Isaiah 45:8
Drop down, you heavens, from above, and let the skies pour down righteousness: let the earth open, and let them bring forth salvation, and let righteousness spring up together; I the LORD have created it.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(8) Let the skies pour down righteousness . . .—The vision is that of a new heaven and a new earth, in which righteousness is at once as the rain that falls from the one, and as the product of the other.

Isaiah 45:8. Drop down, ye heavens, from above, &c. — It appears from the last clause of this verse, that these are the words of Jehovah himself, commanding blessings to descend upon his people, and exhorting his people willingly and gratefully to receive them, and to walk worthy of them. The passage is strongly figurative, and Vitringa is of opinion, that it “refers primarily to the blessings consequent upon the deliverance from the Babylonish captivity; but secondarily, and in its more complete sense, to that righteousness and salvation liberally imparted to man by the grace of the Messiah.” The words may be thus paraphrased: Let the heavens drop down, or, they shall drop down, as it were, from above, &c. God’s righteous and gracious acts, done for his people, and his blessings conferred upon them, shall be as many and illustrious as if he rained them down from heaven. But let the earth open itself, both to receive those refreshing and fertilizing showers, and to bring forth those fruits which they might be reasonably expected to produce. And let them — The heavens and the earth conspiring together; bring forth salvation — The redemption and deliverance of God’s people from Babylon, by Cyrus, and from ignorance and error, sin and death, by the Messiah. And let righteousness spring up together — Together with salvation. Let the holiness of my people bear some proportion to their privileges and advantages, and the great things I have done for them. I the Lord have created it — I am the author, both of the salvation and of the righteousness which springs up together with it.45:5-10 There is no God beside Jehovah. There is nothing done without him. He makes peace, put here for all good; and creates evil, not the evil of sin, but the evil of punishment. He is the Author of all that is true, holy, good, or happy; and evil, error, and misery, came into the world by his permission, through the wilful apostacy of his creatures, but are restrained and overruled to his righteous purpose. This doctrine is applied, for the comfort of those that earnestly longed, yet quietly waited, for the redemption of Israel. The redemption of sinners by the Son of God, and the pouring out the Spirit, to give success to the gospel, are chiefly here intended. We must not expect salvation without righteousness; together the Lord hath created them. Let not oppressors oppose God's designs for his people. Let not the poor oppressed murmur, as if God dealt unkindly with them. Men are but earthen pots; they are broken potsherds, and are very much made so by mutual contentions. To contend with Him is as senseless as for clay to find fault with the potter. Let us turn God's promises into prayers, beseeching him that salvation may abound among us, and let us rest assured that the Judge of all the earth will do right.Drop down, ye heavens, from above - That is, as a result of the benefits that shall follow from the rescue of the people from their captivity and exile. The mind of the prophet is carried forward to future times, and he sees effects from that interposition, as striking as if the heavens should distil righteousness; and sees the prevalence of piety and happiness as if they should string out of the earth. It may be designed primarily to denote the happy results of their return to their own land, and the peace and prosperity which would ensue. But there is a beauty and elevation in the language which is better applicable to the remote and distant consequences of their return - the coming and reign of the Messiah. The figure is that of the rain and dew descending from heaven, and watering, the earth, and producing fertility and beauty; and the idea is, that piety and peace would prevail in a manner resembling the verdure of the fields under such rains and dews. A figure remarkably similar to this is employed by the Psalmist Psalm 85:11-12 :

Truth shall spring out of the earth;

And righteousness shall look down from heaven.

Yea, the Lord shall give that which is good -

And our land shall yield her increase.

The phrase, 'drop down, ye heavens, from above,' means, pour forth, or distil, as the clouds distil, or drop down the rain or dew Psalm 45:12-13. It is appropriately applied to rain or dew, and here means that righteousness would be as abundant as if poured down like dews or showers from heaven. The Septuagint however, render it, 'Let the heavens above be glad,' but evidently erroneously.

