1 Nephi Chapter 21
In the previous chapter Isaiah spoke directly to ancient and modern members of the house of Israel who are already gathered to the area of Jerusalem or to the Church. This chapter is addressed to the members of the house of Israel who have been "broken off," "driven out," and "scattered abroad" upon the "isles" (see verse 1). Accordingly, Nephi felt this chapter had special application to his people (cf. 2 Nephi 10:21). This chapter corresponds to Isaiah chapter 49, and is a vital chapter for each Latter-day Saint. It applies specifically also to any today who may not be of the blood of Israel, but desire to investigate the gospel of Jesus Christ and be gathered to the Lord's earthly kingdom.
The first six verses of this chapter comprise one of the five recognized "servant songs" of Isaiah (see also Isaiah 42:1-4; Isaiah 50:4-11; Isaiah 52:13-15; and 53:1-12). These passages all speak of a servant or servants who, though they may appear insignificant, will do a great work for the Lord.
The preeminent servant is Jesus Christ, described as "a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of . . . Israel" (Luke 2:32), who would deliver the world from sin, death, and hell and direct the work of all other servants. It is likely that these servants are at least types of Christ. These individuals may include Isaiah and other Old Testament prophets; Cyrus (a non-Israelite), called a "shepherd" and an "anointed one" (Isaiah 43:28; Isaiah 44:1), who would deliver ancient Judah from Babylon; and the prophet Joseph Smith, whom the Lord used to restore the gospel and initiate the gathering of Israel in the latter days.
Scholars in and out of the Church have suggested various possibilities for the identity of the servant or the speaker in this particular passage. Your author will try to make a case for the idea that the speaker or "servant" is the dominant tribe of the house of Israel, Ephraim. Furthermore, since the time reference for the restoration or gathering of Israel is the latter days, the speaker might even be the one who presides over the tribe of Ephraim in the latter days, Joseph Smith, Jr.
For our discussion of the first six verses of chapter 21, I am indebted to Kent P. Jackson, specifically his essay "Revelation Concerning Isaiah," in Studies in Scripture, Volume One, The Doctrine and Covenants, 326-30.
1 And again: Hearken, O ye house of Israel, all ye that are broken off and are driven out because of the wickedness of the pastors of my people; yea, all ye that are broken off, that are scattered abroad, who are of my people, O house of Israel. Listen, O isles, unto me, and hearken ye people from far; the Lord hath called me from the womb; from the bowels of my mother hath he made mention of my name.
verse 1 We will learn in verse 3 that the speaker or first person in this passage is named "Israel." The secret to proper interpretation of this verse and those that follow is to identify this speaker. As already mentioned, from the context of this verse we may conclude that Isaiah appears to be speaking as though he were Ephraim, the dominant tribe of covenant Israel and the tribe designated by the Lord to direct the ultimate latter-day gathering of scattered Israel.
Ephraim is addressing scattered Israel. The phrases "all ye that are broken off and are driven out," "all ye that are broken off, that are scattered abroad," "O isles," and "ye people from far" all refer to the scattered remnants of Israel. Again, our time frame is this final dispensation or the latter days. Of all these expressions, the one the reader will want to become most aware of is "O isles," as the word isles invariably refers to the people of scattered Israel (1 Nephi 22:4; cf. 2 Nephi 10:20-22).
From the days of the ancient patriarchs, Joseph, the son of Jacob (or Israel), and his descendants have been foreordained to stand at the head of the house of Israel and provide spiritual or priesthood leadership (see Genesis 37:5-11; Genesis 48:13-20; Genesis 49:26; Deuteronomy 33:16-17). This calling includes the challenge to Joseph's descendants to be saviors of their brethren of Israel, just as their forefather Joseph had been a temporal savior of his family in ancient times. Of Joseph's sons, Ephraim had the birthright. Jeremiah prophesied concerning Ephraim's role in the latter-day gathering of Israel. As the presiding tribe, it would be he who would announce to all that the time of the gathering and return had come. The prophet Jeremiah said, "For there shall be a day, that the watchmen upon the mount Ephraim shall cry, Arise ye, and let us go up to Zion unto the Lord our God" (Jeremiah 31:6).
The terms "called me from the womb" and "from the bowels of my mother hath he mentioned my name" imply that Ephraim's role was foreordained from the premortal or pre-existent phase. Joseph Smith was also foreordained or called from very early times. Ancient Joseph prophesied of Joseph Smith (2 Nephi 3:15), and Joseph Smith himself testified that he was foreordained to be a prophet in this dispensation (D&C 127:2, TPJS, 365).
