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Isaiah 49 The Passion Translation (TPT)

The Lord’s Special Servant

49 Listen to what I have to say, you islands.

    Pay attention to me, you who live in distant lands.
    Yahweh called me as his own before I was born
    and named me while I was still in my mother’s womb.
He gives me words that pierce and penetrate.[a]
    He hid me and protected me in the shadow of his hand.[b]
    He prepared me like a polished arrow
    and concealed me in his quiver.
And he said to me,
    “Israel, you are my special servant;
    in you I will be glorified.”[c]
I said, “I’ve worked and served for nothing.
    I have used up all my strength for nothing.”[d]
    Yet my rights I leave in Yahweh’s hands,
    and my just reward is with my God.
And now, the Lord Yahweh—
    who shaped me in the womb to be his servant,
    to bring Jacob’s tribes back to him
    that Israel would be gathered back to himself,
    for I am honored in the sight of Yahweh.
    I find the source of all my strength in my God—
who says:
    “Is it too small a thing for you, my servant,
    to restore greatness to Jacob’s tribes and the survivors of Israel?
    I will make you to be a light to the nations and
    to bring the light of my salvation to the ends of the earth!”[e]
Yahweh, Israel’s Kinsman-Redeemer and Holy One,
    says to the one who is deeply despised and repulsed by rulers
    and a slave to the ruling class:
    “Kings will see and stand up in respect;
    princes will bow down to honor the faithfulness of Yahweh,
    the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen you.”

God’s Faithfulness

Yahweh says:
    “When the time of showing you favor has come,[f]
    I will answer your heart’s cry.
    I will help you in the day of salvation,
    for I have fixed my eyes on you.
    I have made you a covenant people to restore the land
    and to resettle families on forgotten inheritances.
You will declare to prisoners, ‘You’re free!’
    and to those in darkness, ‘Step out into the light!’
    They will be like sheep that graze beside the roads
    and find pasture on the barren hillside.
10 They will never be hungry or thirsty.[g]
    Neither scorching sun nor desert wind will hurt them,
    for he, the Loving One, will guide them
    and lead them to restful, renewing streams of water.[h]
11 I will level all my mountains as a road for them
    and raise up my highways.
12 Look! They will come from faraway lands—
    some from the north, some from the west,
    and some from the land of Sinim.”[i]
13 Sing for joy, you heavens!
    Shout, you earth, and rejoice with dancing, shouting, and glee!
    Burst into joyous songs, you mountains,
    for Yahweh has comforted his beloved people.
    He will show tenderness and compassion[j]
    to his suffering ones.

God Will Not Forget Zion

14 But Zion has said, “Yahweh has forsaken me.
    My Lord has forgotten me—I’m all alone.”
15 Yahweh responds, “But how could a loving mother forget her nursing child
    and not deeply love the one she bore?
    Even if a there is a mother who forgets her child,
    I could never, no never, forget you.
16 Can’t you see?
    I have carved your name on the palms of my hands!
    Your walls are always my concern.[k]
17 Your children, your builders,[l] are running back to you
    as those who ruined and destroyed you are running away.
18 Lift up your head and look all around you.
    See! All your children, your builders, gather to come back to you.
    As surely as I live, I make this promise,” says Yahweh.
    “You will wear them all like jewels,
    as a radiant bride[m] wears her beautiful jewelry!
19 “See? Your ruins and devastated places
    will soon be overcrowded with settlers
    while your destroyers stay far away.
20 You thought you had lost the children,[n]
    but you will hear them say,
    ‘This place is too cramped for me.
    Make more room for me to live in.’
21 And you will say to yourself,
    ‘Where in the world did all these children come from?
    Who birthed these for me?
    I thought I was bereaved and barren.
    I thought I was all alone, forgotten in exile—
    so how did they all get here?’”
22 This is what Lord Yahweh says:
    “Soon I will raise my hand and signal to the nations,
    and they will come with your little boys bundled in their arms[o]
    and your little daughters carried on their shoulders.
23 Kings will be their babysitters
    and queens their nursing mothers.
    With faces bowed to the ground,
    they will lick the dust of your feet.
    Then you will know that I am Yahweh,
    and I will never disappoint those
    who entwine[p] their hearts with mine.”
24 Who can snatch the prey
    from the hands of a mighty warrior
    or rescue captives from a conqueror?”[q]
25 But Yahweh says:
    “The prey will be freed from the mighty warrior
    and captives will be rescued from a conqueror!
    For I will fight with those who fight with you,[r]
    and I myself will save your children.
26 I will cause the violence of your oppressors
    to come back upon them,[s]
    and your enemies will kill one another in a killing frenzy![t]
    Then all the earth will know that I am Yahweh,
    your Savior, your Kinsman-Redeemer,
    the mighty hero of Jacob’s tribes.”


