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Isaiah 49:5-7

Context

49:5 So now the Lord says,

the one who formed me from birth 1  to be his servant –

he did this 2  to restore Jacob to himself,

so that Israel might be gathered to him;

and I will be honored 3  in the Lord’s sight,

for my God is my source of strength 4 

49:6 he says, “Is it too insignificant a task for you to be my servant,

to reestablish the tribes of Jacob,

and restore the remnant 5  of Israel? 6 

I will make you a light to the nations, 7 

so you can bring 8  my deliverance to the remote regions of the earth.”

49:7 This is what the Lord,

the protector 9  of Israel, their Holy One, 10  says

to the one who is despised 11  and rejected 12  by nations, 13 

a servant of rulers:

“Kings will see and rise in respect, 14 

princes will bow down,

because of the faithful Lord,

the Holy One of Israel who has chosen you.”

1 tn Heb “from the womb” (so KJV, NASB).

2 tn The words “he did this” are supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons. In the Hebrew text the infinitive construct of purpose is subordinated to the previous statement.

3 tn The vav (ו) + imperfect is translated here as a result clause; one might interpret it as indicating purpose, “and so I might be honored.”

4 tn Heb “and my God is [perhaps, “having been”] my strength.” The disjunctive structure (vav [ו] + subject + verb) is interpreted here as indicating a causal circumstantial clause.

5 tn Heb “the protected [or “preserved”] ones.”

6 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.

7 tn See the note at 42:6.

8 tn Heb “be” (so KJV, ASV); CEV “you must take.”

9 tn Heb “redeemer.” See the note at 41:14.

10 sn See the note on the phrase “the Holy One of Israel” in 1:4.

11 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.”

12 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.”

13 tn Parallelism (see “rulers,” “kings,” “princes”) suggests that the singular גּוֹי (goy) be emended to a plural or understood in a collective sense (see 55:5).

14 tn For this sense of קוּם (qum), see Gen 19:1; 23:7; 33:10; Lev 19:32; 1 Sam 20:41; 25:41; 1 Kgs 2:19; Job 29:8.



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