41:8 “You, my servant Israel,
Jacob whom I have chosen,
offspring of Abraham my friend, 1
my chosen one in whom I take pleasure.
I have placed my spirit on him;
like poplars beside channels of water.
49:7 This is what the Lord,
a servant of rulers:
“Kings will see and rise in respect, 11
princes will bow down,
because of the faithful Lord,
the Holy One of Israel who has chosen you.”
2 sn Verses 1-7 contain the first of Isaiah’s “servant songs,” which describe the ministry of a special, ideal servant who accomplishes God’s purposes for Israel and the nations. This song depicts the servant as a just king who brings justice to the earth and relief for the oppressed. The other songs appear in 49:1-13; 50:4-11; and 52:13-53:12.
3 tn Heb “he will bring out justice” (cf. ASV, NASB, NRSV).
5 tn The Hebrew term בֵין (ven) is usually taken as a preposition, in which case one might translate, “among the grass.” But בֵין is probably the name of a tree (cf. C. R. North, Second Isaiah, 133). If one alters the preposition bet (בְּ) to kaf (כְּ), one can then read, “like a binu-tree.” (The Qumran scroll 1QIsaa supports this reading.) This forms a nice parallel to “like poplars” in the next line. חָצִיר (khatsir) is functioning as an adverbial accusative of location.
8 tc The Hebrew text reads literally “to [one who] despises life.” It is preferable to read with the Qumran scroll 1QIsaa לבזוי, which should be vocalized as a passive participle, לִבְזוּי (livzuy, “to the one despised with respect to life” [נֶפֶשׁ is a genitive of specification]). The consonantal sequence וי was probably misread as ה in the MT tradition. The contextual argument favors the 1QIsaa reading. As J. N. Oswalt (Isaiah [NICOT], 2:294) points out, the three terse phrases “convey a picture of lowliness, worthlessness, and helplessness.”
9 tn MT’s Piel participle (“to the one who rejects”) does not fit contextually. The form should be revocalized as a Pual, “to the one rejected.”