Isaiah 49 – “A Bright Future for Israel”

Hebrew-English Text
I. Summary
God tells Israel that they have not been forgotten and that they will become a light unto the nations.

II. Photo
God promises to return the exiles: “As I live — declares the Lord — you shall don them all like jewels, deck yourself with them like a bride!” (v. 18b)

III. Important Verses
1-3: Listen, O coastlands, to me, And give heed, O nations afar: The LORD appointed me before I was born, He named me while I was in my mother’s womb. He made my mouth like a sharpened blade, He hid me in the shadow of His hand, And He made me like a polished arrow; He concealed me in His quiver. And He said to me, “You are My servant, Israel in whom I glory.”
6: For He has said: “It is too little that you should be My servant In that I raise up the tribes of Jacob And restore the survivors of Israel: I will also make you a light of nations, That My salvation may reach the ends of the earth.”
14-16:  Zion says, “The LORD has forsaken me, My Lord has forgotten me.” Can a woman forget her baby, Or disown the child of her womb? Though she might forget, I never could forget you.  See, I have engraved you On the palms of My hands, Your walls are ever before Me.
24-26: Can spoil be taken from a warrior, Or captives retrieved from a victor?  Yet thus said the LORD: Captives shall be taken from a warrior And spoil shall be retrieved from a tyrant; For I will contend with your adversaries, And I will deliver your children. I will make your oppressors eat their own flesh, They shall be drunk with their own blood as with wine. And all mankind shall know That I the LORD am your Savior, The Mighty One of Jacob, your Redeemer.

IV. Outline

1-4. The prophet recalls his being chosen and his personal travails
5-11. Israel’s future glory
    5-6. Israel will become a light unto the nations
    7. The nations will honor God
    8-11. God will make Israel prosper in its land
    12-13. Peoples and objects praise God
14-26. God’s words of assurance
    14-16. God has not forgotten Israel
    17-21. The children will return
    22-23. The children will be treated like royalty
    24-25. God will take the captives back
    26. Israel’s enemies will suffer

V. Comment
No comment today. Stay tuned.

VI. Works Used
(see “Commentaries” page)
Collins, John J. “Introduction to the Hebrew Bible,” (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2004).
Sweeney, Marvin A. “Isaiah 1-39 with an Introduction to Prophetic Literature” The Forms of Old Testament Literature vol. 16 (Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans, 1996).
Photo taken from