Isaiah 43:16
Thus said the LORD, which makes a way in the sea, and a path in the mighty waters;
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(16) Which maketh a way in the sea . . .—A distinct echo of Exodus 14:16 and Psalm 77:19. The return from Babylon is to be as a second Exodus from another house of bondage. In the one, as in the other, the “horse and his rider” are to be thrown into the sea.

Isaiah 43:16-17. Which maketh a way in the sea, &c. — Who, as he formerly made a way for Israel through the Red sea, will, in a no less wonderful manner, remove all impediments out of the way of his people when they return from Babylon. Which bringeth forth — Or, rather, who brought forth, the chariots, &c. — That is, Pharaoh and his chariots, horses, and army. They shall lie down, &c. They lay down together — In the bottom of the sea, whence they never rose again to molest the Israelites. They are quenched as tow — As the wick of a candle is extinguished when it is put into water.43:14-21 The deliverance from Babylon is foretold, but there is reference to greater events. The redemption of sinners by Christ, the conversion of the Gentiles, and the recall of the Jews, are described. All that is to be done to rescue sinners, and to bring the believer to glory, is little, compared with that wondrous work of love, the redemption of man.Thus saith the Lord - This verse contains a reference to the deliverance from Egyptian servitude - the great storehouse of argument and illustration with the sacred writers; the standing demonstration of God's merciful interposition in behalf of their nation, and proof that he was their God.

Which maketh - Whose characteristic it is to open a path of safety for his people even when deep and rapid floods are before them The standing roof of this which undoubtedly the prophet had in his eye, was the deliverance from Egypt. Still, I think, he did not mean to refer to that alone, but to that as an illustration of what God was, and had ever been to his people.

A way in the sea - Referring to the path made through the waters of the Red Sea when the children of Israel were permitted to go on dry ground.

16, 17. Allusion to the deliverance of Israel and overthrow of Pharaoh in the Red Sea, the standing illustration of God's unchanging character towards His people (Ex 14:21, 22, 27, 28). Who as he formerly made a pathway for his people through the Red Sea, so he will in no less wonderful manner remove all impediments or difficulties out of the way of his people, when they return from Babylon. Thus saith the Lord, which maketh a way in the sea,.... Who did make a way in the Red sea, when he led Israel through it as on dry land; this, with what follows, is observed to encourage the faith of the Lord's people in the performance of what he had promised, to bring them out of Babylon; for he that had done this, and the rest that are mentioned, could easily remove all difficulties that lay in the way of their deliverance:

and a path in the mighty waters; either of the Red sea, or it may be of Jordan; through which the Israelites passed into the land of Canaan.

Thus saith the LORD, who maketh a way in {p} the sea, and a path in the mighty {q} waters;

(p) When he delivered Israel from Pharaoh, Ex 14:22.

(q) When the Israelites passed through Jordan, Jos 3:17.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
16. Thus saith the Lord] The oracle itself begins at Isaiah 43:18; it is prefaced in Isaiah 43:16 f. by a vivid description of the mighty power of Jehovah, as illustrated once for all at the crossing of the Red Sea (Exodus 14 f.).

in the mighty waters] Cf. Nehemiah 9:11.

16–21. The sequel to the overthrow of Babylon is the deliverance of Israel, the method of which is compared with the greatest miracle in Israel’s past history, the exodus from Egypt.Verse 16. - The Lord, which maketh a way in the sea. The deliverance out of Egypt is glanced at, to prepare the way for the announcement of deliverance from the hand of Babylon. Then "a way was made in the sea" (Exodus 14:21-29), "and a path in the mighty waters;" now it will be necessary to make "a way in the wilderness" (ver. 19). We come now to the third turn in the second half of this prophecy. It is linked on to the commencement of the first turn ("Hear, ye deaf, and look, ye blind, that ye may see"), the summons being now addressed to some one to bring forth the Israel, which has eyes and ears without seeing or hearing; whilst, on the other hand, the nations are all to come together, and this time not for the purpose of convincing them, but of convincing Israel. "Bring out a blind people, and it has eyes; and deaf people, and yet furnished with ears! All ye heathen, gather yourselves together, and let peoples assemble! Who among you can proclaim such a thing? And let them cause former things to be heard, appoint their witnesses, and be justified. Let these hear, and say, True! Ye are my witnesses, saith Jehovah, and my servant whom I have chosen; that ye may know and believe me, and see that it is I: before me was no God formed, and there will be none after me." "Bring out" does not refer here to bringing out of captivity, as in Ezekiel 20:34, Ezekiel 20:41; Ezekiel 34:13, since the names by which Israel is called are hardly applicable to this, but rather to bringing to the place appointed for judicial proceedings. The verb is in the imperative. The heathen are also to gather together en masse; נקבּצוּ is also an imperative here, as in Joel 3:11 equals הקּבצוּ (cf., נלווּ, Jeremiah 50:5; Ewald, 226, c). In Isaiah 43:9 we have the commencement of the evidence adduced by Jehovah in support of His own divine right: Who among the gods of the nations can proclaim this? i.e., anything like my present announcement of the restoration of Israel? To prove that they can, let them cause "former things" to be heard, i.e., any former events which they had foretold, and which had really taken place; and let them appoint witnesses of such earlier prophecies, and so prove themselves to be gods, that is to say, by the fact that these witnesses have publicly heard their declaration and confirm the truth thereof. The subject to וגו וישׁמעוּ (they may hear, etc.) is the witnesses, not as now informing themselves for the first time, but as making a public declaration. The explanation, "that men may hear," changes the subject without any necessity. But whereas the gods are dumb and lifeless, and therefore cannot call any witnesses for themselves, and not one of all the assembled multitude can come forward as their legitimate witness, or as one able to vindicate them, Jehovah can call His people as witnesses, since they have had proofs in abundance that He possesses infallible knowledge of the future. It is generally assumed that "and my servant" introduces a second subject: "Ye, and (especially) my servant whom I have chosen." In this case, "my servant" would denote that portion of the nation which was so, not merely like the mass of the people according to its divine calling, but also by its own fidelity to that calling; that is to say, the kernel of the nation, which was in the midst of the mass, but had not the manners of the mass. At the same time, the sentence which follows is much more favourable to the unity of the subject; and why should not "my servant" be a second predicate? The expression "ye" points to the people, who were capable of seeing and hearing, and yet both blind and deaf, and who had been brought out to the forum, according to Isaiah 43:8. Ye, says Jehovah, are my witnesses, and ye are my servant whom I have chosen; I can appeal to what I have enabled you to experience and to perceive, and to the relation in which I have in mercy caused you to stand to myself, that ye may thereby be brought to consider the great difference that there is between what ye have in your God and that which the heathen (here present with you) have in their idols. "I am He," i.e., God exclusively, and God for ever. His being has no beginning and no end; so that any being apart from His, which could have gone before or could follow after, so as to be regarded as divine (in other words, the deity of the artificial and temporal images which are called gods by the heathen), is a contradiction in itself.
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