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The Lord’s Servant

42 “Take a good look at my servant![a]

    I love him dearly,[b] for he is my chosen one.
    I have taken hold of him in my strength,[c]
    and I have clothed him with my Spirit.[d]
    He will cause justice to spring up for the nations.
He will be gentle and will not quarrel with others in public.
    He will not exalt his own voice.
He would never crush a broken heart[e]
    nor disregard the weak and vulnerable.[f]
    He will make sure justice comes to those who are wronged.
His inner being will not become faint or discouraged,
    nor will his light grow dim before he establishes justice on the earth.
    Even the distant lands beyond the seas
    will hunger for his instruction.”[g]
Here are the words of the true God, Yahweh,
    the one who created the starry heavens and stretched them out.
    He is the one who formed the earth and filled it with life.
    He gives breath to every person
    and spirit to everyone everywhere.
“I, Yahweh, have commissioned you in righteousness to succeed.
    I will take your hand in love and watch over you.
    I will give you as a covenanth for the people,
    a walking-light to the nations.
Your mission is to open blind eyes,
    to set prisoners free from dark dwellings,
    and to open prison doors to those who are held by darkness.[h]
I am Yahweh; that is my name.
    I will not give my glory to another god
    nor my renown to idols.
Don’t you see that what I have prophesied has come to pass?[i]
    And now I am foretelling the future.
    I declare it to you before it sprouts up.”[j]

A New Song for a New Day

10 Sing to Yahweh a brand-new song![k]
    Sing his praise until it echoes from the ends of the earth!
    Sailors and sea creatures, praise him!
    Islands and all their inhabitants, sing his praise!
11 Let the desert and its villages lift their voices in praise!
    Let the tent villages of Kedar[l] shout their praises!
    Let the residents of Sela’s cliffs[m] shout with glee,
    with a celebration shout from the mountaintops![n]
12 Let them give Yahweh the glorious praise he deserves
    and declare his praise in the islands!

Our Hero-God

13 Yahweh goes out to battle like a hero[o]
    and stirs up his passion and zeal like a mighty warrior.
    Yes, his God-shout is a mighty battle cry;
    he will triumph heroically over all his foes.[p]
14 For a long time, I said nothing.[q]
    I restrained myself and kept silent.
    Now I will groan, pant, and gasp like a woman in labor.
15 I will level their hills and mountains[r]
    and dry up all their vegetation.
    I will turn rivers into islands and dry up their lakes.
16 I will walk[s] the blind by an unknown way[t]
    and guide them on paths they’ve never traveled.
    I will smooth their difficult road[u]
    and make their dark mysteries bright with light.[v]
    These are things I will do for them,
    for I will never abandon my beloved ones.[w]
17 But those who trust in idols,
    who say to their metal images,
    “You are our gods,”
    will be turned aside in total disgrace.[x]

Blind and Deaf to Truth

18 Hear me, you deaf! Look up, you blind, and see!
19 Who is as blind as my servant Israel
    or as deaf as the messenger I send?[y]
    Who is as blind as my covenant friend,
    as blind as Yahweh’s servant?
20 Israel, you have seen so much, but you don’t get it!
    You have been taught so much,[z] but what did you really hear?[aa]
21 For the sake of his righteousness,
    Yahweh was eager to exalt his law and make it glorious.[ab]
22 But this is a people plundered and robbed,
    trapped in holes and hidden in houses of bondage.[ac]
    They are like prey that no one will rescue,
    like spoil with no one to say, “Bring them back!”
23 Doesn’t anyone understand this?
    Will any of you pay attention to this in the future?
24 Who gave up Jacob to looters and Israel to robbers?
    It was Yahweh himself, against whom we sinned
    by not walking in holy ways nor heeding holy words.
25 So he poured out the heat of his anger
    and they suffered the fury of war.
    His anger enveloped them in flames,
    but they still did not understand—
    consumed by fire yet they did not take it to heart.


