These chapters in Isaiah begin explaining and describing the ministry of the LORD’s Servant, who is Messiah Yeshua. The LORD showed me an amazing chiastic structure here:
1A: Isa 49:1-4, YHVH’s Servant called from the womb to glorify Him + I have labored in vain, but justice is with the LORD;
1B: Isa 49:5, The Servant will restore Jacob;
1C: Isa 49:6, The Servant will bring salvation to the Gentiles;
1D: Isa 49:7, Kings shall worship;
1E: Isa 49:8, YHVH shall give His Servant as a covenant to the peoples;
1F: Isa 49:9-12, The restored peoples who will come to Zion from afar;
1G: Isa 49:13, YHVH has comforted His people and had mercy;
CENTRAL AXIS: Isa 49:14-15, Zion has said, the LORD has forsaken and forgotten me, but the LORD has said, I will not forget you as a mother cannot forget the son of her womb;
2G: Isa 49:16, YHVH has inscribed Zion on the palms of His hands;
2F: Isa 49:17-21, Zion’s children who will gather to her;
2E: Isa 49:22, YHVH shall set up His Standard for the peoples;
2D: Isa 49:23, Kings shall be Zion’s foster fathers;
2C: Isa 49:24-26, YHVH will save Zion’s children from the mighty and terrible;
2B: Isa 50:1-3, YHVH Himself will restore, redeem, and deliver Jacob (from iniquity and transgression) as there was no man when He called;
2A: Isa 50:4-9, The Servant hears, speaks, and submits even to abuse + YHVH shall help and justify His Servant.
The A pairs reveal that the Servant will be born of a woman. Well, the LORD said from the beginning that the Seed of the Woman would crush the serpent’s head (Gen 3:15), so He has consistently said that Messiah would be human. As Isaiah begins to describe what the Servant will be and do (a sharp sword who will glorify YHVH), by the A pairs we learn that the Servant’s sharp sword, His tongue, was given to Him by YHVH in order to sustain the weary.
There are a few other places in Scripture where the sharp sword of YHVH is mentioned: The Word of God who comes from heaven on a white horse, out of His mouth comes a sharp sword, with which He shall strike the nations (Rev 19:11-16). This is the vision of the returning of Messiah Yeshua as King of kings and Lord of lords. And the Word of God is sharper than any two-edged sword (Heb 4:12). The Word of God and Messiah Yeshua are one (Joh 1:14).
But the way in which the Servant will glorify YHVH (the 1A pair) is by not rebelling, but submitting to the LORD’s will, even so that His back is struck, His beard pulled out, and His face covered with shame (the 2A pair). He emptied Himself and became a Servant of servants (Phil 2:5-8).
The B and C pairs show us that the Servant will restore Jacob and bring salvation to the Gentiles (the 1B and 1C pairs), but at the same time, that it is YHVH Himself who will accomplish the restoration and salvation, because when He looked for a man, He found no one (the 2B and 2C pairs). The only way to harmonize the information that the 1ABC pairs are giving us, that the Servant is human who will accomplish restoration and salvation, with the information that the 2ABC pairs are giving us, that it is YHVH who will accomplish restoration and salvation, is to realize that the Servant is YHVH incarnate. It is through passages like these that the Holy Spirit taught John, the apostles, and Paul that Messiah Yeshua is this Servant, fully human, who was also fully YHVH come in the flesh.
There is so much more we can glean from studying the way the Spirit has matched the pairs, which I will leave to you. Please do not miss the G pairs, that YHVH has shown mercy on the afflicted by inscribing Zion on the palms of His hands! It is the palms of Messiah Yeshua’s hands that were pierced with nails! At the same time I remember that the ancient Hebrew pictographic meaning of YHVH is “The hand – Behold! The nail – Behold!”