Isaiah 44:8
Fear you not, neither be afraid: have not I told you from that time, and have declared it? you are even my witnesses. Is there a God beside me? yes, there is no God; I know not any.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(8) Yea, there is no God . . .—Literally, no Rock. That word, as expressing eternal strength, being used, as in Deuteronomy 32:4; 2Samuel 22:3; 2Samuel 23:3, as a Divine name.

44:1-8 Israel is here called Jeshurun, which means the upright one. Such only are Israelites indeed, in whom is no guile. Those that serve God he will own. He will help them over difficulties, and in their services. Water is the emblem of the Holy Spirit; as water refreshes, cleanses, and makes the earth fruitful, so do his influences the soul. This gift of the Holy Ghost is the great blessing, the plentiful pouring out of which God kept for the latter days. Where God gives his Spirit, he will give all other blessings. Hereby shall be a great increase of the church; thus it shall be spread to distant places. Was there any other Rock, or Protector, that could defend them? None besides could foretell these things to come, of which God by his prophets gave notice. All was set in order in the Divine predictions, as well as in the Divine purposes. Could any other have done so? Who can compare with Israel's Redeemer and King?Fear ye not, neither be afraid - (see the notes at Isaiah 41:10). The word rendered here 'be afraid,' occurs nowhere else in the Bible. There can be no doubt, however, in regard to its meaning. The Septuagint renders it, Μηδέ πλανᾶσθε Mēde planasthe - 'Neither be deceived.' All the other ancient versions express the sense to fear, to be afraid (Gesenius' Lexicon on the word ירה yârahh).

Have not I told thee from that time - Have I not fully declared from the very commencement of your history as a people, in the main what shall occur?

Ye are even my witnesses - (See the notes at Isaiah 43:12).

Is there a God besides me? - This is a strong mode of affirming that there is no God besides Yahweh (see the note at Isaiah 44:6).

Yea, there is no God - Margin, 'Rock' (צור tsûr). The word rock is often applied to God (see the note at Isaiah 30:29; compare Deuteronomy 32:4, Deuteronomy 32:30-31; Psalm 19:14; Psalm 31:2-3; Psalm 42:9; et soepe al. The idea is taken from the fact that a lofty rock or fastness was inaccessible by an enemy, and that those who fled there were safe.

8. be afraid—literally, "be astounded," or "distracted with fear."

from that time—namely, from the time that "I appointed the ancient people" (Isa 44:7). From the time of Abraham's call, his family were the depositories of the predictions of the Redeemer, whereas the promise of Cyrus was not heard of till Isaiah's time; therefore, the event to the prediction and accomplishment of which God appeals in proof of His sole Godhead, is the redemption of man by a descendant of Abraham, in whose person "the ancient people" was first formally "appointed." The deliverance of the Jews, by Cyrus, is mentioned afterwards only as an earnest of that greater mercy [Horsley].

no God—Hebrew, tsur, "rock" (De 32:4); that is, a stronghold to take refuge in, and a solid foundation to build on.

Have not I told thee? thee, O Israel, whom he bids not to fear. The sense is, I call you Israelites to bear me witness, whether I have not, from time to time, acquainted you with things to come, such as your sojourning in a strange land for four hundred years, and your deliverance and happiness after that time, Genesis 15:13,14, and many things of the like nature?

From that time; from the time when I appointed the ancient people, as I now said, Isaiah 44:7. These were pregnant instances of God’s prediction of things to come, not only from the beginning of the Jewish commonwealth, but even from the first ages of the world, as unto Enoch, Jude 14, and unto Noah, Ge 6 13, to say nothing of what other authors relate concerning Adam and Seth.

Have declared it; have published it to the world in my sacred records.

My witnesses, both of my predictions, and of the exact agreeableness of events to them.

Is there a God besides me? judge by this character whether I be not the only true God.

Yea, there is no God; I know not any; if any of you be wiser than I am, I am willing to be informed. It is a sarcastical speech. But this clause may be, and is by others, taken interrogatively, do not I know it? Is it not a certain and undeniable truth, that there is no other God? Fear ye not, neither be afraid,.... Of the accomplishment of prophecies and promises, and of professing the true God, and of adhering to Jesus Christ, the only Redeemer and Saviour; or of the gods of the Heathens, and of persecuting tyrants, and what they can do against you, and in favour of their idolatrous religion:

have not I told thee from that time, and have declared it? what should come to pass, before it did, even everything that has since the appointment of the ancient people; and particularly what troubles and persecutions the apostles, ministers of the word, the first Christians should meet with among the Heathens, for professing and propagating the Gospel, and what success they should meet with, which came to pass accordingly:

ye are even my witnesses; as especially the apostles were, who had it from Christ's own mouth, that they should be hated and persecuted for the sake of the Gospel, and should be successful wherever they came; as they also were his witnesses in Jerusalem, and Judea, and Samaria, and unto the uttermost parts of the earth, of his person, doctrine, miracles, death, resurrection, and ascension to heaven, Acts 1:8,

is there a God besides me? that is a true God; for there were many fictitious and false deities, but none omniscient and omnipotent, that could foretell future events, and accomplish them as he did; there is no god but the one God, Father, Son, and Spirit; for this an appeal is made to the witnesses:

yea, there is no God, I know not any; or, there is "no rock" (a); or, is there any? a word used for God, Deuteronomy 32:4, there is no rock to build upon for salvation, no rock for shelter and safety, but Christ the rock of ages, on which the church is built, and the gates of hell cannot prevail against it, Matthew 16:18, and if God, who is omniscient, knows none else, there can be no other.

