Passage: Isaiah 50, 51, 52 (RSV)

Isaiah 50

1Thus says the LORD: "Where is your mother's bill of divorce, with which I put her away? Or which of my creditors is it to whom I have sold you? Behold, for your iniquities you were sold, and for your transgressions your mother was put away.
2Why, when I came, was there no man? When I called, was there no one to answer? Is my hand shortened, that it cannot redeem? Or have I no power to deliver? Behold, by my rebuke I dry up the sea, I make the rivers a desert; their fish stink for lack of water, and die of thirst.
3I clothe the heavens with blackness, and make sackcloth their covering."
4The Lord GOD has given me the tongue of those who are taught, that I may know how to sustain with a word him that is weary. Morning by morning he wakens, he wakens my ear to hear as those who are taught.
5The Lord GOD has opened my ear, and I was not rebellious, I turned not backward.
6I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to those who pulled out the beard; I hid not my face from shame and spitting.
7For the Lord GOD helps me; therefore I have not been confounded; therefore I have set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be put to shame;
8he who vindicates me is near. Who will contend with me? Let us stand up together. Who is my adversary? Let him come near to me.
9Behold, the Lord GOD helps me; who will declare me guilty? Behold, all of them will wear out like a garment; the moth will eat them up.
10Who among you fears the LORD and obeys the voice of his servant, who walks in darkness and has no light, yet trusts in the name of the LORD and relies upon his God?
11Behold, all you who kindle a fire, who set brands alight! Walk by the light of your fire, and by the brands which you have kindled! This shall you have from my hand: you shall lie down in torment.

Isaiah 51

1"Hearken to me, you who pursue deliverance, you who seek the LORD; look to the rock from which you were hewn, and to the quarry from which you were digged.
2Look to Abraham your father and to Sarah who bore you; for when he was but one I called him, and I blessed him and made him many.
3For the LORD will comfort Zion; he will comfort all her waste places, and will make her wilderness like Eden, her desert like the garden of the LORD; joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the voice of song.
4"Listen to me, my people, and give ear to me, my nation; for a law will go forth from me, and my justice for a light to the peoples.
5My deliverance draws near speedily, my salvation has gone forth, and my arms will rule the peoples; the coastlands wait for me, and for my arm they hope.
6Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look at the earth beneath; for the heavens will vanish like smoke, the earth will wear out like a garment, and they who dwell in it will die like gnats; but my salvation will be for ever, and my deliverance will never be ended.
7"Hearken to me, you who know righteousness, the people in whose heart is my law; fear not the reproach of men, and be not dismayed at their revilings.
8For the moth will eat them up like a garment, and the worm will eat them like wool; but my deliverance will be for ever, and my salvation to all generations."
9Awake, awake, put on strength, O arm of the LORD; awake, as in days of old, the generations of long ago. Was it not thou that didst cut Rahab in pieces, that didst pierce the dragon?
10Was it not thou that didst dry up the sea, the waters of the great deep; that didst make the depths of the sea a way for the redeemed to pass over?
11And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.
12"I, I am he that comforts you; who are you that you are afraid of man who dies, of the son of man who is made like grass,
13and have forgotten the LORD, your Maker, who stretched out the heavens and laid the foundations of the earth, and fear continually all the day because of the fury of the oppressor, when he sets himself to destroy? And where is the fury of the oppressor?
14He who is bowed down shall speedily be released; he shall not die and go down to the Pit, neither shall his bread fail.
15For I am the LORD your God, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar -- the LORD of hosts is his name.
16And I have put my words in your mouth, and hid you in the shadow of my hand, stretching out the heavens and laying the foundations of the earth, and saying to Zion, `You are my people.'"
17Rouse yourself, rouse yourself, stand up, O Jerusalem, you who have drunk at the hand of the LORD the cup of his wrath, who have drunk to the dregs the bowl of staggering.
18There is none to guide her among all the sons she has borne; there is none to take her by the hand among all the sons she has brought up.
19These two things have befallen you -- who will condole with you? -- devastation and destruction, famine and sword; who will comfort you?
20Your sons have fainted, they lie at the head of every street like an antelope in a net; they are full of the wrath of the LORD, the rebuke of your God.
21Therefore hear this, you who are afflicted, who are drunk, but not with wine:
22Thus says your Lord, the LORD, your God who pleads the cause of his people: "Behold, I have taken from your hand the cup of staggering; the bowl of my wrath you shall drink no more;
23and I will put it into the hand of your tormentors, who have said to you, `Bow down, that we may pass over'; and you have made your back like the ground and like the street for them to pass over."

Isaiah 52

1Awake, awake, put on your strength, O Zion; put on your beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city; for there shall no more come into you the uncircumcised and the unclean.
2Shake yourself from the dust, arise, O captive Jerusalem; loose the bonds from your neck, O captive daughter of Zion.
3For thus says the LORD: "You were sold for nothing, and you shall be redeemed without money.
4For thus says the Lord GOD: My people went down at the first into Egypt to sojourn there, and the Assyrian oppressed them for nothing.
5Now therefore what have I here, says the LORD, seeing that my people are taken away for nothing? Their rulers wail, says the LORD, and continually all the day my name is despised.
6Therefore my people shall know my name; therefore in that day they shall know that it is I who speak; here am I."
7How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good tidings, who publishes peace, who brings good tidings of good, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, "Your God reigns."
8Hark, your watchmen lift up their voice, together they sing for joy; for eye to eye they see the return of the LORD to Zion.
9Break forth together into singing, you waste places of Jerusalem; for the LORD has comforted his people, he has redeemed Jerusalem.
10The LORD has bared his holy arm before the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.
11Depart, depart, go out thence, touch no unclean thing; go out from the midst of her, purify yourselves, you who bear the vessels of the LORD.
12For you shall not go out in haste, and you shall not go in flight, for the LORD will go before you, and the God of Israel will be your rear guard.
13Behold, my servant shall prosper, he shall be exalted and lifted up, and shall be very high.
14As many were astonished at him -- his appearance was so marred, beyond human semblance, and his form beyond that of the sons of men --
15so shall he startle many nations; kings shall shut their mouths because of him; for that which has not been told them they shall see, and that which they have not heard they shall understand.

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