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Isaiah 49

The Servant of the LORD

1 Listen to me, you islands; hear this, you distant nations: Before I was born the LORD called me; from my mother’s womb he has spoken my name.
2 He made my mouth like a sharpened sword, in the shadow of his hand he hid me; he made me into a polished arrow and concealed me in his quiver.
3 He said to me, “You are my servant, Israel, in whom I will display my splendor.”
4 But I said, “I have labored in vain; I have spent my strength for nothing at all. Yet what is due me is in the LORD’s hand, and my reward is with my God.”
5 And now the LORD says— he who formed me in the womb to be his servant to bring Jacob back to him and gather Israel to himself, for I am[a] honored in the eyes of the LORDand my God has been my strength—
6 he says: “It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.”
7 This is what the LORD says— the Redeemer and Holy One of Israel— to him who was despised and abhorred by the nation, to the servant of rulers: “Kings will see you and stand up, princes will see and bow down, because of the LORD, who is faithful, the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen you.”

Restoration of Israel

8 This is what the LORD says: “In the time of my favor I will answer you, and in the day of salvation I will help you; I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people, to restore the land and to reassign its desolate inheritances,
9 to say to the captives, ‘Come out,’ and to those in darkness, ‘Be free!’ “They will feed beside the roads and find pasture on every barren hill.
10 They will neither hunger nor thirst, nor will the desert heat or the sun beat down on them. He who has compassion on them will guide them and lead them beside springs of water.
11 I will turn all my mountains into roads, and my highways will be raised up.
12 See, they will come from afar— some from the north, some from the west, some from the region of Aswan.[b]
13 Shout for joy, you heavens; rejoice, you earth; burst into song, you mountains! For the LORD comforts his people and will have compassion on his afflicted ones.
14 But Zion said, “The LORD has forsaken me, the Lord has forgotten me.”
15 “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!
16 See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me.
17 Your children hasten back, and those who laid you waste depart from you.
18 Lift up your eyes and look around; all your children gather and come to you. As surely as I live,” declares the LORD, “you will wear them all as ornaments; you will put them on, like a bride.
19 “Though you were ruined and made desolate and your land laid waste, now you will be too small for your people, and those who devoured you will be far away.
20 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.’
21 Then you will say in your heart, ‘Who bore me these? I was bereaved and barren; I was exiled and rejected. Who brought these up? I was left all alone, but these—where have they come from?’ ”
22 This is what the Sovereign LORD says: “See, I will beckon to the nations, I will lift up my banner to the peoples; they will bring your sons in their arms and carry your daughters on their hips.
23 Kings will be your foster fathers, and their queens your nursing mothers. They will bow down before you with their faces to the ground; they will lick the dust at your feet. Then you will know that I am the LORD; those who hope in me will not be disappointed.”
24 Can plunder be taken from warriors, or captives be rescued from the fierce[c] ?
25 But this is what the LORD says: “Yes, captives will be taken from warriors, and plunder retrieved from the fierce; I will contend with those who contend with you, and your children I will save.
26 I will make your oppressors eat their own flesh; they will be drunk on their own blood, as with wine. Then all mankind will know that I, the LORD, am your Savior, your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.”

Images for Isaiah 49

Isaiah 49 Commentary

Chapter 49

The unbelief and rejection of the Jews. (1-6) Gracious promise to the Gentiles. (7-12) God's love to the church. (13-17) Its increase. (18-23) And deliverance. (24-26)

Verses 1-6 The great Author of redemption shows the authority for his work. The sword of his word slays the lusts of his people, and all at enmity with them. His sharp arrows wound the conscience; but all these wounds will be healed, when the sinner prays to him for mercy. But even the Redeemer, who spake as never man spake in his personal ministry, often seemed to labour in vain. And if Jacob will not be brought back to God, and Israel will not be gathered, still Christ will be glorious. This promise is in part fulfilled in the calling of the Gentiles. Men perish in darkness. But Christ enlightens men, and so makes them holy and happy.

