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Bible Commentaries

Peake's Commentary on the Bible

Isaiah 45

Verses 1-8

Isaiah 44:24 to Isaiah 45:8 . Yahweh’ s Commission to Cyrus.— Yahweh reminds Israel of His power as sole Creator of the universe. What He created He still controls, so that He falsifies the predictions deduced by the soothsayers from the omens, and makes the diviners look foolish, while He fulfils the predictions of His servants (read plural), the prophets. He it is who has decreed the restoration of Jerusalem, the Temple, and the cities of Judah. The hindrances are compared to a flood, which He will dry up (Exodus 14). He it is who calls Cyrus the shepherd of His people. To Cyrus, whom He has anointed for this commission, whom He supports in his career of victory, delivering to him all fortified cities, He has promised that He will go before him, smoothing difficulties from his path. Brazen gates and the iron bars that strengthen them He will shatter. He will give him the treasures hoarded in secret chambers, Babylon’ s spoils of conquest. Yet not for his own sake, but for Israel’ s, has Yahweh called him, though he knew Him not, and given him a title of honour. He, the only God, will gird Cyrus with strength, but kings who oppose him He will disarm, that all men may know He is Yahweh, sole controller of the fates of mankind. Let the heavens flood the earth with righteousness: from the womb of the earth let deliverance and prosperity spring forth, and let the earth produce the triumph of His people.

Isaiah 44:24 . is: rather “ was,” i.e. at the creation.

Isaiah 44:25 . liars: render, “ soothsayers.”

Isaiah 44:28 . Oriental rulers often styled themselves “ shepherd” of the nation.

Isaiah 45:1 . loose the loins of: i.e. ungird, and consequently disarm.

Isaiah 45:7 . peace: render, “ prosperity.”— create: delete as repetition from preceding clause.— [If a dualistic doctrine is tacitly attacked here, whose doctrine was it? J. H. Moulton ( Early Zoroastrianism, p. 220) says it was “ that of teachers essentially akin to the Magi.” He adds: “ The existence of such a dualistic tendency within the field from which he drew his observations does not prove any nexus between the Magi and Babylon, unless in their accepting Babylonian ideas as they accepted Persian. But the dualism in question may quite well have been Magian and not Babylonian at all.”— evil: calamity, not moral evil.— A. S. P.].

Isaiah 45:8 . Drop down: transitive, having same object as “ pour down.”— righteousness: “ victory.”— together: render, “ also.”

Verses 9-13

Isaiah 45:9-13 . Yahweh Justifies His Choice of Cyrus.— Whoever questions the wisdom of Yahweh’ s working through Cyrus, He likens to clay that would instruct the potter. “ Would ye,” He asks, “ question Me as to the things that are in process, or command Me as to the work I have in hand? Let it suffice that I who created the earth and mankind, who made the heavens and control the stars, have raised up Cyrus, and will prosper his doings to the end that he may rebuild Jerusalem and free My exiled people.”

Isaiah 45:9 . thy work, He: read, “ his work. Thou hast.”— hands: i.e. power.

Isaiah 45:10 . A gloss.

Isaiah 45:11 . Read, “ Do ye ask? Would ye command?”

Isaiah 45:12 b. Cf. Isaiah 40:26.

Isaiah 45:13 . not. . . hosts: probably an addition; contrast Isaiah 43:3.

Verses 14-17

Isaiah 45:14-17 . Heathen Peoples See in the Deliverance of Israel the Might of Israel’ s God.— The passage is obscure, but possibly represents captives whom Cyrus has taken from the nations delivered up to him in exchange for Israel as passing the returning exiles, and entreating, through Israel, Israel’ s God; for plainly the contrast of their fates shows that it is with Israel alone that God abides. (Read, “ With thee God hides Himself; Israel’ s God is a deliverer.” ) All idol-worshippers and enemies of Yahweh are brought to ruin, whereas Israel shall never be confounded.

Isaiah 45:14 . Corrupt; read perhaps, “ The captives of Egypt, the exiles of Cush, and the tall Sabæ ans, shall pass before thee.” LXX reads, “ there is no God except thee.”

Isaiah 45:16 . Render, “ are ashamed,” “ are gone.”— all of them, together: consecutive in Heb.; read, “ all that rose up against him” (LXX).

Isaiah 45:17 . shall be saved: render, “ is delivered.”

Verses 18-25

Isaiah 45:18-25 . Yahweh will Deliver All who Look to Him.— Yahweh created the earth to be, not desolate, but a dwelling-place for man. Nor has He concealed Himself in some remote mysterious shrine, like the oracles of some heathen deities. He has declared the truth when He has been inquired of. Even now the end of the conquests of Cyrus is not that the earth, apart from the land of Israel, shall become a desolation instead of a dwelling-place. The survivors are bidden approach. They have proved the impotence of their portable gods. But Yahweh long ago predicted these events; the issue has demonstrated His control of history. With surprising grace He invites all men to turn to Him for deliverance. Yea, He has proclaimed, and His word cannot but fulfil itself, that every man shall swear allegiance to Him. He is the only source of victory and strength. His opponents shall be discomfited, but Israel shall boast of her triumph through Him.

Isaiah 45:19 . a place of: delete.— in vain: read mg.

Isaiah 45:21 . bring forth: i.e. perhaps, “ your witnesses.”

Isaiah 45:23 . The word, once uttered, becomes almost a personality, certainly a force, which will not return until it has fulfilled itself ( cf. Isaiah 55:11). Read the first mg. rendering, substituting truth” for “ righteousness.”

Isaiah 45:24 . unto me: read, “ to Jacob.”— righteousness: victory.— even . . . ashamed: read, “ for his sake shall be confounded and ashamed all they that were incensed against him.”

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Bibliographical Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Isaiah 45". "Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". 1919.