Isaiah 43:9
Let all the nations be gathered together, and let the people be assembled: who among them can declare this, and show us former things? let them bring forth their witnesses, that they may be justified: or let them hear, and say, It is truth.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(9) Who among them . . .—The challenge of Isaiah 41:22-23 is repeated. Who among their gods has foretold the “former things”? has predicted events that were then in the future, and have now come to pass?

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 loveLet all the nations be gathered together - Let them be assembled to give evidence, or to adduce proofs that their idols are worthy of confidence Isaiah 41:1.

Who among them can declare this? - Who among them hath predicted this state of things? Who has foretold the events which are now occurring? It is implied here, that Yahweh had done this, but none of the pagan gods had done it (see the note at Isaiah 41:21).

And show us former things - (see the note at Isaiah 41:22). The order of events, the manner in which one event shall succeed another. Not merely, who can declare one single event, but who can declare the succession, the order in which many events shall follow each other - a far more difficult thing than to declare one single future event. Neither had been done by the pagan; both had been done by God.

That they may be justified - That it may be demonstrated that they are what they pretend to be, and that they are worthy of the confidence of people. The word 'justified' here, is used in the sense of being right, or true; - let them in this manner show that their claims are just, and well founded.

Or let them hear, and say, It is truth - (See the note at Isaiah 41:26).

9. who … can declare this—who among the idolatrous soothsayers hath predicted this; that is, as to Cyrus being the deliverer of Israel?

former—predictions, as in Isa 42:9 [Maurer]. Or, things that shall first come to pass (see on [788]Isa 41:21, 22) [Barnes].

let them bring forth their witnesses—as I do mine (Isa 43:10).

justified—declared veracious in their pretended prophecies.

or—rather, "and"; let men hear their prediction and say, from the event, It is verified (see on [789]Isa 41:26).

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, which I have already foretold, and shall further declare; and that so exactly, that I shall name the person by whom this work shall be begun, even Cyrus, who is yet unborn, and shall be so for above two hundred years: let any of your heathen gods do the like.

Former things, not things already past, but such things as shall happen long before the return from the captivity, which yet your blind idols cannot foresee. See Poole "Isaiah 41:22". Their witnesses, who can testify the truth and certainty of any such predictions of theirs.

That they may be justified; that they may be owned for true gods, which in that case I allow them to expect. But of this argument see on Isaiah 41:22,23. Or let them hear and say, It is truth; or if they can produce no evidence of any such thing, as I am well assured that they cannot, let them be silent, and hear me and my witnesses, as it follows in the next verse; and let them confess that what I say is truth, that I only am the true God, and that they are but vanity and falsehood. Let all the nations be gathered together, and let the people be assembled,.... In one place, if it could be, in an open court of judicature; that their whole strength might be united together, and the most cogent arguments any of them are able to produce might be brought out; and that all might have an opportunity of hearing the cause fairly argued, and the point decided, and judge for themselves on which side truth lies:

who among them can declare this, and show us former things? what god or prophet of theirs can declare any future event, such as this, the redemption of the Jews by Cyrus, foretold from the mouth of the Lord by Isaiah, so long before the accomplishment of it, or anything whatever before it comes to pass? for this does not regard things past, which might be shown and declared; but the things they are challenged with are things future, to declare them first, before they come into being, which would be a proof of deity; for none but God, who is omniscient, can foretell future events with certainty:

let them bring forth their witnesses, that they may be justified; let them produce witnesses that their gods spoke of things before they came to pass, and that they came to pass just as they foretold they would; that their cause may appear a just one, and that they, their worshippers, are right in serving them:

let them hear, and say, it is truth; or let them hearken to the evidence against them, and acknowledge that what I say is true, and that I am the true God, and there is no other.

Let all the nations be gathered {h} together, and let the people be assembled: who among them can declare this, and show us former things? let them bring forth their {i} witnesses, that they may be justified: or let them {k} hear, and say, It is truth.

(h) Signifying that no power can resist him in doing this miraculous work, nor are all their idols able to do the same, as in Isa 41:22.

(i) To prove that the things which are spoken of them are true.

