Isaiah 49:4
Parallel Verses
New International Version
But I said, "I have labored in vain; I have spent my strength for nothing at all. Yet what is due me is in the LORD's hand, and my reward is with my God."

New Living Translation
I replied, "But my work seems so useless! I have spent my strength for nothing and to no purpose. Yet I leave it all in the LORD's hand; I will trust God for my reward."

English Standard Version
But I said, “I have labored in vain; I have spent my strength for nothing and vanity; yet surely my right is with the LORD, and my recompense with my God.”

New American Standard Bible
But I said, "I have toiled in vain, I have spent My strength for nothing and vanity; Yet surely the justice due to Me is with the LORD, And My reward with My God."

King James Bible
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.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
But I myself said: I have labored in vain, I have spent my strength for nothing and futility; yet my vindication is with the LORD, and my reward is with my God.

International Standard Version
"I said: 'I've labored for nothing. I've exhausted my strength on futility and on emptiness.' Yet surely my recompense is with the LORD, and my reward is with my God.

NET Bible
But I thought, "I have worked in vain; I have expended my energy for absolutely nothing." But the LORD will vindicate me; my God will reward me.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
But I said, "I have worked hard for nothing. I have used my strength, but I didn't accomplish anything. Yet, certainly my case is in the LORD's hands, and my reward is with my God."

Jubilee Bible 2000
But I said, I have laboured in vain; I have spent my strength for nothing, and in vain; yet surely my judgment is before the LORD and my recompense with my God.

King James 2000 Bible
Then I said, I have labored in vain, I have spent my strength for nothing, and in vain: yet surely my due justice is with the LORD, and my recompense with my God.

American King James Version
Then I said, I have labored in vain, I have spent my strength for nothing, and in vain: yet surely my judgment is with the LORD, and my work with my God.

American Standard Version
But I said, I have labored in vain, I have spent my strength for nought and vanity; yet surely the justice due to me is with Jehovah, and my recompense with my God.

Douay-Rheims Bible
And I said: I have laboured in vain, I have spent my strength without cause and in vain: therefore my judgment is with the Lord, and my work with my God.

Darby Bible Translation
-- And I said, I have laboured in vain, I have spent my strength for nought and in vain; nevertheless my judgment is with Jehovah, and my work with my God.

English Revised Version
But I said, I have laboured in vain, I have spent my strength for nought and vanity: yet surely my judgment is with the LORD, and my recompence with my God.

Webster's Bible Translation
Then I said, I have labored in vain, I have spent my strength for naught, and in vain; yet surely my judgment is with the LORD, and my work with my God.

World English Bible
But I said, "I have labored in vain, I have spent my strength for nothing and vanity; yet surely the justice [due] to me is with Yahweh, and my reward with my God."

Young's Literal Translation
And I said, 'For a vain thing I laboured, For emptiness and vanity my power I consumed, But my judgment is with Jehovah, And my wage with my God.
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

49:1-6 The great Author of redemption shows the authority for his work. The sword of his word slays the lusts of his people, and all at enmity with them. His sharp arrows wound the conscience; but all these wounds will be healed, when the sinner prays to him for mercy. But even the Redeemer, who spake as never man spake in his personal ministry, often seemed to labour in vain. And if Jacob will not be brought back to God, and Israel will not be gathered, still Christ will be glorious. This promise is in part fulfilled in the calling of the Gentiles. Men perish in darkness. But Christ enlightens men, and so makes them holy and happy.

Pulpit Commentary

Verse 4. - Then I said, I have laboured in vain; rather, and I, for my part, had said. The Servant had momentarily desponded, seeing the small results of all his efforts to reclaim Israel, and had felt a natural human regret at so much labour apparently expended in vain; but his despondency had been soon checked by the thought that God would not suffer any "labour of love" to be wholly in vain, but would give it the recompense which it merited. The verse brings strongly out the true humanity of the "Servant," who feels as men naturally feel, but restrains himself, and does not allow his feelings to carry him away. Compare with this despondency the grief exhibited by our Lord on two occasions (Matthew 23:37; John 11:35), and the depression which extorted from him the memorable words, "Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?" (Matthew 27:46). My work; rather, my reward, or my recompense.

