King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

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Isaiah 49

The unbelief and rejection of the Jews. (1-6) Gracious promise to the Gentiles. (7-12) God’s love to the church. (13-17) Its increase. (18-23) And deliverance. (24-26)

Isaiah 49 Audio:

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The unbelief and rejection of the Jews

1 Listen, O isles, unto me; and hearken, ye people, from far; The LORD hath called me from the womb; from the bowels of my mother hath he made mention of my name.

2 And he hath made my mouth like a sharp sword; in the shadow of his hand hath he hid me, and made me a polished shaft; in his quiver hath he hid me;

3 And said unto me, Thou art my servant, O Israel, in whom I will be glorified.

4 Then I said, I have laboured in vain, I have spent my strength for nought, and in vain: yet surely my judgment is with the LORD, and my work with my God.

5 And now, saith the LORD that formed me from the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob again to him, Though Israel be not gathered, yet shall I be glorious in the eyes of the LORD, and my God shall be my strength.

6 And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth.

Gracious promise to the Gentiles

7 Thus saith the LORD, the Redeemer of Israel, and his Holy One, to him whom man despiseth, to him whom the nation abhorreth, to a servant of rulers, Kings shall see and arise, princes also shall worship, because of the LORD that is faithful, and the Holy One of Israel, and he shall choose thee.

8 Thus saith the LORD, In an acceptable time have I heard thee, and in a day of salvation have I helped thee: and I will preserve thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages;

9 That thou mayest say to the prisoners, Go forth; to them that are in darkness, Shew yourselves. They shall feed in the ways, and their pastures shall be in all high places.

10 They shall not hunger nor thirst; neither shall the heat nor sun smite them: for he that hath mercy on them shall lead them, even by the springs of water shall he guide them.

11 And I will make all my mountains a way, and my highways shall be exalted.

12 Behold, these shall come from far: and, lo, these from the north and from the west; and these from the land of Sinim.

God’s love to the church

13 Sing, O heavens; and be joyful, O earth; and break forth into singing, O mountains: for the LORD hath comforted his people, and will have mercy upon his afflicted.

14 But Zion said, The LORD hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me.

15 Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee.

16 Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me.

17 Thy children shall make haste; thy destroyers and they that made thee waste shall go forth of thee.

Its increase

18 Lift up thine eyes round about, and behold: all these gather themselves together, and come to thee. As I live, saith the LORD, thou shalt surely clothe thee with them all, as with an ornament, and bind them on thee, as a bride doeth.

19 For thy waste and thy desolate places, and the land of thy destruction, shall even now be too narrow by reason of the inhabitants, and they that swallowed thee up shall be far away.

20 The children which thou shalt have, after thou hast lost the other, shall say again in thine ears, The place is too strait for me: give place to me that I may dwell.

21 Then shalt thou say in thine heart, Who hath begotten me these, seeing I have lost my children, and am desolate, a captive, and removing to and fro? and who hath brought up these? Behold, I was left alone; these, where had they been?

22 Thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I will lift up mine hand to the Gentiles, and set up my standard to the people: and they shall bring thy sons in their arms, and thy daughters shall be carried upon their shoulders.

23 And kings shall be thy nursing fathers, and their queens thy nursing mothers: they shall bow down to thee with their face toward the earth, and lick up the dust of thy feet; and thou shalt know that I am the LORD: for they shall not be ashamed that wait for me.

And deliverance

24 Shall the prey be taken from the mighty, or the lawful captive delivered?

25 But thus saith the LORD, Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken away, and the prey of the terrible shall be delivered: for I will contend with him that contendeth with thee, and I will save thy children.

26 And I will feed them that oppress thee with their own flesh; and they shall be drunken with their own blood, as with sweet wine: and all flesh shall know that I the LORD am thy Saviour and thy Redeemer, the mighty One of Jacob.

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G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 1. Give. This fresh discourse continues to C. lvi. 9. relating to the Messias, who is introduced speaking to all the world. Acts xiii. 47. and 2 Cor. vi. 2. Some apply a part to Cyrus, Isaias, or the Baptist, as to his figures. C. — The prophet has foretold the conversion of the Gentiles, as he now does, like an evangelist. S. Jer. — Many Jews will embrace the gospel at the end of time. W.

Ver. 2. Sword, penetrating the very soul, (Heb. iv. 12.) and slaying the wicked. Apoc. i. 16. and 2 Thess. ii. 8. Without Christ, his ministers can apply this sword to little purpose. Cyrus cut asunder the bonds of the captives by his decree. C. — Grotius improperly explains all of Isaias. Houbigant.

Ver. 3. Glory. In the Church, God is adored in spirit and truth. Isaias is ordered thus to address the Israelites.

Ver. 4. God. He will reward the labours of his ministers, though the people be obstinate. The prophets and our Saviour frequently complain. C. lxv. 2. Mar. ix. 18.

Ver. 5. Will not. Heb. Sept. &c. “to be gathered.” H. — The original text, independent of the Masorets, may have the sense of the Vulg. Yet there are other proofs of the synagogue’s rejection. C. — Prot. “though Israel be not gathered, yet,” &c. Margin, or “that Israel may be gathered, and I may,” &c. H.

Ver. 6. Earth. S. Paul, explains this of Christ, (Acts xiii.) who said, Go teach all nations. Mat. xxviii. Isaias was one of his first preachers.

Ver. 7. Despised, Christ, Cyrus, or Isaias; though it refer chiefly to our Saviour.

Ver. 9. Ways. The captives shall find every convenience. C.

Ver. 12. South. Heb. Sinim; (H.) China, (S. Jer.) or rather Sin, or Pelusium, and Sinai, in Egypt and Arabia. Sept. “Persians.” C.

Ver. 14. Sion, the Jews, who will at last be converted in great numbers. Houbigant.

Ver. 16. Hands, which were nailed to the cross. Sept. “I have delineated thy walls on my hands, and thou art before me always.” H. — The Assyrians wore such characters on their hands or necks. Lucian. Lev. xix. 28. C. — Christ will always love his Church, which is of all times and nations. W.

Ver. 17. Of thee. Sanballat, &c. shall yield to Zorobabel, Nehemias, &c.

Ver. 19. Inhabitants. The country was better peopled, (C.) and Jerusalem enlarged under the Machabees. Jos. Bel. v. 6.

Ver. 20. Barrenness, of which thou complainest. He alludes to the captives who returned, and to Christian converts. M.

Ver. 22. Shoulders. Thus the Syrians commonly carried children astride. Cotovic. xiv.

Ver. 23. Nurses. The Persian kings favoured the captives. The greatest monarchs bow before the prelates of the Church, (M.) and kiss the Pope’s toe. They venerate relics, (H.) and greatly enrich the Church. C.

Ver. 24. Strong. Can I force the Babylonians to yield? Surely, and the devil also. Lu. xi. 21. — Mighty. Heb. “just,” in lawful war. Sept. “unjustly.”

Ver. 26. Flesh. They shall attack one another. C. — Neriglissor slew Evil-merodac. Beros. c. Ap. i. — Gobrias and Gadatas betrayed and killed Baltassar. Xenoph. iv. 5. and 7. C. — In their fury they shall tear their own flesh. M.