Isaiah 43:1
But now thus said the LORD that created you, O Jacob, and he that formed you, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed you, I have called you by your name; you are mine.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
XLIII.

(1) But now . . .—The outpouring of love that follows is contrasted with the wrath of the preceding verse.

The Lord that created thee.—The title implies something more than “the Maker of heaven and earth.” Jehovah has created Israel as specially answering, as other created things did, to an archetype in His own purpose. To “call by nameis everywhere, but pre-eminently in the East, the mark of an individualising tenderness (John 10:3), almost of a predestinating love that makes the name a witness of its purpose.

Isaiah

THY NAME: MY NAME

Isaiah 43:1
. - Isaiah 43:7.

Great stress is laid on names in Scripture. These two parallel and antithetic clauses bring out striking complementary relations between God and the collective Israel. But they are as applicable to each individual member of the true Israel of God.

I. What does God’s calling a man by his name imply?

1. Intimate knowledge.

Adam naming the creatures.

Christ naming His disciples.

2. Loving friendship.

Moses, ‘I know thee by name, and thou hast found grace in my sight.’

3. Designation and adaptation to work.

Bezaleel- Exodus 31:2; Cyrus- Isaiah 45:3; Servant of the Lord- Isaiah 49:1.

II. What does God’s calling a man by His name imply?

1. God’s possession of him. That possession by God involves God’s protection and man’s safety. He does not hold His property slackly. ‘None shall pluck them out of My Father’s hand.’

2. Kindred. The man bears the family name. He is adopted into the household. The sonship of the receiver of the new name is dimly shadowed.

3. Likeness.

The Biblical meaning of ‘name’ is ‘character manifested.’

Nomen and omen coincide.

We must bring into connection with the texts the prominence given in the Apocalypse to analogous promises.

‘I will write on him the name of My God.’ That means a fuller disclosing of God’s character, and a clear impress of that character on perfected men ‘His name shall be in their foreheads.’Isaiah 43:1-2. But now, thus saith the Lord — But, notwithstanding thy gross insensibility under former judgments, for which I might justly send far heavier calamities upon thee, yet I will deal mercifully with thee. That created thee, O Jacob, &c. — Who made thee his people, and that in a manner as miraculous as if he had created thee a second time out of nothing; and therefore he will be gracious to his own workmanship. Fear not; for I have redeemed thee — From the Egyptians and divers other enemies; and therefore I will redeem thee again. I have called thee by thy name, &c. — The name of God’s people, which was as proper and peculiar to them as the name of Israel. Or, “I have made a particular choice of thee for my peculiar people, and singled thee out from the rest of the world, and ever since have treated thee with uncommon instances of kindness and familiarity.” When thou passest through the waters, &c. — “I will support and deliver thee when thou art in the greatest straits and difficulties. To pass through fire and water is a proverbial expression, to signify being exposed to all kinds of dangers.” Thou shalt not be burned, &c. — Though I will chastise thee for thy sins, yet I will not suffer thine enemies utterly to destroy thee. 43:1-7 God's favour and good-will to his people speak abundant comfort to all believers. The new creature, wherever it is, is of God's forming. All who are redeemed with the blood of his Son, he has set apart for himself. Those that have God for them need not fear who or what can be against them. What are Egypt and Ethiopia, all their lives and treasures, compared with the blood of Christ? True believers are precious in God's sight, his delight is in them, above any people. Though they went as through fire and water, yet, while they had God with them, they need fear no evil; they should be born up, and brought out. The faithful are encouraged. They were to be assembled from every quarter. And with this pleasing object in view, the prophet again dissuades from anxious fears.But now - This expression shows that this chapter is connected with the preceding. The sense is, "Though God has punished the nation, and showed them his displeasure Isaiah 42:24-25, yet now he will have mercy, and will deliver them.'