To reiterate, it seems reasonable to conclude then that "Israel" or the speaker in this prophecy is Ephraim, the tribe that is to preside in these latter days. And, as mentioned, since the prophet Joseph Smith, Jr. presides over latter-day Ephraim, one might even read these verses as though Joseph Smith himself were speaking them.
"driven out because of the wickedness of the pastors of my people" The spiritual leaders of Israel were and are apostate. This has resulted in the scattering of Israel. The congregations of these leaders have acquiesced readily to these apostate teachings and share equally in the blame, however.
2 And he hath made my mouth like a sharp sword; in the shadow of his hand hath he hid me, and made me a polished shaft; in his quiver hath he hid me;
verse 2 "mouth like a sharp sword" This metaphor is found elsewhere in scripture (see also Hebrews 4:12; Revelation 1:16; D&C 6:2) and refers to the power of Ephraim's message, the penetrating power of the word of God. Nephi spoke of truth cutting people "to the very center" (1 Nephi 16:2).
"in the shadow of his hand hath he hid me" At the same time Joseph's father, Jacob, pronounced the blessing of spiritual leadership or priesthood presidency on Joseph and his posterity, he prophesied that the government would be in the hands of the tribe of Judah (Genesis 49:8-10). This was fulfilled in the kingship of David and his descendants, and it will be fulfilled to its fullest measure in the millennial kingship of the Lord Jesus Christ. The descendants of Joseph never ruled over the house of Israel in spite of the fact that they inherited from their ancestor the keys of presidency. Ephraim's presidency over Israel was to be realized in the last days, thus Ephraim was hidden "in the shadow of his hand" until the last days.
With the calling of Joseph Smith, Jr., a descendant of Ephraim, in this dispensation, the tribe to which he belonged took its rightful position at the head of the family of Israel. Foreordained to a great latter-day service, ancient Joseph's descendants-both of Ephraim and of Manasseh-have been called to bring the blessings of the gospel to their brethren.
"a polished shaft . . . in his quiver" A "shaft" is the body of an arrow. Joseph Smith himself provided an interpretation that may explain the fulfillment of this scripture: "I am like a huge, rough stone rolling down from a high mountain; and the only polishing I get is when some corner gets rubbed off by coming in contact with something else . . . all hell knocking off a corner here and a corner there. Thus I will become a smooth and polished shaft in the quiver of the Almighty" (TPJS, 304). A polished shaft, then, is a smooth arrow, a metaphor for being well prepared. Thus, Joseph viewed himself as a polished shaft in the Lord's quiver, in direct fulfillment of Isaiah's words.
3 And said unto me: Thou art my servant, O Israel, in whom I will be glorified.
verse 3 The Lord speaks to his servant. Here the servant is identified as "Israel." Through Israel the Lord will be glorified. That this act of glorification would take place later than Isaiah's day is suggested from his use of future tenses throughout the passage.
Those who promote God's work contribute to his glory. The ways in which the servant named Israel will glorify the Lord are specified in verses 5 and 6 and include: (1) re-establish Israel and gather it again to the Lord and, (2) serve as a "light to the Gentiles," to make the gospel available to them.
4 Then I said, I have labored in vain, I have spent my strength for naught and in vain; surely my judgment is with the Lord, and my work with my God.
verse 4 "Israel" points out that his labors in the past have been "for naught," or in vain. The history of the house of Israel has been marred with apostasy and scattering. To this the Lord responds with a powerful prophecy of more significant labors that lay ahead in verses 5 and 6.
"surely my judgment is with the Lord, and my work with my God" A modern translation of Isaiah renders this phrase, "Yet what is due me is in the Lord's hand, and my reward is with my God" (NIV).
5 And now, saith the Lord-that formed me from the womb that I should be his servant, to bring Jacob again to him-though Israel be not gathered, yet shall I be glorious in the eyes of the Lord, and my God shall be my strength.
verse 5 This verse, as has already been discussed, is the commission of the birthright children of ancient Joseph to bring about the gathering of Israel in the last days. Ephraim's leader, Joseph Smith, Jr., was the one to whom the keys of gathering were restored (D&C 110:11). It will be under the authority of those keys that the gathering will occur. In modern revelation the Lord has affirmed that "they who are in the north countries" will return and receive their blessings under the hand of "the children of Ephraim" (D&C 133:26-34). Today it is, with few exceptions, the children of Ephraim and Manasseh, who constitute the Lord's Church who are taking the gospel message to the scattered remnants of Israel and who thus are gathering their brethren. Thus, the expression "children of Ephraim" refers to the latter-day Church of Jesus Christ.
