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The Gods of Babylon

1Bel bows down, Nebo* stoops,

their idols set upon beasts and cattle;

They must be borne upon shoulders,

a load for weary animals.

2They stoop and bow down together;

unable to deliver those who bear them,

they too go into captivity.

3Hear me, O house of Jacob,

all the remnant of the house of Israel,

My burden from the womb,

whom I have carried since birth.a

4Even to your old age I am he,

even when your hair is gray I will carry you;

I have done this, and I will lift you up,

I will carry you to safety.

5To whom would you liken me as an equal,

compare me, as though we were alike?

6There are those who pour out gold from a purse

and weigh out silver on the scales;

They hire a goldsmith to make it into a god

before which they bow down in worship.

7They lift it to their shoulders to carry;

when they set it down, it stays,

and does not move from the place.

They cry out to it, but it cannot answer;

it delivers no one from distress.

8Remember this and be firm,

take it to heart, you rebels;

9remember the former things, those long ago:

I am God, there is no other;

I am God, there is none like me.

10At the beginning I declare the outcome;

from of old, things not yet done.

I say that my plan shall stand,

I accomplish my every desire.

11I summon from the east a bird of prey,*

from a distant land, one to carry out my plan.

Yes, I have spoken, I will accomplish it;

I have planned it, and I will do it.

12Listen to me, you fainthearted,

far from the victory of justice:

13I am bringing on that victory, it is not far off,

my salvation shall not tarry;

I will put salvation within Zion,

give to Israel my glory.

* [46:14] Bel…Nebo: gods of Babylon; their complete helplessness is here contrasted with God’s omnipotence; whereas they must be carried about, the Lord carries Israel as a parent does a child.

* [46:11] From the east a bird of prey: Cyrus; cf. 41:24.

a. [46:3] Is 44:2.

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