That created thee - The word 'thee' is used here evidently in a collective sense as denoting the Jewish people. It is used because the names 'Jacob' and 'Israel' in the singular number are applied to the people. The word 'created' is used here to denote the idea that, as the special people of God, they owed their origin to him, as the universe owed its origin to his creative power. It means that, as a people, their institutions, laws, customs, and privileges, and whatever they had that was valuable, were all to be traced to him. The same word occurs in Isaiah 43:7, and again in Isaiah 43:15, 'I am Yahweh - the Creator of Israel, your king' (see also Isaiah 44:1; compare Psalm 100:3).

Fear not - This is to be understood as addressed to them when suffering the evils of the captivity of Babylon. Though they were captives, and had suffered long, yet they had nothing to fear in regard to their final extinction as a people. They should be redeemed from captivity, and restored again to the land of their fathers. The argument here is, that they were the chosen people of God; that he had organized them as his people for great and important purposes, and that those purposes must be accomplished. It would follow from that, that they must be redeemed from their captivity, and be restored again to their land.

For I have redeemed thee - The word גאל gā'al means properly "to redeem," to ransom by means of a price, or a valuable consideration, as of captives taken in war; or to redeem a farm that was sold, by paying back the price. It is sometimes used, however, to denote deliverance from danger or bondage without specifying any price that was paid as a ransom. Thus the deliverance of the Jews from Egyptian bondage is sometimes spoken of as a redemption (Exodus 6:6; Exodus 15:13; compare Genesis 18:16; Isaiah 29:22; Isaiah 44:23; Jeremiah 31:11; see the note at Isaiah 1:27). It is not improbable, however, that wherever redemption is spoken of in the Scriptures, even in the most general manner, and as denoting deliverance from danger, oppression, or captivity, there is still retained the idea of a ransom in some form; a price paid; a valuable consideration; or something that was given in the place of that which was redeemed, and which answered the purpose of a valuable consideration, or a public reason of the deliverance. Thus, in regard to the deliverance from Egypt - Egypt, Ethiopia, and Seba are mentioned as the ransom (see the note at Isaiah 43:3); and so in the deliverance from the captivity, Babylon was given in the place of the ransomed captives, or was destroyed in order that they might be redeemed. So in all notions of redemption; as, e. g., God destroyed the life of the great Redeemer, or caused him to be put to death, in order that his chosen people might be saved.

I have called thee by thy name - 'To call by name' denotes intimacy of friendship. Here it means that God had particularly designated them to be his people. His call had not been general, addressed to the nations at large, but had been addressed to them in particular. Compare Exodus 31:2, where God says that he had designated 'by name' Bezaleel to the work of constructing the tabernacle.

Thou art mine - They were his, because he had formed them as a people, and had originated their institutions; because he had redeemed them, and because he had particularly designated them as his. The same thing may be said of his church now; and in a still more important sense, that church is his. He has organized it; he has appointed its special institutions; he has redeemed it with precious blood; and he has called his people by name, and designated them as his own.

CHAPTER 43

Isa 43:1-28. A Succession of Arguments Wherein Israel May Be Assured that, Notwithstanding Their Perversity towards God (Isa 42:25), He Will Deliver and Restore Them.

1. But now—notwithstanding God's past just judgments for Israel's sins.

created—not only in the general sense, but specially created as a peculiar people unto Himself (Isa 43:7, 15, 21; Isa 44:2, 21, 24). So believers, "created in Christ Jesus" (Eph 2:10), "a peculiar people" (1Pe 2:9).

redeemed—a second argument why they should trust Him besides creation. The Hebrew means to ransom by a price paid in lieu of the captives (compare Isa 43:3). Babylon was to be the ransom in this case, that is, was to be destroyed, in order that they might be delivered; so Christ became a curse, doomed to death, that we might be redeemed.

called … by … name—not merely "called" in general, as in Isa 42:6; 48:12; 51:2, but designated as His own peculiar people (compare Isa 45:3, 4; Ex 32:1; 33:12; Joh 10:3).Promises to protect and enlarge the church, Isaiah 43:1-7. God appealeth to them as witnesses of his power and knowledge, Isaiah 43:8-13. He foretelleth them the destruction of Babylon, and a new deliverance of his people, Isaiah 43:14-21; whose sins, Isaiah 43:22-24, against God’s mercies, render them inexcusable, Isaiah 43:25-28.

