Isaiah 49-53 World English Bible

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Israel the LORD's Servant

49 1  Listen, islands, to me; and listen, you peoples, from far: Yahweh has called me from the womb; from the bowels of my mother has he made mention of my name: 2  and he has made my mouth like a sharp sword; in the shadow of his hand has he hid me: and he has made me a polished shaft; in his quiver has he kept me close: 3  and he said to me, “You are my servant; Israel, in whom I will be glorified.” 4  But I said, “I have labored in vain, I have spent my strength for nothing and vanity; yet surely the justice due to me is with Yahweh, and my reward with my God.” 5  Now says Yahweh who formed me from the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob again to him, and that Israel be gathered to him (for I am honorable in the eyes of Yahweh, and my God is become my strength); 6  yes, he says, “It is too light a thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give you for a light to the nations, that you may be my salvation to the end of the earth.”

7  Thus says Yahweh, the Redeemer of Israel, and his Holy One, to him whom man despises, to him whom the nation abhors, to a servant of rulers: “Kings shall see and arise; princes, and they shall worship; because of Yahweh who is faithful, even the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen you.”

The Restoration of Zion Promised

8  Thus says Yahweh, “In an acceptable time have I answered you, and in a day of salvation have I helped you; and I will preserve you, and give you for a covenant of the people, to raise up the land, to make them inherit the desolate heritage: 9  saying to those who are bound, ‘Come out!’; to those who are in darkness, ‘Show yourselves!’

“They shall feed in the ways, and on all bare heights shall be their pasture. 10  They shall not hunger nor thirst; neither shall the heat nor sun strike them: for he who has mercy on them will lead them, even by springs of water he will guide them. 11  I will make all my mountains a way, and my highways shall be exalted. 12  Behold, these shall come from far; and behold, these from the north and from the west; and these from the land of Sinim.”

13  Sing, heavens; and be joyful, earth; and break forth into singing, mountains: for Yahweh has comforted his people, and will have compassion on his afflicted. 14  But Zion said, “Yahweh has forsaken me, and the Lord has forgotten me.” 15  “Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yes, these may forget, yet I will not forget you! 16  Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are continually before me. 17  Your children make haste; your destroyers and those who made you waste shall go forth from you.

18  Lift up your eyes all around, and see: all these gather themselves together, and come to you. As I live,” says Yahweh, “you shall surely clothe yourself with them all as with an ornament, and gird yourself with them, like a bride. 19  “For, as for your waste and your desolate places, and your land that has been destroyed, surely now you shall be too small for the inhabitants, and those who swallowed you up shall be far away. 20  The children of your bereavement shall yet say in your ears, The place is too small for me; give place to me that I may dwell. 21  Then you will say in your heart, ‘Who has conceived these for me, seeing I have been bereaved of my children, and am solitary, an exile, and wandering back and forth? Who has brought up these? Behold, I was left alone; these, where were they?’” 22  Thus says the Lord Yahweh, “Behold, I will lift up my hand to the nations, and set up my banner to the peoples; and they shall bring your sons in their bosom, and your daughters shall be carried on their shoulders. 23  Kings shall be your nursing fathers, and their queens your nursing mothers: they shall bow down to you with their faces to the earth, and lick the dust of your feet; and you shall know that I am Yahweh; and those who wait for me shall not be disappointed.”

24  Shall the prey be taken from the mighty, or the lawful captives be delivered? 25  But thus says Yahweh, “Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken away, and the prey of the terrible shall be delivered; for I will contend with him who contends with you, and I will save your children. 26  I will feed those who oppress you with their own flesh; and they shall be drunken with their own blood, as with sweet wine: and all flesh shall know that I, Yahweh, am your Savior, and your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.”

The LORD Helps Those Who Trust in Him

50 1  Thus says Yahweh, “Where is the bill of your mother’s divorce, with which I have put her away? or which of my creditors is it to whom I have sold you? Behold, for your iniquities were you sold, and for your transgressions was your mother put away. 2  Why, when I came, was there no man? when I called, was there none to answer? Is my hand shortened at all, that it can’t redeem? or have I no power to deliver? Behold, at my rebuke I dry up the sea, I make the rivers a wilderness: their fish stink, because there is no water, and die for thirst. 3  I clothe the heavens with blackness, and I make sackcloth their covering.”