"though Israel be not gathered, yet shall I be glorious in the eyes of the Lord" Ephraim says, "Even if I were to fail in my attempts at gathering, the Lord would continue to regard me with favor."
6 And he said: It is a light thing that thou shouldst be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel. I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the ends of the earth.
verse 6 "And he said" The Lord continues speaking.
"It is a light thing" This phrase means it is a comparatively small task-it is simply not sufficient-that Israelites should work to gather and restore only other blood Israelites. Israelites must also serve as a "light to the Gentiles"-an ensign, an example or missionary, to all the world, even those outside the blood of Israel. Nephi and others taught how the great blessings of the last days would be made available not only to the house of Israel, but to the Gentiles as well (see 1 Nephi 15:18; 1 Nephi 22:8-11; 3 Nephi 20:25-27). The gospel is to be taken by Ephraim in the dispensation of the fulness of times to all people. It is not enough to simply bless Israel-Ephraim is destined to bless the whole earth. Once again the tribe of Ephraim and Joseph Smith stand out as the main participants in this work.
To "raise up the tribes of Jacob" is to gather scattered Israel and therefore lift them up through the covenants of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
The "preserved of Israel" are those of scattered Israel who, through their righteousness have remained prepared to receive the gospel message and thus responsive to the call to gather.
"unto the ends of the earth" To "every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people" (Revelation 14:6; 1 Nephi 19:16; D&C 133:37).
An important group of verses in D&C 86:8-11 identify Joseph Smith and his co-workers of the tribes of Joseph-the members of the Church of Jesus Christ in these latter days-as the fulfillment of these words from Isaiah. These are they "with whom the priesthood hath continued through the lineage of [their] fathers-for [they] are lawful heirs according to the flesh, and have been hid from the world with Christ in God." Having been foreordained long ago to this calling, and having inherited it through lineal descent, Ephraim's children are now no longer "hid from the world" but are at the forefront of the Lord's work in the last days to restore scattered Israel to the covenant blessings, and to bring the message of the gospel to the Gentiles.
7 Thus saith the Lord, the Redeemer of Israel, his Holy One, to him whom man despiseth, to him whom the nations abhorreth, to servant of rulers: Kings shall see and arise, princes also shall worship, because of the Lord that is faithful.
verse 7 "Thus saith the Lord" In the remainder of the chapter, Isaiah quotes the Lord who speaks in the first person.
"to him whom man despiseth" "to him whom the nations abhorreth" The servant shall be despised. Again, this servant may be the tribe of Ephraim or, more specifically, he who presides over Ephraim in this last dispensation, Joseph Smith, Jr. It is perhaps pertinent that Joseph Smith was promised by Moroni that his name would be "had for good and evil among all nations."
"to servant of rulers" On the other hand, the Lord is also speaking to one, the servant, who will be influential even in the lives of some rulers.
"Kings shall see and arise" "princes also shall worship" The Lord saith to Ephraim: In that latter day, even kings and princes will respond to the servants message and worship the Lord.
"the Lord that is faithful" The Lord never fails to keep his promises.
verses 8-12 These verses describe the time of gathering of Israel from her prolonged dispersal.
8 Thus saith the Lord: In an acceptable time have I heard thee, O isles of the sea, and in a day of salvation have I helped thee; and I will preserve thee, and give thee my servant for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages;
verse 8 "In an acceptable time" At a favorable or appropriate time the Lord will respond to the spiritual yearnings of scattered Israel and commence the process of gathering.
"O isles of the sea" means, "O scattered Israel."
"in a day of salvation have I helped thee" In the great final dispensation, referred to as the "day of salvation," the Lord will "help" scattered Israel by bestowing the keys of gathering so that the work might be commenced. Note Isaiah's use of the past perfect tense in this phrase for an event that will occur in the future. This is yet another example of the so-called "prophetic perfect" verb tense.
Thus saith the Lord: At a time acceptable to me, I will send you my servant created and prepared by me. He will re-establish my covenant with Israel, restore the earth, and rejuvenate Israel's desolate spiritual heritage.
