on the hills. It will blow them away like dirt that blows about before a storm.

14 Look! In the evening everyone is very much afraid. And in the morning nobody is there! That will happen to anyone who takes things from us. It will happen to anyone who robs us.

Chapter 18

Words about Cush

1 Oh! There is a country where the ships seem to have wings. It is past the rivers of Cush.

2 It is sending messages by people in boats that they made from papyrus. Their boats sail on the top of the waters. Go, take a message quickly. Go to a country where the people are tall. Those people’s skins are not hairy. Everyone, both near and far, is afraid of the people from that country. The country is very strong and rivers cut the land into parts.

There were two places called Cush 2700 years ago. One was near Ethiopia and the other place was near Iraq. Most Bible students think that here it means the place near Ethiopia. But we cannot be sure.

3 Everybody who lives in the world and on the earth, listen to this. You will see a sign on the tops of the mountains. You will hear the sound of a trumpet.

4 This is what the LORD said to me. ‘I will watch quietly from my place. I will be as quiet as the heat that shines from the sun. I will be as quiet as the mist that rises at harvest.’

5 Then, before the harvest, the LORD will cut off the new parts of the plants. He will use a special knife. He will cut off the wide branches and he will take them away. He will do that after the flowers have gone. But he will do it before the fruit is ready for the harvest.

6 He will leave them all for the birds that catch small animals in the mountains. And they will eat them. He will leave them to the wild animals on the land. The birds will feed on them all the summer. And the wild animals will feed on them all the winter.

7 At that time, people brought gifts to the LORD of Many Armies. The people are tall and their skins are not hairy. Everyone both near and far is afraid of those people. The country is very strong, and rivers cut the land into parts. They will come to a place where the Name of the LORD of Many Armies is. It is a mountain called Zion.

Chapter 19

Words about Egypt

1 This is a serious message about Egypt.

Look! The LORD will come to Egypt. He will ride on a cloud that will move quickly. The false gods of Egypt will be afraid when he comes. Also, all the people in Egypt will be very afraid.

2 ‘I will cause Egypt’s men to fight against Egypt’s men. A man will fight against his brother. A man will fight against the man who lives near him. A city will fight against a city and a kingdom will fight against a kingdom.

3 I will pour out the spirit of Egypt from inside it. And I will confuse their plans. So they will ask for help from their false gods. And they will ask for help from the spirits of dead people, and from mediums and from wizards.

4 And I will let a cruel master get power over Egypt. And a powerful king will rule over its people.’ That is what the Lord, the LORD of all his angels says.

5 And the waters of the sea will become dry. And the river will have no water and so it will become dry.

6 And the canals will have less water and they will have a bad smell. And the streams of Egypt will become dry. The reeds and the other plants that grow by the river will die.

7 And the plants at the side of the river Nile will die. And the plants near where the river goes into the sea will die. Everything that people plant by the river will become dry. The wind will blow it away and there will be nothing there.

8 And the fishers will be very sad. Then, everyone who throws a hook and a line into the river will cry. There are other people who put something on the water to catch fish. And those people will not have anything to eat.

9 There are other people who work with the flax. And they will not know what to do. The women who comb the flax will not be happy. Neither will the men who make it into cloth be happy.

10 That will destroy the spirit of the workers in Egypt. Everyone who works for money will feel sick inside them.

11 The leaders of Zoan are really fools! The best people in Pharaoh’s government say that he must do silly things! You cannot say to Pharaoh, ‘I am a son of a man who knows nearly everything. I am a son of someone who was king a long time ago.’

12 Pharaoh, you have very clever men. Perhaps they know what the LORD of Many Armies will do against Egypt. Cause them to tell you now what they know.

13 The leaders in Zoan have made themselves into fools. The leaders of Noph have confused each other. The leaders of those groups of people have caused Egypt to choose wrongly.

Noph is another name for the city called Memphis.

14 The LORD has sent among the people in Egypt a spirit that confuses them. In everything that they do they choose wrongly. They choose wrongly like a drunk who is being sick.

15 There is nothing that anybody in Egypt can do. They may be like a head or like a tail, a branch on a palm tree or a reed. There is nothing that they can do.

16 In that day the people in Egypt will be afraid, like women. They will be afraid when the LORD of Many Armies uses his power against them. 17 The name of the country called Judah will frighten the people in Egypt very much. When people say the name Judah, they will be afraid of the LORD of Many Armies. They will be afraid of his plans to punish them.

18 In that day, five cities in the country called Egypt will speak the language of Canaan. The people in them will promise to obey the LORD of Many Armies. One of the towns will be called Sun City.

19 In that day, there will be an altar to the LORD in the middle of the country called Egypt. Also, there will be a tall stone to the LORD at the edge of Egypt. 20 Those two things will be like notices to tell everyone in Egypt about the LORD of Many Armies. The people in Egypt will pray to the LORD because other people are cruel to them. Then, this is what he will do. He will send someone to make them safe. And he will send a judge who will remove the danger from them. 21 And the LORD will know the people in Egypt. And also, the people in Egypt will know the LORD in that day. And they will worship the LORD and they will offer gifts to him. They will promise the LORD that they will do things. And they will do what they have promised to do. 22 And the LORD will send to Egypt a plague and he really will hurt them. But then he will make them well again. And then they will return to the LORD. And he will answer their prayers and he will make them well.

23 In that day there will be a road from Egypt to Assyria. People from Assyria will go to Egypt and people from Egypt will go to Assyria. People from Egypt and Assyria will worship together.

24 In that day, Israel will be the third country with Egypt and Assyria. Good things will happen in the middle of the country. 25 The LORD of Many Armies will do good things for them. He will say, ‘I will do good things for my people Egypt, and for Assyria, which I have made. And I will do good things for Israel that I have chosen.’

Chapter 20

Words about Egypt and Cush

1 In that year (711 B.C.) the leader of Assyria’s army came to Ashdod. That was when Sargon, the king of Assyria, sent him. He fought against Ashdod and he destroyed it. 2 At that time, the LORD spoke by Isaiah the son of Amoz. He said, ‘Go and take the hairy clothes off your body. And take the shoes from your feet.’ And Isaiah did that. He walked about without clothes and without shoes. 3 And the LORD said, ‘My servant Isaiah walked without clothes and without shoes for three years. It was a message and a prophecy against Egypt and Cush. 4 This is what the king of Assyria will do. He will take away people from Egypt as prisoners. And he will take people from Cush as exiles. Young people and old people will go. They will not have any clothes or shoes. People will see the place where the backs of the legs and the body join. That will make the people from Egypt ashamed. 5 They will not be very happy and they will be ashamed. They had hoped that Cush would help them. And they had said that Egypt would help them also. 6 The people who live along this coast will say in that day, “Look! This happened to the people that we wanted to help us. We went to them for help. We did that because we wanted to get away from the king of Assyria. And now, we do not know how to get away from him.” ’

Chapter 21

Words about Babylon

1 This is a serious message about the desert near the sea. It comes from the desert. It comes from a frightening place. It is like a storm from the land in the south.

2 I received a difficult message. The robber robs and the destroyer destroys. Elam, go up (to Babylon)! People from (the country called) Media, attack (Babylon)! The LORD says, ‘I will cause an end to all the tears that (Babylon’s) armies have caused.’

3 All those things hurt me. Bad pains attack me. They are like the bad pains that a woman feels. She feels them when she has a baby. What I hear bends me over. And that is why I cannot listen. What I see frightens me. And that is why I cannot look.

4 It confuses my mind. I am very much afraid. I wanted a quiet evening. But now that quiet evening has become a time when I am very much afraid.

5 They prepare a special meal. They put down the carpets. They eat and they drink. Officers, make your shields ready!

6 This is what the Lord said to me. ‘Go! And cause somebody to watch carefully. Ask him to report what he sees.

7 If he reports one of these, cause him to watch.

·        a rider

·        a pair of men on horses

·        a rider on a donkey

·        a rider on a camel.

And he must watch very well.’

8 Then the man who watched shouted. He said, ‘Lord, I am standing every day on a building from which I can see everything. I am standing at my place every night.

9 And look! Someone is coming! It is a rider; it is a man with a pair of horses!’ The rider reports and he says this. ‘An enemy has destroyed Babylon! The enemy has destroyed it! All the images of its people’s gods lie in pieces on the ground!’

10 My people, they have hurt you. They have hurt you very much. But I have told you what I have heard from the LORD of all his angels. He is the God of Israel.

Words about Edom

11 This is a serious message about Dumah. Someone is shouting to me from Seir. They are asking, ‘Watchman, how much more of the night is there? Watchman, how much more of the night is there?’

We think that Dumah is another name for Edom.

12 The watchman said, ‘The morning will come, but so will the night. If you want to ask again, then come back. Come and ask!’

Words about Arabia

13 This is a serious message about Arabia. Caravans of people from Dedan, you will find a safe place among the bushes in the wild-country.

14 There you will give water to people who need a drink. People who live in Tema will give bread to the refugees.

15 Do that because they are running away from all this:

·        swords

·        swords that are ready to fight

·        bows that soldiers have bent

·        the dangerous battle.

16 This is what my Lord has said to me. ‘In less than a year, all the important people in Kedar will have gone. A servant that someone has paid counts a year. Count the year like that. 17 Only a few of the men who use bows among the soldiers from Kedar will remain. That will happen because the LORD, the God of Israel, has spoken.’

Chapter 22

Words about Jerusalem

Words about the city itself

1 This is a serious message about the Valley that Isaiah saw in a vision. Something is the matter with you. You have all gone up on to the roofs of your houses!

The word ‘saw’ here means ‘understood’. He may also have seen in his mind something that God showed to him.

2 Your city is full of noise. And it is full of people who are rushing about. The town is having a party! The sword did not kill the people who are dead. They did not die in a war.

3 The enemy caught all your leaders who ran away. The enemy did not have to use one bow. Some of them ran a long way away, but the enemy caught them all!

4 So I said, ‘Leave me alone! Let me cry the saddest tears. Do not try to make me happy, because the enemy will kill many of my people.

5 That is because the Lord, the LORD of all his angels, will cause a day of noise. It will be in the Valley of Vision. There will be feet that are running. And it will confuse people. The enemy will destroy walls and people will shout to the hills (for help).’

6 (People will say), ‘People from Elam carried baskets of arrows. There were men with chariots and horses and soldiers from Kir lifted up their shields.’

7 So your best valleys will be full of chariots and men on horses will attack your city’s gates.

8 The LORD will take away from Judah the place where its people hide themselves. So, in that day, you will look for arms in the House of the Forest (in Jerusalem).

9 You will see that there are many holes in the walls of the City of David. Also, you will get water from the Lower Pool.

10 Then you will count the houses in Jerusalem. And you will knock down the houses. And you will use the materials to make the walls of Jerusalem stronger.

11 You may have built a place inside the walls of Jerusalem to put water from the Old Pool. But you have not looked to its Maker. And you did not see the person who made plans for it a long time ago.

12 And then the Lord, the LORD of all his angels, will ask for people to weep. He will ask them to cry aloud. He will ask them to cut the hair off their heads. Also, they must wear hairy clothes.

13 But look! Everybody is happy, they are very happy. They are killing cows and sheep. They will eat meat and drink. They are saying, ‘We will eat (a lot) and we will drink (a lot). We will do that because tomorrow we will die.’

14 But this is what the LORD of all his angels has told me. ‘I will certainly not forgive this sin before you all die.’ That is what the Lord, the LORD of all his angels said.

Words about one of the leaders in Jerusalem called Shebna

15 This is what the Lord, the LORD of all his angels, said. He said, ‘Stand up and go to this man Shebna. He has authority in the king’s house.

16 Say to him, “You should not be here. God did not say that you can be here. You have cut in the rock here a tomb for yourself. You have cut a tomb in the side of the hill. You have cut for yourself a place in the rock for your dead body.

17 Watch it happen! The LORD will throw you; he will throw you away, you strong man! First he will hold on to you in his strong hand.

18 Then he will make you like a ball; he will make you like a ball. Then he will throw you like a ball into a wide country. You will die there. There your great chariots will make your master’s family ashamed.”

19 I will remove you from your job. And he will throw you down from the place where you are an officer.’

Words about another leader, called Eliakim

20 ‘And this is what will happen in that day. I will tell my servant Eliakim, the son of Hilkiah that he must come.

21 And I will put on him your special clothes, (Shebna) and I will tie your special belt round him. And I will give your authority to him. Then Eliakim will become like a father to everyone who lives in Jerusalem and to the people in Judah.

22 And I will put the key of the family of David on his shoulder. What he opens, nobody will close. What he closes, nobody will open.

23 And I will fix him in his place like a strong hook. And he will make his father’s house famous.

24 But the whole weight of his father’s family will seem to hang on him like that hook. All his children and their children, like cups and bottles that contain things, will seem to hang on him.’ 25 This is what the LORD of all his angels says: ‘In that day the hook that they fixed strongly will not hold. I will cut it down and it will fall. And the thing that is hanging on it will fall off. That will happen because the LORD has spoken it.’

Chapter 23

Words about Tyre

1 This is a serious message about Tyre.

Cry aloud, you people in the ships that go to Tarshish. An enemy has destroyed it. There is not one house to return to. They heard about it in the country called Cyprus.

2 Weep, you people who live on the island. Weep, you merchants of Sidon, that the sailors made rich.

3 Grain came from the River Nile on the great seas. You got money because you sold the fruits from the land by the River Nile. So it became a market-place for many countries.

4 You people who live in Sidon, be ashamed. Be ashamed, because the sea has spoken. The people in the power of the sea, (Tyre), have said, ‘Our city has not been in-labour. Children have not been born. Our city has not had sons and it has not been a parent to daughters.’

5 When the people in Egypt receive the news, they will be in a lot of pain at the report from Tyre.

6 Cross over to Tarshish! Cry aloud, you people who live on the island.

7 This is the city where you had many parties. It is old, very old. Some people from this city walked a long way to live in foreign countries.

8 People do not know who made those plans against Tyre. Tyre is the city that gives crowns to people. Its merchants are like kings. Its merchants are famous in all the world.

9 The LORD of all his angels thought that he should do those things. He did not want people to feel more important than they were. And he wanted to cause all the famous people in the world not to feel important. That is why he did it.

10 Travel through your country, people in Tarshish, as easily as the people in Egypt travel along the River Nile. Travel because now, nobody will stop you.

11 The LORD has lifted his hand over the sea. He made kingdoms afraid. He told his armies what they must do in Phoenicia. They had to destroy all Phoenicia’s strong buildings.

12 Then he said, ‘Do not continue your parties. The enemy has been cruel to you, you people who live in Sidon. Get up! Cross over to Cyprus. Even there you will not find rest for yourselves.’

13 Look at the country called Babylon! Its people are all dead! The armies from Assyria made it a place for wild animals to live in. They (the men from Assyria) built small mountains of earth. Then they climbed on them so that they could attack it. They took everything away from its strong buildings and they destroyed Babylon.

14 Cry aloud, you ships of Tarshish. Your enemies have destroyed your strong port.

15 At that time people will forget Tyre for 70 years. That is how long one king lives. At the end of 70 years something will happen to Tyre. It is like the song about the prostitute.

16        ‘Prostitute that people have forgotten,

        walk about the city with your harp.

        Play it well. Sing many songs.

        Then people will remember you again.’

17 At the end of 70 years the LORD will be kind to Tyre. It will ‘become a prostitute’ again! That means that its merchants will go to all the kingdoms of the world on the earth. 18 And this will happen: All the money that Tyre gets and all the profit will go to the LORD. Tyre will not hide it or store it. Rather, the profit will go to the people who live near the LORD. They will have plenty of food and good clothes.

About Isaiah chapters 24-27

Most English translations call the last book in the Bible, ‘Revelation’. Apocalypse is the Greek name of the book called Revelation. Greek is a language. ‘Revelation’ means ‘things that somebody shows to us’. In the Book of Revelation, those things are about the end of the world. Some Bible students say that chapters 24-27 of Isaiah are also about the end of the world. They are sometimes called ‘little apocalypse’ because they are shorter than Revelation. There are words in these chapters about somewhere called ‘the country’. What happened to ‘the country’ will happen to the whole world. Bible students are not sure whether ‘the country’ means Judah or Babylon or somewhere else.

Chapter 24

Things that will happen to bad people

1 Understand this! The LORD will make the country empty and he will destroy it. He will destroy the ground. And he will move the people who live in it in all directions.

2 It will be the same for all these people:

·        the people and the priest

·        the servant and his master

·        the girl who is a servant and her mistress

·        the buyer and the seller

·        the lender and the borrower

·        the person who has lent money and the person who has borrowed money.

3 Enemies will completely destroy the land. They will take everything from it. The LORD says that it will happen. So it will happen. 4 The land will be dry and it will die. The world will become weak and it will die. The important people in the country will become weak.

5 The people who live in the country have made it like something dirty. That happened for these reasons:

·        They have not obeyed God’s rules.

·        They have changed God’s rules.

·        They have decided to forget God’s covenant. But God’s covenant will always be true.

6 That is why a curse is destroying the country. And the people who live in it are hurting. That is because they have done wrong things. Something burns the people who live in the country. Only a few of them remain.

7 There is no wine now and the vine dies. The people who want to drink the wine are not happy.

8 The happy sound of the tambourine stops. The noise from parties has finished. The harp does not make any happy music.

9 People do not sing because they cannot drink wine. The beer does not taste nice to those who drink it.

10 Enemies have destroyed the city so that it is without shape. People locked every house so that the enemy could not get in.

11 People shout for wine in the streets. Everybody who is happy becomes sad. Nobody in the country laughs.

12 Enemies have destroyed the city. They knocked down the gates of the city and they destroyed them.

13 This will happen through all the country and among other countries. They will be empty like an olive tree that people hit. They will be empty like a vine with a few grapes that people have not picked.

The song of the few people who remain and Isaiah’s sad song

14 There are people who shout aloud with their voices! From (the sea in) the west they say that the LORD is great!

15 So praise the LORD. Praise the LORD God of Israel. Praise him from the islands in the sea.

16 From every part of the country we hear songs that praise the Righteous Person.

But I said, ‘I have become thin and weak! I have become thin and weak! So I am very sad! Bad people are doing bad things. Yes, the bad people are being really very bad!’

17 People in the country, terror, a big hole in the ground and a trap will kill you!

18 The person who runs away from the sound of terror will fall into the big hole. A trap will catch the person who climbs out of the big hole. It will happen because God has opened the windows of the sky. Also, he has moved what is under the land.

19 All those things have completely broken the land. They have torn the land into pieces. They have moved the land very much.

20 The earth walks like a man who is a drunk. It moves about like a tent (in the wind). The wrong things that the people in this country have done feel heavy upon the country. So it will be like someone who falls down. And it will be like someone who never gets up again.

21 On that day, the LORD will punish anything with power in the skies above. And he will punish the kings on the land below.

22 The LORD will bring them together like prisoners in a hole in the ground. He will lock them in a prison and after a long time he will punish them.

23 The LORD of all his angels will be king on the hill called Zion. So then the white light of the moon will disappear and the heat of the sun will become cold. Then, the LORD’s leaders in Jerusalem will see that he is very great.

Chapter 25

A song that praises God because God killed the enemies

1 LORD, you are my God and I will praise you. I will say that you are very great. And I will praise your name, because you have done wonderful things. You said a long time ago what you would do. And you have done it. You were honest and your promises were true.

2 And you have broken the city into a hill of stones. You have destroyed the strong city. The strong city that foreign people live in has gone. Nobody will build it again.

Verse 2 Bible students cannot be sure which city this is.

3 So, a strong country will praise you. The city in a cruel country will be afraid of you.

4 That is because you LORD have made your poor people safe. You have made safe the people who needed help in their trouble. You hid them from the storm and you were their shade from the heat. The attack of the cruel people was like a storm that knocked against a wall.

5 And the storm was like heat in a dry sandy place. You, LORD, stopped the noise of the foreigners. The shade of a cloud makes less the heat of the sun. In the same way, you took away the songs of the enemies. They thought that they had beaten us. That is why they sang.

6 The LORD of all his angels will make a feast for all people upon this mountain (in Jerusalem). It will be a feast of the very best meat, a feast with the very best wine. It will be a feast of the very best meat that makes people strong. It will be a feast with the best wines.

7 And on this mountain the LORD will destroy the shroud that covers all people. It is a shroud that is over every country

8 He will destroy death for always. The LORD, who is the master, will dry the faces of everyone who has tears in their eyes. People will not feel ashamed again, over all the earth. That is what the LORD has promised to do.

In verses 7 and 8, the word for ‘destroy’ means ‘swallow’. We swallow food after we eat it with our mouths.

9 On that day they will say, ‘Look! This is our God! We wanted him to make us safe. And so we have waited for him to come. This is the LORD! We have waited for him. So we will be happy, very happy, because he has saved us.’

10 The power of the LORD will stay on this mountain. And he will walk on the people from Moab as people walk on dead grass and animal dirt.

11 And the people from Moab will put their hands into it. They will be like a swimmer who puts out his hands in the water. They may be clever with their hands. But they will go down like someone who cannot swim.

12 And the LORD will knock down their high, strong walls. He will throw them down. He will make them low and he will turn them into small bits of dry dirt on the ground.

Chapter 26

Another song that praises God

1 In that day, people will sing this song in the country called Judah.

‘We have a strong city. The LORD made walls inside and outside the city, to make us safe.’

In verse 1, the Hebrew word for ‘safe’ that Isaiah used was ‘jeshuah’. It is the Hebrew word that we translate ‘Jesus’!

2 ‘Open the gates of the city, so that the righteous people can come in. The righteous people are those people who continue to believe the LORD.

3 You, LORD, will make safe the person whose mind is always thinking about you. You will keep him safe, because he believes you.

4 Always, always believe the LORD! Do that because the LORD, the LORD is a like a Rock. He will always be alive.

5 He brings down low the people who live in high-places, in a city on tall hills. He makes it low. He brings it down to the ground. He throws it into the dirt.

6 Feet will walk on it. The feet of the poor people and of the weak people will walk over it.’

7 The path that righteous people walk on is flat. You, LORD, make clear the way of righteous people.

8 Yes, LORD, we wait for you in the path that your rules point us to. In our minds, we want everybody to know your name. And we want everybody to know that you are famous.

9 My mind wants you in the night time and my spirit wants you in the morning. The people in the world will learn what ‘righteous’ means. That will happen when you are ruling in the country.

10 Bad people will not learn, if nobody punishes them. They will not learn what ‘righteous’ means. In a country where people are honest, bad people will continue to do bad things. They do not know that the LORD is very great.

11 LORD, you have lifted up your hand to hit them. But they do not see it. (But one day) they will see that you really love your people. Then, I pray that they will become ashamed. I pray that fire will burn up your enemies.

