Reading Plan 
Daily Bible Reading (daily) August 11
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Isaiah 46:1--48:22

Context
The Lord Carries His People

46:1 Bel 1  kneels down,

Nebo 2  bends low.

Their images weigh down animals and beasts. 3 

Your heavy images are burdensome to tired animals. 4 

46:2 Together they bend low and kneel down;

they are unable to rescue the images; 5 

they themselves 6  head off into captivity. 7 

46:3 “Listen to me, O family of Jacob, 8 

all you who are left from the family of Israel, 9 

you who have been carried from birth, 10 

you who have been supported from the time you left the womb. 11 

46:4 Even when you are old, I will take care of you, 12 

even when you have gray hair, I will carry you.

I made you and I will support you;

I will carry you and rescue you. 13 

46:5 To whom can you compare and liken me?

Tell me whom you think I resemble, so we can be compared!

46:6 Those who empty out gold from a purse

and weigh out silver on the scale 14 

hire a metalsmith, who makes it into a god.

They then bow down and worship it.

46:7 They put it on their shoulder and carry it;

they put it in its place and it just stands there;

it does not 15  move from its place.

Even when someone cries out to it, it does not reply;

it does not deliver him from his distress.

46:8 Remember this, so you can be brave! 16 

Think about it, you rebels! 17 

46:9 Remember what I accomplished in antiquity! 18 

Truly I am God, I have no peer; 19 

I am God, and there is none like me,

46:10 who announces the end from the beginning

and reveals beforehand 20  what has not yet occurred,

who says, ‘My plan will be realized,

I will accomplish what I desire,’

46:11 who summons an eagle 21  from the east,

from a distant land, one who carries out my plan.

Yes, I have decreed, 22 

yes, I will bring it to pass;

I have formulated a plan,

yes, I will carry it out.

46:12 Listen to me, you stubborn people, 23 

you who distance yourself from doing what is right. 24 

46:13 I am bringing my deliverance near, it is not far away;

I am bringing my salvation near, 25  it does not wait.

I will save Zion; 26 

I will adorn Israel with my splendor.” 27 

Babylon Will Fall

47:1 “Fall down! Sit in the dirt,

O virgin 28  daughter Babylon!

Sit on the ground, not on a throne,

O daughter of the Babylonians!

Indeed, 29  you will no longer be called delicate and pampered.

47:2 Pick up millstones and grind flour!

Remove your veil,

strip off your skirt,

expose your legs,

cross the streams!

47:3 Let your private parts be exposed!

Your genitals will be on display! 30 

I will get revenge;

I will not have pity on anyone,” 31 

47:4 says our protector –

the Lord who commands armies is his name,

the Holy One of Israel. 32 

47:5 “Sit silently! Go to a hiding place, 33 

O daughter of the Babylonians!

Indeed, 34  you will no longer be called ‘Queen of kingdoms.’

47:6 I was angry at my people;

I defiled my special possession

and handed them over to you.

You showed them no mercy; 35 

you even placed a very heavy burden on old people. 36 

47:7 You said,

‘I will rule forever as permanent queen!’ 37 

You did not think about these things; 38 

you did not consider how it would turn out. 39 

47:8 So now, listen to this,

O one who lives so lavishly, 40 

who lives securely,

who says to herself, 41 

‘I am unique! No one can compare to me! 42 

I will never have to live as a widow;

I will never lose my children.’ 43 

47:9 Both of these will come upon you

suddenly, in one day!

You will lose your children and be widowed. 44 

You will be overwhelmed by these tragedies, 45 

despite 46  your many incantations

and your numerous amulets. 47 

47:10 You were complacent in your evil deeds; 48 

you thought, 49  ‘No one sees me.’

Your self-professed 50  wisdom and knowledge lead you astray,

when you say, ‘I am unique! No one can compare to me!’ 51 

47:11 Disaster will overtake you;

you will not know how to charm it away. 52 

Destruction will fall on you;

you will not be able to appease it.

Calamity will strike you suddenly,

before you recognize it. 53 

47:12 Persist 54  in trusting 55  your amulets

and your many incantations,

which you have faithfully recited 56  since your youth!