4  The Lord Yahweh has given me the tongue of those who are taught, that I may know how to sustain with words him who is weary: he wakens morning by morning, he wakens my ear to hear as those who are taught. 5  The Lord Yahweh has opened my ear, and I was not rebellious, neither turned away backward. 6  I gave my back to the strikers, and my cheeks to those who plucked off the hair; I didn’t hide my face from shame and spitting. 7  For the Lord Yahweh will help me; therefore I have not been confounded: therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be disappointed. 8  He is near who justifies me; who will bring charges against me? Let us stand up together: who is my adversary? Let him come near to me. 9  Behold, the Lord Yahweh will help me; who is he who shall condemn me? Behold, all they shall wax old as a garment, the moth shall eat them up.

10  Who is among you who fears Yahweh, who obeys the voice of his servant? He who walks in darkness, and has no light, let him trust in the name of Yahweh, and rely on his God. 11  Behold, all you who kindle a fire, who gird yourselves about with torches; walk you in the flame of your fire, and among the brands that you have kindled. You shall have this of my hand; you shall lie down in sorrow.

Words of Comfort to Zion

51 1  “Listen to me, you who follow after righteousness, you who seek Yahweh: look to the rock whence you were cut, and to the hold of the pit whence you were dug. 2  Look to Abraham your father, and to Sarah who bore you; for when he was but one I called him, and I blessed him, and made him many. 3  For Yahweh has comforted Zion; he has comforted all her waste places, and has made her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of Yahweh; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody.

4  “Attend to me, my people; and give ear to me, my nation: for a law shall go forth from me, and I will establish my justice for a light of the peoples. 5  My righteousness is near, my salvation is gone forth, and my arms shall judge the peoples; the islands shall wait for me, and on my arm shall they trust. 6  Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look on the earth beneath; for the heavens shall vanish away like smoke, and the earth shall wax old like a garment; and those who dwell therein shall die in like manner: but my salvation shall be forever, and my righteousness shall not be abolished. 7  “Listen to me, you who know righteousness, the people in whose heart is my law; don’t fear the reproach of men, neither be dismayed at their insults. 8  For the moth shall eat them up like a garment, and the worm shall eat them like wool; but my righteousness shall be forever, and my salvation to all generations.”

9  Awake, awake, put on strength, arm of Yahweh; awake, as in the days of old, the generations of ancient times. Isn’t it you who cut Rahab in pieces, who pierced the monster? 10  Isn’t it you who dried up the sea, the waters of the great deep; who made the depths of the sea a way for the redeemed to pass over? 11  The ransomed of Yahweh shall return, and come with singing to Zion; and everlasting joy shall be on their heads: they shall obtain gladness and joy; and sorrow and sighing shall flee away. 12  “I, even I, am he who comforts you: who are you, that you are afraid of man who shall die, and of the son of man who shall be made as grass; 13  and have forgotten Yahweh your Maker, who stretched forth the heavens, and laid the foundations of the earth; and fear continually all the day because of the fury of the oppressor, when he makes ready to destroy? and where is the fury of the oppressor? 14  The captive exile shall speedily be freed; and he shall not die and go down into the pit, neither shall his bread fail. 15  For I am Yahweh your God, who stirs up the sea, so that its waves roar: Yahweh of Armies is his name. 16  I have put my words in your mouth, and have covered you in the shadow of my hand, that I may plant the heavens, and lay the foundations of the earth, and tell Zion, ‘You are my people.’”

17  Awake, awake, stand up, Jerusalem, that have drunk at the hand of Yahweh the cup of his wrath; you have drunken the bowl of the cup of staggering, and drained it. 18  There is none to guide her among all the sons whom she has brought forth; neither is there any who takes her by the hand among all the sons who she has brought up. 19  These two things have happened to you. Who will bemoan you? Desolation and destruction, and the famine and the sword; how shall I comfort you? 20  Your sons have fainted, they lie at the head of all the streets, as an antelope in a net; they are full of the wrath of Yahweh, the rebuke of your God. 21  Therefore hear now this, you afflicted, and drunken, but now with wine: 22  Thus says your Lord Yahweh, and your God who pleads the cause of his people, “Behold, I have taken out of your hand the cup of staggering, even the bowl of the cup of my wrath; you shall no more drink it again: 23  and I will put it into the hand of those who afflict you, who have said to your soul, ‘Bow down, that we may walk over you;’ and you have laid your back as the ground, and as the street, to those who walk over.”

