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Bible Commentaries

Peake's Commentary on the Bible

Isaiah 43

Verses 1-7

Isaiah 43:1-7 . Having Chastised, Yahweh will Redeem His People.— Since Yahweh has sent Israel into exile, He can bring her back. He bids her be of good courage. His people shall not be overwhelmed by the calamities He brings upon them. He will ransom them, compensating the conqueror with Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sheba. The sons of Israel shall be gathered from their dispersion.

Isaiah 43:1 b. The verbs are futures.

Isaiah 43:2 . Read, “ and rivers shall not.”

Isaiah 43:3 . Seba: not certainly identified; presumably an African state bordering on Ethiopia.

Isaiah 43:4 . men: read “ lands.”

Isaiah 43:5 a. An insertion.

Verses 8-13

Isaiah 43:8-13 . Israel Called by Yahweh as His Witness before the Nations.— The scene is again a court of justice. The nations, Yahweh’ s opponents, are already assembled (read “ are” for “ let be” ). Yahweh commands His people to be summoned as witnesses for Him. Blind as Israel may have been to the deeper significance of Yahweh’ s actions, yet even she has eyes to see the facts of history. What god can forecast and announce the future as Yahweh has done? Let them produce any witnesses who can attest the claim. Israel will attest Yahweh’ s claims and convince the heathen of His uniqueness. He alone who foretold the event can accomplish it. No strange god did this. His control of history is absolute.

Isaiah 43:9 . former things: possibly read, “ beforehand.”— or: translate, “ and” ; “ witnesses” is the subject of “ hear, and say.”

Isaiah 43:10 . servant: read plural.— ye may: read, “ they may.”

Isaiah 43:12 . and I am God: add, “ from of old.”

Isaiah 43:13 . since: read mg., and connect with what precedes.— let: render as mg.

Verses 14-21

Isaiah 43:14-21 . Yahweh will Work for His People a Deliverance more Wonderful than the Exodus.

Isaiah 43:14 is too corrupt to be translated with confidence. RV understands it to refer to a flight by water of the Babylonians from their fallen city. Yahweh recalls His people’ s passage through the Red Sea, when He overwhelmed the Egyptians. So much more wonderful will be His new achievement that it will be quoted instead of the Exodus as the supreme evidence of His redeeming power. He will make a road for the exiles through the wilderness, and cause rivers to spring forth in the arid desert; the wild creatures of the wilderness shall praise Him in gratitude.

Isaiah 43:15 . Omit am.

Isaiah 43:16 . Something has been lost after Lord.

Isaiah 43:17 . Translate, “ Army and warriors together. They lie down and cannot rise.”

Isaiah 43:19 . Translate, “ I am doing . . . it is springing . . . do ye not perceive it?”

Isaiah 43:20 b, Isaiah 43:21 . A late gloss; notice the change from the 2nd to the 3rd person.

Verses 22-28

Isaiah 43:22 to Isaiah 44:5 . Yahweh’ s Intervention, not Purchased by His People but Entirely of His Grace, shall Bring New Life to Israel.— It is not that during the exile Israel has assiduously sought Yahweh’ s aid by prayer and sacrifice. Nor has He exacted gifts and incense. So far from requiring them to buy sweet-scented cane to make fragrant their choice sacrifices, He has been compelled to do service for them, in saving them from the consequences of their sins. (Of His grace He will pardon their sins. What plea can they advance?) Their ancestor, Jacob, and the prophets, the very men who should have mediated between Yahweh and Israel, sinned against Him; the princes profaned His sanctuary. So He had given His people to the ban. Yet He bids His chosen people, addressing them by the pet name Jeshurun— the upright one— fear not. Upon them He will pour out His quickening life-spirit like rain on the thirsty ground. Their vigour shall be renewed, and they shall flourish like grass that grows amid waters ( LXX) or willows on the banks of streams. Unto them, to share their prosperity, shall come men from the nations, giving their adherence to Yahweh, and marking on their hands the inscription, “ Yahweh’ s” ( cf. mg.) , as a sign that they have become naturalised Israelites.

Isaiah 43:22 b. Read, “ nor hast thou wearied thyself over me, O Israel.”

Isaiah 43:25 f. Probably a gloss. The connexion would be improved by its removal.— plead: as in a law-court.

Isaiah 43:28 a. Read ( cf. LXX), “ Thy princes profaned my holy sanctuary” ; a succeeding parallel clause may have been lost.— will make: read mg. curse: devoted to destruction (p. 99).

Isaiah 44:2 . Jeshurun: Deuteronomy 32:15 *, Deuteronomy 33:5; Deuteronomy 33:26, cf. Numbers 23:10 *.

Isaiah 44:3 a Metaphorical; read mg.

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Bibliographical Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Isaiah 43". "Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". 1919.