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Bible Commentaries

John Trapp Complete Commentary
Isaiah 45

 

 

Verse 1

Isaiah 45:1 Thus saith the LORD to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, 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;

Ver. 1. To his anointed,] i.e., To his appointed and enabled one, to subdue many nations. Xenophon, in his first book De Cyropaed., gives us a list of them. Cyrus subdued, saith he, the Syrians, Assyrians, Arabians, Cappadocians, Phrygians, the Lydians, Carians, Phoenicians, Babylonians, the Bactrians, Indians, Cilicians, Sacians, Paphlagonians, Maryandines, and many other nations. He also had dominion over the Asiatics, Greeks, Cyprians, Egyptians, &c. He vanquished, saith Herodotus, (a) what country soever he invaded. And what wonder, when God himself, as here, "held," or "strengthened his right hand," and "loosed the loins of kings" that were his adversaries - that is, disarmed and disabled them; for it is he alone who strengtheneth and weakeneth the arm of either party. [Ezekiel 30:24] Et nemo vir magnus sine afflatu divine unquam fuit, saith Cicero. (b) God transferreth kingdoms, and setteth up kings. [Daniel 2:21]

To open unto him the two leaved gates.] Or, Doors. Whether doors of houses or gates of cities, all shall fly open before him. {as Acts 12:10}


Verse 2

Isaiah 45:2 I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight: I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron:

Ver. 2. And make the crooked places even.] Or, The hilly places level.

I will break in pieces the gates of brass.] This God would do, that his temple might be built; {compare Isaiah 44:28} but in the New Testament, Christ throweth the gates of hell off their hinges, like another Samson, that he may build his Church. [Matthew 16:18] And it is this Aedificabo Ecclesiam meam I will build my church, that hath made all the stir in the world.


Verse 3

Isaiah 45:3 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.

Ver. 3. And I will give thee the treasures of darkness.] All that Croesus, that rich king, had amassed, and other princes, but especially Babylon (Jeremiah 50:37; Jeremiah 51:13. See Strabo, lib. xv.; Plin. xxxiii. cap. 3. Daniel 5:3). Pliny saith that Cyrus brought out of Asia, which he had subdued, as much treasure as amounteth in our money to three hundred millions. And yet this same Cyrus was within few years after made as poor as Irus; for being in Scythia, and there making show of his great riches at a feast, he was on the sudden slain, and spoiled of all by Tomyris, queen of that country. (a)


Verse 4

Isaiah 45:4 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.

Ver. 4. For Jacob my servant’s sake.] That the enemies of my people being subdued, they may have some breathing while, and liberty to live quietly in their own country. For which purpose also, it was the will of God that this prophecy of Isaiah should be made known to Cyrus, for the good of the Jews, that he might favour them; and so it was, as appeareth by Ezra 1:2, and by Josephus, Antiq., lib. xi. cap. 1.

I have even called thee by thy name.] Thy name of honour; (a) for Cyrus signifieth the "sun," saith Plutarch; "Lord," say others, in the Persian; as in Hebrew it seemeth to signify an heir, or possessor. Some derive our word sir from it. Cyrus was at first called Achzadat and Spaco, being the son of Cambyses, a noble Persian, and Mandane, the daughter of Astyages, king of Medes. The name of Cyrus he took when he entered upon the kingdom; and that from Cyrus, a river of Persia, as some hold. (b)

I have surnamed thee.] Or, I have entitled thee, scil., My shepherd, mine anointed, &c.

Though thou hast not known me,] scil., Savingly. For albeit he knew the true God in part, and acknowledged him to be great above other gods; yet he forsook not his idols, saith Jerome, and therefore perished miserably by the hands of the Scythians. Nevertheless, others (c) are of the opinion, that he was instructed by Daniel, and brought to a true belief, as was also Darius.


Verse 5

Isaiah 45:5 I [am] the LORD, and [there is] none else, [there is] no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me:

Ver. 5. I am the Lord, and none else.] None of thy Persian gods, to whom thou didst offer solemn sacrifice, both at the beginning of thy reign, and. likewise at thy death, if Zenophon (a) may be believed, saying, Iupiter patriae et Sol, &c., magnas ago vobis gratias, quod vestram de me curam intellexi, &c.

