Yahweh promised to bless Israel
1 But now, you people of Israel whom Yahweh has chosen to serve him, listen to me.
2 Yahweh, the one who created you and helps you, says this:
“You dear people of Israel whom I have chosen,
you who serve me,
do not be afraid.
3 I will pour water on your dry land
and cause streams to flow.
And I will pour out my Spirit on your descendants
and greatly bless them.
4 They will grow up like [SIM] grass grows along the water,
like [SIM] willow/poplar trees grow well along a riverbank.
5 Some of them will say, ‘I belong to Yahweh,’
and others will say, ‘We are descendants of Jacob,’
and others will write on their hands, ‘We belong to Yahweh,’
and others will say, ‘We are Israelis.’ ”
Foolish worship of idols
6 Yahweh, the King of Israel, the one who saves us, the Commander of the armies of angels, says this:
“I am the one who begins everything and who ends everything;
there is no other God.
7 If there is anyone like me [RHQ],
he should proclaim it!
He should speak and tell me now!
He should tell what has happened since I caused my people of Israel to become a nation long ago,
and he should also tell what things will happen;
he should predict what will happen in the future.
8 My people, do not be afraid.
Long ago I told you things that would happen [RHQ];
I predicted them, and you can testify that I did that.
There certainly is not [RHQ] any other God.
There is no other God who is able to protect you [MET];
I know that there is no other God!”
9 All those who make idols are foolish,
and the idols that they ◄think highly of/greatly respect► are worthless.
And the people who worship those idols— it is as though they are blind,
and they will be ashamed for having worshiped those idols.
10 Only foolish people [RHQ] would make idols in a mold,
idols that would never help them at all.
11 Those who make idols and those who worship them will be ashamed.
Those who make idols are only human beings,
but they claim that they are making gods!
They should stand in front of God in a court,
and when they hear what he says, they will be terrified,
and they will all be disgraced.
12 Metalworkers stand in front of hot coals
in order to make idols.
They pound them strongly with hammers, and shape them.
Because they work very hard, they become hungry and weak;
they become very thirsty and feel exhausted.
13 Then a woodcarver takes a big block/piece of wood and he measures it;
then he marks it to show where he will cut it.
He uses a chisel and other tools
to carve it to resemble a human.
He causes it to become a very beautiful idol,
and then he puts it in a shrine.
14 Before he carves an idol from that block of wood, he has cut down a cedar tree,
or he has selected a cypress tree or an oak tree
and allowed it to grow tall in the forest.
Or, he has planted a pine/evergreen tree
and the rain has watered it and caused it to grow tall.
15 And after he uses part of the tree to make an idol,
he uses the other part of the tree to make a fire,
either to warm himself or to bake bread.
But he uses part of the same tree to make for himself an idol to worship!
He makes an idol and then he bows down to worship it.
16 He burns part of the wood of the tree to cook his meat and eats the meat and his stomach becomes full,
and he burns part of the wood to warm his body,
and he says, “I feel warm while I am watching the flames in the fire.”
17 Then he takes the rest of the wood
and makes an idol which is his god.
He bows down to it and worships it,
and prays to it and says,
“You are my god, so save me!”
18 Those people are very stupid and ignorant [SAR].
It is as though they are blind and cannot see,
and their minds are closed and they cannot think well.
19 They do not think about what they are doing,
that they are taking a block of wood
and burning half of it to warm themselves
and using some of the rest to bake bread and roast some meat!
They do not say to themselves,
“It is stupid [RHQ] to take the rest of the wood to make a detestable idol!
It does not make sense to bow down to a block of wood!”
20 They are very stupid to worship something that if you burn it, it becomes ashes!
They trust in something that cannot save them;
they do not admit, “In my hand I hold something that is not really a god! [RHQ]”
A plea to the Israelis
21 Yahweh says, “You descendants of [MTY] Jacob,
you people of Israel who should be serving me,
I created you,
and I will not forget you.
22 I have gotten rid of your sins
like [SIM] the wind blows away a cloud.
It is as though your transgressions were a morning mist
[SIM] that I have blown away.
Return to me
because I have rescued you.”
23 The sun and moon and stars in the sky should sing,
and all the things that are beneath the ground should shout joyfully!
All the mountains and forests, and all you trees,
should sing loudly,
because Yahweh has rescued the descendants of [MTY] Jacob;
the people of Israel will praise/honor him.
Jerusalem will be rebuilt and inhabited again
24 Yahweh, who saved you and created you, says this:
“I am Yahweh, the one who created everything.
I am the only one who stretched out the sky.
There was [RHQ] no one who ◄was with/helped► me
when I created the earth.
25 I show that the false prophets are liars,
and I show that those who perform rituals to predict the future are fools.
Some people who falsely think that they are [IRO] wise say that they know a lot,
but I show that they are foolish.
26 But I always cause to happen what my prophets predict [DOU].
I tell them to say to the people of [MTY] Jerusalem, ‘Some day people will live here again.’
And I tell them to say to the people in other towns in Judah that Yahweh says,
‘Your towns will be rebuilt;
I will cause the places that are only ruins to be rebuilt.’
27 When I say to the rivers, ‘Dry up!’,
they will become dry.
28 When I say about King Cyrus, ‘He will take care of my people like [MET] a shepherd takes care of his sheep,
he will do what I want him to do,’
he will say about Jerusalem,
‘We must rebuild it!’,
and he will also say, ‘We must rebuild the temple!’ ”