1 Bel bows down, Nebo bends low;* Bel and Nebo were Babylonian gods. The picture here is of the conqueror dragging away the idols of a defeated people. their idols are carried off on beasts of burden, a heavy weight for the tired animals. 2 They bend low and bow down together—they can't help rescue their idols, and they themselves go off into captivity.
3 Listen to me, descendants of Jacob, all those who are left of the people of Israel. I have looked after you since you were born, carrying you from birth. 4 Even when you're old, I will still be your God; even when your hair turns white, I will still support you. I made you, I will carry you, I will support you, and I will save you.
5 Who will you liken me to? Who will you reckon to be my equal? Who will you compare me with, as if we were alike?
6 There are those who extravagantly tip out gold from their bags, and weigh out silver on the scales, and hire a goldsmith to make them a god they can bow down to and worship. 7 They lift the idol onto their shoulders, carry it along, and then put it in place. It stays there and doesn't move. Even when people cry out to it for help, it doesn't answer—it can't save them from their troubles.
8 Remember this, and act like men! Think about it, you rebels! 9 Remember what I've done for you since the beginning, for I am God, and there is no God apart from me. I am God, and there is none like me. 10 I am the one who can predict what will happen in the end from the very beginning, declaring from ancient times what the future will bring. Whatever I plan will take place; I will accomplish everything I wish. 11 I'm calling a bird of prey from the east, a man from a distant country who will carry out my plan.† Once again this is taken to refer to Cyrus. I have spoken, and I will make sure it happens. I have made my plan, and I will carry it out.
12 Listen to me, you stubborn people, who are such a long way from doing what's right! 13 Very shortly I am going to make things right—it won't be long. I will come with my salvation without delay—I will save Zion to demonstrate my glory to Israel.
*46:1 Bel and Nebo were Babylonian gods. The picture here is of the conqueror dragging away the idols of a defeated people.
†46:11 Once again this is taken to refer to Cyrus.