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).