  1. Isaiah 42:1 Isaiah introduces to us the Lord Jesus, the Messiah, as the chosen servant of the Lord, sustained by Yahweh, sent on a divine mission to bring light and freedom to the hearts of his covenant people. Starting with ch. 42, Isaiah gives us four Servant Songs. (1) This chapter presents him as the Faithful Servant who brings light to the nations. (2) In 49:1–13 he is the Chosen Servant to bring salvation to the nations and to restore Israel. (3) In 50:4–9, we have the song of the Obedient Servant who reveals the Father. (4) In 52:13–53:12 we find the Suffering Servant. See also Matt. 12:18-21.
  2. Isaiah 42:1 Or “I find all my delight in him.” See Matt. 3:17.
  3. Isaiah 42:1 Or “whom I uphold (by my strength).”
  4. Isaiah 42:1 Or “placed my Spirit upon him.”
  5. Isaiah 42:3 “A bruised (bent over) reed.” A reed can be seen as a biblical metaphor for the feebleness of humanity. Jesus, God’s servant, is extraordinarily gentle. Rather than break weak ones, he restores and heals them. See Matt. 12:20.
  6. Isaiah 42:3 Or “nor extinguish a smoldering candle (those whose light and faith is growing dim).”
  7. Isaiah 42:4 These first four verses give us the qualifications for ministry: (1) chosen and anointed by God, (2) committed to reach the unreached, (3) gentle and compassionate, and (4) not discouraged but having unfailing courage.
  8. Isaiah 42:7 The Hebrew text is clear that this covenant is a person, the servant of the Lord. In him is found all the blessings of the covenant. He is the embodiment of God’s covenant promises.
  9. Isaiah 42:9 See Isa. 61:1-2; Luke 4:16-21.
  10. Isaiah 42:9 Or “The former things (prophecies), behold—they have come!”
  11. Isaiah 42:10 A possible metaphor for the resurrection of Jesus.
  12. Isaiah 42:11 Every new thing God does requires a new song to declare it. See Rev. 5:9.
  13. Isaiah 42:11 Kedar was a son of Ishmael (Gen. 25:13) and his tribe were considered nomads. Kedar can also be seen as a metaphor for the old nature.
  14. Isaiah 42:11 Sela means “rock” (Song. 2:14) and was once the capitol of Edom.
  15. Isaiah 42:13 See Song. 4:8.
  16. Isaiah 42:13 As he carried our cross, Jesus went out from Jerusalem as a hero to conquer our foes.
  17. Isaiah 42:14 Or “He shows himself superior to his enemies.” Every spiritual enemy is conquered by the Son of God—even death.
  18. Isaiah 42:15 Or “I have been silent. Should I remain silent forever and hold my peace?” (LXX).
  19. Isaiah 42:16 Hills and mountains are frequent metaphors for governments, nations, and kingdoms.
  20. Isaiah 42:16 See John 16:13; Rom. 8:14.
  21. Isaiah 42:16 See Josh. 3:4; John 14:6; Heb. 10:19-22.
  22. Isaiah 42:16 This can be seen as a metaphor for God changing our hearts and removing obstacles for us to walk with him. No obstacle within us will prevent God from accomplishing his plan.
  23. Isaiah 42:16 Darkness is a frequent biblical metaphor for ignorance and light for understanding (revelation light). e 42:16 See Matt. 28:18-20; Heb. 13:5.
  24. Isaiah 42:17 Or “In shame you will be ashamed.”
  25. Isaiah 42:19 Israel is given a divine mission to serve God and his purposes. The nation is to become his messenger. See Rom. 11.
  26. Isaiah 42:20 Or “You have ears to hear.”
  27. Isaiah 42:20 See Prov. 28:9.
  28. Isaiah 42:21 Or “It pleased Yahweh to praise his justice and make his law glorious.”
  29. Isaiah 42:22 Or “prisons.” This section (vv. 18–25) deals with God’s people in bondage. Judah was held captive in Babylon; the church is held captive to religious systems and to concepts from which Jesus came to set us free (Gal. 4:3, 8). We must always be careful to hear and see with hearts open to God and ready to receive the new thing God is doing on the earth today. Jesus was blind and deaf to doing anything other than the will of his Father. God is still restoring his church and making us like Christ, free and full of new life.

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