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The Suffering Servant

13 The Lord says:
    My servant will succeed!
He will be given great praise
    and the highest honors.
14 Many were horrified
    at what happened to him.[a]
But everyone who saw him
    was even more horrified
because he suffered until
    he no longer looked human.[b]
15 My servant will make
nations worthy to worship me;[c]
    kings will be silent
    as they bow in wonder.[d]
They will see and think about
things
they have never seen
    or thought about before.

What God’s Servant Did for Us

53 Has anyone believed us
or seen the mighty power
    of the Lord in action?
Like a young plant or a root
    that sprouts in dry ground,
the servant grew up
    obeying the Lord.
He wasn’t some handsome king.
Nothing about the way he looked
    made him attractive to us.
He was hated and rejected;
his life was filled with sorrow
    and terrible suffering.
No one wanted to look at him.
We despised him and said,
    “He is a nobody!”

He suffered and endured
    great pain for us,
but we thought his suffering
    was punishment from God.
He was wounded and crushed
    because of our sins;
by taking our punishment,
    he made us completely well.
All of us were like sheep
    that had wandered off.
We had each gone our own way,
but the Lord gave him
    the punishment we deserved.

He was painfully abused,
    but he did not complain.
He was silent like a lamb
    being led to the butcher,
as quiet as a sheep
    having its wool cut off.

He was condemned to death
    without a fair trial.
Who could have imagined
    what would happen to him?
His life was taken away
because of the sinful things
    my people[e] had done.
He wasn’t dishonest or violent,
but he was buried in a tomb
    of cruel and rich people.[f]

10 The Lord decided his servant
    would suffer as a sacrifice
to take away the sin
    and guilt of others.
Now the servant will live
    to see his own descendants.[g]
He did everything
    the Lord had planned.

11 By suffering, the servant
will learn the true meaning
    of obeying the Lord.
Although he is innocent,
he will take the punishment
    for the sins of others,
so that many of them
    will no longer be guilty.
12 The Lord will reward him
with honor and power
    for sacrificing his life.
Others thought he was a sinner,
but he suffered for our sins
    and asked God to forgive us.

Footnotes

  1. 52.14 him: One ancient translation; Hebrew “you.”
  2. 52.14 human: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 14.
  3. 52.15 My. . . me: Hebrew; one ancient translation “The nations will be amazed at him.”
  4. 52.15 kings. . . wonder: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  5. 53.8 my people: Or “his people.”
  6. 53.9 but he. . . people: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  7. 53.10 The Lord. . . descendants: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.