Though we are slaves,(A) our God has not forsaken us in our bondage. He has shown us kindness(B) in the sight of the kings of Persia: He has granted us new life to rebuild the house of our God and repair its ruins,(C) and he has given us a wall of protection in Judah and Jerusalem.

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18 May it please you to prosper Zion,(A)
    to build up the walls of Jerusalem.(B)

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Restoration of Israel

This is what the Lord says:

“In the time of my favor(A) I will answer you,
    and in the day of salvation I will help you;(B)
I will keep(C) you and will make you
    to be a covenant for the people,(D)
to restore the land(E)
    and to reassign its desolate inheritances,(F)
to say to the captives,(G) ‘Come out,’
    and to those in darkness,(H) ‘Be free!’

“They will feed beside the roads
    and find pasture on every barren hill.(I)
10 They will neither hunger nor thirst,(J)
    nor will the desert heat or the sun beat down on them.(K)
He who has compassion(L) on them will guide(M) them
    and lead them beside springs(N) of water.
11 I will turn all my mountains into roads,
    and my highways(O) will be raised up.(P)
12 See, they will come from afar(Q)
    some from the north, some from the west,(R)
    some from the region of Aswan.[a]

13 Shout for joy,(S) you heavens;
    rejoice, you earth;(T)
    burst into song, you mountains!(U)
For the Lord comforts(V) his people
    and will have compassion(W) on his afflicted ones.(X)

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

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

19 “Though you were ruined and made desolate(AI)
    and your land laid waste,(AJ)
now you will be too small for your people,(AK)
    and those who devoured(AL) 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.’(AM)
21 Then you will say in your heart,
    ‘Who bore me these?(AN)
I was bereaved(AO) and barren;
    I was exiled and rejected.(AP)
    Who brought these(AQ) up?
I was left(AR) all alone,(AS)
    but these—where have they come from?’”

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  1. Isaiah 49:12 Dead Sea Scrolls; Masoretic Text Sinim

They will rebuild the ancient ruins(A)
    and restore the places long devastated;
they will renew the ruined cities
    that have been devastated for generations.

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