Keil and Delitzsch OT Commentary
Thus saith the LORD to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut;
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.
I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight: I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron:
And I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, the LORD, which call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel.
For Jacob my servant's sake, and Israel mine elect, I have even called thee by thy name: I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not known me.
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.
I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me:
That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the LORD, and there is none else.
I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.
Drop down, ye 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.
In the prospect of this ultimate and saving purpose of the mission of Cyrus, viz., the redemption of Israel and the conversion of the heathen, heaven and earth are now summoned to bring forth and pour down spiritual blessings in heavenly gifts, according to the will and in the power of Jehovah, who has in view a new spiritual creation. "Cause to trickle down, ye heavens above, and let the blue sky rain down righteousness; let the earth open, and let salvation blossom, and righteousness; let them sprout together: I Jehovah have created it." What the heavens are to cause to trickle down, follows as the object to יזּלוּ. And what is to flower when the earth opens (pâthach as in Psalm 106:17; compare aprilis and the Neo-Greek anoixis, spring), is salvation and righteousness. But tzedek (righteousness) is immediately afterwards the object of a new verb; so that וּצדקה ישׁע, which are thought of as combined, as the word יחד (together) shows, are uncoupled in the actual expression. Knobel expresses a different opinion, and assumes that ישׁע is regarded as a collective noun, and therefore construed with a plural, like אמרּה in Psalm 119:103, and חמדה in Haggai 2:7. But the use of yachad (together) favours the other interpretation. The suffix of בּראתיו points to this fulness of righteousness and salvation. It is a creation of Jehovah Himself. Heaven and earth, when co-operating to effect this, are endowed with their capacity through Him from whom cometh every good and perfect gift, and obey now, as at the first, His creative fiat. This "rorate caeli desuper et nubes pluant justum," as the Vulgate renders it, is justly regarded as an old advent cry.
Woe unto him that striveth with his Maker! Let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth. Shall the clay say to him that fashioneth it, What makest thou? or thy work, He hath no hands?
The promise is now continued in the third strophe (Isaiah 45:9-13), and increases more and more in the distinctness of its terms; but just as in Isaiah 29:15-21, it opens with a reproof of that pusillanimity (Isaiah 40:27; cf., Isaiah 51:13; Isaiah 49:24; Isaiah 58:3), which goes so far to complain of the ways of Jehovah. "Woe to him that quarreleth with his Maker - a pot among the pots of earthenware? Can the clay indeed say to him that shapeth it, What makest thou? and thy work, He hath no hands? Woe to him that saith to his father, What begettest thou? and to the woman, What bringest thou forth?" The comparison drawn between a man as the work of God and the clay-work of a potter suggested itself all the more naturally, inasmuch as the same word yootseer was applied to God as Creator, and also to a potter (figulus). The word cheres signifies either a sherd, or fragment of earthenware (Isaiah 30:14), or an earthenware vessel (Jeremiah 19:1; Proverbs 26:23). In the passage before us, where the point of comparison is not the fragmentary condition, but the earthen character of the material ()'adâmâh), the latter is intended: the man, who complains of God, is nothing but a vessel of clay, and, more than that, a perishable vessel among many others of the very same kind.
(Note: The Septuagint reads shin for sin in both instances, and introduces here the very unsuitable thought already contained in Isaiah 28:24, "Shall the ploughman plough the land the whole day?")
The questions which follow are meant to show the folly of this complaining. Can it possibly occur to the clay to raise a complaint against him who has it in hand, that he has formed it in such and such a manner, or for such and such a purpose (compare Romans 9:20, "Why hast thou made me thus")? To the words "or thy work" we must supply num dicet (shall it say); pō‛al is a manufacture, as in Isaiah 1:31. The question is addressed to the maker, as those in Isaiah 7:25 are to the husbandman: Can the thing made by thee, O man, possibly say in a contemptuous tone, "He has no hands?" - a supposition the ridiculous absurdity of which condemns it at once; and yet it is a very suitable analogy to the conduct of the man who complains of God. In Isaiah 45:10 a woe is denounced upon those who resemble a man who should say to his own father, What children dost thou beget? or to a wife, What dost thou bring forth? (techı̄lı̄n an emphatic, and for the most part pausal, fut. parag., as in Ruth 2:8; Ruth 3:18). This would be the rudest and most revolting attack upon an inviolably tender and private relation; and yet Israel does this when it makes the hidden providential government of its God the object of expostulation.
