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Isaiah 49:14-21

Context
The Lord Remembers Zion

49:14 “Zion said, ‘The Lord has abandoned me,

the sovereign master 1  has forgotten me.’

49:15 Can a woman forget her baby who nurses at her breast? 2 

Can she withhold compassion from the child she has borne? 3 

Even if mothers 4  were to forget,

I could never forget you! 5 

49:16 Look, I have inscribed your name 6  on my palms;

your walls are constantly before me.

49:17 Your children hurry back,

while those who destroyed and devastated you depart.

49:18 Look all around you! 7 

All of them gather to you.

As surely as I live,” says the Lord,

“you will certainly wear all of them like jewelry;

you will put them on as if you were a bride.

49:19 Yes, your land lies in ruins;

it is desolate and devastated. 8 

But now you will be too small to hold your residents,

and those who devoured you will be far away.

49:20 Yet the children born during your time of bereavement

will say within your hearing,

‘This place is too cramped for us, 9 

make room for us so we can live here.’ 10 

49:21 Then you will think to yourself, 11 

‘Who bore these children for me?

I was bereaved and barren,

dismissed and divorced. 12 

Who raised these children?

Look, I was left all alone;

where did these children come from?’”

1 tn The Hebrew term translated “sovereign master” here is אֲדֹנָי (’adonay).

2 tn Heb “her suckling”; NASB “her nursing child.”

3 tn Heb “so as not to have compassion on the son of her womb?”

4 tn Heb “these” (so ASV, NASB).

5 sn The argument of v. 15 seems to develop as follows: The Lord has an innate attachment to Zion, just like a mother does for her infant child. But even if mothers were to suddenly abandon their children, the Lord would never forsake Zion. In other words, the Lord’s attachment to Zion is like a mother’s attachment to her infant child, but even stronger.

6 tn Heb “you.” Here the pronoun is put by metonymy for the person’s name.

7 tn Heb “Lift up around your eyes and see.”

8 tn Heb “Indeed your ruins and your desolate places, and the land of your destruction.” This statement is abruptly terminated in the Hebrew text and left incomplete.

9 tn Heb “me.” The singular is collective.

10 tn Heb “draw near to me so I can dwell.”

11 tn Heb “and you will say in your heart.”

12 tn Or “exiled and thrust away”; NIV “exiled and rejected.”



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