Yahweh appointed his special servant
1 All you people who live on islands in the ocean and in other distant areas,
pay attention [DOU] to me!
Yahweh called me before was born;
he chose me when I was still in my mother's womb.
2 When I grew up, he caused my messages to be like [SIM] a sharp sword.
He has protected me by the shadow of his hand.
He protects me [SIM] like someone protects sharp arrows in a quiver.
3 He said to me, “You will serve my Israeli people,
and you will cause people to honor me.”
4 I replied, “My work has been useless;
I have used my strength, but it has accomplished nothing;
it as been in vain.
However, he can honor me as he pleases;
my God is the one who will reward me if he desires to.”
5 Yahweh formed me when I was in my mother's womb in order that I would serve him;
he appointed me to bring the people of Israel back to himself.
Yahweh has honored me,
and is the one who has caused me to be strong.
6 He says to me,
“It is not enough for you to serve me
by bringing the descendants of Jacob back to me;
I will also make you like a light for the non-Jews,
and you will take my my message about how to be saved to people all over the world.”
7 Yahweh, the one who saves us,
the Holy God of us Israeli people,
says to the one who was despised and rejected by the nations,
to the one who is the slave of rulers,
“ Some day kings will rise to respect you when they see you,
and princes will bow down before you
because you serve me, Yahweh, the one who faithfully does what I promise,
the Holy God to whom you Israelis belong, the one who has chosen you.”
The promise to restore Israel
8 This is what Yahweh says:
“At a time when it pleases me, I will answer your prayers.
On the day when you will be rescued from your oppressors, I will help you.
I will protect you and enable you to establish an agreement with them.
By what you do, I will re-establish your nation of Israel
and allow you to settle again in your land that was abandoned.
9 I will say to those who were captured and exiled,
‘Leave Babylonia and be free,’
and I will say to those who are in dark prisons,
‘Come out into the light!’
When that happens, they will again be like [MET] sheep
that eat grass in green pastures,
on hills that were previously barren.
10 They will not be hungry or thirsty any more;
the hot sun will not beat upon them again.
I, Yahweh, will mercifully lead them;
I will lead them to where there are springs of cool water.
11 And I will cause my mountains to become level roads,
and I will prepare good highways for my people to travel on, back to Jerusalem.
12 My people will return from far away;
some will come from the north, some from the west,
some from in the far south of Egypt.”
13 Everything should shout joyfully—
the skies and the earth and the mountains should sing,
because Yahweh comforts his people,
and he will pity them while they are suffering.
14 The people of Jerusalem say,
“Yahweh has abandoned us;
he has forgotten about us.”
15 But Yahweh says,
“That is not true! Can [RHQ] a woman forget the infant that she is nursing?
Can [RHQ] she no longer act kindly toward the child that she has borne?
No, but even if that were possible,
I would not forget you!
16 Look, I have written your names on the palms of my hands;
in my mind I can always see the walls of Jerusalem.
17 Soon your children will be returning there,
and all those who tried to destroy you will go away from you.
18 You will look around and see
all of your children coming back to you.
Just as surely as I live,
they will be around you to show to people
like a bride shows her wedding ornaments!”
19 Your land has been ruined and made desolate,
but some day it will be filled with people,
and those who conquered you will be far away.
20 The children who were born while you were ◄exiled/in Babylonia► will return to Jerusalem and say,
“This city is too small for us;
We need more space to live in!”
21 Then you will think to yourselves,
“Who has given me all these children?
Most of my children were dead,
and the rest were exiled.
I was left here alone;
so where did all these children come from?
And who raised them?”
22 This what Yahweh our God says:
“Watch! I will lift up my hand to signal to the non-Jews.
And they will carry your little sons and daughters on their shoulders
and bring them back to you.
23 Kings will serve you and will tutor your children,
and their queens will take care of your young children.
They will prostrate themselves in front of you
and lick the dust off your feet.
Then you will know that I am Yahweh;
and those who trust in me will never be disappointed.”
24 There is no one [RHQ] who can snatch valuable things from a soldier who has captured those things in a war;
there is no one [RHQ] who can force a tyrant to free the people whom he has captured.
25 But Yahweh says this:
“ Some day, those who have been captured will be freed,
and the valuable things that tyrants have snatched from others will be returned,
because I will fight against those who fight against you,
and I will rescue your children.
26 And your enemies will destroy themselves [MET]
instead of murdering others.
When that happens, everyone in the world will know that I, Yahweh, am the one who saves you,
who rescues you from your enemies;
they will know that I am the mighty God to whom the descendants of Jacob belong.”