Woe unto him that saith unto his father, What begettest thou? or to the woman, What hast thou brought forth?
Thus saith the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker, Ask me of things to come concerning my sons, and concerning the work of my hands command ye me.
After this double woe, which is expressed in general terms, but the application of which is easily made, the words of Jehovah are directly addressed to the presumptuous criticizers. Isaiah 45:11 "Thus saith Jehovah, the Holy One of Israel, and its Maker, Ask me what is to come; let my sons and the work of my hands be committed to me!" The names by which He calls Himself express his absolute blamelessness, and His absolute right of supremacy over Israel. שׁאלוּני is an imperative, like שׁמעוּני in Genesis 23:8; the third person would be written שׁאלוּני. The meaning is: If ye would have any information or satisfaction concerning the future ("things to come," Isaiah 41:23; Isaiah 44:7), about which ye can neither know nor determine anything of yourselves, inquire of me. צוּה with an accusative of the person, and על of the thing, signifies to commit anything to the care of another (1 Chronicles 22:12). The fault-finders in Israel were to leave the people of whom Jehovah was the Maker (a retrospective allusion to Isaiah 45:10 and Isaiah 45:9), in the hands of Him who has created everything, and on whom everything depends. Isaiah 45:12 "I, I have made the earth, and created men upon it; I, my hands have stretched out the heavens, and all their host have I called forth." ידי אני, according to Ges. 121, 3, is equivalent to my hands, and mine alone - a similar arrangement of words to those in Genesis 24:27; 2 Chronicles 28:10; Ecclesiastes 2:15. Hitzig is wrong in his rendering, "all their host do I command." That of Ewald is the correct one, "did I appoint;" for tsivvâsh, followed by an accusative of the person, means to give a definite order or command to any one, the command in this case being the order to come into actual existence ( equals esse jussi, cf., Psalm 33:9).
I have made the earth, and created man upon it: I, even my hands, have stretched out the heavens, and all their host have I commanded.
I have raised him up in righteousness, and I will direct all his ways: he shall build my city, and he shall let go my captives, not for price nor reward, saith the LORD of hosts.
He who created all things, and called all things into existence, had also raised up this Cyrus, whose victorious career had increased the anxieties and fears of the exiles, instead of leading them to lift up their heads, because their redemption was drawing nigh. "I, I have raised him up in righteousness, and all his ways shall I make smooth: He will build my city, and release my banished ones, not for price nor for reward, saith Jehovah of hosts." All the anxieties of the exiles are calmed by the words "in righteousness," which trace back the revolutions that Cyrus was causing to the righteousness of Jehovah, i.e., to His interposition, which was determined by love alone, and tended directly to the salvation of His people, and in reality to that of all nations. And they are fully quieted by the promise, which is now expressed in the clearest and most unequivocal words, that Cyrus would build up Jerusalem again, and set the captivity free (gâlūth, as in Isaiah 20:4), and that without redemption with money (Isaiah 52:3) - a clear proof that Jehovah had not only raised up Cyrus himself, but had put his spirit within him, i.e., had stirred up within him the resolution to do this (see the conclusion to the books of Chronicles, and the introduction to that of Ezra). This closes the first half of our sixth prophecy.
Thus saith the LORD, The labour of Egypt, and merchandise of Ethiopia and of the Sabeans, men of stature, shall come over unto thee, and they shall be thine: they shall come after thee; in chains they shall come over, and they shall fall down unto thee, they shall make supplication unto thee, saying, Surely God is in thee; and there is none else, there is no God.