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

Then I said,.... The Messiah said, by way of objection, in a view of what treatment he should meet with, or when entered on his work, and which he found by experience, what follows:

I have laboured in vain; this is not to be understood of the travail of his soul, or of his sufferings and death, which were not in vain, but issued in the redemption and salvation of his people; but of his ministry and miracles, and fatiguing journeys among the Jews; which, with respect to them, were in vain, as to their conversion and reformation; they rejecting the Messiah, slighting his doctrines and miracles, refusing to be gathered by him, being a faithless and perverse generation:

I have spent my strength for naught, and in vain; by frequent preaching and working of miracles, and travelling from place to place: the same thing is designed as before, repeated in other words, to express the certainty of it, to chew the ingratitude and wickedness of the people, and to utter the complaints of his mind:

yet surely my judgment is with the Lord; or is manifest before the Lord, as the Targum; the Lord knew that he had called him to his office; how prudently, diligently, and faithfully he had executed it; and what was his right and due, and which would be given him; and with this he corrects his former complaint, and makes himself easy, and quiets and satisfies his mind:

and my work with my God; or the reward of my works is before my God, as the Targum; and before himself also, Isaiah 40:10 as his work was assigned him by the Lord, so his reward was promised him, and which he knew he should have; and having done his work, be asked for his reward, and had it, John 17:4.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

4. I—Messiah.

in vain—comparatively in the case of the greater number of His own countrymen. "He came unto His own, and His own received Him not" (Isa 53:1-3; Lu 19:14; Joh 1:11; 7:5). Only a hundred twenty disciples met after His personal ministry was ended (Ac 1:15).

yet … my judgment … with the Lord—Ultimately, God will do justice to My cause, and reward (Margin for "work," compare Isa 40:10; 62:11) My labors and sufferings. He was never "discouraged" (Isa 42:4; 50:7, 10). He calmly, in spite of seeming ill success for the time, left the result with God, confident of final triumph (Isa 53:10-12; 1Pe 2:23). So the ministers of Christ (1Co 4:1-5; 1Pe 4:19).

Isaiah 49:4 Additional Commentaries
Context
You are My Servant
3He said to Me, "You are My Servant, Israel, In Whom I will show My glory." 4But I said, "I have toiled in vain, I have spent My strength for nothing and vanity; Yet surely the justice due to Me is with the LORD, And My reward with My God." 5And now says the LORD, who formed Me from the womb to be His Servant, To bring Jacob back to Him, so that Israel might be gathered to Him (For I am honored in the sight of the LORD, And My God is My strength),…
Cross References
Philippians 2:16
as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain.

Leviticus 26:20
Your strength will be spent in vain, because your soil will not yield its crops, nor will the trees of your land yield their fruit.

Proverbs 29:26
Many seek an audience with a ruler, but it is from the LORD that one gets justice.

Isaiah 25:1
LORD, you are my God; I will exalt you and praise your name, for in perfect faithfulness you have done wonderful things, things planned long ago.

Isaiah 35:4
say to those with fearful hearts, "Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you."

Isaiah 40:27
Why do you complain, Jacob? Why do you say, Israel, "My way is hidden from the LORD; my cause is disregarded by my God"?

Isaiah 57:21
"There is no peace," says my God, "for the wicked."

Isaiah 59:18
According to what they have done, so will he repay wrath to his enemies and retribution to his foes; he will repay the islands their due.

Isaiah 61:10
I delight greatly in the LORD; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.

Isaiah 65:23
They will not labor in vain, nor will they bear children doomed to misfortune; for they will be a people blessed by the LORD, they and their descendants with them.
Treasury of Scripture

Then I said, I have labored in vain, I have spent my strength for nothing, and in vain: yet surely my judgment is with the LORD, and my work with my God.

I have laboured

Isaiah 65:2 I have spread out my hands all the day to a rebellious people, which …

Ezekiel 3:19 Yet if you warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, …

Matthew 17:17 Then Jesus answered and said, O faithless and perverse generation, …

Matthew 23:37 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you that kill the prophets, and stone them …

John 1:11 He came to his own, and his own received him not.

Romans 10:21 But to Israel he said, All day long I have stretched forth my hands …

Galatians 4:11 I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed on you labor in vain.

spent

Leviticus 26:20 And your strength shall be spent in vain: for your land shall not …

2 Corinthians 12:15 And I will very gladly spend and be spent for you; though the more …

yet

Isaiah 53:10-12 Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he has put him to grief: when …

Psalm 22:22-31 I will declare your name to my brothers: in the middle of the congregation …

Luke 24:26 Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?

John 17:4,5 I have glorified you on the earth: I have finished the work which …

2 Corinthians 2:15 For we are to God a sweet smell of Christ, in them that are saved, …

Philippians 2:9 Why God also has highly exalted him, and given him a name which is …

Hebrews 12:2 Looking to Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the …

work. or, reward

Isaiah 40:10 Behold, the Lord GOD will come with strong hand, and his arm shall …

Isaiah 62:11 Behold, the LORD has proclaimed to the end of the world, Say you …

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