my chosen one in whom I take pleasure.
I have placed my spirit on him;
42:2 He will not cry out or shout;
he will not publicize himself in the streets. 4
42:3 A crushed reed he will not break,
a dim wick he will not extinguish; 5
he will faithfully make just decrees. 6
before establishing justice on the earth;
the one who created the sky and stretched it out,
the one who fashioned the earth and everything that lives on it, 11
the one who gives breath to the people on it,
and life to those who live on it: 12
I take hold of your hand.
to release prisoners 19 from dungeons,
those who live in darkness from prisons.
[42:1] 1 sn Verses 1-7 contain the first of Isaiah’s “servant songs,” which describe the ministry of a special, ideal servant who accomplishes God’s purposes for Israel and the nations. This song depicts the servant as a just king who brings justice to the earth and relief for the oppressed. The other songs appear in 49:1-13; 50:4-11; and 52:13-53:12.
[42:6] 15 tn Heb “a covenant of people.” A person cannot literally be a covenant; בְּרִית (bÿrit) is probably metonymic here, indicating a covenant mediator. The precise identity of עָם (’am, “people”) is uncertain. In v. 5 עָם refers to mankind, and the following reference to “nations” also favors this. But in 49:8, where the phrase בְּרִית עָם occurs again, Israel seems to be in view.
[42:7] 18 sn This does not refer to literal physical healing of the blind. As the next two lines suggest, this refers metonymically to freeing captives from their dark prisons where their eyes have grown unaccustomed to light.
[42:7] 19 sn This does not refer to hardened, dangerous criminals, who would have been executed for their crimes in ancient Near Eastern society. This verse refers to political prisoners or victims of social injustice.