Ideal Israel Delivers the Exiles
49:1 Listen to me, you coastlands!
Pay attention, you people who live far away!
The LORD summoned me from birth;
he commissioned me when my mother brought me into the world.
49:2 He made my mouth like a sharp sword,
he hid me in the hollow of his hand;
he made me like a sharpened arrow,
he hid me in his quiver.
49:3 He said to me, “You are my servant,
Israel, through whom I will reveal my splendor.”
49:4 But I thought, “I have worked in vain;
I have expended my energy for absolutely nothing.”
But the LORD will vindicate me;
my God will reward me.
49:5 So now the LORD says,
the one who formed me from birth to be his servant –
he did this to restore Jacob to himself,
so that Israel might be gathered to him;
and I will be honored in the LORD’s sight,
for my God is my source of strength –
49:6 he says, “Is it too insignificant a task for you to be my servant,
to reestablish the tribes of Jacob,
and restore the remnant of Israel?
I will make you a light to the nations,
so you can bring my deliverance to the remote regions of the earth.”
49:7 This is what the LORD,
the protector of Israel, their Holy One, says
to the one who is despised and rejected by nations,
a servant of rulers:
“Kings will see and rise in respect,
princes will bow down,
because of the faithful LORD,
the Holy One of Israel who has chosen you.”
49:8 This is what the LORD says:
“At the time I decide to show my favor, I will respond to you;
in the day of deliverance I will help you;
I will protect you and make you a covenant mediator for people,
to rebuild the land
and to reassign the desolate property.
49:9 You will say to the prisoners, ‘Come out,’
and to those who are in dark dungeons, ‘Emerge.’
They will graze beside the roads;
on all the slopes they will find pasture.
49:10 They will not be hungry or thirsty;
the sun’s oppressive heat will not beat down on them,
for one who has compassion on them will guide them;
he will lead them to springs of water.
49:11 I will make all my mountains into a road;
I will construct my roadways.”
49:12 Look, they come from far away!
Look, some come from the north and west,
and others from the land of Sinim!
49:13 Shout for joy, O sky!
Rejoice, O earth!
Let the mountains give a joyful shout!
For the LORD consoles his people
and shows compassion to the oppressed.
The Lord Remembers Zion
49:14 “Zion said, ‘The LORD has abandoned me,
the sovereign master has forgotten me.’
49:15 Can a woman forget her baby who nurses at her breast?
Can she withhold compassion from the child she has borne?
Even if mothers were to forget,
I could never forget you!
49:16 Look, I have inscribed your name on my palms;
your walls are constantly before me.
49:17 Your children hurry back,
while those who destroyed and devastated you depart.
49:18 Look all around you!
All of them gather to you.
As surely as I live,” says the LORD,
“you will certainly wear all of them like jewelry;
you will put them on as if you were a bride.
49:19 Yes, your land lies in ruins;
it is desolate and devastated.
But now you will be too small to hold your residents,
and those who devoured you will be far away.
49:20 Yet the children born during your time of bereavement
will say within your hearing,
‘This place is too cramped for us,
make room for us so we can live here.’
49:21 Then you will think to yourself,
‘Who bore these children for me?
I was bereaved and barren,
dismissed and divorced.
Who raised these children?
Look, I was left all alone;
where did these children come from?’”
49:22 This is what the sovereign LORD says:
“Look I will raise my hand to the nations;
I will raise my signal flag to the peoples.
They will bring your sons in their arms
and carry your daughters on their shoulders.
49:23 Kings will be your children’s guardians;
their princesses will nurse your children.
With their faces to the ground they will bow down to you
and they will lick the dirt on your feet.
Then you will recognize that I am the LORD;
those who wait patiently for me are not put to shame.
49:24 Can spoils be taken from a warrior,
or captives be rescued from a conqueror?
49:25 Indeed,” says the LORD,
“captives will be taken from a warrior;
spoils will be rescued from a conqueror.
I will oppose your adversary
and I will rescue your children.
49:26 I will make your oppressors eat their own flesh;
they will get drunk on their own blood, as if it were wine.
Then all humankind will recognize that
I am the LORD, your deliverer,
your protector, the powerful ruler of Jacob.”