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Isaiah 42:1-4

Context
The Lord Commissions His Special Servant

42:1 1 “Here is my servant whom I support,

my chosen one in whom I take pleasure.

I have placed my spirit on him;

he will make just decrees 2  for the nations. 3 

42:2 He will not cry out or shout;

he will not publicize himself in the streets. 4 

42:3 A crushed reed he will not break,

a dim wick he will not extinguish; 5 

he will faithfully make just decrees. 6 

42:4 He will not grow dim or be crushed 7 

before establishing justice on the earth;

the coastlands 8  will wait in anticipation for his decrees.” 9 

1 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.

2 tn Heb “he will bring out justice” (cf. ASV, NASB, NRSV).

3 sn Like the ideal king portrayed in Isa 11:1-9, the servant is energized by the divine spirit and establishes justice on the earth.

4 tn Heb “he will not cause his voice to be heard in the street.”

5 sn The “crushed reed” and “dim wick” symbolize the weak and oppressed who are on the verge of extinction.

6 tn Heb “faithfully he will bring out justice” (cf. NASB, NRSV).

7 tn For rhetorical effect the terms used to describe the “crushed (רָצַץ, ratsats) reed” and “dim (כָּהָה, kahah) wick” in v. 3 are repeated here.

8 tn Or “islands” (NIV); NLT “distant lands beyond the sea.”

9 tn Or “his law” (KJV, ASV, NASB, NIV) or “his instruction” (NLT).



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