Exhortations to the Exiles
1Hear this, house of Jacob
called by the name Israel,
sprung from the stock of Judah,
You who swear by the name of the LORD
and invoke the God of Israel
without sincerity, without justice,
2Though you are named after the holy city
and rely on the God of Israel,
whose name is the LORD of hosts.
3Things of the past I declared long ago,
they went forth from my mouth, I announced them;
then suddenly I took action and they came to be.
4Because I know that you are stubborn
and that your neck is an iron sinew
and your forehead bronze,
5I declared them to you of old;
before they took place I informed you,
That you might not say, “My idol did them,
my statue, my molten image commanded them.”
6Now that you have heard, look at all this;
must you not admit it?a
From now on I announce new things to you,
hidden events you never knew.
7Now, not from of old, they are created,
before today you did not hear of them,
so that you cannot claim, “I have known them.”
8You never heard, you never knew,
they never reached your ears beforehand.
Yes, I know you are utterly treacherous,
a rebel you were named from the womb.b
9For the sake of my name I restrain my anger,
for the sake of my renown I hold it back from you,
lest I destroy you.
10See, I refined you, but not like silver;
I tested you in the furnace of affliction.c
11For my sake, for my own sake, I do this;
why should my name be profaned?
My glory I will not give to another.
12Listen to me, Jacob,
Israel, whom I called!
I, it is I who am the first,
and am I the last.d
13Yes, my hand laid the foundations of the earth;
my right hand spread out the heavens.
When I summon them,
they stand forth at once.e
14All of you assemble and listen:
Who among you declared these things?
The one the LORD loves* shall do his will
against Babylon and the offspring of Chaldea.
15I myself have spoken, I have summoned him,
I have brought him, and his way succeeds!
16Come near to me and hear this!
From the beginning I did not speak in secret;
At the time it happens, I am there:
“Now the Lord GOD has sent me, and his spirit.”*
17Thus says the LORD, your redeemer,
the Holy One of Israel:
I am the LORD, your God,
teaching you how to prevail,
leading you on the way you should go.
18If only you would attend to my commandments,
your peace would be like a river,
your vindication like the waves of the sea,
19Your descendants like the sand,
the offspring of your loins like its grains,
Their name never cut off
or blotted out from my presence.
20Go forth from Babylon, flee from Chaldea!
With shouts of joy declare this, announce it;
Make it known to the ends of the earth,
Say: “The LORD has redeemed his servant Jacob.
21They did not thirst
when he led them through dry lands;
Water from the rock he set flowing for them;
he cleft the rock, and waters welled forth.”f
22There is no peace* for the wicked,
says the LORD.
* [48:14] The one the LORD loves: the reference is no doubt to Cyrus, who does the Lord’s will by overcoming Babylon and releasing Israel from captivity.
* [48:22] No peace: while the good news proclaimed by the prophet is directed to the people as a whole, “peace,” which can represent the fullness of God’s blessings and which would here include deliverance from exile, is not extended to all regardless of disposition.