49:3 He said to me, “You are my servant,
Israel, through whom I will reveal my splendor.” 1
49:6 he says, “Is it too insignificant a task for you to be my servant,
to reestablish the tribes of Jacob,
I will make you a light to the nations, 4
so you can bring 5 my deliverance to the remote regions of the earth.”
1 sn This verse identifies the servant as Israel. This seems to refer to the exiled nation (cf. 41:8-9; 44:1-2, 21; 45:4; 48:20), but in vv. 5-6 this servant says he has been commissioned to reconcile Israel to God, so he must be distinct from the exiled nation. This servant is an ideal “Israel” who, like Moses of old, mediates a covenant for the nation (see v. 8), leads them out of bondage (v. 9a), and carries out God’s original plan for Israel by positively impacting the pagan nations (see v. 6b). By living according to God’s law, Israel was to be a model of God’s standards of justice to the surrounding nations (Deut 4:6-8). The sinful nation failed, but the servant, the ideal “Israel,” will succeed by establishing justice throughout the earth.
2 tn Heb “the protected [or “preserved”] ones.”
3 sn The question is purely rhetorical; it does not imply that the servant was dissatisfied with his commission or that he minimized the restoration of Israel.
5 tn Heb “be” (so KJV, ASV); CEV “you must take.”