And let the skies - The word used here (שׁחקים shechaqiym) is derived from the verb שׁצק shâchaq, "to rub," pound fine, or beat in pieces; and is then applied to dust (see Isaiah 40:15); to a thin cloud; a cloud of dust; and then to clouds in general Job 36:28; Job 37:18; Job 38:37. The sense here is, that righteousness should be poured down like rain from the clouds of heaven; that is, it should be abundant, and should prevail on the earth.

Pour down righteousness - The result of the deliverance from the captivity shall be, that righteousness shall be abundant. During the captivity they had been far away from their native land; the temple was destroyed; the fire had ceased to burn on the altars; the praises of God had ceased to be celebrated in his courts; and all the means by which piety had been nourished had been withdrawn. This state of things was strikingly similar to the earth when the rain is withheld, and all verdure droops and dies. But after the return from the exile, righteousness would abound under the re-establishment of the temple service and the means of grace. Nor can there be any doubt, I think, that the mind of the prophet was also fixed on the prevalence of religion which would yet take place under the Messiah, whose coming, though remotely, would be one of the results of the return from the exile, and of whose advent, that return would be so strikingly emblematic.

Let the earth open - As it does when the showers descend and render it mellow, and when it brings forth grass and plants and fruits.

And let them bring forth salvation - The Chaldee renders this, 'Let the earth open, and the dead revive, and righteousness be revealed at the same time.' The idea is, let the earth and the heavens produce righteousness, or become fruitful in producing salvation. Salvation shall abound as if it descended like showers and dews, and as if the fertile earth everywhere produced it. Vitringa supposes that it means that the hearts of people would be opened and prepared for repentance and the reception of the truth by the Holy Spirit, as the earth is made mellow and adapted to the reception of seed by the rain and dew.

And let righteousness spring up together - Let it at the same time germinate as a plant does. It shall spring forth like green grass, and like flowers and plants in the well-watered earth. The language in the verse is figurative, and very beautiful. The idea is, that peace, prosperity, and righteousness start up like the fruits of the earth when it is well watered with the dews anti rains of heaven; that the land and world would be clothed in moral loveliness; and that the fruits of salvation would be abundant everywhere. That there was a partial fulfillment of this on the return to the land of Canaan, there can be no doubt. The Jews were, for a time at least, much more distinguished for piety than they had been before. Idolatry ceased; the temple was rebuilt; the worship of God was re-established; and the nation enjoyed unaccustomed prosperity. But there is a richness and fullness in the language which is not met by anything that occurred in the return from the exile; and it doubtless receives its entire fulfillment only under that more important deliverance of which the return from Babylon was but the emblem. As referred to the Messiah, and to his reign, may we not regard it as descriptive of the following things?

1. The prevalence and diffusion of the knowledge of salvation under his own preaching and that of the apostles. Religion was revived throughout Judea, and spread with vast rapidity throughout almost the whole of the known world. It seemed as if the very heavens shed down righteousness on all lands, and the earth, so long barren and sterile, brought forth the fruits of salvation. Every country partook of the benefits of the descending showers of grace, and the moral world put on a new aspect - like the earth after descending dews and rains.

2. It is beautifully descriptive of a revival of religion like that on the day of Pentecost. In such scenes, it seems as if the very heavens 'poured down' righteousness. A church smiles under its influence like parched and barren fields under rains and dews, and society puts on an aspect of loveliness like the earth after copious showers. Salvation seems to start forth with the beauty of the green grass, or of the unfolding buds, producing leaves and flowers and abundant fruits. There cannot be found anywhere a more beautiful description of a genuine revival of pure religion than in this verse.

3. It is descriptive, doubtless, of what is yet to take place in the better days which are to succeed the present, when the knowledge of the Lord shall fill the earth. All the earth shall be blessed, as if descending showers should produce universal fertility, and every land, now desolate, barren, sterile, and horrid by sin, shall become 'like a well-watered garden' in reference to salvation.