(k) Showing that the malice of the wicked hinders them in the knowledge of the truth, because they will not hear when God speaks by his word.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
9. Let all the nations be gathered together] The form of the verb in Heb. presents difficulty. By some it is treated as a rare form of imperat., on the ground of two doubtful analogies (so R.V. marg., “Gather yourselves together &c.”). Others take it as a precative perf. (A.V. and R.V.) the existence of which in Heb. is also disputed (see Driver, Tenses, § 20). There seems, however, no reason why it should not be understood as a perf. in the ordinary sense: All the nations are gathered together. The assembling of the parties in the process naturally precedes the calling of witnesses; and this clause is descriptive of the scene presupposed by Isaiah 43:8. The following verb should then be pointed as a consecutive impf.: and the peoples are assembled.

who among them (the heathen gods, represented by their worshippers) can declare this] i.e. the contents of the prophecy, Isaiah 43:1-7.

former things] predictions of the events that have already taken place. If they profess to do this, then let them bring forth their witnesses, in support of their contention.

or let them hear, and say] The subject is the witnesses, who are supposed to hear the allegations of the false deities, and corroborate them.

be justified … It is truth] see on ch. Isaiah 41:26.Verse 9. - All the nations; rather, all ye nations. Israel is a witness on the one hand, a multitude of nations on the other, recalling the contention of Elijah with the four hundred priests of Baal (1 Kings 18:22). The people; rather, the peoples. Who among them can declare this? i.e. which of them can show any prediction made by their gods comparable to the one contained in vers. 1-77 And show us former things. "Exhibit the past history of the world in well-attested documents" (Kay); "Make mention of past events which they have correctly foretold" (Cheyne, Delitzsch). According to the former rendering, the contrast is between the solemn, serious history of early times in Genesis, and the grotesque and extravagant myths, in which the nations generally embodied their views of the primitive ages. (For a specimen of the contrast, see 'Aids to Faith,' Essay 6. pp. 275, 276.) Let them bring forth their witnesses. Witnesses that the prophecies were really delivered before the events happened, or that the accounts of past times are such as have really come down to them from their ancestors. Or let them hear and say, It is truth. It is uncertain whether we ought to translate the initial vau here by "and" or by "or." If the former, the sense is, "And then let them (i.e. the witnesses) give ear to the assertions made, and declare them true;" if the latter, we may render, with Dr. Kay, "Or, if they have no witnesses, let them listen to the sacred records, and confess them to be the truth." Just as in Isaiah 43:1, kı̄ (for), with all that follows, assigns the reason for the encouraging "Fear not;" so here a second kı̄ introduces the reason for the promise which ensures them against the dangers arising from either water or fire. "For I Jehovah am thy God; (I) the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour: I give up Egypt as a ransom for thee, Ethiopia and Seba in thy stead. Because thou art dear in my eyes, highly esteemed, and I loved thee; I give up men in thy stead, and peoples for thy life." Both "Jehovah" and "the Holy One of Israel" are in apposition to "I" ('ănı̄), the force of which is continued in the second clause. The preterite nâthattı̄ (I have given), as the words "I will give" in Isaiah 43:4 clearly show, states a fact which as yet is only completed so far as the purpose is concerned. "A ransom:" kōpher (λύτρον) is literally the covering - the person making the payment. סבא is the land of Mero, which is enclosed between the White and Blue Nile, the present Dr Sennr, district of Sennr (Sen-rti, i.e., island of Sen), or the ancient Meriotic priestly state settled about this enclosed land, probably included in the Mudrya (Egypt) of the Achaemenidian arrowheaded inscriptions; though it is uncertain whether the Kusiya (Heb. Kūshı̄m) mentioned there are the predatory tribe of archers called Κοσσαῖοι (Strabo, xi. 13, 6), whose name has been preserved in the present Chuzistan, the eastern Ethiopians of the Greeks (as Lassen and Rawlinson suppose), or the African Ethiopians of the Bible, as Oppert imagines. The fact that Egypt was only conquered by Cambyses, and not by Cyrus, who merely planned it (Herod. i. 153), and to whom it is only attributed by a legend (Xen. Cyr. viii. 6, 20, λἐγεται καταστρἐψσασθαι Αἰγυπτον), does no violence to the truth of the promise. It is quite enough that Egypt and the neighbouring kingdoms were subjugated by the new imperial power of Persia, and that through that empire the Jewish people recovered their long-lost liberty. The free love of God was the reason for His treating Israel according to the principle laid down in Proverbs 11:8; Proverbs 21:18. מאשׁר does not signify ex quo tempore here, but is equivalent to אשׁר מפּני in Exodus 19:18; Jeremiah 44:23; for if it indicated the terminus a quo, it would be followed by a more distinct statement of the fact of their election. The personal pronoun "and I" (va'ănı̄) is introduced in consequence of the change of persons. In the place of ונתתּי (perf. cons.), ואתּן commended itself, as the former had already been used in a somewhat different function. All that composed the chosen nation are here designated as "man" (âdâm), because there was nothing in them but what was derived from Adam. תּחת has here a strictly substitutionary meaning throughout.
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