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Isaiah 49 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

B. Expiation of Sin, Spiritual Liberation of Israel

Chapter 49

The Servant of the Lord[a]

Hear me, coastlands,
    listen, distant peoples.
Before birth the Lord called me,
    from my mother’s womb he gave me my name.[b]
He made my mouth like a sharp-edged sword,
    concealed me, shielded by his hand.
He made me a sharpened arrow,
    in his quiver he hid me.
He said to me, You are my servant,
    in you, Israel,[c] I show my glory.

Though I thought I had toiled in vain,
    for nothing and for naught spent my strength,
Yet my right is with the Lord,
    my recompense is with my God.
For now the Lord has spoken
    who formed me as his servant from the womb,
That Jacob may be brought back to him
    and Israel gathered to him;
I am honored in the sight of the Lord,
    and my God is now my strength!
It is too little, he says, for you to be my servant,
    to raise up the tribes of Jacob,
    and restore the survivors of Israel;
I will make you a light to the nations,
    that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.[d]
Thus says the Lord,
    the redeemer, the Holy One of Israel,
To the one despised, abhorred by the nations,
    the slave of rulers:
When kings see you, they shall stand up,
    and princes shall bow down
Because of the Lord who is faithful,
    the Holy One of Israel who has chosen you.

The Liberation and Restoration of Zion

    Thus says the Lord:
In a time of favor I answer you,[e]
    on the day of salvation I help you;
I form you and set you
    as a covenant for the people,
To restore the land
    and allot the devastated heritages,
To say to the prisoners: Come out!
    To those in darkness: Show yourselves!
Along the roadways they shall find pasture,
    on every barren height shall their pastures be.
10 They shall not hunger or thirst;
    nor shall scorching wind or sun strike them;
For he who pities them leads them
    and guides them beside springs of water.
11 I will turn all my mountains into roadway,
    and make my highways level.
12 See, these shall come from afar:
    some from the north and the west,
    others from the land of Syene.[f]

13 Sing out, heavens, and rejoice, earth,
    break forth into song, you mountains,
For the Lord comforts his people
    and shows mercy to his afflicted.

14 But Zion said, “The Lord has forsaken me;
    my Lord has forgotten me.”
15 Can a mother forget her infant,
    be without tenderness for the child of her womb?
Even should she forget,
    I will never forget you.
16 See, upon the palms of my hands I have engraved you;[g]
    your walls are ever before me.
17 Your children hasten—
    your levelers, your destroyers
    go forth from you;
18 Look about and see,
    they are all gathering and coming to you.
As I live—oracle of the Lord
    you shall don them as jewels,
    bedeck yourself like a bride.

19 Though you were waste and desolate,
    a land of ruins,
Now you shall be too narrow for your inhabitants,
    while those who swallowed you up will be far away.
20 The children of whom you were bereft
    shall yet say in your hearing,
“This place is too narrow for me,
    make room for me to live in.”
21 You shall ask yourself:
    “Who has borne me these,
    when I was bereft and barren?
Exiled and repudiated,
    who has reared them?
I was left all alone;
    where then do these come from?”
22     Thus says the Lord God:
See, I will lift up my hand to the nations,
    and to the peoples raise my signal;
They shall bring your sons in their arms,
    your daughters shall be carried on their shoulders.
23 Kings shall be your guardians,
    their princesses your nursemaids;
Face to the ground, they shall bow down before you
    and lick the dust at your feet.
Then you shall know that I am the Lord,
    none who hope in me shall be ashamed.
24 Can plunder be taken from a warrior,
    or captives rescued from a tyrant?
25     Thus says the Lord:
Yes, captives can be taken from a warrior,
    and plunder rescued from a tyrant;
Those who oppose you I will oppose,
    and your sons I will save.
26 I will make your oppressors eat their own flesh,
    and they shall be drunk with their own blood
    as though with new wine.
All flesh shall know
    that I, the Lord, am your savior,
    your redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.

Footnotes:

  1. 49:1–7 The second of the four “servant of the Lord” oracles (cf. note on 42:1–4).
  2. 49:1 Gave me my name: designated me for a special task or mission (cf. Jer 1:5).
  3. 49:3 Israel: the servant is identified with the people of Israel as their ideal representative; however, vv. 5–6 seem to distinguish the servant from Israel.
  4. 49:6 The servant’s vocation extends beyond the restoration of Israel in order to bring the knowledge of Israel’s God to the rest of the earth; cf. Lk 2:32.
  5. 49:8 You: the individual is not named; perhaps Cyrus or the prophet.
  6. 49:12 Syene: now called Aswan, at the first cataract of the Nile in southern Egypt.
  7. 49:16 Upon the palms…you: for continual remembrance; cf. Ex 13:9, 16; Dt 6:6–9.
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Isaiah 49 New International Version (NIV)

The Servant of the Lord

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

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

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

Restoration of Israel

This is what the Lord says:

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

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

13 Shout for joy, you heavens;
    rejoice, you earth;
    burst into song, you mountains!
For the Lord comforts his people
    and will have compassion on his afflicted ones.

14 But Zion said, “The Lord has forsaken me,
    the Lord has forgotten me.”

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

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

22 This is what the Sovereign Lord says:

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

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

25 But this is what the Lord says:

“Yes, captives will be taken from warriors,
    and plunder retrieved from the fierce;
I will contend with those who contend with you,
    and your children I will save.
26 I will make your oppressors eat their own flesh;
    they will be drunk on their own blood, as with wine.
Then all mankind will know
    that I, the Lord, am your Savior,
    your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.

Footnotes:

  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
New International Version (NIV)

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