8. Drop—namely, the fertilizing rain (Ps 65:12).

skies—clouds; lower than the "heavens."

righteousness—that is, the dews of the Holy Spirit, whereby "righteousness" shall "spring up." (See latter end of the verse).

earth—figuratively for the hearts of men on it, opened for receiving the truth by the Holy Ghost (Ac 16:14).

them—the earth and the heavens. Horsley prefers: "Let the earth open, and let salvation and justice grow forth; let it bring them forth together; I the Lord have created him" (Isa 45:13). Maurer translates, "Let all kinds of salvation (prosperity) be fruitful" (Ps 72:3, 6, 7). The revival of religion after the return from Babylon suggests to the prophet the diffusion of Messiah's Gospel, especially in days still future; hence the elevation of the language to a pitch above what is applicable to the state of religion after the return.

Let the skies pour down righteousness; the righteous and gracious acts of God for his people shall be so many and illustrious, as if God rained down showers of righteousness out of heaven.

Let the earth open; open itself, either to receive those showers of righteousness to be poured down from heaven, or to bring forth those fruits which might be expected from such showers.

Let them, the heavens and the earth conspiring together,

bring forth salvation; the redemption of God’s people.

Let righteousness spring up together; together with salvation. Whereas persons or people are sometimes delivered from their troubles by unjust courses, this shall be effected with righteousness, both on God’s part, who will hereby assert his own justice and faithfulness to his people; and on Cyrus’s part, who will do a most righteous and worthy action in rescuing a righteous and oppressed nation from cruel tyrants and oppressors.

I the Lord have created it; this great work of salvation, and righteousness; whereof, though Cyrus is the instrument, I am the chief author. Drop down, ye heavens, from above, and let the skies pour down righteousness,.... Or, "the righteous One", as the Vulgate Latin version; the Lord our righteousness, Christ the author of righteousness, who was to bring in an everlasting one; and whose coming was to be, and was, as the rain, as the former and latter rain to the earth, Hosea 6:3, and who came from heaven to earth to fulfil all righteousness; and with him came an abundance of blessings of rich grace, even all spiritual blessings, peace, pardon, righteousness, salvation, and eternal life, which were poured down from above upon the sons of men; thus the Holy Ghost, the spirit of prophecy, proceeds at once from Cyrus to Christ, from the type to the antitype, from the temporal redemption of the Jews to the spiritual redemption of the Lord's people; and these words are to be considered, not as a petition of the prophet, or of the church, for the coming of Christ, and salvation by him; but a promise and prophecy of it. Aben Ezra and Kimchi take them to be an address to the angels of heaven to assist in the affair of the salvation of Israel; these did drop down or descend, even a great multitude of them, at the incarnation of Christ, and published the good tidings of good things that came by him:

let the earth open, and let them bring forth salvation; or the "Saviour", as the Vulgate Latin version; Christ the author of salvation, who was appointed to be the salvation or Saviour of his people, who came to effect it, and has obtained it; heaven and earth were both concerned in bringing forth this "fruit" of righteousness and salvation, as the word (o) rendered "bring forth" signifies; see Isaiah 4:2. Christ was the Lord from heaven, and yet made of a woman in the lowest parts of the earth: Christ, who is the "truth", sprung "out of the earth"; and he, who is the author of "righteousness", looked down from heaven, Psalm 85:11 and it follows: "let righteousness spring up together"; or "bud forth" (p) as a branch; one of the names of the Messiah, frequent in prophecy:

I the Lord have created it; or that, both righteousness and salvation; or Christ as man, the author of both, whom God appointed, and raised up, and sent to be the Redeemer and Saviour of his people. The Targum interprets this of the resurrection of the dead, paraphrasing the whole thus;

"let the heavens from above minister, and the clouds flow with good; let the earth open, and the dead revive; and let righteousness be revealed together; I the Lord have created them.''

(o) "fructificent", Vatablus; "edant fractum salutis"; Junius & Tremellius. (p) "germinare faciet", Pagninus, Montanus, Vatablus, "progerminet germen", Vitringa.

Drop down, ye heavens, from above, and let the skies pour down {i} righteousness: let the earth open, and let them bring forth salvation, and let righteousness spring up together; I the LORD have {k} created it.