But now thus saith the Lord; but notwithstanding thy gross insensibleness under former judgments, for which I might justly send far heavier ones upon thee, yet I will deal mercifully with thee.

That created thee; that made, thee his people, and that in so miraculous a manner, as if he had created thee a second time out of nothing; and therefore he will be gracious to his own workmanship. I have redeemed thee from the Egyptians, and divers other enemies; and therefore I will redeem thee again.

By thy name; by the name of God’s people, which was as proper and peculiar to them as the name of Israel.

But now thus saith the Lord that created thee, O Jacob,.... This prophecy is not concerning Cyrus, and the redemption of the Jews by him, as some have thought; nor of Sennacherib and his army, and of their deliverance from him, as Kimchi and his father interpret it; but of the Christian church, and the state of it, when Jerusalem should be destroyed, as predicted in the preceding chapter; which goes by the name of Jacob and Israel, for the first churches chiefly consisted of Jews, and both Jews and Gentiles converted are the spiritual Israel of God:

and he that formed thee, O Israel; this creation and formation are not so much to be understood of their being the creatures of God, and the work of his hands, in a natural sense; but of their new creation and regeneration; of their being the spiritual workmanship of God, created in Christ, and formed for his glory:

fear not: for I have redeemed thee: though Jerusalem shall be destroyed, and Judea wasted, and though subject to the persecutions of wicked men in all places; yet since redeemed by Christ from sin, Satan, and the law, hell, and death, nothing is to be feared from either of them; redemption by Christ is an antidote against the fear of any enemy whatsoever:

I have called thee by thy name; with an effectual calling, which is of particular persons, and those by name, even the same that are redeemed by Christ; for whom he has redeemed by his precious blood, they are called by the grace of God to special blessings of grace, with a high, holy, and heavenly calling; and have no reason to fear anything, since they are the chosen of God; have a right to all spiritual blessings; all things work together for their good; they shall persevere to the end, and at last be brought to glory, to which they are called:

thou art mine; such as are redeemed by Christ, and called by his grace, they are his Father's gift, and his own purchase; they voluntarily give up themselves to him, under the influence of his Spirit and grace; they are his by profession and possession; they are his portion, people, sheep, and spouse; and his interest in them, and theirs in him, serve to prevent fear; such need not fear wanting anything, nor any enemy, nor perishing, or miscarrying of heaven and happiness, to which fears they are subject.

But now thus saith the LORD {a} that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, {b} Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine.

(a) After these threatenings he promises deliverance to his Church, because he has regenerated them, adopted them, and called them.

(b) When you see dangers and conspiracies on all sides, remember this benefit and the love of your God, and it will encourage you.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
1–7. Israel, though blind and deaf (ch. Isaiah 42:18 ff.), is precious in the sight of Jehovah its Creator, who is now about to shew Himself as its Redeemer.

But now] Introducing the contrast to Isaiah 42:25.

that created thee … that formed thee] Three verbs which express Jehovah’s creative activity are applied in this prophecy to His special relations to Israel: “create” (Isaiah 43:1; Isaiah 43:7; Isaiah 43:15); “form” (Isaiah 43:1; Isaiah 43:21, Isaiah 44:2; Isaiah 44:21; Isaiah 44:24, Isaiah 45:11, Isaiah 49:5 (Isaiah 64:8); “make” (Isaiah 44:2, Isaiah 51:13, Isaiah 54:5).

