Click to donate today!
VI.—THE SIXTH DISCOURSE
The Crowning Point of the Prophecy. Cyrus and the Effects of his Appearance
1. THE DEEDS OF CYRUS. THEIR REASON AND AIM
1 Thus saith the Lord to his anointed,
To Cyrus, whose right hand I have 1holden,
To subdue nations before him;
And I will loose the loins of kings,
To open before him the two leaved gates;
And the gates shall not be shut;
2 I will go before thee,
And make the 2crooked places straight:
I will break in pieces the gates of brass,
And cut in sunder the bars of iron:
3 And I will give thee the treasures of darkness,
And hidden riches of secret places,
That thou mayest know that I, the Lord,
Which call thee by thy name,
Am the God of Israel.
4 For Jacob my servant’s sake,
And Israel mine elect,
I have even called thee by thy name:
I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not known me.
5 I am the Lord, and there is none else,
There is no God beside me:
I girded thee, though thou hast not known me:
6 That they may know from the rising of the sun,
And from the west, that there is none beside me.
I am the Lord, and there is none else.
7 3I form the light, and create darkness:
I make peace, and create evil:
I the Lord do all these things.
TEXTUAL AND GRAMMATICAL
Isaiah 45:1. רַד infin. for רֹד; only here in Isaiah; comp. Psalms 144:2.—Regarding the structure of the sentence, notice that first the Prophet speaks, but immediately surrenders the word to the Lord; then both infinitive clauses לְרַד וגו׳ and לִפְתֹּחַ וגו׳ according to common usage change to the finite verb.
Isaiah 45:2. אושׁר, Piel as Isaiah 40:3; Isaiah 45:13; Proverbs 3:6; Proverbs 11:5; Proverbs 25:21; the reading of K’thibh אושֵׁר is suspected here, as in Psalms 5:9, because the Jod in all other forms of this verb, (comp. Proverbs 4:25 and the foregoing citations) is treated, not as quiescent, but as a strong consonant.
Isaiah 45:3. אוצרות חשׁך and מטמני מסתרים are expressions that occur only here; see List.—In the last clause אני is subject, יהוה in apposition with it, הקורא בשׁמך is predicate and אלהי ו׳ supplemental apposition with the subject. All emphasis here rests on הקורא בשׁמך.
Vers, 4, 5. The imperfects אֲכַנְּךָ and אֲאַזֶּרְךָ stand with a past sense, because the whole context, dominated by ואקדא, translates the reader into the past, or because the Vav. Consec. in ואקרא also dominates the subordinate verbs.
Isaiah 45:6. ממזרח וגו׳ is subject; the ה at the end of מערבה is suffix, comp. Isaiah 23:17-18; Isaiah 34:17, since occidens elsewhere is always מַעֽרֲבָ.
Isaiah 45:7. The participles בורא עשׂה בורא יוצר stand in apposition with the subject of the foregoing clause.
EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL
1. We are here pretty near the middle of the prophetic cycle, chapters 40–48. All that precedes was a gradual ascent to the culmination point, to which the name of Cyrus, Isaiah 44:28, immediately leads over. On this elevated point the Prophet pauses in chap. 45, in order to represent the deeds of Cyrus, the reason and aim of his calling, and in a comprehensive view to exhibit the effects of his appearance. He calls Cyrus the anointed of the Lord whom the Lord has grasped by the hand, and to whom He will bring in subjection nations and kings, Himself going before and removing all obstacles, and handing over to him all hidden treasures (Isaiah 45:1-2). This the Lord prophesies and fulfils for a threefold reason: 1) That Cyrus himself may know Jehovah, that the God of Israel, who centuries before called him to be His instrument, mentioning his name, is the true God (Isaiah 45:3); 2) that Israel might be delivered by him (Isaiah 45:4-5); 3) that all nations also might acknowledge Jehovah as the only God, Creator of light and darkness, good and evil (Isaiah 45:6-7).
2. Thus saith—secret places.
Isaiah 45:1-3 a. All that the Prophet from chap. 40 on has said concerning the infinite power, wisdom, and glory of Jehovah, and in contrast concerning the nothingness of idols, was intended to prepare for the great act that is accomplished by the mention of the name of Cyrus. And, when we recall the things there declared of Jehovah, shall not such an one be able to call Cyrus, as a particularly important and chosen instrument, centuries in advance, with the mention of his name? No one will deny that He can do this if He can do the other things the Prophet has affirmed of Him from chap. 40 on. Those who controvert the former because they also regard the other things affirmed as impossible, in other words: those who deny a personal, omniscient, and almighty God, must at least admit that the author of these discourses, whoever he may have been, believed in such a God. Therefore he represents his God as prophesying something great and quite extraordinary. Did he then write something not divinely prophesied, but something already happened ex eventu, would that not be a wicked sporting with the holy name of God? Is it not blasphemy? But does what we read in chapters 40–66 give the impression of having been the work of an impostor and blasphemer? If now the living, personal God could know the name of Cyrus centuries beforehand and put it on record, the only question is whether He can have willed to do this? Of this we will speak below in considering the three reasons the Prophet himself assigns for God’s so willing (comp. the לְמַעַן thrice, Isaiah 45:3-4; Isaiah 45:6).
Cyrus is not called “Servant of Jehovah,” although in a certain sense he was such. On the other hand Israel, both the nation in general and the spiritual Israel is never called “Messiah,” “anointed,” whereas the Saviour of Israel is called both. From this I must infer that in “Servant of the Lord” there lies as much the idea of lowliness as there lies the idea of royal dignity and elevation in “anointed” or Messiah. Hence Israel is called only “servant of the Lord,” Cyrus only “anointed,” but the Redeemer bears both names, inasmuch as He was both the lowly servant and the anointed king. Moreover Cyrus is the sole heathen king whom the Scripture calls “anointed.” We learn from this that the work of the Holy Spirit who gives the anointing, must in him have been, not merely indirect, but direct and especially intensive. The word משׁיה in fact occurs only here in Isaiah, and therefore only in reference to Cyrus. החזיק is used here as in Isaiah 41:9; Isaiah 41:13; Isaiah 42:6. Jehovah strengthens Cyrus by holding him by the right hand, and thereby he subdues the nations to him and thereby he looses the loins of kings. The latter expression is figurative. The girdle binds and holds the strength of the man (Isaiah 11:5; Proverbs 31:17). By removing the girdle the strength is weakened, and also the sword that hangs at the girdle is taken from the warrior. Moreover the expression “to open the loins” (comp. Isaiah 5:27) is metonymic like פָתַח אֲסִירִים (Isaiah 14:17). If the strength of men is broken, they can neither hold the doors of their houses, nor hold the gates of their cities closed against the hero, although it is not to be denied that the unclosed gates may have also other reasons. [Are not gates closed and barred the girdles that bind the loins of kings?—Tr.] J. Dav. Michaelis (Anmerk. f. Ungel p. 235) calls attention to the fact that Cyrus actually found the gates leading out to the river from the shore unclosed, and Herodotus remarks that had not this been the case, the Babylonians could have caught the Persians as in a weir-basket (I., 191). Notice that the words from לרד to מלכים אפתח recall the first half of Isaiah 41:2, b. I will go before thee, so the Lord begins his direct address to Cyrus, that of Isaiah 45:1 being in the 3d pers. This is probably an allusion to that promise that Moses gives Joshua (Deuteronomy 31:8), “the Lord He it is that doth go before thee,” and to Deborah’s word to Barak, Judges 4:14. Certainly it is a great word that the Lord here speaks to Cyrus. By this He makes the cause of the latter His own. He will make level the loca tumida (הָדוּר again only Isaiah 63:1, “the swelled up, proud, self-inflated”), i.e., the obstacles that pile up like mountains, and will break down all resistance, even of brazen doors and bars of iron. Here too J. D. Mich. calls attention to the fact that Babylon had a hundred brazen doors, but not in Isaiah’s time. For Nebuchadnezzar was the first to fortify the city in this way (according to Megasthenes in Eusebius, Praep. ev. IX. 41, comp. Herod. I., 179). The second half of Isaiah 45:2 is reproduced in Psalms 107:16.
Isaiah 45:3 a. The ancients give great accounts of the prodigious treasure that Cyrus obtained in Sardis and Babylon (Herod. 1:84, 88 sq., 183; Cyrop. VII. 2, 5 sqq., 4, 12 sq., 5, 57; VIII. 2, 15; Pliny, Hist. nat, 33, 2 sq., 15). Gesenius cites the Englishman Brerewood (in his book De ponderebus et mensuris, Cap. 10) as computing the sum of this gold and silver [taken from Crœsus of Sardis alone—Tr.] at £126,224,000. And Babylon was celebrated above all cities in point of riches (comp. Jeremiah 50:37; Jeremiah 51:13; Βαβυλών ἡ πολύχρυσος (Aesch. Proverbs 2:0Proverbs 2:0), but Sardis as the πλουσιωτάτη τῶν ἐν τῇ Ἀσίᾳ μετὰ Βαβυλῶνα [Cyrop. VII. 2, 11).
3. That thou mayest know—these things. Isaiah 45:3-7Isaiah 45:3-7Isaiah 45:3-7. What we have read Isaiah 45:1-3 a is prophecy. The prophecy alone without fulfilment were empty talk. The fulfilment without the prophecy were a fact whose author could not be recognized. Only when the fact is previously announced by its author does it prove the author of the prophecy and fulfilment to be an omniscient and omnipotent being, and, accordingly, the true God. This chief aim is realized in a three-fold respect: 1) in reference to Cyrus, 2) to Israel, 3) to all nations. Hence למען follows thrice, introducing each time the statement of a purpose. First. We read Isaiah 45:3 b, that thou mayest know that I (am) the Lord which called thee by thy name, the God of Israel (see T. and Gr.). Therefore Jehovah had regard to Cyrus directly and personally. This man is so important to him that he makes a special arrangement for bringing him to the knowledge that the God of Israel is the true God. All the emphasis here is on “which call thee by thy name.” Precisely this fact, that he found his name in such a remarkable connection with grand events, must have made the deepest, impression on Cyrus. But the book containing this wonderful call to him must of necessity prove its antiquity. Cyrus would easily suspect deception, and would be aware of this being possibly a flattering imposture meant to purchase his favor for the Jews. The proofs of genuineness that he might demand could easily be presented, e.g. witnesses (comp. Isaiah 43:9-10; Isaiah 44:8-9), old men, not Jews, who fifty years and more before had read these prophecies in the books of the Jews. Cyrus then must regard it as a fact that the God of the Jews had him personally in view, and destined him to greatness, and had called him by name. Why may not divinity that knows all things, know also the names of all His creatures? Was that less possible than that Cyrus knew the names of all his soldiers (see Rambachin loc)? If the latter was a fact, then Cyrus knew by experience how valuable it is to a man, who fancies he is lost in the great mass, to be known by the one highest in authority, and to be called by name.
