The Servant of the Lord

49 Listen(A) to me, you islands;(B)
    hear this, you distant nations:
Before I was born(C) the Lord called(D) me;
    from my mother’s womb he has spoken my name.(E)
He made my mouth(F) like a sharpened sword,(G)
    in the shadow of his hand(H) he hid me;
he made me into a polished arrow(I)
    and concealed me in his quiver.
He said to me, “You are my servant,(J)
    Israel, in whom I will display my splendor.(K)
But I said, “I have labored in vain;(L)
    I have spent my strength for nothing at all.
Yet what is due me is in the Lord’s hand,(M)
    and my reward(N) is with my God.”(O)

And now the Lord says—
    he who formed me in the womb(P) to be his servant
to bring Jacob back to him
    and gather Israel(Q) to himself,
for I am[a] honored(R) in the eyes of the Lord
    and my God has been my strength(S)
he says:
“It is too small a thing for you to be my servant(T)
    to restore the tribes of Jacob
    and bring back those of Israel I have kept.(U)
I will also make you a light(V) for the Gentiles,(W)
    that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.”(X)

This is what the Lord says—
    the Redeemer and Holy One of Israel(Y)
to him who was despised(Z) and abhorred by the nation,
    to the servant of rulers:
“Kings(AA) will see you and stand up,
    princes will see and bow down,(AB)
because of the Lord, who is faithful,(AC)
    the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen(AD) you.”

Restoration of Israel

This is what the Lord says:

“In the time of my favor(AE) I will answer you,
    and in the day of salvation I will help you;(AF)
I will keep(AG) you and will make you
    to be a covenant for the people,(AH)
to restore the land(AI)
    and to reassign its desolate inheritances,(AJ)
to say to the captives,(AK) ‘Come out,’
    and to those in darkness,(AL) ‘Be free!’

“They will feed beside the roads
    and find pasture on every barren hill.(AM)
10 They will neither hunger nor thirst,(AN)
    nor will the desert heat or the sun beat down on them.(AO)
He who has compassion(AP) on them will guide(AQ) them
    and lead them beside springs(AR) of water.
11 I will turn all my mountains into roads,
    and my highways(AS) will be raised up.(AT)
12 See, they will come from afar(AU)
    some from the north, some from the west,(AV)
    some from the region of Aswan.[b]

13 Shout for joy,(AW) you heavens;
    rejoice, you earth;(AX)
    burst into song, you mountains!(AY)
For the Lord comforts(AZ) his people
    and will have compassion(BA) on his afflicted ones.(BB)

14 But Zion(BC) said, “The Lord has forsaken(BD) me,
    the Lord has forgotten me.”

15 “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast
    and have no compassion on the child(BE) she has borne?
Though she may forget,
    I will not forget you!(BF)
16 See, I have engraved(BG) you on the palms of my hands;
    your walls(BH) are ever before me.
17 Your children hasten back,
    and those who laid you waste(BI) depart from you.
18 Lift up your eyes and look around;
    all your children gather(BJ) and come to you.
As surely as I live,(BK)” declares the Lord,
    “you will wear(BL) them all as ornaments;
    you will put them on, like a bride.

19 “Though you were ruined and made desolate(BM)
    and your land laid waste,(BN)
now you will be too small for your people,(BO)
    and those who devoured(BP) you will be far away.
20 The children born during your bereavement
    will yet say in your hearing,
‘This place is too small for us;
    give us more space to live in.’(BQ)
21 Then you will say in your heart,
    ‘Who bore me these?(BR)
I was bereaved(BS) and barren;
    I was exiled and rejected.(BT)
    Who brought these(BU) up?
I was left(BV) all alone,(BW)
    but these—where have they come from?’”