Maybe you will be successful 57 

maybe you will scare away disaster. 58 

47:13 You are tired out from listening to so much advice. 59 

Let them take their stand –

the ones who see omens in the sky,

who gaze at the stars,

who make monthly predictions –

let them rescue you from the disaster that is about to overtake you! 60 

47:14 Look, they are like straw,

which the fire burns up;

they cannot rescue themselves

from the heat 61  of the flames.

There are no coals to warm them,

no firelight to enjoy. 62 

47:15 They will disappoint you, 63 

those you have so faithfully dealt with since your youth. 64 

Each strays off in his own direction, 65 

leaving no one to rescue you.”

The Lord Appeals to the Exiles

48:1 Listen to this, O family of Jacob, 66 

you who are called by the name ‘Israel,’

and are descended from Judah, 67 

who take oaths in the name of the Lord,

and invoke 68  the God of Israel –

but not in an honest and just manner. 69 

48:2 Indeed, they live in the holy city; 70 

they trust in 71  the God of Israel,

whose name is the Lord who commands armies.

48:3 “I announced events beforehand, 72 

I issued the decrees and made the predictions; 73 

suddenly I acted and they came to pass.

48:4 I did this 74  because I know how stubborn you are.

Your neck muscles are like iron

and your forehead like bronze. 75 

48:5 I announced them to you beforehand;

before they happened, I predicted them for you,

so you could never say,

‘My image did these things,

my idol, my cast image, decreed them.’

48:6 You have heard; now look at all the evidence! 76 

Will you not admit that what I say is true? 77 

From this point on I am announcing to you new events

that are previously unrevealed and you do not know about. 78 

48:7 Now they come into being, 79  not in the past;

before today you did not hear about them,

so you could not say,

‘Yes, 80  I know about them.’

48:8 You did not hear,

you do not know,

you were not told beforehand. 81 

For I know that you are very deceitful; 82 

you were labeled 83  a rebel from birth.

48:9 For the sake of my reputation 84  I hold back my anger;

for the sake of my prestige 85  I restrain myself from destroying you. 86 

48:10 Look, I have refined you, but not as silver;

I have purified you 87  in the furnace of misery.

48:11 For my sake alone 88  I will act,

for how can I allow my name to be defiled? 89 

I will not share my glory with anyone else! 90 

48:12 Listen to me, O Jacob,

Israel, whom I summoned!

I am the one;

I am present at the very beginning

and at the very end. 91 

48:13 Yes, my hand founded the earth;

my right hand spread out the sky.

I summon them;

they stand together.

48:14 All of you, gather together and listen!

Who among them 92  announced these things?

The Lord’s ally 93  will carry out his desire against Babylon;

he will exert his power against the Babylonians. 94 

48:15 I, I have spoken –

yes, I have summoned him;

I lead him and he will succeed. 95 

48:16 Approach me! Listen to this!

From the very first I have not spoken in secret;

when it happens, 96  I am there.”

So now, the sovereign Lord has sent me, accompanied by his spirit. 97 

48:17 This is what the Lord, your protector, 98  says,

the Holy One of Israel: 99 

“I am the Lord your God,

who teaches you how to succeed,

who leads you in the way you should go.

48:18 If only you had obeyed my 100  commandments,

prosperity would have flowed to you like a river, 101 

deliverance would have come to you like the waves of the sea. 102 

48:19 Your descendants would have been as numerous as sand, 103 

and your children 104  like its granules.

Their name would not have been cut off

and eliminated from my presence. 105 

48:20 Leave Babylon!

Flee from the Babylonians!

Announce it with a shout of joy!

Make this known!

Proclaim it throughout the earth! 106 

Say, ‘The Lord protects 107  his servant Jacob.

48:21 They do not thirst as he leads them through dry regions;

he makes water flow out of a rock for them;

he splits open a rock and water flows out.’ 108 

48:22 There will be no prosperity for the wicked,” says the Lord.

1 sn Bel was the name of a Babylonian god. The name was originally associated with Enlil, but later was applied to Marduk. See HALOT 132 s.v. בֵּל.