Verses 7-12 The Father is the Lord, the Redeemer, and Holy One of Israel, as sending the Son to be the Redeemer. Man, whom he came to save, put contempt upon him. To this he submitted for our salvation. He is a pledge for all the blessings of the covenant; in him God was reconciling the world to himself. Pardoning mercy is a release from the curse of the law; renewing grace is a release from the dominion of sin: both are from Christ. He saith to those in darkness, Show yourselves. Not only see, but be seen, to the glory of God, and your own comforts. Though there are difficulties in the way to heaven, yet the grace of God will carry us over them, and make even the mountains a way. This denotes the free invitations and the encouraging promises of the gospel, and the outpouring of the Spirit.

Verses 13-17 Let there be universal joy, for God will have mercy upon the afflicted, because of his compassion; upon his afflicted, because of his covenant. We have no more reason to question his promise and grace, than we have to question his providence and justice. Be assured that God has a tender affection for his church and people; he would not have them to be discouraged. Some mothers do neglect their children; but God's compassions to his people, infinitely exceed those of the tenderest parents toward their children. His setting them as a mark on his hand, or a seal upon his arm, denotes his being ever mindful of them. As far as we have scriptural evidence that we belong to his ransomed flock, we may be sure that he will never forsake us. Let us then give diligence to make our calling and election sure, and rejoice in the hope and glory of God.

Verses 18-23 Zion is addressed as an afflicted widow, bereaved of her children. Numbers flock to her, and she is assured that they come to be a comfort to her. There are times when the church is desolate and few in number; yet its desolations shall not last for ever, and God will repair them. God can raise up friends for returning Israelites, even among Gentiles. They shall bring their children, and make them thy children. Let all deal tenderly and carefully with young converts and beginners in religion. Princes shall protect the church. It shall appear that God is the sovereign Lord of all. And those who in the exercise of faith, hope, and patience, wait on God for the fulfilment of his promises, shall never be confounded.

Verses 24-26 We were lawful captives to the justice of God, yet delivered by a price of unspeakable value. Here is an express promise: Even the prey of the terrible shall be delivered. We may here view Satan deprived of his prey, bound and cast into the pit; and all the powers that have combined to enslave, persecute, or corrupt the church, are destroyed; that all the earth may know that our Saviour and Redeemer is Jehovah, the mighty One of Jacob. And every effort we make to rescue our fellow-sinners from the bondage of Satan, is, in some degree, helping forward that great change.

