3The Sovereign LORD says to his people, “When you became slaves, no money was paid for you; in the same way nothing will be paid to set you free. 4When you went to live in Egypt as foreigners, you did so of your own free will; Assyria, however, took you away by force and paid nothing for you. 5And now in Babylonia the same thing has happened: you are captives, and nothing was paid for you. Those who rule over you boast and brag and constantly show contempt for me. 6In time to come you will acknowledge that I am God and that I have spoken to you.”
7How wonderful it is to see
a messenger coming across the mountains,
bringing good news, the news of peace!
He announces victory and says to Zion,
“Your God is king!”
8Those who guard the city are shouting,
shouting together for joy!
They can see with their own eyes
the return of the LORD to Zion!
9Break into shouts of joy,
you ruins of Jerusalem!
The LORD will rescue his city
and comfort his people.
10The LORD will use his holy power;
he will save his people,
and all the world will see it.
11Make sure you leave Babylonia,
all you that carry the temple equipment!
Touch no forbidden thing;
keep yourselves holy and leave.
12This time you will not have to leave in a hurry;
you will not be trying to escape.
The LORD your God will lead you
and protect you on every side.
The Suffering Servant
13The LORD says,
“My servant will succeed in his task;
he will be highly honoured.
14Many people were shocked when they saw him;
he was so disfigured that he hardly looked human.
15But now many nations will marvel at him,
and kings will be speechless with amazement.
They will see and understand
something they had never known.”
1The people reply,
“Who would have believed what we now report?
Who could have seen the LORD's hand in this?
2It was the will of the LORD that his servant
should grow like a plant taking root in dry ground.
He had no dignity or beauty
to make us take notice of him.
There was nothing attractive about him,
nothing that would draw us to him.
3We despised him and rejected him;
he endured suffering and pain.
No one would even look at him —
we ignored him as if he were nothing.
4“But he endured the suffering that should have been ours,
the pain that we should have borne.
All the while we thought that his suffering
was punishment sent by God.
5But because of our sins he was wounded,
beaten because of the evil we did.
We are healed by the punishment he suffered,
made whole by the blows he received.
6All of us were like sheep that were lost,
each of us going his own way.
But the LORD made the punishment fall on him,
the punishment all of us deserved.
7“He was treated harshly, but endured it humbly;
he never said a word.
Like a lamb about to be slaughtered,
like a sheep about to be sheared,
he never said a word.
8He was arrested and sentenced and led off to die,
and no one cared about his fate.
He was put to death for the sins of our people.
9He was placed in a grave with the wicked,
he was buried with the rich,
even though he had never committed a crime
or ever told a lie.”
10The LORD says,
“It was my will that he should suffer;
his death was a sacrifice to bring forgiveness.
And so he will see his descendants;
he will live a long life,
and through him my purpose will succeed.
11After a life of suffering, he will again have joy;
he will know that he did not suffer in vain.
My devoted servant, with whom I am pleased,
will bear the punishment of many
and for his sake I will forgive them.
12And so I will give him a place of honour,
a place among the great and powerful.
He willingly gave his life
and shared the fate of evil men.
He took the place of many sinners
and prayed that they might be forgiven.”
The LORD's Love for Israel
1Jerusalem, you have been like a childless woman,
but now you can sing and shout for joy.
Now you will have more children
than a woman whose husband never left her!
2Make the tent you live in larger;
lengthen its ropes and strengthen the pegs!
3You will extend your boundaries on all sides;
your people will get back the land
that the other nations now occupy.
Cities now deserted will be filled with people.
4Do not be afraid — you will not be disgraced again;
you will not be humiliated.
You will forget your unfaithfulness as a young wife,
and your desperate loneliness as a widow.
5Your Creator will be like a husband to you —
the LORD Almighty is his name.
The holy God of Israel will save you —
he is the ruler of all the world.
6Israel, you are like a young wife,
deserted by her husband and deeply distressed.
But the LORD calls you back to him and says:
7“For one brief moment I left you;
with deep love I will take you back.
8I turned away angry for only a moment,
but I will show you my love for ever.”
So says the LORD who saves you.