2 sn Nebo is a variation of the name of the Babylonian god Nabu.

3 tn Heb “their images belong to animals and beasts”; NIV “their idols are borne by beasts of burden”; NLT “are being hauled away.”

4 tn Heb “your loads are carried [as] a burden by a weary [animal].”

5 tn Heb “[the] burden,” i.e., their images, the heavy burden carried by the animals.

6 tn נַפְשָׁם (nafsham, “their souls/lives”) is equivalent here to a third masculine plural suffix, but the third feminine singular verb הָלָכָה (halakhah, “they go”) agrees with the feminine noun נֶפֶשׁ (nefesh, “soul, life”).

7 sn The downfall of Babylon is depicted here. The idols are carried off by the victorious enemy; the gods are likened to defeated captives who cower before the enemy and are taken into exile.

8 tn Heb “house of Jacob”; TEV “descendants of Jacob.”

9 tn Heb “and all the remnant of the house of Israel.”

10 tn Heb “from the womb” (so NRSV); KJV “from the belly”; NAB “from your infancy.”

11 tn Heb “who have been lifted up from the womb.”

12 tn Heb “until old age, I am he” (NRSV similar); NLT “I will be your God throughout your lifetime.”

13 sn Unlike the weary idol gods, whose images must be carried by animals, the Lord carries his weary people.

14 tn Heb “the reed,” probably referring to the beam of a scales. See BDB 889 s.v. קָנֶה 4.c.

15 tn Or perhaps, “cannot,” here and in the following two lines. The imperfect forms can indicate capability.

16 tn The meaning of the verb אָשַׁשׁ (’ashash, which appears here in the Hitpolel stem) is uncertain. BDB 84 s.v. אשׁשׁ relates it to a root meaning “found, establish” in Arabic; HALOT 100 s.v. II אשׁשׁ gives the meaning “pluck up courage.” The imperative with vav (ו) may indicate purpose following the preceding imperative.

17 tn Heb “return [it], rebels, to heart”; NRSV “recall it to mind, you transgressors.”

18 tn Heb “remember the former things, from antiquity”; KJV, ASV “the former things of old.”

19 tn Heb “and there is no other” (so NASB, NIV, NRSV).

20 tn Or “from long ago”; KJV, NASB, NIV, NRSV “from ancient times.”

21 tn Or, more generally, “a bird of prey” (so NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV; see 18:6).

22 tn Heb “spoken”; KJV “I have spoken it.”

23 tn Heb “strong of heart [or, mind]”; KJV “stouthearted”; NAB “fainthearted”; NIV “stubborn-hearted.”

24 tn Heb “who are far from righteousness [or perhaps, “deliverance”].”

25 tn Heb “my salvation.” The verb “I am bringing near” is understood by ellipsis (note the previous line).

26 tn Heb “I will place in Zion salvation”; NASB “I will grant salvation in Zion.”

27 tn Heb “to Israel my splendor”; KJV, ASV “for Israel my glory.”

28 tn בְּתוּלַה (bÿtulah) often refers to a virgin, but the phrase “virgin daughter” is apparently stylized (see also 23:12; 37:22). In the extended metaphor of this chapter, where Babylon is personified as a queen (vv. 5, 7), she is depicted as being both a wife and mother (vv. 8-9).

29 tn Or “For” (NASB, NRSV).

30 tn Heb “Your shame will be seen.” In this context “shame” is a euphemism referring to the genitals.

31 tn Heb “I will not meet a man.” The verb פָּגַע (pagah) apparently carries the nuance “meet with kindness” here (cf. 64:5, and see BDB 803 s.v. Qal.2).

32 tc The Hebrew text reads, “Our redeemer – the Lord who commands armies [traditionally, the Lord of hosts] is his name, the Holy One of Israel.” The ancient Greek version adds “says” before “our redeemer.” אָמַר (’amar) may have accidentally dropped from the text by virtual haplography. Note that the preceding word אָדָם (’adam) is graphically similar.

sn See the note on the phrase “the Holy One of Israel” in 1:4.