12 LORD, you will keep us safe. Really, all that we have done, you have done on our behalf.

13 LORD, our God, other lords than you have ruled over us. But we only praise your name.

14 Now the other lords are dead. They are not alive. Their spirits have gone and they will not rise up again. You punished them and you killed them. You have done it so that we do not remember them.

15 LORD, you have made the country larger. You really have made the country larger. You have received praise for yourself. You have made all the edges of the country bigger.

16 LORD, they came to you when they had trouble. They prayed quietly to you when you punished them.

17 LORD, we were with you, like a woman who would soon have a baby. We were like she is just before her baby’s birth. We could not keep still and we cried with the pain.

18 We were going to have a baby. We could not keep still and we cried with the pain. But only wind came out! We have not made the earth safe. And no new people have been born who can live on the earth.

19 But your dead people will live again. Their bodies will rise up from the grave. Awake! Shout, you people who live in the ground! Shout because you are very happy. Shout, because your dew is like the dew of the morning. The dead people will come out of the earth. It will be like when a woman has babies.

20 My people, go into your rooms and shut the doors behind you. Hide yourselves for a short time, until the LORD is not angry.

21 Look, the LORD is coming out of his house. He will punish the people on the earth because they have not obeyed him. The earth will show to him the blood that people poured out on it. It will not still hide the dead bodies of those that people have killed.

Chapter 27

1 In that day the LORD will punish Leviathan. The LORD will use his sword. His sword is great, powerful and strong. Leviathan is a snake that moves quickly in the sea. It is a snake that puts itself round things. He will kill that great animal in the sea.

God will guard his people

2 ‘In that day, sing about a field where vines are growing. It is full of fruit!

3 I, the LORD, will guard it. I will continue to put water on it. I will guard it night and day, so that nobody will destroy it.

4 I am not angry. If there were thorny bushes or briars (in my field of vines), I would march against it in a war. I would make fire out of the thorns and briars.

5 Or he should trust me to help him. He should trust me because I am very strong. He should not fight with me. He should agree to have peace with me. Yes, he should agree to have peace with me.

6 The days will come when Jacob will grow like a plant in the ground. Israel will grow and they will make flowers. They will fill all the world with fruit.’

God has a purpose when he punishes people

7 The LORD has hit those enemies who hit his people. And he has hit his people like that. The LORD has killed those enemies. And he has killed his people like that.

8 LORD you fought against your people. You sent them into exile. He has sent them there with a cruel wind. It was like a day when the east wind blows.

9 So this is how Jacob will be sorry because of his sins. And this will be the result when God has taken away Jacob’s sin completely: The LORD will break all the stones in their altars to pieces like stones of chalk. He will not let the Asherah poles or the altars for incense continue to stand.

10 Then the strong city will be empty. Everybody who lived there will leave it. It will be like a dry sandy place. Nobody will go there. Young cows will eat the grass and they will lie down there. They will eat everything on the branches of the trees.

11 When their branches become dry, people will break them off the trees. The women will come and they will make fires with them. That will happen because these people do not understand things. So, their Maker will not help them. Also, their Creator will not be kind to them.

12 And in that day this will happen. The LORD will fetch you, one after another one, you sons of Israel. A farmer takes the good seeds from the plants. It will be like that. The LORD will take his people from all the land between the River Euphrates and the stream of Egypt.

We think that ‘the stream of Egypt’ means the River Nile.

13 And in that day this will happen. Someone will make a sound on a big trumpet. And people who are dying in Assyria will come. Also, people in exile in the country called Egypt will come. They will worship the LORD on the mountain at Jerusalem.

Chapter 28

A sad song about Ephraim

1 There will be a very sad day in Ephraim! The leaders of Ephraim are very proud, but they are drunks. Ephraim is like a beautiful flower, but it will die. It will not always be beautiful. Ephraim is at the top of a valley where there are good plants. But wine causes its people to fall over.

2 Look! The Lord has somebody who is powerful and strong. He is like a storm of ice. And he is like a wind that destroys things. He is like a storm of rain with a lot of water. He will throw Ephraim’s people to the ground with his hands!

We think that ‘somebody’ and ‘he’ in this verse means the country called Assyria or its army.

3 His feet will walk on the proud leaders. Those leaders are the drunks of Ephraim.

4 And Ephraim will be like (a fruit called) a fig. It is ready to eat. It is ready when they pick it. When someone sees it, he will pick it. And he will eat it! This Ephraim is like a beautiful flower. But it will die, and it will not be beautiful. It is at the top of a valley. Good plants are there.

5 In that day the LORD of all his angels will be a wonderful leader. And he will be a beautiful ruler for his people who remain in their country.

6 The LORD will help people to judge in the right way. He will make the people who guard their city strong.

7 But wine also causes most people in Ephraim to fall down. And beer makes them into drunks. Beer causes priests and prophets to fall over. And wine confuses their minds. Beer causes them to fall over. And when they see visions they cannot understand them. They judge in the wrong way.

8 They are sick over all their tables. And there is nowhere that is not dirty.

9 (They say,) ‘He is teaching what he knows to us! He is explaining his message to us! He thinks that we are babies! And he thinks that we have just stopped drinking milk! He thinks that we have just come from our mother’s breast!

10 His message is like this: “One rule after another rule. One rule after another rule. One group of words after another group of words. One group of words after another group of words. A little here, a little there.” ’

11 So, with foreign lips and a strange language God will speak to these people.

12 He said to these people, ‘This is a place to rest. Let the tired people rest.’ And he said, ‘This is a place to be quiet in.’ But they would not listen.

13 So then, the LORD’s message will seem to them like, ‘One rule after another rule. One rule after another rule. One group of words after another group of words. One group of words after another group of words. A little here, a little there.’ So they will go, but they will fall over. An enemy will hurt them, and he will catch them in a trap.

14 So, listen to the LORD’s message. Hear it, you people who laugh in a bad way at me. And obey it, you rulers of these people in Jerusalem.

15 What you are really saying is this. ‘We have made a covenant with death and we have agreed with Sheol. When the waters rise, they cannot touch us. That is because we believe in lies. And what is not true will keep us safe.’

16 So the LORD, who is the master, says, ‘Look! I have put (someone who is like) a stone in Zion. People now know that this is a good stone. It is a valuable stone, because it makes the corners of buildings. It is a strong stone to build on. The person who believes in him will never be sorry.

17 Do what is right and fair. If you do those things, I will help you. But if not, the rain of ice will carry away the lies that you believe. And water will come into your safe place.

18 I will stop your covenant with death. What you agree with Sheol will not continue. When the water rises, it will come over you. It will drown you.

19 Every time that it comes to you, it will carry you away. Certainly, every morning, any day and any night, it might come over you. And, if you understand the message, then you will be very much afraid.’

20 (You know what people say.) ‘The bed is so short that you cannot lie in it. The blanket is so narrow that you cannot put it round yourself.’

21 But the LORD will do something, like he did at Mount Perazim. He will be very angry, as he was in the Valley of Gibeon. He will do something that is very strange. He will do something that is not usual.

22 So, do not laugh in a bad way at me. If you do laugh at me, your chains will be even heavier. The Lord, the LORD of all his angels, told me what he has decided. He has decided to destroy all the land.

23 Listen. And hear me when I speak! Listen to me. And hear what I am saying!

24 The farmer ploughs because he wants to plant seeds. But he does not plough every day. He does not always break his ground into small pieces.

25 When he has made the ground flat, he plants dill and cummin. He plants all the different seeds of grain in their own places in his field.

26 His God teaches him. And his God tells him the right thing to do.

27 Farmers do not remove dill seeds with a special machine. Nor do they get cummin seeds like that. They hit dill seeds and cummin seeds with a stick.

28 But they do use a special machine to get grain for bread. But they do not do it for too long. The farmer does not drive the wheels of the special machine over the grain. And his horses do not walk on it.

29 The LORD of all his angels causes them to know all that. He is a wonderful advisor to them. And he does things in that wise way.

Chapter 29

A sad song about Ariel

1 There will be a very sad day in Ariel. Ariel is the city that David attacked. Continue to have your usual feasts every year.

2 But I will bring trouble to Ariel. And the people in Ariel will not be happy. They will be very sad. And Ariel will be my ariel, (my fire-place).

3 And I will do these things: My army will attack you. They will be in a circle round you. I will put an army against you on every side. I will build things against you to attack you.

4 Then you will become humble and you will speak from the ground. And, from low in the dirt, it will be difficult for us to hear your words. And the sound of your words will come from the ground. It will seem like the sound of the spirit of a dead person. And from the dirt, you will speak very quietly.

5 But your enemies will become like many small bits of dirt. And the crowds of cruel soldiers will be like dead bits of a plant in the wind. That is because, in a moment,

6 the LORD of all his angels will come to you! It will be like thunder, or when the ground moves. It will be like a very loud noise. It will be like a very strong wind and a great storm. And it will be like a fire that burns up everything.

7 That will happen to all the many countries that attack Ariel. It will happen to everyone who fights against it and against its strongest building. It will happen to all the soldiers who are in a circle round it. They will be like a dream that people see in the night!

8 It will be like a hungry man who dreams. He dreams that he is eating something. But, look! He wakes and he is still hungry! Or it will be like a thirsty man. He dreams that he is drinking. But, look! He wakes and look! He is still weak because he is still thirsty! That will happen to the many soldiers from all the countries that fight against Zion.

9 That will hit you so that you become like fools. And you will not believe it! You will become blind, so that you cannot see anything! You will become drunks, but not from wine! You will fall over, but not because you have drunk beer!

10 No, it will be because the LORD has caused you to go into a deep sleep. He has shut the eyes of your prophets and he has covered the heads of your seers.

11 And all this vision is for you. It is the words in a closed book. Give the book to someone who can read. And say to him, ‘Read this, please.’ But he will answer, ‘I cannot read it, because someone shut it.’ 12 Or, give the book to someone who cannot read. Say, ‘Read it, please.’ But he will answer, ‘I do not know how to read.’

13 The Lord says, ‘These people pray to me with their mouths. And their lips say that I am important. But they are not really thinking about me. And to worship me they use rules that men have made.’

14 ‘So watch it happen! I will surprise these people again. I will surprise them again and again! Some people can rightly use what they know. But they will not be able to. The people with good minds will not be able to use them.’

15 There will be a very sad day for those people who do these things:

·        They really try to hide from the LORD what they tell (to the king).

·        They work in dark places.

·        And they say, ‘Nobody knows us.’

·        And they say, ‘Nobody sees us.’

16 You turn things the wrong way up! In your minds, you confuse the clay with the person who makes pots! The thing that somebody made cannot say to its maker, ‘You did not make me!’ The pot cannot say to the person who makes pots, ‘You do not know anything!’

17 In a very short time, (the country called) Lebanon will become a garden of fruit trees. And Carmel will be like a forest.

18 At that time, people who could not hear will hear. They will hear someone who is reading words from a book. And people who could not see will see. And they will not remain in shadows and in the dark.

19 And the LORD will make humble people happy again. And the poor people will sing songs to the Holy God of Israel, because they are so happy.

20 That is because cruel people will go. People who laugh in a bad way at God will not appear anywhere. And the LORD will kill everybody who is preparing to do bad things.

21 Those bad people do these things:

·        They say that a man has done something wrong with only a word.

·        They make a trap for the judge at the city gate.

·        And they do not let a man who has not done anything wrong get a fair result.

22 So this is what the LORD says to the house-of-Jacob. He is the LORD who saved Abraham. ‘Jacob will not be ashamed again. And his face will never lose colour (because he is afraid).

23 They will see their children, which my hands made, among them. Then they will honour my name. They will honour the Holy God of Jacob. And they will be afraid to make the God of Israel angry.

24 Also, people whose minds are confused will understand things. Some people always say that something is wrong. But then, they will be happy to learn things.’

Chapter 30

A sad song for those who want to join with Egypt

1 ‘It is a very sad day for children who do not obey their father’, says the LORD. ‘They have decided what to do. But they did not ask me about it. They have decided to agree with Egypt, but without my Spirit’s help. They have done more and more sins as a result.

2 They hurry to go down to Egypt. But they do not ask me what to do. They ask for Pharaoh’s help to make them safe. And they look for the shadow of Egypt to cover them.

3 But Pharaoh’s help will make you ashamed. And you will not receive help in Egypt’s shadow.

4 Their leaders have arrived in Zoan and their people with authority have gone to Hanes.’

Zoan and Hanes are two places in Egypt.

5 ‘The people (in Egypt) will not be able to help them. So everyone will be ashamed. They will not bring any help to you. They will not really bring any help to you. They will only make you very much more ashamed.’

6 Here are sad words about the animals that go through the Negev. It is a place where there is trouble and danger. These wild animals live there:

·        lionesses and lions that roar

·        snakes and dangerous snakes that fly.

Here they (the leaders of Judah) carry their valuable things on the backs of horses. And they carry their very valuable things on the backs of other animals. They do that on behalf of people who cannot help them!

7 Egypt is like an empty place. The people there will not send any help. So, I call Egypt ‘Rahab who does not do anything.’

8 Now go! Write it down on a piece of stone for them. Also, write it in a book. Then, in future days, it will always be there to read.

9 These people are people who do not obey the LORD. They are his children and they disappoint him. They are children who do not want to listen to the LORD’s words.

10 They say to the seers, ‘Do not see anything!’ And they say to the prophets, ‘Do not tell us the right thing to do. Tell us nice things. Say what is not true!

11 Leave this path. Get off this road. Do not hold the Holy God of Israel in front of us.’

12 So, this is what the Holy God of Israel says. ‘You have not listened when my word told you about the danger. And you are cruel to people. And you believe that it will help you. And you have believed in lies.

13 So this will happen. This sin will be for you like a high wall that is not safe. It will bend over, and in a moment, it will fall down.

14 The LORD will break it into pieces as easily as someone breaks a piece of pot. He will destroy it, and he will not feel kind about it. There will not be a big piece of pot among the bits. You will not be able to use any bit to lift a burning stick from the fire. You will not be able to use any bit to bring water from a pool.’

15 Now this is what the Lord said. He is the LORD who is the Holy God of Israel: ‘Return (from Egypt) and rest. If you do that, you will be safe. Be quiet and believe in God. If you do that, you will be strong. But you would not do it.’

16 So you said, ‘No! We will run away on horses.’ So you will run away. You said ‘We will ride away very quickly.’ So the people who run after you will move quickly.

17 A thousand men will run away from only one enemy. You will all run away from 5 of them! They will leave you like a sign on the top of the mountain, or like a flag on a hill.

God is kind and fair

18 So the LORD will wait for the time to be kind to you. So, also, one day he will start to show his great love for you. It is because the LORD is a fair God. He will make everyone who waits for him very happy.

19 Yes! You people of Zion who live in Jerusalem, you will not weep again. The LORD will be very kind to you when you shout for help. When he hears you, he will answer you. 20 In past years, the Lord has given trouble to you like your bread. And he has given pain to you as your water. But then your Teacher will not hide himself from you. You will see him with your own eyes. 21 And your ears will hear a word near you, but behind you. When you turn to the right or to the left it will say, ‘This is the way. Walk in it.’ 22 And you will not use your idols. You cut them from wood with a knife. Then you covered them with silver. You will not use your idols that you made from metal. You covered them with gold. You will throw them away like dirty things. You will say to them, ‘Go!’

23 The LORD will send rain for your seeds that you plant in the ground. And plenty of good food will come from the ground. In that day, your cows will eat grass in wide fields. 24 And the cows and the horses that work on the ground will eat the best food for animals. Farmers will use a big farm-fork and a spade to give it to them. 25 And on every tall mountain and on every high hill, water will come down in streams. That will happen on the day when high buildings fall. And many people will die. 26 Also, the moon will shine as bright as the sun. And the light of the sun will be 7 times brighter. It will be like the light of 7 days at the same time! That will happen when the LORD puts soft cloths on his people. He will put the cloths where he had hit them hard. And he will make them better where he hurt them.

27 Look! The LORD himself is coming from somewhere that is a long way from here. There is fire in his nose and smoke like thick clouds is all round him. His lips show that he is angry. His tongue eats things like a fire burns things.

28 From his mouth comes something that is like a lot of water. It will reach up to a person’s neck. He moves the people from many countries so that they become separate. And then he will destroy those nations. And he will be like a man who puts a bit in horses’ mouths. The man does that to lead them away from their own place.

29 And you (my people) will sing! It will be like the nights of your important feasts. You will feel very happy inside you! It will be like when people go up to the LORD’s temple. There will be music. Another name for the LORD is the Rock of Israel.

30 Then the LORD will cause people to hear the sound of his words. It will be like a great king when he speaks! He will let people see his arm when it comes down. It will come down so that it can hit them. He will cause people to know that he is very, very angry. He will be like a fire that burns everything. He will be like a cloud that drops a lot of rain. He will be like a storm that makes a lot of noise. He will drop like bits of ice.

31 The voice of the LORD will completely destroy Assyria. He will knock them down with his stick.

32 He will hit them with his stick. He will use his stick to punish them. It will sound like the music of harps and tambourines while the LORD fights them in a war. He will use his arms to hit them.

33 The LORD has already made the fire called Topheth ready. He prepared it for the king (of Assyria). The hole in the ground for the fire is deep and wide. There is plenty of wood for the fire. The air from the LORD’s mouth will light the fire. That air is like a stream of sulphur that is on fire.

Chapter 31

God’s help is better than help from Egypt

1 It will be a sad day for those people who go down to Egypt. They want help and horses from Egypt. They think that chariots will help them. That is because there are very many chariots in Egypt. And they hope for help from men who ride on horses. That is because those men are very strong. The people do not ask the Holy God of Israel for help. And they do not ask LORD about what they should do.

2 But the LORD knows the best thing to do. Also, he can kill people. He does not change what he says. And he will do something against the people who do bad things. Some men help other people to do bad things. And the LORD will do something against those men, too.

3 The men in Egypt are only men. They are not God. Their horses are animals, not spirits. When the LORD puts out his hand, the helper will fall down. And the person that he helps will fall down too. They will all come to an end together.

4 This is what the LORD said to me. ‘The LORD of all his angels will come down to fight on the mountain of Zion and on its hill. He will make a noise like a lion or a young lion. It makes noises over what it has caught. He will not be afraid of the group of sheep-farmers when they come out against the lion.’

Verse 4 When he says ‘sheep-farmers’ here, he means the leaders of Israel.

5 The LORD of all his angels will make Jerusalem safe. He will fly round it like a bird. He will make it safe, and he will make it free. He will pass over it and he will save it.

Verse 5 ‘pass over’. Isaiah uses the words of an important time for his people: the Passover.

At Passover, the Jews remember one night when they were slaves in Egypt. God caused the people in Egypt to make the Jews free. (See Exodus chapter 12.)

6 People of Israel, turn back to the LORD. You have caused him to feel very sick and ill. 7 Turn back to him because in that day everyone must throw away their gold and silver idols. Your hands made them for you, which was wrong.

8 A sword will kill the man from Assyria. A man will not do it. And a sword that a man is not holding will kill him. And he will run from the sword. And it will cause his young men always to do difficult work.

Some Bible students think that ‘the man from Assyria’ means the army from Assyria.

9 ‘(The king of Assyria, who is like) their rock, will run away. He will run away because he is very afraid. And the leaders (of his army) will run away because they are all afraid of the war flag.’ That is what the LORD says. His fire is in Zion and his ariel is in Jerusalem.

Chapter 32

God promises that his people will have a good king

1 A king will be a good judge. And leaders will be fair judges. Think about those things.

Some Bible students think that the words in verse 1 mean, ‘A king should be a good judge and leaders should be fair judges.’

2 Then each leader will be like a place to hide from the wind. And he will be like someone who covers us from the storm. He will be like streams of water in a dry place. And he will be like the shadow of a big rock in very dry land.

3-4 Now think about these things:

·        The eyes of people who see will never shut.

·        And the ears of people who hear will really listen.

·        Some people are too quick to speak. But then, those people will wait to understand.

·        And the tongues of people who speak with difficulty now will speak clearly then.

5 Then they will not again call a fool clever. They will not say that a cheat is fair.

6 A fool says silly things and his mind thinks about bad things:

·        He does things that are against God’s rules.

·        He says wrong things about the LORD.

·        He does not give food to hungry people.

·        And he does not give a drink to thirsty people.

7 The things that a cheat does are bad. They cause people to believe what is not true. Also, his ideas are bad. He decides to hurt poor people. What he says about them is not true. And he says things like that, even when the poor people speak the truth. And those poor people are people who need help.

8 But a good person wants to do good things. Also, he does the good things that he promised to do.

An enemy (Assyria) will attack you before your good king comes

9 You women who have no problems, get ready. Listen to my voice. You ladies who feel very safe, hear my words to you.

10 In less than a year, you women who feel very safe will worry. You will worry because there will be no proper harvest of grapes. And the harvest of fruit will not happen.

11 Shake, you women who have no problems. Be afraid, you ladies who feel very safe. Take off your clothes so that you are not wearing anything. Then put a cloth about the tops of your legs.

Verses 9-11 We think that ‘women’ and ‘ladies’ here is like a picture of towns and cities.

12 Hit your breasts for these reasons.

     There are no good fields.

     The vines do not have any fruit.

13 And the ground where our people work gives only plants with thorns and briars.

Yes, do it because there are no happy homes in the happy city.

14 It is a fact that the king will go from his beautiful house. The city where many people live will be empty. The hill (in Jerusalem) and the tall building, where people watch for enemies, will always be homes for animals. They will be a happy place for wild horses to live in. And there will be fields there where groups of animals eat the grass.

15 That will happen until God pours his Spirit on us from above the earth. Then, the wild places will become gardens and the gardens will become forests.

16 Then people will decide fairly in the wild places. And they will do good things in the fields that contain plenty of fruit.

17 And when people do good things, there will be no war. When people do good things there will be a quiet and safe time. It will continue for a long time.

18 My people will live in a place where there is no war. Their homes will be safe and they will sleep without pain.

19-20 Ice may knock down the trees in the forest. But, even then, people who plant seeds by the stream will be happy. Even if a storm completely destroys the city, they will let their cows and horses go to the fields freely.

Chapter 33

Another sad song

1 It will be very sad for you, the country that destroys other countries. No other country has destroyed you, yet. It will be sad for you, the country that is not honest with other countries. No other country has not been honest with you yet. But when you stop destroying other countries, one country will destroy you. And when you stop not being honest with other countries, they will not be honest with you.

2 LORD, be kind to us. We look to you for help. Make us strong every day. Save us when trouble happens.

3 At the sound of a voice, people run away. When you go to war, the people in other countries run away.

4 People get things together after a war, as a locust gets food. As locusts rush to their food, so people rush to those things.