Second. Jehovah must be recognized by Cyrus as the true God in the interest of the people of Israel. For this distinction put on Cyrus of being named by God by all his names, name and surname, and that before he, Cyrus, could know anything of the Lord, this was to be for the special advantage of that people whom Jehovah here calls His servant and His elect (see on Isaiah 42:1). The construction וָאקרא is like וַיַּקּח, Isaiah 44:14, which see. קרּא בשׁם and כנח are conjoined as in Isaiah 44:5. If שֵׁם is the principal name, and כנה denotes an attributive, additional name, then may likely be meant the honorable predicates רֹעֶה and מָשִׁיחַ that are given to Cyrus, Isaiah 44:28; Isaiah 45:1.—לא ידעתני, which recurs Isaiah 45:4-5, like a refrain, stands, in a certain sense, in antithesis with למען תדע, Isaiah 45:3. The Lord knew and named Cyrus before Cyrus knew the Lord (or even could know, Jeremiah 1:5) in order that Cyrus might learn to know the Lord. The chief object, which dominates the subordinate aims, appears in Isaiah 45:5. He who called Cyrus is with emphasis called Jehovah, the only true God. This is so done that אני יהוה is put as in apposition with the subject of ואקרא and אכבך of Isaiah 45:4. This אני יהוה stands parallel with the same words Isaiah 45:3; Isaiah 45:6, so that thus the assignment of the chief object recurs with each assignment of the subordinate object. In Isaiah 45:0:5יהוה and אלהים correspond in the parallelism; the former manifestly making prominent its appellative meaning: I the absolutely Existent (in the sense of Exodus 3:14).—I girded thee is in antithesis with the ungirding of kings, Isaiah 45:1. Moreover, the Prophet had evidently in mind the passage, Hosea 13:4. The third subordinate aim is (Isaiah 45:6-7) that all nations may know Jehovah as the only true God. Here, too, as already remarked, the chief object is made prominent in I am the LORD in both verses. East and west, i.e. all nations of the entire earth shall know the Lord. From this we see that Cyrus is conceived of as the medium of a world-historical progress of the true knowledge of God that shall be coincident with the rehabilitation of the Theocracy. The book of Daniel gives evidence of revelations of God that had the same object. As the appearance of Christ did not effect the entire disappearance of heathenism, just as little and even much less could those manifestations of the true God in the centres of heathenism produce any enduring effect. But they could operate inwardly and secretly, and prepare for the appearance of the Saviour of the world. The appearance of the Magi (Matthew 2:0) is a proof of this.
Most expositors admit that this strong emphasizing of monotheism has relation to the Persian dualism. Would the Lord bring Cyrus to a correct knowledge of him as the only true God, it could not be without pointing to the fundamental error of the Persian view of the world. If hence one would admit that Cyrus regarded the God of Israel as identical with his own chief divinity, and recognized in the name Jehovah only another word, and that a kindred one in sense, for Ahura-mazda (comp. Fr. W. Schultz on Ezra 1:2), and generally looked on the worship of the Israelites, with its absence of images, as being like that of the Persians, still one must beware of supposing that the Prophet of Jehovah would awake in the mind of Cyrus the view that Jehovah was the same as Ahura-mazda. Our passage shows plainly that to Cyrus it would be said, Jehovah stands high above Ahura-mazda. The latter was only creator of light. But Jehovah says of Himself here: I form the light, and create darkness. That primarily light and darkness in a physical sense are meant, appears from what follows. For it is more natural to think that peace and evil say something additional, than that they merely explain “light” and “darkness” (Isaiah 9:1). The latter moreover would not suit because “light” and “darkness” as designations of light-substance, are per se much more comprehensive notions than “peace” and “evil,” and it cannot be meant that the Lord creates light and darkness only in the sense of salvation and evil. On the other hand, from the fact that He does not say טוֹב and רָע, but שׁלום and רע, it is seen that nothing is meant to be affirmed concerning the origin of moral evil. The Lord would evidently present Himself, not as the absolute author of evil and good, but as the Judge of them, who prepares salvation for the pious, and destruction for the bad. To conclude, the Prophet once more emphasizes the fundamental thought of his discourse, with the words: I the LORD do all these things.
2. THE FUTURE SALVATION FOUNDED THROUGH CYRUS IN CONTRAST WITH THE FAINT-HEARTEDNESS OF ISRAEL
8 Drop down, ye heavens, from above,
And let the skies pour down righteousness:
Let the earth open, and let them bring forth salvation,
And let righteousness spring up together;
I the Lord have created it.
9 Woe unto him that striveth with his Maker!
4Let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth.
Shall the clay say to him that fashioneth it, What makest thou?
Or thy work, He hath no hands?
10 Woe unto him that saith unto his father, What begettest thou?
Or to the woman, What hast thou brought forth?
11 Thus saith the Lord,
The Holy One of Israel, and his Maker,
Ask me of things to come 5concerning my sons,
And concerning the work of my hands command ye me.
12 I have made the earth,
And created man upon it:
I, even my hands, have stretched out the heavens,
And all their host have I commanded.
13 I have raised him up in righteousness,
He shall build my city, and he shall let go my captives,
Not for price nor reward,
Saith the Lord of hosts.
TEXTUAL AND GRAMMATICAL
See List for the recurrence of the words: Isaiah 45:8. פָרָה–יֶשַׁע. Isaiah 45:11. יוצר–קְדוֹשׁ ישׂדאל.
Isaiah 45:8. The subject of יפרו is neither the יֶשַׁע taken collectively (Gesen., Ewald, Knobel, et al.), nor יֶשַׁע, together with the following צדקה (Hitzig, Delitzsch), but the before named heaven and earth. The heaven is treated as the masculine fructifying potency and the earth as the one conceiving and bearing.—בָּרָה does not mean provenire, but proferre (comp. φέρω, fero, baren, baeren, to bear).—הִצְמִיחַ, it is true, is elsewhere used either of God (Genesis 2:9; Psalms 104:14, etc.), or of the earth (Genesis 3:18, etc.). But it is grammatically possible to use it in the sense of “to make צֶמַח, to germinate, to sprout,” and therefore to apply it to the sprouting plant itself (in a causative sense). The ancient versions, too, understood it so, if perhaps תִּצְמַח did not actually stand in the original text; thus the LXX. ἀνατειλάτω δικαιοσύνη (or δικαιοσύνην); Vulg, justitia oriatur; Syr. egerminet; Targ. reveletur; Ar. crescat. The meaning is similar to that in Psalms 85:12. אֱמֶה מֵאֶרֶץ תִּצְמַח וְצֶדֶק מִשָׁמַיִם נִשְׁקָף.
Isaiah 45:9. Repeat היאמר before פעלך.
Isaiah 45:10. תחילין the sole example in Isaiah of the archaic feminine ending יִן: comp. Olshausen, § 262, e, Anm.; § 244, e.
Isaiah 45:11. שְׁאָלוִּני is imperative; comp. Psalms 137:3, where the perfect form שְׁאֵלוּנוּ is used. The context altogether demands this.—Just so תְּצַוֻּנִי must be taken as imperative.—צִוָּה with accusative of the person and עַל of the object occurs Isa 10:6; 2 Samuel 7:11; 1 Chronicles 22:12; Nehemiah 7:2, etc. Comp. the somewhat extended construction 1 Samuel 13:14; 1Sa 25:30; 2 Samuel 6:21.
Isaiah 45:12. In אֲנִי יָדַי the personal pronoun is to be regarded as strengthening the suffix. For according to Ezekiel 33:17 it is possible for the pron. separatum that intensifies the suffix to be put before.—צִוָּה stands partly with double accusative, partly with the accusative of the person and a preposition or an infinitive following (Genesis 1:2) or לֵאמֹר. But when it stands with the simple accusative, with no mention of what is commanded, it means “to appoint, to order, to commission,” and is used both of persons and of things. Thus it could be said here כל צבאם צויתי, whether one thinks of the צבא of heaven personally (comp. Isaiah 24:21) or impersonally (Isaiah 48:5).
EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL
1. With the mention of the name of Cyrus and the description of his doings the Prophet has attained the culmination of his prophetic cycle. He pauses now a while on this elevation, first to sum up the future that is to follow the appearance of Cyrus in a word of prophecy that presents a glorious Messianic prospect (Isaiah 45:8); but he contrasts with this Israel’s faint-hearted unbelief, that despairingly wrangles with the Creator (Isaiah 45:9-10). Opposed to this unbelief the Lord admonishes them to inquire of Him respecting the future, and to commend to Him the care of His people (Isaiah 45:11), urging this not with new grounds of comfort, but only repeating emphatically the old, viz.: that He who can make heaven and earth (Isaiah 45:12) has also raised up Cyrus to build His city and release His prisoners without receiving an outward reward (Isaiah 45:13).
