Isa 49.1-26 is important in understanding the physical manifestation of the Messiah. Messiah existed “hidden” since before creation according to 1 Pet 1.18-20, 2.4. Peter supports the idea of God redeeming Israel with blood, and this chapter says that Messiah existed before the foundation of the earth, yet manifested himself in the First Century, and was despised by his people. This chapter also deals with the calling of the Messiah and his role in the redemption of Israel..
v 1…Listen to me (this is the same person as in Isa 42.1, the Messiah who we know is Yeshua), O islands (the nations are called to hear this proclamation) and pay attention, you peoples from afar. The Lord (Yehovah) called me (as a prophet, priest, king, mediator, redeemer, savior) from the womb: from the inward parts (bowels) of my mother he named me.
v 2…And he has made my mouth like a two-edged sword (to proclaim his word, the Torah-Heb 4.12; Rev 2.12, 19.15); in the shadow (protected, hidden) of his hand he has concealed me (prepared me to be his servant), and he has also made me a select arrow (to be piercing, sharp); he has hidden me in his quiver (protected).
v 3…He has said to me, “You are my servant, Israel (a name for the Messiah; the kings of a nation were often called by the name of the nations; the Messiah is Israel in person, and was first used for an individual, and he is distinguished from the nation itself because the nation is the object of what his work is all about, as seen in v. 5, the restoration of the nation), in whom I will show my glory.”
v 4…But I said (the Messiah), “I have toiled in vain, I have spent my strength for nothing and vanity (Israel rejected him); yet surely the justice due to me is with the Lord (Yehovah) and my reward (of his works accomplished) with my God (he knew God called him and what was right would be given him-John 17.4).
v 5…And now says the Lord (Yehovah) who formed me from the womb to be his servant (preordained to serve-remember, we are in what is called the “Servant Passages”-Isa 40-66), to bring back Israel to him (the lost sheep of the house of Israel, or Jacob; all twelve tribes-Matt 10.6) in order that Israel might be gathered to him (in general, a remnant), yet I am honored in the sight of Yehovah, and my God is my strength (even though it looked like he was unsuccessful and rejected).
v 6…He says (Yehovah), “It is too small (light) a thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the preserved ones of Israel (those he has elected for his own out of the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob); I will also make you a light to the nations (world-Luke 2.32) so that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth (non-Jews as fellow citizens with Jews also-Matt 28.19-20; Eph 2.11-22).
v 7…Thus says the Lord, the redeemer of Israel, Holy One (vindicator), to the despised one (Messiah, who was called a “Nazarene” in Matt 2.25, which is an idiom meaning “despised”-John 1.46), to the one abhorred by the nation (Israel), to the servant of rulers (a subject to them, paid taxes, etc), “Kings shall see and arise (from their thrones and worship), princes shall also bow down because the Lord is faithful, the Holy One of Israel who has chosen you (Messiah-Isa 52.13z).”
8…Thus says the Lord, In a favorable time I have answered you (God heard Yeshua when he came) and in a day of salvation (when Yeshua brought salvation) I have helped you (through everything to redeem mankind and nature); and I will keep you and give you for a covenant of the people (to guarantee it-Luke 22.20; Heb 7.22) to restore the land (nature, the earth), to make them inherit desolate heritages (after Babylon and the Birth-pains);
v 9…saying to those who are bound, “Go forth,” to those in darkness “Show yourselves” (God’s people released from bondage and their prisons). Along the roads they will feed; and their pasture will be all bare heights (abundant provision).
v 10…They shall not hunger or thirst, neither will the scorching heat or sun strike them down; for he who has compassion on them will lead them, and guide them to springs of water (teaching, truth, salvation-John 4.13-14).
v 11…And I will make all my mountains a road (no obstacles), and my highways will be raised up (Isa 40.3-4).
v 12…Behold (take note), these shall come from afar (the exiles); and lo, these will come from the north and from the west, and these from the land of Sinim (some believer this is in Egypt, while others believe it may be reference to China, but the meaning is Jews from everywhere shall return).
v 13…Shout for joy, O heavens! And rejoice, O earth! For the Lord (Yehovah) has comforted his people, and will have compassion on his afflicted (the redemption has come).
v 14…But Zion said, “The Lord has forsaken me, and the Lord has forgotten me (“so how can these things be” they thought).”
v 15…”Can a woman forget her nursing child, and have no compassion on the son of her womb (The Lord has tenderness towards them. This is called a “Pilpul” or peppered argument when a question is asked, then the students discuss the answer)? Even these (earthly parents) may forget, but I will not forget you.
v 16…Behold, I have inscribed you on the palms of my hands (as a token of remembrance); your walls are continually before me (constant care and concern, like an architect).
v 17…Your builders (sons) hurry (to rebuild); your destroyers and devastations will go out (cease, depart).
v 18…Lift up your eyes and look around (n all directions); all of them (those scattered and lost) gather together, they come to you. As I live, declares the Lord (Yehovah), “You shall surely put on all of them as jewels (ornaments), and bind them on as a bride.
v 19…For your waste and desolate places, and your destroyed land (by the enemy)-surely now you will be too cramped for the inhabitants, and those who swallowed you will be far away (no enemies).
v 20…The children of whom you were bereaved will yet say in your ears (those born in exile), ‘The place is too cramped for me; make room for me that I may live here (to settle down).’
v 21…Then you will say in your heart, “Who has begotten these for me, since I have been bereaved of my children, and I am barren, an exile and a wanderer? And who reared these? Behold, I was left alone; from where did these come (Going into exile “Rachel” was weeping for her children because they were no more-Jer 31.15. But there was hope for the future-Jer 31.16-17. God does a miraculous work and the Jewish people are surprised at how Yehovah has preserved the sons of Jacob according to his promises)?
v 22…Thus says the Lord God (Adonai Yehovah), “Behold, I will lift up my hand (to call them) to the nations and set up my standard to the peoples (Hebrew “nissi” which is a term for the Messiah-Isa 11.10), and they (the non-Jews-Isa 66.20) will bring your sons in their bosom (to assist in restoring Israel), and your daughters will be carried on their shoulders.
v 23…And kings will be your guardians, and their princesses your nurses. They will bow down to you (in respect) with their faces to the earth, and lick the dust of your feet (in homage, an earthly custom); and you (Israel) will know that I am the Lord (Yehovah); those who hopefully wait for me (for my salvation and my promises) will not be put to shame.
v 24…Can the prey (Israel) be taken from the mighty man (Ha Satan, the nations, the False Messiah-Mark 5.27), or the captive righteous (Hebrew “tzadik”) be rescued?”
v 25…Surely, says the Lord (Yehovah), “Even the captives (Israel) of the mighty man will be taken away, and the prey of the terrifying one (Ha Satan, False Messiah, the nations) will be rescued (escape out of their hands). For I will contend with the one who contends with you and I will save your sons.
v 26…And I will feed your oppressors with their own flesh (they will destroy one another), and they will become drunk with their own blood as with sweet wine (abundant blood will be shed and there will be pleasure in shedding it); and all flesh (by reason of God’s judgment all will recognize that Yehovah is the true God) will know that I, the Lord (Yehovah), am your Savior, and your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob (invincible in his power).”