5 The LORD is more important than anyone else. He lives high above the earth. He will fill Zion with fair answers to questions. And everybody will do what is right.

6 He will make your lives safe and you will keep your money. Here are the valuable things that he gives to you:

·        You will have the right answers for questions.

·        You will know everything that you need to know.

·        You will be properly afraid of the LORD.

7 Look! The brave men from Jerusalem weep in the streets. Officers went (to Assyria). They asked for the war to stop. Now they cry very sad tears.

8 The important roads are empty and nobody travels on the smaller roads. The enemy stopped the covenant. He does not like the cities and he does not love anyone.

9 The land itself is very sad and it is becoming dry. Lebanon is ashamed and it is dying. Sharon is like a sandy place and the leaves in Bashan and Carmel are dying.

10 The LORD says, ‘Now will I stand up. Now I will lift myself up. Now I will raise myself up.

11 You make dry grass and you call it straw. Your own breath will destroy you as fire burns up that dry grass.

12 It will burn the bones of people to make lime. They will burn as easily as bushes with thorns, when people cut them down.

13 You people who are a long way from here, listen. Listen to what I have done! And you people who are near, understand. Understand that I am very powerful.’

14 The sinners who live in Zion are afraid. The people who are not holy are afraid. They ask this. ‘Which of us can live with a fire that burns everything? Which of us can live with a fire that will never stop burning?’

15 The answer is the person who is like this:

·        He is very good. And he speaks what is right.

·        He is never cruel to people to get money from them.

·        His hands will not accept money to do wrong things.

·        He closes his ears against ideas to kill people.

·        And he shuts his eyes, so that he does not think about bad things.

16 That person will be the person who lives on high places. That person’s safe place will be in the rocks. People like that will always have food and their drink will not stop.

17 Your eyes will see that the king is beautiful. Your eyes will see a country that reaches to places a long way from here.

18 Your mind will think about when you were afraid. You will say, ‘The enemy-officer who counted things has gone! The man who weighed everything has gone! The man who counted high buildings has gone!’

19 You will never see those cruel people again. They speak words that you cannot understand. Their language is strange and you cannot understand it.

20 Look at Zion. It is the city where we have our feasts. Your eyes will see Jerusalem. It is a place where there is no war. It is like a tent that people will never remove. They will never pull up its pegs. They will never break any of its ropes.

21 It is there (in Jerusalem) that the LORD will be our powerful God. It will be like a place with wide rivers and streams. No boat that men have to move will go on them. No big ship will sail on them.

22 The LORD is our judge. The LORD gives our rules to us. The LORD is our king. It is the LORD who will make us safe.

23 The ropes on your ship hang down. The wood that they hang from is not safe. The sailors have not put the sail up. Then people will have the many things that they took from their enemies. And even people who cannot walk well will carry away something!

24 Nobody who lives in Zion will say, ‘I am ill.’ And God will again forgive the people who live there.

About Isaiah chapters 34 and 35

These chapters are a poem at an important place in Isaiah’s book.

Isaiah 34:1-15 is a bad dream. In it, God punishes Edom.

Isaiah 35:1-10 is a good dream. In it, God gives gifts to his people.

Chapter 34

God punishes the people in Edom

1                  Come near to me, you people in all countries, and listen to me.

All you people, think about what I am saying to you.

        Hear me, all the earth, and everything that is in it.

        Listen, all the world, and all that comes from it.

        2        Yes! The LORD is right to be angry against every country.

        And he is right to be very angry against all their armies.

        The LORD will destroy them.

        He will send them to their deaths.

        3        Nobody will bury the dead bodies.

        The dead bodies will fill the air with a very bad smell.

Their blood will go down on the mountains.

        4        And every army in the skies will be like water.

        And the skies will close up like a book.

        And all their armies will fall

        like leaves that fall from a vine.

        They will fall like the fruit called figs from a fig tree.

        5        When my sword has done its work in the skies,

        it will come down on Edom.

        There are people there that I have decided to kill.

        My sword will fall on those people.

        6        The LORD is right to use a sword!

        He will put it into blood. He will cover it with meat.

        It is the blood of young sheep and goats.

        It is the meat from inside male sheep.

        Yes! The LORD is right to make a sacrifice in Bozrah.

        He will kill many people in the country called Edom.

Bozrah was an important town in Edom, to the east of Judah.

        7        And wild cows will fall with them.

        Young male cows will die with old cows.

        Blood will go into their land.

        Meat will go into their earth.

        8        The LORD has chosen a day when he will punish people.

        And he is right to do that.

        It will be a year when the LORD helps Zion.

        And it will be a year when he punishes Zion’s enemies.

        9        The streams in sandy places in Edom will turn into pitch.

        Its ground will turn into sulphur that is burning.

        Its land will become pitch that is on fire.

        10        Nobody will put out the fire in the day or in the night.

        Smoke from the fire will rise up for a long time.

        The land will be empty from one century to the next century.

        Nobody will ever pass through it again.

        11        But lots of hawks and hedgehogs will be there.

        And owls and ravens will live there.

        And the LORD will pull over it a line that measures.

        It will make it without shape.

        He will pull over it a special line that will make it empty.

        12        Edom’s leaders will have nothing there that they can call a kingdom.

        And all its officers will disappear.

        13        And thorny bushes will cover its beautiful houses.

        Weeds and briars will cover its castles.

        The country will be a home for jackals. And ostriches will live in it.

        14        Wild animals and hyenas will come together.

        And wild goats will make a noise to each other.

        Also, the bad female spirit called Lilith will rest there.

        And she will find for herself a place in which to stay.

        15        The owl will build a home there.

        And she will keep her eggs there until they become baby birds.

        And she will keep them safe under the shadow of her wings.

        Vultures will meet there too. Each has her mate.

        16        Look in the LORD’s book and read this!

        ‘They will all be there.

        Not one of them will be without her mate.

        The LORD’s mouth has said that those things must happen. So they will happen.

        And his breath will bring them together.

        17        The LORD will give their places to them.

        And his hand will give those places to them with the line that measures.

        They will have that country always.

        They will live in it from one century to the next century.’

Chapter 35

God gives gifts to his people

1        The sandy place and the dry land will be happy.

        The wild places will feel happy and flowers will grow there.

        2        Many flowers will appear quickly in those places.

        The land will be very happy.

        So it will seem to sing. And it will seem to shout aloud!

        It will be as beautiful as Lebanon.

        It will seem like places in Carmel and in Sharon.

        Those places will see the LORD’s glory.

        They will see that our God is very, very great.

        3        Make your weak hands strong.

        Make the knees that will not hold you up strong.

        4        Say to the people who are very much afraid,

        ‘Be strong! Do not be afraid! Your God will come.

        He will come to punish his enemies. He will punish them fairly.

        He will come and he will save you.’

        5        Then he will open the eyes of people who are cannot see.

        And he will make well the ears of people who cannot hear.

        6        Then people who cannot walk now will jump like deer.

        And people who cannot speak now will shout.

        That will be because they are very happy.

        Yes! God will pour water into the wild, dry places.

        And he will pour streams of water into the sandy places.

        7        Then the hot sand will become a pool of water.

        And water will come up from the ground that is very dry.

        In the places where jackals had lived, there will not be grass.

        Reeds and plants like reeds will grow there instead.

        8        And there will be a high road there, a way.

        Its name will be ‘The Holy Way’.

        People who are unclean will not go on it.

        It will be for those people who walk on the Way.

        Fools who are very bad people will not walk on it.

        9        No lions will be there.

        No dangerous wild animals will walk on it.

        Nobody will find those animals there.

        But people that the LORD has redeemed will walk there.

        10        And the people that the LORD has paid to rescue will return.

        And they will sing while they go into Zion.

        And they will never stop enjoying themselves. It will show on their faces.

        Everywhere that they go they will be very, very happy.

Chapter 36

Chapters 36 to 39 tell us about the time when God beat the Assyrians. The LORD kept Jerusalem safe from the soldiers from Assyria.

Assyria’s army arrives in Judah

1 King Hezekiah had ruled Judah for nearly 14 years. Then, King Sennacherib of Assyria attacked the cities in Judah that had high, strong walls. He became the ruler of all the cities except Jerusalem and they became his. 2 And the king of Assyria sent the leader of his soldiers from Lachish. He came to King Hezekiah in Jerusalem. The leader had a large army with him. He stopped at the stream of water that went from the higher pool. It was on the road, near the place where people wash clothes.

3 And these people came out to meet him:

·        Eliakim, the son of Hilkiah. He was the most important servant in the king’s beautiful house.

·        Shebna, the leader of the government.

·        Joah, the son of Asaph. He was the king’s writer.

4-5 And the soldiers’ leader said to those men, ‘Now please say this to Hezekiah. This is what the Great King, the king of Assyria, says to you:

·         “You should not believe that you will be safe!

·        Words cannot tell you what you should do!

·        And they cannot give to you the power that you need for war!

·        You want to fight against me.

         Perhaps you think that someone will help you.

         But I do not know anyone who will help you!

6 Think about it! I know that you are hoping for help from Egypt. But Egypt is like a stick that people use. It helps them to walk. But it will break! If you push on it, it will go into your hand, like a sharp piece of reed. That will happen to anybody who hopes for help from Pharaoh, the king of Egypt. 7 But you might say to me, ‘We are trusting the LORD our God to help us.’ Then I will answer this. He is the God whose high-places and altars Hezekiah removed! Hezekiah said to Judah and to Jerusalem, ‘You must worship God only at this one altar.’ ” 8 And now’, said Rabshakeh, the leader, ‘agree today with my master, who is the king of Assyria. And I will give you 2000 horses, if you can put 2000 riders on them! 9 You cannot beat any officer who works for my master. You could not beat that officer even if every other officer was more important than him. But you are still hoping that Egypt will send chariots and riders on horses. 10 And there is something else. Surely I would not attack and destroy this country without help from the LORD! The LORD said to me, “March against this country and destroy it.” ’

11 Then Eliakim, Shebna and Joah spoke to Rabshakeh. They said, ‘Please, speak to your servants in the Aramaic language, because we do understand it. Do not speak to us in Hebrew. If you do that, the people on the wall of the city may hear you.’ 12 But Rabshakeh said, ‘My master did not send me to say these things only to you and to your master. He sent me to say them to these people too. I mean these people who are sitting on the wall of the city. Like you, they will have to eat the material that their own body wastes. And they will have to drink the water that their own body wastes.’

13 Then Rabshakeh stood up. He shouted in a loud voice in Hebrew. ‘Hear the words of the king, who is the Great King of Assyria. 14 This is what the king of Assyria says to you. “Do not let Hezekiah tell you what is not true. Hezekiah cannot save you. 15 And do not let Hezekiah cause you to trust the LORD. He tells you that the LORD really will make you free from Assyria. He says that the LORD will not give this city to the king of Assyria. 16 Do not listen to Hezekiah! And do not obey him!” This is what the king of Assyria says to you. “Do not have a war with me. Come out of your city to me. Then you will all eat the grapes from your own vines and the figs from your own fig trees. And you will all drink the water from your own wells. 17 Do that until I come to you. Then I will take you away to a country like your own country. It is a country where grain and new wine grow. It is a country where there is a lot of bread. And it is a country where vineyards grow. 18 Do not listen to Hezekiah and do not obey him. He will be like a man who leads you the wrong way. He says that the LORD will save you. No other country’s god has saved his people from the power of the king of Assyria. 19 The gods (of the cities called) Hamath and Arpad could not help them. The gods (of the city called) Sepharvaim could not help it. None of those gods saved Samaria. 20 None of those gods has saved his own country from my power. Can the LORD save Jerusalem from my power?” ’

21 But the people were quiet and they did not answer him one word. They did that because King (Hezekiah) had said, ‘Do not answer him.’

22 Then these people came to Hezekiah:

·        Eliakim, the son of Hilkiah. He was the most important servant in the king’s beautiful house.

·        Shebna, the leader of the government.

·        Joah, the son of Asaph. He was the king’s writer.

They tore their clothes. And they told the king all the words that Rabshakeh had said.

Chapter 37

Hezekiah sends a message to Isaiah

1 When King Hezekiah heard the report of his servants, he tore his clothes. Then he put on cheap hairy cloth and he went into the temple of the LORD. 2 And he sent Eliakim and Shebna and the leaders of the priests to Isaiah the prophet. Isaiah was the son of Amoz. Eliakim was the most important servant in the king’s house. Shebna was the leader of the king’s government. And Eliakim, Shebna and the priests all wore cheap hairy clothes. 3 And they told Isaiah, ‘This is what Hezekiah says. “There are many problems at this time. It is a time to be ashamed. The problems are like a child who is ready for its birth. But its mother is not strong enough for it to be born. 4 Perhaps the LORD, your God will do something about the words of Rabshakeh. Rabshakeh’s master is the king of Assyria. The king sent Rabshakeh to laugh in a bad way at our God. But our God is the God who is really alive. Maybe the LORD your God will tell Rabshakeh that his words were wrong. God has heard them. So, pray for the people who remain in Jerusalem.” ’ 5 So Hezekiah’s servants came to Isaiah. 6 Isaiah said to them, ‘Tell your master that the LORD says this. “Do not be afraid of the words that you have heard. The servants of the king of Assyria are not important. They have said very bad things about me. 7 Listen to me! I will put a spirit into the king of Assyria. Then, he will hear a certain report. When he hears it, he will return to his own country. And there, I will cause someone to kill him with a sword.” ’

8 Then, the king of Assyria left the city called Lachish. People told Rabshakeh that the king had left Lachish. So Rabshakeh left Jerusalem and he found the king of Assyria. The king was fighting against the city called Libnah. 9 Then people told the king of Assyria this about Tirhakah, the king of Ethiopia. They said, ‘He has come out from Ethiopia to fight against you.’ And when they said that to the king of Assyria, he sent people to Jerusalem with a message. They had this message for King Hezekiah. 10 ‘Say this to King Hezekiah of Judah. Say, “You are hoping that your God will help you. But do not let your God tell you what is not true. Your God says that the king of Assyria will not destroy Jerusalem. 11 But you have heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all the other countries. They destroyed them completely. And your God will not save you. 12 The gods of those other countries did not save them. My ancestors destroyed Gozan, Haran and Rezeph. And they killed all the people from Eden who lived in Telassar. 13 The kings of Hamath and Arpad have gone. The king of the city called Sepharvaim has gone. And the kings of Hena and Ivvah have gone.” ’

14 And Hezekiah received the letter from the people who brought the message. And he read it and then he went up to the temple of the LORD. He opened the letter in front of the LORD. 15 And Hezekiah prayed to the LORD. He said, 16LORD of all your angels, you are the God of Israel. You sit on a seat between the very important angels. Only you are the God of all the countries in the world. You have made the skies and the earth. 17 LORD, turn your ears to me and hear me. LORD, open your eyes and look at this letter. Listen to all the words of Sennacherib. He sent them to laugh in a bad way at you. But you are the God who really is alive. 18 It is true, LORD, that the kings of Assyria have caused many countries and their land to become empty places. 19 They threw their gods into the fire. They destroyed them because they were not really gods. Human hands made them from wood and stone. 20 So now, our LORD and our God, save us from the power of Sennacherib! Then all the people in all the kingdoms in the world will know that only you are the LORD.’

God answers Hezekiah

21 Then Isaiah, who was the son of Amoz, sent a message to Hezekiah. ‘This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says. “You have prayed to me about Sennacherib, who is the king of Assyria.” So, 22 this is what the LORD says about him.

“The Virgin Daughter of Zion (Jerusalem),

she does not like you; she laughs at you.

The Daughter of Jerusalem,

she moves her head about after you.

23        Who is it that you have said bad things about? They were not true!

Who is it that you have shouted at?

        Who is it that you have looked at proudly?

The answer is the Holy God of Israel!

24        You have used your servants to say bad things about the Lord.

You have said, ‘With many of my chariots

I have gone up very high mountains,

the highest mountains in Lebanon.

I have cut down its tallest cedars

and I have cut down the best of its pine trees.

I went to its highest places and to its best forests.

25        I dug wells and I drank the water from them.

I made all the rivers in Egypt dry with the parts under my feet.’

26        You said that but surely, you have heard this!

        I decided what to do a long time ago!” says the LORD.

“I decided what to do in past years!

Now it has happened.

You have caused strong cities to become mountains of stones.

27        The people in them are not strong.

They are not happy. And they are confused.

They are like plants in a field.

They are like the new parts of young green plants.

They are like grass on the roof of a house.

The hot winds burn them before they can grow.

28        I know everything about you.

I know when you sit down.

And I know when you go out.

And I know when you come in.

And I know when you shout proudly at me.

29        You have shouted proudly at me

and you have said bad things about me.

So I will put my hook in your nose.

And I will put my bit in your mouth.

And I will cause you to return home by the same way that you came.”

30 And this will be a sign for you, Hezekiah.

“This year, you will eat what grows from its own seeds.

And in the second year, you will eat what grows from the first year’s seeds.

But in the third year you will plant seeds and you will pick plants for food.

And you will plant again the vineyards and you will enjoy their fruit.

31        And this will happen also to the people who remain in Judah.

They will be like plants that put roots down below the ground. Then those plants grow fruit above the ground.

32        That will happen because a remnant will come out from Jerusalem.

And the people who remain will come out from Zion.

The LORD of all his angels will certainly cause it to happen!”

33 This is what the LORD says about the king of Assyria.

“He will not come into this city,

and he will not shoot an arrow here.

He will not stand in front of it with a shield.

He will not build mountains of earth against it.

34        He will return to Assyria by the way that he came,

and he will not come into this city.”

        That is the promise of the LORD.

35        “So I will make this city safe and I will save it.

I will do that to keep my good name.

I promised my servant David that I would do it. That is why I will do it.” ’

God destroys Assyria’s army

36 Then an angel of the LORD went and he killed 185 000 men in the army from Assyria. When people got up in the morning, they saw all those dead bodies! 37 So Sennacherib, who was the king of Assyria, took his army away. He returned to Assyria and he stayed there in Nineveh. 38 He was worshipping his god Nisroch in the house of Nisroch. His sons, Adrammelech and Sharezer, killed him with their swords. Then, they ran away into the country called Ararat. So Sennacherib was dead. Esarhaddon, who was another son of Sennacherib, ruled Assyria instead.

Verse 38 This happened about 20 years after verse 37 happened.

PART 4: Chapters 38-55 God’s Servant saves God’s people

Hezekiah’s mistake and God’s promises (chapters 38-40)

Chapter 38

Hezekiah becomes ill

1 At that time, Hezekiah was very ill. He nearly died. And Isaiah the prophet, who was the son of Amoz, went to Hezekiah. And Isaiah said to Hezekiah, ‘This is what the LORD says. “Make everything ready for your son, because you will die. You will not get better.” ’ 2 Then Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and he prayed to the LORD. 3 And he said, ‘Please remember, LORD, that I have been your good servant. I have always obeyed you. I have worked for you with all my power. You have seen that I did good things.’ And Hezekiah wept sad tears. 4 Then the LORD again told Isaiah what he should say. 5 ‘Go and say this to Hezekiah. “This is what the LORD says. The LORD is the God of your ancestor David. I have heard what you prayed. I have seen your tears. So, I will let you be alive for 15 more years. 6 I will save you and this city from the power of the king of Assyria. And, I will keep this city (Jerusalem) safe.” ’ 7 And Isaiah said, ‘The LORD will do what he has promised to do. And the LORD will do something to show that to you. 8 You can see the shadow of the sun when it falls on the stairs. They are the stairs that King Ahaz built. I will cause the shadow to go back ten steps on these stairs.’ And the shadow did go back ten steps!

9 This is a poem that Hezekiah, the king of Judah wrote. He wrote it after he got better from his illness.

        10        I said, ‘I hope that I will not really go through the gates of Sheol during the best days of my life.

        I hope that death will not take from me my other years.’

        11        I said, ‘I will not see the LORD again.

        I will not live on this earth and see the LORD.

        I will never see these people again.

        I will never be with the people who are living in this world.

        12        The LORD has knocked down my house and he has taken it from me.

        He did it as easily as someone packs away the tent of a sheep-farmer.

        He has caused my life to come to an end.

        It is like when someone finishes making a carpet. He rolls it up.

        It is like when someone has made some cloth.

        He cuts it away from the machine that he made the cloth with.

        In a day and in a night God brought me to my end.

        13        I waited quietly until the dawn.

        Then, like a lion does, God broke all my bones.

        In a day and in a night God brought me to my end.

        14        I cried like a thrush.

        I made a sad noise like a dove makes.

        My eyes became weak while I looked to the skies.

        Lord, save me from my trouble!

        15        I do not know what I can say. The LORD has spoken to me.

        And the LORD has done everything that he said.

        I will live quietly, because I felt so sad inside me.

        16        Lord, by these things, people have life.

        By all these things, my spirit has life.

        You gave my health back to me and you have let me live.

        17        Really, it was good for me to have such trouble.

        Your love did not let the Pit kill me,

        because you threw all my sins behind your back.

        18        People who are in Sheol cannot thank you.

        Dead people cannot sing and they cannot praise you.

        People who go down to the Pit cannot enjoy your love.

        19        People who are alive and not dead can thank you.

        I am doing it today.

        A father tells his children about your love.

        20        The LORD will save me from death.

        Then we will sing in the temple of the LORD every day of our lives.

        We will sing with the music of stringed-instruments.’

21 Now Isaiah said this earlier. ‘Make a hot cake of figs and put it on the bad place on Hezekiah’s skin. Then he will get better.’ 22 And Hezekiah had asked, ‘What will show me that I will be able to go up to the temple of the LORD?’

Chapter 39

Hezekiah’s mistake

1 When those things happened, Merodach-Baladan was the king of Babylon. He was the son of Baladan. Merodach-Baladan sent Hezekiah letters and a gift. People had told him that Hezekiah was ill. But now people told him that Hezekiah was better. 2 Hezekiah was happy to meet the officers from the king of Babylon. Hezekiah showed to them the places where he stored his valuable things. He showed to them what was there. He showed to them silver and gold, spices and very good oil. He showed to them all his arms for war and everything else that was valuable. There was nothing in his beautiful house or in his whole country that Hezekiah did not show to them. 3 Then Isaiah the prophet went to King Hezekiah and Isaiah said to him, ‘What did those men say? And where did they come to you from?’ Then Hezekiah said, ‘They came to me from the far country called Babylon.’ 4 And Isaiah asked, ‘What did they see in your house?’ So Hezekiah said, ‘They saw everything that is in my house. There is nothing among my valuable things that I did not show to them.’ 5 Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, ‘Hear what the LORD of all his angels says to you.

6 “This is what will certainly happen. Soldiers from Babylon will take everything that is in your beautiful house to Babylon. They will take everything that your ancestors have stored here until now. They will leave nothing here”, says the LORD.