2. Drop down——created it.
Isaiah 45:8. These words characterize in general the consequences that will follow the appearance of Cyrus on the theatre of the world’s history. It is Messianic salvation that he will bring. It was not in vain that Isaiah 45:1 He was called Messiah. He is such really, though only in a lower, typical degree. If the Exile is the (relatively) lowest point of Israel’s humiliation, then deliverance out of Exile is the beginning of their salvation. And even if later the way of salvation still sinks down low, even below the level of the Babylonian exile, still on the whole it ascends. By the will and power of God, Cyrus is the pole on which this turning to salvation rests, and is accomplished. With one look the Prophet (Isaiah 45:8) surveys the entire future and observes, as the pith of it, an all-comprehending salvation, that involves also the regeneration of nature. For blessing is not to bloom only in single places of the earth, but all heaven is to influence fruitfully the whole earth, so that, therefore, all nature will, as it were, become a single field bearing the fruit of salvation. Under the figure of rain is represented, in oriental fashion, the fructifying influence of the heaven on the earth (comp. Deuteronomy 32:2). According to the laws of parallelism, that which operates from above is expressed by two notions—heaven and clouds. These two notions are not co-ordinated, but subordinated. For precisely by the clouds does heaven pour out its fructifying moisture. In the second clause, as often, there is a change in the person. Although in consequence of this, each of the two clauses stands independent, thus the construction does not point to a common object, still righteousnessmust be regarded as that which drops or drizzles down from above, especially as clouds is but a nearer definition of “heavens.” But by “righteousness” is not at all to be understood the fruits of blessing that appear on earth, but much rather the pure, spiritual, heavenly life-potencies that have their foundation in the holy being of God, and hence may be called “righteousness.” The earth, moistened and fecundated shall open up (causative Kal=to make an opening, viz.: for the germs awakened by fecundation, comp. Psalms 106:17). Therefore heaven and earth are in common to bring forth salvation, i.e., good in the objective sense, and “righteousness,” i.e., subjective being good, moral salvation (compare the relationship of Heil and heilig) shall germinate. (See Text. and Gram.). The prospects opened up by the Prophet are as sure and reliable as they are glorious, as is intimated by I the LORD have created it.
3. Woe unto him—brought forth.
Isaiah 45:9-10.—The Prophet knows that this great salvation must develop slowly and with great alternations, and that hence many, in the moments of apparent standing still or even of retrogression, will become faint-hearted. Elsewhere also he reproves this despondency: Isaiah 40:27; Isaiah 51:12 sq. The whole book of the chapters 40–66 is a book of consolation. Hence it begins Isaiah 40:1 with the double “comfort ye.” But the Prophet knows the human heart too well not to know, that among those for whom this book of consolation is written, there are many who will be content neither with the quality nor quantity of the comfort that is offered, and who strive with their Maker as if no comfort were there. Against these he justly utters a woe, for nothing offends God so much as unbelief. Thus there is an incisive contrast between Isaiah 45:8 and Isaiah 45:9 sqq. In Isaiah 45:8 we see the future beaming in clear light. But this clear light exists not for those who, when things are not as they wish, immediately despair, because they see no human help, and will not see the divine help. Yet what is man in comparison with God? Nothing more than an image of clay in comparison with the potter (יוֹצֵר comp. Jeremiah 18:1-5; Jeremiah 19:1 sqq.). This comparison is all the more fitting in view of Genesis 2:7, where man has just this resemblance. He is a הֶרֶשׂ אֲדָמָה “potsherd of earth,” and in fact this is the original and foundation stuff common to all men, and not of some specially weak one. In the weakness of others, each should become thoroughly conscious of his own weakness. Thus it is an aggravating circumstance in him who would strive with God that he is a potsherd among potsherds (comp. מֵאָדָם44:11), and not an isolated sherd. An isolated case might more easily be excused for self-deception. And if man is a potsherd and God his Maker, then he may as little strive with God as the clay, could it speak, may say to the potter what makest thou (i.e., thou makest not the right thing; thou misshapest me), or as any work which thou, O man, formest, may say: he hath no hands, i.e., no power or capacity to form. This clause generalizes the thought by extending it to any human work. The suffix ךּ assumes that God would involve him who would strive with Him in an absurdity by a demonstratio ad hominem: will then thy work, whatever it may be, say to thee whoever thou mayest be: he can do nothing? ידים “hands” by metonymy for that to which the hand is applied, viz., the exercise of power and skill (comp. Isaiah 28:2 : Psalms 76:6; also the analogous use in passages like Joshua 8:20, and of זְרוֹעַ comp. Isaiah 48:14). The expression seems to be of a proverbial nature. Delitzsch cites the Arabian lâ jadai lahu, it is not in his power. Paul makes a well known use of this passage Romans 9:20 sq. Comp. Wis 15:7 sq.
Isaiah 45:10. The Prophet, by another comparison, expresses the disconsolate murmuring of the desponding creature, which, like Isaiah 45:9, also consists of two members. It happens (comp. Job 3:1 sqq.; Isaiah 10:18 sq.; Jeremiah 20:14 sqq.) that one oppressed by sufferings wishes he had never been born. This is also the idea of Isaiah 45:10, only modified so that to the despairing one is imputed a complaint against his parents that they have begotten him.
4. Thus saith the Lord——of hosts.
Isaiah 45:11-13. To this sinful, blasphemous conduct the Prophet now opposes what the true Israelite ought to do in times of the Theocracy’s apparent ruin: he ought to inquire of the Lord and commend to the Lord the destiny of his people. Yet the Lord will and cannot help this unbelief by new and would-be better grounds of comfort. He can only repeat the old, viz., that he who made the world has now in the person of Cyrus irrevocably appointed the instrument of the deliverance. The Holy One of Israel and his Maker.—So the Lord is named Isaiah 45:11 in a way well be-fitting the context. For it becomes His holiness to keep His word, and His character as Maker to remain consistent and not suffer His work to come to disgrace. Beside the expression יוצר, “former,” “Maker” is occasioned by the comparison of Isaiah 45:9. This holy God and Almighty Creator therefore commands the Israelite who is in deepest distress to turn to him in respect to the dark future, and to inquire of him.—For such was of old His will (Exodus 33:7; Numbers 27:21; 2 Kings 1:6; 2 Kings 1:16), and also the custom and practice in Israel (Joshua 9:14; Jdg 1:1; 1 Samuel 28:6; 1 Samuel 28:15, etc.) Even this may be done in a very improper way, Isaiah 58:2.—אתיות, comp. Isaiah 41:23; Isaiah 44:7. Concerning my children and the work of my hands (allusion to יוצרו) command ME (see Text. and Gram.). The commission, the office of caring for Israel they should give to the Lord.
Isaiah 45:12. That in these hands Israel will be well secured must appear from the fact that these same hands prepared heaven and earth. Thus here also, as constantly before and after (Isaiah 40:12; Isaiah 40:21; Isaiah 40:28; Isaiah 42:5; Isaiah 44:24; Isaiah 45:18; Isaiah 48:13; Isaiah 51:13) the Lord proves His ability to accomplish deliverance by a reference to His character as Creator. Doubtless in My hands there is an allusion to Isaiah 45:9 b (see Text. and Gram.). There it is assumed that no human workmanship can say of him that formed it: he has no hands. In allusion to this, the Lord calls Israel here (Isaiah 45:11) the work of His hands. It is impossible that it can mean: I, i.e., not My feet, mouth or other organ, but My hands have spread out the heavens; but He would say: not the hands of another, but My hands have done this (אני ידי and צִוִּה, see Text. and Gram.).
The almighty Creator is also the almighty Redeemer. And He is such through Cyrus, the raising up of whom (Isaiah 41:2; Isaiah 41:25) even now to Him stands as an accomplished fact. All faint-heartedness that comes from, any sinking of Israel in the world-power, whether apprehended or experienced, the Prophet represses by the announcement that the Lordhas raised up a deliverer in righteousness (comp. on Isaiah 42:6). Because this one shall realize all God’s intentions, the Lord, too, will make level all his ways (Isaiah 45:2). And so he will rebuild the holy city (Isaiah 44:26; Isaiah 44:28) and let the prisoners go (Isaiah 52:3). He will do so not for price or any outward advantage. In fact one cannot see what motive of policy, or of national economy or worldly motive of any kind could have determined Cyrus to restore the Israelitish nation and its religious worship. It has been said that he would make room for other exiles. But then why did he not send the latter to Judea? And why did he make the return of the Jews optional? This last consideration shows that he had no interest to promote by it. Indeed this restoration may be pronounced a political mistake. There was some truth in the reproach that Jerusalem was “a rebellious city and hurtful unto kings and provinces—of old time” (Ezra 4:15). For the world-power must ever feel that the kingdom of God in the midst of it is a disturbing and hurtful element. Add to this the surrender of the holy vessels (Ezra 1:7 sqq.), and the requisition to help the Jews “with silver, and with gold, and with goods, and with beasts” (Ezra 1:4), and one must confess that the conduct of Cyrus was very surprising and inexplicable by natural causes. This sort of sending away reminds one very much of that from Egypt (Exodus 12:31 sqq.). In both cases the letting go free was not man’s work, but God’s work.
A potsherd among the.
put; after come.
Or, make straight.
3. THE SOUTHERN WORLD-POWER IS ALSO CONVERTED TO JEHOVAH
14 Thus saith the Lord,
The labour of Egypt, and merchandise of Ethiopia
And of the Sabeans, men of stature,
Shall come over unto thee, and they shall be thine:
They shall come after thee; in chains they shall come over,
And they shall fall down unto thee, they shall make supplication unto thee,
Saying, Surely God is in thee; and there is none else,
There is no God.
15 Verify thou art a God that hidest thyself,
O God of Israel, the Saviour,
16 They 8shall be ashamed, and also confounded, all of them:
9They shall go to confusion together
That are makers of idols.
17 But Israel shall be saved in the Lord with an everlasting salvation:
Ye shall not be ashamed nor confounded world without end.
EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL
1. The Prophet having discharged the painful duty of reproving Israel’s pusillanimity (Isaiah 45:8; Isaiah 45:13), now turns to the pleasant task of showing what will be the effect of the salvation instituted in the northern world-power on the world-power lying south of Palestine. The holy nation lay in the middle between these two world-powers. Again and again it had suffered from the friendship and the enmity of both. It had oscillated back and forth between them both, seeking support against the enmity of the one in the friendship of the other. Both, too, had contended with each other for Palestine, and more or less made Palestine their battle-field. Recall Tirhaka and Sennacherib, Pharaoh Necho and Nebuchadnezzar. Now Israel is in bondage to Babylon as it was in its youth to Egypt. But it is to be delivered from the Babylonian bondage by Cyrus. Will it also thereby be delivered from the assaults of the sinful world-power? Already in Isaiah 43:3 the Prophet presented the prospect of the northern world-power being in a certain sense indemnified by the surrender of the southern for mildness displayed towards Israel. And in reality Egypt became a prey to Cambyses. But the Prophet sees still more. He sees Egypt, Ethiopia, and Seba not merely in chains, but turning in their chains to Israel to worship the God of Israel (Isaiah 45:14). They [but see below, Tr.] recognize Him as the true God, who had hitherto remained hidden (Isaiah 45:15). They recognize that idolatry was a false way, and that all idol-makers have come to shame (Isaiah 45:16), whereas Israel may confidently expect through Jehovah everlasting salvation and honor (Isaiah 45:17). From this it appears that the Prophet makes the southern world-power join together with Israel in honoring Jehovah, and hence also with the northern world-power, just as happens in Isaiah 19:23 sqq. If the South and the North, united by Israel, have become brothers, then the chains fall of themselves.
