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The Servant, the Light to the Gentiles

49 “Listen, (A)O coastlands, to Me,
And take heed, you peoples from afar!
(B)The Lord has called Me from the womb;
From the [a]matrix of My mother He has made mention of My name.
And He has made (C)My mouth like a sharp sword;
(D)In the shadow of His hand He has hidden Me,
And made Me (E)a polished shaft;
In His quiver He has hidden Me.”

“And He said to me,
(F)‘You are My servant, O Israel,
(G)In whom I will be glorified.’
(H)Then I said, ‘I have labored in vain,
I have spent my strength for nothing and in vain;
Yet surely my [b]just reward is with the Lord,
And my [c]work with my God.’ ”

“And now the Lord says,
Who formed Me from the womb to be His Servant,
To bring Jacob back to Him,
So that Israel (I)is [d]gathered to Him
(For I shall be glorious in the eyes of the Lord,
And My God shall be My strength),
Indeed He says,
‘It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant
To raise up the tribes of Jacob,
And to restore the preserved ones of Israel;
I will also give You as a (J)light to the Gentiles,
That You should be My salvation to the ends of the earth.’ ”

Thus says the Lord,
The Redeemer of Israel, [e]their Holy One,
(K)To Him [f]whom man despises,
To Him whom the nation abhors,
To the Servant of rulers:
(L)“Kings shall see and arise,
Princes also shall worship,
Because of the Lord who is faithful,
The Holy One of Israel;
And He has chosen You.”

Thus says the Lord:

“In an (M)acceptable[g] time I have heard You,
And in the day of salvation I have helped You;
I will [h]preserve You (N)and give You
As a covenant to the people,
To restore the earth,
To cause them to inherit the desolate [i]heritages;
That You may say (O)to the prisoners, ‘Go forth,’
To those who are in darkness, ‘Show yourselves.’

“They shall feed along the roads,
And their pastures shall be on all desolate heights.
10 They shall neither (P)hunger nor thirst,
(Q)Neither heat nor sun shall strike them;
For He who has mercy on them (R)will lead them,
Even by the springs of water He will guide them.
11 (S)I will make each of My mountains a road,
And My highways shall be elevated.
12 Surely (T)these shall come from afar;
Look! Those from the north and the west,
And these from the land of Sinim.”

13 (U)Sing, O heavens!
Be joyful, O earth!
And break out in singing, O mountains!
For the Lord has comforted His people,
And will have mercy on His afflicted.

God Will Remember Zion

14 (V)But Zion said, “The Lord has forsaken me,
And my Lord has forgotten me.”

15 “Can(W) a woman forget her nursing child,
[j]And not have compassion on the son of her womb?
Surely they may forget,
(X)Yet I will not forget you.
16 See, (Y)I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands;
Your walls are continually before Me.
17 Your [k]sons shall make haste;
Your destroyers and those who laid you waste
Shall go away from you.
18 (Z)Lift up your eyes, look around and see;
All these gather together and come to you.
As I live,” says the Lord,
“You shall surely clothe yourselves with them all (AA)as an ornament,
And bind them on you as a bride does.

19 “For your waste and desolate places,
And the land of your destruction,
(AB)Will even now be too small for the inhabitants;
And those who swallowed you up will be far away.
20 (AC)The children you will have,
(AD)After you have lost the others,
Will say again in your ears,
‘The place is too small for me;
Give me a place where I may dwell.’
21 Then you will say in your heart,
‘Who has begotten these for me,
Since I have lost my children and am desolate,
A captive, and wandering to and fro?
And who has brought these up?
There I was, left alone;
But these, where were they?’ ”

22 (AE)Thus says the Lord God:

“Behold, I will lift My hand in an oath to the nations,
And set up My [l]standard for the peoples;
They shall bring your sons in their [m]arms,
And your daughters shall be carried on their shoulders;
23 (AF)Kings shall be your foster fathers,
And their queens your nursing mothers;
They shall bow down to you with their faces to the earth,
And (AG)lick up the dust of your feet.
Then you will know that I am the Lord,
(AH)For they shall not be ashamed who wait for Me.”

