Isaiah 41:6
They helped every one his neighbour; and every one said to his brother, Be of good courage.
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(6) Be of good courage.—Literally, Be strong: i.e., work vigorously.

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.They helped every one his neighbor - The idolatrous nations. The idea is, that they formed confederations to strengthen each other, and to oppose him whom God had raised up to subdue them. The prophet describes a state of general consternation existing among them, when they supposed that all was in danger, and that their security consisted only in confederation; in increased attention to their religion; in repairing their idols and making new ones, and in conciliating the favor and securing the aid of heir gods It was natural for them to suppose that the calamities which were coming upon them by the invasion of Cyrus were the judgments of their gods, for some neglect, or some prevailing crimes, and that their favor could be secured only by a more diligent attention to their service, and by forming new images and establishing them in the proper places of worship. The prophet, therefore, describes in a graphic manner, the consternation, the alarm, and the haste, everywhere apparent among them, in attempting to conciliate the favor of their idols, and to encourage each other. Nothing is more common, than for people, when they are in danger, to give great attention to religion, though they may greatly neglect or despise it when they are in safety. Men fly to temples and churches and altars in the times of plague and the pestilence; and as regularly flee from them when the calamity is overpast.

Be of good courage - Margin, as Hebrew, 'Be strong.' The sense is, Do not be alarmed at the invasion of Cyrus. Make new images, set them up in the temples, show unusual zeal in religion, and the favor of the gods may be secured, and the dangers be averted. This is to be understood as the language of the idolatrous nations, among whom Cyrus, under the direction of Yahweh, was carrying his conquests and spreading desolation.

6. Be of good courage—Be not alarmed because of Cyrus, but make new images to secure the favor of the gods against him. They encouraged and assisted one another in their idolatrous practices.

They helped everyone his neighbour,.... By advice and counsel, by the best arguments they could make use of, to withstand the new religion, and defend the old one; to prevent the embracing the one, and relinquishing the other:

and everyone said to his brother, be of good courage: or, "be strong" (m); they strengthened one another's hands in their idolatrous worship, encouraged each other to oppose the prevailing doctrine; urging, that the craft of some was in danger, and the religion of them all at stake, and their gods like to fall into contempt. An instance of this may be seen in Demetrius the craftsman at Ephesus, when the Gospel mightily prevailed there, who stirred up the workmen of the same craft with himself and the like, suggesting the loss of their business, and the dishonour reflected on their goddess Diana, should the apostle go on as he did; by which we may judge how it was, more or less, in other parts of the world; see Acts 19:20.

(m) "fortis esto, vel sis strenuus", Vatablus.

They helped every one his neighbour; and every one said to his brother, {h} Be of good courage.

(h) He notes the obstinacy of the idolaters to maintain their superstitions.

6. they helped] i.e. the nations. But if the verse stood originally after Isaiah 40:19, “they” refers to the two classes of workmen there mentioned. Each helps the other, and says to his fellow, Cheer up!

Isaiah 41:6In the following v. we have not a description of the impression made upon the heathen by the argument of Jehovah, but the argument itself is continued. Isaiah 41:5 "Islands have seen it, and shuddered; the ends of the earth trembled; they have approached, and drawn near." We have here a description of the effects which the victorious course of Cyrus had begun to produce in the heathen world. The perfects denote the past, and the futures a simultaneous past; so that we have not to compare Isaiah 41:5 with Habakkuk 3:10 so much as with Psalm 77:17. The play upon the words וייראּוּ ... ראּוּ pairs together both seeing and fearing. The Cumaeans, when consulting the oracle, commenced thus: ἡμεῖς δὲ δειμαίνοντες τὴν Περσέων δύναμιν. The perfect with the aorist following in Isaiah 41:5 places the following picture upon the stage: They have approached and drawn near (from all directions) to meet the threatening danger; and how? Isaiah 41:6, Isaiah 41:7 "One helped his companion, and he said to his brother, Only firm! The caster put firmness into the melter, the hammer-smoother into the anvil-smiter, saying of the soldering, It is good; and made him firm with nails, that he should not shake." Him, viz., the idol. Everything is in confusion, from the terror that prevails; and the gods from which they expect deliverance are not made till now, the workmen stimulating one another to work. The chârâsh, who casts the image, encourages the tsōrēph, whose task it is to provide it with the plating of gold and silver chains (Isaiah 40:19), to work more bravely; and the man who smooths with the hammer (pattish, instrumentalis) does the same to the man who smites the anvil (הולם with seghol, whereas in other cases, e.g., Ezekiel 22:25, the tone generally gives way without any change in the vowel-pointing). The latter finds the soldering all right, by which the gold plates of the covering are fastened together, so as to give to the golden idol a massive appearance. He is the last into whose hands it comes; and nothing more is wanting, than that he should forge upon the anvil the nails with which it is fastened, to prevent it from falling. To such foolish, fruitless proceedings have the nations resorted when threatened with subjugation by Cyrus.
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