"to cause to inherit the desolate heritages" Restore lands, blessings, and covenants to which Israel was formerly entitled.
9 That thou mayest say to the prisoners: Go forth; to them that sit in darkness: Show yourselves. They shall feed in the ways, and their pastures shall be in all high places.
verse 9 That the servant may say to the prisoners, "Go forth" and "show yourselves." The prisoners are scattered, apostate Israel, those in spiritual bondage, whether on the earth or in the spirit world. They "sit in darkness" because they lack the truths of the gospel. They shall be freed by the restoration of gospel truths (see D&C 45:28). They shall be freed from the bonds of sin and spirit prison.
Gathering Israelites are compared to sheep:
"they shall feed in the ways" They shall be spiritually nourished as they go along their way to the gathering.
"their pastures shall be in all high places" The concept of "high places" has been used in other scriptural verses. See, for example, D&C 19:29 and D&C 112:7. Figuratively speaking, mountains or high places are often used as the meeting place for God and man, especially the temples. Israel shall be spiritually nourished in these high places-Israel will be nurtured and succored by divine intervention.
The entire phrase "they shall feed in the ways, and their pastures shall be in all high places" is a metaphor for the Lord's care and nurturing.
10 They shall not hunger nor thirst, neither shall the heat nor the sun smite them; for he that hath mercy on them shall lead them, even by the springs of water shall he guide them.
verse 10 The comparison of gathering Israel with sheep continues. The gathering Israelites shall not suffer unnecessarily, for the Lord, who loves them, will nourish them as he leads them to the "springs of water," to the living water-to Jesus Christ and his gospel.
11 And I will make all my mountains a way, and my highways shall be exalted.
verse 11 This expression simply means that the Lord will prepare paths or means for the return of scattered Israel to the Lord's earthly kingdom.
The Lord through Joseph Smith spoke of the miraculous creation of a great highway "in the midst of the great deep" which will be created to assist in the gathering of Israel. This terminology seems a bit ambiguous, and perhaps is used because this miraculous thoroughfare is analogous to one that appeared as Moses led the Israelites across the Red Sea. We are left with the impression that this will be a spectacular miracle (see D&C 133:26-33)!
12 And then, O house of Israel, behold, these shall come from far; and lo, these from the north and from the west; and these from the land of Sinim.
verse 12 The gathering of dispersed Israel will be extensive. They will come from all parts of the earth. Some will even come from "Sinim"! Where is that? No one really knows. Some scholars hold that it is Syrene, a place in southern Egypt, also known as Aswan. This was the location of a large Jewish colony after the scattering. Others have suggested that Sinim is China. Still others think it might be the desert of Sin, which is in the peninsula of Sinai. The point is that the Lord will gather his people from wherever they have been scattered.
verses 13-21 In these verses the Lord comforts and reassures his gathering children.
13 Sing, O heavens; and be joyful, O earth; for the feet of those who are in the east shall be established; and break forth into singing, O mountains; for they shall be smitten no more; for the Lord hath comforted his people, and will have mercy upon his afflicted.
verse 13 Shout, O heavens, and rejoice O earth, and sing O mountains, for the Lord will have mercy on gathering Israel. Even the inanimate creations of God, all nature, will witness and rejoice at his mercy and at the exaltation he offers.
The Lord will protect and comfort the gatherers. Some of them are established in the east (in and around Jerusalem?).
"for they shall be smitten no more" These people have been "smitten" because of their dispersion and long exile and because some have lived under circumstances of severe persecution. They have also been afflicted spiritually because of sin.
14 But, behold, Zion hath said: The Lord hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me-but he will show that he hath not.
verse 14 Zion is usually the place where the covenant people will gather. Here, however, Zion is used to personify the scattered Israelites.
Isaiah, in this and in the next several verses, personifies scattered Israel who "complains" and thus betrays her lost faith in the Lord's ability to save her. But Isaiah reassures scattered Israel that the Lord has not forgotten.
15 For can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee, O house of Israel.
verse 15 A "sucking child," of course, is a nursing baby. In our mortal experience, each of us has experienced first-hand the profound love of a mother for her child. Here the Lord's love for us and his desire to gather us to him is compared to this maternal love. The verse suggests that the Lord's love for us is even greater. Though unlikely, a mortal mother may forget, but I will never forget-"they may forget, yet will I not forget thee, O house of Israel." The Lord's love for us is incomprehensible, absolute, and completely incredible. He will never fail us!