2. Thus saith——in chains shall they come over.
Isaiah 45:14 a. To understand this passage we must take Egypt, Ethiopia, and Seba, not as representing the heathen world in general [Barnes, J. A. Alex., Delitzsch and others, Tr.], but as representing specially the southern world-power that was the rival of the northern. For why should just the nations about the Nile represent the heathen world? The general heathen world has its turn, Isaiah 45:22. The present text deals with an eminently important centre of the heathen world, viz., with that which corresponds to what in the south is now friendly to Israel. In Isaiah 43:3 the subjection of those nations of the Nile to Cyrus is announced. Hence they appear here as bearing chains. But the dominion of the messiah Cyrus is to be one of universal peace and blessing (Isaiah 45:8). In a prophetic sense, i.e., potentially it shall be such, in consequence of the influence that the world-power itself will experience from the spirit of the kingdom of God in the person of Cyrus. Hence the Prophet sees here in the subjugation of those nations of the Nile also the bridge to their conversion. They are the same thoughts that we find above, chap. 19, from Isaiah 45:19 on. There it is said, Isaiah 45:23, that Egypt shall serve Assyria. But Assyria denotes the northern world-power, which was then represented by Assyria, was later represented by Babylon, and then by Cyrus. But Egypt will also worship Jehovah. The Prophet only indicates in general how this will come about. We see in both passages that Israel is the medium. From our passage, in connection with Isaiah 43:3, we learn that, proceeding from Israel, first Cyrus comes to the knowledge of Jehovah, then from Cyrus (whether directly or indirectly does not appear) Egypt, so that these three, Israel in the middle, on the left the north (Assyria), on the right the south (Egypt), shall be as a glorious tritone and a blessing to the whole earth (Isaiah 19:24-25). As in general, taking spoil and receiving tribute are signs and fruits of victory, so in many places the Messiah or His types are represented as those to whom nations, hitherto hostile but now converted, bring their treasures or tribute (comp. Psalms 45:13; Psalms 68:30; Psalms 68:32; Psalms 72:10; Psalms 72:15; Isaiah 60:6; Matthew 2:11). Thus it is said here that Egypt’s acquisitions of labor (יְגִיַע, “labor,” metonym. for what is acquired; again only Isaiah 55:2), and Ethiopia’s and Seba’s acquisitions of commerce (מָחָר, “mercatura,” also metonym., comp. Isaiah 23:3), shall come to Israel. The Egyptians were originally strictly exclusive, hence from the first not a commercial people, but they had branches of industry, Isaiah 19:9. Ethiopia was of old famed for great riches, comp. Herod. III., 17 sqq., and Gesen.in loc. On Seba see Isaiah 43:3. There is no ground for separating Ethiopia and the Sabeans, and connecting “merchandize” only with the former. For 1) it is grammatically allowable to subordinate one word in the construct state to several words (Genesis 14:19; Psalms 115:15; 2 Chronicles 2:7, etc.); 2) Ethiopia and Seba are the same people, both may equally be called “men of stature;” 3) the plural יעבדו does not conflict, because in compound subjects the predicate is very often ruled, not by the grammatical subject, but by the primary logical idea (comp. Isaiah 2:11 with Isaiah 5:15; Genesis 4:10; Jeremiah 2:34, etc.). Thus here, as undoubtedly appears from what follows, the chief matter with the Prophet is the passing over of the men, not of their treasures. Hence he says יעברו and hence he expresses still this thought by three verbs following. Concerning men of stature, comp. on Isaiah 18:2. Herod. III. Isaiah 20 : “The Ethiopians are said to be the tallest and finest-looking of all men.” Solin., cap. Isaiah 30:0 : Aethiopes duodecim pedes longi (Gesen.). The Egyptians and Ethiopians will, indeed, still come in chains. They are conquered, but precisely by their defeat they have learned to know the nothingness of their idols (Isaiah 45:16), and the divinity of Jehovah. But by their confession (Isaiah 45:14-17Isaiah 45:14-17Isaiah 45:14-17) they acquire a claim to release from the chains.
3. And they shall fall——without end. Isaiah 45:14-17Isaiah 45:14-17Isaiah 45:14-17. “And they shall fall,” etc., does not say that they shall worship Israel, but that they shall worship in the direction of the land of Israel, for they know the Temple and the throne of the true God to be there (comp. Daniel 6:10). In what follows we learn the contents of their prayer. The three brief but weighty words אַךְ בָּד אֵל, “surely God is in thee, form the fundamental thought. It is understood of course that “in thee” refers to the same person as the feminine suffixes in עליך and אליך, viz.: to Israel or Zion. The knowledge that the right God is in Zion (Psalms 84:8) is herewith expressed positively. 1 Corinthians 14:25, is a quotation of our text. The same is expressed negatively and there is none else, there is no God. But this last thought must be made very emphatic. Hence אֶפֶם is added to strengthen ואין עוד, of which the present is the only instance. If אפם (comp. אָפֵם16:4; Isaiah 29:20 and אַפְסֵי אָרֶץ Isaiah 45:22, etc.), means cessatio, finis, then, beside other modifications of this meaning, it can be construed, as acc. localis, and may also have the sense of in fine. But then it says (comp. on Isaiah 47:8; Isaiah 47:10): “That not at that (unthinkable) point where God ceases, does another appear.” In other words: אֶפֶם involves, indeed, the sense of praeter, praeterea. Therefore one does not need to take אפם אלהים as a genitive relation; but construe: “and there is not still in fine or in loco cessandi (viz.: of the before mentioned אֵל) a God.”
In Isaiah 45:15 the heathen address the God of Israel directly. [“It is far more natural to take the verse as an apostrophe, expressive of the Prophet’s own strong feelings in contrasting what God had done and would yet do, the darkness of the present and the brightness of the future. If these things are to be hereafter, then O Thou Saviour of Thy people, Thou art indeed a God that hides Himself, that is to say, conceals His purposes of mercy under the darkness of His present dispensations.”—J. A. Alex. So, too, Barnes, and Delitzsch. The latter says “The exclamation in Romans 11:33, ‘O the depth of the riches,’ etc., is a similar one.”—Tr.]. They now pray to Him themselves as was intimated by ישתחוו and יתפללו. First of all they utter the conviction that Jehovah is a God who hides Himself (comp. Isaiah 29:14; 1 Samuel 23:19; 1 Samuel 26:1), i.e., a God who has hitherto been hidden from them. [The LXX. favors this interpretation. It reads: “for thou art God, though we did not know it, O God of Israel the Saviour.”—Tr.]. In that lies a trace of the knowledge never quite extinguished among the heathen, that beyond and above the multitude of gods representing the forces of nature, there is a highest Being ruling over all. The language recalls, at least as to sense, the θεὸς ἅγνωστος of the Athenians, Acts 17:23. It seems to me, therefore, that the designation of God as מסתתר suits much better in the mouth of the heathen than of Israel. אָבֵן see List. This hitherto concealed God is identical with the God of Israel (thus for the latter no concealed God), and also a “saving” God, i.e., that is willing to help and can help and actually does help. In verse 15אַתָּה is subject, אל מסתתר predicate, אלהיישׂראל apposition with the subject, and מושׁיע as second predicate put after in the form of an apposition. In מושׁיע (see List) there lies also an antithesis to the heathen idols and in so far a transition to Isaiah 45:16.
The necessary reverse side of the correct knowledge of God is to know the false gods as such. Isaiah 45:16 expresses this knowledge by emphasizing that they come to confusion. The gods of Egypt could not help Egypt; for Egypt succumbed to that power that opposed it by the commission and power of the God of Israel. They are ashamed and also confounded, see Isaiah 45:17; Isaiah 41:11 and the borrowed passages Jeremiah 31:19; Ezra 9:6. The expression they go to confusion (which equally affirms their going into disgrace, and going about in disgrace) occurs only here. ציר (from צָר יָצַר), “the image,” occurs in this sense only here, and Psalms 49:15. The Lord having been called “Saviour” in Isaiah 45:15, and Isaiah 45:16 having said that idols are not this, it is now said, Isaiah 45:17, of Israel that Jehovah has showed Himself such a Saviour and how He has done so. For Israel is saved in the Lord with an everlasting salvation (acc. modalis;Hebrews 9:12). Finally the speakers turn their discourse to Israel as in the beginning of it (“surely God is in thee”). These shall not experience what the others have with their idols: Ye shall not be ashamed nor confounded world without end. The plural עולמים occurs Isaiah 26:4; Isaiah 51:9, and excepting Psalms 77:6, only in later writings. The expression עד עולמי עד occurs only here. Shall those who have learned so to speak be still kept in chains by Israel?
4. AFTER THE WORLD-POWERS, ISRAEL, TOO, FINALLY RENOUNCES IDOLS AND GIVES ITSELF WHOLLY TO ITS GOD, SO THAT NOW ALL HUMAN KIND HAS BECOME A SPIRITUAL ISRAEL
18 For thus saith the Lord that created the heavens;
10God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it,
He created it not 11in vain, he formed it to be inhabited;
I am the Lord ; and there is none else.
19 I have not spoken in secret, in a dark place of the earth:
I said not unto the seed of Jacob, Seek ye me in vain:
I the Lord speak righteousness, I declare things that are right.
20 Assemble yourselves and come;
Draw near together, ye that are escaped of the nations:
They have no knowledge that 12set up the wood of their graven image,
And pray unto a god that cannot save.
21 Tell ye, and bring them near;
Yea, let them take counsel together:
Who hath declared this from ancient time?
Who hath told it from that time?
Have not I the Lord? and there is no God else beside me;
A just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me.
22 13Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth:
For I am God, and there is none else.
23 I have sworn by myself,
The word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness,
And shall not return,
That unto me every knee shall bow,
Every tongue shall swear.
In the Lord have I 16righteousness and strength:
Even to him shall men come;
And all that are incensed against him shall be ashamed.