(i) He comforts the Jews as if he would say, Though when you look to the heavens and earth for comfort you see nothing now but signs of God's wrath, yet will cause them to bring forth certain tokens of your deliverance, and of the performance of my promise: which is meant by righteousness.

(k) I have appointed Cyrus to this use and purpose.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
8. A lyrical effusion, called forth by the thought of the blessings that will follow the triumph of the true religion. The heavens are represented as showering down gracious influences, which fructify the earth and cause it to bring forth the fruits of salvation. For the figure of the verse, cf. ch. Isaiah 55:10; Hosea 2:21 f.; Psalm 72:6; and esp. Psalm 85:11 (“truth springs out of the earth, and righteousness looks down from heaven”).

Drop down] is a causative verb, the obj. being “righteousness” in the next line.

let them bring forth &c.] Rather: let salvation and […] spring forth; let her (the earth) cause righteousness to spring up. The plural verb causes some difficulty. A.V. (and R.V.) appear to take heavens and earth as subj.; but this is hardly possible, first because they belong to different distichs, and secondly, because the verb is always neuter (Deuteronomy 29:17 is no exception). Perhaps a word has been omitted from the text.

Two words are here used for righteousness, that which comes down from heaven is çedeq, that which springs from the earth is çědâqâh. The figure might suggest that çedeq is the cause of which çědâqâh is the effect; the former being the divine “right” which establishes salvation &c., and the latter the human order which is an element of it. But any such distinction is precarious. Salvation (yesha‘) which ordinarily means “deliverance” appears here to be used in its wider sense of “welfare,” like the kindred noun in Job 30:15 (“my welfare is passed away as a cloud”). See Introduction, p. xxviii [78].