Though thou hast not known me.] Or, When as yet thou wast altogether ignorant of me. That he afterwards believed the immortality of the soul, Cicero testifieth in his Cato Major; and that he believed in Christ for the salvation of his soul, Scultetus thinketh, because he was a type of Christ; as was also Solomon, saith he; which to me is one good argument that he was saved.


Verse 6

Isaiah 45:6 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.

Ver. 6. That they may know from the rising of the sun,] i.e., All the world over, by thy proclamation. [Ezra 1:1-2]

That there is none besides me.] Quia nihilum praeter me: ego Dominus et nihil ultra, so Oecolampadius rendereth it, and saith further that it is oppido profanda sententia, a very profound sentence, teaching us that where God is not, there is nothing; for in him we are, move and live, and it is he who worketh all in all things.


Verse 7

Isaiah 45:7 I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these [things].

Ver. 7. I form the light, and create darkness,] sc., By withdrawing the light whence darkness succeedeth; so doth misery when God withholdeth mercy. But what an odd, or rather mad conceit was that of the Manichees, that there were two beginnings of things - a good one, and an evil! that the latter was the God of the Old Testament, and the former of the New! that the God of the Old Testament did good by accident and occasionally, but created evil of himself, even evil of sin! for so they mistook this text, which is to be understood as evil of punishment only, {see Amos 3:6 Lamentations 3:38} which he inflicteth on evildoers for the manifestation of his justice and power, ac propterea recte, et non male eo pacto quo per nos mala male flunt. (a)

I make peace, and create evil.] Evil, that is, war, by a specialty, and κατ αντονομασιαν, Omega nostrorum Mors est, Mars Alpha malorum. Sin, Satan, and war have all one name; evil is the best of them. The best of sin is deformity, of Satan enmity, of war misery.


Verse 8

Isaiah 45:8 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.

Ver. 8. Drop down, ye heavens, from above.] A prayer of the poor captives in Babylon, say some, for a speedy performance of their promised deliverance; and this the rather because else Christ could not come of them, teach in their country, work miracles, and fulfil the office of a mediator, as the prophets had foretold. Whereunto God immediately answereth: I, the Lord, have created him, or will create him, that is, send him in due time, doubt ye not. Others make it a description of Cyrus’s just and happy reign; see the like of Solomon. [Psalms 72:6-7] And indeed Cyrus is famous in heathen histories for his wisdom, justice, temperance, magnanimity, and liberality. It is not the custom of Cyrus to hoard up money, saith Xenophon, (a) for he taketh more delight in giving than in getting or possessing. But it seemeth rather to be a command from God of plenty and prosperity, opposite to that countermand. [Isaiah 5:6] The Papists apply it to Christ and his mother, and hence their roaring out of Rorate in their solemn service, a month before the feast of the nativity, and then they call for their carousing cups.


Verse 9

Isaiah 45:9 Woe unto him that striveth with his Maker! [Let] 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?

Ver. 9. Woe unto him that striveth with his Maker.] That contends with him, [Romans 9:20] or presumes to prescribe to him, as some impatient spirits among the captives may seem to have done. We may not measure God’s dealings by our models, nor murmur against his counsels; since his holy will is the most perfect rule of right.

Let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth.] And not dash against the rock of ages; let him meddle with his match, and not "contend with a mightier than he," [Ecclesiastes 6:10] What though God create him darkness and evil, {as Isaiah 45:7} let him wait upon God for better times, and not think to mend himself by murmuring against his Maker as too severe.

Shall the clay say, &c., ] q.d., This were an intolerable petulance.

Or thy work, it hath no hands?] Or, He hath no hands, sc., to fashion me aright. Thus the work seemeth to make answer to the clay; for as the clay said to the potter, Quid fecisti, What hast thou made? so the work saith, by way of jeer, he hath no hands, sc., to make me as he should have done.


Verse 10

Isaiah 45:10 Woe unto him that saith unto [his] father, What begettest thou? or to the woman, What hast thou brought forth?

Ver. 10. Woe unto him that saith to his father.] Are these fit words to a father? Is it not an impious morosity to talk unto him in this sort, Why hast thou begotten me at all? or if at all, why not rich, fair, wise? &c.

And to the woman,] i.e., To his mother, {as Isaiah 49:15} but such as he can hardly find in his heart to call mother.


Verse 11

Isaiah 45:11 Thus saith the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker, Ask me of things to come concerning my sons, and concerning the work of my hands command ye me.

