Yahweh assures grieving Zion that she will see her children again (Isaiah 49:20-21). Dead children will reappear, and Zion will ask in astonishment, “Who has begotten these for me, since I have been bereaved of my children?” (v. 21). This is not merely a return from exile. It’s a resurrection.
And the instruments of this resurrection are Gentile kings (vv. 22-23). When Yahweh gives the signal, the Gentiles will carry Zion’s sons and daughters back to her, like a father carrying his little girl on his shoulders. Kings will be guardians, princesses will be nurses, and royalty will bow before Zion. If this is a resurrection, the means of resurrection are Gentile rulers. Let’s make it contemporary: Empires and emperors become Yahweh’s instruments for giving new life to a dead nations, for calling His people from the grave.
This is the miracle of the return from exile, not only that Israel comes back to life, but that Yahweh proves Himself Lord of all nations by turning the hearts of kings (the heart of Cyrus) to let His people go. Cyrus does what Pharaoh refused to do. Like Yahweh, the conqueror of Babylon and emperor of Persia becomes a liberator of slaves. And in this Yahweh demonstrates His power and Lordship over the nations.