7 “And some of your own sons, your grandsons and their sons, too, will go to Babylon. Soldiers from Babylon will cause them to go there. And they will become eunuchs in the beautiful house of the king of Babylon.” ’ 8 And Hezekiah said to Isaiah, ‘The words that you said from the LORD are good.’ But what he really thought was, ‘There will be no war while I am alive. And it will be safe while I am alive.’

Chapter 40

God’s promises

1 ‘Say kind words to my people. Say kind words to them’, says your God.

2 ‘Speak to the minds of the people in Jerusalem and tell this to them:

·        Your time as soldiers in a war has finished.

·        God has forgiven you for your sins.

·        And the LORD’s hand has punished you twice for all your sins.’

3 A voice is shouting, ‘Prepare a road for the LORD in the sandy places. Make a straight road in the desert for our God. Make it on higher ground.

4 God’s servants will raise up the lower parts of every valley. And they will make every mountain and hill lower. The ground that nobody has dug will become like a garden. And they will make the hilly places flat.

5 Then, people will see the glory of the LORD. Everybody who lives on the earth will see it together. Those are words that the LORD himself has spoken.’

6 A voice is saying, ‘Shout something aloud!’ But I say, ‘What should I shout?’ The voice answered, ‘Everybody is like grass and all their glory is like a flower in the field.

7 Grass will die and a flower will fall to the ground. That will happen because the LORD’s breath will blow on them. Surely, everybody is like grass.

8 Grass will die and a flower will fall to the ground. But a word that our God speaks will be true for all time.

9 You, the servant who is bringing good news to Zion, go up on to a high mountain. You, the servant who is bringing good news to Jerusalem, shout loudly with your voice. Shout aloud, and do not be afraid. Say to the towns in Judah, “Here is your God!”

10 Look! The LORD, who is the master, is coming with power. And his arm will rule the people for him. Look again! He is bringing his gifts with him. And he will pay something to his people.’

Verse 10 ‘his arm will rule’ may mean ‘he will rule by his power’. But ‘the arm of the LORD’ means something special in Isaiah’s book. See Isaiah 53:1. Many Bible students say that it is a special name for Christ.

11 ‘He will be like a shepherd who feeds his sheep. He will carry the young sheep in his arms. And he will hold them near to his heart. He will carefully lead the sheep that have young sheep.’

A shepherd is a sheep-farmer. He is a like a picture of somebody who is careful for his people. God often thinks about his people like sheep. And sheep always need a shepherd.

12 Only God has done these things:

·        He measured all the waters in the sea in one of his hands.

·        He saw that the skies were as wide as one of his hands.

·        He put all the dirt of the earth into a bucket.

·        He weighed the mountains on the scales.

·        He weighed the hills in a balance.

13-14 There is nobody who has done these things:

·        Nobody understood the mind of the LORD.

·        Nobody, as his helper, told him what he should do.

·        He did not ask anybody to be his advisor.

·        Nobody taught him the proper way to do things.

·        Nobody taught him what things to know about.

·        Nobody showed him the way to understand things.

15 Surely, the countries are like a very small quantity of water in a bucket. They are like small bits of dirt on the scales. The LORD weighs the islands like small bits of dirt.

16 All the trees from Lebanon are not enough to make a fire for his altar. Neither are its animals enough to burn on the altars as a gift to him.

17 All the countries in the world are like nothing in front of the LORD. He thinks about them like they had no value. They seem less than nothing to him.

18        You cannot find anyone else who is like God.

        You cannot say that he is like any false god.

19 An able man makes a false god. An able worker covers it with gold. He also makes something from silver for it.

20 Some people are too poor to give a gift like that. They choose a wood that will not soon fall into pieces. They will look for an able man who will make a false god from the wood. But that false god cannot move.

21 Think about certain things.

·        You should know certain things.

·        You should have heard those things.

·        Somebody should have told them to you from the beginning.

·        You should have understood them since God made the earth.

22 These are the things: God sits on a special seat where the earth and the sky meet. And the people on the earth seem like small insects to him. He hangs out the skies like a curtain. And he makes them like a tent for him to live in.

23 He is the God who makes kings into nothing. He takes away the power from world leaders, so that they have no power.

24 Those leaders are like plants. As soon as somebody plants them, God will blow on them. And as soon as somebody puts them into the ground, they will die. As soon as they put roots down, a strong wind will blow them away like dead plants.

25 The Holy God says these things:

·                ’You cannot say that I am like anybody.

·        Nobody is as good as (or better than) I am.’

26 Turn your eyes up and look at the skies. He is the God who created them. God made the very large number of stars and he gave a name to each one. He did not forget to give a name to any of them, because of his great power. God is very, very strong.

27 You descendants of Jacob say, ‘The LORD has forgotten what I am doing.’ And you people in Israel say, ‘My God is not fair to me.’ But you should not say those things.

28 You surely know this. You surely have listened to it! The LORD is the God who will always be alive. He is the Creator of even the parts of the earth that are a very long way from here. He will never become tired and he will never lose his strength. Nobody will ever understand his mind.

29 He makes tired people strong and he gives more strength to weak people.

30 Even young people get tired and they lose their strength. And young men will fall over something and they will fall to the ground.

31 But people who hope for help from the LORD will get back their strength. They will fly high on wings like (large birds called) eagles. They will run and they will not become tired. They will walk and they will not fall over.

Chapter 41

God is the Judge of the World

1 ‘You islands, be quiet when you come to me. And everybody must become strong again. They must move towards the front (of the court) and they must speak. We must meet together so that I, the LORD can be your judge.

2 The LORD will wake a man in the east as from sleep. The good God will ask the man to follow the LORD.

·        The LORD will give many countries to him.

·        The LORD will cause kings to go down on their knees in front of him.

·        The LORD will make people into dead bodies with that man’s sword.

·        The LORD will make them like dry dead bits of plants. That man’s bow will be like a wind that will blow them away.

3 The man will run after them, but he himself will move on safely. He will go on a path very quickly. His feet will almost not touch the ground while he travels.

4 I am the God who will do those things. And I will cause them to happen’, says the LORD. ‘I am the God who told you about everything from the beginning. I, the LORD, am the first person. But I am he who will be with people at the end.’

5 The people on the islands heard that and they were afraid. It frightened the people at the far places of the earth very much. They came near to each other. They met together.

6 Each country helped another country. Each person said to his brother, ‘Be strong!’

7 The careful worker said good things to the worker who makes things out of gold. The man with a hammer said to another worker, ‘What you have put together is good.’ Then he made the idol safe with bits of iron so that it could not fall over.

8 ‘But you, Israel, are my servant. Jacob, I have chosen you. You are the descendants of my friend Abraham.’

Verse 8 ‘Jacob’ means the people in Israel and Judah, who were descendants of Jacob.

9 ‘I brought you from the ends of the earth. I brought you from its far corners. I have said, “You are my servant. I have chosen you. I have not refused to let you be my servant.

10 So do not be afraid, because I am with you. Do not be sad, because I am your God. I will make you strong and I will help you. Really, I will hold you with my right hand. It is strong and it wins wars.”

11 Everybody who is angry with you will certainly be ashamed. They will lose their good name. Those who fight you will become like nothing. And they will die.

12 Even if you look for your enemies, you will not find them. The people who fight against you will disappear.

13 That will happen because I am the LORD. I am your God. I will hold on to your right hand. And I will say to you, “Do not be afraid. I will help you.”

14 Do not be afraid, you worm Jacob, you people in little Israel. I myself will help you.’ That is what the LORD says. He is your Redeemer. He is the Holy God of Israel.

Jacob here means the Jews, who were descendants of Jacob.

15 ‘Watch this happen! I will cause you to become like a machine that threshes. It will be new and sharp, with many sharp metal points that are like teeth. You will thresh the mountains and you will break the hills. They will become like chaff.

16 You will make them into separate small pieces. Then the wind will pick them up and a strong wind will blow them away. But you will be happy with the LORD. You will be very happy that the Holy God of Israel is your God.

17 Poor people and people who need water look for water. But there is none. Their mouths are dry because they need a drink. I, the LORD, will answer them. I, the God of Israel, will not leave them behind and alone.

18 I will make rivers on hills where nothing grows. And I will make wells of water in the valleys. I will make pools of water in the sandy places. And I will make wells where the ground is dry.

19 I will put these kinds of trees into the sandy places: cedar, acacia, myrtle and olive. And I will put together into the Arabah these kinds of trees: pine, fir and cypress.

20 Then people will see that. They will know that the hand of the LORD has done it. They will think about it. And they will understand that the Holy God of Israel has created it.’

Verse 19 Those trees are not usually together in the same place.

21 The LORD says, ‘Tell me the reasons for your ideas.’ Jacob’s king (who is God) says, ‘Say what you believe.

22 Bring your idols into court. Cause them to tell us what will happen in future years. Tell us about past events. Then we can think about them. And we will know what happened. Or tell us about events that will happen.

23 Tell us what will happen in future years. Then we will know that your idols are gods. Do something good or bad that will make us sad and afraid at the same time.

24 But your idols are less than nothing. And the things that you have made are really worth nothing. Anybody who chooses you is really very bad!’

25 ‘I will wake somebody from the north. And he will come from the direction of the sun when it rises. He will tell my name to people (by what he does). He will walk on the rulers of the people like they were mortar. He will be like a person who makes pots. That person uses his feet to make shapes with the clay.

26 Tell me who told that to you from the beginning. Then we would know what would happen. Or tell me who told that to you. They should tell it to you before it happens. Then we could say, “He was right.”

27 Remember, I, God was the first person to tell it to Zion. “Look, they are here!” I gave to Jerusalem somebody who brought good news.

28 I looked, but there is nobody among the people. They do not have any advisors. Nobody can answer the questions that I ask them.

29 Look! All the idols are false. What they do comes to nothing. Their idols are only like wind and they confuse people.’

 

Note: Here is the shape of chapter 41.

Verse 1: God, as the judge, speaks to the people in all the countries in the world. He tells them that they must come to his court.

Verses 2-4: God, as an important person in the court, asks the question, ‘Who decides what happens in the world?’

Verses 5-7: The countries of the world say that they will believe in their false gods.

Verses 8-20: God, both as master and as redeemer, promises to help his people.

Verses 21-24: God, as an important person in the court, says that the idols cannot explain anything.

Verses 25-29: God, as judge, will send someone from the north to rule many countries.

Chapter 42

The First Song about the Servant

The Song: God speaks about his servant

1 ‘Look at my servant, whom I will give a lot of help to. I chose him and he gives pleasure to my Spirit. I will put my Spirit on him and he will be a fair judge for every country.

2 He will not talk loudly, nor scream. And he will not shout with a loud voice in the streets.

3 He will not break a reed that somebody has bent. And he will not put out a fire that has almost stopped burning. He will always be kind (to his people) and he will be a fair judge.

4 Nothing will cause him to make a mistake. Also, he will always be brave, until there is justice everywhere on the earth. The islands will hope for the events that he has promised.’

God speaks to his servant

5 God is the LORD. This is what he says. He is the God who created the skies. He hung them up like a curtain. He made the shape of the whole earth. He made everything that grows in it. He gives air to its people so that they can breathe. And he has given a spirit to everyone who walks on the earth.

6 He says, ‘I am the LORD. I have asked you to work for Righteousness. I will hold your hand. I will keep you safe. And I will cause you to be a Covenant for the people. You will be like a light for the countries that are not Jewish.

7 You will cause blind eyes to see. You will make the prisoners free from their prison. And you will make free those people who sit in a dark prison, deep in the ground.

8 I am the LORD. That is my name. I will not give my glory to anybody else. I will not let people praise idols. They should praise me.

9 Everything that I promised in past years has happened. Now I will tell you about new things. Before they happen, I will talk to you about them.’

Words from Isaiah

10 Sing a new song to the LORD, you people who go down to the sea. And everything that is in the sea, sing a new song. Praise him from the far places of the earth, you islands and everybody who lives in them.

11 The people in the sandy places and in the towns near them should use their voices to praise God. The places where Kedar’s people live should be very happy. The people in Sela should sing because they are so happy. They should shout from the tops of their mountains.

12 They should honour the LORD and they should praise him in the islands.

13 The LORD will march out like a strong man. He will wake like a soldier who is ready for the fight. He will shout the war-song loudly. And then he will beat his enemies.

God speaks again

14 ‘I have been quiet for a long time. I have held myself back and I have not done anything. I am like a woman who is having a baby. I cry. I try to breathe. And I breathe out with difficulty, all at the same time.

15 I will make the mountains and the hills into empty places. And I will make all the plants that grow there dry. I will make rivers into islands and I will make all the pools dry.

16 I will lead blind people by ways that they did not know. I will be their guide along paths that are new to them. I will make the dark places in front of them into light places. And I will make the rough places flat. Those are the things that I will do. I will not leave my people by themselves.

17 I will turn back people who believe in idols. And people who say to idols, “You are our gods” will be ashamed.

18 Listen to me, you people who are not able to hear! You blind people, look and see!

19 Who is blind? Only my servant (Israel) is blind. Who is not able to hear? The man with the message that I send. He is not able to hear. Among all people, the person who believes me is really blind! Among all people, the servant of the LORD is really blind!

20 You have seen many things, but you have not thought about them. You have opened your ears to listen. But nobody hears anything.’

More words from Isaiah

21 The LORD decided to make his law very important. And he decided that people must honour his law. He did that because he is righteous.

22 But an enemy has robbed these people and he has taken things from them. The enemy has caught them all in holes in the ground or he has hidden them in prisons. The enemy took these people and nobody has saved them. They themselves are what the robber took. And nobody said, ‘Send them back.’

23 Not many among you will listen to this! Not many among you will think about it in the future!

24 Who gave Jacob for the enemy to rob? Who gave Israel’s people to those who robbed them? The answer is that it was the LORD. We have sinned against him. They would not do things in the way that he wanted. Also, they did not obey his rules.

Verse 24 Jacob here means God’s people, who were descendants of Jacob.

25 So the LORD was very, very angry with them. He caused a very, very bad war. He was so angry that it was like a fire round them. But they did not understand what he was doing. The war killed their people. But they did not know what it meant.

About the Servant of the LORD

        Many Bible students have written about ‘the servant of the LORD’. The words come in other places in the Old-Testament, but they come several times in Isaiah chapters 41-55. The word LORD, with 4 capital letters, translates the Hebrew word YHWH. It may mean the same as God’s name in Exodus 3:14: ‘I AM THAT WHICH I AM’ or ‘I AM BECAUSE I AM’. It tells us that God is always alive!

        There are 4 parts of Isaiah that Bible students call ‘Songs about the Servant’. They are Isaiah 42:1-4; 49:1-6; 50:4-9 and 52:13-53:12. In Acts 8:26-35, we can read about a man from Ethiopia. Philip heard him read from the 4th Song about the Servant. Philip asked him, ‘Do you understand what you are reading?’ The man did not understand, so Philip explained it to him. The question the man asked was this. ‘Is the prophet (Isaiah) speaking about himself, or about somebody else?’ Philip’s answer was, ‘He is speaking about somebody else and that person is Jesus’. Also, Matthew tells us that Isaiah wrote about Jesus in the first Song about the Servant, (Matthew 12:14-21).

        But the servant in Isaiah chapters 41-55 (not only the 4 Songs) about the Servant is not always Jesus. Also, Jewish students of the Bible do not have the same answers as Christians. Lastly, the servant in some places in Isaiah chapters 41-55 is one person or group of persons. But in other places it is somebody else. Here are some of the answers that Bible students have given.

        1) In some places, like Isaiah 41:18-20, Israel is called the servant of the LORD. Even in Babylon, after God has punished Israel, Israel continues to be God’s servant, as in Isaiah 43:21.

        2) In Isaiah 44:28 and 45:1 the servant is King Cyrus of Persia. Isaiah 44:28 calls him the LORD’s ‘sheep-farmer’. He is a like a picture of somebody who is careful for his people. Also Isaiah 45:1 says that the LORD had ‘anointed’ Cyrus. ‘Anointed’ means ‘someone poured oil on him’. Oil in the Bible is often like a picture of God’s Holy Spirit. It gives to the anointed person something to do. And it gives to him the authority and power to do it. The kings who lived after Cyrus are also God’s servants. Those kings were Darius and Artaxerxes.

        3) But Jesus is also a shepherd (John 10:11) and God has anointed him with the Holy Spirit (Matthew 3:16).

        And Christians believe that Isaiah 53 can only be about Jesus. Also, it is true that Isaiah 42:1 may be about both Israel and the kings of Persia. But it is mostly about Jesus.

        So, when we read the words ‘the servant of the LORD’, they can mean several things:

·        the country called Israel

·        the prophet Isaiah

·        the rulers of Persia

·        Jesus Christ.

        ‘Christ’ is the Greek word for ‘anointed’. Greek is a language. For Christians, the servant of YHWH (the servant of the LORD) is JESUS THE ANOINTED! He is doing what Israel, Isaiah and Cyrus did 2700 years ago.

God redeems Israel (chapters 43-45)

Chapter 43

1 But now, this is what the LORD says. He is the LORD who created you, Jacob. And he is the God who caused you to have a certain shape, Israel. He says this. ‘Do not be afraid, because I have redeemed you. I have called you by your name. You are mine.

2 I will be with you, when you go through (dangerous) waters. And when you go through rivers they will not carry you away. When you walk through fire it will not burn you. And the fire will not make a fire out of you.

3 I will save you, because I, the LORD, am your God. I am the Holy God of Israel. I gave Egypt to ransom you. And I gave Ethiopia and Seba to get you.

4 I think that you are valuable and very good. Because of that, and because I love you, I will do this. I will take men for you and I will take people for your life.

5 Do not be afraid, because I am with you. I will bring your people from the east and I will fetch you from the west.

6 I will say to people in the north, “Give them back!” And I will say to people in the south, “Do not keep them where they are.” Bring my sons from far places and my daughters from the ends of the earth.

7 Bring everyone who is called by my name. I created them. I caused them to have a certain shape and yes, I made them for my glory.

8 Lead out those people with eyes who are blind. Lead out those people with ears who cannot hear.

9 Bring every country together. And bring together all the people. Perhaps some of them said that those things would happen. And perhaps some of them told us about what happened a long time ago. If they did, they should bring their witnesses. Their witnesses would prove that they were right. Then other people will hear it and they will say, “It is true.”

10 You are my witnesses’, says the LORD. ‘You are my servant that I have chosen. I chose you so that you may know me. Also, I wanted you to believe that I am God. And I wanted you to understand that I am God. That is why I chose you. Before me, nobody made a god. And there will not be a God after me.

11 I, only I, am the LORD. And, without me, there is nobody to save you.

12 It was I, and not a foreign god among you, who showed that to you. And I saved you and I told it to you. You are my witnesses that I am God’, says the LORD.

13 ‘Yes! From a long time ago, I am God. Nobody can save himself from my power. When I do something, nobody can change it.’

14 This is what the LORD says. The LORD is your redeemer and he is the Holy God of Israel. He says, ‘I will send an army to Babylon because of you, Israel. And I will make all the people from Babylon into prisoners. They will be in their ships. They think that they are very good.

15 I am the LORD who is your Holy God. I am Israel’s Creator and I am your King.’

16-17 This is what the LORD says. He is the LORD who did these things:

·        He made a road through the sea.

·        He made a path through the great waters.

·        He drew chariots and their horses and the army and its leaders out into the sea.

·        He caused them to lie there so that they would never get up again. He put them out and he blew them out, like a light.

18 The LORD says, ‘Forget what happened a long time ago. Do not think about that.

19 Look! I will do something that is new! Now it appears quickly. Surely, you can see it. I am making a road in the sandy places. And I am making streams in the wild places.

20 The wild animals, jackals and owls, praise me. They do that because I give to them water in the sandy places and streams in the wild places. I have chosen my people. And I want them to be able to drink. That is why I do that.

21 They are the people that I made for myself. I did it so that they could praise me aloud.

22 But you did not pray to me, Jacob. And you have not worked for me, Israel.

23 It was not to me that you brought sheep. You did not burn them to offer them to me. What you put at one side did not praise me. I have not caused you to carry heavy grain so that you could offer it to me. I have not made you tired because I demanded incense from you.

24 You did not bring any sweet plants for me. You did not give to me large amounts of meat from the animals that you burned. Instead, you caused me to carry your sins like a heavy weight. And you have made me tired every time that you did not obey me.

25 I, but yes, I am he who sweeps away your sins. I do it to keep my good name. I will not remember that you have not obeyed me.

26 Remember with me what happened a long time ago. We should talk about it together. You think that you have not sinned. Tell me why you think that.

27 Your first ancestor did not obey me. And the people who spoke to me on behalf of you sinned against me.

28 So I made your holy leaders ashamed. Then I destroyed everything in Jacob. Also, people laughed in a bad way at Israel.’

Chapter 44

1 ‘But now listen and obey me, my servant Jacob. Listen to me Israel, that I have chosen.’

2 This is what the LORD says. He is the LORD who made you. He caused you to have your shape when you were still inside your mother. And he will help you. He says, ‘Do not be afraid, Jacob my servant and Jeshurun, that I chose.

3 Do not be afraid for these reasons:

·        I will pour water on to land that is very dry.

·        I will pour streams of water on to dry ground.

·        I will pour out my Spirit on to your children.

·        I will do good things for your children’s children.

4 They will grow up like grass in a field. They will grow like tall trees by streams of water.

5 One person will say, “I belong to the LORD.” And another person will call himself by the name Jacob. Then another person will write on his hand, “I am the LORD’s”, and he will call himself Israel.’

6 This is what the LORD says. He is the King and Redeemer of Israel and he is the LORD of all his angels. He says, ‘I am first and I am last. There is no other God.

7 Is there anyone like me? If there is, he should say so. He must say it. And he should tell me this:

·        What has happened since I made my people a long time ago?

·        What will happen in future years?

Yes! He should say what will happen!

8 Do not shake and do not be afraid. I told you about things a long time ago. And I said that they would happen. You are my witnesses. Is there any other God? No! There is no other Rock. I do not know about any other God.’

Verse 8 ‘Rock’ is a name for God. It means that he is strong. And it means that we can trust him.

9 Everybody who makes an idol has no value. And the things that they have pleasure in will not bring any help. Their witnesses cannot see anything. Also, they will be ashamed, because they do not know anything. 10 Everybody who has made the shape of a god has made only an idol. It will not help them. 11 Really, everybody like them will be ashamed. People who make those things are only human. They should all come and they should stand together (by their idols). They will be very much afraid. Also, they will quickly understand that they are very silly fools.