I have redeemed thee] Rather, I redeem thee (perf. of certainty). see on ch. Isaiah 41:14. I have called (I call) thee by thy name] i.e. I address thee as one who is familiar and dear (Isaiah 45:3 f., cf. Exodus 31:2); stronger than the simple “call” (Isaiah 42:6, Isaiah 49:1).Verses 1-7. - A RENEWED PROMISE TO ISRAEL OF PROTECTION AND DELIVERANCE. Severe rebuke (Isaiah 42:18-25) is followed, as so often in Isaiah (Isaiah 1:25-27; Isaiah 4:2-6; Isaiah 9:1-16, etc.), by comfort and consolation. Israel is assured that God has not cast him off, and promised the comfort of the Divine presence during the existing tribulation (ver. 2), and. a speedy restoration to Palestine (vers. 3-7). The scattered Israelites will be brought together from all quarters by the Divine omnipoteney. Verse 1. - But now. The words mark the strong contrast between the closing passage of the preceding chapter and the opening paragraph of the present one. Israel had undergone a severe punishment for his sins; he is still suffering, but now there is going to be an entire change. He is to be protected and delivered. Created thee... formed. thee redeemed thee... called thee by thy name. An ascending series of benefits. First, creation, like that of formless matter out of nought; then, formation, or putting of the formless matter into shape; thirdly, redemption, or making them all his own; lastly, calling them by their name, and so conferring on them a proud and enviable distinction. On this fourfold ground God claims Israel as his own. The reproof, which affects Israel a potiori, now proceeds still further, as follows. "Thou hast seen much, and yet keepest not; opening the ears, he yet doth not hear. Jehovah was pleased for His righteousness' sake: He gave a thorah great and glorious. And yet it is a people robbed and plundered; fastened in holes all of them, and they are hidden in prison-houses: they have become booty, without deliverers; a spoil, without any one saying, Give it up again!" In Isaiah 42:20 "thou" and "he" alternate, like "they" and "ye" in Isaiah 1:29, and "I" and "he" in Isaiah 14:30. ראית, which points back to the past, is to be preserved. The reading of the keri is ראות (inf. abs. like שׁתות, Isaiah 22:13, and ערות, Habakkuk 3:13), which makes the two half-verses uniform. Israel has had many and great things to see, but without keeping the admonitions they contained; opening its ears, namely to the earnestness of the preaching, it hears, and yet does not hear, i.e., it only hears outwardly, but without taking it into itself. Isaiah 42:21 shows us to what Isaiah 42:20 chiefly refers. חפץ is followed here by the future instead of by Lamed with an infinitive, just as in Isaiah 53:10 it is followed by the perfect (Ges. 142, 3, b). Jehovah was pleased for His righteousness' sake (which is mentioned here, not as that which recompenses for works of the law, but as that which bestows mercy according to His purpose, His promise, and the plan of salvation) to make thorâh, i.e., the direction, instruction, revelation which He gave to His people, great and glorious. The reference is primarily and chiefly to the Sinaitic law, and the verbs relate not to the solemnity of the promulgation, but to the riches and exalted character of the contents. But what a glaring contrast did the existing condition of Israel present to these manifestations and purposes of mercy on the part of its God! The intervening thought expressed by Hosea (Hosea 8:12), viz., that this condition was the punishment of unfaithfulness, may easily be supplied. The inf. abs. הפח is introduced to give life to the picture, as in Isaiah 22:13. Hahn renders it, "They pant (hiphil of puuach) in the holes all of them," but kullâm (all of them) must be the accusative of the object; so that the true meaning is, "They have fastened (hiphil of pâchach) all of them," etc. (Ges. 131, 4, b). Schegg adopts the rendering, "All his youths fall into traps," which is wrong in two respects; for bachūrı̄m is the plural of chūr (Isaiah 11:8), and it is parallel to the double plural כלאים בּתּי, houses of custodies. The whole nation in all its members is, as it were, put into bonds, and confined in prisons of all kinds (an allegorizing picture of the homelessness and servitude of exile), without any one thinking of demanding it back (השׁב equals השׁב, as in Ezekiel 21:32; a pausal form here: vid., Ges. 29, 4 Anm.).
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