33 tn Heb “darkness,” which may indicate a place of hiding where a fugitive would seek shelter and protection.

34 tn Or “For” (NASB, NRSV).

35 tn Or “compassion.”

36 tn Heb “on the old you made very heavy your yoke.”

37 tn Heb “Forever I [will be] permanent queen”; NIV “the eternal queen”; CEV “queen forever.”

38 tn Heb “you did not set these things upon your heart [or “mind”].”

39 tn Heb “you did not remember its outcome”; NAB “you disregarded their outcome.”

40 tn Or perhaps, “voluptuous one” (NAB); NAB “you sensual one”; NLT “You are a pleasure-crazy kingdom.”

41 tn Heb “the one who says in her heart.”

42 tn Heb “I [am], and besides me there is no other.” See Zeph 2:15.

43 tn Heb “I will not live [as] a widow, and I will not know loss of children.”

44 tn Heb “loss of children and widowhood.” In the Hebrew text the phrase is in apposition to “both of these” in line 1.

45 tn Heb “according to their fullness, they will come upon you.”

46 tn For other examples of the preposition bet (בְּ) having the sense of “although, despite,” see BDB 90 s.v. III.7.

47 sn Reference is made to incantations and amulets, both of which were important in Mesopotamian religion. They were used to ward off danger and demons.

48 tn Heb “you trusted in your evil”; KJV, NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV “wickedness.”

49 tn Or “said”; NAB “said to yourself”’ NASB “said in your heart.”

50 tn The words “self-professed” are supplied in the translation for clarification.

51 tn See the note at v. 8.

52 tc The Hebrew text has שַׁחְרָהּ (shakhrah), which is either a suffixed noun (“its dawning,” i.e., origin) or infinitive (“to look early for it”). Some have suggested an emendation to שַׁחֲדָהּ (shakhadah), a suffixed infinitive from שָׁחַד (shakhad, “[how] to buy it off”; see BDB 1005 s.v. שָׁחַד). This forms a nice parallel with the following couplet. The above translation is based on a different etymology of the verb in question. HALOT 1466 s.v. III שׁחר references a verbal root with these letters (שׁחד) that refers to magical activity.

53 tn Heb “you will not know”; NIV “you cannot foresee.”

54 tn Heb “stand” (so KJV, ASV); NASB, NRSV “Stand fast.”

55 tn The word “trusting” is supplied in the translation for clarification. See v. 9.

56 tn Heb “in that which you have toiled.”

57 tn Heb “maybe you will be able to profit.”

58 tn Heb “maybe you will cause to tremble.” The object “disaster” is supplied in the translation for clarification. See the note at v. 9.

59 tn Heb “you are tired because of the abundance of your advice.”

60 tn Heb “let them stand and rescue you – the ones who see omens in the sky, who gaze at the stars, who make known by months – from those things which are coming upon you.”

61 tn Heb “hand,” here a metaphor for the strength or power of the flames.

62 tn The Hebrew text reads literally, “there is no coal [for?] their food, light to sit before it.” Some emend לַחְמָם (lakhmam, “their food”) to לְחֻמָּם (lÿkhummam, “to warm them”; see HALOT 328 s.v. חמם). This statement may allude to Isa 44:16, where idolaters are depicted warming themselves over a fire made from wood, part of which was used to form idols. The fire of divine judgment will be no such campfire; its flames will devour and destroy.

63 tn Heb “So they will be to you”; NIV “That is all they can do for you.”

64 tn Heb “that for which you toiled, your traders from your youth.” The omen readers and star gazers are likened to merchants with whom Babylon has had an ongoing economic relationship.

65 tn Heb “each to his own side, they err.”

66 tn Heb “house of Jacob”; TEV, CEV “people of Israel.”

67 tc The Hebrew text reads literally “and from the waters of Judah came out.” מִמֵּי (mimme) could be a corruption of מִמְּעֵי (mimmÿe, “from the inner parts of”; cf. NASB, NIV, NLT, NRSV) as suggested in the above translation. Some translations (ESV, NKJV) retain the MT reading because the Qumran scroll 1QIsaa, which corrects a similar form to “from inner parts of” in 39:7, does not do it here.