Ver. 11. Thus saith the Lord, &c., ] q.d., Leave off such insolent and unbecoming language, and learn of me about what ye should rather busy yourselves.

Ask me of things to come.] Me, and not your wizards. Have recourse to "my prophets; believe them, and ye shall prosper." Let your patient mind be known to all men; the Lord is at hand for your deliverance.

Command ye me.] This is a wonderful expression, and doth notably set forth the power of prayer. Luther, it seemeth, well understood the latitude of this royal charter, saith one, (a) when praying for the recovery of a godly useful preacher who was far gone in a consumption, among other passages he let fall this transcendent rapture of a daring faith, "Let my will be done," but then he falls off sweetly, "My will, Lord, because thy will."


Verse 12

Isaiah 45:12 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.

Ver. 12. I have made the earth,] q.d., I am the mighty maker and monarch of the world; therefore pray on, and patiently wait for a gracious answer, "he that believeth maketh not haste."


Verse 13

Isaiah 45:13 I have raised him up in righteousness, and I will direct all his ways: he shall build my city, and he shall let go my captives, not for price nor reward, saith the LORD of hosts.

Ver. 13. I have raised him up,] i.e., Cyrus. [Ezra 1:1]

And I will direct all his ways,] sc., When he cometh against the Babylonians, Lydians, &c., on mine errand. But when moved by his ambition, he invaded Scythia, and cruelly wasted the country, God took no further charge of him; as I may say, He that is out of God’s precincts, is out of his protection.


Verse 14

Isaiah 45:14 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.

Ver. 14. Thus saith the Lord, The labour of Egypt.] Here he turneth his speech to Cyrus, promising him that he should be no loser by his generous carriage toward the poor people of God, his captives, whom he freely dismissed without ransom. [Isaiah 45:13] God’s retributions are more than bountiful.

Men of stature.] (a) The Arabians are reported to have been goodly personable men by Agatharchides, (b) an ancient writer, from whom Plutarch and Pliny borrowed much.

They shall come over unto thee.] Commodissime dicemus promissionem hanc referendum ad tempus revelati Evangelii. This was fulfilled chiefly when the gospel was preached, and nations thereby converted. (c) See Psalms 45:8; Psalms 149:6-8. The bonds of the Holy Spirit are stronger than adamant, salth Ambrose.

Surely God is in thee.] Or, With thee; and hence thou, O Cyrus, so prevailest and prosperest. Thus these conquered kings shall supplicate and say to Cyrus.

And there is none else, there is no God.] Hence Mohammedans seem to have taken that which, out of their Alchoran, they daily proclaim in their mosques or meeting houses, "There is no god but God, and Mohammed his counsellor." Thus those kings; but what saith the prophet?


Verse 15

Isaiah 45:15 Verily thou [art] a God that hidest thyself, O God of Israel, the Saviour.

Ver. 15. Verily thou art a God that hidest thyself.] (a) As thou art invisible, and dwellest in light inaccessible; so in thy dispensations thou goest a way by thyself, and thy judgments are unsearchable. "Thou hidest thyself," and standest off a while sometimes from the help of thy poor people, but wilt appear to them and for them in due time. The Septuagint here translate Tu es Deus et nesciebamus, Thou art God, and we knew thee not. And this the fathers interpret concerning Christ; and hence the Jews seem to have drawn that speech of theirs, "Christ when he cometh, no man knoweth whence he is."


Verse 16

Isaiah 45:16 They shall be ashamed, and also confounded, all of them: they shall go to confusion together [that are] makers of idols.

Ver. 16. That are makers of idols.] The word rendered idols, signifieth properly Tormina, cruciatus, pains, and throes, and straits. Idolaters heap up sorrows to themselves, and terrors of conscience. See Psalms 16:4. {See Trapp on "Psalms 16:4"}


Verse 17

Isaiah 45:17 [But] Israel shall be saved in the LORD with an everlasting salvation: ye shall not be ashamed nor confounded world without end.

Ver. 17. But Israel … with an everlasting salvation.] By Cyrus they were not so, for not long after, Antiochus afflicted them, Herod got the sceptre from them, the Romans came and took away both them and their nation; but the Israel of God were, and are still, saved by Jesus, with an everlasting salvation.


Verse 18

Isaiah 45:18 For thus saith the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I [am] the LORD and [there is] none else.