The second half is uttered in the prospect, that the judgment which Cyrus brings upon the nations will prepare the way for the overthrow of heathenism, and the universal acknowledgment of the God of Israel. The heathen submit, as the first strophe or group of vv. (Isaiah 45:14-17) affirms, to the congregation and its God; the idolatrous are converted, whilst Israel is for ever redeemed. With the prospect of the release of the exiles, there is associated in the prophet's perspective the prospect of an expansion of the restored church, through the entrance of "the fulness of the Gentiles." "Thus saith Jehovah, The productions of Egypt, and gain of Ethiopia, and the Sabaeans, men of tall stature, will come over to thee, and belong to thee: they will come after thee; in chains they will come over, and cast themselves down to thee; they pray to thee, Surely God is in thee, and there is none else; no Deity at all." Assuming that יעברוּ has the same meaning in both cases, the prophet's meaning appears to be, that the Egyptians, Ethiopians, and Meroites (see Isaiah 43:3), who had been enslaved by the imperial power of Persia, would enter the miraculously emancipated congregation of Israel (Ewald). But if they were thought of as in a state of subjugation to the imperial power of Asia, who could the promise be at the same time held out that their riches would pass over into the possession of the church? And yet, on the other hand, the chains in which they come over cannot be regarded, at least in this connection, where such emphasis is laid upon the voluntary character of the surrender, as placed upon them by Israel itself (as in Isaiah 60:11 and Psalm 149:8). We must therefore suppose that they put chains upon themselves voluntarily, and of their own accord, and thus offer themselves spontaneously to the church, to be henceforth its subjects and slaves. Egypt, Ethiopia, and Saba are the nations that we meet with in other passages, where the haereditas gentium is promised to the church, and generally in connection with Tyre (vid., Psalm 68:32; Psalm 72:10; compare Isaiah 18:7; Isaiah 19:16., Isaiah 23:18). Whilst the labour of Egypt (i.e., the productions of its labour) and the trade of Ethiopia (i.e., the riches acquired by trade) are mentioned; in the case of Saba the prophecy looks at the tall and handsome tribe itself, a tribe which Agatharchides describes as having σώματα ἀξιολογώτερα. These would place themselves at the service of the church with their invincible strength. The voluntary character of the surrender is pointed out, not only in the expression "they will come over," but also in the confession with which this is accompanied. In other cases the words hithpallēl 'el are only used of prayer to God and idols; but here it is to the church that prayer is offered. In the prophet's view, Jehovah and His church are inseparably one (compare 1 Corinthians 12:12, where "Christ" stands for the church as one body, consisting of both head and members; also the use of the word "worship" in Revelation 3:9, which has all the ring of a passage taken from Isaiah). אך is used here in its primary affirmative sense, as in Psalm 58:11. There can be no doubt that Paul had this passage of Isaiah in his mind when writing 1 Corinthians 14:24-25, ἀπαγγέλλων ὅτι ὁ Θεὸς ὄντως ἐν ὑμῖν ἐστί, or, according to a better arrangement of the words, ὅτι ὄντως ( equals אך) ὁ Θεὸς ἐν ὑμῖν ἐστίν. 'Ephes does not signify praeter (as a synonym of בּלעדי, זוּלתי) either here or anywhere else, but is a substantive used with a verbal force, which stands in the same relation to אין as "there is not at all (absolutely not)" to "there is not;" compare Isaiah 5:8; Isaiah 45:6; Isaiah 46:9, also Deuteronomy 32:36 (derivative passage, 2 Kings 14:26), and Amos 6:10; 2 Samuel 9:3; vid., Isaiah 47:8.
Verily thou art a God that hidest thyself, O God of Israel, the Saviour.
What follows in Isaiah 45:15 is not a continuation of the words of the Gentiles, but a response of the church to their confession. The nations that have been idolatrous till now, bend in humble spontaneous worship before the church and its God; and at the sight of this, the church, from whose soul the prophet is speaking, bursts out into an exclamation of reverential amazement. "Verily Thou art a mysterious God, Thou God of Israel, Thou Savour." Literally, a God who hides Himself (mistattēr: the resemblance to μυστηρ-ιώδης is quite an accidental one; the ē is retained in the participle even in pause). The meaning is, a God who guides with marvellous strangeness the history of the nations of the earth, and by secret ways, which human eyes can never discern, conducts all to a glorious issue. The exclamation in Romans 11:33, "O the depth of the riches," etc., is a similar one.