24 (AI)Shall the prey be taken from the mighty,
Or the captives [n]of the righteous be delivered?

25 But thus says the Lord:

“Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken away,
And the prey of the terrible be delivered;
For I will contend with him who contends with you,
And I will save your children.
26 I will (AJ)feed those who oppress you with their own flesh,
And they shall be drunk with their own (AK)blood as with sweet wine.
All flesh (AL)shall know
That I, the Lord, am your Savior,
And your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.”


  1. Isaiah 49:1 Lit. inward parts
  2. Isaiah 49:4 justice
  3. Isaiah 49:4 recompense
  4. Isaiah 49:5 Qr., DSS, LXX gathered to Him; Kt. not gathered
  5. Isaiah 49:7 Lit. his or its
  6. Isaiah 49:7 Lit. who is despised of soul
  7. Isaiah 49:8 favorable
  8. Isaiah 49:8 keep
  9. Isaiah 49:8 inheritances
  10. Isaiah 49:15 Lit. From having compassion
  11. Isaiah 49:17 DSS, LXX, Tg., Vg. builders
  12. Isaiah 49:22 banner
  13. Isaiah 49:22 Lit. bosom
  14. Isaiah 49:24 So with MT, Tg.; DSS, Syr., Vg. of the mighty; LXX unjustly

Salvation Reaches to the End of the Earth

49 Listen to [a]Me, O islands and coastlands,
And pay attention, you peoples from far away.
The Lord has called Me from the womb;
From the body of My mother He has named Me.

He has made My mouth like a sharp sword,
In the shadow of His hand He has kept Me hidden;
And He has made Me a sharpened arrow,
In His quiver He has hidden Me.

And [the Lord] said to Me, “You are My [b]Servant, Israel,
In Whom I will show My glory.”(A)

Then I said, “I have labored in vain,
I have spent My strength for nothing and vanity (pride, uselessness);
However My justice is with the Lord,
And My reward is with My God.”

And now says the Lord, who formed Me from the womb to be His Servant,
To bring Jacob back to Him and that Israel might be gathered to Him,
—For I am honored in the eyes of the Lord,
And My God is My strength—

He says, “It is too trivial a thing that You should be My Servant
To raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the [c]survivors of Israel;
I will also make You a light to the nations
That My salvation may reach to the end of the earth.”

This is what the Lord, the Redeemer of Israel, Israel’s Holy One says,
To the thoroughly despised One,
To the One hated by the nation
To the Servant of rulers,
[d]Kings will see and arise,
Princes shall also bow down,
Because of the Lord who is faithful, the Holy One of Israel who has chosen You.”

This is what the Lord says,
“In a [e]favorable time I have answered You,
And in a day of salvation I have helped You;
And I will keep watch over You and give You for a covenant of the people,
To restore the land [from its present state of ruin] and to apportion and give as inheritances the deserted hereditary lands,(B)

Saying to those who are bound and captured, ‘Go forth,’
And to those who are in [spiritual] darkness, ‘Show yourselves [come into the light of the Savior].’
They will feed along the roads [on which they travel],
And their pastures will be on all the bare heights.
“They will not hunger or thirst,
Nor will the scorching heat or sun strike them down;
For He who has compassion on them will lead them,
And He will guide them to springs of water.(C)
“And I will make all My mountains a roadway,
And My highways will be raised.
“In fact, these will come from far away;
And, lo, these shall come from the north and from the west,
And these from the land of [f]Aswan (southern Egypt).”
Shout for joy, O heavens, and rejoice, O earth,
And break forth into singing, O mountains!
For the Lord has comforted His people
And will have compassion on His afflicted.

