1Listen, islands, to me.
Listen, you peoples, from afar:
the Lord has called me from the womb;
from the inside of my mother, he has mentioned my name.
2He has made my mouth like a sharp sword.
He has hidden me in the shadow of his hand.
He has made me a polished shaft.
He has kept me close in his quiver.
3He said to me, “You are my servant,
Israel, in whom I will be glorified.”
4But I said, “I have laboured in vain.
I have spent my strength in vain for nothing;
yet surely the justice due to me is with the Lord,
and my reward with my God.”
5Now the Lord, he who formed me from the womb to be his servant,
says to bring Jacob again to him,
and to gather Israel to him,
for I am honourable in the Lord’s eyes,
and my God has become my strength.
6Indeed, he says, “It is too light a thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob,
and to restore the preserved of Israel.
I will also give you as a light to the nations,
that you may be my salvation to the end of the earth.”
7The Lord, the Redeemer of Israel, and his Holy One,
says to him whom man despises, to him whom the nation abhors, to a servant of rulers:
“Kings shall see and rise up,
princes, and they shall worship,
because of the Lord who is faithful, even the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen you.”
8The Lord says, “I have answered you in an acceptable time.
I have helped you in a day of salvation.
I will preserve you and give you for a covenant of the people,
to raise up the land, to make them inherit the desolate heritage,
9saying to those who are bound, ‘Come out!’;
to those who are in darkness, ‘Show yourselves!’
“They shall feed along the paths,
and their pasture shall be on all treeless heights.
10They shall not hunger nor thirst;
neither shall the heat nor sun strike them:
for he who has mercy on them will lead them.
He will guide them by springs of water.
11I will make all my mountains a road,
and my highways shall be exalted.
12Behold, these shall come from afar,
and behold, these from the north and from the west;
and these from the land of Sinim.”
13Sing, heavens, and be joyful, earth!
Break out into singing, mountains,
for the Lord has comforted his people,
and will have compassion on his afflicted.
14But Zion said, “The Lord has forsaken me,
and the Lord has forgotten me.”
15“Can a woman forget her nursing child,
that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb?
Yes, these may forget,
yet I will not forget you!
16Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.
Your walls are continually before me.
17Your children hurry.
Your destroyers and those who devastated you will leave you.
18Lift up your eyes all around, and see:
all these gather themselves together, and come to you.
As I live,” says the Lord, “you shall surely clothe yourself with them all as with an ornament,
and dress yourself with them, like a bride.
19“For, as for your waste and your desolate places,
and your land that has been destroyed,
surely now that land will be too small for the inhabitants,
and those who swallowed you up will be far away.
20The children of your bereavement will say in your ears,
‘This place is too small for me.
Give me a place to live in.’
21Then you will say in your heart, ‘Who has conceived these for me, since I have been bereaved of my children
and am alone, an exile, and wandering back and forth?
Who has brought these up?
Behold, I was left alone. Where were these?’”
22The Lord GOD says, “Behold, I will lift up my hand to the nations,
and lift up my banner to the peoples.
They shall bring your sons in their bosom,
and your daughters shall be carried on their shoulders.
23Kings shall be your foster fathers,
and their queens your nursing mothers.
They will bow down to you with their faces to the earth,
and lick the dust of your feet.
Then you will know that I am the Lord;
and those who wait for me shall not be disappointed.”
24Shall the plunder be taken from the mighty,
or the lawful captives be delivered?
25But the Lord says, “Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken away,
and the plunder retrieved from the fierce,
for I will contend with him who contends with you
and I will save your children.
26I will feed those who oppress you with their own flesh;
and they will be drunk on their own blood, as with sweet wine.
Then all flesh shall know that I, the Lord, am your Saviour
and your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.”