Isaiah 44

1But hear, now, O Yaakov My servant, Yisrael whom I have chosen!

אוְעַתָּה שְׁמַע יַעֲקֹב עַבְדִּי וְיִשְׂרָאֵל בָּחַרְתִּי בוֹ׃

2Thus said Hashem, your Maker, Your Creator who has helped you since birth: Fear not, My servant Yaakov, Jeshurun whom I have chosen,

בכֹּה־אָמַר יְהֹוָה עֹשֶׂךָ וְיֹצֶרְךָ מִבֶּטֶן יַעְזְרֶךָּ אַל־תִּירָא עַבְדִּי יַעֲקֹב וִישֻׁרוּן בָּחַרְתִּי בוֹ׃

3Even as I pour water on thirsty soil, And rain upon dry ground, So will I pour My spirit on your offspring, My blessing upon your posterity.

KEE e-tzak MA-yim al tza-MAY v'-no-z'-LEEM al ya-ba-SHAH e-TZOK ru-KHEE al zar-E-kha u-vir-kha-TEE al tze-e-tza-E-kha

גכִּי אֶצָּק־מַיִם עַל־צָמֵא וְנֹזְלִים עַל־יַבָּשָׁה אֶצֹּק רוּחִי עַל־זַרְעֶךָ וּבִרְכָתִי עַל־צֶאֱצָאֶיךָ׃

A waterfall in Gan Hashlosha Park, located in the lower Galilee. Photo by Yehoshua Halevi.

 44:3   Even as I pour water on thirsty soil… So will I pour My spirit on your offspring

Water is often used as a metaphor for Torah. The Talmud (Taanit 7a) explains that “just as water leaves a high place and flows downward to a low place, so does Torah knowledge flow away from those who are arrogant and toward those who are humble.” Furthermore, just as water nourishes and sustains the “thirsty soil” and “dry ground,” the Bible is the source of our spiritual nourishment.

4And they shall sprout like grass, Like willows by watercourses.

דוְצָמְחוּ בְּבֵין חָצִיר כַּעֲרָבִים עַל־יִבְלֵי־מָיִם׃

5One shall say, “I am Hashem's,” Another shall use the name of “Yaakov,” Another shall mark his arm “of Hashem” And adopt the name of “Yisrael.”

הזֶה יֹאמַר לַיהֹוָה אָנִי וְזֶה יִקְרָא בְשֵׁם־יַעֲקֹב וְזֶה יִכְתֹּב יָדוֹ לַיהֹוָה וּבְשֵׁם יִשְׂרָאֵל יְכַנֶּה׃

6Thus said Hashem, the King of Yisrael, Their Redeemer, the lord of Hosts: I am the first and I am the last, And there is no god but Me.

וכֹּה־אָמַר יְהֹוָה מֶלֶךְ־יִשְׂרָאֵל וְגֹאֲלוֹ יְהֹוָה צְבָאוֹת אֲנִי רִאשׁוֹן וַאֲנִי אַחֲרוֹן וּמִבַּלְעָדַי אֵין אֱלֹהִים׃

7Who like Me can announce, Can foretell it—and match Me thereby? Even as I told the future to an ancient people, So let him foretell coming events to them.

זוּמִי־כָמוֹנִי יִקְרָא וְיַגִּידֶהָ וְיַעְרְכֶהָ לִי מִשּׂוּמִי עַם־עוֹלָם וְאֹתִיּוֹת וַאֲשֶׁר תָּבֹאנָה יַגִּידוּ לָמוֹ׃

8Do not be frightened, do not be shaken! Have I not from of old predicted to you? I foretold, and you are My witnesses. Is there any god, then, but Me? “There is no other rock; I know none!”

חאַל־תִּפְחֲדוּ וְאַל־תִּרְהוּ הֲלֹא מֵאָז הִשְׁמַעְתִּיךָ וְהִגַּדְתִּי וְאַתֶּם עֵדָי הֲיֵשׁ אֱלוֹהַּ מִבַּלְעָדַי וְאֵין צוּר בַּל־יָדָעְתִּי׃

9The makers of idols All work to no purpose; And the things they treasure Can do no good, As they themselves can testify. They neither look nor think, And so they shall be shamed.

טיֹצְרֵי־פֶסֶל כֻּלָּם תֹּהוּ וַחֲמוּדֵיהֶם בַּל־יוֹעִילוּ וְעֵדֵיהֶם הֵמָּה בַּל־יִרְאוּ וּבַל־יֵדְעוּ לְמַעַן יֵבֹשׁוּ׃

10Who would fashion a god Or cast a statue That can do no good?