25 In the Lord shall all the seed of Israel be justified,
And shall glory
TEXTUAL AND GRAMMATICAL
See List for recurrence of the words used, particularly: Isaiah 45:20. נָנַשׁ Hithp.—פָלַל—פֶסֶל Hithp. see Isaiah 45:14.
Isaiah 45:23. צדקה דבר may not be construed as one notion (“word of truth”), for then it must read דְּבַר צ׳. Nor may one take צדקה as nominative in an attributive sense (“as righteousness, a word”) connecting it with דָּבָר, for that would be a contorted, unnatural expression. “Out of the mouth of righteousness” [J. A. Alex., Del.], is indeed grammatically correct, but this personifying of righteousness and this distinction of it as a speaking person from Jehovah Himself were something very peculiar. For are not the one swearing and the one speaking this word that cannot be frustrated one and the same? We must construe פִי parallel with בִּי and נשׁבעתי as a noun with the suffix of the first person. But then צדקה must be taken as accusative. It is the accusat. adverbialis, that stands for the substantive with a preposition and expresses the modality, of whatever sort it may be. Thus, as is well known, substantives often stand, as אֱמֶת (Jeremiah 23:28), שֶׁקֶד (Psalms 119:78), חֵטְא (Isaiah 31:7), הֶבֶל (Job 21:34), מֵישָׁרִים (Psalms 75:3), etc.—יצא and ישׁוב stand in pointed antithesis. וְ before ישׁוב stands according to the peculiar Hebrew paratactic mode of expression. In our idiom we would say: which will not go back,—or, less exactly: that will not go back.
Isaiah 45:24. לִי=“in regard to me,” comp. Isaiah 5:1; Isaiah 41:7; Genesis 20:13.—אָמַר = “they say,” comp. Isaiah 25:9; Isaiah 65:8, etc.—יָבוֹא = “let one come.” It is the same impersonal construction as in אָמַר comp. Isaiah 6:10; Isaiah 10:4; Isaiah 14:32; Isaiah 18:5; Isaiah 33:20, etc. It is indeed not impossible that a וְ before יבוא has fallen out because of the following ו before יבשׁו; but grammatical reasons by no means compel such an assumption.
EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL
1. With these words the Prophet concludes his contemplation of the future salvation that is connected with Cyrus. It is assuredly not an accident that only after Cyrus and the northern world-power represented by him and after the southern world-power are noticed, does he turn to Israel in order to announce also to it what shall be its part in that future salvation. Here, too, the chief point is again the knowledge of Jehovah as the only true God. Jehovah, who made the heavens, even that suffices to prove Him to be the God; Jehovah, who also formed the earth, of which He is also the orderer and disposer, but who according to His goodness prepared the earth as a friendly dwelling for men, justly says of Himself: I am the absolute Being, and another beside Me there is not (Isaiah 45:18). But this same Jehovah has chosen a people out of mankind for His particular inheritance and property, and from the first He has clearly and publicly proclaimed what He purposes to do with this people. And He has in that plainly expressed that, as with the creation He had in mind the salvation of mankind, so, too, He had in mind the salvation of this people, as the reward that a just and right thinking lord gives his servants, when He made those arrangements in which this people were to serve as means and instrument (Isaiah 45:19). This people is to receive salvation through Cyrus. This having happened, Israel delivered from the heathen may be summoned to acknowledge idolatry to be a foolish and ruinous error (Isaiah 45:20). After being summoned, too, to give information and to settle by consultation what they have lived through and experienced, they must confess: Jehovah foretold all that would come about; as He foretold so it has turned out. Jehovah alone is the true God (Isaiah 45:21). The world-powers and Israel having so acknowledged Jehovah, He can now call to all mankind: turn to Me as to Him who blesses you (Isaiah 45:22). Thus will be fulfilled what the Lord hath sworn and announced as not to be frustrated, that to Him every knee shall bow and every tongue shall swear (Isaiah 45:23). All will then acknowledge that only in Jehovah is salvation, and that hostility to Him brings only ruin (Isaiah 45:24). All mankind, become one in the glory and praise of the Lord, will then have become “seed of Israel.”
2. For thus saith the Lord——none beside Me.
Isaiah 45:18-21. “For,” beginning Isaiah 45:18, connects with Isaiah 45:17. There it is said “Israel is saved in the Lord with an everlasting salvation.” This, spoken by the heathen, is here confirmed by the Lord as correct, by saying that of course He did not call Israel to a fruitless service (לא תהו בקשׁוני Isaiah 45:19), but promised him a just reward. For now the Lord turns to Israel to say to him wherein the blessing promised to them in Cyrus will culminate. The Prophet knows that Israel still inclines to idolatry, that fundamental evil of the natural man. But he also knows that Israel, utterly broken by the Exile, and wholly convinced, by the way of prophecy and fulfilment, of Jehovah’s being the only God, will, from the time of their deliverance by Cyrus, renounce idolatry. We know that the Exile made a decisive turning-point in the religious life of the Israelites. Coarse idolatry they renounced from that time on. Yet the inward as well as the outward deliverance by Cyrus was only a beginning. But in this beginning the Prophet sees already the completion, according to his complex way of regarding history. Thus in Isaiah 45:18 he tells how that “everlasting salvation” will come about. A fundamental condition is for Israel to attain to the lively knowledge expressed by the words: I am the Lord, and there is none else. The foundation of this is double; what pertains to the history of the world and what to the history of salvation. The former consists in this, that Jehovah before all made the heavens, which is proof enough that He alone is God. For He who made the world to come, the abode of spirits, of elohim, must He not Himself be Elohim? yea, as the Creator of the elohim world, he is exalted above all elohim, therefore the Elohim κατ’ ἐξοχήν (comp. e.g., Psalms 97:9). Such is the sense of the parenthesis: “He is God,” Isaiah 45:18. In the second place the Lord proves His sole divinity by the fact that He formed the earth, and made it (ready), comp. Isaiah 43:7. As to “that created the heavens” there is added in parenthesis a nearer definition, so there is to “that formed the earth and made it.” In both cases the parenthesis begins with הוּא. The first consists of two words; the second of two words הוא כוננה, “He established it,” and a nearer explanation. For at first sight this כּוננה seems redundant after יצר and עשה. But we learn from the following words to יְצָרָה that כּוֹנֵן is not used in the sense of fundare, which is its common meaning elsewhere, but in the sense of ἑτοιμάζειν (LXX.) “to equip, prepare” (comp. Deuteronomy 32:6, where, too, כונן follows עשׂה; and especially the Hiphil of like meaning, Isaiah 14:21; Genesis 43:16; Genesis 1:0 Kings 5:32; 1 Kings 6:19, etc.). By this is expressed the final equipment or adaptation to an object, in contrast with the original making. That such is the sense is expressly said by the words לא תחו ונו׳ “not empty did He create it.” For these words affirm that the object of “creating” and “forming” was not that the earth might remain תהו “empty,” but that it might become fit for dwelling, and the Prophet designates by כּוֹנֵן the activity that prepares, sets in order the product of the “creating,” “forming,” “making.” Thus men prepare a friendly dwelling for their children, friends, dear guests. Therefore this “preparation” is a proof of the goodness and kindness of our God.
But for this I am Jehovah and there is none beside there is also a foundation in what pertains to the history of salvation. God had sought out Israel as a peculiar treasure to be the medium of His thoughts of salvation, and lifted them high up and then cast them down. He did not choose them that they might end in wild chaos, any more than He made the earth to be empty. He had never required this people to seek Him in vain, for nothing, as it were in the emptiness (so to speak, to trace out, find out the hidden, Isaiah 45:15). But He had said: “what is right and proper, shall be to you.” צֶדֶק here is not the abstract, subjective righteousness, but the concrete, objective right, as in the expressions פָעַל צדק (Psalms 15:2, etc.) עָשׁה צדק (lsa. Isaiah 64:4, etc). דבר comp. Isaiah 33:15. Also מישׁרים is to be taken in the concrete and objective sense (comp. Isaiah 33:15). This promise: “what is right shall be yours,” God did not make in secret (בַּסֵּתֶר48:16; Psalms 139:15) so that it can come under no investigation, and cannot be proved to have actually happened. For He did not speak in, say, caves and hiding-places, such as the heathen oracles let themselves be heard from, but He spoke before all the world. If now the Lord has given His people the promise of a good time and happy dwelling after the chaos, and the promise is fulfilled exactly as it runs, there is the proof that Jehovah is omniscient. As by the creation He has shown Himself the Almighty and the All-good to all mankind, so, by the promise given to Israel and by its fulfilment He showed Himself to the people whose history is that of redemption to be the Omniscient and All-good. But as the All-good, All-mighty and All-knowing He is the God, Jehovah, the Absolute.
According to Isaiah 45:19 the Prophet assumes that all will come to pass as promised so publicly, and that by means of Cyrus. For Isaiah 45:20 sqq. we find ourselves translated into the time after the emancipation. Hence the Israelites are called escaped of the nations, and he that helped them to this title can be no other than Cyrus. Therefore in the time of the deliverance effected by Cyrus the redeemed are to assemble, and come and draw near in order to elicit the facts resultant from the preceding course of history. The resultant is negative and positive. The negative is stated Isaiah 45:20 b, viz.They know nothing those carrying the wood of their graven image, and praying to a god that will not save.—יָדַע, comp. Isaiah 44:9; Isaiah 44:18; Isaiah 56:10, a kind of causative Kal, comp. on תפתח Isaiah 45:8, therefore properly: not to exercise knowledge. נָשָׂא, comp. Isaiah 46:1; Isaiah 46:7. יוֹשׁיַע, comp. Lamentations 4:17.——By this is expressed, that after the deliverance by Cyrus Israel will at last definitely come to the knowledge of the folly and nothingness of idolatry.——We learn in Isaiah 45:21 the positive result of that counseling. But the announcement of it is again introduced by a solemn summons to use the needful deliberation (comp. Isaiah 41:22-23). Tell ye, and bring near means as much as bring on information. The thought is completed by adding another verb. The necessary facts must first be produced; then counsel may be taken about them (change of person as in Isaiah 45:8; Isaiah 41:1, etc.). The Lord himself announces the result. In the consultation he made his right felt, and what he said must be accepted, for it was the truth. It was as follows: Who has caused this (viz. what is intimated Isaiah 45:19, and whose fulfilment, after Isaiah 45:19, is assumed) to be heard of old, and long ago declared it? Not I, Jehovah?etc., Isaiah 45:21. Therefore, here again the Lord proves His divinity from His omniscience. One might say, that this is that divine attribute that can be most easily inspected even by those not eye-witnesses. For let the prophecy as such and the fulfilment be verified, and the necessary conclusion for every one is a superhuman knowing, willing and ability, even for such as are ever so remote in respect to time and place. When the Lord designates Himself here especially as a just God, it is with reference to Isaiah 45:13; Isaiah 45:19. He calls Himself Saviour in contrast with a god that cannot save, Isaiah 45:20.
