New American Bible (Revised Edition)
The Servant of the Lord
1 Here is my servant[a] whom I uphold,
my chosen one with whom I am pleased.
Upon him I have put my spirit;
he shall bring forth justice to the nations.(A)
2 He will not cry out, nor shout,
nor make his voice heard in the street.
3 A bruised reed[b] he will not break,
and a dimly burning wick he will not quench.
He will faithfully bring forth justice.
4 He will not grow dim or be bruised
until he establishes justice on the earth;
the coastlands[c] will wait for his teaching.
5 Thus says God, the Lord,
who created the heavens and stretched them out,
who spread out the earth and its produce,
Who gives breath to its people
and spirit to those who walk on it:
6 I, the Lord, have called you for justice,
I have grasped you by the hand;
I formed you, and set you
as a covenant for the people,
a light for the nations,(B)
7 To open the eyes of the blind,
to bring out prisoners from confinement,
and from the dungeon, those who live in darkness.
8 I am the Lord, Lord is my name;
my glory I give to no other,
nor my praise to idols.
9 See, the earlier things have come to pass,
new ones I now declare;
Before they spring forth
I announce them to you.
The Lord’s Purpose for Israel
10 Sing to the Lord a new song,
his praise from the ends of the earth:
Let the sea and what fills it resound,
the coastlands, and those who dwell in them.
11 Let the wilderness and its cities cry out,
the villages where Kedar[d] dwells;
Let the inhabitants of Sela exult,
and shout from the top of the mountains.
12 Let them give glory to the Lord,
and utter his praise in the coastlands.
13 The Lord goes forth like a warrior,
like a man of war he stirs up his fury;
He shouts out his battle cry,
against his enemies he shows his might:(C)
14 For a long time I have kept silent,
I have said nothing, holding myself back;
Now I cry out like a woman in labor,
gasping and panting.
15 [e]I will lay waste mountains and hills,
all their undergrowth I will dry up;
I will turn the rivers into marshes,
and the marshes I will dry up.(D)
16 I will lead the blind on a way they do not know;
by paths they do not know I will guide them.
I will turn darkness into light before them,
and make crooked ways straight.
These are my promises:
I made them, I will not forsake them.(E)
17 They shall be turned back in utter shame
who trust in idols;
Who say to molten images,
“You are our gods.”
18 You deaf ones, listen,[f]
you blind ones, look and see!
19 Who is blind but my servant,
or deaf like the messenger I send?
Who is blind like the one I restore,
blind like the servant of the Lord?
20 You see many things but do not observe;
ears open, but do not hear.
21 It was the Lord’s will for the sake of his justice
to make his teaching great and glorious.
22 This is a people[g] plundered and despoiled,
all of them trapped in holes,
hidden away in prisons.
They are taken as plunder, with no one to rescue them,
as spoil, with no one to say, “Give back!”
23 Who among you will give ear to this,
listen and pay attention from now on?
24 Who was it that gave Jacob to be despoiled,
Israel to the plunderers?[h]
Was it not the Lord, against whom we have sinned?
In his ways they refused to walk,
his teaching they would not heed.
25 So he poured out wrath upon them,
his anger, and the fury of battle;
It blazed all around them, yet they did not realize,
it burned them, but they did not take it to heart.
- 42:1–4 Servant: three other passages have been popularly called “servant of the Lord” poems: 49:1–7; 50:4–11; 52:13–53:12. Whether the servant is an individual or a collectivity is not clear (e.g., contrast 49:3 with 49:5). More important is the description of the mission of the servant. In the early Church and throughout Christian tradition, these poems have been applied to Christ; cf. Mt 12:18–21.
- 42:3 Bruised reed…: images to express the gentle manner of the servant’s mission.
- 42:4 Coastlands: for Israel, the world to the west: the islands and coastal nations of the Mediterranean.
- 42:11 Kedar: cf. note on 21:16. Sela: Petra, the capital of Edom.
- 42:15–16 Active once more, God will remove the obstacles that hinder the exiles’ return, and will lead them by new roads to Jerusalem; cf. 40:3–4.
- 42:18–20 The Lord rebukes his people for their failures, but their role and their mission endure: they remain his servant, his messenger to the nations.
