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Isaiah 49:8-26

Context

49:8 This is what the Lord says:

“At the time I decide to show my favor, I will respond to you;

in the day of deliverance I will help you;

I will protect you 1  and make you a covenant mediator for people, 2 

to rebuild 3  the land 4 

and to reassign the desolate property.

49:9 You will say 5  to the prisoners, ‘Come out,’

and to those who are in dark dungeons, 6  ‘Emerge.’ 7 

They will graze beside the roads;

on all the slopes they will find pasture.

49:10 They will not be hungry or thirsty;

the sun’s oppressive heat will not beat down on them, 8 

for one who has compassion on them will guide them;

he will lead them to springs of water.

49:11 I will make all my mountains into a road;

I will construct my roadways.”

49:12 Look, they come from far away!

Look, some come from the north and west,

and others from the land of Sinim! 9 

49:13 Shout for joy, O sky! 10 

Rejoice, O earth!

Let the mountains give a joyful shout!

For the Lord consoles his people

and shows compassion to the 11  oppressed.

The Lord Remembers Zion

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

the sovereign master 12  has forgotten me.’

49:15 Can a woman forget her baby who nurses at her breast? 13 

Can she withhold compassion from the child she has borne? 14 

Even if mothers 15  were to forget,

I could never forget you! 16 

49:16 Look, I have inscribed your name 17  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! 18 

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. 19 

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, 20 

make room for us so we can live here.’ 21 

49:21 Then you will think to yourself, 22 

‘Who bore these children for me?

I was bereaved and barren,

dismissed and divorced. 23 

Who raised these children?

Look, I was left all alone;

where did these children come from?’”

49:22 This is what the sovereign Lord says:

“Look I will raise my hand to the nations;

I will raise my signal flag to the peoples.

They will bring your sons in their arms

and carry your daughters on their shoulders.

49:23 Kings will be your children’s 24  guardians;

their princesses will nurse your children. 25 

With their faces to the ground they will bow down to you

and they will lick the dirt on 26  your feet.

Then you will recognize that I am the Lord;

those who wait patiently for me are not put to shame.

49:24 Can spoils be taken from a warrior,

or captives be rescued from a conqueror? 27 

49:25 Indeed,” says the Lord,

“captives will be taken from a warrior;

spoils will be rescued from a conqueror.

I will oppose your adversary

and I will rescue your children.

49:26 I will make your oppressors eat their own flesh;

they will get drunk on their own blood, as if it were wine. 28 

Then all humankind 29  will recognize that

I am the Lord, your deliverer,

your protector, 30  the powerful ruler of Jacob.” 31 

1 tn The translation assumes the verb is derived from the root נָצָר (natsar, “protect”). Some prefer to derive it from the root יָצָר (yatsar, “form”).

2 tn Heb “a covenant of people.” A person cannot literally be a covenant; בְּרִית (bÿrit) is probably metonymic here, indicating a covenant mediator. Here עָם (’am, “people”) appears to refer to Israel. See the note at 42:6.

3 tn The Hiphil of קוּם (qum, “arise”) is probably used here in the sense of “rebuild.”

4 tn The “land” probably stands by metonymy for the ruins within it.

5 tn Heb “to say.” In the Hebrew text the infinitive construct is subordinated to what precedes.

6 tn Heb “in darkness” (so KJV, NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV); NLT “the prisoners of darkness.”

7 tn Heb “show yourselves” (so ASV, NAB, NASB).

8 tn Heb “and the heat and the sun will not strike them.” In Isa 35:7, its only other occurrence in the OT, שָׁרָב (sharav) stands parallel to “parched ground” and in contrast to “pool.” In later Hebrew and Aramaic it refers to “dry heat, heat of the sun” (Jastrow 1627 s.v.). Here it likely has this nuance and forms a hendiadys with “sun.”

9 tc The MT reads “Sinim” here; the Dead Sea Scrolls read “Syene,” a location in Egypt associated with modern Aswan. A number of recent translations adopt this reading: “Syene” (NAB, NRSV); “Aswan” (NIV); “Egypt” (NLT).

sn The precise location of the land of Sinim is uncertain, but since the north and west are mentioned in the previous line, it was a probably located in the distant east or south.

10 tn Or “O heavens.” The Hebrew term שָׁמַיִם (shamayim) may be translated “heavens” or “sky” depending on the context.

11 tn Heb “his” (so KJV, NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV).

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

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

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

15 tn Heb “these” (so ASV, NASB).

16 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.

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

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

19 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.

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

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

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

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

24 tn Heb “your,” but Zion here stands by metonymy for her children (see v. 22b).

25 tn Heb “you.” See the preceding note.

26 tn Or “at your feet” (NAB, NIV); NLT “from your feet.”

27 tc The Hebrew text has צָדִיק (tsadiq, “a righteous [one]”), but this makes no sense in the parallelism. The Qumran scroll 1QIsaa reads correctly עריץ (“violent [one], tyrant”; see v. 25).

28 sn Verse 26a depicts siege warfare and bloody defeat. The besieged enemy will be so starved they will their own flesh. The bloodstained bodies lying on the blood-soaked battle site will look as if they collapsed in drunkenness.

29 tn Heb “flesh” (so KJV, NASB).

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

31 tn Heb “the powerful [one] of Jacob.” See 1:24.



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