16 Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me.
verse 16 "I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands" I have engraved you on the palms of my hands, and you are always present with me. This phrase may have reference to the ancient Hebrew practice of tattooing the palm with a symbol or emblem or name to show devotion and to serve as a reminder of one's commitment. This phrase also may have reference to the crucifixion of Christ, in which nails pierced his hands and left scars that remained after his resurrection (Luke 24:38-40; 3 Nephi 11:13-14). These nail marks are a sign to Israel-and to the world-that Christ loves us more than we can understand and that he has indeed completed his mission as Savior. He ever stands ready to receive us to him if we are willing.
"thy walls are continually before me" This phrase implies protection. The Lord is ever mindful of his people, and he has enclosed Israel with protective walls.
17 Thy children shall make haste against thy destroyers; and they that made thee waste shall go forth of thee.
verse 17 The "children" are the descendants of ancient Israel. The "destroyers" are the nations that attacked and captured ancient Israel. In the days when Israel shall be restored to her former blessings, the descendants of ancient Israel will quickly turn against their ancient enemies.
"they that made thee waste shall go forth of thee" The "of" in this passage may be rendered "from." Those who conquered and held captive Israel will flee or depart.
This passage may also refer to the success the faithful of Israel will have against those who would destroy them spiritually-including Satan and his followers.
18 Lift up thine eyes round about and behold; all these gather themselves together, and they shall come to thee. And as I live, saith the Lord, thou shalt surely clothe thee with them all, as with an ornament, and bind them on even as a bride.
verse 18 The Lord addresses Zion, the place of gathering. Multitudes will gather to Zion-"to thee"-and they will complement Zion as a wedding gown and ornaments complement a bride. Those of gathered Israel are Christ's jewels. In this verse the bride represents those gathered in Zion.
19 For thy waste and thy desolate places, and the land of thy destruction, shall even now be too narrow by reason of the inhabitants; and they that swallowed thee up shall be far away.
verse 19 The returning multitudes will be so numerous that they will occupy even the desolate places in Israel's promised lands that have previously been laid waste and lie empty. The returning masses will be unimpeded since their enemies, including spiritual enemies, will be far away.
20 The children whom thou shalt have, after thou hast lost the first, shall again in thine ears say: The place is too strait for me; give place to me that I may dwell.
verse 20 Israel is characterized as a mother who has lost her children-those earlier generations of Israel who fell away in apostasy-and is barren, but she shall have more-those of gathering Israel.
Their numbers will be so large that the Lord says, speaking to Israel, "You thought all of scattered Israel was irretrievably lost, but those who return will be so numerous that they will say, 'This place is too strait-too tight or narrow or crowded. Help me find a place to dwell here in Zion (see the commentary for 1 Nephi 8:20).'"
21 Then shalt thou say in thine heart: Who hath begotten me these, seeing I have lost my children, and am desolate, a captive, and removing to and fro? And who hath brought up these? Behold, I was left alone; these, where have they been?
verse 21 Israel will then say to herself, "Where did all these come from?" It is surprising that a barren woman should turn up with so many children.
22 Thus saith the Lord God: Behold, I will lift up mine hand to the Gentiles, and set up my standard to the people; and they shall bring thy sons in their arms, and thy daughters shall be carried upon their shoulders.
verse 22 The Lord is addressing Israel.
"I will lift up mine hand to the Gentiles" The reader ought to become sensitized to the imagery of the "hand" or the "arm" of the Lord. It invariably signifies his power to intervene in the affairs of men and in the events of history. In the latter days, the Lord will strengthen and enable the Gentiles to gather scattered Israel.
"set up my standard to the people" A standard is a banner or flag or ensign to which people gather. It is frequently used metaphorically, as it is here, for the restored gospel of Christ that will come forth among the Gentiles.
"and they shall bring thy sons in their arms, and thy daughters shall be carried upon their shoulders" This is a figurative expression indicating that the Gentiles, through whom the gospel is restored, will gather the Lord's covenant people, Israel (cf. 1 Nephi 22:6-10). In this context these latter-day Gentiles constitute the Lord's servant Israel mentioned earlier in this chapter (verse 3). They are Gentiles by nationality and culture (citizens of the great Gentile nation) but Israelite by genealogical descent (cf. D&C 109:60).
