Isaiah 491Pay attention, you islands, and listen closely, you far away peoples. The Lord has called me from the womb; from the womb of my mother, he has been mindful of my name. 2And he has appointed my mouth as a sharp sword. In the shadow of his hand, he has protected me. And he has appointed me as an elect arrow. In his quiver, he has hidden me. 3And he has said to me: “You are my servant, Israel. For in you, I will glory.” 4And I said: “I have labored toward emptiness. I have consumed my strength without purpose and in vain. Therefore, my judgment is with the Lord, and my work is with my God.” 5And now, says the Lord, who formed me from the womb as his servant, so that I may bring back Jacob to him, for Israel will not be gathered together, but I have been glorified in the eyes of the Lord and my God has become my strength, 6and so he has said: “It is a small thing that you should be my servant so as to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and so as to convert the dregs of Israel. Behold, I have offered you as a light for the Gentiles, so that you may be my salvation, even to the furthest regions of the earth.” 7Thus says the Lord, the Redeemer of Israel, his Holy One, to a contemptible soul, to an abominable nation, to the servant of lords: The kings will see, and the princes will rise up, and they will adore, because of the Lord. For he is faithful, and he is the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen you. 8Thus says the Lord: In a pleasing time, I have heeded you, and in the day of salvation, I have assisted you. And I have preserved you, and I have presented you as a covenant of the people, so that you would lift up the earth, and possess the scattered inheritances, 9so that you would say to those who are bound, “Go forth!” and to those who are in darkness, “Be released!” They will pasture along the roads, and their pastures will be in every open place. 10They will not hunger or thirst, nor will the heat of the sun beat down upon them. For the one who takes pity on them will rule them, and he will give them to drink from fountains of waters. 11And I will make all my mountains into a road, and my paths will be exalted. 12Behold, some will come from far away, and behold, others from the north and from the sea, and still others from the land of the south. 13Give praise, O heavens! And exult, O earth! Let the mountains give praise with jubilation! For the Lord has consoled his people, and he will take pity on his poor ones. 14And Zion said: “The Lord has abandoned me, and the Lord has forgotten me.” 15Can a woman forget her infant, so as not to take pity on the child of her womb? But even if she would forget, still I shall never forget you. 16Behold, I have engraved you on my hands. Your walls are always before my eyes. 17Your builders have arrived. Those who would tear you down and destroy you, they will depart from you. 18Lift up your eyes all around, and see: all these have been gathered together; they have come to you. As I live, says the Lord, you shall be clothed with all these things, as if with an ornament. And like a bride, you shall wrap these things all around you. 19For your deserts, and your solitary places, and the land of your ruination will now be too narrow, because of all the inhabitants. And those who devoured you will be chased far away. 20Even the children of your barrenness will say in your ears: “This place is too narrow for me. Make me a spacious place in which to dwell.” 21And you will say in your heart: “Who has conceived them? I was barren and unable to give birth. I was taken away and held captive. And so, who has raised them? I was destitute and alone. And so, where have they been?” 22Thus says the Lord God: Behold, I will lift up my hand to the Gentiles, and I will exalt my sign before the peoples. And they will carry your sons in their arms, and they will bear your daughters on their shoulders. 23And kings will be your caretakers, and queens will be your nursemaids. They will reverence you with their face to the ground, and they will lick the dust at your feet. And you will know that I am the Lord. For those who hope in him will not be confounded. 24Can prey be taken from the strong? Or is anything taken captive by the powerful able to be saved? 25For thus says the Lord: Certainly, even the captives will be taken away from the strong, even what has been taken by the powerful will be saved. And truly, I will judge those who have judged you, and I will save your children. 26And I will feed your enemies their own flesh. And they will be inebriated with their own blood, as with new wine. And all flesh will know that I am the Lord, who saves you, and your Redeemer, the Strong One of Jacob.
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