12 A man who works with iron takes a tool. He holds the iron in the fire with the tool. Then he uses a hammer. He causes the piece of iron to have a certain shape. He has made an idol with his strong arms. But then he becomes hungry and so he is not strong. He does not drink any water and so he feels weak. 13 A man who works with wood measures it with a ruler. Then he draws a shape. He uses one tool to cause the wood to have its first shape. He uses another tool to make the shape better. Then he causes its shape to seem like a man. He has made a beautiful human shape. It will remain in a house. 14 A man went to cut down cedar trees for himself. He had taken cypress and oak trees. And he had let them grow for himself, among the trees in the forest. He had planted a pine tree. And the rain had caused it to grow. 15 It is wood for the man to burn. So he takes some of it and he makes himself warm. Yes, and now he lights a fire and he bakes bread. And then he makes a god and he worships it. He makes an idol and he goes down on his knees in front of it. 16 Half of the wood he burnt in the fire. He made his meal with that half. He cooked his meat. And he ate as much as he wanted. He also made himself warm and he said, ‘Good! I am warm. I can see the fire.’ 17 Out of the other half he makes a god. It is his idol. He goes on his knees in front of it and he worships it. And he prays to it and he says, ‘Save me, because you are my god.’

18 These people do not know anything. They do not understand anything. That is because something is covering their eyes. So, they cannot see anything. Their minds cannot understand anything. 19 Nobody really thinks about it. Nobody knows about it and nobody understands it. Nobody says, ‘I burnt half of it in the fire. I even baked bread with the wood from it. I cooked meat and I ate it. Now I will make something to worship out of what is still there. I will go down on my knees in front of a piece of wood.’ 20 It is like he is eating ashes. His mind has made a mistake. And it leads him away from what is true. He cannot save himself. He does not understand that the thing in his right hand is a false god.

21Jacob, remember these things, because you, Israel, are my servant. I caused you to be my servant. Israel, I will not forget you.

22 I have swept away your sins like the wind blows away a cloud. The wrong things that you have done have disappeared like clouds in the morning. Return to me, because I have redeemed you.’

23 Skies above us, sing because you are so happy. Sing, because the LORD has done that! Earth beneath us, shout as loudly as you can. You mountains, start to sing. Do the same thing, you forests and all your trees! Do that, because the LORD has redeemed Jacob. He has shown his glory in Israel.

24 This is what the LORD says. He is your Redeemer. He caused you to have the right shape when you were still inside your mother. ‘I am the LORD, who has made everything. I alone hung out the skies like a curtain. I made the earth by myself.

25 I will destroy the messages of the false prophets. Some people try to say what will happen in future years. I will cause them to seem like fools. Some people think that they are clever. They think that they know everything. But I will change that. What they know will not mean anything. My servants say what I will do. My prophets say what will happen. I will do all those things.

26 I say about Jerusalem, “People will live there again.” I say about the towns in Judah, “People will build them.” And I say about the places that the enemy destroyed, “I will build them again.”

27 I said to the watery deep sea, “Be dry!” And I made your streams dry.

28 I say about Cyrus, “He is like my sheep-farmer. And he will do everything that gives pleasure to me.” Cyrus will say about Jerusalem, “Build it again!” And he will say about the temple, “Lay out the stones to build it on.” ’

Chapter 45

1 The LORD has anointed Cyrus, and the LORD will say, ‘I will hold his right hand. Then he will beat the countries where he goes. He will take their arms for war from kings. He will open doors in front of Cyrus, and nobody will close the gates.’ And the LORD will say this to him:

2 ‘I will go in front of you and I will make the mountains flat. I will break down bronze gates and I will cut through iron bars.

3 Also, I will give to you the valuable things that people hide in dark places. I will give to you the valuable things that they store secretly. Then you will know that I am the LORD. I am the God of Israel who will cause you to come. He will call you by your name.

4 I will cause you to come. I have called you by your name because of my servant Jacob and because of Israel. I have chosen you, Israel. And I will give a good name to you, even if you will not recognise me.

5 I am the LORD and there is no other LORD. There is no other God. I will make you strong, even if you will not recognise me.

6 Then, from east to west, people will know that there is no other God.

7 I made the light and I created the dark. I cause people to do well and I create trouble. I am the LORD. I do all those things.’

8 I will ask the skies to send down good things. They will come down like rain. I will send my power to save to the earth. And I will prepare the earth to receive it. That power will become great, like a plant that is growing. And good things will grow with it. I, who am the Lord, will cause that to happen.

9 Bad things will happen to people who quarrel with their Maker. They are like bits of pot that are lying among other bits of pot on the ground. The clay does not say to the person who makes the pots, ‘What are you making?’ And the things that you make do not say, ‘He has no hands.’

10 Bad things will happen to people who say to their fathers, ‘What have you been father to?’ And bad things will happen to people who say to their mothers, ‘What kind of baby have you had?’

11 The LORD says this about things that will happen in the future. The LORD is the Holy God of Israel and he is its Maker. He says this:

‘You should not ask me questions about my children.

I made everything. So you should not tell me what to do with anything.

12 It is I who made the earth. Then I created the people on it. It was I who, with my own hands, hung up the skies like a curtain. I put all the stars in their places.

13 My good help will make Cyrus into a great leader. I will make all his paths straight. He will build again my city (Jerusalem) and he will make my exiles free. He will not do that to get money or gifts’, says the LORD of all his angels.

14 This is what the LORD is saying. ‘This is what will come to you. And this is what will become yours.

·        everything that the people in Egypt make

·        everything that the people in Cush sell

·        the tall people from Seba.

They will walk behind you. Metal chains will tie them up when they come to you. They will go down on their knees in front of you. They will ask you for help. They will say, “Surely God is with you. And there is no other God.” ’

15 It is true. You are a God who hides himself! You are the God who makes Israel safe!

16 Everybody who makes idols will be ashamed. And nobody will praise them. Together, they will have no praise.

17 The LORD will make Israel safe. Israel will be safe for all time. You will never be ashamed. And you will always have praise. That will always be true.

18 That is because the LORD says it. He is the LORD who created the skies. He is God. He made the earth and he caused it to have its shape. He built it. He did not create it as an empty place. He made it for people to live in. He says, ‘I am the LORD. And there is nobody else who is LORD.

19 I have not spoken secretly. I have not spoken from somewhere that is a dark country. I did not say to the descendants of Jacob, “Look for me, but do not find me.” I am the LORD. I speak what is true. I say what is right.

20 Bring yourselves together! And come and put yourselves into a group. You are people who are running away from other countries. Some people carry idols that they made from wood. Those people do not know anything. They are people who pray to false gods. But those gods cannot make them safe.

21 Speak! Tell us what will happen! Also, decide this together. Who said a long time ago what would happen? Who said it in past years? It was I, the LORD! There is no other God. I am a righteous God who saves my people. There is no other God.

22 Turn to me and I will make you safe. Do that, everybody on the earth. Do that because I am God. I am God and there is no other God.

23 I, myself, have promised something to you. Because I am honest I have said it. I will not change anything that I have said. Everybody will go down on their knees in front of me. And everybody will promise to obey me.

24 People will say this about me. “Only with the LORD are things that are righteous and strong.” Everybody who was angry with God will come to God. And they will be ashamed.

25 With the LORD, all the descendants of Israel will be righteous. And they will be very, very happy.’

God will send Cyrus to beat Babylon (chapters 46-47)

Chapter 46

1 Bel bends down. Nebo lies low. Animals that can carry heavy things carry those idols. The animals carry the idols, which are very heavy. They are very heavy for tired animals.

2 The false gods fall down and they lie together. The animals cannot carry the heavy weights. The false gods themselves go away into another country as slaves.

3 ‘Listen to me, you people who live in Jacob. Listen to me, everyone who remains from the people in Israel. I have helped you since you began to live inside your mother. And I have carried you since you were born.

4 I will do that even until you are old. I will do it until you have grey hairs. I am he who will supply everything. I will supply everything that you need. I have made you and I will carry you. I will supply everything that you need. And I will save you.

5 No god is like me! Bel, or Nebo are not as good as me. You cannot say that any god is like me. You cannot say that I am the same as them.

6 Some people pour out gold from a bag. And they weigh out silver on the scales. Then they pay someone who can work with gold. He makes it into a god. Then they bend down and they worship it!

7 They lift it on to their shoulders and they carry it. They put it in its place and it stands there. It cannot move from that place. If anyone shouts out to it, it does not answer. It cannot save anybody from his troubles.

8 Remember this and fix it in your mind. Do not forget it, you people who fight against me.

9 Remember the things that happened a long time ago. I am God and there is no other God. I am God and there is nobody like me.

10 I told you at the beginning what will happen at the end. I told you from a long time ago about future things that will happen. I am the Person who says this: My purpose will not change. And I will do everything that I want to do.

11 I will send someone from the east like a bird that catches small animals. And I will get a man from a country that is a long way from here. He will cause my purposes to happen. I really will do the things that I have promised to do. I have made a plan and I will really will cause it to happen.

12 Listen to me, you people who will not change your minds. Listen, you people who are not righteous in any way.

13 Soon, I will come. And I will do what is right. I am not a long way from you. I will not wait for a long time. I will come and I will save you. I will save the people in Zion (Jerusalem). I will make Israel beautiful.’

Chapter 47

1 ‘Get down on to the ground and sit in the dirt, Virgin Daughter of Babylon. Sit on the ground without a high seat, Daughter of the people in Chaldea. Nobody will say that you are quiet and pretty again.’

We think that ‘Virgin Daughter of Babylon’ means ‘the people in Babylon’, mostly the leaders.

2 ‘Use a stone to break grain into flour. Uncover your face. Lift up your skirt and make your legs bare. Walk through streams of water.

3 Everybody will see that you are bare. Nothing will hide your sex parts. I will punish you and I will not leave anybody out.’

4 Our Redeemer is the Holy God of Israel. His name is the LORD of all his angels. He says this:

5Daughter of the people in Chaldea, sit and do not make any noise. And go into dark places. Nobody will call you the queen of kingdoms again.

6 I was angry with my people. I made what was mine not clean. I gave them into your power, but you were not kind them. You even made the old people into slaves.

7 You said, “I will always continue to be queen. I will always be queen!” But you did not think about these things. You did not think about what might happen to you.

8 Now, listen to me, you women who love pleasure. You do not say what is true about your safety. And you say this to yourself. “Here I am, and there is nobody except me. I will never be a widow and I will never lose my children.”

9 But both of those things will happen to you in one moment. They will happen in only one day. You will lose your children and you will become a widow. It will all happen to you, even if you try to stop it with much magic and powerful magic words.

10 You trusted the bad things that you were doing. You were sure that those things would help you. And you have said, “Nobody sees me when I do them.” But you are clever and you know very much. It has caused you to make mistakes. That happened when you said to yourself, “Here I am, and there is nobody except me.”

11 Then bad things will happen to you. And you will not know what magic words will remove them. So they will destroy you and you will not be able to ransom yourself. They will destroy you quickly, in a way that you have not known anything about.

12 So continue with your magic! Continue to say your many magic words! You have worked a lot with them since you were children. Perhaps you will cause the magic things really to happen. Perhaps you will frighten your enemies!

13 All the things that you have learned have made you very tired! The people who look at different parts of the skies should stand up. Those people who study the stars should stand up. They say what will happen each month. Cause them to save you from what will happen to you.

14 Surely, they are like dry grass! Fire will burn them away. They cannot save themselves from the heat of the fires. That is not the wood that will bake their bread. It is not a fire to sit by.

15 That is all that they have done on your behalf. You worked with them since you were children. They were your friends. But now each of them continues to make mistakes. There is nobody to save you.’

Chapter 48

God will send Cyrus to make his people free from Babylon

1 ‘Listen to this, you people of Jacob. Your name is Israel and you belong to the descendants of Judah. You are people who promise in the name of the LORD. Also, you ask the God of Israel for help. But you do not do those things honestly and fairly.

2 They even call themselves people who live in the holy city. And they hope that the God of Israel will help them. His name is the LORD of all his angels.

3 I told you a long time ago about the things that would soon happen. I myself said that they would happen. And I caused everybody to know about them. Then, quickly, I caused those same things to happen!

4 This is why I did it. I want to cause you to think differently. But that will be difficult. I knew that it would be difficult. It seems that your minds have become like very hard iron! The front of your head seems like bronze!

5 So I told you things a long time ago. Before they happened, I told you about them. Then you could not say, “My idol did them. My idol of wood and my god of metal decided that they would happen.”

6 You heard those things. Now look at them all. Agree that I told you about them! From now, I will tell you new things. They will be things that you do not know. They will be things that I hid from you.

7 I created them now. I did not create them a long time ago. You did not hear about them before today. So you cannot say, “Yes, I knew about them.”

8 Nobody has told you about them and you have not understood them. From a long time ago your ear has not listened to them. I know well that you do not always obey me. People said that you fought against me from your birth.

9 I will not be angry immediately, because of the name that I have. So that people will praise me, I will not be angry with you. Then nobody will kill you.

10 I have made you clean, but not as people make silver clean. I have let you have a lot of trouble. It is like I put you in a fire. I want to check how good you are. That is why I have done those things to you.

11 I do that on behalf of myself, yes, on behalf of myself! Really, I cannot let people say bad things about me. And so, I will not give my praise to another person or god.

12 Listen to me, you people of Jacob! Listen to me, you people of Israel. I have asked you to follow me. I am (your God). I am first. I am also last.

13 My own hand put out the parts that are under the earth. And my right hand hung up the skies. When I speak to them, they all stand up together.

14 All of you, come together and listen to me. Not one of your idols said what would happen. The LORD has chosen a friend to help him. That friend will do what God wants to happen against Babylon. His arm will be against the people in Chaldea.

15 I, yes, I have spoken. Also, I have asked him to follow me. I will bring him (to Babylon). He will do what he has to do. And he will do it well.

16 Come near to me and listen to this. From the first time that I spoke about it, it was not a secret. When it happens, I will be there.

And now the LORD, who is the master, has sent me with his Spirit’, (says God’s servant).

17 This is what the LORD says. He is your Redeemer, the Holy God of Israel. ‘I am the LORD your God. I will teach you what is the best thing for you. I will send you in the way that you should go.

18 I told you what you should do. You should have listened to what I said. Then your peace would be like a river. And more and more righteousness would come to you like the waves in the sea.

19 Your children, and your children’s children, would be as many as there are little bits in the sand. I would never forget their names. And I would make it certain that enemies would never destroy their nation.

20 Leave Babylon! Run from the people in Chaldea! Talk about it with happy shouts. Talk about it and send the news to the ends of the earth. Say that the LORD has redeemed Jacob his servant.’

21 They did not need a drink when he led them through sandy places. He poured water from a rock for them. He broke the rock and water rushed out.

22 ‘There is no peace for bad people’, says the LORD.

Chapter 49

The Second Song about the Servant

1 Listen to me, you islands. And hear this, you countries that are a long way from here. The LORD chose me when I was inside my mother. From when I was inside her body he said my name.

2 And he made my mouth like a sharp sword. He hid me in the shadow of his hand. And he made me into an arrow that he had caused to shine. He hid me in his basket of arrows.

3 He said to me, ‘You are my servant. You are Israel. In you I will show to everybody that I am beautiful.’

4 But I said that my work had no purpose. I said that I had done all that work for nothing. But the LORD will be my judge and my God will know the result of my work.

5 And now the LORD says this. He is the LORD who made me inside my mother. He made me so that I would be his servant.

·        He did it to bring Jacob back to him.

·        Also, he did it to bring Israel to himself.

And the LORD will honour me. My God will make me strong. He says,

6 ‘It is too small a thing for you, as my servant, to do these things:

·        I will bring back the tribes of Jacob.

·        And I will bring together the people from Israel that I have kept alive.

I will also make you like a light for the people in other countries. Then you will bring the news that I can save people to the ends of the earth.’

7 This is what the LORD says. The LORD is the Redeemer and the Holy God of Israel. He says it to him, (the servant). The country (Judah) thought that he was not important. And they did not like him. He was the servant of rulers. God says, ‘Kings will see you and they will rise up. Also, leaders will get on their knees in front of you. They will do that because the LORD will always help you. He is the Holy God of Israel, who has chosen you.’

8 This is what the LORD says. ‘I have decided when I will help you. At that time, I will answer you. And on that day, I will help you. Also, I will keep you alive and I will cause you to be a covenant for the people. You will make the country safe, and you will cause people to live in the empty places.

9 You will say to the people who are in a prison, “Come out.” And you will say to those people who are in the dark, “Be free!”

They will eat food at the sides of the roads. And there will be food for them on every empty hill.

10 They will not be hungry and they will not need a drink. The heat of the sun in the sandy places will not hurt them. He who loves them will be their guide. And he will lead them to water that comes up from the ground.

11 I will make all my mountains into roads. And I will build up all my roads on higher ground.

12 Look! People will come from places that are a long way from here. And look! Some people will come from the north and some people will come from the west. Some people will even come from the place called Sinim.’

13 Everything in the skies, shout because you are so happy! Everything on the earth, be very happy! Sing loudly, you mountains! Do that because the LORD is being kind to his people. He will show his love to his people who are hurting.

14 But Zion said, ‘The LORD has left me. The Lord has forgotten me.’

15 (The LORD answered), ‘Can a mother forget the baby at her breast? Can she not have any love for the child who came from inside her body? Yes, those mothers may forget, but I will not forget you.

16 Look! I have written your names on my own hands. Your walls (of Jerusalem) are always in front of me.

17 Your sons will hurry back to you. People beat you and they destroyed you. But those people will leave you.

18 Use your eyes and look all round you. All your sons will come together. They will return to you. I am alive’, says the LORD. ‘So, it will surely be like you will wear all of them as something beautiful. A woman puts on beautiful clothes at the time of her marriage. It will seem like that.

19 The enemy broke you and they destroyed you. They made your country empty. But now your country will be too small for your people. The people who destroyed you will be a long way from here.

20 Children were born to you while you were a widow. They will say, “This place is too small for us. Give us more room to live in.”

21 Then you will say in your mind, “I do not know how these people were born to me. I was a widow and I could not have any children. I was in exile and God had thrown me away. So I do not know who helped them to grow-up. Look at me! He left me alone. So I do not know where they have come from.” ’

22 The LORD, who is the master, says, ‘Look! I will point with my hand to many countries. I will lift up a mark to the people in many countries. And they will bring your sons in their arms and they will carry your daughters on their shoulders.

23 Then kings will be like fathers for you and their queens will be like mothers to your children. They will go down on their knees in front of you. Their faces will look to the ground. And they will taste the dirt by your feet. Then you will know that I am the LORD. I will not disappoint people who hope in me.

24 You cannot take things away from strong soldiers. And you cannot save prisoners from people who are right to keep them.’

25 But this is what the LORD says. ‘Yes! I can take the prisoner from the strong soldier. And I will take back what the cruel man took away. I will fight with those people who fight with you. And I will make your children safe.

26 The people who are cruel to you will eat their own bodies. I will cause them to do that. They will become drunks with their own blood, like it was wine. Then everybody will know that I, the LORD, have made you safe. I am your Redeemer, the Strong God of Jacob.’

Chapter 50

1 The LORD says, ‘Your mother (Israel) does not have a divorce-notice. I mean that I did not send her away with a notice. I do not have any debts. So I did not sell you for that reason. I sold you because of your sins. I sent your mother away because of wrong things that she did.

2 Nobody was there when I came. Nobody answered when I spoke to my people. My arm was not too short to ransom you. I was not too weak to save you. Look! With only a word I can make the sea dry. I can make rivers into sandy places. The fish in them will die because there is no water. And they will die because they need water.

3 I can make the sky dark. And I can cause it to be like I have covered it with hairy cloth.’

The Third Song about the Servant

4 (The servant says), ‘The LORD, who is the master, has given a tongue to me. And it has learned what to say. I know what to say to very tired people. So I can cause them to hope for something good. He wakes me every morning. He wakes me like someone that he is teaching. He wakes my ear so that it can listen to him.

5 The LORD, who is the master, has opened my ears. I have obeyed him and I have not turned back.

6 I offered my back to the people who hit me. And I offered my face to the people who pulled out my beard. I did not hide my face when they did those things. They laughed in a bad way at me and they spat at me.

7 The LORD, who is the master, will help me. So, I will not be ashamed. I have made my face hard like a stone. So, I know that I will not be ashamed.

8 He, the LORD, says that I am right. He is near to me. Some people are saying bad things about me. We should talk to each other! Some people have said that I have done wrong things. We should talk about it together!

9 Watch this happen! The LORD, who is the master, will help me. Someone may say that I have done wrong things. But people like that will all become like very old clothes. It will seem like the moths will eat them up!’

10 Perhaps someone among you is afraid of the LORD. And perhaps someone obeys the word of his servant. Some people walk in the dark and they have no light. They should believe in the LORD and they should hope for help from their God.

11 But now, go and walk in the light of your fires. Everyone who has lit a fire must do that. So must everybody who has got for themselves something on fire. You must go in the light of the fires that you have made. This is what you will receive from me. You will lie down in very great pain.

Be like God’s servant (Isaiah 51:1-52:12)

Chapter 51

1 ‘Listen to me, you people who are trying to be very good. And listen to me, you people who are coming to the LORD. Think about the rock from which he cut you. And think about the rocky place from which he took you.

2 Think about your ancestor Abraham. And think about Sarah whom you came from. When I spoke to Abraham, he was only one man. Then I blessed him and I made from him many people.’

Verse 1 The ‘rock’ is like a picture of Abraham.

3 Surely, the LORD will be kind to Zion. And he will make it strong again. He will mend all the places there that the enemy destroyed. He will make the sandy places like the Garden of Eden. He will make the wild places like the garden of the LORD. People will be happy there. They will feel very happy there. People will hear songs that thank God.

4 ‘Listen to me, my people. And hear me, my country. The law will go out from me. And what I fairly decide will be like a light to every country.

5 The good things that I do will be near to you. I will soon make you very safe. And my arm will decide fairly for every country. The islands will look to me and they will hope for my arm to arrive.’

Many Christians believe that the Arm of the LORD is a name for Jesus.

6 ‘Lift up your eyes to the skies and look at the earth beneath them. The skies will disappear like smoke and the earth will become old like a coat. The people who live there will die in the same way. But the safe place that I give will be there always. The very good things that I do will never fail.’

Many translations have righteousness for ‘very good things’. It is not only what God does. It is also what he is.

7 ‘You people know that I am very good. So listen to me. You people have my law in your minds. Listen to me. Some people say that you are wrong. But do not be afraid of those people. Do not let them make you afraid with their bad words.

8 Do not be afraid because a moth will seem to eat them up like clothes! It will seem to eat them like it eats clothes. A grub will seem to eat them like a wool. But the very good things that I do will never have an end. The safe place that I offer to you will never have an end.’