Promise to Zion

But Zion (Jerusalem in captivity) said, “The Lord has abandoned me,
And my Lord has forgotten me.”
[The Lord answered] “Can a woman forget her nursing child
And have no compassion on the son of her womb?
Even these may forget, but I will not forget you.
“Indeed, I have inscribed [a picture of] you on the [g]palms of My hands;
Your city walls [Zion] are continually before Me.
“Your [h]builders hurry;
Your destroyers and devastators
Will go away from you.
“Lift up your eyes and look around [at the returning exiles];
All these gather together and they come to you [to rebuild you].
As I live,” declares the Lord,
“You [Zion] will indeed clothe yourself with all of them as jewels and tie them on as a bride.
“For your ruins and desolate places and your land [once the scene] of destruction—
Certainly now [in the coming years] will be too cramped for the inhabitants,
And those who once engulfed you will be far away.
“The children of your bereavement [those born in captivity] will yet say in your ears,
‘The place is too cramped for me’;
Make room for me that I may live here.
“Then [Zion], you will say in your heart,
‘Who has borne me these children,
Since I have been bereaved of my children
And am barren, an exile and a wanderer?
And who has reared these?
Indeed, I was left alone;
[i]From where then did these children come?’”

22 This is what the Lord God says,

“Listen carefully, I will lift up My hand to the [Gentile] nations
And set up My banner to the peoples;
And they will bring your sons in the fold of their garments,
And your daughters will be carried on their shoulders.
“Kings will be your attendants,
And their princesses your nurses.
They will bow down to you with their faces to the earth
And lick the dust of your feet;
And you shall know [with an understanding based on personal experience] that I am the Lord;
For they shall not be put to shame who wait and hope expectantly for Me.

“Can the spoils of war be taken from the mighty man,
Or the captives of a tyrant be rescued?”

25 Indeed, this is what the Lord says,

“Even the captives of the mighty man will be taken away,
And the tyrant’s spoils of war will be rescued;
For I will contend with your opponent,
And I will save your children.
“I will make those who oppress you consume their own flesh [in mutually destructive wars]
And they will become drunk with their own blood as with sweet wine;
And all [j]mankind will know [with a knowledge grounded in personal experience] that I, the Lord, am your Savior
And your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.”


  1. Isaiah 49:1 The upper case pronouns here and in the following verses reflect the position that Isaiah is referring to the Messiah, the divine Servant and Son of God. Some have argued that Isaiah is referring instead to himself or to Israel (see v 3 and the note there).
  2. Isaiah 49:3 At first glance it would seem that Israel is the servant. However, many scholars maintain that the Messiah is being addressed as Israel because He represents and fulfills what Israel as a nation was meant to be: the source of salvation to the world. Note also that in v 6 the Servant is destined to restore Israel, which indicates that He is not Israel itself.
  3. Isaiah 49:6 Lit spared.
  4. Isaiah 49:7 Rising and bowing down are both gestures of respect: kings arise from their thrones.
  5. Isaiah 49:8 One ancient rabbi explained this as a time predestined for good.
  6. Isaiah 49:12 A reading favored by DSS; MT has Sinim, traditionally interpreted as China, which is unlikely. The Greek (LXX) indicates Persia, the Latin (Vulgate) has “southern land.”
  7. Isaiah 49:16 In Jewish tradition there is a story representing Israel as God’s daughter, who asks Him to stamp a seal of her on His heart and arm (Song 8:6). God replies that such a seal cannot always be seen, so He has instead inscribed her upon His palms.
  8. Isaiah 49:17 So DSS and ancient versions; MT reads sons.
  9. Isaiah 49:21 Lit These, where are they.
  10. Isaiah 49:26 Lit flesh.

The Lord’s Servant Commissioned

49 Listen to me, all you in distant lands!
    Pay attention, you who are far away!
The Lord called me before my birth;
    from within the womb he called me by name.
He made my words of judgment as sharp as a sword.
    He has hidden me in the shadow of his hand.
    I am like a sharp arrow in his quiver.

He said to me, “You are my servant, Israel,
    and you will bring me glory.”

I replied, “But my work seems so useless!
    I have spent my strength for nothing and to no purpose.
Yet I leave it all in the Lord’s hand;
    I will trust God for my reward.”

