The Bible – Old Testament
Hear then, O Jacob, my servant, Israel, whom I have chosen.
1 Thus says the LORD who made you, your help, who formed you from the womb: Fear not, O Jacob, my servant, the darling whom I have chosen.
I will pour out water upon the thirsty ground, and streams upon the dry land; I will pour out my spirit upon your offspring, and my blessing upon your descendants.
They shall spring up amid the verdure like poplars beside the flowing waters.
2 One shall say, “I am the LORD’S,” another shall be named after Jacob, And this one shall write on his hand, “The LORD’S,” and Israel shall be his surname.
Thus says the LORD, Israel’s King and redeemer, the LORD of hosts: I am the first and I am the last; there is no God but me.
Who is like me? Let him stand up and speak, make it evident, and confront me with it. Who of old announced future events? Let them foretell to us the things to come.
3 Fear not, be not troubled: did I not announce and foretell it long ago? You are my witnesses! Is there a God or any Rock besides me?
4 Idol makers all amount to nothing, and their precious works are of no avail, as they themselves give witness. To their shame, they neither see nor know anything; and they are more deaf than men are.
Indeed, all the associates of anyone who forms a god, or casts an idol to no purpose, will be put to shame;
they will all assemble and stand forth, to be reduced to fear and shame.
The smith fashions an iron image, works it over the coals, shapes it with hammers, and forges it with his strong arm. He is hungry and weak, drinks no water and becomes exhausted.
The carpenter stretches a line and marks with a stylus the outline of an idol. He shapes it with a plane and measures it off with a compass, making it like a man in appearance and dignity, to occupy a shrine.
He cuts down cedars, takes a holm or an oak, and lays hold of other trees of the forest, which the Lord had planted and the rain made grow
to serve man for fuel. With a part of their wood he warms himself, or makes a fire for baking bread; but with another part he makes a god which he adores, an idol which he worships.
Half of it he burns in the fire, and on its embers he roasts his meat; he eats what he has roasted until he is full, and then warms himself and says, “Ah! I am warm, I feel the fire.”
Of what remains he makes a god, his idol, and prostrate before it in worship, he implores it, “Rescue me, for you are my god.”
The idols have neither knowledge nor reason; their eyes are coated so that they cannot see, and their hearts so that they cannot understand.
Yet he does not reflect, nor have the intelligence and sense to say, “Half of the wood I burned in the fire, and on its embers I baked bread and roasted meat which I ate. Shall I then make an abomination out of the rest, or worship a block of wood?”
5 He is chasing ashes-a thing that cannot save itself when the flame consumes it; yet he does not say, “Is not this thing in my right hand a fraud?”
Remember this, O Jacob, you, O Israel, who are my servant! I formed you to be a servant to me; O Israel, by me you shall never be forgotten:
I have brushed away your offenses like a cloud, your sins like a mist; return to me, for I have redeemed you.
Raise a glad cry, you heavens: the LORD has done this; shout, you depths of the earth. Break forth, you mountains, into song, you forest, with all your trees. For the LORD has redeemed Jacob, and shows his glory through Israel.
Thus says the LORD, your redeemer, who formed you from the womb: I am the LORD, who made all things, who alone stretched out the heavens; when I spread out the earth, who was with me?
It is I who bring to nought the omens of liars, who make fools of diviners; I turn wise men back and make their knowledge foolish.
It is I who confirm the words of my servants, I carry out the plan announced by my messengers; I say to Jerusalem: Be inhabited; to the cities of Judah: Be rebuilt; I will raise up their ruins.
It is I who said to the deep: Be dry; I will dry up your wellsprings.
6 I say of Cyrus: My shepherd, who fulfills my every wish; He shall say of Jerusalem, “Let her be rebuilt,” and of the temple, “Let its foundations be laid.”
2  Write on his hand: an allusion to the Babylonian custom of tatooing the owner’s name on the hand of his slave; cf also ⇒ Rev 13:16.
4 [9-20] Satire on the makers and worshipers of idols.
6  Cyrus: king of Persia (559-529 B.C.) and conqueror of Babylon (538 B.C.), who liberated the Jews, permitting them to return to their native land and to rebuild Jerusalem and the Temple.