The Holy See
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New American Bible

2002 11 11
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Chapter 49


1 2 Hear me, O coastlands, listen, O distant peoples. The LORD called me from birth, from my mother's womb he gave me my name.


3 He made of me a sharp-edged sword and concealed me in the shadow of his arm. He made me a polished arrow, in his quiver he hid me.


4 You are my servant, he said to me, Israel, through whom I show my glory.


Though I thought I had toiled in vain, and for nothing, uselessly, spent my strength, Yet my reward is with the LORD, my recompense is with my God.


For now the LORD has spoken who formed me as his servant from the womb, That Jacob may be brought back to him and Israel gathered to him; And I am made glorious in the sight of the LORD, and my God is now my strength!


5 It is too little, he says, for you to be my servant, to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and restore the survivors of Israel; I will make you a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.


Thus says the LORD, the redeemer and the Holy One of Israel, To the one despised, whom the nations abhor, the slave of rulers: When kings see you, they shall stand up, and princes shall prostrate themselves Because of the LORD who is faithful, the Holy One of Israel who has chosen you.


Thus says the LORD: In a time of favor I answer you, on the day of salvation I help you, To restore the land and allot the desolate heritages,


Saying to the prisoners: Come out! To those in darkness: Show yourselves! Along the ways they shall find pasture, on every bare height shall their pastures be.


They shall not hunger or thirst, nor shall the scorching wind or the sun strike them; For he who pities them leads them and guides them beside springs of water.


I will cut a road through all my mountains, and make my highways level.


6 See, some shall come from afar, others from the north and the west, and some from the land of Syene.


Sing out, O heavens, and rejoice, O earth, break forth into song, you mountains. For the LORD comforts his people and shows mercy to his afflicted.


But Zion said, "The LORD has forsaken me; my Lord has forgotten me."


Can a mother forget her infant, be without tenderness for the child of her womb? Even should she forget, I will never forget you.


7 See, upon the palms of my hands I have written your name; your walls are ever before me.


Your rebuilders make haste, as those who tore you down and laid you waste go forth from you;


Look about and see, they are all gathering and coming to you. As I live, says the LORD, you shall be arrayed with them all as with adornments, like a bride you shall fasten them on you.


Though you were waste and desolate, a land of ruins, Now you shall be too small for your inhabitants, while those who swallowed you up will be far away.


The children whom you had lost shall yet say to you, "This place is too small for me, make room for me to live in."


You shall ask yourself: "Who has borne me these? I was bereft and barren (exiled and repudiated); who has reared them? I was left all alone; where then do these come from?"


Thus says the Lord GOD: See, I will lift up my hand to the nations, and raise my signal to the peoples; They shall bring your sons in their arms, and your daughters shall be carried on their shoulders.


Kings shall be your foster fathers, their princesses your nurses; Bowing to the ground, they shall worship you and lick the dust at your feet. Then you shall know that I am the LORD, and those who hope in me shall never be disappointed.


Thus says the LORD: Can booty be taken from a warrior? or captives be rescued from a tyrant?


Yes, captives can be taken from a warrior, and booty be rescued from a tyrant; Those who oppose you I will oppose, and your sons I will save.


I will make your oppressors eat their own flesh, and they shall be drunk with their own blood as with the juice of the grape. All mankind shall know that I, the LORD, am your savior, your redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.



1 [1-7] The second of the four "Servant-of-the-Lord" oracles.

2 [1] Gave me my name: designated me for a special office (cf Jeremiah 1:5), or perhaps, made me renowned (cf Psalm 45:18).

3 [2] The Servant was made ready and fit for the preaching of God's word.

4 [3] Israel: the Servant is identified with the people of Israel as their ideal representative; however, since Isaiah 49:5, 6 seem to distinguish the Servant from Israel, some regard the word Israel here as a gloss.

5 [6] The Servant's vocation will be not only the restoration of Israel but the conversion of the world; cf Luke 2:32.

6 [12] Syene: now called Aswan, at the first cataract of the Nile in southern Egypt.

7 [16] Upon the palms . . . name: for continual remembrance; cf Exodus 13:9, 16; Deut 6:6-9.

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