1 The Lord says,
“Do you think I sent my people away
like a man who divorces his wife?
Where, then, are the papers of divorce?
Do you think I sold you into captivity
like a man who sells his children as slaves?
No, you went away captive because of your sins;
you were sent away because of your crimes.

2 “Why did my people fail to respond
when I went to them to save them?
Why did they not answer when I called?
Am I too weak to save them?
I can dry up the sea with a command
and turn rivers into a desert,
so that the fish in them die for lack of water.
3 I can make the sky turn dark,
as if it were in mourning for the dead.”
The Obedience of the Lord's Servant
4 The Sovereign Lord has taught me what to say,
so that I can strengthen the weary.
Every morning he makes me eager
to hear what he is going to teach me.
5 The Lord has given me understanding,
and I have not rebelled
or turned away from him.
6 I bared my back to those who beat me.
I did not stop them when they insulted me,
when they pulled out the hairs of my beard
and spit in my face.

7 But their insults cannot hurt me
because the Sovereign Lord gives me help.
I brace myself to endure them.
I know that I will not be disgraced,
8 for God is near,
and he will prove me innocent.
Does anyone dare bring charges against me?
Let us go to court together!
Let him bring his accusation!
9 The Sovereign Lord himself defends me—
who, then, can prove me guilty?
All my accusers will disappear;
they will vanish like moth-eaten cloth.

10 All of you that honor the Lord
and obey the words of his servant,
the path you walk may be dark indeed,
but trust in the Lord, rely on your God.
11 All of you that plot to destroy others
will be destroyed by your own plots.
The Lord himself will make this happen;
you will suffer a miserable fate.