Isaiah 41:26
Who has declared from the beginning, that we may know? and beforetime, that we may say, He is righteous? yes, there is none that shows, yes, there is none that declares, yes, there is none that hears your words.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(26) Who hath declared . . .—The words paint once more the startling suddenness of the conquests of the Persian king. He was to come as a comet or a meteor. None of all the oracles in Assyria or Babylon, or in the far coasts to which the Phœnicians sent their ships of Tarshish, had anticipated this.

Isaiah 41:26. Who hath declared from the beginning — Which of your idols could foretel such things as these from the beginning of the world unto this day? And beforetime — Before the things come to pass. That we may say, He is righteous — His cause is good; he is a God indeed. Yea, there is none that showeth — Hebrew, surely, there is none of your gods that hath done or can do this, and therefore their claim to divinity is false and foolish. There is none that heareth your words — Because you are dumb and cannot speak.41:21-29 There needs no more to show the folly of sin, than to bring to notice the reasons given in defence of it. There is nothing in idols worthy of regard. They are less than nothing, and worse than nothing. Let the advocates of other doctrines than that of salvation through Christ, bring their arguments. Can they tell of a cure for human depravity? Jehovah has power which cannot be withstood; this he will make appear. But the certain knowledge of the future must be only with Jehovah, who fulfils his own plans. All prophecies, except those of the Bible, have been uncertain. In the work of redemption the Lord showed himself much more than in the release of the Jews from Babylon. The good tidings the Lord will send in the gospel, is a mystery hid from ages and generations. A Deliverer is raised up for us, of nobler name and greater power than the deliverer of the captive Jews. May we be numbered among his obedient servants and faithful friends.Who hath declared from the beginning - The meaning of this passage is, 'there is no one among the soothsayers, and the worshippers of idols, who has predicted the birth, the character, and the conquests of Cyrus. There is among the pagan no recorded prediction on the subject, as there is among the Jews, that when he shall have come, it may be said that a prediction is accomplished.'

And before-time - Formerly; before the event occurred.

That we may say - That it may be said; that there may be evidence, or reason for the affirmation.

He is righteous - The words 'he is' are not in the Hebrew The original is simply 'righteous' (צדיק tsaddı̂yq), just, that is, it is just, or true; the prediction is fulfilled. It does not refer to the character of God, but to the certainty of the fulfillment of the prediction.

There is none that showeth - There is no one among the worshippers of false gods, the soothsayers and necromancers, that has predicted these events.

None that heareth your words - There is no one that has heard such a prediction among you.

26. Who—of the idolatrous soothsayers? When this prophecy shall be fulfilled, all shall see that God foretold as to Cyrus, which none of the soothsayers have.

beforetime—before the event occurred.

He is righteous—rather, "It is true"; it was a true prophecy, as the event shows. "He is righteous," in English Version, must be interpreted, The fulfilment of the idol's words proves that he is faithful.

showeth, &c.—rather, "there was none (of the soothsayers) that showed … declared—no one has heard your words" foretelling the event.

Who hath declared from the beginning? which of all your idols did or could foretell such things as this from the beginning of the world unto this day? They never yet did nor can foretell any such things, further than I think fit to reveal it to them.

Beforetime; either in time past, or before the things come to pass.

That we may say, that we may be convinced and forced to acknowledge,

He is righteous; his cause now pleaded is just and good; he. is a God indeed as he pretends to be, he claims his Divinity by a good title.

Yea, there is none; Heb. surely there is none of your gods that hath done or can do this, and therefore their claim to the Deity is false and foolish.

There is none that heareth your words; none of your worshippers ever heard any such thing, either from you or of you; nor indeed doth any man hear your words, because you are dumb, and cannot speak. Who hath declared from the beginning, that we may know?.... Who of the idols, or of their priests, that have declared things future before they came to pass, or ever predicted such an event as this before mentioned; which, if understood of Cyrus, was an hundred and fifty years before it came to pass; and if of Constantine, near a thousand years:

and before time, that we may say, he is righteous? that is, who hath declared things before the time of the accomplishment of them, and they have come to pass, as they have been declared? by which it may be known that they are gods, or the priests of such that are so, by their having prescience of future events, or the spirit of prophecy; and so it may be said of them, that they are just in their pretensions, and have a rightful claim to deity, or are true prophets; so the Targum,

"that we may say it is true''

yea, there is none that showeth, yea, there is none that declareth; that shows and declares things to come, or such as the true God shows and declares:

yea, there is none that heareth your words; none of your worshippers that ever heard you speak a word, who, when they have prayed to you, could never have an answer; and therefore you have no just claim to deity; or ever heard any of your prophets say such a thing should come to pass, and it did.

Who hath declared from the beginning, that we may know? and in times past, that we may say, He is righteous? verily, there is none that sheweth, verily, there is none that declareth, verily, there is none that heareth {y} your words.

