Despite being abhorred by the nation of Israel, Isaiah's prophecy indicates that YHWH's servant, his means of salvation, would have success with others. He continues:
“On the roads they will graze, and in all the hills their pastures. They will not go hungry, and they will not thirst, and scorching wind and sun will not strike them. For the one showing compassion to them will lead them, and guide them to springs of water. And I will make all my mountains into a road, and my highways will be raised up.
Look! These will come from far away, and look! These from the north and from the west, and these from the land of Sinim.
Sing joyfully, O heavens, and rejoice, O earth. Break forth into song, O mountains, for YHWH comforts his people, and he has compassion on his humble ones.” 1
Who are these, and where do they come from? These words follow immediately after YHWH’s description of his servant, the “the one whom the nation abhorred” who is given to “bring back the preserved of Israel” as well as to be YHWH’s “salvation to the end of the earth.'”
Therefore, these are the ones who are led by YHWH’s servant. YHWH has compassion on his humble ones, by appointing his servant over them to become their shepherd; and so it makes sense that he is one man, rather than the nation. He was abhorred by the nation of Israel, but accepted by the remnant who are preserved, along with a crowd of Gentiles from the ends of the earth.
But while this is happening, Zion feels abandoned. “But Zion is saying, 'YHWH has abandoned me, and my lord has forgotten me.”2
Now, is this a description of the world to come? No, because Zion will not feel abandoned in the world to come. But in the prior age she was abandoned for a long time, and trampled on by the Gentiles.
But even though she felt this way, YHWH had certainly not abandoned her. For with tender language, YHWH says: “Can a woman forget her nursing baby, that she should not have compassion for the son of her womb? Even they may forget, but I will not forget you. Look! On my palms I have engraved you. Your walls are before me continually.
Your sons will come quickly. Those demolishing you and making you a deserted place will depart from you. Lift up your eyes and look around! They are all gathering and coming to you.” 3
And now Zion expresses surprise, and says in her heart: “Who has fathered these for me, since I am bereaved of children and am barren, exiled and taken away? Who has raised these? Look! I was left all alone. Where did these come from?” 4
And YHWH replies: “Look! I will lift up my hand to the Gentiles, and raise my banner to the people; and they will bring your sons in their arms, and carry your daughters upon their shoulders. Kings will become your foster fathers, and their princesses will be your wet nurses.
They will bow down before you with their face toward the earth, and lick the dust of your feet; and you will know that I am YHWH. Those who keep in expectation of me will not be ashamed.” 5
Here we begin to see the greater purpose of YHWH. For all the time Zion felt abandoned, YHWH has spread light and salvation to the Gentiles by means of "the one whom the nation abhorred," and then he uses those Gentiles to bring Zion’s sons back to her!
This also becomes the fulfillment of a prophecy written earlier by Isaiah: “In that day it will be that my Lord will offer his hand a second time, to recover the remnant of his people, those who remain from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea.
And he will raise up a banner for the Gentiles, and will assemble the expelled ones of Israel, and will gather together the dispersed ones of Judah from the four corners of the earth.”
And in harmony with Israel being YHWH's “spiked threshing sledge” servant, it says of them once they are gathered: “They will swoop down upon the shoulder of the Philistines toward the sea, and together they will plunder the sons of the east.” 6
Now, in saying “a second time, to recover the remnant of his people,” we might assume the first time was the return from Babylon. But Isaiah has something else in mind, for he has already described what he considers the first time, not many verses before, when he says:
“A remnant will return, a remnant of Jacob, to the Mighty God. For though your people Israel are as the sand of the sea, a remnant will return to him.” 7
In this prophecy, the first time the remnant were recovered, was through their return to the “Mighty God” during a time of a conclusion that would be brought about upon the land. And so, this “Mighty God” must have already made his appearance, and be someone that can be identified, before the hand of recovery is offered “a second time.”