3. Look unto me——shall glory, Isaiah 45:22-25. In this concluding word the Lord, by the expression all ye ends of the earth, comprehends all previously named, viz. the nations of the northern (Isaiah 45:6) and of the southern (Isaiah 45:14 sqq.) world-power, along with Israel. One might be tempted to take Isaiah 45:22-25 as an independent section, parallel with Isaiah 45:14-21. But then it would doubtless have begun, like the others mentioned, with “thus saith the Lord.” Moreover we see from all the seed of Israel, Isaiah 45:25, that after Israel has been entirely converted to the Lord, the Prophet sees in all mankind still only a seed of Israel. It is perhaps highly significant that only after the northern and southern world-power, or after the fulness of the Gentiles represented by them, does he let the escaped of the nations become partakers of the salvation inaugurated by Cyrus. Is that not an intimation of the fact so emphatically confirmed by Paul (Romans 11:0)? Thus by all the ends of the earth we are not to understand those nations that remained beside those mentioned in Isaiah 45:6; Isaiah 45:14 sqq. and 18 sqq. For those thus mentioned by the Prophet represented already all mankind. Therefore the same are meant, only here they are mentioned comprehensively instead of singly as before. All together they constitute the entire (all the) seed of Israel in a spiritual sense. To all of these, after salvation is prepared for them and they for salvation, the Lord addresses the final, decisive word of calling: turn unto me and be saved. Of the Imperatives the first is commanding, the second promissory. The inviting call reminds of Matthew 22:4 : “I have prepared my dinner, etc.,——all things are ready, come unto the marriage.”——הושׁעו (comp. Isaiah 30:15) is=be saved, become partakers of the perfect and everlasting salvation (Isaiah 45:17).—The causative clause: for I am God,etc., Isaiah 45:22 b, proves the possibility, yea the necessity of the salvation, by reference to the irrefragable truth, doubted since the fall, but now acknowledged on all hands (Isaiah 45:6; Isaiah 45:14 sqq., 21) that Jehovah alone is God. Only God can warrant everlasting salvation. Jehovah alone is God. Ergo!——When all turn to Jehovah and find in Him salvation, then, too, the eternal decree of God is fulfilled that all shall bow to him and serve him.—This decree has great importance as appears from: I have sworn by myself, and he could swear by no greater (Hebrews 6:13 sqq.). The oath thus acquires an abstract right, so that under no circumstances can it go back, be revoked or declared null. בי נשׁבעתי as in Genesis 22:16; Jeremiah 22:5; Jeremiah 49:13; comp. Isaiah 44:26.——I had rather translate צדקה (see Text. and Gram.): “for the sake of righteousness,” or “of right.” This word, being an emanation of the divine righteousness, bears in itself the guaranty of its realization, and therefore cannot go back (comp. the very similar passage, Isaiah 55:11). The contents of the oath is that every knee shall bow to the Lord, and to Him (לִי belongs also to the second clause; comp. Isaiah 19:18) every tongue shall swear. Therefore the προσκύνησις, as outward expression of homage (Psalms 95:6), and the ἐξομολόγησις (Romans 14:11; Philippians 2:10-11), as expression of the confession that God is the All-wise, All-righteous and Almighty, shall be accorded to Him as His divineright, that He does not suffer to be wrested from him. But every oath by God involves the confession, not only that there is a God, but also that this God knows the truth, and has the will and the power to avenge the untruth. An oath is, indeed, a divine worship (Goeschel).——The Prophet, moreover, is very far from believing that (to say it with one word) the conversion of the heathen and of Israel will be sudden and universal. Rather this conversion will progress by successive stages, and many—will make decided resistance. To this Isaiah 45:24 refers.
Isaiah 45:24. In this verse we perceive the cheering call of the converted to their still hesitating or even decidedly resisting brethren (see Text, and Gram.). First, they point to their own experience: Only in Jehovah are righteous deeds and strength.צדקות (comp. Isaiah 33:15; Isaiah 64:5 and Psalms 11:7; Psalms 103:6; Judges 5:11, etc.), are juste facta. The speaker would say, therefore: displays of righteousness (i.e., of a disposition conformed to the will of God) and strength (i.e., the power to do great things and bear hard things) are only in Jehovah, i.e., are only possible where God gives ability. Second, there is joined to this the exhortation to come to Jehovah as the only source of right inward life. Regarding the expressions עָדָיו and אֵלָיו, the Prophet would evidently intimate by עַד that Jehovah represents the loftiest goal of human effort, and that it concerns us to penetrate as far as to Him. The notion of “progredi ad fastigium quoddam” (Gesen.), is expressed in many modifications by עַד. Comp. 2 Samuel 23:19; Job 11:7; Nahum 1:10; 1 Chronicles 4:27, etc. Finally, those converted do not fail to add a threat for those that oppose themselves: and all that are incensed against Him shall be ashamed. The same expression again only Isaiah 41:11; Song of Solomon 1:6. It seems to me that the expression “those inflamed with anger” points to the psychological fact, that in the hearts of those filled with hatred the display of love provokes anger and not love. Compare Judas, John 13:27.
Isaiah 45:25 is not to be regarded as either the word of Jehovah or of the converted Isaiah 45:23. In the former case we would have בִּי; in the latter ביהוה יצדקו would say only what had been already said in ביהוה צדקות. Hence I regard this verse as the word of the Prophet, added in conclusion by way of confirming, explaining and also of praise. By shall be justified he verifies that men are not able to find the grounds of their justification in themselves, but only in God. This is a New Testament evangelical thought, that well befits “the Evangelist of the Old Testament.” And shall glory contains a doxology as an ingredient. It is as a finger board to the praising choir of which John speaks in Revelation 4:8 sqq.; Revelation 5:9 sqq.; Revelation 7:9 sqq.; Revelation 11:16; Revelation 12:10 sqq, etc. Finally, all the seed of Israel is an explanation, showing us that we are to construe verses 22–25, not as a new co-ordinate member of the discourse, but as the sum of the whole discourse, so that the “ends of the earth” are not new nations hitherto unmentioned, but the totality of those previously named. All those who according to Isaiah 45:6; Isaiah 45:14 have been converted to Jehovah are become Israel, i.e., spiritual Israel. All “they which are of faith the same are the children of Abraham.” Galatians 3:7.
He is God—who formed the earth and made it—he ordered it.
to he empty.
Or, Surely he shall say of me, In the LORD is all righteoueness and strength
DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL
1. On 45. The Egyptian and the Babylonian captivities correspond to one another. Both times the holy nation were outside of the Holy land and in the service of a heathen world-power. In each case, too, this happened in the resplendent period of the world-power concerned. Egypt, at the time it was compelled to let Israel go, stood foremost among all nations in respect to culture and political power. “Those were the most glorious times of all Egyptian history” (Lepsius, Chronology of the Egyptians, I. p. 359). Cyrus was the conqueror of the Babylonian kingdom, which itself had conquered the old Assyria, and he had appropriated its power so that he represented the northern world-power in, as it were, its third power or degree. In both instances the inconsiderable, despised Jews were slaves without power or rights in the territory and service of the world-power. Yet how superior the powerless appears in contrast with the mighty! God declared it to be His express purpose, in leading His people miraculously out of Egypt, “to show His power to Pharaoh, and that His name might be declared throughout all the earth; and to execute judgment against all the gods of Egypt” (Exodus 9:16; Exodus 12:12, comp. Isaiah 8:10; Isaiah 8:19; Isaiah 14:4; Isaiah 14:17-18; Isaiah 14:25). The entire first half of Daniel informs us of those miraculous measures of God whose common object and effect was that confession of Nebuchadnezzar: “Of a truth it is, that your God is a God of gods, and a Lord of kings” (Daniel 2:47; comp. Daniel 3:28 sqq.; Daniel 4:31 sqq.; Daniel 4:25 sqq.). Therefore, twice in that period between the apostacy from the true God (Genesis 11:8) and the appearance of Christ, there took place grand testimonies from the Lord to the heathen world. And in both instances the medium of testimony was an exile of Israel, and it was received by the world-power that at the time was dominant: first Egypt the southern world-power, and then the northern, the Babylonian-Persian kingdom of which Cyrus must be regarded as the head. The object of this revelation to the heathen world was in general, not the extermination of idolatry (for then the object were not attained), but the preservation and revival of the remembrance of the highest Creator, Ruler and Judge, of the One ruling over all that is visible and invisible, a remembrance ever present in the most secret part of the human breast. This remembrance may not be extinguished, for it is the connecting point for the final and highest revelation that is accomplished by the Son of God becoming man for the purpose of redemption. But especially the testimony imparted to Cyrus was intended to free, from the Exile, the nation that was to be the medium of salvation and thereby to make shine the first beams of Messianic salvation to Israel and the world.
2. On 45. Pressel (in Herz. R.-Enc. III. p. 231) gives a list of the data of the Old Testament in regard to Cyrus, which, with some modification, is as follows: 1) He was a Persian (Daniel 6:28); 2) he was king in Persia (2 Chronicles 36:22; Ezra 1:1 sq.; Ezra 4:5); 3) he was king of Media and Babylon (Ezra 5:13; Ezra 5:17; Ezra 6:2-3); 4) he was a conqueror and founder of a world-monarchy (Isaiah 45:1-3; Isaiah 45:14); 5) he was the fourth ruler before Xerxes (Daniel 11:2); 6) he was the destroyer of the Babylonian dynasty and of the Chaldean idolatry (Isaiah 46:1; Isaiah 48:14; Daniel 2:39; Daniel 8:3-4; Daniel 8:20); 7) he was a worshipper of the true God (2 Chronicles 36:23; Ezra 1:2); 8) he was the liberator of the Jews, and promoted the building of the city and Temple (Isaiah 44:28; Isaiah 45:13; 2 Chronicles 36:23; Ezekiel 1:2 sqq.; Isaiah 5:13; Isaiah 6:3 sqq.); 9) he was a shepherd of God who was to fulfil God’s will concerning Israel, yea, an anointed of the Lord (Isaiah 44:28; Isaiah 45:1), whose spirit the Lord raised up (2 Chronicles 36:22 sq.; Ezra 1:1; Isaiah 45:13).
