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