Cross References 100

  • 1. S Isaiah 33:13
  • 2. S Isaiah 11:11
  • 3. Isaiah 44:24; Isaiah 46:3; Matthew 1:20
  • 4. Isaiah 7:14; Isaiah 9:6; Isaiah 44:2; Jeremiah 1:5; Galatians 1:15
  • 5. S Exodus 33:12; S Isaiah 43:1
  • 6. S Job 40:18
  • 7. S Psalms 64:3; Isaiah 11:4; Ephesians 6:17; S Revelation 1:16
  • 8. S Exodus 33:22; S Psalms 91:1
  • 9. S Deuteronomy 32:23; Zechariah 9:13
  • 10. S Isaiah 20:3; Zechariah 3:8
  • 11. S Leviticus 10:3; S Isaiah 44:23
  • 12. S Leviticus 26:20; Isaiah 55:2; Isaiah 65:23
  • 13. Isaiah 45:25; Isaiah 50:8; Isaiah 53:10; Isaiah 54:17
  • 14. S Isaiah 35:4
  • 15. S Job 27:2
  • 16. S Psalms 139:13; Galatians 1:15
  • 17. S Deuteronomy 30:4; S Isaiah 11:12
  • 18. S Isaiah 43:4
  • 19. S Psalms 18:1
  • 20. S ver 3
  • 21. Isaiah 1:9
  • 22. S Isaiah 9:2; John 1:9
  • 23. S Isaiah 26:18; Isaiah 55:5; Zechariah 8:22; S Luke 2:32
  • 24. S Deuteronomy 30:4; S Psalms 48:10; S Matthew 28:19; John 11:52; Acts 13:47*
  • 25. S Isaiah 48:17
  • 26. S Psalms 22:6; Psalms 69:7-9
  • 27. S Ezra 1:2; Isaiah 52:15
  • 28. S Genesis 27:29; S Psalms 22:29; S Psalms 86:9
  • 29. S Deuteronomy 7:9; S 1 Corinthians 1:9
  • 30. S Isaiah 14:1
  • 31. Psalms 69:13; Isaiah 60:10; Isaiah 61:2
  • 32. S Isaiah 41:10; 2 Corinthians 6:2*
  • 33. S Isaiah 5:2; Isaiah 26:3
  • 34. S Isaiah 42:6
  • 35. Leviticus 25:10; S Psalms 37:9; Isaiah 44:26; Isaiah 58:12; Isaiah 61:4; Ezekiel 36:10,33; Amos 9:11,14
  • 36. S Numbers 34:13; S Isaiah 60:21
  • 37. Isaiah 42:7; Isaiah 61:1; S Luke 4:19
  • 38. S Psalms 107:10
  • 39. Isaiah 41:18
  • 40. S Isaiah 33:16
  • 41. Psalms 121:6; Revelation 7:16
  • 42. S Isaiah 14:1
  • 43. S Psalms 48:14; S Isaiah 42:16; S Isaiah 48:17
  • 44. S Isaiah 33:21; S Isaiah 35:7
  • 45. S Isaiah 11:16
  • 46. Isaiah 40:4; Jeremiah 31:9
  • 47. S Isaiah 2:3; S Isaiah 11:11; Isaiah 43:5-6
  • 48. Isaiah 59:19; S Matthew 8:11
  • 49. S Isaiah 48:20
  • 50. S Psalms 96:11
  • 51. S Psalms 65:12-13; Psalms 98:4; Isaiah 44:23
  • 52. S Psalms 71:21; S Isaiah 40:1; S 2 Corinthians 1:4
  • 53. S Isaiah 14:1
  • 54. S Psalms 9:12
  • 55. Isaiah 40:9
  • 56. S Psalms 9:10; S Psalms 71:11; S Isaiah 27:8
  • 57. S 1 Kings 3:26; Isaiah 66:13
  • 58. S Isaiah 44:21
  • 59. S Genesis 38:18; S Exodus 28:9; Song of Songs 8:6
  • 60. Psalms 48:12-13; Isaiah 62:6
  • 61. S Isaiah 5:6; Isaiah 10:6; Isaiah 37:18
  • 62. S Isaiah 11:12; Isaiah 14:1; Isaiah 43:5; Isaiah 51:3; Isaiah 54:7; Isaiah 60:4
  • 63. S Numbers 14:21; Isaiah 45:23; Isaiah 54:9; Isaiah 62:8; Romans 14:11*
  • 64. Isaiah 52:1; Isaiah 61:10; Jeremiah 2:32
  • 65. S Leviticus 26:33; Isaiah 54:1,3; Isaiah 60:18; Isaiah 62:4
  • 66. S Isaiah 5:6
  • 67. Ezekiel 36:10-11; Zechariah 10:10
  • 68. S Isaiah 1:20
  • 69. Isaiah 54:1-3; Zechariah 2:4; Zechariah 10:10
  • 70. Isaiah 29:23; Isaiah 66:7-8
  • 71. S Isaiah 47:8; Isaiah 54:1
  • 72. Isaiah 5:13; Isaiah 54:6
  • 73. Isaiah 60:8
  • 74. S Isaiah 1:8
  • 75. S Psalms 142:4; Isaiah 51:18; Jeremiah 10:20
  • 76. S Genesis 15:2
  • 77. S Isaiah 11:10
  • 78. S Isaiah 11:12; S Isaiah 14:2
  • 79. Luke 15:5; Isaiah 60:4
  • 80. Isa 60:3,10-11
  • 81. S Numbers 11:12; S Isaiah 60:16
  • 82. S Genesis 27:29; Revelation 3:9
  • 83. S Genesis 3:14; Psalms 72:9
  • 84. S Exodus 6:2; S Ps 22:23; S Isaiah 42:8; Micah 7:17
  • 85. S Psalms 37:9; S Psalms 130:5
  • 86. S Psalms 22:5; S Isaiah 29:22; S Isaiah 41:11
  • 87. Matthew 12:29; Mark 3:27; Luke 11:21
  • 88. S Isaiah 14:2
  • 89. Jeremiah 50:33-34; Mark 3:27
  • 90. S Isaiah 13:11; S Isaiah 25:4
  • 91. Isaiah 25:5; S Isaiah 43:26; Isaiah 51:22; Jeremiah 50:34
  • 92. S 1 Samuel 24:15
  • 93. Isaiah 25:9; Isaiah 33:22; Isaiah 35:4
  • 94. S Isaiah 9:4; S Isaiah 13:11
  • 95. S Isaiah 9:20
  • 96. Numbers 23:24; Jeremiah 25:27; Nahum 1:10; Nahum 3:11; Revelation 16:6
  • 97. Exodus 6:7; S Isaiah 11:9; Ezekiel 39:7
  • 98. S Isaiah 25:9
  • 99. S Job 19:25; S Isaiah 48:17
  • 100. S Genesis 49:24; S Psalms 132:2

