Listen1 to me, you islands;2 hear this, you distant nations: Before I was born3 the LORD called4 me; from my birth he has made mention of my name.52
He made my mouth6 like a sharpened sword,7 in the shadow of his hand8 he hid me; he made me into a polished arrow9 and concealed me in his quiver.
He said to me, "You are my servant,10 Israel, in whom I will display my splendor.11"
But I said, "I have labored in vain;12 I have spent my strength for nothing at all. Yet what is due me is in the LORD's hand,13 and my reward14 is with my God."155
And now the LORD says-- he who formed me in the womb16 to be his servant to bring Jacob back to him and gather Israel17 to himself, for I ama honored18 in the eyes of the LORD and my God has been my strength19--
he says: "It is too small a thing for you to be my servant20 to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept.21 I will also make you a light22 for the Gentiles,23 that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth."247
This is what the LORD says-- the Redeemer and Holy One of Israel25-- to him who was despised26 and abhorred by the nation, to the servant of rulers: "Kings27 will see you and stand up, princes will see and bow down,28 because of the LORD, who is faithful,29 the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen30 you."
This is what the LORD says: "In the time of my favor31 I will answer you, and in the day of salvation I will help you;32 I will keep33 you and will make you to be a covenant for the people,34 to restore the land35 and to reassign its desolate inheritances,369
to say to the captives,37 'Come out,' and to those in darkness,38 'Be free!' "They will feed beside the roads and find pasture on every barren hill.3910
They will neither hunger nor thirst,40 nor will the desert heat or the sun beat down on them.41 He who has compassion42 on them will guide43 them and lead them beside springs44 of water.
I will turn all my mountains into roads, and my highways45 will be raised up.4612
See, they will come from afar47-- some from the north, some from the west,48 some from the region of Aswan.b "
Shout for joy,49 you heavens; rejoice, you earth;50 burst into song, you mountains!51 For the LORD comforts52 his people and will have compassion53 on his afflicted ones.5414
But Zion55 said, "The LORD has forsaken56 me, the Lord has forgotten me."
"Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child57 she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!5816
See, I have engraved59 you on the palms of my hands; your walls60 are ever before me.
Your children hasten back, and those who laid you waste61 depart from you.
Lift up your eyes and look around; all your children gather62 and come to you. As surely as I live,63" declares the LORD, "you will wear64 them all as ornaments; you will put them on, like a bride.
"Though you were ruined and made desolate65 and your land laid waste,66 now you will be too small for your people,67 and those who devoured68 you will be far away.
The children born during your bereavement will yet say in your hearing, 'This place is too small for us; give us more space to live in.'6921
Then you will say in your heart, 'Who bore me these?70 I was bereaved71 and barren; I was exiled and rejected.72 Who brought these73 up? I was left74 all alone,75 but these--where have they come from?' "
This is what the Sovereign LORD 76 says: "See, I will beckon to the nations, I will lift up my banner77 to the peoples; they will bring78 your sons in their arms and carry your daughters on their hips.7923
Kings80 will be your foster fathers, and their queens your nursing mothers.81 They will bow down82 before you with their faces to the ground; they will lick the dust83 at your feet. Then you will know that I am the LORD;84 those who hope85 in me will not be disappointed.86"
Can plunder be taken from warriors,87 or captives be rescued from the fiercec ?
But this is what the LORD says: "Yes, captives88 will be taken from warriors,89 and plunder retrieved from the fierce;90 I will contend with those who contend with you,9192 and your children I will save.9326
I will make your oppressors94 eat95 their own flesh; they will be drunk on their own blood,96 as with wine. Then the whole human race will know97 that I, the LORD, am your Savior,98 your Redeemer,99 the Mighty One of Jacob.100"