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A crushed reed he will not break,
a dim wick he will not extinguish;[a]
he will faithfully make just decrees.[b]
He will not grow dim or be crushed[c]
before establishing justice on the earth;
the coastlands[d] will wait in anticipation for his decrees.”[e]
This is what the true God,[f] the Lord, says—
the one who created the sky and stretched it out,
the one who fashioned the earth and everything that lives on it,[g]
the one who gives breath to the people on it,
and life to those who live on it:[h]

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  1. Isaiah 42:3 sn The “crushed reed” and “dim wick” symbolize the weak and oppressed who are on the verge of extinction.
  2. Isaiah 42:3 tn Heb “faithfully he will bring out justice” (cf. NASB, NRSV).
  3. Isaiah 42:4 tn For rhetorical effect the terms used to describe the “crushed (רָצַץ, ratsats) reed” and “dim (כָּהָה, kahah) wick” in v. 3 are repeated here.
  4. Isaiah 42:4 tn Or “islands” (NIV); NLT “distant lands beyond the sea.”
  5. Isaiah 42:4 tn Or “his law” (KJV, ASV, NASB, NIV) or “his instruction” (NLT).
  6. Isaiah 42:5 tn Heb “the God.” The definite article here indicates distinctiveness or uniqueness.
  7. Isaiah 42:5 tn Heb “and its offspring” (so NASB); NIV “all that comes out of it.”
  8. Isaiah 42:5 tn Heb “and spirit [i.e., “breath”] to the ones walking in it” (NAB, NASB, and NRSV all similar).

A bruised reed(A) he will not break,(B)
    and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.(C)
In faithfulness he will bring forth justice;(D)
    he will not falter or be discouraged
till he establishes justice(E) on earth.
    In his teaching(F) the islands(G) will put their hope.”(H)

This is what God the Lord says—
the Creator of the heavens,(I) who stretches them out,
    who spreads out the earth(J) with all that springs from it,(K)
    who gives breath(L) to its people,
    and life to those who walk on it:

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