Footnotes 3

  • [a]. Or "him," / "but Israel would not be gathered;" / "yet I will be"
  • [b]. Dead Sea Scrolls; Masoretic Text "Sinim"
  • [c]. Dead Sea Scrolls, Vulgate and Syriac (see also Septuagint and verse 25); Masoretic Text "righteous"

Chapter Summary


This is a prophecy concerning Christ, and redemption by him; and of the enlargement of the church in the latter day, by the conversion of Jews and Gentiles; which the isles, and people afar off, are exhorted to listen and hearken to, delivered out by the prophet, in the person of Christ; who gives an account of his call to his office, and the time of it; of what the Lord did for him, and said unto him, Isa 49:1-3, then follows a complaint of his labouring in vain, and a correction of it, Isa 49:4 and a further declaration of his call and appointment to office, and of each of the parts of the work assigned him, with encouragement to it, Isa 49:5,6. Christ is again represented under discouraging circumstances, as despised of men, abhorred by the nation, and a servant of rulers; who is encouraged by divine promises that kings should rise up before him, and worship him; that God would be faithful to his promise to him, and yet choose him, hear and help him, at a proper time; preserve him, and give him for a covenant to the people, to the establishment of the earth, and making it habitable, Isa 49:7,8 for the release of prisoners, and feeding, leading, and guiding them, and removing all difficulties out of the way, Isa 49:9-11 when the calling of the Gentiles is foretold, which would occasion great joy in the world, Isa 49:12,13 yet the church is introduced as complaining that she was forsaken of God, Isa 49:14 which is denied, and the contrary affirmed; being dear to the Lord as a sucking child to its mother, and more so; never forgotten by him, and always under his care, Isa 49:16, and, for her comfort, she is assured that those who had destroyed and made her waste should be removed; and that she should have converts that would be an ornament to her, and these numerous, insomuch that the place of their habitation would be too strait and narrow, and which would be matter of astonishment to her, Isa 49:17-21 and, besides those that would be converted in the land of Judea, there would be great numbers in the Gentile world converted by the power of God accompanying his Gospel, set up as a standard there, kings and queens countenancing and encouraging the interest of Christ, Isa 49:22,23 and yet still it is questioned whether the church should be delivered from her oppressors, Isa 49:24 to which it is answered, that she should be delivered, and her persecutors destroyed; by which it would be known that the Lord is the Redeemer and Saviour of his people, Isa 49:25,26.

Isaiah 49 Commentaries

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