ימִי־יָצַר אֵל וּפֶסֶל נָסָךְ לְבִלְתִּי הוֹעִיל׃

11Lo, all its adherents shall be shamed; They are craftsmen, are merely human. Let them all assemble and stand up! They shall be cowed, and they shall be shamed.

יאהֵן כָּל־חֲבֵרָיו יֵבֹשׁוּ וְחָרָשִׁים הֵמָּה מֵאָדָם יִתְקַבְּצוּ כֻלָּם יַעֲמֹדוּ יִפְחֲדוּ יֵבֹשׁוּ יָחַד׃

12The craftsman in iron, with his tools, Works it over charcoal And fashions it by hammering, Working with the strength of his arm. Should he go hungry, his strength would ebb; Should he drink no water, he would grow faint.

יבחָרַשׁ בַּרְזֶל מַעֲצָד וּפָעַל בַּפֶּחָם וּבַמַּקָּבוֹת יִצְּרֵהוּ וַיִּפְעָלֵהוּ בִּזְרוֹעַ כֹּחוֹ גַּם־רָעֵב וְאֵין כֹּחַ לֹא־שָׁתָה מַיִם וַיִּיעָף׃

13The craftsman in wood measures with a line And marks out a shape with a stylus; He forms it with scraping tools, Marking it out with a compass. He gives it a human form, The beauty of a man, to dwell in a shrine.

יגחָרַשׁ עֵצִים נָטָה קָו יְתָאֲרֵהוּ בַשֶּׂרֶד יַעֲשֵׂהוּ בַּמַּקְצֻעוֹת וּבַמְּחוּגָה יְתָאֳרֵהוּ וַיַּעֲשֵׂהוּ כְּתַבְנִית אִישׁ כְּתִפְאֶרֶת אָדָם לָשֶׁבֶת בָּיִת׃

14For his use he cuts down cedars; He chooses plane trees and oaks. He sets aside trees of the forest; Or plants firs, and the rain makes them grow.

ידלִכְרָת־לוֹ אֲרָזִים וַיִּקַּח תִּרְזָה וְאַלּוֹן וַיְאַמֶּץ־לוֹ בַּעֲצֵי־יָעַר נָטַע אֹרֶן וְגֶשֶׁם יְגַדֵּל׃

15All this serves man for fuel: He takes some to warm himself, And he builds a fire and bakes bread. He also makes a god of it and worships it, Fashions an idol and bows down to it!

טווְהָיָה לְאָדָם לְבָעֵר וַיִּקַּח מֵהֶם וַיָּחָם אַף־יַשִּׂיק וְאָפָה לָחֶם אַף־יִפְעַל־אֵל וַיִּשְׁתָּחוּ עָשָׂהוּ פֶסֶל וַיִּסְגָּד־לָמוֹ׃

16Part of it he burns in a fire: On that part he roasts* meat, He eats* the roast and is sated; He also warms himself and cries, “Ah, I am warm! I can feel the heat!”

טזחֶצְיוֹ שָׂרַף בְּמוֹ־אֵשׁ עַל־חֶצְיוֹ בָּשָׂר יֹאכֵל יִצְלֶה צָלִי וְיִשְׂבָּע אַף־יָחֹם וְיֹאמַר הֶאָח חַמּוֹתִי רָאִיתִי אוּר׃

17Of the rest he makes a god—his own carving! He bows down to it, worships it; He prays to it and cries, “Save me, for you are my god!”

יזוּשְׁאֵרִיתוֹ לְאֵל עָשָׂה לְפִסְלוֹ יסגוד־[יִסְגָּד־] לוֹ וְיִשְׁתַּחוּ וְיִתְפַּלֵּל אֵלָיו וְיֹאמַר הַצִּילֵנִי כִּי אֵלִי אָתָּה׃

18They have no wit or judgment: Their eyes are besmeared, and they see not; Their minds, and they cannot think.

יחלֹא יָדְעוּ וְלֹא יָבִינוּ כִּי טַח מֵרְאוֹת עֵינֵיהֶם מֵהַשְׂכִּיל לִבֹּתָם׃

19They do not give thought, They lack the wit and judgment to say: “Part of it I burned in a fire; I also baked bread on the coals, I roasted meat and ate it— Should I make the rest an abhorrence? Should I bow to a block of wood?”

