Isaiah 51:1-23

The Lord will bless his people

1 ‘Listen to me,

you people who want to do what is right.

You people who want to serve the Lord,

listen to me!

Think about the rock that you are a part of.

51:1The ‘rock’ is like a picture of Israel's ancestor, Abraham.

Think about the ground that they dug you out from.

2 You all started from your ancestor Abraham,

and his wife Sarah.

When I first spoke to Abraham,

he had no children.

But I blessed him,

so that he had many descendants.’

3 Surely, the Lord will comfort Zion's people.

He will take care of the buildings

that enemies have destroyed.

Zion's land that is now a wilderness

will become like the beautiful Garden of Eden.

It will be the Lord's own garden!

People will be happy again in Zion.

They will sing with joy to thank God.

4 ‘Listen to me, my people.

Listen carefully, my nation.

I will tell all people about my laws.

I will cause my justice to be like a light to all nations.

5 I am ready to do what is right for them.

I am ready to save them.

I will judge all the nations fairly.

Lands that are far away will wait for me to help them.

They wait for me to come and rule them all with power.

6 Look up at the sky!

Look down at the earth below!

One day, the sky will disappear

like smoke that blows away.

The earth will become useless,

like old clothes.

The people who live on it will die.

They will fall like flies.

But I will keep my people safe for ever.

I will always rule with righteousness.

7 Listen to me,

you people who know what is right.

You people who think carefully about my law,

listen to me.

When people speak against you,

do not be afraid.

Do not be upset,

when they insult you.

8 Those people will soon disappear,

like clothes that moths have eaten,

like wool that worms have eaten.

But I will always rule with righteousness.

I will keep my people safe for ever.’

9 Wake up, Lord!

Get ready to show your strength!

Do great things, as you did in past days,

when our ancestors were alive.

Remember how you cut the monster, Rahab, into pieces.

51:9Rahab was a monster that lived in the sea. It is a picture of the enemies of God's people. See Psalm 89:10. Here it may mean Egypt.

10 You made the sea become dry,

so that there was a path through the deep water.

The people that you rescued from being slaves

could then cross over.

51:10This describes how God's people escaped from the Egyptians.

11 The people that the Lord has rescued

will return from exile.

They will sing with joy

while they go into Zion city.

Their joy will be like a crown

that they wear on their heads for ever.

They will continue to be very happy.

They will never be sad or weep again.

12 ‘I am the Lord who comforts you.

You do not need to be afraid of people who are only human.

Remember that they will all die one day,

like grass that only lives for a short time.

13 Do not forget about the Lord who made you!

I hung up the sky like a curtain.

I made the foundation of the earth.

So why are you always shaking with fear?

Do not be afraid when your enemy is angry,

and he is ready to attack you.

Your enemy's anger is useless!

14 The people who have trouble and pain

will soon become free.

They will not stay in the prison of death.

They will have all the food that they need.

15 Remember that I am the Lord your God.

I shake the sea so that its waves roar!

My name is the Lord Almighty.

16 I have given you my message

to speak on my behalf.

I have kept you safe in my hand.

I hung up the sky like a curtain,

and I made the foundation of the earth.

I say to Zion, “You are my people.” ’

17 Wake up, people in Jerusalem! Get ready!

The Lord has been angry with you,

and he has punished you.

You had to receive all of his anger,

like you were drinking strong wine from a cup.

Now that you have drunk it all,

you cannot stand up straight!

18 Among all of Jerusalem's people,

there was nobody left to be your leader.

There was nobody who could take care of you.

19 War and famine have destroyed you.

Both those terrible things have happened to you.

Who feels sorry for you?

Who is there to comfort you?

20 Your children have become weak,

and they lie on the ground at the side of every street.

They are like deer that a trap has caught.

The anger of the Lord your God has made them helpless.

He has warned them loudly.

21 So listen to this, you people who are in trouble.

You walk like drunk people,

but wine has not done that to you.

22 The Lord God who is your Lord stands beside his people. He says,

‘Look! Now I have taken the cup of my punishment out of your hand.

You will no longer have to drink the strong wine of my anger

that makes you drunk.

23 Instead, I will give it to your cruel enemies

to punish them.

They said to you, “Lie down on the ground,

so that we can walk over you.”

You made your backs become like the ground.

You became like a street for your enemies to walk on.’