Pay attention, you people who live far away!
The Lord summoned me from birth; 2
he commissioned me when my mother brought me into the world. 3
49:2 He made my mouth like a sharp sword,
he hid me in the hollow of his hand;
he made me like a sharpened 4 arrow,
he hid me in his quiver. 5
1 tn Or “islands” (NASB, NIV); NLT “in far-off lands.”
sn The Lord’s special servant, introduced in chap. 42, speaks here of his commission.
2 tn Heb “called me from the womb.”
3 tn Heb “from the inner parts of my mother he mentioned my name.”
4 tn Or perhaps, “polished” (so KJV, ASV, NAB, NIV, NRSV); NASB “a select arrow.”
5 sn The figurative language emphasizes the servant’s importance as the Lord’s effective instrument. The servant’s mouth, which stands metonymically for his words, is compared to a sharp sword because he will be an effective spokesman on God’s behalf (see 50:4). The Lord holds his hand on the servant, ready to draw and use him at the appropriate time. The servant is like a sharpened arrow reserved in a quiver for just the right moment.