9 Awake, awake you arm of the LORD! Put on strength like you put on clothes! Wake, as you did in past days. Awake as you did for people many years ago. You cut Rahab into pieces. You pushed your sword into that large animal.

10 You made the sea and the deep waters dry. You made a road deep in the sea. The people that you redeemed crossed over.

11 And the people that the LORD has ransomed will return. And they will sing while they go into Zion. And they will be so happy that it will always show on their faces. They will continue to be happy, very, very happy. Then, they will not still feel sad and they will not want to cry.

12 ‘I, the LORD, yes, I am he who will make you people strong.

You people in Zion, you do not have to be afraid of men who will always die. They are only the sons of other men and they are only like grass.

13 But you all forget the LORD who made you! He put the skies in their place. And he made what is beneath the earth. Do not be afraid every day of your life, because your oppressor is very angry. The oppressor wants to destroy things. But really he can do nothing, even if he is angry.

14 The people who are very afraid will become free. They will not die in a hole in the ground. They will not be without their bread, 15 because I am the LORD your God. I am the God who moves the sea. When I move it, its waters make a great noise! My name is “the LORD of all his angels”. 16 I have put my words into your mouth, (my servant). And I have covered you with the shadow of my hand. It is I who will put the skies in their place. And I will make what is beneath the earth. And I will say to Zion, “You are my people.” ’

17 Awake, awake! Get up, people in Jerusalem! The LORD has been angry with you and he has punished you. It was like you were drinking something bad from a cup. You have drunk everything from the cup that makes people afraid (in front of God).

18 You have had many sons. But among all your sons, there was nobody to be your guide. You have taught many sons. But among all those sons, there was nobody who could lead you by the hand.

19 These two things have destroyed you. I do not know anyone who can make you strong again. An enemy broke all your buildings and they destroyed them. The sword killed your people. And they died because there was no food. I do not know anyone who can make you happy again.

20 Your sons have fallen down. They lie at the end of every street. They are like animals that something has caught. The LORD was angry and the serious words of your God punished them.

21 So, hear this, you people that God is hurting. You are like drunks. But it is not because you have drunk wine.

22 The LORD, who is the master, says this: He is your God, who fights for his people. ‘Look! I have taken out from your hand the cup that makes you afraid. You will never drink again from that cup, the cup that contains my anger.

23 I will put it into the hands of the people who are cruel and unkind to you. They are the people who said, “Lie down flat on the ground, so that we can walk over you.” And you made your backs like the ground. You made them like a street that people could walk over.’

Chapter 52

1 Awake, awake, Zion! Put on strength like you put on clothes. Put on your beautiful clothes, Jerusalem, the holy city. People who are not God’s people will not come into you again.

‘People who are not God’s people’. Isaiah wrote ‘people who are not clean’. Here it means ‘not clean like God is clean’. That was because they met people like the people from Babylon. Those people did not love the LORD God.

2 Remove the dirt from yourselves. Get up and sit on your special high seat, (Jerusalem). Make yourself free from the chains round your neck, Daughter of Zion (Jerusalem) who is now like a prisoner.

3 Do that because the LORD says, ‘You sold yourselves for nothing, and I will redeem you without money.’ 4 And the LORD, who is the master, says, ‘Firstly, my people went down to live in Egypt. Then, not a long time ago, Assyria was cruel to them. 5 And now, this is what I have got here’, says the LORD. He says, ‘An enemy took my people away for nothing. And the rulers of my people are crying. And for all of every day enemies continue to say bad things about me. 6 So, my people will know my name. So, in that day, my people will know this. I said what would happen. Yes, I said it!’

7 The feet of the people who bring good news will be beautiful. They will be beautiful while they run on the mountains. The people who bring good news will tell you, ‘There is no war and there is no danger.’ They will say to Zion, ‘Your God rules as king!’

8 Listen! The men who watch over your city are saying something. They are so happy that they are all shouting together. When the LORD returns to Zion, they will see it with their own eyes.

9 Sing aloud together, you places in Jerusalem that the enemy destroyed. Do that because the LORD has made his people happy again. He has redeemed Jerusalem.

10 The LORD has made his holy arm bare. He has done it in front of the eyes of the people in every country. Now, all parts of the earth can see that our God makes people safe.

11 Leave! Leave! Go out from there. Do not touch anything that is not clean. Go out from inside it! Those people who will carry the LORD’s special things, be clean!

12 But you will not go out quickly, or hurry away. That is because the LORD will go in front of you. And the God of Israel will be like an army behind you.

The Fourth Song about the Servant (Isaiah 52:13-53:12)

13 Look! Everything that my servant says will be good. It will be right. I will raise him up and I will lift him up to an important place. And I will make him very important.

14 They hit his body, so that it did not seem like the body of a man. They changed his shape, so that it was not like the shape of any human person. And when many people looked at him, they felt sick.

15 But he will surprise the people in many countries! Kings will shut their mouths because of him. Here are the reasons:

·        They will see things that nobody told them about.

·        And they will understand things that they have not heard about.

Chapter 53

1 It almost seems that nobody has believed our message. And it almost seems that nobody has seen the Arm of the LORD.

The words ‘our message’ may mean ‘God’s message’.

Many Christians believe that the Arm of the LORD is a name for Jesus.

2 The Servant grew up in front of him (the LORD) like a weak plant. And he grew like a plant that grows from a root in dry ground. He was not beautiful and he did not seem like a king. We had no interest in him. We looked at him. But there was nothing that would cause us to want him.

3 People did not like him. And they caused him to go away. He was a man who often felt very sad. And he knew what pain felt like. He was like someone that people hid their faces from. People did not like him. And we decided that he was not worth anything.

4 Surely, he lifted up our pain from us! And he took away the things that cause us to feel sad. But we thought that he had become ill. We thought that God had hit him very badly. And we thought that he was sick.

5 God let people put a sword into him, but we had done the wrong things. God let people hurt him because of our sins. God did to him the punishment that caused peace for us. His wounds have given health to us.

6 We have all gone away, like sheep. Each of us has turned to his own way. And the LORD has put all our sins on him.

7 People were very cruel to him, but he was always quiet. And he did not open his mouth. People led him away like a lamb to kill him. A sheep is quiet when they cut off its hairy coat. In the same way, he did not open his mouth.

8 They took him to a court. But they were not fair to him. They decided that he must die. So they took him away to die. And none of his people said that it was wrong. They did not let him stay in the country where people are alive. They hit him very badly because of the sins of my people.

9 They gave to him a grave with very bad people. But he was with a rich man in his deaths. They did those things. But he had not done anything that hurt people. Also, he had not said anything that was not true.

Verse 9 The word ‘deaths’ is plural in the Hebrew Bible. Isaiah’s book is in the Hebrew Bible.

10 But it was the LORD’s idea to hurt him. And the LORD has caused him to suffer. The LORD caused people to hurt him. The LORD offered his life for sin, but the servant will see his children. He will continue to live after his death.

11 Death will hurt his spirit. But what happens as a result will make him happy. My very good servant will make many people very good, because they know him. And he will carry their sins away.

12 So, I will give many peoples to him. And he will have the strong people as his gift. These are the reasons. He poured out his life until he died. He let people count him in with bad people. Also, he carried the sin of many people. And he prayed for the people who had not obeyed God’s rules.

Enjoy the results of the Servant’s work (chapters 54-55)

Chapter 54

1 ‘Sing, woman who cannot have a child. Sing, you who have never had a baby. Sing a song and shout! Then, you will be very happy! Sing, you, who never had the pain of the birth of a baby. Do that, because the lonely woman will have more sons than the woman with a husband.’ This is what the LORD is saying.

2 ‘Make bigger the space that your tent covers. Make the curtains of your tent wider. Do not make it smaller! Make the sides longer and make the pegs of your tents stronger.

3 Do that, because your land will become larger, both to the right side and to the left side. Your children and their children will cause people to go from their own countries. Your children will live in the empty cities of the people who go away.

4 Do not be afraid. You will not be ashamed. Nobody will take away your good name. You will not seem to be unimportant. Then, you will forget your shame when you were young. You will not remember how bad you felt as a widow.

5 That is because your Maker is now your husband. His name is the LORD of all his angels. The Holy God of Israel is your Redeemer. People call him, “The God of all the earth”.

6 That is because the LORD has asked you to come back. You were like a wife whose husband had left her alone. He has asked you to come to him, like a wife who was not happy. That wife married when she was young. Then, her husband sent her away.’ That is what God is saying.

7 ‘For a short time I left you alone. But now, because I love you very much, I will bring you back.

8 When I was angry, I hid my face from you, for a moment. But now, with kind love that will always stay with you, I will help you.’ The LORD, who is your Redeemer, is saying this:

9 ‘This is like the waters of Noah for me. Then, I promised that the waters of Noah would never again cover the earth. So, now I have promised not to be angry with you. I will not punish you again.’

Verse 9 ‘waters of Noah’. We can read about that in Genesis chapters 6-9.

10 ‘Even if the mountains move, my kind love for you will not fail. Even if someone removes the hills, nobody will remove my covenant of peace with you.’ The LORD, who loves you, is saying this:

11 ‘My city, that the enemy hurt, storms hit you. Nobody made you strong. Look! I will build you again with turquoise-stones. I will build you on the top of very valuable blue stones called sapphires.’

The city is Jerusalem (for Jews) or the New Jerusalem (for Christians). Isaiah does not use the name Jerusalem here. But he does write about ‘what is right’ (zedek in the Hebrew language, verse 14) and ‘peace’ (salem in Hebrew, verse 13). Melchizedek was the king of Jerusalem, (Genesis 14:18). Isaiah wrote his book in the Hebrew language.

12 ‘I will build your castles with (valuable red stones called) rubies. I will build your gates with valuable stones that shine in the light. I will build your walls with very valuable stones.

13 The LORD will teach all your sons. And there will be great peace for your sons.

14 The LORD will build you on a base of what is right. You will be a long way from cruel people. Really, you will have nothing to be afraid of. Nobody will ever frighten you again. People who frighten you will not come near to you.

15 If anybody attacks you, I will not have sent them. You will beat anyone who attacks you.

16 Look! I, I created the man who works with iron. He causes the coal to burn strongly. He makes arms that are good for their work in war. But it is I who have created the destroyer. That destroyer can destroy everything.

17 No arms that anybody will make will beat you. And you will show that it is true. Everything that anyone says against you is not true. That is what the servants of the LORD will enjoy. And their righteousness will be from me.’ Those are the words of the LORD.

Chapter 55

1Hoy! Everyone who needs a drink, come to the waters! And the person without money, come to me. Buy food and eat! Come and buy wine and milk!

2 Do not spend money on that which is not bread. And do not work for things that do not make you happy. Listen! Listen to me. And eat what is good! Then your spirit will have pleasure in the best things.

3 Listen and come to me! Hear me, so that your spirit may live! Then I will make a covenant (of peace) with you all, that will never end. It will be like my covenant with David.

4 Remember this too. David became someone that the people in every country could listen to. I caused that to happen. And I made him a leader and a ruler of all the countries.’

5 ‘So you too will ask a country that you do not know to come to you. And a country that does not know you will hurry to you. That will happen because the LORD is your God. He is the Holy God of Israel. And he has made you really great!’

Verses 3-5 The things that God promised to David will happen. They will happen because of what God’s Servant will do.

6 Come to the LORD while he will let you find him. Talk to him while he is near you.

7 The very bad man must stop doing bad things. And the very bad man must stop thinking his bad thoughts. He must turn to the LORD, who will be kind to him. And he must turn to our God, because God will certainly forgive him.

8 ‘That is because my thoughts are not your thoughts. And neither are your actions like my actions.’ Those are the words of the LORD.

9 ‘As the skies are higher than the earth, so are my actions better than your actions. Also, my thoughts are better than your thoughts like that too.

10 The rain and the snow come down from the skies. And they do not return to them until they have put water on to the earth. And they cause plants to grow in the earth. Then the plants become strong. Then they give seeds for the gardener and they give bread for the eater.

11 It is the same with the word that I speak. It will not return to me empty. It will do what I want it to do. And it will cause the purpose that I sent it for to happen.

12 You will be happy because you are going out. And you will follow your leader. There will be peace for you. The mountains and the hills will sing songs in front of you. And all the trees in the fields will hit their hands together!

13 Where there are thorny bushes now, pine trees will grow instead. And where there are briars now, myrtle bushes will grow instead. That will make the LORD famous. It will always be something that nobody will destroy.’

PART 5: Chapters 56-66 God’s Messiah beats God’s enemies

A place where everyone can pray (chapters 56-57)

Chapter 56

1 This is what the LORD is saying to you. ‘Always be fair. And do what is right. Do those things because I will make you safe. It will happen very soon. Also, soon I will show to everybody that I am righteous.

2 God will bless the man who does those things. He will bless the man who really does those things. That man does not do the wrong things on the Sabbath and he does not make it dirty. And he does not let his hand do anything that is bad.’

Verse 2 ‘make it dirty’ here means ‘do what was wrong on the Sabbath’.

3 A foreigner may have promised to obey the LORD. That foreigner should not say, ‘The LORD will surely not let me join his people.’ And no eunuch should say, ‘I am only like a dry tree.’

4 The LORD says that to the eunuchs who do the things in this list:

·        They do not do wrong things on my Sabbaths.

·        They choose to do what makes me happy.

·        They really obey my covenant.

5 He says, ‘If they do those things, I will give to them these things inside the walls of my temple:

·        something to cause people to remember them

·        a name that is better than sons and daughters.

I will give to them a name that will always stay. Nobody will cut it off.’

Verse 5 ‘cut it off’ A eunuch could not have children, because someone had cut off some of his male sex parts.

6 ‘That will happen to foreigners who do these things:

·        They promise that they will obey the LORD. And they promise that they will be the LORD’s servants.

·        They love the name of the LORD and they worship him.

·        They all do the right things on the Sabbath and they do not make it dirty.

·        They really obey my covenant.’

Verse 6 ‘make it dirty’ here means ‘do what was wrong on the Sabbath’.

7 ‘I will bring them to my holy mountain. And I will make them happy in my house for prayer. I will accept what they offer. I will accept what they burn as sacrifices on my altar. That is because people will call my house, “A house for prayer for people from every country”.’

The words ‘holy mountain’ mean Zion, the mountain in Jerusalem where Solomon built God’s temple.

The words ‘house for prayer’ mean a place where people pray to God. Here, it means the temple in Jerusalem. Jesus said those words again in Matthew 21:13.

8 The LORD is the God who brings the exiles of Israel together. The LORD, who is the master, says, ‘I will bring even other people to them. They will be with those people that I have brought already.’

9 God says this about what will happen to bad people. ‘Come here, you wild animals that live in fields! Come, you wild animals that live in the forest! Come and eat everything!’

10 Israel’s watchmen cannot see anything. They do not know anything. They are all like dogs that cannot make a noise. They cannot make the noise that dogs usually make. They lie about and they dream. They like to sleep.

11 They are like dogs that like to eat a lot. And they never have enough. Also, they are like shepherds who do not understand anything. They all turn to do what they want. Everybody tries to get what he can for himself.

12 They shout, ‘Come! We must get wine! We must drink as much beer as we can! And tomorrow will be like today. It might be much better!’

Chapter 57

1 When a very good man dies, nobody really thinks about it. Death takes away men who love God. But nobody understands why death takes them away. But God wants to save the very good man from trouble that will come soon. That is why he has died!

2 A good man dies. Then he goes into a place where there is peace. Those men lie on their beds. He is the man who lived in the right way.

3 But you, come here! You are sons of a woman who does magic. You are the children of an adulteress. You are the children of a woman who sells her body for sex.

4 Tell me whom you are laughing at in a bad way. Tell me about whom you are saying bad things. You push your tongue out of your mouth! You are a crowd of people who do not obey God’s rules. You do not say what is true.

5 You like to have sex among the big trees. Also, you have sex under every tree that hangs out its branches. You kill your children and you burn them (for false gods). You do that in the deep valleys and under the rocks that hang over the sides of hills.

That was one way that they worshipped false gods. They had sex in a wrong way.

6 Your place is among the flat stones in the deep valley. Yes, you should be with them. Yes, you have poured out drink, to offer it to your false gods. And you have offered grain to them. Because of that, I, the LORD, will not change my mind.

The words ‘flat stones’ may mean false gods.

7 You have made your bed on a high and tall hill. You went there to offer things to your false gods.

8 You have put your notice behind your door, where the door opens. But you left me and you opened your bed. You climbed into it and you opened it wide. You agreed with those people whose beds you loved. You saw a hand to help you.

Verses 7 and 8

The notice might say that they were God’s servants. But they were not!

The word ‘bed’ here means a place to worship false gods. A man had sex with someone who was not his wife. That is how he worshipped those false gods.

The word ‘hand’ here means the hand of a false god. We could translate ‘a hand to help’ as ‘someone to help’.

9 You went to the king with olive oil and you made more perfumes. You sent your leaders a long way and you even went down to Sheol.

In verse 9, ‘the king’ may be the name of Moloch, a false god.

10 All your journeys made you very tired. But you would not say, ‘We cannot continue to hope.’ You became strong again and so you did not stop trying.

11 Perhaps someone is frightening you, so that you do not worship me. Perhaps you are so afraid of someone that you cannot remember me. And you have not thought about me in your minds. Perhaps you are afraid of me because I have not said anything for a long time.

12 You think that you do very good things. But I will show to everybody that they are bad things. And those things will not be a benefit for you.

13 You will shout for help. Then all your false gods can save you if they can! The wind will carry them all away. Somebody’s breath will blow them away. But if anyone comes to me for help, the land will be his or hers. And my holy mountain will be his or hers.

The ‘holy mountain’ here may mean Zion, the mountain in Jerusalem where Solomon built God’s temple.

14 He will say, ‘Build up a road! Build it up. Make a road. Remove the things that do not let my people use the road.’

15 The High God, who is Above Everything, is speaking. He is the God who will always be alive. His name is holy. He says, ‘I live in a high and holy place. But I will live also with anyone who has a lowly and a humble spirit. I will cause the spirit of the humble person to continue to live. I will also cause the heart of the lowly person still to be alive.

16 I will not always say that someone is bad. I will not always be angry with him. If I did, his spirit would become weak in front of me. I made him alive when I made man.

17 His sin, which was greed, made me angry. And so I punished him. I was angry and I hid from him. But he continued to do what he wanted to do.

18 I have seen what he is doing. But I will give health to him again. Then I will be a guide to him and I will make him strong again. And I will cause those among my people who are sad to feel better.’

Verse 18 may mean people who are sad about their sins. We think that it does mean that.

19 God will cause his people to speak words of praise. The LORD says, ‘I will give peace. There will be peace for the people who are a long way from here. And there will be peace for those who are near. And I will give health to them.

20 But bad people are like a sea that is always moving. Its waters throw up dirt. And they throw up wet material that is not clean.

21 There is no peace’, says my God, ‘for bad people.’

Chapter 58

Fast or Feast

1 God says, ‘Shout with your voice! Do not keep the sound quiet! Make a sound with your voice like a trumpet! Tell my people that they have not obeyed me. Also, tell the descendants of Jacob about their sins.’

Verse 1 The words ‘the descendants of Jacob’ here mean God’s people, Judah and Israel, who were descendants of Jacob.

2 ‘Do that because every day my people look for me. And it seems that they really want to know my thoughts. They are like a nation of people who the right things. And they seem not to have turned away from what their God wants them to do. They ask me to decide fairly. And they seem to want God to come near to them.’

3 They say this. ‘We have fasted and you, God, did not see it. We made ourselves humble and you did not seem to see it.’ I answer, ‘Look! On the day when you fast, you make yourselves happy. And you are not kind to the people who work for you.

4 Look! While you fast, you quarrel. Then you fight. And you hit each other with your fists. You cannot fast today so that I, God will hear your voice in heaven.

5 I did not want you to do these things when you fast:

·        A man makes himself humble only for a day.

·        A man is humble, like a plant that is dying.

·        And a man lies on hairy cloth and ashes.

You do those things when you fast. But do not think that the LORD will accept that.

6-7 This is the way that I want you to fast:

·        Remove the chains that wrongly tie people up.

·        And take off the chains that hold the yoke.

·        Let the people that the enemy has been cruel to go free.

·        And break every yoke.

·        Give some of your food to hungry people.

·        And give a safe place to the poor person who goes from place to place.

·        When you see bare people, give clothes to them.

·        And do not turn away from your own family.

8 Then your light will shine like the light at dawn. And soon everyone will see that you are well again. Then your righteous God will go in front of you. And the glory of the LORD at your backs will make you safe.

9-10 Then you will pray and the LORD will answer you. You will ask for help and immediately he will say, “Here I am.”

You must do these things:

·        Remove the yoke.

·        Do not point with the finger at people and say bad things about them.

·        Use all your power to give help to hungry people.

·        Give to oppressed people the things that they need.

Then your light will shine in the dark places and your night will be like midday.

11 Then the LORD will always be your guide. He will give to you plenty of everything, in a country where the sun is burning everything. And he will make your bodies strong. You will become like a garden that has plenty of water. You will be like a well where the water never stops coming.

12 You will build again the old places that the enemy destroyed. And you will build the old houses again. People will call you “The Person who Mends Broken Walls” and “The Person who Builds Again Streets with Houses”.

13-14 If you do these things, you will enjoy yourselves with the LORD:

·        Do not do wrong things on the Sabbath.

·        Do not only do what you want to do on my holy day.

·        Call the Sabbath a lovely day.

·        Call the LORD’s holy day a good day.

·        Think good things about the Sabbath. You will do that when you do not do things in your own way.

·        Do not do things to make yourself happy on the Sabbath. And do not speak words that are not important on the Sabbath.

If you do those things, I will cause you to ride on the high-places in the country. Also, you will have a feast with what your ancestor Jacob gave to you.’ Do those things because the mouth of the LORD has said them.

Chapter 59

1 Know this! The hand of the LORD is not too short to save you. Neither is his ear too weak to hear you.

2 But the wrong things that you have done have made you separate from your God. Your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not listen to you.

3-4 That is true for these reasons:

·        Blood makes your hands red. The wrong things that you do are on your fingers.

·        Your lips have said things that are not true. Also, your tongue quietly says bad things.

·        Nobody asks for a judge to be fair. Nobody says things that are honest.

·        People give reasons that do not mean anything. People say things that are not true.

·        People think about how they can cause trouble. And then they do bad things.

5 A snake causes young snakes to come out of the snake’s eggs. And they are like that. And they are always making spiderswebs. People who eat the eggs of spiders will die. And when they break a snake’s egg a worse snake will come out.

6 They cannot use spiderswebs to make clothes. They cannot cover themselves with the things that they make from them. The things that they do are bad. And they use their hands to hurt people.