9“In the time of Noah I promised
never again to flood the earth.
Now I promise not to be angry with you again;
I will not reprimand or punish you.
10The mountains and hills may crumble,
but my love for you will never end;
I will keep for ever my promise of peace.”
So says the LORD who loves you.
The Future Jerusalem
11The LORD says,
“O Jerusalem, you suffering, helpless city,
with no one to comfort you,
I will rebuild your foundations with precious stones.
12I will build your towers with rubies,
your gates with stones that glow like fire,
and the wall around you with jewels.
13“I myself will teach your people,
and give them prosperity and peace.
14Justice and right will make you strong.
You will be safe from oppression and terror.
15Whoever attacks you
does it without my consent;
whoever fights against you will fall.
16“I create the blacksmith,
who builds a fire and forges weapons.
I also create the soldier,
who uses the weapons to kill.
17But no weapon will be able to hurt you;
you will have an answer for all who accuse you.
I will defend my servants
and give them victory.”
The LORD has spoken.
God's Offer of Mercy
1The LORD says,
“Come, everyone who is thirsty —
here is water!
Come, you that have no money —
buy corn and eat!
Come! Buy wine and milk —
it will cost you nothing!
2Why spend money on what does not satisfy?
Why spend your wages and still be hungry?
Listen to me and do what I say,
and you will enjoy the best food of all.
3“Listen now, my people, and come to me;
come to me, and you will have life!
I will make a lasting covenant with you
and give you the blessings I promised to David.
4I made him a leader and commander of nations,
and through him I showed them my power.
5Now you will summon foreign nations;
at one time they did not know you,
but now they will come running to join you!
I, the LORD your God, the holy God of Israel,
will make all this happen;
I will give you honour and glory.”
6Turn to the LORD and pray to him,
now that he is near.
7Let the wicked leave their way of life
and change their way of thinking.
Let them turn to the LORD, our God;
he is merciful and quick to forgive.
8“My thoughts,” says the LORD, “are not like yours,
and my ways are different from yours.
9As high as the heavens are above the earth,
so high are my ways and thoughts above yours.
10“My word is like the snow and the rain
that come down from the sky to water the earth.
They make the crops grow
and provide seed for sowing and food to eat.
11So also will be the word that I speak —
it will not fail to do what I plan for it;
it will do everything I send it to do.
12“You will leave Babylon with joy;
you will be led out of the city in peace.
The mountains and hills will burst into singing,
and the trees will shout for joy.
13Cypress trees will grow where now there are briars;
myrtle trees will come up in place of thorns.
This will be a sign that will last for ever,
a reminder of what I, the LORD, have done.”
God's People will Include All Nations
1The LORD says to his people, “Do what is just and right, for soon I will save you. 2I will bless those who always observe the Sabbath and do not misuse it. I will bless those who do nothing evil.”
3A foreigner who has joined the LORD's people should not say, “The LORD will not let me worship with his people.”
A man who has been castrated should never think that because he cannot have children, he can never be part of God's people. 4The LORD says to such a man, “If you honour me by observing the Sabbath and if you do what pleases me and faithfully keep my covenant, 5then your name will be remembered in my Temple and among my people longer than if you had sons and daughters. You will never be forgotten.”
6And the LORD says to those foreigners who become part of his people, who love him and serve him, who observe the Sabbath and faithfully keep his covenant: 7“I will bring you to Zion, my sacred hill, give you joy in my house of prayer, and accept the sacrifices you offer on my altar. My Temple will be called a house of prayer for the people of all nations.”
8The Sovereign LORD, who has brought his people Israel home from exile, has promised that he will bring still other people to join them.
Israel's Leaders are Condemned
9The LORD has told the foreign nations to come like wild animals and devour his people. 10He says, “All the leaders, who are supposed to warn my people, are blind! They know nothing. They are like watchdogs that don't bark — they only lie about and dream. How they love to sleep! 11They are like greedy dogs that never get enough. These leaders have no understanding. They each do as they please and seek their own advantage. 12‘Let's get some wine,’ these drunkards say, ‘and drink all we can hold! Tomorrow will be even better than today!’ ”