(a) "nulls rupes", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; "non est petra", Montanus, Cocceius; "estne rupes?" Vitringa.

Fear ye not, neither be afraid: have not I told thee from that time, and have declared it? {l} ye are even my witnesses. Is there a God besides me? verily, there is no God; I know not any.

(l) Read Isa 43:10.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
8. Fear ye not] in the coming convulsions; the ground of confidence is that Jehovah has proved His control over these events by foretelling them. The verb for be afraid does not occur elsewhere.

from that time] Rather beforehand, or, from of old; as ch. Isaiah 45:21, Isaiah 48:3; Isaiah 48:5; Isaiah 48:7.

and ye are my witnesses (R.V.)] Cf. ch. Isaiah 43:10; Isaiah 43:12.

no God] no Rock, as R.V. Cf. Deuteronomy 32:4, etc.Verse 8. - Fear ye not (comp. Isaiah 41:10, 13; Isaiah 43:5; ver. 2). Israel need not fear that they will be forgotten or forsaken. God has told them from that time, or, from the beginning (Isaiah 48:3, 7), and declared to them, what he is about to do - viz, destroy Babylon, and give them deliverance. He will assuredly do as he has said. Ye are even my witnesses (comp. Isaiah 43:10, 12). There is no God; literally, there is no Rock; i.e. no sure ground of trust or confidence (comp. Isaiah 17:10; Isaiah 26:4; Isaiah 30:29; and see the comment on Isaiah 17:10). The prophet cannot bear to dwell any longer upon this dark picture of their state of punishment; and light of the promise breaks through again, and in this third field of the fourth prophecy in all the more intensive form. "And now hear, O Jacob my servant, and Israel whom I have chosen. Thus saith Jehovah, thy Creator, and thy Former from the womb, who cometh to thy help; Fear not, my servant Jacob; and Jeshurun, whom I have chosen! For I will pour out water upon thirsty ones, and brooks upon the dry ground; will pour out my Spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine after-growth; and they shoot up among the grass, as willows by flowing waters." In contrast with the cheerem, i.e., the setting apart for destruction, there is here presented the promise of the pouring out of the Spirit and of blessing; and in contrast with the giddūphı̄m, the promise of general eagerness to come and honour Israel and its God (Isaiah 44:5). The epithets by which Jehovah designates Himself, and those applied to Israel in Isaiah 44:1, Isaiah 44:2, make the claim to love all the more urgent and emphatic. The accent which connects מבּטן ויצרך, so as to make יעזרך by itself an attributive clause like בו בּחרתּי, is confirmed by Isaiah 44:24 and Isaiah 49:5 : Israel as a nation and all the individuals within it are, as the chosen servant of Jehovah (Isaiah 49:1), the direct formation of Jehovah Himself from the remotest point of their history. In Isaiah 44:26, Jeshurun is used interchangeably with Jacob. This word occurs in three other passages (viz., Deuteronomy 32:15; Deuteronomy 33:5, Deuteronomy 33:26), and is always written with kibbutz, just as it is here. The rendering ̓Ισραελίσκος in Gr. Ven. is founded upon the supposition that the word is equivalent to ישׂרלוּן - a strange contraction, which is inadmissible, if only on account of the substitution of שׁ for שׂ. The שׁ points back to ישׁר, to be straight or even; hence A. S. Th. εὐθύσς (elsewhere εὐθύτατος), Jerome rectissimus (though in Deuteronomy 32:15 he renders it, after the lxx, dilectus). It is an offshoot of ישׁר equals ישׁר (Psalm 25:21), like זבלוּן, ידתוּן from זבל, ידת; and ūn ( equals ōn) does not stamp it as a diminutive (for אישׁון, which Kamphausen adduces in opposition to Hengstenberg and Volck, does not stand in the same relation to אישׁ as mannikin to man, but rather as the image of a man to a man himself; compare the Arabic insân). We must not render it therefore as an affectionate diminutive, as Gesenius does, the more especially as Jehovah, though speaking in loving terms, does not adopt the language of a lover. The relation of Jeshurun to ישׁר is rather the same as that of שׁלמה to שׁלום, so that the real meaning is "gentleman," or one of gentlemanly or honourable mind, though this need not appear in the translation, since the very nature of a proper name would obliterate it. In Isaiah 44:3, the blessings to be expected are assigned as the reason for the exhortation to be of good cheer. In Isaiah 44:3 water is promised in the midst of drought, and in Isaiah 44:3 the Spirit and blessing of God, just as in Joel the promise of rain is first of all placed in contrast with drought; and this is followed by the promise of the far surpassing antitype, namely, the outpouring of the Spirit. There is nothing at variance with this in the fact that we have not the form צמאה in the place of צמא fo e (according to the analogy of עיפה ארץ, ציּה, נלאה, Psalm 68:10). By צמא) we understand the inhabitants of the land who are thirsting for rain, and by yabbâshâh the parched land itself. Further on, however, an express distinction is made between the abundance of water in the land and the prosperous growth of the nation planted by the side of water-brooks (Psalm 1:3). We must not regard Isaiah 44:3, therefore, as a figure, and Isaiah 44:3 as the explanation, or turn Isaiah 44:3 into a simile introduced in the form of a protasis, although unquestionably water and mountain streams are made the symbol, or rather the anagogical type, of spiritual blessings coming down from above in the form of heavenly gifts, by a gradual ascent from מים and נוזלים (from נזל, to trickle downwards, Sol 4:15, Jeremiah 18:14) to ה רוּח and ה בּרכת (בּרכּת). When these natural and spiritual waters flow down upon the people, once more restored to their home, they spring up among (בּבין only met with here, lxx and Targum כּבין) the grass, like willows by water-brooks.

