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Isaiah 49 Good News Translation (GNT)

Israel, A Light to the Nations

49 Listen to me, distant nations,
    you people who live far away!
Before I was born, the Lord chose me
    and appointed me to be his servant.
He made my words as sharp as a sword.
    With his own hand he protected me.[a]
He made me like an arrow,
    sharp and ready for use.
He said to me, “Israel, you are my servant;
    because of you, people will praise me.”

I said, “I have worked, but how hopeless it is!
    I have used up my strength, but have accomplished nothing.”
Yet I can trust the Lord to defend my cause;
    he will reward me for what I do.

Before I was born, the Lord appointed me;
    he made me his servant to bring back his people,
    to bring back the scattered people of Israel.
The Lord gives me honor;
    he is the source of my strength.

The Lord said to me,

“I have a greater task for you, my servant.
    Not only will you restore to greatness
    the people of Israel who have survived,
but I will also make you a light to the nations—
    so that all the world may be saved.”

Israel's holy God and savior says
    to the one who is deeply despised,
    who is hated by the nations
    and is the servant of rulers:
“Kings will see you released
    and will rise to show their respect;
princes also will see it,
    and they will bow low to honor you.”

This will happen because the Lord has chosen his servant;
the holy God of Israel keeps his promises.

The Restoration of Jerusalem

The Lord says to his people,

“When the time comes to save you, I will show you favor
    and answer your cries for help.
I will guard and protect you
    and through you make a covenant with all peoples.
I will let you settle once again
    in your land that is now laid waste.
I will say to the prisoners, ‘Go free!’
    and to those who are in darkness,
    ‘Come out to the light!’
They will be like sheep that graze on the hills;
10     they will never be hungry or thirsty.
Sun and desert heat will not hurt them,
    for they will be led by one who loves them.
    He will lead them to springs of water.

11 “I will make a highway across the mountains
    and prepare a road for my people to travel.
12 My people will come from far away,
    from the north and the west,
    and from Aswan[b] in the south.”

13 Sing, heavens! Shout for joy, earth!
    Let the mountains burst into song!
The Lord will comfort his people;
    he will have pity on his suffering people.

14 But the people of Jerusalem said,

“The Lord has abandoned us!
    He has forgotten us.”

15 So the Lord answers,

“Can a woman forget her own baby
    and not love the child she bore?
Even if a mother should forget her child,
    I will never forget you.
16 Jerusalem, I can never forget you!
    I have written your name on the palms of my hands.

17 “Those who will rebuild you are coming soon,
    and those who destroyed you will leave.
18 Look around and see what is happening!
    Your people are assembling—they are coming home!
As surely as I am the living God,
    you will be proud of your people,
    as proud as a bride is of her jewels.

19 “Your country was ruined and desolate—
    but now it will be too small
    for those who are coming to live there.
And those who left you in ruins
    will be far removed from you.
20 Your people who were born in exile
    will one day say to you,
‘This land is too small—
    we need more room to live in!’
21 Then you will say to yourself,
‘Who bore all these children for me?
I lost my children and could have no more.
I was exiled and driven away—
    who brought these children up?
I was left all alone—
    where did these children come from?’”

22 The Sovereign Lord says to his people:

“I will signal to the nations,
    and they will bring your children home.
23 Kings will be like fathers to you;
    queens will be like mothers.
They will bow low before you and honor you;
    they will humbly show their respect for you.
Then you will know that I am the Lord;
    no one who waits for my help will be disappointed.”

24 Can you take away a soldier's loot?
    Can you rescue the prisoners of a tyrant?

25 The Lord replies,

“That is just what is going to happen.
The soldier's prisoners will be taken away,
    and the tyrant's loot will be seized.
I will fight against whoever fights you,
    and I will rescue your children.
26 I will make your oppressors kill each other;
    they will be drunk with murder and rage.
Then all people will know that I am the Lord,
    the one who saves you and sets you free.
They will know that I am Israel's powerful God.”


  1. Isaiah 49:2 With his own hand … me; or He kept me hidden in his hand.
  2. Isaiah 49:12 A city in southern Egypt, where a large Jewish community had settled.
Good News Translation (GNT)

Copyright © 1992 by American Bible Society

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.


  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)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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