- 42:22 A people: Israel in exile.
- 42:24 Plunderers: the Assyrians and Babylonians. We…they: the switch from first- to third-person speech, though puzzling, does not obscure the fact that “the people” is meant.
New International Version
The Servant of the Lord
42 “Here is my servant,(A) whom I uphold,
my chosen one(B) in whom I delight;(C)
I will put my Spirit(D) on him,
and he will bring justice(E) to the nations.(F)
2 He will not shout or cry out,(G)
or raise his voice in the streets.
3 A bruised reed(H) he will not break,(I)
and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.(J)
In faithfulness he will bring forth justice;(K)
4 he will not falter or be discouraged
till he establishes justice(L) on earth.
In his teaching(M) the islands(N) will put their hope.”(O)
5 This is what God the Lord says—
the Creator of the heavens,(P) who stretches them out,
who spreads out the earth(Q) with all that springs from it,(R)
who gives breath(S) to its people,
and life to those who walk on it:
6 “I, the Lord, have called(T) you in righteousness;(U)
I will take hold of your hand.(V)
I will keep(W) you and will make you
to be a covenant(X) for the people
and a light(Y) for the Gentiles,(Z)
7 to open eyes that are blind,(AA)
to free(AB) captives from prison(AC)
and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.(AD)
8 “I am the Lord;(AE) that is my name!(AF)
I will not yield my glory to another(AG)
or my praise to idols.(AH)
9 See, the former things(AI) have taken place,
and new things I declare;
before they spring into being
I announce(AJ) them to you.”
Song of Praise to the Lord
10 Sing(AK) to the Lord a new song,(AL)
his praise(AM) from the ends of the earth,(AN)
you who go down to the sea, and all that is in it,(AO)
you islands,(AP) and all who live in them.
11 Let the wilderness(AQ) and its towns raise their voices;
let the settlements where Kedar(AR) lives rejoice.
Let the people of Sela(AS) sing for joy;
let them shout from the mountaintops.(AT)
12 Let them give glory(AU) to the Lord
and proclaim his praise(AV) in the islands.(AW)
13 The Lord will march out like a champion,(AX)
like a warrior(AY) he will stir up his zeal;(AZ)
with a shout(BA) he will raise the battle cry
and will triumph over his enemies.(BB)
14 “For a long time I have kept silent,(BC)
I have been quiet and held myself back.(BD)
But now, like a woman in childbirth,
I cry out, I gasp and pant.(BE)
15 I will lay waste(BF) the mountains(BG) and hills
and dry up all their vegetation;
I will turn rivers into islands
and dry up(BH) the pools.
16 I will lead(BI) the blind(BJ) by ways they have not known,
along unfamiliar paths I will guide them;
I will turn the darkness into light(BK) before them
and make the rough places smooth.(BL)
These are the things I will do;
I will not forsake(BM) them.
17 But those who trust in idols,
who say to images, ‘You are our gods,’(BN)
will be turned back in utter shame.(BO)
Israel Blind and Deaf
18 “Hear, you deaf;(BP)
look, you blind, and see!
19 Who is blind(BQ) but my servant,(BR)
and deaf like the messenger(BS) I send?
Who is blind like the one in covenant(BT) with me,
blind like the servant of the Lord?
20 You have seen many things, but you pay no attention;
your ears are open, but you do not listen.”(BU)
21 It pleased the Lord
for the sake(BV) of his righteousness
to make his law(BW) great and glorious.
22 But this is a people plundered(BX) and looted,
all of them trapped in pits(BY)
or hidden away in prisons.(BZ)
They have become plunder,
with no one to rescue them;(CA)
they have been made loot,
with no one to say, “Send them back.”
23 Which of you will listen to this
or pay close attention(CB) in time to come?
24 Who handed Jacob over to become loot,
and Israel to the plunderers?(CC)
Was it not the Lord,(CD)
against whom we have sinned?
For they would not follow(CE) his ways;
they did not obey his law.(CF)
25 So he poured out on them his burning anger,(CG)
the violence of war.
It enveloped them in flames,(CH) yet they did not understand;(CI)
it consumed them, but they did not take it to heart.(CJ)