The willows

(Note: "The garab," says Wetzstein, "was only met with by me in one locality, or, at any rate, I only noticed it once, namely in the Wady So'b, near to a ford of the river which is called the Hd ford, from the chirbet el-Hd, a miserable ruin not far off. It is half an hour to the west of Nimrin (Nimrim, Isaiah 15:6), or, speaking more exactly, half an hour above (i.e., to the east of) Zaft Nimriin, an antique road on the northern bank of the river, hewn in a precipitous wall of rock, like the ladder of Tyre. I travelled through the valley in June 1860, and find the following entry in my diary: 'At length the ravine opened up into a broader valley, so that we could get down to the clear, copious, and rapid stream, and were able to cross it. Being exhausted by the heat, we lay down near the ford among the oleanders, which the mass of flowers covered with a rosy glow. The reed grows here to an unusual height, as in the Wady Yarmk, and willows (zafzaf) and garab are mingled together, and form many-branched trees of three or four fathoms in height. The vegetation, which is fresh and luxuriant by the water-side, is scorched up with the heat in the valley within as little as ten paces from the banks of the stream. The farthest off is the 'osar plant, with its thick, juicy, dark green stalks and leaves, and its apple-like fruit, which is of the same colour, and therefore not yet ripe. The garab tree has already done flowering. The leaves of this tree stand quite close around the stem, as in the case of the Sindiana (the Syrian oak), and, like the leaves of the latter, are fringed with little thorns; but, like the willow, it is a water plant, and our companions Abdallah and Nasrallah assured us that it was only met with near flowing water and in hot lowlands. Its bunches of flowers are at the points of the slender branches, and assume an umbelliferous form. This is the ערב of the Bible.' Consequently the garab (or (as nom. unitatis) the garaba cannot be regarded as a species of willow; and Winer's assumption (Real-Wrterbuch, s.v. Weiden), that the weeping willow is intended at any rate in Psalm 137:2, is an error. In Arabic the weeping willow is always called shafshaf mustachi (the drooping tree). At the same time, we may render ערבים 'willows,' since the garab loves running water as well as the willow, and apparently they seek one another's society; it is quite enough that the difference should be clearly pointed out in the commentary. The reason why the garab did not find its way into my herbarium was the following. On my arrival in Salt, I received the first intelligence of the commencement of the slaughter of the Christians on Antilibanus, and heard the report, which was then commonly believed, that a command had been sent from Constantinople to exterminate Christianity from Syria. This alarming report compelled me to inquire into the actual state of affairs; therefore, leaving my luggage and some of my companions behind, I set off with all speed to Jerusalem, where I hoped to obtain reliable information, accompanied by Herr Drgen, my kavas, and two natives, viz., Abdallah the smith, from Salt, and Nasrallah the smith, from Ain Genna. For a ride like this, which did not form part of the original plan of my journey, everything but weapons, even a herbarium, would have been in the way. Still there are small caravans going every week between Salt and Jerusalem, and they must always cross the Hd ford, so that it would be easy to get a twig of the garab. So far as I remember, the remains of the blossom were of a dirty white colour." (Compare p. 213, where we have taken nachal hâ‛ărâbhı̄m, according to the meaning of the words, as a synonym of Wady Sufsaf, or, more correctly, Safsf. From the description given above, the garab is a kind of viburnum with indented leaves. This tree, which is of moderate height, is found by the side of streams along with the willow. According to Sprengel (Gesch. der Botanik. i. 25), the safsâf is the salix subserrata of Wildenow).)

are the nation, which has hitherto resembled withered plants in a barren soil, but is now restored to all the bloom of youth through the Spirit and blessing of God. The grass stands for the land, which resembles a green luxuriant plain; and the water-brooks represent the abundant supply of living waters, which promote the prosperity of the land and its inhabitants.

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