Isaiah 44:21
Remember these, O Jacob and Israel; for you are my servant: I have formed you; you are my servant: O Israel, you shall not be forgotten of me.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(21) Remember these.—Better, these thingsi.e., the whole argument against idolatry. In contrast with the blind worshippers of idols, Israel is addressed in its ideal character as the “servant of Jehovah” with all the emphasis of iteration.

Thou shalt not be forgotten of me.—The LXX., Vulg., and some other versions take the verb as middle, thou shalt not forget, but the evidence for the passive sense preponderates, to say nothing of its greater fitness in connection with the next verse, and its bearing upon complaints like those of Isaiah 40:27; Isaiah 49:14.

Isaiah 44:21-23. Remember these — These things, the deep ignorance and stupidity of idolaters. O Israel, thou shalt not be forgotten — I will not forget nor forsake thee; therefore thou shalt have no need of idols. I have blotted out as a cloud, &c. — As the sun arising disperses the clouds, and causes them to vanish and disappear, so have I, arising for thy salvation, with the light and influence of my grace, scattered and removed thy transgressions, that there is no remnant or appearance of them left: a beautiful and expressive metaphor. Return unto me — From thine idolatry, and other sinful practices. For 1 have redeemed thee — Therefore thou art mine, and obliged to return and adhere to me. Sing, O ye heavens, &c. — “The prophet here, by an elegant apostrophe, calls upon all creatures to glorify God for his singular blessing to his people in delivering them from their captivity in Babylon; which also has a further respect to the great and spiritual deliverance of mankind by the Messiah;” a mercy so transcendent, that, as he intimates, it is sufficient, were it possible, to make even the stones break forth in praises to God.44:21-28 Return unto me. It is the great concern of those who have backslidden from God, like the Jews of old, to hasten their return to him. The work of redemption wrought for us by Christ, encourages to hope for all blessings from him. Our transgressions and our sins are as a thick cloud between heaven and earth: sins separate between us and God; they threaten a storm of wrath. When God pardons sin, he blots out, he dispels this cloud, this thick cloud, so that the way to heaven is open again. The cloud is scattered by the Sun of righteousness; it is quite gone. The comforts that flow into the soul when sin is pardoned, are like clear shining after clouds and rain. Let not Israel be discouraged; nothing is too hard for God: having made all, he can make what use he pleases of any. Those that learn to know Christ, see all knowledge to be foolishness, in comparison with the knowledge of him. And his enemies will find their counsels turned into foolishness, and themselves taken in their craftiness. The exact fulfilling the prophecies of Scripture confirms the truth of the whole, and proves its Divine origin. The particular favours God designed for his people in captivity, were foretold here, long before they went into captivity. Very great difficulties would be in the way of their deliverance; but it is promised that by Divine power they should all be removed. God knew who should be the Deliverer of his people; and let his church know it, that when they heard such a name talked of, they might know their redemption drew nigh. It is the greatest honour of the greatest men, to be employed as instruments of the Divine favour to his people. In things wherein men serve themselves, and look no further, God makes them do all his pleasure. And a nobler Shepherd than Cyrus does his Father's will, till his work is fully completed.Remember these - Remember these things which are now said about the folly of idolatry, and the vanity of worshipping idols. The object of the argument is, to turn their attention to God, and to lead them to put their trust in him.

Thou art my servant - (See the notes at Isaiah 42:19; Isaiah 43:1).

21. Remember—"Be not like the idolaters who consider not in their heart" (Isa 44:19).

these—things just said as to the folly of idol-worship.

my servant—not like the idolaters, slaves to the stock of a tree (Isa 44:19). See Isa 44:1, 2.

thou … not … forgotten of me—Therefore thou oughtest to "remember" Me.

Remember these; either these men; or, which comes to one, these things, the deep ignorance and stupidity of idolaters; which may be a warning to thee.

Thou shalt not be forgotten of me; I will not forget nor forsake thee; and therefore thou shalt have no need of idols. Or, as the ancient interpreters and divers others render it, do not forget me; what I am, and what I have done, and can and will do, for thee; the forgetting whereof is the ready way to idolatry. Remember these, O Jacob, O Israel,.... Remember these persons, these idolaters before spoken of; or these things, the gross idolatries they were guilty of, and loath and abhor them, shun and avoid them, and not imitate them, and do the same things: or remember that this was formerly your case, and admire the distinguishing grace of God, in turning you from idols to serve him: for by Jacob and Israel may be meant the spiritual Israel of God, or those from among the Gentiles called by the grace of God, and incorporated into Christian churches; see Isaiah 44:5,

for thou art my servant: I have formed thee; thou art my servant: and therefore should serve the Lord, and him only, and not idols, for no man can serve two masters; moreover, these were formed by the Spirit and grace of God in regeneration for his service, and therefore ought cheerfully to engage therein, and abide in it, and never serve any other:

O Israel, thou shalt not be forgotten of me; such as remember the Lord, and remember to serve him, he will remember, and not forget them, his love to them, his covenant with them, and the promises he has made them; he will not forget their persons, nor their service, their work and labour of love, which they have showed to his name. The Septuagint, Vulgate Latin, Syriac, and Arabic versions, render it, "do not forget me"; and so the Targum paraphrases it,

"do not forget my fears;''

to fear, serve, and worship the Lord, and him only; but Aben Ezra and Kimchi observe, it should be rendered as it is by our translators.

{a} Remember these, O Jacob and Israel; for thou art my servant: I have formed thee; thou art my servant: O Israel, thou shalt not be forgotten by me.

