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“I, the Lord, officially commission you;[a]
I take hold of your hand.
I protect you[b] and make you a covenant mediator for people,[c]
and a light[d] to the nations,[e]

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  1. Isaiah 42:6 tn Heb “call you in righteousness.” The pronoun “you” is masculine singular, referring to the servant. See the note at 41:2.
  2. Isaiah 42:6 tn The translation assumes the verb is derived from the root נָצַר (natsar, “protect”). Some prefer to derive it from the root יָצַר (yatsar, “form”).
  3. Isaiah 42:6 tn Heb “a covenant of people.” A person cannot literally be a covenant; בְּרִית (berit) is probably metonymic here, indicating a covenant mediator. The precise identity of עָם (ʿam, “people”) is uncertain. In v. 5 עָם refers to mankind, and the following reference to “nations” also favors this. But in 49:8, where the phrase בְּרִית עָם occurs again, Israel seems to be in view.
  4. Isaiah 42:6 sn Light here symbolizes deliverance from bondage and oppression; note the parallelism in 49:6b and in 51:4-6.
  5. Isaiah 42:6 tn Or “the Gentiles” (so KJV, ASV, NIV); the same Hebrew word can be translated “nations” or “Gentiles” depending on the context.