[78] The idea of salvation has an instructive history. In Arabic the root wasi‘a means to be wide, roomy, spacious, &c.; and hence the Hebr. verb “to save” (which is the causative of this) means primarily “to make room for one,” “to give one freedom or space to move in.” Even in this form the word contains the germ of a valuable religious idea, salvation being essentially freedom for the normal expansion of man’s true life. In the O.T., however, it is always used with express reference to some pressure or impediment, the removal of which constitutes the essence of the act called salvation or the state of salvation which results from it (יֶשַׁע, יְשׁוּעָה, תְּשׁוּעָה). In the earlier literature these names have mostly a secular and political application, denoting “succour” in a military sense, or (more frequently) “victory.” The religious sense grew naturally out of this. At all times it was recognised that Jehovah is the source of deliverance or victory; but at least from the time of the Exile the centre of gravity of the idea was shifted from the temporal act of deliverance to the partly spiritual blessings which were secured by it. Salvation becomes (as in this prophecy) a comprehensive term for that decisive vindication of Israel’s cause which was the foundation of all national well-being. At the same time “these words seldom, if ever, express a spiritual state exclusively; their common theological sense in Hebrew is that of a material deliverance attended by spiritual blessings” (see Driver, Notes on Samuel, p. 90).Verse 8. - THE BLESSED RESULTS OF ISRAEL'S DELIVERANCE. The restoration of Israel to their own land will be followed by a great increase of righteousness and salvation. They will be, as it were, showered down abundantly from heaven, while at the same time they will spring in profusion from earth's bosom. Jehovah, who has caused the deliverance, will also cause these results to follow from it. Verse 8. - Drop down, ye heavens; literally, distil, ye heavens (camp. Deuteronomy 32:1; Job 36:28); or rain down on the thirsty earth your gracious influences. Let righteousness, or God's law of right, descend afresh from the skies as a boon to mankind - a boon for which they have been long waiting. And... let the earth open. Let earth make due response, opening her gentle besom, as she does in spring (camp. Aprilis from aperio), and blossoming with human righteousness, the fruit and evidence of salvation. To the prophet's rapt gaze the excellence of the post-Captivity times, when all idolatry had been put away, seemed, in comparison with earlier ages, the reign of justice and truth upon earth. I the Lord have created it; i.e. "I, Jehovah, have wrought the change by the larger outpouring of my Spirit" (camp. Isaiah 43:3). The first strophe of the first half of this sixth prophecy (Isaiah 44:24.), the subject of which is Cyrus, the predicted restorer of Jerusalem, of the cities of Judah, and of the temple, is now followed by a second strophe (Isaiah 45:1-8), having for its subject Cyrus, the man through whose irresistible career of conquest the heathen would be brought to recognise the power of Jehovah, so that heavenly blessings would come down upon the earth. The naming of the great shepherd of the nations, and the address of him, are continued in Isaiah 45:1-3 : "Thus saith Jehovah to His anointed, to Koresh, whom I have taken by his right hand to subdue nations before him; and the loins of kings I ungird, to open before him doors and gates, that they may not continue shut. I shall go before thee, and level what is heaped up: gates of brass shall I break in pieces, and bolts of iron shall I smite to the ground. And I shall give thee treasures of darkness, and jewels of hidden places, that thou mayest know that I Jehovah am He who called out thy name, (even) the God of Israel." The words addressed to Cyrus by Jehovah commence in Isaiah 45:2, but promises applying to him force themselves into the introduction, being evoked by the mention of his name. He is the only king of the Gentiles whom Jehovah ever meshı̄chı̄ (my anointed; lxx τῷ χριστῷ μου). The fundamental principle of the politics of the empire of the world was all-absorbing selfishness. But the politics of Cyrus were pervaded by purer motives, and this brought him eternal honour. The very same thing which the spirit of Darius, the father of Xerxes, is represented as saying of him in the Persae of Aeschylus (v. 735), Θεὸς γὰρ οὐκ ἤχθησεν ὡς εὔφρων ἔφυ (for he was not hateful to God, because he was well-disposed), is here said by the Spirit of revelation, which by no means regards the virtues of the heathen as splendida vitia. Jehovah has taken him by his right hand, to accomplish great things through him while supporting him thus. (On the inf. rad for rōd, from râdad, to tread down, see Ges. 67, Anm. 3.) The dual delâthaim has also a plural force: "double doors" (fores) in great number, viz., those of palaces. After the two infinitives, the verb passes into the finite tense: "loins of kings I ungird" (discingo; pittēăch, which refers primarily to the loosening of a fastened garment, is equivalent to depriving of strength). The gates - namely, those of the cities which he storms - will not be shut, sc. in perpetuity, that is to say, they will have to open to him. Jerome refers here to the account given of the elder Cyrus in Xenophon's Cyropaedia. A general picture may no doubt be obtained from this of his success in war; but particular statements need support from other quarters, since it is only a historical romance. Instead of אושׁר (אושׁר)? in Isaiah 45:2, the keri has אישּׁר; just as in Psalm 5:9 it has הישׁר instead of הושׁר. A hiphil הושׁיר cannot really be shown to have existed, and the abbreviated future form עושׁר would be altogether without ground or object here. הדּורים (tumida; like נעיימם, amaena, and others) is meant to refer to the difficulties piled up in the conqueror's way. The "gates of brass' (nedhūshâh, brazen, poetical for nechōsheth, brass, as in the derivative passage, Psalm 107:16) and "bolts of iron" remind one more especially of Babylon with its hundred "brazen gates," the very posts and lintels of which were also of brass (Herod. i. 179); and the treasures laid up in deep darkness and jewels preserved in hiding-places, of the riches of Babylon (Jeremiah 50:37; Jeremiah 51:13), and especially of those of the Lydian Sardes, "the richest city of Asia after Babylon" (Cyrop. vii. 2, 11), which Cyrus conquered first. On the treasures which Cyrus acquired through his conquests, and to which allusion is made in the Persae of Aeschylus, v. 327 ("O Persian, land and harbour of many riches thou"), see Plin. h. n. xxxiii. 2. Brerewood estimates the quantity of gold and silver mentioned there as captured by him at no less than 126,224,000 sterling. And all this success is given to him by Jehovah, that he may know that it is Jehovah the God of Israel who has called out with his name, i.e., called out his name, or called him to be what he is, and as what he shows himself to be.
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