  1. Isaiah 49:2 Or “He makes my mouth a sharp sword.” See Heb. 4:12; Rev. 1:16; 2:12, 16; 19:15.
  2. Isaiah 49:2 Jesus was “hidden” in Nazareth for thirty years.
  3. Isaiah 49:3 See Gen. 32:28; Deut. 7:6; 26:18, 19; Eph. 1:4-6.
  4. Isaiah 49:4 Or “empty breath.”
  5. Isaiah 49:6 Although Israel is named in this chapter, the future fulfillment is found in Jesus Christ, the true Servant of the Lord. He was called and named from the womb (v. 1 and Matt. 1:20-23). He was equipped and prepared by God (v. 2). He was appointed and commissioned as God’s Servant (v. 3). He brings Israel back to God (v. 5). He is highly favored in the sight of God (v. 5). Jesus found all his strength in his Father and did only what pleased him (v. 5 and John 5:19). He is light and salvation to nations (gentiles, v. 6).
  6. Isaiah 49:8 This may be a reference to the year of Jubilee (Lev. 25:8-13). Believers today are now living in that season of God’s favor. See Luke 4:18-19.
  7. Isaiah 49:10 See Rev. 7:16.
  8. Isaiah 49:10 See Ps. 23:1-3.
  9. Isaiah 49:12 There is much scholarly debate about the land of Sinim. There are some convincing arguments that link Sinim etymologically and historically to the Qin dynasty, which eventually grew and became modern-day China. The Sinites as a people group are mentioned in Gen. 10:17 and 1 Chron. 1:15. Others see Sinim as a Persian province, a variant name for Phoenicia, or a region in Aswan (Egypt).
  10. Isaiah 49:13 The Hebrew word for “compassion” is racham, a Hebrew homophone for “womb.” The implication is that God has a compassionate love for you, greater than a birth mother has for her child. God’s love comes from deep within his innermost being and births living mercy poured out over us. Racham can be translated “pity, grace, favor, tender affection, or compassion.” The very core of God’s being is filled with love and compassion for you.
  11. Isaiah 49:16 Although this is an apparent reference to the walls of Jerusalem, there is an application for each of us. Wherever you are today, your limitations, your walls, are before God’s eyes. He knows where you are and what you face.
  12. Isaiah 49:17 The Hebrew root word for “children” (bnyk) is a homonym for “builders.” This translation includes both terms. See also v. 18.
  13. Isaiah 49:18 The Hebrew word for “bride” (kallah) also means “completed, perfected, or finished.” A mature bride will arise, wearing her sons and daughters as her jewelry and crown. See 1 Thess. 2:19.
  14. Isaiah 49:20 Or “the children of your bereavement.”
  15. Isaiah 49:22 Or “lap, bosom.”
  16. Isaiah 49:23 Or “whoever waits on me.”
  17. Isaiah 49:24 Or “tyrant” (1QIsat, Vulgate, Aramaic). The Hebrew reads “a righteous one.”
  18. Isaiah 49:25 See Gen. 12:1-3.
  19. Isaiah 49:26 Or “I will make your oppressors eat their own flesh,” a figure of speech for violently turning on one another.
  20. Isaiah 49:26 Or “They will get drunk on their own blood as with wine.” See Rev. 16:6.
The Passion Translation (TPT)

The Passion Translation®. Copyright © 2017 by BroadStreet Publishing® Group, LLC.
Used by permission. All rights reserved. thePassionTranslation.com


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