God Will Deliver Zion from Captivity

52 1  Awake, awake, put on your strength, Zion; put on your beautiful garments, Jerusalem, the holy city: for henceforth there shall no more come into you the uncircumcised and the unclean. 2  Shake yourself from the dust; arise, sit on your throne, Jerusalem: loose yourself from the bonds of your neck, captive daughter of Zion. 3  For thus says Yahweh, “You were sold for nothing; and you shall be redeemed without money.” 4  For thus says the Lord Yahweh, “My people went down at the first into Egypt to sojourn there: and the Assyrian has oppressed them without cause. 5  “Now therefore, what do I here,” says Yahweh, “seeing that my people are taken away for nothing? those who rule over them mock,” says Yahweh, “and my name continually all the day is blasphemed. 6  Therefore my people shall know my name: therefore they shall know in that day that I am he who does speak; behold, it is I.”

7  How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace, who brings good news of good, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, “Your God reigns!” 8  The voice of your watchmen! they lift up the voice, together do they sing; for they shall see eye to eye, when Yahweh returns to Zion. 9  Break forth into joy, sing together, you waste places of Jerusalem; for Yahweh has comforted his people, he has redeemed Jerusalem. 10  Yahweh has made bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God. 11  Depart, depart, go out from there, touch no unclean thing! Go out of the midst of her! Cleanse yourselves, you who bear the vessels of Yahweh. 12  For you shall not go out in haste, neither shall you go by flight: for Yahweh will go before you; and the God of Israel will be your rear guard.

The Suffering of the LORD's Servant

13  Behold, my servant shall deal wisely, he shall be exalted and lifted up, and shall be very high. 14  Like as many were astonished at you (his appearance was marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men), 15  so shall he sprinkle many nations; kings shall shut their mouths at him: for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they understand.

53 1  Who has believed our message?
To whom has the arm of Yahweh been revealed? 2  For he grew up before him as a tender plant,
and as a root out of dry ground.
He has no form nor comeliness.
When we see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. 3  He was despised,
and rejected by men;
a man of suffering,
and acquainted with disease.
He was despised as one from whom men hide their face;
and we didn’t respect him.

4  Surely he has borne our sickness,
and carried our suffering;
yet we considered him plagued,
struck by God, and afflicted. 5  But he was pierced for our transgressions.
He was crushed for our iniquities.
The punishment that brought our peace was on him;
and by his wounds we are healed. 6  All we like sheep have gone astray.
Everyone has turned to his own way;
and Yahweh has laid on him the iniquity of us all. 7  He was oppressed,
yet when he was afflicted he didn’t open his mouth.
As a lamb that is led to the slaughter,
and as a sheep that before its shearers is mute,
so he didn’t open his mouth. 8  He was taken away by oppression and judgment;
and as for his generation,
who considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living
and stricken for the disobedience of my people? 9  They made his grave with the wicked,
and with a rich man in his death;
although he had done no violence,
neither was any deceit in his mouth.

10  Yet it pleased Yahweh to bruise him.
He has caused him to suffer.
When you make his soul an offering for sin,
he shall see his seed.
He shall prolong his days,
and the pleasure of Yahweh shall prosper in his hand. 11  After the suffering of his soul,
he will see the light [1] and be satisfied.
My righteous servant will justify many by the knowledge of himself;
and he will bear their iniquities. 12  Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great,
and he shall divide the spoil with the strong;
because he poured out his soul to death,
and was numbered with the transgressors;
yet he bore the sin of many,
and made intercession for the transgressors.

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Footnotes

[1] 53:11 So read the Dead Sea Scrolls and Septuagint. Masoretic Text omits “the light”.

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