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The Lord’s Servant Will Bring Salvation to the Nations

    Listen to me, you islands.
Pay attention, you people far away.
    Before I was born, the Lord chose me.
    While I was in my mother’s womb, he recorded my name.
He made my tongue like a sharp sword
    and hid me in the palm of his hand.
He made me like a sharpened arrow
    and hid me in his quiver.

He said to me,
    “You are my servant Israel.
        I will display my glory through you.”
But I said,
    “I have worked hard for nothing.
    I have used my strength, but I didn’t accomplish anything.
        Yet, certainly my case is in the Lord’s hands,
            and my reward is with my God.”

The Lord formed me in the womb to be his servant
    in order to bring Jacob back to him
        and gather Israel to him.
            (The Lord honors me,
                and my God has become my strength.)

Now, the Lord says,

“You are not just my servant
    who restores the tribes of Jacob
        and brings back those in Israel whom I have preserved.
I have also made you a light for the nations
    so that you would save people all over the world.”

The Lord is the defender of Israel, its Holy One.

This is what the Lord says to the despised one, to the one scorned by the nation, to the slave of rulers:

Kings will see you and stand.
    Princes will see you and bow.
        The Lord is faithful.
            The Holy One of Israel has chosen you.

This is what the Lord says:

In the time of favor I will answer you.
In the day of salvation I will help you.
I will protect you.
I will appoint you as my promise[a] to the people.
    You will restore the land.
    You will make them inherit the desolate inheritance.
    You will say to the prisoners, “Come out,”
        and to those who are in darkness, “Show yourselves.”

They will graze along every path,
    and they will find pastures on every bare hill.
10 They will never be hungry or thirsty,
    nor will the sun or the burning, hot wind strike them.
        The one who has compassion on them will lead them
            and guide them to springs.
11 I will turn all my mountains into roads,
    and my highways will be restored.
12 They will come from far away.
They will come from the north and from the west,
    and they will come from the land of Sinim.

13 Sing with joy, you heavens!
Rejoice, you earth!
Break into shouts of joy, you mountains!
    The Lord has comforted his people
        and will have compassion on his humble people.

The Lord Has Not Forgotten Israel

14 But Zion said, “The Lord has abandoned me.
    My Lord has forgotten me.”

15 Can a woman forget her nursing child?
Will she have no compassion on the child from her womb?
Although mothers may forget,
    I will not forget you.
16 I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.
    Your walls are always in my presence.
17 Your children will hurry back.
    Those who destroyed you and laid waste to you will leave you.
18 Look up, look around, and watch!
All of your children are gathering together and returning to you.
    “I solemnly swear as I live,” declares the Lord,
    “you will wear all of them like jewels
        and display them on yourself as a bride would.”

19 Though you are destroyed and demolished and your land is in ruins,
    you will be too crowded for your people now.
        Those who devoured you will be long gone.
20 The children taken from you will say to you,
    “This place is too crowded for me.
    Make room for me to live here.”
21 Then you will ask yourself,
    “Who has fathered these children for me?
        I was childless and unable to have children.
        I was exiled and rejected.
    Who raised these children for me?
        I was left alone.
    Where have they come from?”

22 This is what the Almighty Lord says:

I will lift my hand to signal the nations.
I will raise my flag for the people.
    They will bring your sons in their arms
        and carry your daughters on their shoulders.
23     Then kings will be your foster fathers,
        and their queens will nurse you.
    They will bow in front of you
        with their faces touching the ground.
    They will lick the dust at your feet.
        Then you will know that I am the Lord.
            Those who wait with hope for me will not be put to shame.

24 Can loot be taken away from mighty men
    or prisoners be freed from conquerors?

25 This is what the Lord says:

Prisoners will be freed from mighty men.
Loot will be taken away from tyrants.
I will fight your enemies,
    and I will save your children.
26 I will make your oppressors eat their own flesh,
    and they will become drunk on their own blood
        as though it were new wine.
Then all humanity will know that I am the Lord, who saves you,
    the Mighty One of Jacob, who reclaims you.