And now the Lord speaks—
    the one who formed me in my mother’s womb to be his servant,
    who commissioned me to bring Israel back to him.
The Lord has honored me,
    and my God has given me strength.
He says, “You will do more than restore the people of Israel to me.
    I will make you a light to the Gentiles,
    and you will bring my salvation to the ends of the earth.”

The Lord, the Redeemer
    and Holy One of Israel,
says to the one who is despised and rejected by the nations,
    to the one who is the servant of rulers:
“Kings will stand at attention when you pass by.
    Princes will also bow low
because of the Lord, the faithful one,
    the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen you.”

Promises of Israel’s Restoration

This is what the Lord says:

“At just the right time, I will respond to you.[a]
    On the day of salvation I will help you.
I will protect you and give you to the people
    as my covenant with them.
Through you I will reestablish the land of Israel
    and assign it to its own people again.
I will say to the prisoners, ‘Come out in freedom,’
    and to those in darkness, ‘Come into the light.’
They will be my sheep, grazing in green pastures
    and on hills that were previously bare.
10 They will neither hunger nor thirst.
    The searing sun will not reach them anymore.
For the Lord in his mercy will lead them;
    he will lead them beside cool waters.
11 And I will make my mountains into level paths for them.
    The highways will be raised above the valleys.
12 See, my people will return from far away,
    from lands to the north and west,
    and from as far south as Egypt.[b]

13 Sing for joy, O heavens!
    Rejoice, O earth!
    Burst into song, O mountains!
For the Lord has comforted his people
    and will have compassion on them in their suffering.

14 Yet Jerusalem[c] says, “The Lord has deserted us;
    the Lord has forgotten us.”

15 “Never! Can a mother forget her nursing child?
    Can she feel no love for the child she has borne?
But even if that were possible,
    I would not forget you!
16 See, I have written your name on the palms of my hands.
    Always in my mind is a picture of Jerusalem’s walls in ruins.
17 Soon your descendants will come back,
    and all who are trying to destroy you will go away.
18 Look around you and see,
    for all your children will come back to you.
As surely as I live,” says the Lord,
    “they will be like jewels or bridal ornaments for you to display.

19 “Even the most desolate parts of your abandoned land
    will soon be crowded with your people.
Your enemies who enslaved you
    will be far away.
20 The generations born in exile will return and say,
    ‘We need more room! It’s crowded here!’
21 Then you will think to yourself,
    ‘Who has given me all these descendants?
For most of my children were killed,
    and the rest were carried away into exile.
I was left here all alone.
    Where did all these people come from?
Who bore these children?
    Who raised them for me?’”

22 This is what the Sovereign Lord says:
    “See, I will give a signal to the godless nations.
They will carry your little sons back to you in their arms;
    they will bring your daughters on their shoulders.
23 Kings and queens will serve you
    and care for all your needs.
They will bow to the earth before you
    and lick the dust from your feet.
Then you will know that I am the Lord.
    Those who trust in me will never be put to shame.”

24 Who can snatch the plunder of war from the hands of a warrior?
    Who can demand that a tyrant[d] let his captives go?
25 But the Lord says,
“The captives of warriors will be released,
    and the plunder of tyrants will be retrieved.
For I will fight those who fight you,
    and I will save your children.
26 I will feed your enemies with their own flesh.
    They will be drunk with rivers of their own blood.
All the world will know that I, the Lord,
    am your Savior and your Redeemer,
    the Mighty One of Israel.[e]


  1. 49:8 Greek version reads I heard you. Compare 2 Cor 6:2.
  2. 49:12 As in Dead Sea Scrolls, which read from the region of Aswan, which is in southern Egypt. Masoretic Text reads from the region of Sinim.
  3. 49:14 Hebrew Zion.
  4. 49:24 As in Dead Sea Scrolls, Syriac version, and Latin Vulgate (also see 49:25); Masoretic Text reads a righteous person.
  5. 49:26 Hebrew of Jacob. See note on 14:1.