What was it that made so deep an impression on Cyrus, and one so favorable for the knowledge of the truth? Pressel (l. c.) in answer to this question mentions in substance the following: 1) The part that Daniel played in the downfall of the Babylonian kingdom, by foretelling the event the very night of its taking place (Daniel 5:28; Daniel 5:30); 2) the high position that Daniel occupied, with miraculous divine support, at the court of Darius the Mede, whose general Cyrus was still at that time (Daniel 6:0); 3) the experience Cyrus might have of the nothingness of idolatry in contrast with the faith of Daniel, in respect to which less account must be made of the history of Bel and the Dragon than of the inability of the heathen idols to protect their nations against Cyrus, who acted under commission from Jehovah (Isaiah 45:1-3); 4) the reading of Isaiah’s prophecies in respect to himself, according to the testimony of Josephus cited above; see Doct. and Eth. on Isaiah 44:24-28.
But if it be further asked: how does it come that the descriptions of profane authors are far from coming up to the picture of Cyrus that we get from Daniel and Isaiah? I would reply, by a modification of Pressel’s views: 1) the fact that Cyrus, as soon as he began to reign, extended to the captive Jews special favor, and exhibited a lively interest in the restoration of the worship of Jehovah in Jerusalem is a notorious proof that he must have received a strong impulse in this direction (comp. Oehler, in Herz., R.-Enc. Xii. p. 230 sq.). For how otherwise may it be explained, that this mighty ruler, whose sway was so extended, and who was busied with great plans for war and peace, gave his attention to this matter long since settled, and took measures that from his stand-point were inconsistent and a mistake? 2) That profane history says nothing about those mysterious transactions between Cyrus and his God (we may surely be allowed, in an objective sense, to call the Lord so), is to be explained partly from the nature of the subject in itself, partly from these extraordinary manifestations of divinity—apart from the restoration of the Jews—not being intended for outward effects that could have been the subject of historical writing, but only for such inward effects as spin out their mysterious threads in the depths of human consciousness, and withdraw themselves from outward observation and representation. Notwithstanding what has been remarked, profane history still gives us so far an indirect testimony, that it draws a remarkably grand, and even unique picture of Cyrus. Thus Herodotus relates (III, 89) that the Persians called “Darius a merchant, Cambyses a despot, but Cyrus a parent. Darius seemed to have no other object than the acquisition of gain; Cambyses was negligent and severe; whilst Cyrus was of a mild and gentle temper, ever studious of the good of his subjects.” He further mentions in the account of the taking of Babylon by the cunning of Zopyrus: “With respect to the merit of Zopyrus, in the opinion of Darius, it was exceeded by no Persian of any period, unless by Gyrus; to him, indeed, he thought no one of his countrymen could possibly be compared” (III, 160). Notwithstanding Herodotus speaks so highly of Cyrus, he is still sharply called to account for making it appear that Cyrus was “tutored and corrected” (παιδαγωγεῖσθαι και νουθετεῖσθαι) by Croesus, which latter he had yet previously described as an “uncultivated, boastful, absurd” man, as Cyrus “φρονήσει καὶ ̀ πάντων δοκεῖ πεπρωτενκέναι τῶν βασιλέων.” Diodor. Siculus (Hist. XIII., p. 342) relates that the Syracusan Nikolaos recommended his countrymen to use gentleness toward the captive Athenians, citing for example the εν̓γνωμοσν́νη of Cyrus, of whom he proceeds to say: “τοιγαροῦν διαδοθείσης εἰς πάντα τόπον τῆς ἡμερότητος ἅπαντες οί κατὰ τὴν Ἀσίαν άλλήλονς φθάνοντες εἰς τὴν τοῦ βασιλέως σνμμαχίαν παρεγίνοντο”—Justinus (I., 8) calls Cyrus “admirabiliter insignis.” Ammianus (XXIII., 6) says: “Antiquior Cyrus rex amabilis.” See Vitringa on Isaiah 42:2; Isaiah 45:1. But especially it is to be emphasized here, that Xenophon did not write his Cyropaedia in order to present his ethico-political ideals in the form of a romance, choosing Cyrus for the hero, because his historical reality most agrees with those ideals, and needed only a little idealizing embellishment. On the contrary he was astounded by the fact that Cyrus found it so easy to rule over so many nations differing so extraordinarily from one another, easier than any other ruler had ever found it, whereas ruling over men, even a few and those of the same kind, had else been proved to be harder than ruling over beasts. And he notices as an especially important circumstance, that even the most remote nations would willingly and voluntarily have obeyed Cyrus. It was this wonder at such extraordinary facts that determined him to investigate the circumstances of parentage, nature, and education, that made it possible for Cyrus to distinguish himself so as a ruler of men. Such is the occasion and object of his writing, that Xenophon himself gives in the introduction to it. Does not this remarkable fact that Xenophon thus singles out find its proper explanation in the words of our Prophet: “whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him,” Isaiah 45:1?
3. On Isaiah 45:1 sqq. Unbelieving Israel is judged by the Lord, and it appears to be given up by the Exile to ruin forever. But the Exile is only momentary, and must itself serve to bring it about that Israel shall lastingly penetrate to the light of true knowledge of God. It shall not only do so itself, but also, as servant of Jehovah, it shall become the means of the heathen receiving this light. But the latter shall chiefly happen by a heathen prince of eminent power and importance being brought to the knowledge of the true God and to the consciousness of having received from Him a grand religious mission. As this prince on the one hand terminates the deepest humiliation of Israel and prepares the way for its being lifted up again, and on the other hand introduces into the heathen world, at least as to principle, the first rays of the true knowledge of salvation, he is a forerunner and type of the Messiah, and stands under quite a peculiar guidance of God, who equips him and makes the way even before him. So far Cyrus is no disconnected, unnecessary and hence incredible miracle, but he is an appearance organically connected with the development of salvation. It was he that was to restore Israel from physical and spiritual estrangement to its centre of salvation, and prepare the heathen for faith in God and his Saviour. For this double purpose the nothingness of idolatry must be made patent and brought to the consciousness of Jew and Gentile. As regards Israel, it is of special importance here for it to see this prince announced beforehand, indeed named beforehand, and to hear from his mouth and that of his predecessor the confession that the idols are nothing, and that Jehovah alone is God. How far the effect on the heathen was real and lasting, we can, of course, not determine, on account of the inwardness of the effect and the want of witnesses concerning it. Yet we will not err if we assume that the later readiness of the heathen to accept the apostolic preaching, indeed the precedence of the heathen world in this respect to the Jews rested on that preparatory influence. It is especially to be noted in this respect that the Magi that came from the East openly inquired in Jerusalem for the stopping place of the new-born King, whose birth they took for granted, whereas in Israel itself this birth appears to have been treated as a secret in the narrow circle of the initiated. Else why had Herod heard nothing of it?
4. On Isaiah 45:7. “Fanatici homines hanc mali vocem detorquent, acsi Deus mali, i.e, peccati auctor esset. Sed facile apparet, quam praepostere hoc prophetae testimony) abutantur. Antithesis enim id satis explicat, cujus membra inter se referri debemt. Nam opponit pacem malo i.e. aerumnis, bellis, rebusque omnibus adversis. Quod si justitiam malo opponeret, aliquid haberent coloris; verum haec contrarium inter se rerum oppositio aperta est. Ideo vulgaris distinctio non improbanda est, Deum mali esse auctorem, non culpae sed poenae.” Calvin. “Aἰτία τοῦ ἑλομένον Θεὸς δὲ Plato. “Is all in the world well-ordered and sure, then not a single thing can be taken away without all collapsing or losing its harmony, just as little as in a well-ordered building. Therefore the Scripture has often declared that misfortune as well as fortune, evil as well as good is under the government of God. ‘I form the light, and create darkness; I make peace and create evil; I the Lord do all these things.’ Says another Prophet: “Shall there be evil in a city, and the Lord hath not done it?’ Amos 3:6. Comp. also Lamentations 3:37-38. So, too, in the New Testament the Lord and His disciples declare in the case of the blackest iniquity, that all happens according to the will of God. ‘For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel were gathered together, for to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done,’ Acts 4:27-28.” Tholuck.
5. On Isaiah 45:8. “Celeber hic locus est in ecclesia Papistarum et illustre argumentum ignorantiae, quod ad beatam virginem eum accomodarunt. Nos autem scimus, agi in hoc capite de promissa liberatione per Cyrum. Hic igitur locus mimeticus est …. Quasi dicant Israelitae: Ecce sumus privati sacerdotio et regno, templo et omni cultu Dei, translati sumus in gentes. Ibi respondent nobis peccata nostra. … Quare O coeli rorate et depluite justitiam, quae nisi desuper in nos effundatur, actum est.” Luther. The Roman Catholic church, on the 18th of December (the Festival of “the expectation of the lying-in of Mary”) celebrates the so-called Rorate-mass, named thus from the introductory words: Rorate Coeli desuper, etc. Comp. Herz. R.-Enc. I. p.134.
6. On Isaiah 45:11. “The peculiar and greatest gift that parents can bestow on their children is the discipline of the inner man and a bringing up to God’s word. It is written: ‘And the Lord said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do; seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? For I know him that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment,’ Genesis 18:17-19. So highly did God esteem in His servant Abraham the nurture of his children in piety! Thus parents may deserve heaven or hell merely by the education of their children. And when the apostle says of the woman: ‘Notwithstanding she shall be saved in child-bearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety’ (1 Timothy 2:15), he means not merely that she bear, but also, as essentially a part of it, that she educate, if she therefore herself continue in the faith, and thus also may understand how to bring her children up to faith.” Tholuck.