7 They hurry along on their feet so that they can do bad things. They pour out the blood of people who have not done anything bad. They rush to do that. Their thoughts are bad thoughts. They break and destroy things. They do that everywhere that they go.

8 They do not know the way to peace. Their paths are never honest. Their roads turn away from what is good. Nobody who walks on those roads will have peace.

9 So, God’s rules are a long way from us! So, righteousness does not reach us! We look for light, but everything is dark. We look for a little bit of light, but we see only dark shadows.

10 Like blind people, we touch the wall to find our way. We find our way when we touch things, like men without eyes. At midday, we fall down. We are like people who are in bad light. We are like dead people among strong people.

11 We all make angry noises, like bears make. And we make sad noises, like doves make. We look for people who will obey God’s rules. But we do not find any. We look for people to help us. But they are a long way from here.

12 That is because we have done many wrong things. You, God, see those wrong things. And our sins speak against us. The wrong things that we have done are always with us. And we know about our sins.

13 We have not obeyed the LORD. And we have not tried to do what he wanted us to do. We have turned away from our God. We have spoken about plans to be cruel to people. And we have spoken about fights against God. We have thought about things in our minds that were not true. Then we have said those things.

14 So, it is like we have sent away fair rules. And righteousness is like a person who is standing a long way away. It is like true things have fallen down in the streets. We will not let people be honest.

15 People cannot find what is true anywhere. Also, good people become people that bad people try to kill.

And the LORD looked at his people. And it did not make him happy that people were never fair to other people.

16 There was nobody who would do anything about it. He saw that. And he thought that it was bad. So his own arm made his people safe. And with his own righteousness he made himself strong.

17 He put on righteousness like metal to cover his body. And he put on his head what makes people safe. He put it on like a metal hat. He put on those things as clothes to fight against his enemies. And he wanted so much to fight his enemies that those things were like a coat all round him!

18 He will punish people for all the bad things that they have done.

·        He will be angry with the people who fight against him.

·        There will be a fair punishment for his enemies.

·        He will pay a fair price to the islands.

19 People will be afraid of the name of the LORD in the west. And from where the sun rises in the east they will see his glory. They will say that it is very good. That is because he will rush along like a river. The Spirit of the LORD will push him along.

20 ‘The Redeemer will come to Zion. He will come to the people of Jacob who are sorry because of their sins’, says the LORD.

21 ‘Now I myself have this covenant with them’, says the LORD. ‘My Spirit is with you and I have put my words into your mouth. They will not stop being in your mouth. They will not stop being in the mouths of your children, or in the mouths of their children. That will be true, now and for always’, says the LORD.

Chapter 60

The first Song of the Messiah

1 Stand up and shine! Do that because your light has come! And the glory of the LORD has risen over you.

The word ‘light’ here is a name for God’s Messiah. See John 9:5.

2 Look, because a dark cloud covers the earth. It is very dark over the people. But the LORD will rise up above you and everyone (in the world) will see his glory over you.

3 Then, people will come to your light from foreign countries. Also, kings will come to the bright light that is beginning to shine over you.

4 Open your eyes and look all round you. Everybody is coming together and they are coming to you. Your sons will come from a long way away and you will carry your daughters in your arms.

5 Then you will look and you will shine! And you will feel like your heart is jumping. And it will feel bigger inside you. That will happen because they will bring valuable things from across the seas to you. The valuable things from other countries will come to you.

6 Groups of camels will be in your country. Young camels will come from Midian and from Ephah. And everybody from Sheba will come. They will carry gold and incense. Also, they will talk about how great the LORD is.

7 People will bring to you all the farm-animals from Kedar. They will offer the male sheep from Nebaioth to you. I will accept them when people offer them to me on my altar. So, I will make my great temple beautiful.

8 They are the people who fly along quickly like clouds. They come like birds to their homes.

9 They do that because the islands are looking for me. They are hoping that I will come. The ships from Tarshish are at the front of the people who are coming. They bring your sons from a long way away. And they bring silver and gold. They will come to the place where the name of LORD your God is important. He is the Holy God of Israel. They do that because he has made you beautiful.

10 And the sons of strangers will build your walls again. Also, their kings will be your servants. I hit you when I was angry. But I will be kind to you now that I am not angry with you.

11 Your gates will always be open. People will never close them, during the day or during the night. Then, people can bring in to you valuable things from other countries. Their kings will come with them.

12 Enemies will destroy the country or the kingdom where the people will not be your servant. Enemies will completely destroy those nations.

13 The glory of Lebanon will come to you. Its glory is its pine trees, its fir trees and its cypress trees. They will make my temple beautiful. And I will put my glory where my feet touch the earth.

14 The people who were cruel to you will come to you. They will bend in front of you. And everybody who did not like you will come to you. They will bend on their knees at your feet. And they will call you, ‘The City of the LORD’. And they will say, ‘You are Zion. You belong to the Holy God of Israel.’

15 People have kept away from you and they have not liked you. Nobody travelled through you. But now, everybody will always think that you are great. And now, everybody will always be happy because of you.

16 And you it will be like you are drinking the milk of other countries. And it will be like the breasts of queens are feeding you. Then you will know that I, the LORD, have made you safe. You will know that I am your Redeemer. And you will know that I am the very strong God of Jacob.

17 I will not bring you bronze. But I will bring you gold instead. I will not bring you iron. But I will bring you silver instead. And you will not have wood. You will have bronze instead. I will not bring you stones. But I will bring you iron instead. And I will make peace your ruler and righteousness will rule over you.

18 You will not hear in your country the noise that cruel people make. Nobody will break or destroy anything inside the edges of your country. And you will call your walls ‘A Safe Place’ and you will call your gates ‘Praise’.

19 The sun will not give you light in the day again; neither will the moon shine brightly on you. But instead the LORD will always be your light and your God will be your glory.

20 Your sun will never go down again and your moon will never disappear. That is because the LORD will always be your light. Then your sad days will have an end.

21 Then all your people will be righteous and they will always have the land. They will be like a small plant that I have planted. They will be the work that my hands have made. They will show that I am beautiful.

22 The least person will become a thousand people and the smallest person will become a strong country. I am the LORD. When it happens, I will do it quickly.

The 2nd and 3rd Songs of the Messiah (chapters 61-62)

Chapter 61

The second Song of the Messiah

1 The Spirit of the LORD, who is the master, is upon me. That is because the LORD has anointed me. He has anointed me so that I will tell good news to poor people. He has sent me to make people happy again. They are the people that trouble has caused to be very sad. He has sent me to tell the people in a prison that they are free. And he sent me so that I can tell good news to the people in a prison. The good news is that they can come out of the dark places.

Verse 1 is about people who are very sad. They are sad because of what has happened to them. The Messiah will help them to feel better.

2 He has sent me to say this. Now is the year when the LORD will be kind. Also, the day when God will punish people is near. He has sent me to everybody who is very sad. They are so sad that it causes them to weep. He has sent me so that I can make them happy again.

3 He has sent me to do these things. I will do them on behalf of all those people in Zion whose spirits are hurting:

·        They will not have ashes on them. But they will have flowers on them instead.

·        They will have on them olive oil that will make them happy. Then, they will not weep.

·        Their spirits will not still be without hope. Praise will be like a coat for them, instead.

People will say that they are like large trees of righteousness. They will be like trees that the LORD has planted. They will show to people that the LORD is beautiful.

4 They will build again what enemies broke into pieces a long time ago. And they will make places new again that enemies destroyed a long time ago. They will mend the cities that someone destroyed. Someone destroyed those cities when their grandparents were alive!

In verses 4-9, Isaiah uses the words ‘they’, ‘them’, ‘you’ and ‘your’. They all mean ‘those people in Zion’, (verse 3).

5 Foreigners will come and they will be shepherds to your animals. People from foreign countries will work in your fields and in your vineyards.

6 And people will call you ‘priests of the LORD’. Your name will be ‘servants of our God’. You will have valuable things from every country. And you will tell everybody about how rich they have made you.

7 You will not be ashamed, because you will be twice as happy instead. And things will not disappoint them. They will sing aloud about what the LORD has given to them. So, they will have twice as much as they had in their land. And they will always be very happy.

8 That is because I, the LORD, love justice. I do not like people who take things for themselves. I am speaking about the things that they offer on my altar. And I will give a gift to them, because I will always be kind to them. I will make a covenant with them that will never have an end.

9 And the people in every country will know their children. People from every country will know their descendants. Everybody who sees them will agree to this. They are the descendants that the LORD has blessed.

The third Song of the Messiah

10 I have great pleasure in the LORD. My spirit is very happy in my God. He has put the clothes on to me that make me safe. He has dressed me in the clothes of righteousness. I am like a man at his marriage, with a special hat like a priest’s. And I am like a woman at her marriage whose valuable stones make her beautiful.

11 The LORD, who is the master, will do something. He will cause righteousness and praise to appear to every country. The ground causes young plants to come up. And a garden causes seeds to grow. It will be like that.

Chapter 62

1 I will not be quiet, on behalf of Zion. On behalf of Jerusalem, I will not stay quiet. I will be like that until her righteousness shines out like the dawn. She will be so safe that it burns like the brightest torch.

2 Then, the people in every country will see your righteousness and every king will see your glory. And they will call you by a new name. The mouth of the LORD will give it to you.

3 And you will be like a beautiful crown in the LORD’s hand. In the hand of your God you will be like what a king wears on his head.

4 They will not call you ‘Alone’ again. The name of your country will not be ‘Empty, Sandy Place’. But they will call you ‘Beautiful’ and they will call your country ‘Married’.

5 As a young man marries a young woman, so your sons will marry you. As a man at his marriage is happy with his new wife, so your God will be happy with you.

In verse 5, ‘your sons’ means the people who live in Jerusalem.

6 I have put people on your walls, Jerusalem, to keep them safe. They will not be quiet, during all the day and during all the night. You people who remember the LORD, do not rest.

7 And do not let the LORD rest, until he has built Jerusalem again. He will make Jerusalem the place that all the people in the world praise. Do not let him rest until he does that.

8 The LORD has promised these things. He will do them with his right hand and with his strong arm.

·                ‘I will never give your grain to your enemies for food again.

·        And never again will foreigners drink the new wine that you have worked carefully to make.’

Some Christians believe that ‘right hand’ is a name for God’s Holy Spirit in Isaiah’s book.

And some Christians believe that, in Isaiah’s book, ‘strong arm’ is a name for Jesus, the Messiah.

9 ‘But the people who pick your grain will eat it. Then they will praise the LORD. And those people who pick the grapes will drink (the wine). They will drink it in the yards that are round about my temple.’

10 Pass through, pass through the gates. Prepare the way for the people. Build up, build up the road on higher ground. Remove the stones. Lift up a sign for the people from foreign countries.

11 Look! The LORD has said this to the parts of the earth that are a long way from here. ‘Say to the Daughter of Zion (Jerusalem), “Look! The man (the Messiah) who will make you safe is coming! Look! His gifts are with him! He is bringing with him what he will give back to you.” ’

12 Their name will the Holy People. They are the people whom the LORD has redeemed. And people will call you by these names: ‘The People that Somebody Looked For’ and ‘The City that Nobody Keeps Away From’.

The 4th Song of the Messiah and Isaiah’s Prayer (chapters 63-64)

Chapter 63

The fourth Song of the Messiah

1 Someone is coming from Edom and from Bozrah. A bright colour makes his clothes seem to shine. It is someone who is wearing beautiful clothes. He marches on his way and he is very strong. He says, ‘I am speaking to you. I am righteous. I am not too weak to save you.’

2 Why are your clothes red? They are like the clothes of somebody who has worked in a winepress.

3 ‘I have worked in the winepress alone. From all the countries, nobody was with me. I walked on them because I was angry. And I put them under my feet because I was angry. Their blood went all over my clothes and I made all my clothes red.

4 I did those things because I was thinking about a certain day. On that day I would punish people. Also, the year when I would redeem people had come.’

Verse 4 ‘I was thinking about’. In the Hebrew Bible this is ‘it was in my heart’.

5 ‘I had looked. But there was nobody to help me. And I was not happy, because nobody helped me. So my own arm did the work to save them. And I was so angry that it helped me.

6 I walked on all the countries, because I was angry. I was so angry that I caused them to seem like drunks. Then, I poured their blood on to the ground.’

Isaiah’s Prayer

7 I will tell people about all the kind things that the LORD does for us, his people. It will make me happy when I can tell them about that. I will talk about how people praise the LORD. That is because of all that the LORD has done on our behalf. He has done many good things on behalf of Israel’s people. He did those things because of his great love on their behalf. And he did them because he was very kind to them.

8 And he said, ‘Surely, they are my people. They are sons who will always follow me.’ So he became the person who saved them.

9 When they were in trouble, he was in their trouble with them. And his angel saved them because he was with them. And because of his love and because of his mercy he redeemed them. Also, he lifted them up and he carried them. He did those things as he had done them in past years.

10 But they did not obey him and they made his Holy Spirit angry. So, his thoughts about them changed and he became their enemy. He fought against them.

11 Then he remembered past years. He remembered Moses and his people. They said, ‘We need the Person who brought them up out of the sea, with the leaders of his people. We need the Person who put his Holy Spirit on him.

12 His arm shone while he went at Moses’ right hand. We need that Person. He caused the waters to become separate. Because of that, he caused his name always to be famous.

13 We need the Person who led them through the deep places in the sea. As a horse runs in flat country, so they did not fall.’

Verses 8-13 ‘He’ and ‘him’ and ‘the Person’ in these verses mean the LORD God.

14 ‘The (Holy) Spirit of the LORD gave rest to them, like cows and sheep that go down to their fields. That is how he was the guide of your people. And you made for yourself a famous name!’

15 Look down from your holy and beautiful house in heaven and see us. You want to do what you have promised to us. And you are strong. Show to us again that you want to do great things for us. Show to us again that you love us. And be kind to us again. Do not leave me alone without you.

16 But you are our father, even if Abraham does not know us. You are our father even if Israel does not recognise us. You, LORD, are our father. Your name is our Redeemer, from days a long time ago until now.

17 LORD, you seem to cause us to go away from the things that you want. But we do not know why you do that. You make our hearts like something that is very hard. So then we do not love you. We do not know why you do that. Come back to us, on behalf of your servants. We are your tribes!

18 Your holy people will have your holy place only for a very short time. Our enemies will walk all over your holy place.

19 For a long time, we are like people that you have not ruled. People did not call us by your name!

Chapter 64

1 Oh, I wanted you to break open the skies and I wanted you to come down! Then the mountains would have moved in front of you.

2 It would have been like a fire that burns up bits of wood. And it would have been like a fire that boils water. Those things would have happened when you came down. And you would have caused your enemies to know your name. The countries would have shaken in front of you.

3 We know that you did things like that in the past. You did wonderful things then that surprised everybody. And yes, very big mountains did shake when you came.

4 And, for a long time, nobody has heard of a God like you. And nobody has thought about a God like you. And nobody has seen a God like you. You do things on behalf of those people who wait for you.

5 Some people remember what you want them to do. It makes those people happy when they can do right and good things. You help those people. But you are angry because, for a long time, we have sinned against your rules. So, we do not know whether you will save us.

6 We have all become like someone who is not clean. And all the good things that we do are like very dirty bits of cloth. We all become dry, like a leaf. And, like a wind, our sins sweep us away.

7 And nobody shouts your name or tries to pray to you. That is because you have hidden your face from us. And you have caused us slowly to become weak. That is because our sins are very bad.

8 But LORD, you are still our father. We are like the clay. And you are like the person who makes the pots. Your hand made all of us.

9 Do not be too angry with us, LORD. And do not always remember our sins. But help us again, because we are your people.

10 Your holy cities will become empty, sandy places. Zion will be an empty, sandy place and Jerusalem will be full of dirt.

11 Our ancestors praised you in our holy and beautiful temple. But soon, fire will burn it. An enemy will destroy everything that is valuable to us.

12 After all that, LORD, we hope that you will not still do nothing. We hope that you will not continue to be quiet. We hope that you will not continue to punish us so much.

The New Jerusalem (chapters 65-66)

Chapter 65

1 ‘I spoke to people who did not ask for me. People who did not look for me found me. I said, “Here I am, here I am!” I said it to a nation that was not called by my name.

2 All day long I hold my hands out to people who will not obey me. They continue to do very many things that are not good. They still do what their thoughts want them to do.’

In verse 2, we read the words ‘hold my hands out’. The Jews did that when they wanted someone to do something.

3 ‘They are people who continue to make me angry. They do it in front of me! They offer gifts in their gardens (to false gods). They burn them on stones.

4 They sit among the graves and they watch all night in secret places. They eat meat from pigs. And they eat dishes of soup that they made from unclean meat.

5 They are people who say, “Keep away from me, and do not come near me. I am too holy for you!” These people are like smoke in my nose! They are like smoke from a fire that burns all day.

6 Look! The words are in a book in front of me. I will not stay quiet. I will punish them completely. I will pay them back completely, like someone who puts things into their hands.

7 I will pay back both your sins and the sins of your ancestors’, says the LORD. ‘I will do that because they burned gifts (to false gods) on the mountains. And they said bad things about me on the hills. And, firstly, I will measure to them the right punishment for what they have done.’

Verses 6 and 7 ‘pay back’. This means ‘give to them what their sin has brought to them’. It is another way to say ‘punish them’.

8 This is what the LORD says. ‘Sometimes people find juice in a group of grapes. Then men say, “Do not destroy it, because there is something good in it.” I will do something like that on behalf of my servants. I will not kill them all.

9 I will cause there still to be descendants of Jacob. There will be people in Judah to live on my mountains. The people that I have chosen will live on them. And my servants will live there.’

10 ‘And Sharon will become a field for groups of sheep. Also, groups of cows will rest in the Valley of Achor. They will be places for my people who are looking for me.

11 But this will happen to you people who go away from the LORD. And it will happen to you people who forget my holy mountain. And some people put food on a table for (the false god called) Luck. The same thing will happen to those people too. And it will happen to people who fill dishes of wine for Fate.’

The words ‘holy mountain’ here mean Zion, the mountain in Jerusalem where Solomon built God’s temple.

12 ‘Your “fate” will be that a sword will kill you. And you will all bend down for death. I spoke to you, but you did not answer. I spoke, but you did not listen. You did bad things in front of me, where I could see them. And you chose to do things that did not make me happy.’

13 So the LORD, who is the master, says this. ‘Look! My servants will eat food, but you will be hungry. Look! My servants will have something to drink. But you will have nothing to drink. Look! My servants will be very happy, but you will be ashamed.

14 Look! My servants will sing because they feel so happy. But you will cry because there is so much pain in your minds. You will weep because your spirits are very sad.

15 And you will leave your name as a curse to the people that I have chosen. And the LORD, who is the master, will kill all of you. But he will give to his servants another name.

16 Whoever asks for a blessing in the country will do it by the God of Truth. Whoever makes a promise in the country will do it by the God of Truth. That is because God will forget troubles in past years. Really, I will move them away from in front of my eyes.’

17 ‘Listen, because I will create new heavens and a new earth. And people will not remember how things were. They will not even be ideas that come to their minds.

18 But rather, be happy! And always, yes, always be very happy about what I will create! Do that for these reasons:

·        The Jerusalem that I will create will be a happy place.

·        I will make the people who live there very happy.

19 Then, I will be very happy with Jerusalem and I will have great pleasure in my people. Nobody will hear the sound of people who are crying in Jerusalem. People will not weep there again.

20 Never again will there be in Jerusalem a baby who only lives for a few days. Nor will there be an old man who does not live a long life. But a man who dies 100 years old, people will call a young man. And a man may not live to be 100 years old. But people will think that someone has said a curse about a man like that.

21 People in Jerusalem will build houses and they will live in them. They will plant vineyards and they will eat the fruit from them.

22 They will not build houses for other people to live in. They will not plant things for other people to eat the fruit. That is because the days of my people will be as many as the days of a tree. The people that I have chosen will enjoy things. They will enjoy what their hands have made for a long time.

23 They will not work without result. Neither will they have children who will have bad times. That is because they are the special children. They are the children that the LORD will bless. He will bless them and their descendants with them.

24 Before they pray to me, I will answer them. While they are still speaking, I will hear them.

25 The wolf and the young sheep will eat together. And the lion will eat dry grass like the cow. But the food of the snake will be dirt. They will neither hurt nor kill anything on all my holy mountain’, says the LORD.

Verse 25 ‘holy mountain’ here may mean Zion, the mountain in Jerusalem where Solomon built God’s temple.

Chapter 66

1 This is what the LORD is saying. ‘Heaven is my high seat. And the earth is the place where I will put my feet. I do not know where you could build a house for me. You could not make a place where I will rest.’

The word for ‘high seat’ is the chair that a king would sit on.

2 ‘My hand has made all these things. That is how they happened’, says the LORD. ‘This is the kind of person that I will help. He will be humble and he will have a lowly spirit. And he will be afraid when he hears my word.

3 Some people kill a male cow for me. But they are as bad as people who kill a man. Some people offer a young sheep to me. But they are as bad as people who break a dog’s neck. Some people offer grain. But they are as bad as people who offer pig’s blood. Some people burn incense to remember me. But they are as bad as people who worship false gods. Yes, my people have chosen the things that they want to do. And their spirits have pleasure in the disgusting things that they do.

4 Nobody answered when I spoke. And when I spoke, nobody listened. They did bad things even while I watched them! And they chose to do things that did not make me happy. So I will choose to punish them a lot. And I will send to them the things that will make them very afraid.’

5 Some people are afraid not to obey the LORD’s words. Those people should hear this message from him. ‘Your (bad) brothers did not like you. They do not let you belong (to the people of Judah). They do that because of my name. They said to you, “Praise the LORD. Then we will see that you are happy.” But your brothers will be ashamed.’

The word ‘brothers’ here might really mean other Jewish men.

6 ‘We hear a voice like a loud noise that comes from the city! A voice comes from the temple. The voice is the LORD’s voice. He is giving to his enemies all that they should have.

7 Before she has labour, she has a baby. Before the pains come to her, a son is born!

8 Nobody has ever heard of such a thing. Nobody has ever seen things like that. A country cannot be born in one day. Nor can a country have birth in a moment. But as soon as Zion has labour, her children are born!’

Zion is not the name of a woman here. It is the name of a hill in Jerusalem. People often use it to mean all Jerusalem. The idea about a woman who has a baby is like a picture here.

9 ‘When I bring someone to the moment of birth, then the baby is born.’ That is what the LORD is saying. ‘I do not close up the mother’s body before the baby is born’, says your God.

10 ‘Be happy with the people in Jerusalem and be very happy for Jerusalem. Do that, everybody who loves Jerusalem. Be very happy with Jerusalem, everybody who cries for Jerusalem.

