1But now, this is what the Lord says – he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: ‘Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.2When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.3For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Saviour; I give Egypt for your ransom, Cush* and Seba in your stead.4Since you are precious and honoured in my sight, and because I love you, I will give people in exchange for you, nations in exchange for your life.5Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west.6I will say to the north, “Give them up!” and to the south, “Do not hold them back.” Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth –7everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.’8Lead out those who have eyes but are blind, who have ears but are deaf.9All the nations gather together and the peoples assemble. Which of their gods foretold this and proclaimed to us the former things? Let them bring in their witnesses to prove they were right, so that others may hear and say, ‘It is true.’10‘You are my witnesses,’ declares the Lord, ‘and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor will there be one after me.11I, even I, am the Lord, and apart from me there is no saviour.12I have revealed and saved and proclaimed – I, and not some foreign god among you. You are my witnesses,’ declares the Lord, ‘that I am God.13Yes, and from ancient days I am he. No-one can deliver out of my hand. When I act, who can reverse it?’
God’s mercy and Israel’s unfaithfulness
14This is what the Lord says – your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: ‘For your sake I will send to Babylon and bring down as fugitives all the Babylonians,* in the ships in which they took pride.15I am the Lord, your Holy One, Israel’s Creator, your King.’16This is what the Lord says – he who made a way through the sea, a path through the mighty waters,17who drew out the chariots and horses, the army and reinforcements together, and they lay there, never to rise again, extinguished, snuffed out like a wick:18‘Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.19See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.20The wild animals honour me, the jackals and the owls, because I provide water in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland, to give drink to my people, my chosen,21the people I formed for myself that they may proclaim my praise.22‘Yet you have not called on me, Jacob, you have not wearied yourselves for* me, Israel.23You have not brought me sheep for burnt offerings, nor honoured me with your sacrifices. I have not burdened you with grain offerings nor wearied you with demands for incense.24You have not bought any fragrant calamus for me, or lavished on me the fat of your sacrifices. But you have burdened me with your sins and wearied me with your offences.25‘I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.26Review the past for me, let us argue the matter together; state the case for your innocence.27Your first father sinned; those I sent to teach you rebelled against me.28So I disgraced the dignitaries of your temple; I consigned Jacob to destruction* and Israel to scorn.