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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].
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].
He told me, “Israel, you are my servant.
    I will show my glory ·through [in] you.”
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.”
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].
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].”

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

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].
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][a]?
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].”


  1. Isaiah 49:24 tyrant The Dead Sea Scrolls read “tyrant.” Some Hebrew copies have “righteous one.”
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