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Israel Assured of God’s Help


Listen to me in silence, O coastlands;

let the peoples renew their strength;

let them approach, then let them speak;

let us together draw near for judgment.



Who has roused a victor from the east,

summoned him to his service?

He delivers up nations to him,

and tramples kings under foot;

he makes them like dust with his sword,

like driven stubble with his bow.


He pursues them and passes on safely,

scarcely touching the path with his feet.


Who has performed and done this,

calling the generations from the beginning?

I, the L ord, am first,

and will be with the last.


The coastlands have seen and are afraid,

the ends of the earth tremble;

they have drawn near and come.


Each one helps the other,

saying to one another, “Take courage!”


The artisan encourages the goldsmith,

and the one who smooths with the hammer encourages the one who strikes the anvil,

saying of the soldering, “It is good”;

and they fasten it with nails so that it cannot be moved.


But you, Israel, my servant,

Jacob, whom I have chosen,

the offspring of Abraham, my friend;


you whom I took from the ends of the earth,

and called from its farthest corners,

saying to you, “You are my servant,

I have chosen you and not cast you off”;


do not fear, for I am with you,

do not be afraid, for I am your God;

I will strengthen you, I will help you,

I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.



Yes, all who are incensed against you

shall be ashamed and disgraced;

those who strive against you

shall be as nothing and shall perish.


You shall seek those who contend with you,

but you shall not find them;

those who war against you

shall be as nothing at all.


For I, the L ord your God,

hold your right hand;

it is I who say to you, “Do not fear,

I will help you.”



Do not fear, you worm Jacob,

you insect Israel!

I will help you, says the L ord;

your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel.


Now, I will make of you a threshing sledge,

sharp, new, and having teeth;

you shall thresh the mountains and crush them,

and you shall make the hills like chaff.


You shall winnow them and the wind shall carry them away,

and the tempest shall scatter them.

Then you shall rejoice in the L ord;

in the Holy One of Israel you shall glory.



When the poor and needy seek water,

and there is none,

and their tongue is parched with thirst,

I the L ord will answer them,

I the God of Israel will not forsake them.


I will open rivers on the bare heights,

and fountains in the midst of the valleys;

I will make the wilderness a pool of water,

and the dry land springs of water.


I will put in the wilderness the cedar,

the acacia, the myrtle, and the olive;

I will set in the desert the cypress,

the plane and the pine together,


so that all may see and know,

all may consider and understand,

that the hand of the L ord has done this,

the Holy One of Israel has created it.


The Futility of Idols


Set forth your case, says the L ord;

bring your proofs, says the King of Jacob.


Let them bring them, and tell us

what is to happen.

Tell us the former things, what they are,

so that we may consider them,

and that we may know their outcome;

or declare to us the things to come.


Tell us what is to come hereafter,

that we may know that you are gods;

do good, or do harm,

that we may be afraid and terrified.


You, indeed, are nothing

and your work is nothing at all;

whoever chooses you is an abomination.



I stirred up one from the north, and he has come,

from the rising of the sun he was summoned by name.

He shall trample on rulers as on mortar,

as the potter treads clay.


Who declared it from the beginning, so that we might know,

and beforehand, so that we might say, “He is right”?

There was no one who declared it, none who proclaimed,

none who heard your words.


I first have declared it to Zion,

and I give to Jerusalem a herald of good tidings.


But when I look there is no one;

among these there is no counselor

who, when I ask, gives an answer.


No, they are all a delusion;

their works are nothing;

their images are empty wind.


16. Thou shalt winnow them. The meaning is the same as in the former verse, but by a different metaphor; for he compares the Church to a sieve, and wicked men to the chaff which is driven away by the sieve and scattered in every direction. As if he had said, “Though for a time the Gentiles bruise and winnow you, yet a severer judgment awaits them; for by their destruction they shall be bruised and driven away like chaff.” But we ought to observe the difference, because here believers are bruised for their good, for they suffer themselves to be subdued and placed under the authority of God; while others, who obstinately resist and do not suffer themselves to be brought into subjection, are scattered by the wind like chaff or stubble, as the Prophet tells us. Thus God had struck them with his flails, had bruised and trodden them, had winnowed and tossed them about, in order that, when the wheat had been well cleansed, he might gather them to himself; but the heathen nations he assigns as chaff to the dunghill.

To this is added, that the victorious Church bruises some unbelievers, so that, being purified from their pollution, they obtain a place in God’s barn; and thus was this prediction fulfilled, whenever by the agency of believers some of the Gentiles were subdued, so as to yield obedience to the authority of Christ; for they were never invested with any earthly power, so as to rule over all his enemies, but on the contrary they found it necessary to “possess their souls in patience.” (Luke 21:19.) But the Lord raised them up like palm-trees bent down by so many burdens, so that they not only were safe and sound, but also, with unshaken firmness of mind, trod their enemies under their feet.

It ought also to be observed, that Scripture is frequently accustomed to apply to the Church what strictly belongs to God alone. Since, therefore, God afflicted the ungodly Gentiles for the sake of his Church, he is said to have given them to be trodden under the feet of believers, who reaped the advantage. Whenever we read those prophecies, our minds ought to be raised to the kingdom of Christ, that, free from every wicked disposition, we may observe becoming moderation, and may not desire that this bruising should take place before the proper time; for it ought to be abundantly sufficient for us, if our Head shall at length prostrate his enemies under his feet, that we may share in the triumph of his victory.

But thou shalt rejoice in Jehovah. When he adds that the Jews will have cause to rejoice in the Lord, though by this confidence he intends to alleviate their grief, yet at the same time he admonishes the godly to be modest, that they may not exult with fierceness of mind, if at any time it happen that they are raised up by the hand of God, and exalted in such a manner as to reduce their enemies under their power; for there is nothing to which men are more prone than to become proud and insolent when everything happens to their wish. They forget that they are men, and blot out the remembrance of God, whom they ought to have acknowledged as the author of all blessings. In order, therefore, to restrain that immoderate exultation in which the flesh always indulges, and by which we often suffer ourselves to be carried away, the Prophet adds, “in the Lord,” because on him all our glory and all our joy ought to rest. In a word, the Prophet exhorts to gratitude, that, the more highly God exalts us, the more carefully ought we to repress all the vanity of ambition, and rejoice and glory in him alone.

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