They shall be ashamed, and also confounded, all of them: they shall go to confusion together that are makers of idols.
The way in which this God who hides Himself is ultimately revealed as the God of salvation, is then pointed out in Isaiah 45:16, Isaiah 45:17 : "They are put to shame, and also confounded, all of them; they go away into confusion together, the forgers of idols. Israel is redeemed by Jehovah with everlasting redemption: ye are not put to shame nor confounded to everlasting eternities." The perfects are expressive of the ideal past. Jehovah shows Himself as a Savour by the fact, that whereas the makers of idols perish, Israel is redeemed an everlasting redemption (acc. obj. as in Isaiah 14:6; Isaiah 22:17; Ges. 138, 1, Anm. 1), i.e., so that its redemption is one that lasts for aeons (αἰωνία λύτρωσις, Hebrews 9:12) - observe that teshū‛âh does not literally signify redemption or rescue, but transfer into a state of wide expanse, i.e., of freedom and happiness. The plural ‛ōlâmı̄m (eternities equals αἰῶνες aeua) belongs, according to Knobel, to the later period of the language; but it is met with as early as in old Asaphite psalms (Psalm 77:6). When the further promise is added, Ye shall not be put to shame, etc., this clearly shows, what is also certain on other grounds - namely, that the redemption is not thought of merely as an outward and bodily one, but also as inward and spiritual, and indeed (in accordance with the prophetic blending of the end of the captivity with the end of all things) as a final one. Israel will never bring upon itself again such a penal judgment as that of the captivity by falling away from God; that is to say, its state of sin will end with its state of punishment, even עב עד־עולמי, i.e., since עד has no plural, εἰς αἰῶνας τῶν αἰώνων.
But Israel shall be saved in the LORD with an everlasting salvation: ye shall not be ashamed nor confounded world without end.
For thus saith the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is none else.
The second and last strophe of this prophecy commences with Isaiah 45:18. By the fulfilment of the promise thus openly proclaimed, those of the heathen who have been saved from the judgment will recognise Jehovah as the only God; and the irresistible will of Jehovah, that all mankind should worship Him, be carried out. The promise cannot remain unfulfilled. "For thus saith Jehovah, the creator of the heavens (He is the Deity), the former of the earth, and its finisher; He has established it (He has not created it a desert, He has formed it to be inhabited): I am Jehovah, and there is none else. I have not spoken in secret, in a place of the land of darkness; I did not say to the seed of Jacob, Into the desert seek ye me! I Jehovah am speaking righteousness, proclaiming upright things." The athnach properly divides Isaiah 45:18 in half. Isaiah 45:18 describes the speaker, and what He says commences in Isaiah 45:18. The first parenthesis affirms that Jehovah is God in the fullest and most exclusive sense; the second that He has created the earth for man's sake, not "as a desert" (tōhū: the lxx, Targum, and Jerome render this with less accuracy, non in vanum), i.e., not to be and continue to be a desert, but to be inhabited. Even in Genesis 1:2, chaos is not described as of God's creation, because (whatever may be men's opinions concerning it in other respects) the creative activity of God merely made use of this as a starting-point, and because, although it did not come into existence without God, it was at any rate not desired by God for its own sake. The words of Jehovah commence, then, with the assertion that Jehovah is the absolute One; and from this two thoughts branch off: (1.) The first is, that the prophecy which emanates from Him is an affair of light, no black art, but essentially different from heathen soothsaying. By "a dark place of the earth" we are to understand, according to Psalm 139:15, the interior of the earth, and according to Job 10:21, Hades; the intention being to point out the contrast between the prophecies of Jehovah and the heathen cave-oracles and spirit-voices of the necromancists, which seemed to rise up from the interior of the earth (see Isaiah 65:4; Isaiah 8:19; Isaiah 29:4). (2.) The second thought is, that the very same love of Jehovah, which has already been displayed in the creation, attests itself in His relation to Israel, which He has not directed to Himself "into the desert" (tōhū), just as He did not create the earth a tōhū. Meier and Knobel suppose that baqshūnı̄, which is written here, according to a well-supported reading, with Koph raphatum (whereas in other cases the dagesh is generally retained, particularly in the imperative of biqqēsh), refers to seeking for disclosures as to the future; but the word דרשׁוּני would be used for this, as in Isaiah 8:19. He has not said, "Seek ye me (as in Zephaniah 2:3) into the desert," i.e., without the prospect of meeting with any return for your pains. On the contrary, He has attached promises to the seeking of Himself, which cannot remain unfulfilled, for He is "one speaking righteousness, declaring things that are right;" i.e., when He promises, He follows out the rule of His purpose and of His plan of salvation, and the impulse of sincere desire for their good, and love which is ever true to itself. The present word of prophecy points to the fulfilment of these promises.
