|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
41:1-9 Can any heathen god raise up one in righteousness, make what use of him he pleases, and make him victorious over the nations? The Lord did so with Abraham, or rather, he would do so with Cyrus. Sinners encourage one another in the ways of sin; shall not the servants of the living God stir up one another in his service? God's people are the seed of Abraham his friend. This is certainly the highest title ever given to a mortal. It means that Abraham, by Divine grace, was made like to God, and that he was admitted to communion with Him. Happy are the servants of the Lord, whom he has called to be his friends, and to walk with him in faith and holy obedience. Let not such as have thus been favoured yield to fear; for the contest may be sharp, but the victory shall be sure.
Verses 1-7. - ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE DELIVERER, AND EFFECT ON THE SURROUNDING NATIONS. Isaiah returns to the standpoint of Isaiah 40:9-11. A deliverer of Israel is about to appear. The nations are therefore summoned to attend, and consider the facts (ver. 1). He will carry all before him (vers 2, 3), being raised up by God (ver. 4). The nations will tremble, and seek the protection of their idol-deities (vers. 5-7). Verse 1. - Keep silence before me, O islands. God is the speaker. The "islands," or maritime lands of Western Asia, are to be silent before him, pondering the facts with a view to future argument. "Then let them speak" (see vers. 21-29). Let the people renew their strength; rather, the peoples or the nations; i.e. the inhabitants of the maritime tracts. To judgment; i.e. to a discussion,, which shall terminate in a right verdict.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Keep silence before me, O islands,.... The great controversy in the world after the coming of Christ, which is expressly spoken of in the preceding chapter, was, as Cocceius observes, whether he was a divine Person; this was first objected to by the Jews, and afterwards by many that bore the Christian name; some, in the times of the apostles, especially the Apostle John; and others in later ages; some affirmed that he was a mere man, as Ebion and Cerinthus; others that he was a created God, as Arius; and others a God by office, as Socinus and his followers; now these are called upon, wherever they were, whether on the continent, or in the isles of the sea; and especially all such places which were separated from Judea by the sea, or which they went to by sea, were called islands, perhaps the European nations and isles are more particularly intended; and now, as when the judge is on the bench, and the court is set, and a cause just going to be tried, silence is proclaimed; so here, Jehovah himself being on the throne, and a cause depending between him and men being about to be tried, they are commanded silence; see Zechariah 2:13,
and let the people renew their strength; muster up all their force, collect the most powerful arguments they had, and produce their strong reasons in favour of their sentiments:
let them come near, then let them speak; let them come into open court, and at the bar plead their cause, and speak out freely and fully all they have to say; and let them not pretend that they were deterred from speaking, and not suffered to make their defence, or were condemned without hearing:
let us come near together in judgment: and fairly try the cause; the issue of which is put upon this single point that follows.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
Isa 41:1-29. Additional Reasons Why the Jews Should Place Confidence in God's Promises of Delivering Them; He Will Raise Up a Prince as Their Deliverer, Whereas the Idols Could Not Deliver the Heathen Nations from That Prince.
1. (Zec 2:13). God is about to argue the case; therefore let the nations listen in reverential silence. Compare Ge 28:16, 17, as to the spirit in which we ought to behave before God.
before me—rather (turning), "towards me" [Maurer].
islands—including all regions beyond sea (Jer 25:22), maritime regions, not merely isles in the strict sense.
renew … strength—Let them gather their strength for the argument; let them adduce their strongest arguments (compare Isa 1:18; Job 9:32). "Judgment" means here, to decide the point at issue between us.
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