Isaiah 45:12
I have made the earth, and created man on it: I, even my hands, have stretched out the heavens, and all their host have I commanded.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(12) I have made . . .—The Creator is also the Ruler, supreme in history as in nature.

45:11-19 Believers may ask in prayer for what they need; if for their good, it will not be withheld. But how common to hear God called to account for his dealings with man! Cyrus provided for the returning Jews. Those redeemed by Christ shall be provided for. The restoration would convince many, and convert some; and all that truly join the Lord, find his service perfect freedom. Though God be his people's God and Saviour, yet sometimes he lays them under his frowns; but let them wait upon the Lord who hides his face. There is a world without end; and it will be well or ill with us, according as it shall be with us in that world. The Lord we serve and trust, is God alone. All that God has said is plain, satisfactory, and just. As God in his word calls us to seek him, so he never denied believing prayers, nor disappointed believing expectations. He gives grace sufficient, and comfort and satisfaction of soul.I have made the earth - God here asserts that he had made all things, doubtless with a view to show that he was able to hear their cry, and to grant an answer to their requests. His agency was visible everywhere, alike in forming and sustaining all things, and in raising up for them a deliverer. They might, therefore, go before him with confidence, and spread out all their needs.

Have stretched out the heavens - (See the notes at Isaiah 40:26).

And all their host - The stars (see the notes at Isaiah 40:26).

Have I commanded - All are under my direction and control. What more can be needed by his people than the friendship and protection of him who made the heavens and the earth, and who leads on the stars!

12. The same argument for prayer, drawn from God's omnipotence and consequent power, to grant any request, occurs in Isa 40:26-31.

I, even my hands—so Hebrew (Ps 41:2), "Thou … thy hand" (both nominatives, in apposition).

I have made the earth, and created man upon it; they are wholly and solely my creatures, and therefore absolutely at my disposal.

All their host have I commanded; I have commanded them to be, or made them by my command, or the word of my power: compare Psalm 148:5. I have made the earth,.... The Targum adds, "by my Word"; the essential Word, the Lord Jesus Christ; see Hebrews 11:3, this, with what follows, is said to show that the Lord was able to bring to pass things to come, concerning his children, and the works of his hands, which he allowed his people to inquire of him concerning, and to insist upon the performance of them; since he was the Creator of all things, and had made the earth out of nothing, in the beginning of time, by the word of his power:

and created man upon it; the last and chief of the creation, for the sake of whom the earth was made; and man was made to dwell upon it, manure, and cultivate it:

I, even my hands, have stretched out the heavens; as a canopy over the earth, as a curtain and tent to dwell in; a phrase often used to express the greatness and majesty of God; see Isaiah 40:22,

and all their host have I commanded; into being, and to perform their offices regularly and constantly, the sun, moon, and stars, as well as the heavenly host of angels; see Psalm 33:9, what is it that such a God cannot do? he is able to do more than his people can ask of him, or think to receive from him, Ephesians 3:20.

I have made the earth, and created man upon it: I, even my hands, have stretched out the heavens, and all their {o} host have I commanded.

(o) That is, the stars.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
12. Is introductory to Isaiah 45:13; it is the Creator of all things who has destined Cyrus to be the emancipator of Israel.

I, even my hands] The “I” merely lends emphasis to the possessive: “my hands, and not another’s.”

all their host (the stars, not the angels, Isaiah 40:26) have I commanded] or, “ordained.”Verse 12. - I, even my hands; literally, I, my hands; i.e. "my hands, and my hands alone." All their host. The "host of heaven" is sometimes put for the stars, and may be so understood here; but "commands" are laid on intelligent rather than on unintelligent beings. (The object of the verb tsavah in Hebrew is almost always personal.) A second and third object are introduced by a second and third למען. "For the sake of my servant Jacob, and Israel my chosen, I called thee hither by name, surnamed thee when thou knewest me not. I Jehovah, and there is none else, beside me no God: I equipped thee when thou knewest me not; that they may know from the rising of the sun, and its going down, that there is none without me: I Jehovah, and there is none else, former of the light, and creator of the darkness; founder of peace, and creator of evil: I Jehovah am He who worketh all this." The ואקרא which follows the second reason assigned like an apodosis, is construed doubly: "I called to thee, calling thee by name." The parallel אכנּך refers to such titles of honour as "my shepherd" and "my anointed," which had been given to him by Jehovah. This calling, distinguishing, and girding, i.e., this equipment of Cyrus, took place at a time when Cyrus knew nothing as yet of Jehovah, and by this very fact Jehovah made known His sole Deity. The meaning is, not that it occurred while he was still worshipping false gods, but, as the refrain-like repetition of the words "though thou hast not know me" affirms with strong emphasis, before he had been brought into existence, or could know anything of Jehovah. The passage is to be explained in the same way as Jeremiah 1:5, "Before I formed thee in the womb, I knew thee" (see Psychol. pp. 36, 37, 39); and what the God of prophecy here claims for Himself, must not be questioned by false criticism, or weakened down by false apologetics (i.e., by giving up the proper name Cyrus as a gloss in Isaiah 44:28 and Isaiah 45:1; or generalizing it into a king's name, such as Pharaoh, Abimelech, or Agag). The third and last object of this predicted and realized success of the oppressor of nations and deliverer of Israel is the acknowledgement of Jehovah, spreading over the heathen world from the rising and setting of the sun, i.e., in every direction. The ah of וּממּערבה is not a feminine termination (lxx, Targ., Jer.), but a feminine suffix with He raphato pro mappic (Kimchi); compare Isaiah 23:17-18; Isaiah 34:17 (but not נצּה in Isaiah 18:5, or מוּסדה in Isaiah 30:32). Shemesh (the sun) is a feminine here, as in Genesis 15:17, Nahum 3:17, Malachi 4:2, and always in Arabic; for the west is invariably called מערב (Arab. magrib). In Isaiah 45:7 we are led by the context to understand by darkness and evil the penal judgments, through which light and peace, or salvation, break forth for the people of God and the nations generally. But as the prophecy concerning Cyrus closes with this self-assertion of Jehovah, it is unquestionably a natural supposition that there is also a contrast implied to the dualistic system of Zarathustra, which divided the one nature of the Deity into two opposing powers (see Windischmann, Zoroastrische Studien, p. 135). The declaration is so bold, that Marcion appealed to this passage as a proof that the God of the Old Testament was a different being from the God of the New, and not the God of goodness only. The Valentinians and other gnostics also regarded the words "There is no God beside me" in Isaiah, as deceptive words of the Demiurugs. The early church met them with Tertullian's reply, "de his creator profitetur malis quae congruunt judici," and also made use of this self-attestation of the God of revelation as a weapon with which to attack Manicheesism. The meaning of the words is not exhausted by those who content themselves with the assertion, that by the evil (or darkness) we are not to understand the evil of guilt (malum culpae), but the evil of punishment (malum paenae). Undoubtedly, evil as an act is not the direct working of God, but the spontaneous work of a creature endowed with freedom. At the same time, evil, as well as good, has in this sense its origin in God - that He combines within Himself the first principles of love and wrath, the possibility of evil, the self-punishment of evil, and therefore the consciousness of guilt as well as the evil of punishment in the broadest sense. When the apostle celebrates the glory of free grace in Romans 9:11., he stands on that giddy height, to which few are able to follow him without falling headlong into the false conclusions of a decretum absolutum, and the denial of all creaturely freedom.
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