A Light for the Nations

49 1-3 Listen, far-flung islands,
    pay attention, faraway people:
God put me to work from the day I was born.
    The moment I entered the world he named me.
He gave me speech that would cut and penetrate.
    He kept his hand on me to protect me.
He made me his straight arrow
    and hid me in his quiver.
He said to me, “You’re my dear servant,
    Israel, through whom I’ll shine.”

But I said, “I’ve worked for nothing.
    I’ve nothing to show for a life of hard work.
Nevertheless, I’ll let God have the last word.
    I’ll let him pronounce his verdict.”

5-6 “And now,” God says,
    this God who took me in hand
    from the moment of birth to be his servant,
To bring Jacob back home to him,
    to set a reunion for Israel—
What an honor for me in God’s eyes!
    That God should be my strength!
He says, “But that’s not a big enough job for my servant—
    just to recover the tribes of Jacob,
    merely to round up the strays of Israel.
I’m setting you up as a light for the nations
    so that my salvation becomes global!”

God, Redeemer of Israel, The Holy of Israel,
    says to the despised one, kicked around by the nations,
    slave labor to the ruling class:
“Kings will see, get to their feet—the princes, too—
    and then fall on their faces in homage
Because of God, who has faithfully kept his word,
    The Holy of Israel, who has chosen you.”

8-12 God also says:

“When the time’s ripe, I answer you.
    When victory’s due, I help you.
I form you and use you
    to reconnect the people with me,
To put the land in order,
    to resettle families on the ruined properties.
I tell prisoners, ‘Come on out. You’re free!’
    and those huddled in fear, ‘It’s all right. It’s safe now.’
There’ll be foodstands along all the roads,
    picnics on all the hills—
Nobody hungry, nobody thirsty,
    shade from the sun, shelter from the wind,
For the Compassionate One guides them,
    takes them to the best springs.
I’ll make all my mountains into roads,
    turn them into a superhighway.
Look: These coming from far countries,
    and those, out of the north,
These streaming in from the west,
    and those from all the way down the Nile!”

13 Heavens, raise the roof! Earth, wake the dead!
    Mountains, send up cheers!
God has comforted his people.
    He has tenderly nursed his beaten-up, beaten-down people.

14 But Zion said, “I don’t get it. God has left me.
    My Master has forgotten I even exist.”

15-18 “Can a mother forget the infant at her breast,
    walk away from the baby she bore?
But even if mothers forget,
    I’d never forget you—never.
Look, I’ve written your names on the backs of my hands.
    The walls you’re rebuilding are never out of my sight.
Your builders are faster than your wreckers.
    The demolition crews are gone for good.
Look up, look around, look well!
    See them all gathering, coming to you?
As sure as I am the living God”—God’s Decree—
    “you’re going to put them on like so much jewelry,
    you’re going to use them to dress up like a bride.

19-21 “And your ruined land?
    Your devastated, decimated land?
Filled with more people than you know what to do with!
    And your barbarian enemies, a fading memory.
The children born in your exile will be saying,
    ‘It’s getting too crowded here. I need more room.’
And you’ll say to yourself,
    ‘Where on earth did these children come from?
I lost everything, had nothing, was exiled and penniless.
    So who reared these children?
    How did these children get here?’”

22-23 The Master, God, says:

“Look! I signal to the nations,
    I raise my flag to summon the people.
Here they’ll come: women carrying your little boys in their arms,
    men carrying your little girls on their shoulders.
Kings will be your babysitters,
    princesses will be your nursemaids.
They’ll offer to do all your drudge work—
    scrub your floors, do your laundry.
You’ll know then that I am God.
    No one who hopes in me ever regrets it.”

24-26 Can plunder be retrieved from a giant,
    prisoners of war gotten back from a tyrant?
But God says, “Even if a giant grips the plunder
    and a tyrant holds my people prisoner,
I’m the one who’s on your side,
    defending your cause, rescuing your children.
And your enemies, crazed and desperate, will turn on themselves,
    killing each other in a frenzy of self-destruction.
Then everyone will know that I, God,
    have saved you—I, the Mighty One of Jacob.”

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.