Isaiah 49:4
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.”

Berean Study Bible
But I said, “I have labored in vain, I have spent My strength in futility and vanity; yet My vindication is with the LORD, and My reward is 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.

New King James Version
Then I said, ‘I have labored in vain, I have spent my strength for nothing and in vain; Yet surely my just reward is with the LORD, And my work with my God.’ ”

New American Standard Bible
But I said, “I have labored in vain, I have spent My strength for nothing and futility; Nevertheless, the justice due to Me is with the LORD, And My reward is with My God.”

NASB 1995
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.”

NASB 1977
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.”

Amplified Bible
Then I said, “I have labored in vain, I have spent My strength for nothing and vanity (pride, uselessness); However My justice is with the LORD, And My reward is with My God.”

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.

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.

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.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
And I have not said to the seed of Yaqob, ‘I have labored for nothing and I have given my power to futility.’ Truly my judgment is before LORD JEHOVAH and my work is before my God”

Brenton Septuagint Translation
Then I said, I have laboured in vain, I have given my strength for vanity and for nothing: therefore is my judgement with the Lord, and my labour before my God.

Contemporary English Version
I said to myself, "I'm completely worn out; my time has been wasted. But I did it for the LORD God, and he will reward me."

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.

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.

Good News Translation
I said, "I have worked, but how hopeless it is! I have used up my strength, but have accomplished nothing." Yet I can trust the LORD to defend my cause; he will reward me for what I do.

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."

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.

JPS Tanakh 1917
But I said: 'I have laboured in vain, I have spent my strength for nought and vanity; Yet surely my right is with the LORD, And my recompense with my God.'

Literal Standard Version
And I said, “I labored in vain, I consumed my power for emptiness and vanity, But my judgment [is] with YHWH, And my wage 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.

New Heart 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 the LORD, and my reward 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.

Additional Translations ...
Context
You are My Servant
3He said to Me, “You are My Servant, Israel, in whom I will display My glory.” 4But I said, “I have labored in vain, I have spent My strength in futility and vanity; yet My vindication is with the LORD, and My reward is with My God.” 5And now says the LORD, who formed Me from the womb to be His Servant, to bring Jacob back to Him, 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 forth the word of life, in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain.

Leviticus 26:20
and your strength will be spent in vain. For your land will not yield its produce, and the trees of the land will not bear their fruit.

Proverbs 29:26
Many seek the ruler's favor, but a man receives justice from the LORD.

Isaiah 25:1
O LORD, You are my God! I will exalt You; I will praise Your name. For You have worked wonders--plans formed long ago--in perfect faithfulness.

Isaiah 35:4
Say to those with anxious hearts: "Be strong, do not fear! Behold, your God will come with vengeance. With divine retribution He will come to save you."

Isaiah 40:27
Why do you say, O Jacob, and why do you assert, O Israel, "My way is hidden from the LORD, and my claim is ignored by my God"?

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


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 unto a rebellious people, which walketh in a way that was not good, after their own thoughts;

Ezekiel 3:19
Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul.

Matthew 17:17
Then Jesus answered and said, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him hither to me.

spent

Leviticus 26:20
And your strength shall be spent in vain: for your land shall not yield her increase, neither shall the trees of the land yield their fruits.

2 Corinthians 12:15
And I will very gladly spend and be spent for you; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved.

yet

Isaiah 53:10-12
Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand…

Psalm 22:22-31
I will declare thy name unto my brethren: in the midst of the congregation will I praise thee…

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

work.

Isaiah 40:10
Behold, the Lord GOD will come with strong hand, and his arm shall rule for him: behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him.

Isaiah 62:11
Behold, the LORD hath proclaimed unto the end of the world, Say ye to the daughter of Zion, Behold, thy salvation cometh; behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him.









(4) Then I said.--The accents of disappointment sound strangely on coming from the lips of the true Servant; but the prophet had learnt by his own experience that this formed part of the discipline of every true servant of God, in proportion to the thoroughness of his service, and therefore it was not strange to him that the ideal Servant should also taste that bitterness. We find in the prophet of Anathoth a partial illustration of the law (Jeremiah 20:14). We find its highest fulfilment in the cries of Gethsemane and Golgotha, The sense of failure is surmounted only, as here, by looking to another judgment than man's, and another reward (better than "work"). (Comp. 1Corinthians 4:3.)

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.

Parallel Commentaries ...


Hebrew
But I
וַאֲנִ֤י (wa·’ă·nî)
Conjunctive waw | Pronoun - first person common singular
Strong's 589: I

said,
אָמַ֙רְתִּי֙ (’ā·mar·tî)
Verb - Qal - Perfect - first person common singular
Strong's 559: To utter, say

“I have labored
יָגַ֔עְתִּי (yā·ḡa‘·tî)
Verb - Qal - Perfect - first person common singular
Strong's 3021: To gasp, to be exhausted, to tire, to toil

in vain,
לְרִ֣יק (lə·rîq)
Preposition-l | Noun - masculine singular
Strong's 7385: Emptiness, a worthless thing, in vain

I have spent
כִלֵּ֑יתִי (ḵil·lê·ṯî)
Verb - Piel - Perfect - first person common singular
Strong's 3615: To be complete, at an end, finished, accomplished, or spent

my strength
כֹּחִ֣י (kō·ḥî)
Noun - masculine singular construct | first person common singular
Strong's 3581: A small reptile (of unknown species)

in futility
לְתֹ֥הוּ (lə·ṯō·hū)
Preposition-l | Noun - masculine singular
Strong's 8414: A desolation, desert, a worthless thing, in vain

and vanity;
וְהֶ֖בֶל (wə·he·ḇel)
Conjunctive waw | Noun - masculine singular
Strong's 1892: Emptiness, vanity, transitory, unsatisfactory

yet
אָכֵן֙ (’ā·ḵên)
Adverb
Strong's 403: Firmly, surely, but

my vindication
מִשְׁפָּטִ֣י (miš·pā·ṭî)
Noun - masculine singular construct | first person common singular
Strong's 4941: A verdict, a sentence, formal decree, divine law, penalty, justice, privilege, style

is with
אֶת־ (’eṯ-)
Preposition
Strong's 854: Nearness, near, with, by, at, among

the LORD,
יְהוָ֔ה (Yah·weh)
Noun - proper - masculine singular
Strong's 3068: LORD -- the proper name of the God of Israel

and my reward
וּפְעֻלָּתִ֖י (ū·p̄ə·‘ul·lā·ṯî)
Conjunctive waw | Noun - feminine singular construct | first person common singular
Strong's 6468: A work, recompense

is with
אֶת־ (’eṯ-)
Preposition
Strong's 854: Nearness, near, with, by, at, among

my God.”
אֱלֹהָֽי׃ (’ĕ·lō·hāy)
Noun - masculine plural construct | first person common singular
Strong's 430: gods -- the supreme God, magistrates, a superlative


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OT Prophets: Isaiah 49:4 But I said I have labored (Isa Isi Is)
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