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Activity time: 15 minutes

Materials for Activity

Preparation for Activity

  • Print the story and practice reading it aloud.
  • Print Leader Resource 1, Isaiah - Exile and Hope Background Information, and prepare to briefly present the information. Make copies for interested participants to take home.

Description of Activity

Use these or similar words to briefly set the stage for the story:

Our Hebrew scripture story today is not like the other stories we have heard. It offers words of hope to the Hebrew people when they found themselves in a very bad situation. Their nation had been conquered by the Babylonians, and many people had been brought to Babylon to live in exile. Their nation was destroyed; their temple was destroyed, and they had to figure out how to be a people without a nation or a temple. They had to find new ways to think about themselves and about their God. They called their nation in exile "Zion," and they began to call themselves "Jewish."

During that time, prophets spoke words of hope to the Hebrew people-a hope that they would one day be lifted up and would return triumphantly to their home. These are some of the most famous words in the Hebrew scriptures, words from the Book of Isaiah. I will explain any words you do not understand as I read.

Offer copies of Leader Resource 1, Isaiah - Exile and Hope Background Information, to those who wish to take it home.

Read the story aloud in three parts. Before reading the first section, say, "This is the prophet Isaiah speaking, calling the Jewish people God's servant and telling them that things will eventually get better."

Before reading the second section, say, "This is Isaiah naming all the bad things that have happened to the Jewish people."

Before reading the third section, say, "And this is Isaiah, speaking as though he were the voice of God, promising that the Jewish people would return in triumph to the land which had been taken from them."

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