11 Jerusalem will be like a mother to you. And she will give to you all that you need. It will be like a mother’s breasts are causing you to feel happier. It will be like you are drinking a lot of a mother’s milk. And you will be very happy with the glory that comes out like a stream from her.’

12 That will happen because the LORD says, ‘Look! I will give peace to Jerusalem like a river. And I will cause the valuable things from every country to come in like a stream of water. Jerusalem will be like a mother to you who is carrying you by her side. And you will be like a baby who sits on its mother’s knees.

13 A mother causes her child to feel happier. And I will cause you to feel happier. You felt sad. But I will cause you to feel happier about Jerusalem now.’

14 And when you see that, you will feel very happy! And your bones will grow easily, like grass. The LORD’s hand is good. And he will cause his servants to know it. But he will show to his enemies that he is very angry.

Verses 11-14 The words that we have translated ‘cause you to feel happier’ in these verses mean ‘to make people strong again, so that they can live with their troubles’.

15 Look! The LORD will come with fire and his chariots will be like a strong wind. He will come down (from heaven) because he is very angry. He will speak against them with words of fire.

16 And so the LORD will be the judge of all people with fire and with his sword. Then the LORD will kill many people.

17 ‘Some people are servants of their gods. And some people make themselves very clean for their gods. They go into the gardens. They follow the people who eat the meat from pigs and rats and other dirty things. They will all come to their deaths together’, says the LORD.

18 ‘And I will come and I will bring together the people from all countries. And I will bring together the people who speak all languages. I will do that because of what they have done and because of their thoughts. And they will come and they will see my glory.

19 And I will put a sign among them. And I will send some of those people who run away from me to other countries. They will go to:

·        Tarshish (in Spain)

·        the people in Libya

·        the people in Lydia, who are famous because they shoot arrows so well

·        Tubal

·        Greece

·        islands a long way away where people do not know my name and they have not seen my glory.

Those people will tell other countries about my glory.

20 And they will bring all your brothers to my holy mountain in Jerusalem. They will bring them from all the countries to offer them to the LORD. They will come on horses, in chariots and in trucks. They will come on mules and on camels’, says the LORD. ‘They will bring them as the Jews bring grain. That is what they offer to the LORD in the temple. The grain is in holy dishes. 21 And I will choose some of them to be priests. And I will choose some of them to be servants of God like my servants from Levi’s family’, says the LORD.

Verse 20 The word ‘brothers’ here really means other Jews.

22 ‘The new heavens and the new earth that I will make will always be there’, says the LORD. ‘Also, your name and the names of your descendants will stay there.’

23 ‘Everybody will come and they will bend down on their knees in front of me’, says the LORD. ‘They will come from one New Moon to the next New Moon and from one Sabbath to another.

24 And they will go out (of Jerusalem). And they will look at the dead bodies of the people who did not obey me. Those people’s worms will not die and their fire will not go out. And everybody will see that they are very dirty.’

Word List

action
something that a person does.
adulteress
a woman who has sex with a man who is not her husband.
advisor
someone who tells you the best thing to do.
altar
a special table that people use when they offer gifts to God (or to their false god).
ancestors
fathers and grandfathers and people years ago that they were born to.
angels
servants of God who live with him in his home called Heaven.
anger
what you feel when you are angry.
anointed
poured oil on (from a plant called the olive). The Jews did that to show that God had chosen someone. The Hebrew word is the one that we get the word ‘messiah’ from.
Apocalypse
another name for the last book in the Bible, called Revelation. The Little Apocalypse (Isaiah chapters 24-27) is like Revelation. It is about the end of this world.
Arabah
the dry valley of the River Jordan, south-east of Jerusalem.
ariel
a Hebrew word for a place where you have a fire. In Isaiah 29:1-8 it also is a name for Jerusalem.
arrows
sticks with sharp points. People use a bow to shoot them.
Asherah
a false god.
Assyrians
people who came from the country called Assyria.
B.C.
50 B.C. for example means 50 years before Jesus came.
balance
a machine that weighs things.
bare
with no clothes on.
bars
thick metal sticks that keep a person in a prison.
base
lowest part of something, like the strong part in the ground that people build houses on.
bat
a small animal; it is not a bird but it can fly.
battle
big fight between soldiers.
bear
a dangerous wild animal.
bees
insects that fly; they can make something like sugar.
Bel
the name of a false god in Babylon.
bit
it fits into a horse’s mouth; it causes a horse to go where the rider wants it to go.
bitter
the opposite of sweet.
bless
be very good to you, so that you have many children, animals and fruits; to say or to do good things to a person; to ask God for good things to happen to a person.
blessing
a good thing that God does for us; to ask God to help us and to do good things in us; a blessing can be words that ask God to do good things for people.
blind
not able to see.
boast
to say that you are great and important; or to say that you can do things very well.
borrow
when someone lends you something for a short time and you give it back later.
brambles
plants with thorns on them.
breath
the air that goes into and comes out of our mouths.
breathe
to take in or to push out air through the nose.
briars
bushes with thorns.
bricks
things like stones that people make to build houses with.
bronze
a strong, yellow metal.
camel
a big animal to carry people or things. It can walk for a long time without a drink.
Canaan
an old name for the country that God brought the Jewish people to.
canal
like a river but men have made it.
caravan
here, a group of camels as they travel.
cart
a box a bit like a car but without an engine that animals pull along; a thing to carry people in; horses usually pull a cart.
castle
a strong building that is difficult to destroy.
cedar
a large, beautiful tree. It does not lose its leaves in winter; a good tree to build things with, better than the tree called a sycamore.
chaff
dead part of a plant round the seed.
chains
metal rings like a rope to tie people up.
Chaldea
another name for Babylon.
chariots
carts that soldiers rode in; horses pulled the carts.
charms
something that people use in magic.
cheat
someone who is not fair.
clay
material from the earth. People use it to make pots.
coal
black material that people get from below the ground. They use it to make very hot fires.
court
place where a judge works. He says who is right or wrong.
covenant
usually in the Bible, what God and his people promised to do. But also, what the leaders in Jerusalem and Sheol agreed to do (Isaiah 28:15, 18); or what the leaders of Assyria agreed to do (Isaiah 33:8).
covenant of peace
what God has promised to do. He will not fight against his people again.
create
make out of nothing except your own power. Only God can really create.
Creator
name for God. It tells us that he made (created) everything.
crown
a special hat that a king wears.
cummin
a plant. Its seeds give a kind of oil that causes food to taste good.
curse
words that ask for something bad to happen.
cypress
a very beautiful tree.
darkness
when there is no light.
Daughter of a city
all the people who live in the city.
Daughter of Zion
the people who live in the city called Jerusalem. (Zion is the name of the hill in Jerusalem.)
deep sleep
a sleep that it is difficult to wake from.
deer
an animal that can jump high.
descendant
a child, grandchild, their grandchild and so on.
desert
land with much empty space and perhaps sand, but not many people.
dew
water that comes on to the ground during the night. It is not rain.
dill
a plant. Its seeds give a kind of oil that causes food to taste good.
disappear
the opposite of appear.
disciples
students who learn from a great teacher.
disgusting
something that you really do not like; you do not want to touch it; something that is really not good.
divorce-notice
paper that says that you are not still married to your husband or wife. See Deuteronomy 24:1-4.
donkey
an animal like a small horse.
dove
a bird that makes a sad noise like ‘coo’.
Ephraim
a name for the country called Israel.
eunuch
man who cannot have children.
exile
people that an enemy takes to another country are ‘in exile’. They are away from home. We also call those people ‘exiles’.
fast
not to eat food, when people pray.
Fate
your fate is what will happen to you; we think that it is the name of a false god in Isaiah 65:11.
feast
a special meal with a lot of good food and drink when the Jewish people praise God.
fig
a fruit.
fir
a tree that does not change much in winter.
flag
a bit of cloth with a picture on it. People tie it to a long stick.
flax
a plant that people use to make a cloth called linen.
flute
you use your mouth to make music with a flute.
foreigner
a person from a foreign country.
forgive
when someone stops being angry with another person who has done bad things.
glean
when poor people pick a little bit of fruit that the farmer has not picked.
glory
something that a great person has. It nearly causes them to shine! God’s glory is difficult to describe. God’s glory is something that shines very, very much. It is too bright to look at. But it also describes what God does. What he does is great. God will not give any of his glory to idols, because they have not done anything, (Isaiah 41:29).
God of Truth
God who always says what is true.
grain
fruit of a plant like grass; people make bread from grain.
grapes
fruit that people use to make a drink with alcohol in it.
grave
hole in the ground where people bury dead people.
greed
greed causes you to want more than you really need.
grow-up
when children become men and women.
grub
a thing that will become an insect.
guard
keep enemies away; keep something safe.
guilt
a person has guilt when they have done wrong things.
guilty
people may say that a person has done something; guilty means that he really has done it.
harp
you use your fingers to make music with a harp.
harvest
the time when people pick their fruit; or the fruit that people pick then.
hawk
a kind of bird; it eats other birds or small animals.
heaven
the place where God lives and rules; but sometimes this word, or sometimes heavens, means the sky.
Hebrew
the language that the Jews spoke; people speak it today in Israel.
hedgehog
a small animal that can hide in a bush.
high-places
places where people built altars.
holy
very, very good; only God is really holy; that makes him separate from people; or, holy means something that people used in religion; in Isaiah 48:2 and in other places, ‘holy city’ is a name for Jerusalem.
honour
to think that a person or a thing is important; or to think that a person is good.
hook
you bend a piece of metal to make a hook; then you use it to fish; or you can use it to hang something on.
house-of-Jacob
a name for the people from Israel or from Judah.
hoy
a word that asks people to listen to the speaker.
humble
humble people do not think that they are important.
hyenas
like dogs, but wild.
idol
false god. People usually make them with metal or stone or wood.
images
false gods that people made from wood or metal.
Immanuel
God is with us; or, God with us.
in-labour
a woman is in-labour while she has her baby.
incense
something that makes a special, nice smell when people burn it.
jackals
like dogs, but wild.
Jacob
sometimes in Isaiah’s book it means the Jewish people, who were descendants of Jacob.
Jeshurun
a name for Israel. It means ‘somebody who always does the right things’.
Jew
a person who is born from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and their children.
Jewish
a word that describes a Jew or anything that is a Jew’s.
judge
to say whether something is right or wrong or fair; or the person who does that.
juice
a drink from grapes or from other fruit.
justice
what is right and fair.
kingdom
a country that a king or a queen rules over.
labour
(here) the pain when a woman has a baby.
lamb
young sheep.
law
in Isaiah, this can mean the rules in the first 5 books of the Bible; it means that in chapter 42 and in chapter 51.
leopard
dangerous wild animal.
Leviathan
a very big animal from the sea.
lies
words that are not true; the speaker knows that they are not true.
lime
white material that you get when you make chalk very hot.
lion
a large and dangerous wild animal.
lioness
a female lion.
locusts
large insects that eat all the plants that are in front of them.
LORD
LORD is a special name of God. In the Hebrew language it is YAHWEH. It may mean ‘always alive’. In our translation, LORD is a sign that the Hebrew word is YAHWEH.
Lord, lord
lord means master; Lord is a name for God. It is not the same as LORD.
lowly
lowly people do not think that they are very important.
luck
some people think that things happen because of luck. God’s people believe that God does good things for them. In Isaiah 65:11, Luck is the name of a false god.
lyre
you use your fingers to make music with a lyre.
maggots
insects that often live in dead bodies.
magic
when people cause bad spirits to do things for them; the spirits do things that people cannot usually do; when someone causes strange things to happen that surprise people. Those things are not usual. Magic is very bad and it is not from God.
Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz
the name of one of Isaiah’s sons. It means ‘What people catch is coming quickly. What they will kill is hurrying.’
make a promise
to promise that you will do something.
Maker
a name for God, who made everything.
mate
animal or bird of the opposite sex.
Medes
people who came from the country called Media.
medium
someone who says that they can talk to dead people.
merchants
people who buy and sell things; they do it to get money.
mercy
when you are kind when you do not have to be kind.
messiah
a person that someone has poured oil on. Messiah is the Hebrew word for ‘poured on’. It happened to Jewish kings and priests when they started their work. The Jews hoped for a special messiah. Christians believe that Jesus is that special Messiah.
mist
mist is in the air; it makes it difficult to see things.
mistress
female master.
mortar
material that keeps stones together in a wall.
Most-High
a name for God.
moths
insects that destroy clothes.
Mount
a short word for mountain; small mountain.
mule
an animal like a small horse.
myrtle
a beautiful tree or bush.
nation
people who live together in the same country.
Nebo
the name of a false god in Babylon.
Negev
a very sandy place south of Jerusalem; not many people live there.
oak
a tree; its leaves fall off in winter.
Old-Testament
the first part of the Bible, which the writers wrote before the life of Jesus.
olive
a fruit that people use to make oil. They burn the oil to give them light. People cook with this oil too.
oppressed
you are oppressed when people are cruel to you.
oppressor
someone who is cruel and not kind to people.
ostrich
a kind of bird; it does not fly, but it runs.
owl
a bird that catches its food at night.
palace
a big house that a king lives in.
palm
a tree that grows in hot countries.
papyrus
a plant that grows by water.
peace
when we and God are friends; or, when there is no trouble or war; or when we have no trouble in our minds.
pegs
they held a tent on the ground, so that it would not blow away.
perfume
something that has a beautiful smell.
Pharaoh
a word that means the king of Egypt.
pine
a beautiful tree that does not lose its leaves in winter.
pit
a hole. The deepest Pit in Sheol was where the worst people went. They went there when they died.
pitch
a sticky black material that will burn. People find it in the ground.
plague
something bad, often illnesses that make many people ill.
plan
idea about what you want to do; or what someone has decided to do.
poem
when a writer has used words in a special, very beautiful way.
pole
a tall stick that someone has made out of wood.
power
what someone is able to do.
praise
to tell someone that they are very good; or words that say that somebody is great, good or important.
prayer
the words that we say when we pray.
pregnant
a woman with a baby inside her.
pride
pride causes people to feel better than other people, but they may not be.
priest
a special servant of God in the temple in Jerusalem.
prisoner
someone who is in a prison, or someone who cannot run away.
profit
when you sell something for more money than you bought it for.
prophecy
words that a prophet says.
prophet
a prophet did two things. He told people what God had said to him. He told people what would happen in future years. But some prophets spoke messages that were not really from God.
prophetess
either (1) the wife of a prophet, or (2) a woman-prophet, or (3) both.
prostitute
a woman who has sex with men for money.
proud
the opposite of humble. People can be proud in a good way or in a bad way.
prove
show that something is true.
prune
cut parts of a plant off, to cause it to grow better.
psalm
a special song that praises God.
punish
hurt somebody because they have done something wrong.
punishment
what happens to us when somebody punishes us.
ransom
pay to make someone safe.
rat
a small animal with a long tail that can make people very ill; there are usually very many of them and they eat people’s food.
raven
a large black bird.
redeem
when someone pays the price so that a person in a prison can be free; to pay to get back; to get back, to bring back from a dangerous place; when you have help out of a problem.
Redeemer
God. He redeems when he saves people.
reed
a plant that grows near water.
refugee
someone who has had to run away from his or her own country.
religion
how people worship their God or their false god. Judaism, Christianity and Islam are three examples of religion. Read also the note between verses 9 and 10 of Isaiah 1.
remnant
a small piece of something bigger; a few people who are still alive after God has punished a nation.
rescue
to save someone from danger.
righteous
very, very good. Only God is really righteous.
righteousness
what people have who always obey God’s rules. They are very, very good.
roar
make a noise like an angry animal; or the noise itself.
root
part of a plant that is in the ground.
rope
a long, thin piece of strong material that people use to tie things together.
rough
like ground that nobody has dug. It is not flat.
ruler
a straight piece of wood that measures things.
Sabbath
the day when the Jewish people rested. It started on Friday at sunset. They did not do any work until Saturday at sunset.
sacrifice
something that people give to God; sometimes they kill an animal and then they burn it.
safety
when someone is safe.
sail
the wind on this big piece of cloth causes a boat to move.
Satan
the leader of the bad spirits; God’s worst enemy.
saw
in places in Isaiah’s book it means ‘understood’. He may also have seen in his mind something that God showed to him.
scales
a machine that weighs things.
scroll
a very long piece of paper or other material that people wrote on; they fixed it round two pieces of wood.
seer
another word for prophet.
seraph
a special servant of God. People cannot usually see them.
Shaddai
a name for God. There are many possible translations. But most people think that it means ‘very powerful’.
shake
move quickly from one side to another and back again, many times.
shame
something that you are not proud of.
Shear-Jashub
the name of Isaiah’s older son. It means ‘a few people will return’.
Sheol
a place under the ground. A place where dead people went.
shepherd
a sheep-farmer. God often thinks about his people as sheep that need a shepherd.
shield
a soldier holds this over himself to keep safe from an enemy’s sword.
Shiloah
a quiet river that moved slowly.
shook
past of shake.
shroud
cloth over a dead body.
silver
a valuable metal.
sin
to sin is not to obey God; sins are the wrong things that we do at those times.
sinner
a person who sins.
spat
sent water out of the mouth very quickly.
spices
materials from plants. People use them to cause food to taste better.
spider
like an insect, but with 8 legs. Spiders make webs.
spirit
the part of a person that is alive, which we cannot see; it can speak to other spirits; there are other spirits that we cannot see; they can be good or bad.
strength
what you have when you are strong.
string
a long, thin piece of material; people use it to tie things together; or they use it to pull something.
stringed-instruments
you use your fingers to make music with stringed-instruments. Examples are guitar and violin.
sulphur
a yellow material from the ground. It makes a very bad smell when it burns.
sword
a very long knife that soldiers used to kill people.
sycamore
a kind of tree.
tambourine
a thing that makes music; you hit it or you move it about fast.
tears
the water that comes from our eyes when we cry.
temple
where people worship God or their false god; the Temple in Jerusalem was the House of God.
tent
a house that people make from animal skins, like goats’ skins. People can move them about easily.
terebinth
a kind of tree.
terror
what you feel when you are very much afraid.
thirsty
needs a drink.
thorn
part of a plant that is long and sharp.
thresh
get the good part of a plant and throw away the chaff.
thrush
a bird about 20 centimetres (8 inches) long.
thunder
noise in the sky during a storm.
tomb
where people put dead bodies.
tongue
the large red part (of the body) in the mouth. It helps us to speak; the part of our mouth that we talk with.
torch
a piece of burning wood that people use to give light.
trap
something that catches an animal, or even a person.
tribe
a large group of people who are descendants of one man. The first Jews were the 12 sons of Jacob. The descendants of each son became a tribe.
trumpet
you use your mouth to make music with a trumpet.
trust
believe that someone will be good to you; or believe that someone will not rob anyone; or believe that someone will do their job well.
truth
what is true.
turquoise-stones
very valuable stones that are blue.
unclean
not clean. This word can mean that something is not right to use for God. Or it can mean food that Jewish people should not eat.
uncover
the opposite of cover.
unimportant
the opposite of important.
unkind
the opposite of kind.
value
things that are good or important have some value.
vine
a plant that climbs. Its fruits are called grapes. People use grapes to make wine.
vineyard
a field where people grow vines. Grapes grow on vines. People make wine from grapes. In Isaiah’s book, the vineyard often means Judah and Israel.
virgin
a woman who has never had sex with anyone.
vision
something that a person sees, maybe only in their mind.
voice
sound that somebody makes with the mouth.
vulture
a large bird that eats dead animals and dead birds.
watchman
someone who watches for enemies and dangers.
waves
the water in the sea makes waves when it moves.
web
what a spider makes to catch its food in. It is too weak to make clothes from (Isaiah 59:6).
wheels
round things that help things like cars to move.
whip
something to hit people or animals with; it is usually a thin rope at the end of a stick.
whistle
a pipe that makes a loud noise; you use your mouth to put air through it.
widow
a woman whose husband has died.
wild-country
Bible students are not sure where this was. It was either south of Jerusalem, or in Babylon. We believe that it was in Babylon.
willow
a kind of tree that has very weak branches.
wine
a drink that people make from fruit called grapes. It contains alcohol.
winepress
where people start to make wine from grapes. They walk on the grapes, so that their clothes become red like the grapes. Here, the winepress is a like a picture of the work of the Messiah.
wing
what a bird uses to fly with.
wise
a wise person always chooses the best thing to do.
witness
someone who says what they saw happen.
wizard
a man who uses magic.
wolf
dangerous wild animal a bit like a dog.
wonderful
something or someone so good that you think, ‘That is great!’
wool
the soft hair of a sheep. The best wool is very white. That is what Isaiah means in Isaiah 1:18.
worm
a small animal about 15 centimetres (6 inches) long. It lives under the ground.
worry
you worry when you are not sure what to do.
worship
what we should do when we are with God; to give thanks to God; we usually worship together with other people, with prayers and many happy songs; to bend down to God or to a false god; to show God that he is great; to show him that we love him very much.
wounds
places where somebody has hit or cut a person.
YHWH
the Hebrew name for God; sometimes called Jehovah; God’s name in the language that the Jewish people speak.
yoke
something that holds two animals together; it goes on their shoulders; but sometimes in Isaiah’s book, it means something that makes people not free.
Zion
the name of a hill in Jerusalem. People often use it to mean all Jerusalem, as in Isaiah 1:27.

Book List

John R. Kohlenberger III ~ The Interlinear NIV Hebrew-English Old Testament ~ Zondervan, 1987

Sir Lancelot Brenton ~ The Septuagint with Apocrypha ~ Hendrickson, 1995

B. Davidson ~ Analytical Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon ~ Bagster, 1959

G. Abbott-Smith ~ Manual Greek Lexicon of the New Testament ~ T. & T. Clark, 1936

The Comparative Study Bible, NIV, NASB, AB, KJV ~ Zondervan

Various English Translations of the Bible, apart from those above, including:

The English Version for the Deaf ~ Baker, 1992

The Promise ~ Nelson, 1995

The New English Bible ~ Oxford-Cambridge, 1970

The Revised Standard Version ~ Nelson, 1957

The Revised Authorised Version ~ Bagster

The Living Bible ~ Tyndale, 1971

The Revised English Bible ~ Oxford-Cambridge, 1989

The New Revised Standard Version ~ Nelson, 1989

The New Living Translation ~ Tyndale, 1997

The Good News Bible ~ Collins, 1978

The Jerusalem Bible ~ Darton, Longman & Todd, 1968

The Four Prophets ~ J. B. Phillips ~ Bles, 1963

A Handbook on Isaiah ~ UBS Handbooks Helps for Translators Series (Draft Copy)

Info

© Wycliffe Associates (UK), 1997-2015

This version published September 2015

The translated Bible text has been through Advanced Checking.