23 And kings shall be thy nursing fathers, and their queens thy nursing mothers; they shall bow down to thee with their face towards the earth, and lick up the dust of thy feet; and thou shalt know that I am the Lord; for they shall not be ashamed that wait for me.
verses 22-23 These can be confusing verses. To understand them, see Nephi's own inspired commentary on them in 1 Nephi 22:7-14.
The phrase "I will lift up mine hand to the Gentiles, and set up my standard to the people" refers to the Lord's delivering the everlasting gospel to the great Gentile nation in the latter days (see the commentary for 1 Nephi 15:13). This great Gentile nation will then take the gospel message to those of the house of Israel-the Lamanites and the Jews and the other scattered peoples. The gospel and the Church of Jesus Christ shall serve as a flag or ensign or a rallying point around which people may gather. Scattered Israel, including its sons and daughters, will be nourished and gathered by the Gentiles. This missionary work or gathering is represented by the phrase, "they [the Gentiles] shall bring thy [Israel's] sons in their [the Gentiles'] arms, and thy [Israel's] daughters shall be carried upon their [the Gentiles'] shoulders."
The Prophet Jacob commented on the meaning of verse 23 (see 2 Nephi 6:12-13 and 2 Nephi 10:7-9). There is a sign that awaits the gathering Israelites in the latter days: The very elect and righteous among the Gentiles (the "kings" and "queens") will bow down to the Israelites and humbly serve them and teach the gospel to them without shame, for true humility is seen among the disciples of Christ. Hence the verse may be restated: "And the very elect of the Gentiles shall be thy (Israel's) nursing fathers and mothers; they (the very elect of the Gentiles) shall bow down to thee (Israel) with their face towards the earth, and lick up the dust of thy (Israel's) feet; and thou (Israel) shalt know that I am the Lord; for they that wait for (serve and trust in) me (the elect of the Gentiles) shall not be ashamed." This is figurative or metaphorical language suggesting that governments will also assist with the gathering and restoration of the covenant people (cf. 2 Nephi 10:7-9).
"lick up the dust of thy feet" This is a figurative expression meaning to be humble and subservient. An explanation of this phrase will be offered by Jacob, the son of Lehi, who will quote the same Isaiah passage (2 Nephi 6:13). He will identify those who "lick up the dust" of Israel's feet not as the kings and queens who would be nursing fathers and mothers aiding Israel's return but as those who fight against Zion-against the covenant people of the Lord. Hence, God does fulfill his covenants, and his people need not be ashamed. Those who oppose his plans and purposes will in the end be humbled (cf. D&C 49:10).
24 For shall the prey be taken from the mighty, or the lawful captives delivered?
verse 24 All of this prophecy on the gathering of Israel seems too much to believe. Normally no one takes away from the mighty beasts their helpless prey, or from the mighty political powers the captives that they have taken. Therefore, Israel asks, "Is it really possible to free imprisoned Israel from her captors?"
25 But thus saith the Lord, even the captives of the mighty shall be taken away, and the prey of the terrible shall be delivered; for I will contend with him that contendeth with thee, and I will save thy children.
verse 25 The "mighty" and the "terrible" are the tyrants, conquerors, and unrighteous leaders who hold scattered Israel captive.
The Lord reassures Israel that not only is it possible, it will be done! "Thy children" are the descendants of the Israelites. The Lord will deliver his covenant people.
26 And I will feed them that oppress thee with their own flesh; they shall be drunken with their own blood as with sweet wine; and all flesh shall know that I, the Lord, am thy Savior and thy Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.
verse 26 Isaiah comments upon the fate of those who war against the Israelites in the last days. These Israelites are those who have been converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ and have thus learned of their own true identity and their proper place in the chosen or royal family.
The fate of those who contend against Israel is graphically described, "I will feed them that oppress thee with their own flesh; they shall be drunken with their own blood as with sweet wine." The specific meaning of these phrases is given by Nephi in 1 Nephi 22:13. Those who afflict Israel shall eventually become internally divided and make destructive war upon each other.
"all flesh" This term may refer to all human beings (Ezekiel 21:4-5; D&C 63:5-6; D&C 84:97-98) or even all members of the animal kingdom (Genesis 6:17; Genesis 6:19; Leviticus 17:14). Perhaps the Lord's manifestations of power will be so great that all creatures will know he is God.
"thy Savior and thy Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob" These three titles for Jehovah emphasize his ability to rescue us from spiritual death (Savior) and to ransom us from the demands of justice (Redeemer), as well as his ability to deliver us from all our earthly enemies (Mighty One).