Isaiah 49 Expanded Bible (EXB)
God Calls His Special Servant
49 All of you ·people in faraway places [or islands; or coastlands], listen to me.
·Listen [Pay attention], all you nations far away.
·Before I was born [L From the womb], the Lord called me to serve him.
The Lord named me while I was still in my mother’s womb [C this passage (49:1–13) is the second of four “servant songs” in Isaiah; 42:1].
2 He made my ·tongue [mouth] like a sharp sword [C his words enact judgment; 11:4; Heb. 4:12; Rev. 1:16].
He hid me in the shadow of his hand.
He made me like a ·sharp [or polished] arrow.
He hid me in ·the holder for his arrows [his quiver].
3 He told me, “Israel, you are my servant.
I will show my glory ·through [in] you.”
4 But I said, “I have worked hard ·for nothing [in vain];
I have used all my power, ·but I did nothing useful [for nothing; in futility].
But ·the Lord will decide what my work is worth [L my judgment/vindication is the Lord’s];
God will decide my reward.”
5 The Lord made me in the ·body [womb] of my mother
to be his servant,
to lead ·the people of Jacob [L Jacob] back to him
so that Israel might be gathered to him.
·The Lord will honor me [L I am honored in the eyes of the Lord],
and ·I will get my strength from my God [L God will be my strength].
6 Now he told me,
“·You are an important servant to me [It is too small a thing; or Is it too small a thing…?]
to ·bring back [restore; raise up] the tribes of Jacob,
to bring back the ·people of Israel who are left alive [remnant/preserved ones of Israel].
I will make you a light for the nations [42:6; Luke 2:32; Acts 13:47]
so that my salvation will reach ·people all over the world [L the end of the earth].”
7 The Lord ·who saves you [the Redeemer], the Holy One of Israel [1:4].
says to the one who is ·hated [L despised and abhorred] by the ·people [or nation; or nations],
to the servant of rulers.
This is what he says: “Kings will see you and ·stand [rise; C to honor him];
·great leaders [princes] will bow down before you,
because the Lord ·can be trusted [is faithful].
He is the Holy One of Israel [1:4], who has chosen you.”
The Day of Salvation
8 This is what the Lord says:
“At the ·right time [time of favor] I will ·hear your prayers [answer you].
On the day of salvation I will help you [2 Cor. 6:2].
I will protect you,
and ·you will be the sign of my agreement with [L I will give/establish you as a covenant for] the people [42:6].
·You will bring back the people to the land [L …to restore/rebuild the land]
and ·give the land that is now ruined back to its owners [L bequeath its desolate inheritances].
9 You will tell the prisoners, ‘·Come out [42:7].’
You will tell those in darkness, ‘·Come into the light [Show yourselves; Appear].’
·The people [L They] will ·eat [feed; graze] beside the roads [C the people are symbolically pictured as sheep],
and they will find ·food [pasture] even on bare hills.
10 They will not be hungry or thirsty.
Neither the ·desert wind [L heat] nor the hot sun will ·hurt [strike] them.
The God who comforts them will lead them
and guide them by springs of water.
11 I will make my mountains into roads,
and the ·roads [highways] will be raised up [C to make a level road; 40:4].
12 Look, people are coming to me from far away,
from the north and from the west,
from ·Aswan in southern Egypt [L the land of Sinim].”
13 Heavens, shout with joy;
earth, be happy;
mountains, burst into song,
because the Lord comforts his people
and will have ·pity [compassion] on ·those who suffer [the oppressed].
Jerusalem and Her Children
14 But ·Jerusalem [L Zion; C the location of the Temple] said, “The Lord has ·left [abandoned; forsaken] me;
the Lord has forgotten me.”
15 The Lord answers, “Can a woman forget the baby she nurses?
Can she feel no kindness for the child ·to which she gave birth [of her womb]?
Even if she could forget her children,
I will not forget you.
16 See, I have ·written [engraved; inscribed] your name on my ·hand [palms].
·Jerusalem, I always think about your walls [L Your walls are always before me; C destroyed by the Babylonians].
17 Your children ·will soon return to you [L hurry; hasten],
and the people who defeated you and destroyed you will leave.
18 ·Look up [L Lift up your eyes] and look around you.
All your children are gathering to return to you.”
The Lord says, “As surely as I live,
·your children will be [L you will wear them all] like ·jewels [or ornaments]
·that a bride wears proudly [L you will put them on like a bride].
19 “You were destroyed and defeated,
and your land was made ·useless [desolate].
But now you will have more people than the land can hold,
and those people who ·destroyed [devoured] you will be far away.
20 The children ·born to you while you were sad [L of your bereavement]
will say to you,
‘This place is too small for us.
Give us a bigger place to live.’
21 Then you will say ·to yourself [L in your heart],
‘Who ·gave me all these children [bore me these]?
I was ·sad [bereaved] and ·lonely [barren],
·defeated [rejected] and ·separated from my people [exiled].
So who reared these children?
I was left all alone.
Where did all these children come from?’”
22 This is what the Lord God says:
“See, I will lift my hand ·to signal [L to] the nations;
I will raise my banner for all the people to see.
Then they will bring your sons back to you in their ·arms [L bosom; lap],
and they will carry your daughters on their shoulders [C Jews returning from exile are pictured as children returning to their parents].
23 Kings will ·teach your children [be guardians/foster parents],
and ·daughters of kings [princesses; or queens] will take care of them.
They will bow down before you with their faces to the ground
and ·kiss the dirt [lick the dust] at your feet.
Then you will know I am the Lord.
Anyone who ·trusts in [hopes in; waits on] me will not be ·disappointed [or ashamed].”
24 Can ·the wealth a soldier wins in war [spoils; plunder] be taken away from ·him [a warrior; a strong man]?
Can a prisoner be freed from a ·powerful soldier [tyrant]?
25 This is what the Lord says:
“The ·prisoners [captives] will be taken from the ·strong soldiers [mighty one].
·What the soldiers have taken will be saved [L …and spoils/plunder rescued from the tyrant].
I will fight ·your enemies [L those who fight with you],
and I will save your children.
26 I will force ·those who trouble you [your enemies/oppressors] to eat their own flesh.
Their own blood will be the wine that makes them drunk.
Then ·everyone [all flesh] will know
I, the Lord, am the One who saves you;
I am the Powerful One of Jacob ·who saves you [your redeemer].”