43:1 Now, this is what the Lord says,
the one who created you, O Jacob,
and formed you, O Israel:
“Don’t be afraid, for I will protect 1 you.
I call you by name, you are mine.
43:2 When you pass through the waters, I am with you;
when you pass 2 through the streams, they will not overwhelm you.
When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned;
the flames will not harm 3 you.
43:3 For I am the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel, 4 your deliverer.
I have handed over Egypt as a ransom price,
Ethiopia and Seba 5 in place of you.
and I love you,
I will hand over people in place of you,
nations in place of your life.
43:5 Don’t be afraid, for I am with you.
From the east I will bring your descendants;
from the west I will gather you.
43:6 I will say to the north, ‘Hand them over!’
and to the south, ‘Don’t hold any back!’
Bring my sons from distant lands,
and my daughters from the remote regions of the earth,
whom I created for my glory,
whom I formed – yes, whom I made!
43:8 Bring out the people who are blind, even though they have eyes,
those who are deaf, even though they have ears!
43:9 All nations gather together,
the peoples assemble.
Who among them announced this?
Who predicted earlier events for us? 8
Let them produce their witnesses to testify they were right;
let them listen and affirm, ‘It is true.’
43:10 You are my witnesses,” says the Lord,
“my servant whom I have chosen,
so that you may consider 9 and believe in me,
and understand that I am he.
No god was formed before me,
and none will outlive me. 10
43:11 I, I am the Lord,
and there is no deliverer besides me.
43:12 I decreed and delivered and proclaimed,
and there was no other god among you.
You are my witnesses,” says the Lord, “that I am God.
43:13 From this day forward I am he;
no one can deliver from my power; 11
I will act, and who can prevent it?”
43:14 This is what the Lord says,
“For your sake I send to Babylon
and make them all fugitives, 14
turning the Babylonians’ joyful shouts into mourning songs. 15
the one who created Israel, your king.”
43:16 This is what the Lord says,
the one who made a road through the sea,
a pathway through the surging waters,
together with a mighty army.
They fell down, 18 never to rise again;
they were extinguished, put out like a burning wick:
don’t recall these former events.
43:19 “Look, I am about to do something new.
Yes, I will make a road in the desert
and paths 22 in the wilderness.
43:20 The wild animals of the desert honor me,
the jackals and ostriches,
because I put water in the desert
and streams in the wilderness,
to quench the thirst of my chosen people,
43:21 the people whom I formed for myself,
so they might praise me.” 23
43:22 “But you did not call for me, O Jacob;
you did not long 24 for me, O Israel.
43:23 You did not bring me lambs for your burnt offerings;
you did not honor me with your sacrifices.
I did not burden you with offerings;
I did not make you weary by demanding 25 incense.
you did not present to me 27 the fat of your sacrifices.
Yet you burdened me with your sins;
you made me weary with your evil deeds. 28
43:25 I, I am the one who blots out your rebellious deeds for my sake;
your sins I do not remember.
43:26 Remind me of what happened! Let’s debate!
You, prove to me that you are right! 29
your spokesmen 31 rebelled against me.
43:28 So I defiled your holy princes,
and handed Jacob over to destruction,
and subjected 32 Israel to humiliating abuse.”
[43:14] 15 tn The Hebrew text reads literally, “as for the Babylonians, in ships their joyful shout.” This might be paraphrased, “even the Babylonians in the ships [over which] they joyfully shouted.” The point would be that the Lord caused the Babylonians to flee for safety in the ships in which they took such great pride. A slight change in vocalization yields the reading “into mourning songs,” which provides a good contrast with “joyful shout.” The prefixed bet (בְּ) would indicate identity.
[43:24] 28 sn In vv. 22-24 the Lord appears to be condemning his people for failure to bring the proper sacrifices. However, this is problematic. If this refers to the nation’s behavior while in exile, such cultic service was impossible and could hardly be expected by the Lord. If this refers to the nation’s conduct before the exile, it contradicts other passages that depict Israel as bringing excessive sacrifices (see, e.g., Isa 1:11-14; Jer 6:20; Amos 4:4-5, 5:21-23). Rather than being a condemnation of Israel’s failure to bring sacrifices, these verses are better taken as a highly rhetorical comment on the worthlessness of Israel’s religious ritual. They may have brought sacrifices, but not to the Lord, for he did not accept them or even want them. See C. R. North, Second Isaiah, 127, and R. Whybray, Isaiah 40-66 (NCBC), 91.
[43:27] 30 tn Heb “your first father.” This could refer to Abraham (see 51:2), but elsewhere in Isaiah he does not appear in a negative light (see 29:22; 41:8; 63:16). A more likely candidate is Jacob/Israel, also referred to as the nation’s “father” elsewhere (see 58:14; 63:16).