Isaiah 43:8
Bring forth the blind people that have eyes, and the deaf that have ears.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(8) Bring forth the blind people . . .—The command comes abruptly, as from a Divine voice, and is, as it were, a reversed echo of Isaiah 42:18-20. There Israel saw but did not observe, had eyes and yet was blind. Here the blind and deaf—i.e., the heathen, or the Israel that had fallen into heathenism—are spoken of as having capacities for sight and hearing which will one day be developed.

Isaiah 43:8-10. Bring forth the blind people, &c. — O ye idolatrous Gentiles, bring forth your false gods, which have eyes but see not, and ears but hear not. Let the people be assembled — To plead the cause of their idols with me. Who among them can declare this — This wonderful work of mine in bringing my people out of captivity. And show us former things — Such things as shall happen long before the return from the captivity, which yet your blind idols cannot foresee. See on Isaiah 41:22. Let them bring forth their witnesses — Who can testify the truth of any such predictions of theirs, that they may be owned for true gods; or if they can produce no evidence of any such thing, let them confess that what I say is truth, that I am the only true God. Ye are my witnesses — They can produce no witnesses for themselves; but you, my people, are able to witness for me, that I have given you many plain demonstrations of my certain foreknowledge of future events. And my servant whom I have chosen — Either Isaiah and other prophets, the singular word being put collectively, or, the Messiah, as not only Christians, but the Chaldee paraphrast understands it; who was thus described, (Isaiah 42:1,) and who is the most eminent witness in this cause; and that on two accounts; 1st, As he was the chief subject of prophecy, and the various particulars foretold concerning him came exactly to pass; and, 2d, As many future things were predicted by him, of which we have many examples in the New Testament. That I am he — He whom I have affirmed myself to be, namely, the true God. Before me there was no God formed — The gods of the heathen neither had a being before me, nor shall continue after me. Wherein more is understood than is expressed; that whereas Jehovah is God from everlasting to everlasting, these false pretenders to deity were but of yesterday, and should shortly be abolished. And withal he calls them formed gods, by way of contempt, and to show the ridiculousness of their pretensions to divinity, who are formed by the hands of men.43:8-13 Idolaters are called to appear in defence of their idols. Those who make them, and trust in them, are like unto them. They have the shape and faculties of men; but they have not common sense. But God's people know the power of his grace, the sweetness of his comforts, the kind care of his providence, and the truth of his promise. All servants of God can give such an account of what he has wrought in them, and done for them, as may lead others to know and believe his power, truth, and loveBring forth the blind people - Many have understood this of the Jews. So Vitringa, Rosenmuller, Grotius, and others understand it. But Lowth, more correctly, regards it as referring to the Gentiles. It is designed as an argument to show the superiority of God over all idols, and to demonstrate that he was able to deliver his people from captivity and exile. He appeals, therefore Isaiah 43:9, to his own people in proof of his divinity and power. None of the pagan Isaiah 43:8 had been able to predict future events, none of the pagan gods, therefore, could save; but Yahweh, who had so often foretold events that were fulfilled, was able to deliver, and of that fact his own people had had abundant evidence.

That have eyes - They had natural faculties to see and know God (compare Romans 1:20), but they had not improved them, and they had, therefore, run into the sin and folly of idolatry. The phrase 'bring forth,' implies a solemn appeal made by God to them to enter into an argument on the subject (compare the note at Isaiah 41:1).

8. Solemn challenge given by God to the nations to argue with Him the question of His superiority to their idols, and His power to deliver Israel (Isa 41:1).

blind people—the Gentiles, who also, like Israel (Isa 42:19), are blind (spiritually), though having eyes; that is, natural faculties, whereby they might know God (Ro 1:20, 21) [Lowth]. Or else, the Jews [Vitringa].

