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Isaiah 49 New Century Version (NCV)

God Calls His Special Servant

49 All of you people in faraway places, listen to me.
    Listen, all you nations far away.
Before I was born, the Lord called me to serve him.
    The Lord named me while I was still in my mother’s womb.
He made my tongue like a sharp sword.
    He hid me in the shadow of his hand.
He made me like a sharp arrow.
    He hid me in the holder for his arrows.
He told me, “Israel, you are my servant.
    I will show my glory through you.”
But I said, “I have worked hard for nothing;
    I have used all my power, but I did nothing useful.
But the Lord will decide what my work is worth;
    God will decide my reward.”
The Lord made me in the body of my mother
    to be his servant,
to lead the people of Jacob back to him
    so that Israel might be gathered to him.
The Lord will honor me,
    and I will get my strength from my God.
Now he told me,
“You are an important servant to me
    to bring back the tribes of Jacob,
    to bring back the people of Israel who are left alive.
But, more importantly, I will make you a light for all nations
    to show people all over the world the way to be saved.”

The Lord who saves you
    is the Holy One of Israel.
He speaks to the one who is hated by the people,
    to the servant of rulers.
This is what he says: “Kings will see you and stand to honor you;
    great leaders will bow down before you,
because the Lord can be trusted.
    He is the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen you.”

The Day of Salvation

This is what the Lord says:
“At the right time I will hear your prayers.
    On the day of salvation I will help you.
I will protect you,
    and you will be the sign of my agreement with the people.
You will bring back the people to the land
    and give the land that is now ruined back to its owners.
You will tell the prisoners, ‘Come out of your prison.’
    You will tell those in darkness, ‘Come into the light.’
The people will eat beside the roads,
    and they will find food even on bare hills.
10 They will not be hungry or thirsty.
    Neither the hot sun nor the desert wind will hurt 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 will be raised up.
12 Look, people are coming to me from far away,
    from the north and from the west,
    from Aswan in southern Egypt.”

13 Heavens and earth, be happy.
    Mountains, shout with joy,
because the Lord comforts his people
    and will have pity on those who suffer.

Jerusalem and Her Children

14 But Jerusalem said, “The Lord has left 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?
Even if she could forget her children,
    I will not forget you.
16 See, I have written your name on my hand.
    Jerusalem, I always think about your walls.
17 Your children will soon return to you,
    and the people who defeated you and destroyed you will leave.
18 Look up 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 like jewels
    that a bride wears proudly.

19 “You were destroyed and defeated,
    and your land was made useless.
But now you will have more people than the land can hold,
    and those people who destroyed you will be far away.
20 Children were born to you while you were sad,
    but they 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,
    ‘Who gave me all these children?
I was sad and lonely,
    defeated and separated from my people.
    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 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,
    and they will carry your daughters on their shoulders.
23 Kings will teach your children,
    and daughters of kings will take care of them.
They will bow down before you
    and kiss the dirt at your feet.
Then you will know I am the Lord.
    Anyone who trusts in me will not be disappointed.”

24 Can the wealth a soldier wins in war be taken away from him?
    Can a prisoner be freed from a powerful soldier?
25 This is what the Lord says:
“The prisoners will be taken from the strong soldiers.
    What the soldiers have taken will be saved.
I will fight your enemies,
    and I will save your children.
26 I will force those who trouble you to eat their own flesh.
    Their own blood will be the wine that makes them drunk.
Then everyone will know
    I, the Lord, am the One who saves you;
    I am the Powerful One of Jacob who saves you.”

New Century Version (NCV)

The Holy Bible, New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

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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