Remember you not the former things, neither consider the things of old.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Remember ye not . . .—All the wonders of the great historic past of Israel were to be as nothing compared with the new manifestation of the power of Jehovah, which Isaiah sees as already dawning in the future.
Shall ye not know it?—Better, Will ye not give heed to it?
I will even make a way in the wilderness . . .—The literal and the spiritual senses melt into each other. The very beasts of the field shall lose their ferocity in the presence of the saints of God. For “dragons and owls,” read jackals and ostriches.Isaiah 43:18-19. Remember ye not the former things — But although your former deliverance out of Egypt was in itself a most glorious work, which you ought always to remember and consider; yet this other work, of your deliverance out of Babylon, and those blessings which shall follow upon it, and particularly that of sending the Messiah, shall be so transcendent a favour, that, in comparison thereof, all your former deliverances are scarcely worthy of your remembrance and consideration. See two parallel texts, Jeremiah 16:14-15; Jeremiah 23:5-8. From which passages laid together it appears that this latter deliverance, compared with that out of Egypt, is not to be confined to their restoration from captivity, but to be extended to the consequences thereof, and especially to the redemption of the Messiah. Indeed, otherwise the deliverance from Egypt was more glorious and wonderful, in many respects, than that out of Babylon. Behold, I will do a new thing — Such a work as was never yet done in the world. Now it shall spring forth — The Scripture often speaks of things at a great distance of time, as if they were now at hand, to make us sensible of the inconsiderableness of time and all temporal things, in comparison of God and eternal things; upon which account it is said, that a thousand years are in God’s sight but as one day. Shall ye not know it? — Certainly, you Jews shall know it by experience, and shall find I do not deceive you with vain hopes. I will make a way in the wilderness, &c. — I will give you direction and provision in the wilderness, where there is commonly no path, and where all necessaries are wanting; which, as it literally speaks of God’s conducting them through the great desert which lay between Babylon and Judea, so it is mystically meant of those spiritual blessings which God, in and through Christ, would confer upon all his people, not the Jews only, but also the Gentiles, who, in prophetical language, are often compared to a wilderness.
The former things - The deliverance from Egypt, and the overthrow of his enemies there.Jeremiah 16:14,15 23:7,8. From all which texts laid together, it appears that this latter deliverance, compared with that out of Egypt, is not to be confined to their freedom from the Babylonish captivity, but to be extended to the consequences of it, and especially to the redemption by Christ, because otherwise that Egyptian deliverance was more glorious and wonderful in many respects than the Babylonian.
neither consider the things of old; unless as figures of the new, but not to be put upon a foot with them, much less to the undervaluing of them, and indeed to be forgotten in comparison of them; see Jeremiah 23:7. The Talmudists (q), by the "former" things, understand subjection to kingdoms; and, by the "things of old", the going out of Egypt; as they do by the "new thing", in the following verse, the war of Gog and Magog.Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)18. Great as the wonders of the exodus were they shall be far surpassed by that which Jehovah is about to do. The verse resumes the opening clause of Isaiah 43:16.
Remember ye not …] Cf. Jeremiah 16:14 f., Isaiah 23:7 f. It is not meant of course that the exodus shall be actually forgotten (see ch. Isaiah 46:9), but only that it shall no longer be the supreme instance of Jehovah’s redeeming power.
former things … things of old] Cf. ch. Isaiah 46:9. Obviously the expression “former things,” so often used of past events predicted, here includes the remote incidents of the deliverance from Egypt.Verse 18. - Remember ye not the former things. The old deliverance will be as nothing compared with the new. Israel must cast its eye forwards, not backwards. Mr. Cheyne well compares Jeremiah 23:7, 8, and also well notes that "the chief glories of the second manifestation are spiritual." Israel in the wilderness was a stiff:necked and rebellious people, given to murmuring, licentiousness, and idolatry. Israel, returned from Babylon, will no more hanker after idols, but will have God's Law "put in their inward parts" (Jeremiah 32:33), and will "show forth God's praise" (ver. 21). Isaiah 43:13) as a name indicating essence: "I and no other am the absolutely existing and living One," i.e., He who proves His existence by His acts, and indeed by His saving acts. מושׁיע and Jehovah are kindred epithets here; just as in the New Testament the name Jehovah sets, as it were, but only to rise again in the name Jesus, in which it is historically fulfilled. Jehovah's previous self-manifestation in history furnished a pledge of the coming redemption. The two synonyms הגּדתּי and השׁמעתּ have הושׁעתּי in the midst. He proclaimed salvation, brought salvation, and in the new afflictions was still ever preaching salvation, without there having been any zâr, i.e., any strange or other god in Israel (Deuteronomy 32:16; see above, Isaiah 17:10), who proved his existence in any such way, or, in fact, gave any sign of existence at all. This they must themselves confess; and therefore (Vav in sense equivalent to ergo, as in Isaiah 40:18, Isaiah 40:25) He, and He alone, is El, the absolutely mighty One, i.e., God. And from this time forth He is so, i.e., He, and He only, displays divine nature and divine life. There is no reason for taking מיּום in the sense of יום מהיות, "from the period when the day, i.e., time, existed" (as the lxx, Jerome, Stier, etc., render it). Both the gam (also) and the future 'eph‛al (I will work) require the meaning supported by Ezekiel 48:35, "from the day onwards," i.e., from this time forth (syn. לפני־יום, Isaiah 48:7). The concluding words give them to understand, that the predicted salvation is coming in the way of judgment. Jehovah will go forward with His work; and if He who is the same yesterday and today sets this before Him, who can turn it back, so that it shall remain unaccomplished? The prophecy dies away, like the massâ' Bâbhel with its epilogue in Isaiah 14:27. In the first half (Isaiah 42:1-17) Jehovah introduced His servant, the medium of salvation, and proclaimed the approaching work of salvation, at which all the world had reason to rejoice. The second half (Isaiah 42:18-43:13) began with reproaching, and sought to bring Israel through this predicted salvation to reflect upon itself, and also upon its God, the One God, to whom there was no equal.
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