(y) Meaning, that none of the Gentile gods can work any of these things.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
26. He is righteous] He is in the right (cf. Exodus 9:27); or, simply, Right! (cf. ch. Isaiah 43:9), although the adj. is always used of persons, except in Deuteronomy 4:8 (of the divine ordinances).Verse 26. - Who hath declared from the beginning? Which of the idol-gods has announced the coming of a conqueror? If any, we on Jehovah's side are quite willing to acknowledge it, and to say, He is righteous; or rather, he is right. But, in fact, there is none of them that showeth, none that declareth - no one has heard of any such announcement as delivered by any of them. At the present time, indeed, the state of His people was a helpless one, but its cry for help was not in vain. "The poor and needy, who seek for water and there is none, their tongue faints for thirst. I Jehovah will hear them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them. I open streams upon hills of the field, and springs in the midst of the valleys; I make the desert into a pond, and dry land into fountains of water. I give in the desert cedars, acacias, and myrtles, and oleasters; I set in the steppe cypresses, plane-trees, and sherbin-trees together, that they may see, and know, and lay to heart and understand all together, that the hand of Jehovah hath accomplished this, and the Holy One of Israel hath created it." Kimchi, Hitzig, and others refer these promises to the returning exiles; but there is also a description, without any restriction to the return home, of the miraculous change which would take place in the now comfortless and helpless condition of the exiles. The shephâyı̄m, i.e., bare, woodless hills rising up from the plain, Jeremiah 12:12, the beqâ‛ōth, or deep valleys, by the sides of which there rise precipitous mountains, and the 'erets tsiyyâh, the land of burning heat or drought (cf., Psalm 63:2), depict the homeless condition of Israel, as it wandered over bald heights and through waterless plains about a land with parched and gaping soil. For the characteristics of the object, which is placed before אענם, we may therefore compare such passages as Isaiah 44:3; Isaiah 55:1. נשׁתּה is either a pausal form for נשׁתּה, and therefore the niphal of שׁתת (to set, become shallow, dry up), or a pausal form for נשׁתה, and therefore the kal of נשׁת with dagesh affectuosum, like נתנּוּ in Ezekiel 27:19 (Olshausen, 83, b). The form נשׁתה in Jeremiah 51:30 may just as well be derived from שׁתת (Ges. 67, Anm. 11) as from נשׁת, whereas נשּׁתוּ may certainly be taken as the niphal of שׁתת after the form נמּל, נחר (Ges. 67, Anm. 5), though it would be safer to refer it to a kal נשׁת, which seems to be also favoured by ינּתשׁוּ in Jeremiah 18:14 as a transposition of ינּשׁתוּ. The root נש, of which נשׁת would be a further expansion, really exhibits the meaning to dry up or thirst, in the Arabic nassa; whereas the verbs נוּשׁ, אנשׁ, נסס (Isaiah 10:18), נשׁה, Syr. nas', nos', Arab. nâsa, nasnasa, with the primary meaning to slacken, lose their hold, and נשׁא, נשׁה, נסע, to deceive, derange, and advance, form separate families. Just when they are thus on the point of pining away, they receive an answer to their prayer: their God opens streams, i.e., causes streams to break forth on the hills of the field, and springs in the midst of the valleys. The desert is transformed into a lake, and the steppe of burning sand into fountains of water. What was predicted in Isaiah 35:6-7 is echoed again here - a figurative representation of the manifold fulness of refreshing, consolation, and marvellous help which was to burst all at once upon those who were apparently forsaken of God. What is depicted in Isaiah 41:19, Isaiah 41:20, is the effect of these. It is not merely a scanty vegetation that springs up, but a corresponding manifold fulness of stately, fragrant, and shady trees; so that the steppe, where neither foot nor eye could find a resting-place, is changed, as by a stroke of magic, into a large, dense, well-watered forest, and shines with sevenfold glory - an image of the many-sided manifestations of divine grace which are experienced by those who are comforted now. Isaiah is especially fond of such figures as these (vid., Isaiah 5:7; Isaiah 6:13; Isaiah 27:6; Isaiah 37:31). There are seven (4 + 3) trees named; seven indicating the divine character of this manifold development (Psychol. p. 188). 'Erez is the generic name for the cedar; shittâh, the acacia, the Egyptian spina (ἄκανθα), Copt. shont; hadas, the myrtle, ‛ēts shemen, the wild olive, as distinguished from zayith (ἡ ἀγριέλαιος, opposed to ἡ ἐλαία in Romans 11:17); berōsh, the cypress, at any rate more especially this; tidhâr we have rendered the "plane-tree," after Saad.; and te'asshūr the "sherbin" (a kind of cedar), after Saad. and Syr. The crowded synonyms indicating sensual and spiritual perception in Isaiah 41:20 (ישׂימוּ, sc. לבּם, Isaiah 41:22) are meant to express as strongly as possible the irresistible character of the impression. They will be quite unable to regard all this as accidental or self-produced, or as anything but the production of the power and grace of their God.
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