Isaiah 49:4

4 1But I said, "I have labored in vain; I have spent my strength for nothing and vanity; yet surely my right is with the LORD, and my recompense with my God."

Isaiah 49:4 Meaning and Commentary

Isaiah 49:4

Then I said
The Messiah said, by way of objection, in a view of what treatment he should meet with, or when entered on his work, and which he found by experience, what follows: I have laboured in vain;
this is not to be understood of the travail of his soul, or of his sufferings and death, which were not in vain, but issued in the redemption and salvation of his people; but of his ministry and miracles, and fatiguing journeys among the Jews; which, with respect to them, were in vain, as to their conversion and reformation; they rejecting the Messiah, slighting his doctrines and miracles, refusing to be gathered by him, being a faithless and perverse generation: I have spent my strength for naught, and in vain;
by frequent preaching and working of miracles, and travelling from place to place: the same thing is designed as before, repeated in other words, to express the certainty of it, to chew the ingratitude and wickedness of the people, and to utter the complaints of his mind: yet surely my judgment is with the Lord;
or is manifest before the Lord, as the Targum; the Lord knew that he had called him to his office; how prudently, diligently, and faithfully he had executed it; and what was his right and due, and which would be given him; and with this he corrects his former complaint, and makes himself easy, and quiets and satisfies his mind: and my work with my God;
or the reward of my works is before my God, as the Targum; and before himself also, ( Isaiah 40:10 ) as his work was assigned him by the Lord, so his reward was promised him, and which he knew he should have; and having done his work, be asked for his reward, and had it, ( John 17:4 John 17:5 ) ( Philippians 2:9 Philippians 2:10 ) .

Isaiah 49:4 In-Context

2 He made my mouth like a sharp sword; in the shadow of his hand he hid me; he made me a polished arrow; in his quiver he hid me away.
3 And he said to me, "You are my servant, Israel, in whom I will be glorified."
4 But I said, "I have labored in vain; I have spent my strength for nothing and vanity; yet surely my right is with the LORD, and my recompense with my God."
5 And now the LORD says, he who formed me from the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob back to him; and that Israel might be gathered to him-- for I am honored in the eyes of the LORD, and my God has become my strength--
6 he says: "It is too light a thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to bring back the preserved of Israel; I will make you as a light for the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth."

Cross References 1

  • 1. [Isaiah 65:23]; See Isaiah 50:6-8; Isaiah 53:10-12