I have not spoken in secret, in a dark place of the earth: I said not unto the seed of Jacob, Seek ye me in vain: I the LORD speak righteousness, I declare things that are right.
Assemble yourselves and come; draw near together, ye that are escaped of the nations: they have no knowledge that set up the wood of their graven image, and pray unto a god that cannot save.
The salvation of Israel, foretold and realized by Jehovah, becomes at the same time the salvation of the heathen world. "Assemble yourselves and come; draw near together, ye escaped of the heathen! Irrational are they who burden themselves with the wood of their idol, and pray to a god that bringeth no salvation. Make known, and cause to draw near; yea, let them take counsel together: Who has made such things known from the olden time, proclaimed it long ago? have not I, Jehovah? and there is no Deity beside me; a God just, and bringing salvation: there is not without me!" The fulness of the Gentiles, which enters into the kingdom of God, is a remnant of the whole mass of the heathen: for salvation comes through judgment; and it is in the midst of great calamities that the work of that heathen mission is accomplished, which is represented in these prophecies on the one hand as the mission of Cyrus, and on the other hand as the mission of Jehovah and His servant. Hence this summons to listen to the self-assertion of the God of revelation, is addressed to the escaped of the heathen, who are not therefore the converted, but those who are susceptible of salvation, and therefore spared. By "the heathen" (haggōyı̄m) Knobel understands the allies and auxiliaries of the Babylonians, whom Cyrus put to flight (according to the Cyropaedia) before his Lydian campaign. But this is only an example of that exaggerated desire to turn everything into history, which not only prevented his seeing the poetry of the form, but obscured the fact that prophecy is both human and divine. For the future was foreshortened to the telescopic glance of the prophet, so that he could not see it in all its length and breadth. He saw in one mass what history afterwards unrolled; and then behind the present he could just see as it were the summit of the end, although a long eventful way still lay between the two. Accordingly, our prophet here takes his stand not at the close of any particular victory of Cyrus, but at the close of all his victories; and, in his view, these terminate the whole series of catastrophes, which are outlived by a remnant of the heathen, who are converted to Jehovah, and thus complete the final glory of the restored people of God. Throughout the whole of these prophecies we see immediately behind the historical foreground this eschatological background lifting up its head. The heathen who have been preserved will assemble together; and from the fact that Jehovah proves Himself the sole foreteller of the events that are now unfolding themselves, they will be brought to the conviction that He is the only God. The hithpael hithnaggēsh does not occur anywhere else. On the absolute ידע לא, see at Isaiah 44:9 (cf., Isaiah 1:3). To the verb haggı̄shū we must supply, as in Isaiah 41:22, according to the same expression in Isaiah 45:21, עצּמתיכם (your proofs). "This" refers to the fall of Babylon and redemption of Israel - salvation breaking through judgment. On mē'âz, from the olden time, compare Isaiah 44:8. God is "a just God and a Saviour," as a being who acts most stringently according to the demands of His holiness, and wherever His wrath is not wickedly provoked, sets in motion His loving will, which is ever concerned to secure the salvation of men.
Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? who hath told it from that time? have not I the LORD? and there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me.
Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.