The sense is either,

1. Bring out of captivity my people who were blind and deaf, but now have their eyes and cars opened by my grace. So this verse relates to the foregoing passages. Or rather,

2. O ye idolatrous Gentiles, produce and bring forth your false gods, which have eyes, but see not; and ears, but hear not, as is said, Psalm 115:5,6. So this verse belongs to the following context, in which God reneweth his contest with idols; which in this verse he calleth blind, and in the next verse proveth them so to be. Bring forth the blind people that have eyes, and the deaf that have ears,.... The Targum applies this to the bringing of the people of Israel out of Egypt; and others understand it of their deliverance from the Babylonish captivity; and some of the exclusion of them from the kingdom of heaven, and casting them into outward darkness, according to Matthew 8:12, but it is rather to be understood of the conviction of them; though better of the Gentiles, and of the enlightening of them, who before were blind; and causing them to hear, who before were deaf to spiritual things, agreeably to what goes before. It seems best to consider the words as a summons to the Heathens uncalled, to the Roman Pagan empire, to come forth and appear, who were as blind and deaf as the idols they worshipped, and plead their cause, agreeably to what follows. Bring forth the blind people that have eyes, and the deaf that have ears.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
8. Bring forth] i.e. not “from exile,” but “before the tribunal.” The sense demands an imperat., and the Heb. pointing (which gives a perf.) must be altered accordingly.

a blind people that have eyes …] “a people which is blind and yet has eyes &c.” This cannot mean “a people once blind and deaf, but now in possession of sight and hearing”; and it scarcely means anything so subtle as “a people which though blind and deaf yet possesses the organs of sight and hearing,” and therefore can be made to see and hear (Isaiah 43:10). The paradox is the same as in ch. Isaiah 42:20 (“thou hast seen many things but thou observest not,” &c.) and goes back to ch. Isaiah 6:9 ff.; the sense being that while Israel lacks insight into the divine meaning of its own history, it is nevertheless a perfectly competent witness to the bare external facts; it has heard the predictions and seen them fulfilled.

8–13. Another imaginary judgement scene (cf. ch. Isaiah 41:1-4; Isaiah 41:21-28), in which Israel appears as Jehovah’s witness to the truth of His prophecies.Verses 8-13. - A RENEWED CHALLENGE TO THE NATIONS. The nations are once more challenged (comp. Isaiah 41:1, 21-26) to set forth the claims of their gods against those of Jehovah. Israel is summoned on the one hand (ver. 8); the nations on the other (ver. 9). What prophecy can the nations produce, either old or new? The Israelites can abundantly witness on behalf of Jehovah (ver. 10). Jehovah adds a further witness of himself (vers. 11-13). Verse 8. - Bring forth the blind people that have eyes. A tribunal is supposed to have been prepared, before which the contending parties are summoned to appear and plead. Israel is first summoned, as "a blind people that have eyes;" i.e. a people long blind (Isaiah 29:18; Isaiah 35:5; Isaiah 42:7, 18, 19), who have now, to some extent, recovered their sight (Isaiah 32:3; Isaiah 35:5), and are ready to witness for God. Next, the nations are summoned (see the following verse). The tone of the address is now suddenly changed. The sudden leap from reproach to consolation was very significant. It gave them to understand, that no meritorious work of their own would come in between what Israel was and what it was to be, but that it was God's free grace which came to meet it. "But now thus saith Jehovah thy Creator, O Jacob, and thy Former, O Israel! Fear not, for I have redeemed thee; I have called thee by name, thou art mine. When thou goest through the water, I am with thee; and through rivers, they shall not drown thee: when thou goest into fire, thou shalt not be burned; and the flame shall not set thee on fire." The punishment has now lasted quite long enough; and, as ועתּה affirms, the love which has hitherto retreated behind the wrath returns to its own prerogatives again. He who created and formed Israel, by giving Abraham the son of the promise, and caused the seventy of Jacob's family to grow up into a nation in Egypt, He also will shelter and preserve it. He bids it be of good cheer; for their early history is a pledge of this. The perfects after כּי in Isaiah 43:1 stand out against the promising futures in Isaiah 43:2, as retrospective glances: the expression "I have redeemed thee" pointing back to Israel's redemption out of Egypt; "I have called thee by thy name" (lit. I have called with thy name, i.e., called it out), to its call to be the peculiar people of Jehovah, who therefore speaks of it in Isaiah 48:12 as "My called." This help of the God of Israel will also continue to arm it against the destructive power of the most hostile elements, and rescue it from the midst of the greatest dangers, from which there is apparently no escape (cf., Psalm 66:12; Daniel 3:17, Daniel 3:27; and Ges. 103, 2).
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