(a) Showing that man's heart is most inclined to idolatry, and therefore he warns his people by these examples, that they should not cleave to any but to the living God, when they should be among the idolaters.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
21, 22. An admonition to Israel to lay these truths to heart and realise its special relation to the one living and true God.

Remember these] i.e. these things (R.V.), the principles enforced in the preceding passage.

thou shalt not be forgotten of me] The Heb. construction, a passive verb with accusative suffix, is abnormal. All the ancient versions and many commentators render “thou shalt (or wilt) not forget me”; but this is hardly defensible. The suffix must denote the indirect obj. (dative) as is sometimes the case with intransitive verbs. (See Davidson, Synt. § 73 r. 4.) For the sense, cf. ch. Isaiah 40:27, Isaiah 49:14 ff.Verses 21-28. - ISRAEL ONCE MORE PROMISED DELIVERANCE, AND THE DELIVERER MENTIONED BY NAME. Israel, having been exhorted never to forget the impotency of idols (ver. 21), is promised forgiveness and deliverance (vers. 21, 22). Then, heaven and earth are called upon to join in rejoicing over the announcement (ver. 23). Finally, in a noble burst of poetry, God is represented as solemnly declaring his intention of frustrating all the false sayings of the soothsayers concerning his people, and accomplishing their restoration to their own land, and the rebuilding of their temple through the instrumentality of Cyrus (vers. 24-28). Verse 21. - Remember these; rather, remember these things; i.e. the futility of idols and the folly of the idol-worshippers. For thou art my servant. Therefore bound to worship me, and not the idols (comp. Isaiah 41:8; vers. 1, 2). I have formed thee (so also in Isaiah 43:1, 21; vers. 2, 24). The duty of absolute unquestioning obedience seems contained in the relation of that which is formed to that which has formed it. On the other hand, it may be assumed that he who has formed a thing will have a constant care of it and regard for it - that at any rate he will not "forget" it. The prophet now traces the origin of the idols still further back. Their existence or non-existence ultimately depends upon whether it rains or not. "One prepares to cut down cedars, and takes holm and oak-tree, and chooses for himself among the trees of the forest. He has planted a fig, and the rain draws it up. And it serves the man for firing: he takes thereof, and warms himself; he also heats, and bakes bread; he also works it into a god, and prostrates himself; makes an idol of it, and falls down before it. The half of it he has burned in the fire: over the half of it he eats flesh, roasts a roast, and is satisfied; he also warms himself, and says, Hurrah, I am getting warm, I feel the heat. And the rest of it he makes into a god, into his idol, and says, Save me, for thou art my god." The subject of the sentence is not the carpenter of the previous verse, but "any one." ארזים apparently stands first, as indicating the species; and in the Talmud and Midrash the trees named are really described as ארזים מיני. But tirzâh (from târaz, to be hard or firm) does not appear to be a coniferous tree; and the connection with 'allōn, the oak, is favourable to the rendering ἀγριοβάλανος (lxx, A. Th.), ilex (Vulg.). On 'immēts, to choose, see Isaiah 41:10. ארן (with Nun minusculum), plur. ארונים (b. Ros-ha Sana 23a) or ארנים (Para iii. 8), is explained by the Talmud as ערי, sing. ערא, i.e., according to Aruch and Rashi, laurier, the berries of which are called baies. We have rendered it "fig," according to the lxx and Jerome, since it will not do to follow the seductive guidance of the similarity in sound to ornus (which is hardly equivalent to ὀρεινός).

(Note: The ἀρία of Theophrastus is probably quercus ilex, which is still called ἀρία; the laurus nobilis is now called βαΐηά, from the branches which serve instead of palm-branches.)

The description is genealogical, and therefore moves retrogressively, from the felling to the planting. והיה in Isaiah 44:15 refers to the felled and planted tree, and primarily to the ash. מהם (of such as these) is neuter, as in Isaiah 30:6; at the same time, the prophet had the עצים (the wood, both as produce and material) in his mind. The repeated אף lays emphasis upon the fact, that such different things are done with the very same wood. It is sued for warming, and fore the preparation of food, as well as for making a god. On the verbs of adoration, hishtachăvâh (root shach, to sink, to settle down) and sâgad, which is only applied to idolatrous worship, and from which mes'gid, a mosque, is derived, see Holemann's Bibelstudien, i. 3. למו may no doubt be take as a plural ( equals להם, as in Isaiah 30:5), "such things (taila) does he worship," as Stier supposes; but it is probably pathetic, and equivalent to לו, as in Isaiah 53:8 (compare Psalm 11:7; Ewald, 247, a). According to the double application of the wood mentioned in Isaiah 44:15, a distinction is drawn in Isaiah 44:16, Isaiah 44:17 between the one half of the wood and the other. The repeated chetsyō (the half of it) in Isaiah 44:16 refers to the first half, which furnishes not only fuel for burning, but shavings and coals for roasting and baking as well. And as a fire made for cooking warms quite as much as one made expressly for the purpose, the prophet dwells upon this benefit which the wood of the idol does confer. On the tone upon the last syllable of chammōthı̄, see at Job 19:17; and on the use of the word ראה as a comprehensive term, embracing every kind of sensation and perception, see my Psychologie, p. 234. Diagoras of Melos, a pupil of Democritus, once threw a wooden standing figure of Hercules into the fire, and said jocularly, "Come now, Hercules, perform thy thirteenth labour, and help me to cook the turnips."

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