Isaiah 41:6
They helped every one his neighbor; and every one said to his brother, Be of good courage.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(6) Be of good courage.—Literally, Be strong: i.e., work vigorously.

41:1-9 Can any heathen god raise up one in righteousness, make what use of him he pleases, and make him victorious over the nations? The Lord did so with Abraham, or rather, he would do so with Cyrus. Sinners encourage one another in the ways of sin; shall not the servants of the living God stir up one another in his service? God's people are the seed of Abraham his friend. This is certainly the highest title ever given to a mortal. It means that Abraham, by Divine grace, was made like to God, and that he was admitted to communion with Him. Happy are the servants of the Lord, whom he has called to be his friends, and to walk with him in faith and holy obedience. Let not such as have thus been favoured yield to fear; for the contest may be sharp, but the victory shall be sure.They helped every one his neighbor - The idolatrous nations. The idea is, that they formed confederations to strengthen each other, and to oppose him whom God had raised up to subdue them. The prophet describes a state of general consternation existing among them, when they supposed that all was in danger, and that their security consisted only in confederation; in increased attention to their religion; in repairing their idols and making new ones, and in conciliating the favor and securing the aid of heir gods It was natural for them to suppose that the calamities which were coming upon them by the invasion of Cyrus were the judgments of their gods, for some neglect, or some prevailing crimes, and that their favor could be secured only by a more diligent attention to their service, and by forming new images and establishing them in the proper places of worship. The prophet, therefore, describes in a graphic manner, the consternation, the alarm, and the haste, everywhere apparent among them, in attempting to conciliate the favor of their idols, and to encourage each other. Nothing is more common, than for people, when they are in danger, to give great attention to religion, though they may greatly neglect or despise it when they are in safety. Men fly to temples and churches and altars in the times of plague and the pestilence; and as regularly flee from them when the calamity is overpast.

Be of good courage - Margin, as Hebrew, 'Be strong.' The sense is, Do not be alarmed at the invasion of Cyrus. Make new images, set them up in the temples, show unusual zeal in religion, and the favor of the gods may be secured, and the dangers be averted. This is to be understood as the language of the idolatrous nations, among whom Cyrus, under the direction of Yahweh, was carrying his conquests and spreading desolation.

6. Be of good courage—Be not alarmed because of Cyrus, but make new images to secure the favor of the gods against him. They encouraged and assisted one another in their idolatrous practices. They helped everyone his neighbour,.... By advice and counsel, by the best arguments they could make use of, to withstand the new religion, and defend the old one; to prevent the embracing the one, and relinquishing the other:

and everyone said to his brother, be of good courage: or, "be strong" (m); they strengthened one another's hands in their idolatrous worship, encouraged each other to oppose the prevailing doctrine; urging, that the craft of some was in danger, and the religion of them all at stake, and their gods like to fall into contempt. An instance of this may be seen in Demetrius the craftsman at Ephesus, when the Gospel mightily prevailed there, who stirred up the workmen of the same craft with himself and the like, suggesting the loss of their business, and the dishonour reflected on their goddess Diana, should the apostle go on as he did; by which we may judge how it was, more or less, in other parts of the world; see Acts 19:20.

(m) "fortis esto, vel sis strenuus", Vatablus.

They helped every one his neighbour; and every one said to his brother, {h} Be of good courage.

(h) He notes the obstinacy of the idolaters to maintain their superstitions.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
6. they helped] i.e. the nations. But if the verse stood originally after Isaiah 40:19, “they” refers to the two classes of workmen there mentioned. Each helps the other, and says to his fellow, Cheer up!Faith is all that is needed to ensure a participation in the strength (עצמה after the form חכמה), which He so richly bestows and so powerfully enhances. "And youths grow faint and weary, and young men suffer a fall. But they who wait for Jehovah gain fresh strength; lift up their wings like eagles; run, and are not weary; go forward, and do not faint." Even youths, even young men in the early bloom of their morning of life (bachūrı̄m, youths, from בּחר, related to בּכר, בּגר), succumb to the effects of the loss of sustenance or over-exertion (both futures are defective, the first letter being dropped), and any outward obstacle is sufficient to cause them to fall (נכשׁל with inf. abs. kal, which retains what has been stated for contemplation, according to Ges. 131, 3, Anm. 2). In Isaiah 40:30 the verb stands first, Isaiah 40:30 being like a concessive clause in relation to Isaiah 40:31. "Even though this may happen, it is different with those who wait for Jehovah," i.e., those who believe in Him; for the Old Testament applies to faith a number of synonyms denoting trust, hope, and longing, and thus describes it according to its inmost nature, as fiducia and as hope, directed to the manifestation and completion of that which is hoped for. The Vav cop. introduces the antithesis, as in Isaiah 40:8. החליף, to cause one to pursue, or new to take the place of the old (Lat. recentare). The expression וגו יעלוּ is supposed by early translators, after the Sept., Targ. Jer., and Saad., to refer to the moulting of the eagle and the growth of the new feathers, which we meet with in Psalm 103:5 (cf., Micah 1:16) as a figurative representation of the renewal of youth through grace. But Hitzig correctly observes that העלה is never met with as the causative of the kal used in Isaiah 5:6, and moreover that it would require נוצה instead of אבר. The proper rendering therefore is, "they cause their wings to rise, or lift their wings high, like the eagles" ('ēbher as in Psalm 55:7). Their course of life, which has Jehovah for its object, is as it were possessed of wings. They draw from Him strength upon strength (see Psalm 84:8); running does not tire them, nor do they become faint from going ever further and further.

The first address, consisting of three parts (Isaiah 40:1-11, Isaiah 40:12-26, Isaiah 40:27-31), is here brought to a close.

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