It is in accordance with this holy loving will that the cry is published in Isaiah 45:22 : "Turn unto me, and be ye saved, all ye ends of the earth; for I am God, and none else." The first imperative is hortatory, the second promising (cf., Isaiah 36:16 and Isaiah 8:9): Jehovah desires both, viz., the conversion of all men to Himself; and through this their salvation, ad this His gracious will, which extends to all mankind, will not rest till its object has been fully accomplished. Isaiah 45:23 "By myself have I sworn, a word has gone out of a mouth of righteousness, and will not return, That to me every knee shall bend, every tongue swear." Swearing by Himself (see Genesis 22:16), God pledges what He swears with His own life (compare Romans 14:11, "as I live"). Parallel to נשׁבּעתּי בּי is the clause ישׁוּב ולא דּבר צדק מפּי יצא. Here Rosenmller connects דבר צדקה together as if with a hyphen, in the sense of a truth-word (Jerome, justitiae verbum). But this is grammatically impossible, since it would require צדקה דּבר; moreover, it is opposed both to the accents, and to the dagesh in the Daleth. Hitzig's rendering is a better one: "Truth (lxx δικαιοσύνη), a word that does not return," - the latter being taken as an explanatory permutative; but in that case we should require לא for ולא, and tsedâqâh is not used in the sense of truth anywhere else (compare tsaddı̄q, however, in Isaiah 41:26). On the other hand, צדקה might be equivalent to בצדקה "in righteousness;" cf., Isaiah 42:25, חמה equals בּהמה), if it were not incomparably more natural to connect together צדקה מפי as a genitive construction; though not in the sense in which הגבורה מפי is used in post-biblical writings - namely, as equivalent to "out of the mouth of God" (see Buxtorf, Lex. Chald. Col. 385) - but rather in this way, that the mouth of God is described attributively as regulated in its words by His holy will (as "speaking righteousness, Isaiah 45:19). A word has gone forth from this mouth of righteousness; and after it has once gone forth, it does not return without accomplishing its object (Isaiah 55:11). What follows is not so much a promising prediction (that every knee will bend to me), as a definitive declaration of will (that it shall or must bend to me). According to Isaiah 19:18; Isaiah 44:5, "to me" is to be regarded as carried forward, and so to be supplied after "shall swear" (the Septuagint rendering, ὀμεῖται @85 τὸν Θεόν, is false; that of Paul in Romans 14:11, ἐξομολογήσεται τῷ Θεῷ, is correct; and in this case, as in others also, the Cod. Al. of the Sept. has been corrected from the New Testament quotations).
I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.
Surely, shall one say, in the LORD have I righteousness and strength: even to him shall men come; and all that are incensed against him shall be ashamed.
This bending of the knee, this confession as an oath of homage, will be no forced one. Isaiah 45:24 "Only in Jehovah, do men say of me, is fulness of righteousness and strength; they come to Him, and all that were incensed against Him are put to shame." The parenthetical insertion of אמר לי ל, with reference to, as in Isaiah 41:7; Isaiah 44:26, Isaiah 44:28) is the same as in Psalm 119:57. אך has a restrictive sense here, which springs out of the affirmative (cf., Psalm 39:7; Psalm 73:1), just as, in the case of raq, the affirmative grows out of the primary restrictive sense. The "righteousness" is abounding (superabundant) righteousness (Romans 5:15.). עז is the strength of sanctification, and of the conquest of the world. The subject to יבוא (which is not to be changed, according to the Masora, into the more natural יבאּוּ, as it is by the lxx, Syr., and Vulg.) is, whoever has seen what man has in Jehovah, and made confession of this; such a man does not rest till he has altogether come over to Jehovah, whereas all His enemies are put to shame. They separate themselves irretrievably from the men who serve Him, the restoration of whom is His direct will, and the goal of the history of salvation. Isaiah 45:25 "In Jehovah all the seed of Israel shall become righteous, and shall glory." Ruetschi has very properly observed on this verse, that the reference is to the Israel of God out of all the human race, i.e., the church of the believers in Israel expanded by the addition of the heathen; which church is now righteous, i.e., reconciled and renewed by Jehovah, and glories in Him, because by grace it is what it is.
This brings the sixth prophecy to a close. Its five strophes commence with "Thus saith the Lord;" at the same time, the fifth strophe has two "woes" (hoi) before this, as the ground upon which it rests.
In the LORD shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory.