40:26 Look up at the sky! 1
Who created all these heavenly lights? 2
He is the one who leads out their ranks; 3
he calls them all by name.
Because of his absolute power and awesome strength,
not one of them is missing.
40:27 Why do you say, Jacob,
Why do you say, Israel,
“The Lord is not aware of what is happening to me, 4
My God is not concerned with my vindication”? 5
40:28 Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The Lord is an eternal God,
the creator of the whole earth. 6
He does not get tired or weary;
there is no limit to his wisdom. 7
1 tn Heb “Lift on high your eyes and see.”
2 tn The words “heavenly lights” are supplied in the translation for clarification. See the following lines.
3 tn Heb “the one who brings out by number their host.” The stars are here likened to a huge army that the Lord leads out. Perhaps the next line pictures God calling roll. If so, the final line may be indicating that none of them dares “go AWOL.” (“AWOL” is a military acronym for “absent without leave.”)
4 tn Heb “my way is hidden from the Lord” (so NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV).
5 tn Heb “and from my God my justice passes away”; NRSV “my right is disregarded by my God.”
6 tn Heb “the ends of the earth,” but this is a merism, where the earth’s extremities stand for its entirety, i.e., the extremities and everything in between them.
7 sn Exiled Israel’s complaint (v. 27) implies that God might be limited in some way. Perhaps he, like so many of the pagan gods, has died. Or perhaps his jurisdiction is limited to Judah and does not include Babylon. Maybe he is unable to devise an adequate plan to rescue his people, or is unable to execute it. But v. 28 affirms that he is not limited temporally or spatially nor is his power and wisdom restricted in any way. He can and will deliver his people, if they respond in hopeful faith (v. 31a).