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The Servant, a Light to the Nations


Here is my servant, whom I uphold,

my chosen, in whom my soul delights;

I have put my spirit upon him;

he will bring forth justice to the nations.


He will not cry or lift up his voice,

or make it heard in the street;


a bruised reed he will not break,

and a dimly burning wick he will not quench;

he will faithfully bring forth justice.


He will not grow faint or be crushed

until he has established justice in the earth;

and the coastlands wait for his teaching.



Thus says God, the L ord,

who created the heavens and stretched them out,

who spread out the earth and what comes from it,

who gives breath to the people upon it

and spirit to those who walk in it:


I am the L ord, I have called you in righteousness,

I have taken you by the hand and kept you;

I have given you as a covenant to the people,

a light to the nations,


to open the eyes that are blind,

to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon,

from the prison those who sit in darkness.


I am the L ord, that is my name;

my glory I give to no other,

nor my praise to idols.


See, the former things have come to pass,

and new things I now declare;

before they spring forth,

I tell you of them.


A Hymn of Praise


Sing to the L ord a new song,

his praise from the end of the earth!

Let the sea roar and all that fills it,

the coastlands and their inhabitants.


Let the desert and its towns lift up their voice,

the villages that Kedar inhabits;

let the inhabitants of Sela sing for joy,

let them shout from the tops of the mountains.


Let them give glory to the L ord,

and declare his praise in the coastlands.


The L ord goes forth like a soldier,

like a warrior he stirs up his fury;

he cries out, he shouts aloud,

he shows himself mighty against his foes.



For a long time I have held my peace,

I have kept still and restrained myself;

now I will cry out like a woman in labor,

I will gasp and pant.


I will lay waste mountains and hills,

and dry up all their herbage;

I will turn the rivers into islands,

and dry up the pools.


I will lead the blind

by a road they do not know,

by paths they have not known

I will guide them.

I will turn the darkness before them into light,

the rough places into level ground.

These are the things I will do,

and I will not forsake them.


They shall be turned back and utterly put to shame—

those who trust in carved images,

who say to cast images,

“You are our gods.”



Listen, you that are deaf;

and you that are blind, look up and see!


Who is blind but my servant,

or deaf like my messenger whom I send?

Who is blind like my dedicated one,

or blind like the servant of the L ord?


He sees many things, but does not observe them;

his ears are open, but he does not hear.

Israel’s Disobedience


The L ord was pleased, for the sake of his righteousness,

to magnify his teaching and make it glorious.


But this is a people robbed and plundered,

all of them are trapped in holes

and hidden in prisons;

they have become a prey with no one to rescue,

a spoil with no one to say, “Restore!”


Who among you will give heed to this,

who will attend and listen for the time to come?


Who gave up Jacob to the spoiler,

and Israel to the robbers?

Was it not the L ord, against whom we have sinned,

in whose ways they would not walk,

and whose law they would not obey?


So he poured upon him the heat of his anger

and the fury of war;

it set him on fire all around, but he did not understand;

it burned him, but he did not take it to heart.


21. The Lord is well pleased. In order to aggravate still more the guilt of the Jews, he now shews that it was not God who prevented them from leading a prosperous and happy life. He had already said that the distresses and afflictions which they endure are the punishment of their blindness, which they have voluntarily brought upon themselves; and now he brings forward as an addition and crowning point of the accusation, that by their obstinacy they reject all relief.

This passage is interpreted in various ways. Some render it, “The Lord hath so willed it;” others, “He is merciful;” but, for my own part, I have translated it, “The Lord is willing,” that is, disposed and inclined to deliver his people, and that for the purpose of magnifying his Law and extolling his righteousness. Thus God assigns the reason why he is ready to aid those who are unworthy, that he wishes to spread his glory in their salvation, that in this manner his righteousness may be illustriously displayed, and that his Law may prevail and flourish. As to the heavy calamities that have come on the Jews, the reason is, that of their own accord they have resolved to be blind, and to bring afflictions on themselves, instead of obeying God; for otherwise the Lord would have wished to enrich and exalt them. Others view it thus, “The Lord wishes to magnify his Law, because he wishes to appear to be faithful in punishing the Jews, as he had threatened them by his Law;” and thus they consider “righteousness” to denote the punishment and vengeance which God inflicts on a wicked people.

Others render it, “For his righteous one,” and refer it to Christ; but they mistake the meaning of the word צדקו, (tzidko,) and unquestionably he speaks of righteousness, and means that the Lord would willingly have displayed the magnificence of his promises, and would have given proofs of his righteousness in preserving his people, if they had not shewn themselves to be ungrateful and unworthy. Some think that the Lord here offers an excuse for himself, because, when the people whom he had adopted were exposed to so many evils, it appeared as if his truth were shaken, and that the Prophet intended to meet this calumny, for they were seized and became a prey, not because the Lord delights in their miseries, but because he prefers his righteousness to everything else.

For my own part, I explain it simply to mean, “The Lord, for the sake of doing honor to his Law, was inclined to do good to his people, in order that his glory and righteousness might shine forth in it; but his people shewed themselves to be unworthy of so great a favor; and, therefore, by their own obduracy they made their wounds incurable.” Besides, we ought to learn from this passage the reason why the Lord bestows so many favors on his Church. It is, that he may promote his Law, that is, that he may bring men to honor his majesty, and that his truth may shine more and more. When he says that the Lord is willing and inclined; he shews plainly that he is not induced to it by any one else than by himself; but he expresses it more fully, when he adds, on account of his righteousness; for he excludes everything that men could bring. Nor is the Lord prompted by any other consideration to do good, than because he is righteous; for no merit or worth will be found among men. But this reason applied especially to the Jews, whom alone he deigned to adopt.

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