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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.

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)
He will not shout or cry out,(G)
    or raise his voice in the streets.
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)
    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)

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:
“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)
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)

“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)
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)

42 Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles.

He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard in the street.

A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth.

He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for his law.

Thus saith God the Lord, he that created the heavens, and stretched them out; he that spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it; he that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein:

I the Lord have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles;

To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.

I am the Lord: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images.

Behold, the former things are come to pass, and new things do I declare: before they spring forth I tell you of them.

10 Sing unto the Lord a new song, and his praise from the end of the earth, ye that go down to the sea, and all that is therein; the isles, and the inhabitants thereof.

11 Let the wilderness and the cities thereof lift up their voice, the villages that Kedar doth inhabit: let the inhabitants of the rock sing, let them shout from the top of the mountains.

12 Let them give glory unto the Lord, and declare his praise in the islands.

13 The Lord shall go forth as a mighty man, he shall stir up jealousy like a man of war: he shall cry, yea, roar; he shall prevail against his enemies.

14 I have long time holden my peace; I have been still, and refrained myself: now will I cry like a travailing woman; I will destroy and devour at once.

15 I will make waste mountains and hills, and dry up all their herbs; and I will make the rivers islands, and I will dry up the pools.

16 And I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them.

17 They shall be turned back, they shall be greatly ashamed, that trust in graven images, that say to the molten images, Ye are our gods.

18 Hear, ye deaf; and look, ye blind, that ye may see.

19 Who is blind, but my servant? or deaf, as my messenger that I sent? who is blind as he that is perfect, and blind as the Lord's servant?

20 Seeing many things, but thou observest not; opening the ears, but he heareth not.

21 The Lord is well pleased for his righteousness' sake; he will magnify the law, and make it honourable.

22 But this is a people robbed and spoiled; they are all of them snared in holes, and they are hid in prison houses: they are for a prey, and none delivereth; for a spoil, and none saith, Restore.

23 Who among you will give ear to this? who will hearken and hear for the time to come?

24 Who gave Jacob for a spoil, and Israel to the robbers? did not the Lord, he against whom we have sinned? for they would not walk in his ways, neither were they obedient unto his law.

25 Therefore he hath poured upon him the fury of his anger, and the strength of battle: and it hath set him on fire round about, yet he knew not; and it burned him, yet he laid it not to heart.