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 [^1] honored in the eyes of the LORD ¶ and 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."
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. [^2] "
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 [^3] ?
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."