Community Development
 

Haftarah for Va-ethannan

Isaiah 40:1-26

This translation was taken from the JPS Tanakh

Chapter 40
1 Comfort, oh comfort My people,
Says your God.
2 Speak tenderly to Jerusalem,
And declare to her
That her term of service is over,
That her iniquity is expiated;
For she has received at the hand of the Lord
Double for all her sins.

3 A voice rings out:
"Clear in the desert
A road for the Lord!
Level in the wilderness
A highway for our God!
4 Let every valley be raised,
Every hill and mount made low.
Let the rugged ground become level
And the ridges become a plain.
5 The Presence of the Lord shall appear,
And all flesh, as one, shall behold —
For the Lord Himself has spoken."

6 A voice rings out: "Proclaim!"
Another asks, "What shall I proclaim?"
"All flesh is grass,
All its goodness like flowers of the field:
7 Grass withers, flowers fade
When the breath of the Lord blows on them.
Indeed, man is but grass:
8 Grass withers, flowers fade —
But the word of our God is always fulfilled!"

9 Ascend a lofty mountain,
O herald of joy to Zion;
Raise your voice with power,
O herald of joy to Jerusalem —
Raise it, have no fear;
Announce to the cities of Judah:
Behold your God!
10 Behold, the Lord God comes in might,
And His arm wins triumph for Him;
See, His reward is with Him,
His recompense before Him.
11 Like a shepherd He pastures His flock:
He gathers the lambs in His arms
And carries them in His bosom;
Gently He drives the mother sheep.

12 Who measured the waters with the hollow of His hand,
And gauged the skies with a span,
And meted earth's dust with a measure,
And weighed the mountains with a scale
And the hills with a balance?
13 Who has plumbed the mind of the Lord,
What man could tell Him His plan?
14 Whom did He consult, and who taught Him,
Guided Him in the way of right?
Who guided Him in knowledge
And showed Him the path of wisdom?

15 The nations are but a drop in a bucket,
Reckoned as dust on a balance;
The very coastlands He lifts like motes.
16 Lebanon is not fuel enough,
Nor its beasts enough for sacrifice.
17 All nations are as naught in His sight;
He accounts them as less than nothing.

18 To whom, then, can you liken God,
What form compare to Him?
19 The idol? A woodworker shaped it,
And a smith overlaid it with gold,
Forging links of silver.
20 As a gift, he chooses the mulberry —
A wood that does not rot —
Then seeks a skillful woodworker
To make a firm idol,
That will not topple.

21 Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
Have you not been told
From the very first?
Have you not discerned
How the earth was founded?
22 It is He who is enthroned above the vault of the earth,
So that its inhabitants seem as grasshoppers;
Who spread out the skies like gauze,
Stretched them out like a tent to dwell in.
23 He brings potentates to naught,
Makes rulers of the earth as nothing.
24 Hardly are they planted,
Hardly are they sown,
Hardly has their stem
Taken root in earth,
When He blows upon them and they dry up,
And the storm bears them off like straw.

25 To whom, then, can you liken Me,
To whom can I be compared?

— says the Holy One.

26 Lift high your eyes and see:
Who created these?
He who sends out their host by count,
Who calls them each by name:
Because of His great might and vast power,
Not one fails to appear.

Taken from Tanakh, The Holy Scriptures, (Philadelphia, Jerusalem: Jewish Publication Society) 1985.
Used by permission of The Jewish Publication Society. Copyright ©1962, 1992
Third Edition by the Jewish Publication Society. No part of this text can be reproduced or forwarded without written permission.
Please visit the JPS website for more fine books of Jewish literature and tradition.