Jerusalem's children come home
Born to talk1
Listen to me, you people living on the coast
And you people in nations far away.
Before I was born, God gave me this job.
I was still developing inside my mom.
He hid me, protected beneath his shadow.
He made me into a straight-shooter, a polished arrow.
And he kept me safe in his quiver.
3The LORD told me, “You are my devoted servant.
Israel, you are my pride and joy.”
4I thought, “But I’ve accomplished nothing.
All I did was wear myself out.
Everything I did was a waste of time.
But it’s in God’s hands now.
Whatever reward I might get will come from him.”
God’s champion who will free Israel5
The LORD created me to be his servant, too.
He gave me the mission of bringing Israel home.
I’ll take the children of Jacob back to the LORD.
God gives me that honor,
And the strength to do the job.
“You’re too good of a servant for just one mission.
I want you to do more than resurrect the tribes of Israel
And take the Jewish survivors back to their homes.
I want you to become a beacon of hope to the nations.
Take my salvation on a road trip all over the world.”
7Israel’s Holy God and Savior has a message.
It’s for people hated by others,
And despised by the nations.
“Kings will one day honor you.
World leaders will bow to you.
I’m the LORD, Israel’s Holy God.
I chose you as my people.
You know you can trust what I say.”
Time to come home to Jerusalem8
The LORD says:
I’ll answer you.
I’ll come to your rescue and save you.
You’re my people. I created you.
We’re bound together by a covenant,
By promises we made to each other.
You’re going home to ruins.
But they are your ruins to rebuild.
Tell those in hiding, “It’s safe to come out.”
Let them eat picnic-style as they travel,
Dining on food they find along the way.
10I won’t let them go hungry or get thirsty.
The sun won’t fry them with scorching heat.
The desert wind won’t sandblast them.
I’ll guide the travelers with kindness.
I’ll lead them to springs of water.
11I cut trails through the mountains.
I’ll made roads for their journey.
12Some travelers come from far away.
Some from north and west,
And some from Syene in the distant south.
Mountains sing hallelujah13
Sky above and earth below,
Sing a happy song.
Mountains, sing along.
God comes to comfort the people.
His compassion treats their pain.
“The LORD abandoned us.”
15The LORD answers,
Does a pregnant woman ignore her baby?
Does a nursing mom forget her child?
Some might do that.
I’m not them.
In the palm of God’s hand16
I wrote you onto the palms of my hands.
Jerusalem’s broken walls are always on my mind.
Than the invaders tore it down.
18Look at the people come.
They’re coming to you, Jerusalem.
This is what I promise, says the LORD:
“Jerusalem will welcome these people
And bear them proudly,
like jewels on a bridal gown.
19Your outlying wastelands,
ghost towns, and ruins
Are about to get crowded.
Invaders who tore your towns apart
Are long gone and far away.
20Children born during your captivity will say,
“This town’s too crowded.
We need more elbow room.”
21Once-abandoned Jerusalem will say,
“Where did all these people come from?
I was abandoned and ripped to ruins,
With my children taken from me.
Where did they come from
And how did they get here?”
22The LORD God tells Jerusalem,
“I’m going to signal the nations
To let your people go,
And to carry your sons and daughters
Back to their homes.
Sugar daddies for support23
Kings will be your sugar daddies,
Queens your sugar mommas.
They’ll bow so low they’ll lick the dust,
Your cue that I’m the LORD.
Trust in me and I’ll promise this,
You won’t be disappointed.
Who can take it back?
When warriors take captives
Who can set them free?
25The LORD says this:
“Those warriors will lose their captives.
Tyrants will give them up.
For I’m going to war with your enemies.
And I’ll bring your children home.
26People tormenting you will pay,
A sack of bones and a bucket of blood.
Then everyone will know who rescued you,
The LORD and Savior,
Mighty God of Jacob’s children.
Scholars debate who is doing the talking. The chapter reads like several are talking. Verse 3 suggests the writer is speaking on behalf of all the Jewish people, the people of “Israel.” Others say a writer long after the time of Isaiah was talking about himself and his mission, at least in the first four verses.
When Isaiah asked God how long he should keep delivering God’s messages, the Lord said, “Until their cities lie in ruins” (Isaiah 6:11). The people would ignore the prophet.
This is a second servant of the LORD, many scholars say: Cyrus, king of Persia (reigned 559-530 BC). The writer mentions him by name in Isaiah 44:28 and in Isaiah 45. He said God would use him to free the Jews and rebuild Jerusalem and the foundation of a new Temple. Cyrus freed Babylon’s political captives. That included the Jews whom Babylon deported in 586 BC and earlier, in smaller groups of deportations. Isaiah lived two centuries before Cyrus.
Jacob’s 12 sons produced families that grew to become the 12 tribes of Israel.
Known today as Aswan, an Egyptian city in the south, near Egypt’s border with Ethiopia. The identity linking Syene to the area comes from one of the famous Dead Sea Scrolls copied and hidden in caves about 2,000 years ago. “East” isn’t one of the directions mentioned perhaps because Israel is on the east coast of the region, beside the Mediterranean Sea.
The Jewish people aren’t disconnected from God. They are part of Him. Some students of the Bible might see a hint of Jesus here. Doubting Thomas didn’t believe Jesus rose from the dead. He said, “Before I believe that I’m going to have to see the nail marks in his hands” (John 20:25).
Cyrus ordered locals to give the Jews returning to Jerusalem supplies they would need for the trip (Ezra 1:4).
More literally, “They will eat their own flesh and get drunk on their own blood.” “Eat flesh” might refer to cannibalism that sometimes happens among starving people in a besieged city. But literally “getting drunk on blood” sounds unlikely unless we’re talking about a bloody mary, a vodka-tomato juice drink that wasn’t invented until about 1921, at Harry’s Bar in Paris. The Hebrew phrase, some scholars say, sounds more like a metaphor to express a wretched end to Israel’s oppressors—the Assyrians and later the Babylonians.
- Sorry, there are currently no questions for this chapter.