Ver. 18. He created it not in vain.] Therefore never think that he will forsake it, or not take care of his Church therein, for whose sake he made it at first, and still upholdeth it "by the word of his power." [Hebrews 1:3] Now, if God created not the earth in vain, much less the heavens - wherein he hath showed his greater skill [Hebrews 11:10] {See Trapp on "Hebrews 11:10"} - but that his people might there inhabit for ever. And here it is that they shall be "saved in the Lord with an everlasting salvation"; yea, they "shall not be ashamed or confounded, world without end." [Isaiah 45:17]


Verse 19

Isaiah 45:19 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.

Ver. 19. I have not spoken in secret.] As the sibyls did out of their dens; as the idol priests did out of their holes and underground vaults; as heretics and seducers, who creep into corners and there vend their false wares, as Vincentins Lirinensis long since observed. (Epiphanius fitly compareth them to moles, who do all their mischief by working underground.) But God, as he delivered his law openly on Mount Sinai, so his gospel he commanded to be preached "on the house top," and in Mount Zion. Christ "spoke openly" to the world. [John 18:20] Truth seeketh no corners: "I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ." [Romans 1:16] But what was this word that was delivered so plainly and perspicuously?

Seek ye me.] And for your encouragement ye shall not do it "in vain"; for I am "a rewarder of all those that diligently seek me." [Hebrews 11:6] Let heathen deities disappoint and delude those that seek to them; Jacob’s God scorneth the motion. He is better to his people than their prayers, better than their hopes; and when, with Gehazi, they ask but one talent, he, like Naaman, forceth them to take two.

I the Lord speak righteousness; I declare the things that are right.] Or, Even. So doth not the devil, but things sinful and obscene; as human sacrifices, promiscuous uncleannesses, ut in nefariis Priapi et Veneris sacris. Contrariwise, "all the words of God’s mouth are in righteousness; there is nothing froward or perverse in them." [Proverbs 8:8]


Verse 20

Isaiah 45:20 Assemble yourselves and come; draw near together, ye [that are] escaped of the nations: they have no knowledge that set up the wood of their graven image, and pray unto a god [that] cannot save.

Ver. 20. Ye that are escaped of the nations.] That have escaped the sword of Cyrus, and well proved how little your gods can do for you.

That set up the wood of their graven image.] Qui levant lignum, carrying them in pomp and procession upon their shoulders, as Papists now do their pictures, their breaden god especially, and crying to it, "Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of Sabbaoth!"


Verse 21

Isaiah 45:21 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.

Ver. 21. Who hath declared this?] sc., That the people of God should be set at liberty by Cyrus.


Verse 22

Isaiah 45:22 Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I [am] God, and [there is] none else.

Ver. 22. Look unto me, and be ye saved.] While the moon looketh directly upon the sun, she is bright and beautiful; but if she once turn aside and be left to herself, she loseth all her glory, and enjoys but only a shadow of light, which is her own; so while men look to Christ, the "Sun of righteousness," and toward the "stars in his right hand."

For I am God, and none else.] This Judas Maccabeus acknowledged in his ensign, wherein this motto was written, Mi Camoca Belohim Iehovah, i.e., " Who is like unto thee among the gods, O Lord?" from the capital letters of which motto he took his name Maccabi. (a)


Verse 23

Isaiah 45:23 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.

Ver. 23. That unto me every knee.] I will be known and obeyed all the world over, sc., by Christians. Of the Jews Jerome noteth, quod mentis superbiam demonstrantes genu non flectunt, that they bow not the knee in God’s service, but only stand up at times.


Verse 24

Isaiah 45:24 Surely, shall [one] say, in the LORD have I righteousness and strength: [even] to him shall [men] come; and all that are incensed against him shall be ashamed.

Ver. 24. Surely shall one say.] This shall be the Christian confession, "In the Lord have I righteousness," &c. - "Righteousness," i.e., mercy to those that come over to him, and strength to enable them to come, as the sea sendeth out waters to fetch us to it.


Verse 25

Isaiah 45:25 In the LORD shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory.

Ver. 25. Shall be justified.] By faith in Christ. [Romans 5:1]

And shall glory.] Having peace of conscience they shall "glory in tribulation." [Romans 5:1; Romans 5:3] Note this against merit mongers.

 


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Bibliography Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 45:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/isaiah-45.html. 1865-1868.

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Sunday, September 15th, 2019
the Week of Proper 19 / Ordinary 24
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