49 All of you ·people in faraway places [or islands; or coastlands], listen to me. ·Listen [Pay attention], all you nations far away. ·Before I was born [L From the womb], the Lord called me to serve him. The Lord named me while I was still in my mother’s womb [C this passage (49:1–13) is the second of four “servant songs” in Isaiah; 42:1]. 2 He made my ·tongue [mouth] like a sharp sword [C his words enact judgment; 11:4; Heb. 4:12; Rev. 1:16]. He hid me in the shadow of his hand. He made me like a ·sharp [or polished] arrow. He hid me in ·the holder for his arrows [his quiver]. 3 He told me, “Israel, you are my servant. I will show my glory ·through [in] you.” 4 But I said, “I have worked hard ·for nothing [in vain]; I have used all my power, ·but I did nothing useful [for nothing; in futility]. But ·the Lord will decide what my work is worth [L my judgment/vindication is the Lord’s]; God will decide my reward.” 5 The Lord made me in the ·body [womb] of my mother to be his servant, to lead ·the people of Jacob [L Jacob] back to him so that Israel might be gathered to him. ·The Lord will honor me [L I am honored in the eyes of the Lord], and ·I will get my strength from my God [L God will be my strength]. 6 Now he told me, “·You are an important servant to me [It is too small a thing; or Is it too small a thing…?] to ·bring back [restore; raise up] the tribes of Jacob, to bring back the ·people of Israel who are left alive [remnant/preserved ones of Israel]. I will make you a light for the nations [42:6; Luke 2:32; Acts 13:47] so that my salvation will reach ·people all over the world [L the end of the earth].”
7 The Lord ·who saves you [the Redeemer], the Holy One of Israel [1:4]. says to the one who is ·hated [L despised and abhorred] by the ·people [or nation; or nations], to the servant of rulers. This is what he says: “Kings will see you and ·stand [rise; C to honor him]; ·great leaders [princes] will bow down before you, because the Lord ·can be trusted [is faithful]. He is the Holy One of Israel [1:4], who has chosen you.”
The Day of Salvation
8 This is what the Lord says:
“At the ·right time [time of favor] I will ·hear your prayers [answer you]. On the day of salvation I will help you [2 Cor. 6:2]. I will protect you, and ·you will be the sign of my agreement with [L I will give/establish you as a covenant for] the people [42:6]. ·You will bring back the people to the land [L …to restore/rebuild the land] and ·give the land that is now ruined back to its owners [L bequeath its desolate inheritances]. 9 You will tell the prisoners, ‘·Come out [42:7].’ You will tell those in darkness, ‘·Come into the light [Show yourselves; Appear].’ ·The people [L They] will ·eat [feed; graze] beside the roads [C the people are symbolically pictured as sheep], and they will find ·food [pasture] even on bare hills. 10 They will not be hungry or thirsty. Neither the ·desert wind [L heat] nor the hot sun will ·hurt [strike] them. The God who comforts them will lead them and guide them by springs of water. 11 I will make my mountains into roads, and the ·roads [highways] will be raised up [C to make a level road; 40:4]. 12 Look, people are coming to me from far away, from the north and from the west, from ·Aswan in southern Egypt [L the land of Sinim].”
13 Heavens, shout with joy; earth, be happy; mountains, burst into song, because the Lord comforts his people and will have ·pity [compassion] on ·those who suffer [the oppressed].
Jerusalem and Her Children
14 But ·Jerusalem [L Zion; C the location of the Temple] said, “The Lord has ·left [abandoned; forsaken] me; the Lord has forgotten me.”
15 The Lord answers, “Can a woman forget the baby she nurses? Can she feel no kindness for the child ·to which she gave birth [of her womb]? Even if she could forget her children, I will not forget you. 16 See, I have ·written [engraved; inscribed] your name on my ·hand [palms]. ·Jerusalem, I always think about your walls [L Your walls are always before me; C destroyed by the Babylonians]. 17 Your children ·will soon return to you [L hurry; hasten], and the people who defeated you and destroyed you will leave. 18 ·Look up [L Lift up your eyes] and look around you. All your children are gathering to return to you.” The Lord says, “As surely as I live, ·your children will be [L you will wear them all] like ·jewels [or ornaments] ·that a bride wears proudly [L you will put them on like a bride].
19 “You were destroyed and defeated, and your land was made ·useless [desolate]. But now you will have more people than the land can hold, and those people who ·destroyed [devoured] you will be far away. 20 The children ·born to you while you were sad [L of your bereavement] will say to you, ‘This place is too small for us. Give us a bigger place to live.’ 21 Then you will say ·to yourself [L in your heart], ‘Who ·gave me all these children [bore me these]? I was ·sad [bereaved] and ·lonely [barren], ·defeated [rejected] and ·separated from my people [exiled]. So who reared these children? I was left all alone. Where did all these children come from?’”
22 This is what the Lord God says: “See, I will lift my hand ·to signal [L to] the nations; I will raise my banner for all the people to see. Then they will bring your sons back to you in their ·arms [L bosom; lap], and they will carry your daughters on their shoulders [C Jews returning from exile are pictured as children returning to their parents]. 23 Kings will ·teach your children [be guardians/foster parents], and ·daughters of kings [princesses; or queens] will take care of them. They will bow down before you with their faces to the ground and ·kiss the dirt [lick the dust] at your feet. Then you will know I am the Lord. Anyone who ·trusts in [hopes in; waits on] me will not be ·disappointed [or ashamed].”
24 Can ·the wealth a soldier wins in war [spoils; plunder] be taken away from ·him [a warrior; a strong man]? Can a prisoner be freed from a ·powerful soldier [tyrant][a]? 25 This is what the Lord says: “The ·prisoners [captives] will be taken from the ·strong soldiers [mighty one]. ·What the soldiers have taken will be saved [L …and spoils/plunder rescued from the tyrant]. I will fight ·your enemies [L those who fight with you], and I will save your children. 26 I will force ·those who trouble you [your enemies/oppressors] to eat their own flesh. Their own blood will be the wine that makes them drunk. Then ·everyone [all flesh] will know I, the Lord, am the One who saves you; I am the Powerful One of Jacob ·who saves you [your redeemer].”
Isaiah 49:24tyrant The Dead Sea Scrolls read “tyrant.” Some Hebrew copies have “righteous one.”
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