22 This is what the Sovereign Lord(BX) says:

“See, I will beckon to the nations,
    I will lift up my banner(BY) to the peoples;
they will bring(BZ) your sons in their arms
    and carry your daughters on their hips.(CA)
23 Kings(CB) will be your foster fathers,
    and their queens your nursing mothers.(CC)
They will bow down(CD) before you with their faces to the ground;
    they will lick the dust(CE) at your feet.
Then you will know that I am the Lord;(CF)
    those who hope(CG) in me will not be disappointed.(CH)

24 Can plunder be taken from warriors,(CI)
    or captives be rescued from the fierce[c]?

25 But this is what the Lord says:

“Yes, captives(CJ) will be taken from warriors,(CK)
    and plunder retrieved from the fierce;(CL)
I will contend with those who contend with you,(CM)
    and your children I will save.(CN)
26 I will make your oppressors(CO) eat(CP) their own flesh;
    they will be drunk on their own blood,(CQ) as with wine.
Then all mankind will know(CR)
    that I, the Lord, am your Savior,(CS)
    your Redeemer,(CT) the Mighty One of Jacob.(CU)

Footnotes

  1. Isaiah 49:5 Or him, / but Israel would not be gathered; / yet I will be
  2. Isaiah 49:12 Dead Sea Scrolls; Masoretic Text Sinim
  3. Isaiah 49:24 Dead Sea Scrolls, Vulgate and Syriac (see also Septuagint and verse 25); Masoretic Text righteous
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

49 Listen, O isles, unto me; and hearken, ye people, from far; The Lord hath called me from the womb; from the bowels of my mother hath he made mention of my name.

And he hath made my mouth like a sharp sword; in the shadow of his hand hath he hid me, and made me a polished shaft; in his quiver hath he hid me;

And said unto me, Thou art my servant, O Israel, in whom I will be glorified.

Then I said, I have laboured in vain, I have spent my strength for nought, and in vain: yet surely my judgment is with the Lord, and my work with my God.

And now, saith the Lord that formed me from the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob again to him, Though Israel be not gathered, yet shall I be glorious in the eyes of the Lord, and my God shall be my strength.

And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth.

Thus saith the Lord, the Redeemer of Israel, and his Holy One, to him whom man despiseth, to him whom the nation abhorreth, to a servant of rulers, Kings shall see and arise, princes also shall worship, because of the Lord that is faithful, and the Holy One of Israel, and he shall choose thee.

Thus saith the Lord, In an acceptable time have I heard thee, and in a day of salvation have I helped thee: and I will preserve thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages;

That thou mayest say to the prisoners, Go forth; to them that are in darkness, Shew yourselves. They shall feed in the ways, and their pastures shall be in all high places.

10 They shall not hunger nor thirst; neither shall the heat nor sun smite them: for he that hath mercy on them shall lead them, even by the springs of water shall he guide them.

11 And I will make all my mountains a way, and my highways shall be exalted.

12 Behold, these shall come from far: and, lo, these from the north and from the west; and these from the land of Sinim.

13 Sing, O heavens; and be joyful, O earth; and break forth into singing, O mountains: for the Lord hath comforted his people, and will have mercy upon his afflicted.

14 But Zion said, The Lord hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me.

15 Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee.

16 Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me.

17 Thy children shall make haste; thy destroyers and they that made thee waste shall go forth of thee.

18 Lift up thine eyes round about, and behold: all these gather themselves together, and come to thee. As I live, saith the Lord, thou shalt surely clothe thee with them all, as with an ornament, and bind them on thee, as a bride doeth.

19 For thy waste and thy desolate places, and the land of thy destruction, shall even now be too narrow by reason of the inhabitants, and they that swallowed thee up shall be far away.

20 The children which thou shalt have, after thou hast lost the other, shall say again in thine ears, The place is too strait for me: give place to me that I may dwell.

21 Then shalt thou say in thine heart, Who hath begotten me these, seeing I have lost my children, and am desolate, a captive, and removing to and fro? and who hath brought up these? Behold, I was left alone; these, where had they been?

22 Thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I will lift up mine hand to the Gentiles, and set up my standard to the people: and they shall bring thy sons in their arms, and thy daughters shall be carried upon their shoulders.

23 And kings shall be thy nursing fathers, and their queens thy nursing mothers: they shall bow down to thee with their face toward the earth, and lick up the dust of thy feet; and thou shalt know that I am the Lord: for they shall not be ashamed that wait for me.

24 Shall the prey be taken from the mighty, or the lawful captive delivered?

25 But thus saith the Lord, Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken away, and the prey of the terrible shall be delivered: for I will contend with him that contendeth with thee, and I will save thy children.

26 And I will feed them that oppress thee with their own flesh; and they shall be drunken with their own blood, as with sweet wine: and all flesh shall know that I the Lord am thy Saviour and thy Redeemer, the mighty One of Jacob.

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