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Bible Commentaries

Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible

Isaiah 41

Verses 1-29

Cyrus God’s Agent

1-7. Jehovah and the gods of the heathen compared as in a court of judgment. Jehovah has raised up Cyrus and given him victory, in order to carry out His good purposes, while the heathen gods are powerless to affect the course of events.

8-20. A digression: the events which bring terror to the nations bring deliverance to Israel.

21-29. Comparison of Jehovah with the gods of the heathen continued.

1. The heathen nations lately conquered by Cyrus are called to plead their case as in a law-court.

2-4. The evidence produced on Jehovah’s side. It is He who has called Cyrus to his career of conquest in fulfilment of His own purpose.

2. Who raised up, etc.] RV ’Who hath raised up one from the east, whom he calleth in righteousness to his foot,’ i.e. to accompany Him. The one thus raised up is Cyrus: cp. Isaiah 44:28; Isaiah 46:11. He is called in righteousness by Jehovah, i.e. in fidelity to His covenant promises, which are to be realised through Cyrus. See the same thought, Isaiah 42:6; Isaiah 45:13.

5-7. The heathen, alarmed by Cyrus’s suecesses, make alliances for mutual support, and attempt to avert disaster by manufacturing or repairing idols.

7. Saying, etc.] RV ’saying of the soldering, It is good.’

8-10. Israel, on the other hand, descended from the patriarchs, God’s chosen people, need have no fear.

8. Servant] with a special mission, as will hereafter appear. But here the emphasis is on what God does for Israel, noton what Israel does for God. Friend] cp. 2 Chronicles 20:7; James 2:23. ’The friend of God’ is still the usual title of Abraham in the East.

9. Chief men] RV ’corners.’

10. My righteousness] i.e. faithfulness to My purpose as declared in My promises (see Isaiah 41:2).

11-14. It is impossible that the servant thus chosen and honoured can be cast off (oppressed for ever).

15-16. With Jehovah’s aid Israel shall become terrible to its foes.

17-20. Jehovah will make easy their return through the desert, exchanging their misery and need for plenty and happiness, that man may acknowledge Him.

18. High places] RV ’bare heights.’

19. Shittah] RV ’acacia.’

21. The v. reverts to the scene of the court of judgment (Isaiah 41:1).

22, 23. A challenge to heathen gods to foretell the future, to do something or other to show that they exist.

24. The case is summed up against them.

25. Jehovah, on the other hand, has shown His power by raising up Cyrus. The north.. the rising of the sun] referring to the MedoPersian empire. Princes] i.e. of Babylon, who hold Israel in bondage.

26, 27. While the heathen oracles have been dumb, Jehovah has promised restoration to Zion.

26. He is righteous] i.e. has been proved right by the fulfilment of His prophecy.

27. RV ’I first will say unto Zion,’ etc. Behold them] the returning exiles.

28, 29. No reply is possible on the part of the heathen; their gods are nought.

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Bibliographical Information
Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 41". "Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". 1909.