Isaiah 49

The Second Song about the Servant

1 Listen to me, you islands. And hear this, you countries that are a long way from here. The Lord chose me when I was inside my mother. From when I was inside her body he said my name.

2 And he made my mouth like a sharp sword. He hid me in the shadow of his hand. And he made me into an arrow that he had caused to shine. He hid me in his basket of arrows.

3 He said to me, ‘You are my servant. You are Israel. In you I will show to everybody that I am beautiful.’

4 But I said that my work had no purpose. I said that I had done all that work for nothing. But the Lord will be my judge and my God will know the result of my work.

5 And now the Lord says this. He is the Lord who made me inside my mother. He made me so that I would be his servant.

· He did it to bring Jacob back to him.

· Also, he did it to bring Israel to himself.

And the Lord will honour me. My God will make me strong. He says,

6 ‘It is too small a thing for you, as my servant, to do these things:

· I will bring back the tribes of Jacob.

· And I will bring together the people from Israel that I have kept alive.

I will also make you like a light for the people in other countries. Then you will bring the news that I can save people to the ends of the earth.’

7 This is what the Lord says. The Lord is the Redeemer and the Holy God of Israel. He says it to him, (the servant). The country (Judah) thought that he was not important. And they did not like him. He was the servant of rulers. God says, ‘Kings will see you and they will rise up. Also, leaders will get on their knees in front of you. They will do that because the Lord will always help you. He is the Holy God of Israel, who has chosen you.’

8 This is what the Lord says. ‘I have decided when I will help you. At that time, I will answer you. And on that day, I will help you. Also, I will keep you alive and I will cause you to be a covenant for the people. You will make the country safe, and you will cause people to live in the empty places.

9 You will say to the people who are in a prison, “Come out.” And you will say to those people who are in the dark, “Be free!”

They will eat food at the sides of the roads. And there will be food for them on every empty hill.

10 They will not be hungry and they will not need a drink. The heat of the sun in the sandy places will not hurt them. He who loves them will be their guide. And he will lead them to water that comes up from the ground.

11 I will make all my mountains into roads. And I will build up all my roads on higher ground.

12 Look! People will come from places that are a long way from here. And look! Some people will come from the north and some people will come from the west. Some people will even come from the place called Sinim.’

13 Everything in the skies, shout because you are so happy! Everything on the earth, be very happy! Sing loudly, you mountains! Do that because the Lord is being kind to his people. He will show his love to his people who are hurting.

14 But Zion said, ‘The Lord has left me. The Lord has forgotten me.’

15 (The Lord answered), ‘Can a mother forget the baby at her breast? Can she not have any love for the child who came from inside her body? Yes, those mothers may forget, but I will not forget you.

16 Look! I have written your names on my own hands. Your walls (of Jerusalem) are always in front of me.

17 Your sons will hurry back to you. People beat you and they destroyed you. But those people will leave you.

18 Use your eyes and look all round you. All your sons will come together. They will return to you. I am alive,’ says the Lord. ‘So, it will surely be like you will wear all of them as something beautiful. A woman puts on beautiful clothes at the time of her marriage. It will seem like that.

19 The enemy broke you and they destroyed you. They made your country empty. But now your country will be too small for your people. The people who destroyed you will be a long way from here.

20 Children were born to you while you were a widow. They will say, “This place is too small for us. Give us more room to live in.”

21 Then you will say in your mind, “I do not know how these people were born to me. I was a widow and I could not have any children. I was in exile and God had thrown me away. So I do not know who helped them to grow-up. Look at me! He left me alone. So I do not know where they have come from.” ’

22 The Lord, who is the master, says, ‘Look! I will point with my hand to many countries. I will lift up a mark to the people in many countries. And they will bring your sons in their arms and they will carry your daughters on their shoulders.

23 Then kings will be like fathers for you and their queens will be like mothers to your children. They will go down on their knees in front of you. Their faces will look to the ground. And they will taste the dirt by your feet. Then you will know that I am the Lord. I will not disappoint people who hope in me.

24 You cannot take things away from strong soldiers. And you cannot save prisoners from people who are right to keep them.’

25 But this is what the Lord says. ‘Yes! I can take the prisoner from the strong soldier. And I will take back what the cruel man took away. I will fight with those people who fight with you. And I will make your children safe.

26 The people who are cruel to you will eat their own bodies. I will cause them to do that. They will become drunks with their own blood, like it was wine. Then everybody will know that I, the Lord, have made you safe. I am your Redeemer, the Strong God of Jacob.’