68 tn Heb “cause to remember”; KJV, ASV “make mention of.”

69 tn Heb “not in truth and not in righteousness.”

70 tn Heb “they call themselves [or “are called”] from the holy city.” The precise meaning of the statement is uncertain. The Niphal of קָרָא (qara’) is combined with the preposition מִן (min) only here. When the Qal of קָרָא is used with מִן, the preposition often indicates the place from which one is summoned (see 46:11). So one could translate, “from the holy city they are summoned,” meaning that they reside there.

71 tn Heb “lean on” (so NASB, NRSV); NAB, NIV “rely on.”

72 tn Heb “the former things beforehand I declared.”

73 tn Heb “and from my mouth they came forth and I caused them to be heard.”

74 tn The words “I did this” are supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons. In the Hebrew text v. 4 is subordinated to v. 3.

75 sn The image is that of a person who has tensed the muscles of the face and neck as a sign of resolute refusal.

76 tn Heb “gaze [at] all of it”; KJV “see all this.”

77 tn Heb “[as for] you, will you not declare?”

78 tn Heb “and hidden things, and you do not know them.”

79 tn Heb “are created” (so KJV, NASB, NIV, NRSV); NLT “They are brand new.”

80 tn Heb “look”; KJV, NASB “Behold.”

81 tn Heb “beforehand your ear did not open.”

82 tn Heb “deceiving, you deceive.” The infinitive absolute precedes the finite verb for emphasis.

83 tn Or “called” (KJV, NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV).

84 tn Heb “for the sake of my name” (so NAB, NASB); NLT “for my own sake.”

85 tn Heb “and my praise.” לְמַעַן (lÿmaan, “for the sake of”) is understood by ellipsis (note the preceding line).

86 tn Heb “I restrain [myself] concerning you not to cut you off.”

87 tc The Hebrew text has בְּחַרְתִּיךָ (bÿkhartikha, “I have chosen you”), but the Qumran scroll 1QIsaa reads correctly בחנתיכה (“I have tested you”). The metallurgical background of the imagery suggests that purification through testing is the idea.

88 tn The Hebrew text repeats לְמַעֲנִי (lÿmaani, “for my sake”) for emphasis.

89 tn The Hebrew text reads literally, “for how can it be defiled?” The subject of the verb is probably “name” (v. 9).

90 sn See 42:8.

91 tn Heb “I [am] he, I [am the] first, also I [am the] last.”

92 sn This probably refers to the idol gods (see v. 5).

93 tn Or “friend,” or “covenant partner.”

sn The Lord’s ally is a reference to Cyrus.

94 tn Heb “and his arm [against] the Babylonians.”

95 tn Heb “and his way will be prosperous.”

96 tn Heb “from the time of its occurring.”

97 sn The speaker here is not identified specifically, but he is probably Cyrus, the Lord’s “ally” mentioned in vv. 14-15.

98 tn Heb “your redeemer.” See the note at 41:14.

99 sn See the note on the phrase “the Holy One of Israel” in 1:4.

100 tn Heb “paid attention to” (so NASB, NIV, NRSV); TEV “had listened to.”

101 tn Heb “like a river your peace would have been.” שָׁלוֹם (shalom) probably refers here to the peace and prosperity which God promised in return for obedience to the covenant.

102 tn Heb “and your righteousness like the waves of the sea.” צְדָקָה (tsÿdaqah) probably refers here to divine deliverance from enemies. See v. 19.

103 tn Heb “like sand”; NCV “as many as the grains of sand.”

104 tn Heb “and the issue from your inner parts.”

105 tn Heb “and his name would not be cut off and would not be destroyed from before me.”

106 tn Heb “to the end of the earth” (so KJV, NASB, NRSV).

107 tn Heb “redeems.” See the note at 41:14.

108 sn The translation above (present tense) assumes that this verse describes God’s provision for returning Babylonian exiles (see v. 20; 35:6; 49:10) in terms reminiscent of the Exodus from Egypt (see Exod 17:6).



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