7. [On Isaiah 45:14. “The idea indicated by this is, that there would be a condition of anxious solicitude among heathen nations on the subject of true religion, and that they would seek counsel and direction from those who were in possession of it. Such a state has already existed to some extent among the heathen; and the Scriptures, I think, lead us to suppose that the final spread and triumph of the gospel will be preceded by such an inquiry prevailing extensively in the heathen world. God will show them the folly of idolatry; He will raise up reformers among themselves; the extension of commercial intercourse will acquaint them with the comparative happiness and prosperity of Christian nations; and the growing consciousness of their own inferiority will lead them to desire that which has conferred so extensive benefits on other lands, and lead them to come as suppliants and ask that teachers and the ministers of religion may be sent to them. One of the most remarkable characteristics of the present time is, that heathen nations are becoming increasingly sensible of their ignorance and comparative degradation; that they welcome the ministers and teachers sent out from Christian lands; the increased commerce of the world is thus preparing the world for the final spread of the Gospel.” Barnes. Some of the most wonderful illustrations of the foregoing remarks have occurred since they were penned, e.g., Japan.—Tr.].
8. On Isaiah 45:15. “As God the Lord is Himself a hidden God, and said He will dwell in darkness, it has therefore seemed good to Him to hide His children in this world under so much affliction, contumely, contempt, poverty, sickness, simplicity, weakness, sin, etc., that often not only the world, but believers themselves cannot reconcile themselves to it.” Scriver, Seelenschatz, Theil II. 10, Pred.§ 26.
9. On Isaiah 45:17. “Even the ancient Jews explained this to refer to the Messiah. But what is said here of Israel applies, according to the quality of the New Testament, to the whole human race (Isaiah 43:24). The grace on Israel shall be everlasting, and as it has been from everlasting, so through the Messiah it shall be continued to everlasting. For the religion of the Messiah leads everything out of time into the blessed eternity. Hence He is called the Rock of Ages (Isaiah 26:4) that gives to the redeemed everlasting joy (Isaiah 35:10), an everlasting name that shall not be cut off (Isaiah 56:5), everlasting glory (Isaiah 60:15), the ground of which is the everlasting righteousness (Daniel 9:24).” Starke.
10. On Isaiah 45:19. “The heavenly wisdom would have itself proclaimed in clear light, and not in the darkness. Hence Christ also said that what his disciples heard in the ear they should proclaim from the house-top (Matthew 10:27). As, on the contrary, all false teachers are sneaks, they do not go straight forward, but cloak their doing and doctrine with a false appearance and sheep-clothing (Matthew 7:15).” Cramer.——[“In the language here, there is a remarkable resemblance to what the Saviour said of Himself, and it is not improbable that he had this passage in His mind: ‘I spake openly to the world; I ever taught in the synagogue, and in the temple, whither the Jews always resort; and in secret have I said nothing.’ John 18:20.” Barnes.]
11. On Isaiah 45:22-25. “This text is one of the most important in Isaiah. The person that speaks in it is the Messiah, the Son of God, because He calls Himself in the context (Isaiah 45:15) the Saviour and attributes to Himself the everlasting redemption (Isaiah 45:17); because through Him all the ends of the earth shall be blessed (John 3:16; Acts 4:12); because what is said here in Isaiah 45:23 of the oath, the Son of God certifies of Himself (Genesis 22:16); because in Christ we have righteousness and strength (Isaiah 45:24; 1 Corinthians 1:30); because that every knee shall bow to Him is declared to refer to Christ (Philippians 2:9 sqq.). Starke.
12. On Isaiah 45:23. “Concessum est homini christiani jurare. Fundamenta adversus Anabaptistas haec sunt: 1) Mandatum Dei: Deuteronomy 6:13; Deuteronomy 2:0) Exempla a. Jehovae: Genesis 22:16; Jeremiah 22:5; Jeremiah 51:14; Amos 6:8; b. Christi: hoc loco itemque, John 16:23; c. Angeli: Revelation 10:6; d. Sanctorum: Abrahami, Genesis 14:22; Davidis, 1 Kings 1:13; Pauli, 2 Corinthians 1:23. 2 Corinthians 1:3) Ratio, quia juramentum est species cultus Dei ut iterum hoc loco et infra cap. Isaiah 48:1 et quidem talis, qui maxime commendatur (Ps. 63:12).” Foerster.
1. On Isaiah 45:1-7. The missionary work of Cyrus a type of our own. 1) The task of Cyrus is also our own. For Cyrus was a. to lead back Israel inwardly to its God, and also to restore outwardly the service of the Lord among the people that returned home. So, too, must we convert Israel inwardly to its Saviour (the testimony of the heathen must provoke Israel to zeal, Romans 11:11), and contribute to the restoration of the true worship of Jehovah (John 4:23 sq.) and of the spiritual kingdom of David. Cyrus was to bring also the heathen, East and West, to the knowledge of the true God (Isaiah 45:6-7). We should do the same by bringing to them the knowledge of the Triune God and of salvation, that is come to all men by the Son becoming man.—2) The promise given to Cyrus in regard to the execution of his task. All opponents will bow before him, all gates open, etc., Isaiah 45:1-3. So, too, our work, as the cause of God, will conquer in spite of all resistance; the doors of hearts will open, and we shall gain those hearts that are born of God and made susceptible of the truth as precious spoil.
[“Now that which God here promised to do for Cyrus, He could have done for Zerubbabel or some of the Jews themselves; but the wealth and power of this world God has seldom seen fit to entrust His own people with much of, so many are the snares and temptations that attend them. But if there has been occasion, for the good of the Church, to make use of them, God has been pleased rather to put them into the hands of others, to be employed for them, than to venture them in their own hands.” M. Henry.]
2. On Isaiah 45:8. A great favorite in the Roman Catholic Church as an Advent text (on account of their reference of the Rorate to the Virgin Mary), but which has been much and variously used by Protestant preachers. Comp. e.g. the Rorate propheticum of Joh. Fortumannus (in Wernigerode) three Advent sermons on Isaiah 45:8, Wittenberg, 1625.—The salvation of men depends on heaven and earth continuing in right relation to one another. They must not be separated, but must co-operate. The heaven must incline to the earth, fructifying it; the earth must open up receptively. As fruits of the field are conditioned on the ground being fruitful and well plowed, while the heaven gives rain and sunshine; so the salvation of souls depends on hearts rightly opening themselves to the fructifying influences from above. This thought is especially brought home to us by the Advent. The Lord’s Advent is heavenly dew for a thirsty land. 1) The Lord came once with His holy person as Lamb of God and Second Adam. 2) He comes continually with His Spirit and gifts, a. by the daily bread of His grace in the word and sacrament; b. by the annual bread of the Church’s feasts, especially now of the feast of the Advent, by which He quite especially extends to us the blessing of His personal coming. 3) We only become truly partakers of this blessing if we are “a thirsty land,” i.e. if we hunger and thirst after righteousness. Conclusion: Therefore where heaven above drops down and the clouds rain righteousness, and the earth on the other hand opens itself up, there righteousness grows and salvation will be brought forth.
3. On Isaiah 45:9-13. In great distress and conflict one is often tempted to strive with his Maker and to say: Ah, why was I born? This is wrong. We ought never, even in the greatest distress, to forget that we have a God that can help and will help. 1) God can help, for a. He made heaven and earth (Isaiah 45:12); b. He especially made known His power to the people of Israel in their greatest distress by raising up the heathen prince himself, in whose land they were captives, to be their friend and deliverer (Isaiah 45:13). 2) He will help, for we are His children and the work of His hands (Isaiah 45:11). Therefore in every distress we ought believingly to let ourselves be pointed to Him.
4. [On Isaiah 45:15. “1) God hid Himself when He brought them into the trouble, hid Himself and was wroth, Isaiah 57:17. Note: Though God be His people’s God and Saviour, yet sometimes, when they provoke Him, He hides Himself from them in displeasure, suspends His favors, and lays them under His frowns: but let them wait upon the Lord that hides His face, Isaiah 8:17. Isaiah 8:2) He hid Himself when He was bringing them out of the trouble. Note: When God is acting as Israel’s God and Saviour commonly . His way is in the sea, Psalms 77:19. The salvation of the Church is carried on in a mysterious way, by the Spirit of the Lord of hosts working on men’s spirits (Zechariah 4:6), by weak and unlikely instruments, small and accidental occurrences, and not wrought till the last extremity; but this is our comfort, though God hide Himself, we are sure He is the God of Israel, the Saviour. See Job 35:14. M. Henry.]
5. [On Isaiah 45:18-19. That the Lord we serve and trust in is God alone appears by the two great lights, that of nature and that of revelation. I. By the light of nature: for He made the world, and therefore may justly demand its homage. 1) He formed it. It is not a rude and indigested chaos, but cast into the most proper shape and size by Infinite Wisdom 2) He fixed it, Psalms 24:2; Job 26:7. Job 26:3) He fitted it for use and for the service of man. He did not create it to be empty. Psalms 8:2. It appears by the light of revelation. His oracles far exceed those of Pagan deities, as well as His operations (Isaiah 45:19). The preference is here placed in three things: All that God has said is plain, satisfactory and just. 1) In the manner of its delivery it is plain and open. Not in mutterings and ambiguities issuing from dens and caverns (Isaiah 8:19), but like the law was given from the top of Mt. Sinai. Proverbs 1:20; Proverbs 8:1-3; Habakkuk 2:2; John 18:20. John 18:2) In the use and benefit of it it was highly satisfactory. I said not: Seek ye me in vain. 3) In the matter of it it was incontestably just, consonant to the eternal rules and reasons of good and evil. The heathen deities dictated those things to their worshippers which were the reproach of human nature and extirpated virtue. See Comm. above on Isaiah 45:19, last clause. Comp. Romans 3:26. After M. Henry.—Tr.]
6. On Isaiah 45:22-25. Missionary Sermon. “Whither must every missionary anniversary turn our eyes? 1) To the interior of Christendom for proper examination; 2) to the heathen world for urgent warning; 3) to Israel for cheering comfort.” Langbein. [On Isaiah 45:22. “The invitation proves, 1) That the offers of the gospel are universal; 2) That God is willing to save all, or He would not give the invitation; 3) That there is ample provision for their salvation—since God would not invite them to accept of what was not provided for them. 4) That it is His serious and settled purpose that all the ends of the earth shall be invited to embrace the offers of life (Mark 16:15). And now it appertains to His Church to bear the glad news of salvation around the world, and on it rests the responsibility of seeing this speedily executed.” Barnes.]
These files are a derivative of an electronic edition available at BibleSupport.com. Public Domain.
Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on Isaiah 45". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". https://www.studylight.org/
the Sixth Week after Easter