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B. Expiation of Sin, Spiritual Liberation of Israel

Chapter 49

The Servant of the Lord[a]

Hear me, coastlands,
    listen, distant peoples.(A)
Before birth the Lord called me,
    from my mother’s womb he gave me my name.[b]
He made my mouth like a sharp-edged sword,
    concealed me, shielded by his hand.
He made me a sharpened arrow,
    in his quiver he hid me.
He said to me, You are my servant,
    in you, Israel,[c] I show my glory.

Though I thought I had toiled in vain,
    for nothing and for naught spent my strength,
Yet my right is with the Lord,
    my recompense is with my God.(B)
For now the Lord has spoken
    who formed me as his servant from the womb,
That Jacob may be brought back to him
    and Israel gathered to him;
I am honored in the sight of the Lord,
    and my God is now my strength!
It is too little, he says, for you to be my servant,
    to raise up the tribes of Jacob,
    and restore the survivors of Israel;(C)
I will make you a light to the nations,
    that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.[d]
Thus says the Lord,
    the redeemer, the Holy One of Israel,
To the one despised, abhorred by the nations,
    the slave of rulers:
When kings see you, they shall stand up,
    and princes shall bow down
Because of the Lord who is faithful,
    the Holy One of Israel who has chosen you.(D)

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Footnotes

  1. 49:1–7 The second of the four “servant of the Lord” oracles (cf. note on 42:1–4).
  2. 49:1 Gave me my name: designated me for a special task or mission (cf. Jer 1:5).
  3. 49:3 Israel: the servant is identified with the people of Israel as their ideal representative; however, vv. 5–6 seem to distinguish the servant from Israel.
  4. 49:6 The servant’s vocation extends beyond the restoration of Israel in order to bring the knowledge of Israel’s God to the rest of the earth; cf. Lk 2:32.

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