יטוְלֹא־יָשִׁיב אֶל־לִבּוֹ וְלֹא דַעַת וְלֹא־תְבוּנָה לֵאמֹר חֶצְיוֹ שָׂרַפְתִּי בְמוֹ־אֵשׁ וְאַף אָפִיתִי עַל־גֶּחָלָיו לֶחֶם אֶצְלֶה בָשָׂר וְאֹכֵל וְיִתְרוֹ לְתוֹעֵבָה אֶעֱשֶׂה לְבוּל עֵץ אֶסְגּוֹד׃

20He pursues ashes! A deluded mind has led him astray, And he cannot save himself; He never says to himself, “The thing in my hand is a fraud!”

כרֹעֶה אֵפֶר לֵב הוּתַל הִטָּהוּ וְלֹא־יַצִּיל אֶת־נַפְשׁוֹ וְלֹא יֹאמַר הֲלוֹא שֶׁקֶר בִּימִינִי׃

21Remember these things, O Yaakov For you, O Yisrael, are My servant: I fashioned you, you are My servant— O Yisrael, never forget Me.

כאזְכָר־אֵלֶּה יַעֲקֹב וְיִשְׂרָאֵל כִּי עַבְדִּי־אָתָּה יְצַרְתִּיךָ עֶבֶד־לִי אַתָּה יִשְׂרָאֵל לֹא תִנָּשֵׁנִי׃

22I wipe away your sins like a cloud, Your transgressions like mist— Come back to Me, for I redeem you.

כבמָחִיתִי כָעָב פְּשָׁעֶיךָ וְכֶעָנָן חַטֹּאותֶיךָ שׁוּבָה אֵלַי כִּי גְאַלְתִּיךָ׃

23Shout, O heavens, for Hashem has acted; Shout aloud, O depths of the earth! Shout for joy, O mountains, O forests with all your trees! For Hashem has redeemed Yaakov, Has glorified Himself through Yisrael.

כגרָנּוּ שָׁמַיִם כִּי־עָשָׂה יְהֹוָה הָרִיעוּ תַּחְתִּיּוֹת אָרֶץ פִּצְחוּ הָרִים רִנָּה יַעַר וְכָל־עֵץ בּוֹ כִּי־גָאַל יְהֹוָה יַעֲקֹב וּבְיִשְׂרָאֵל יִתְפָּאָר׃

24Thus said Hashem, your Redeemer, Who formed you in the womb: It is I, Hashem, who made everything, Who alone stretched out the heavens And unaided spread out the earth;

כדכֹּה־אָמַר יְהֹוָה גֹּאֲלֶךָ וְיֹצֶרְךָ מִבָּטֶן אָנֹכִי יְהֹוָה עֹשֶׂה כֹּל נֹטֶה שָׁמַיִם לְבַדִּי רֹקַע הָאָרֶץ מי אתי [מֵאִתִּי׃]

25Who annul the omens of diviners, And make fools of the augurs; Who turn sages back And make nonsense of their knowledge;

כהמֵפֵר אֹתוֹת בַּדִּים וְקֹסְמִים יְהוֹלֵל מֵשִׁיב חֲכָמִים אָחוֹר וְדַעְתָּם יְשַׂכֵּל׃

26But confirm the word of My servant And fulfill the prediction of My messengers. It is I who say of Yerushalayim, “It shall be inhabited,” And of the towns of Yehuda, “They shall be rebuilt; And I will restore their ruined places.”

כומֵקִים דְּבַר עַבְדּוֹ וַעֲצַת מַלְאָכָיו יַשְׁלִים הָאֹמֵר לִירוּשָׁלַ ִם תּוּשָׁב וּלְעָרֵי יְהוּדָה תִּבָּנֶינָה וְחָרְבוֹתֶיהָ אֲקוֹמֵם׃

27[I,] who said to the deep, “Be dry; I will dry up your floods,”

כזהָאֹמֵר לַצּוּלָה חֳרָבִי וְנַהֲרֹתַיִךְ אוֹבִישׁ׃

28Am the same who says of Cyrus, “He is My shepherd; He shall fulfill all My purposes! He shall say of Yerushalayim, ‘She shall be rebuilt,' And to the Temple: ‘You shall be founded again.'”

כחהָאֹמֵר לְכוֹרֶשׁ רֹעִי וְכָל־חֶפְצִי יַשְׁלִם וְלֵאמֹר לִירוּשָׁלַ ִם תִּבָּנֶה וְהֵיכָל תִּוָּסֵד׃