  1. Isaiah 49:8 Or “covenant.”

The Servant of the Lord

49 Listen(A) to me, you islands;(B)
    hear this, you distant nations:
Before I was born(C) the Lord called(D) me;
    from my mother’s womb he has spoken my name.(E)
He made my mouth(F) like a sharpened sword,(G)
    in the shadow of his hand(H) he hid me;
he made me into a polished arrow(I)
    and concealed me in his quiver.
He said to me, “You are my servant,(J)
    Israel, in whom I will display my splendor.(K)
But I said, “I have labored in vain;(L)
    I have spent my strength for nothing at all.
Yet what is due me is in the Lord’s hand,(M)
    and my reward(N) is with my God.”(O)

And now the Lord says—
    he who formed me in the womb(P) to be his servant
to bring Jacob back to him
    and gather Israel(Q) to himself,
for I am[a] honored(R) in the eyes of the Lord
    and my God has been my strength(S)
he says:
“It is too small a thing for you to be my servant(T)
    to restore the tribes of Jacob
    and bring back those of Israel I have kept.(U)
I will also make you a light(V) for the Gentiles,(W)
    that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.”(X)

This is what the Lord says—
    the Redeemer and Holy One of Israel(Y)
to him who was despised(Z) and abhorred by the nation,
    to the servant of rulers:
“Kings(AA) will see you and stand up,
    princes will see and bow down,(AB)
because of the Lord, who is faithful,(AC)
    the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen(AD) you.”

Restoration of Israel

This is what the Lord says:

“In the time of my favor(AE) I will answer you,
    and in the day of salvation I will help you;(AF)
I will keep(AG) you and will make you
    to be a covenant for the people,(AH)
to restore the land(AI)
    and to reassign its desolate inheritances,(AJ)
to say to the captives,(AK) ‘Come out,’
    and to those in darkness,(AL) ‘Be free!’

“They will feed beside the roads
    and find pasture on every barren hill.(AM)
10 They will neither hunger nor thirst,(AN)
    nor will the desert heat or the sun beat down on them.(AO)
He who has compassion(AP) on them will guide(AQ) them
    and lead them beside springs(AR) of water.
11 I will turn all my mountains into roads,
    and my highways(AS) will be raised up.(AT)
12 See, they will come from afar(AU)
    some from the north, some from the west,(AV)
    some from the region of Aswan.[b]

13 Shout for joy,(AW) you heavens;
    rejoice, you earth;(AX)
    burst into song, you mountains!(AY)
For the Lord comforts(AZ) his people
    and will have compassion(BA) on his afflicted ones.(BB)

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

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

19 “Though you were ruined and made desolate(BM)
    and your land laid waste,(BN)
now you will be too small for your people,(BO)
    and those who devoured(BP) 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.’(BQ)
21 Then you will say in your heart,
    ‘Who bore me these?(BR)
I was bereaved(BS) and barren;
    I was exiled and rejected.(BT)
    Who brought these(BU) up?
I was left(BV) all alone,(BW)
    but these—where have they come from?’”

22 This is what the Sovereign Lord(BX) says:

“See, I will beckon to the nations,
    I will lift up my banner(BY) to the peoples;
they will bring(BZ) your sons in their arms
    and carry your daughters on their hips.(CA)
23 Kings(CB) will be your foster fathers,
    and their queens your nursing mothers.(CC)
They will bow down(CD) before you with their faces to the ground;
    they will lick the dust(CE) at your feet.
Then you will know that I am the Lord;(CF)
    those who hope(CG) in me will not be disappointed.(CH)

24 Can plunder be taken from warriors,(CI)
    or captives be rescued from the fierce[c]?

25 But this is what the Lord says:

“Yes, captives(CJ) will be taken from warriors,(CK)
    and plunder retrieved from the fierce;(CL)
I will contend with those who contend with you,(CM)
    and your children I will save.(CN)
26 I will make your oppressors(CO) eat(CP) their own flesh;
    they will be drunk on their own blood,(CQ) as with wine.
Then all mankind will know(CR)
    that I, the Lord, am your Savior,(CS)
    your Redeemer,(CT) the Mighty One of Jacob.(CU)


  1. Isaiah 49:5 Or him, / but Israel would not be gathered; / yet I will be
  2. Isaiah 49:12 Dead Sea Scrolls; Masoretic Text Sinim
  3. Isaiah 49:24 Dead Sea Scrolls, Vulgate and Syriac (see also Septuagint and verse 25); Masoretic Text righteous

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