The Work of the Lord's Servant
1 Everyone, listen,
even you foreign nations
across the sea.
The Lord chose me
and gave me a name
before I was born.
2 He made my words pierce
like a sharp sword
or a pointed arrow;
he kept me safely hidden
in the palm of his hand.
3 The Lord said to me,
“Israel, you are my servant;
and because of you
I will be highly honored.”

4 I said to myself,
“I'm completely worn out;
my time has been wasted.
But I did it for the Lord God,
and he will reward me.”

5 Even before I was born,
the Lord God chose me
to serve him and to lead back
the people of Israel.
So the Lord has honored me
and made me strong.

6 Now the Lord says to me,
“It isn't enough for you
to be merely my servant.
You must do more than lead back
survivors from the tribes
of Israel.
I have placed you here as a light
for other nations;
you must take my saving power
to everyone on earth.”
The Lord Will Rescue His People
7 Israel, I am the holy Lord God,
the one who rescues you.
You are slaves of rulers
and of a nation
who despises you.
Now this is what I promise:
Kings and rulers will honor you
by kneeling at your feet.
You can trust me! I am your Lord,
the holy God of Israel,
and you are my chosen ones.
The Lord Will Lead His People Home
8 This is what the Lord says:
I will answer your prayers
because I have set a time
when I will help
by coming to save you.
I have chosen you
to take my promise of hope
to other nations.
You will rebuild the country
from its ruins,
then people will come
and settle there.
9 You will set prisoners free
from dark dungeons
to see the light of day.

On their way home,
they will find plenty to eat,
even on barren hills.
10 They won't go hungry
or get thirsty;
they won't be bothered
by the scorching sun
or hot desert winds.
I will be merciful
while leading them along
to streams of water.
11 I will level the mountains
and make roads.
12 Then my people will return
from distant lands
in the north and the west
and from the city of Syene.
The Lord's Mercy
13 Tell the heavens and the earth
to celebrate and sing;
command every mountain
to join in the song.
The Lord's people have suffered,
but he has shown mercy
and given them comfort.

14 The people of Zion said,
“The Lord has turned away
and forgotten us.”

15 The Lord answered,
“Could a mother forget a child
who nurses at her breast?
Could she fail to love an infant
who came from her own body?
Even if a mother could forget,
I will never forget you.
16 A picture of your city
is drawn on my hand.
You are always in my thoughts!

17 “Your city will be built faster
than it was destroyed
those who attacked it
will retreat and leave.
18 Look around! You will see
your people coming home.
As surely as I live,
I, the Lord, promise
that your city with its people
will be as lovely as a bride
wearing her jewelry.”
Jerusalem's Bright Future
19 Jerusalem is now in ruins!
Nothing is left of the city.
But it will be rebuilt
and soon overcrowded;
its cruel enemies
will be gone far away.

20 Jerusalem is a woman
whose children were born
while she was in deep sorrow
over the loss of her husband.
Now those children
will come and seek room
in the crowded city,
21 and Jerusalem will ask,
“Am I really their mother?
How could I have given birth
when I was still mourning
in a foreign land?
Who raised these children?
Where have they come from?”

22 The Lord God says:
“I will soon give a signal
for the nations
to return your sons
and your daughters
to the arms of Jerusalem.
23 The kings and queens
of those nations
where they were raised
will come and bow down.
They will take care of you
just like a slave
taking care of a child.
Then you will know
that I am the Lord.
You won't be disappointed
if you trust me.”
The Lord Is on Our Side
24 Is it possible to rescue victims
from someone strong
and cruel?
25 But the Lord has promised
to fight on our side
and to rescue our children
from those strong
and violent enemies.
26 He will make those cruel people
dine on their own flesh
and get drunk from drinking
their own blood.
Then everyone will know
that the Lord is our Savior;
the powerful God of Israel
has rescued his people.