Isaiah 44:26
That confirms the word of his servant, and performes the counsel of his messengers; that said to Jerusalem, You shall be inhabited; and to the cities of Judah, You shall be built, and I will raise up the decayed places thereof:
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(26) That confirmeth the word of his servant.—The parallelism of “servantin the singular with “messengers” in the plural suggests the thought that the prophet is not speaking of himself, but of Israel, as the ideal “servant of the Lord,” the prophetic nation represented by the individual “messengers” or prophets. Comp. as to the word Isaiah 42:19; Malachi 3:1, and that prophet’s own name (“my messenger”).

44:21-28 Return unto me. It is the great concern of those who have backslidden from God, like the Jews of old, to hasten their return to him. The work of redemption wrought for us by Christ, encourages to hope for all blessings from him. Our transgressions and our sins are as a thick cloud between heaven and earth: sins separate between us and God; they threaten a storm of wrath. When God pardons sin, he blots out, he dispels this cloud, this thick cloud, so that the way to heaven is open again. The cloud is scattered by the Sun of righteousness; it is quite gone. The comforts that flow into the soul when sin is pardoned, are like clear shining after clouds and rain. Let not Israel be discouraged; nothing is too hard for God: having made all, he can make what use he pleases of any. Those that learn to know Christ, see all knowledge to be foolishness, in comparison with the knowledge of him. And his enemies will find their counsels turned into foolishness, and themselves taken in their craftiness. The exact fulfilling the prophecies of Scripture confirms the truth of the whole, and proves its Divine origin. The particular favours God designed for his people in captivity, were foretold here, long before they went into captivity. Very great difficulties would be in the way of their deliverance; but it is promised that by Divine power they should all be removed. God knew who should be the Deliverer of his people; and let his church know it, that when they heard such a name talked of, they might know their redemption drew nigh. It is the greatest honour of the greatest men, to be employed as instruments of the Divine favour to his people. In things wherein men serve themselves, and look no further, God makes them do all his pleasure. And a nobler Shepherd than Cyrus does his Father's will, till his work is fully completed.That confirmeth the word of his servant - Probably the word 'servant' here is to be taken in a collective sense, as referring to the prophets in general who had foretold the return of the Jews to their own land, and the rebuilding of Jerusalem. Or it may be, that the prophet refers more particularly to himself as having made a full prediction of this event. The parallel expression, 'his messengers,' however, is in the plural number, and thus it is rendered probable that the word here refers to the prophets collectively. The idea is, that it was a characteristic of God to establish the words of his servants the prophets, and that their predictions in regard to the return from the captivity in a special manner would be fulfilled.

The counsel of his messengers - The prophets whom he had sent to announce future events, and to give counsel and consolation to the nation.

That saith to Jerusalem - Jerusalem is here supposed to be lying in ruins, and the people to be in captivity in Babylon. In this situation, God is represented as addressing desolate Jerusalem, and saying, that it should be again inhabited, and that the cities of Judah should be rebuilt.

The decayed places - Margin, 'Wastes.' No land, probably, was ever more completely desolated than the land of Judea when its inhabitants were carried to Babylon.

26. servant—in a collective sense, for the prophets in general, who foretold the return from Babylon; answering to "His messengers" (plural, in the parallel clause) [Maurer]. Antitypically, and ultimately, Messiah, who is the consummating embodiment of all the prophets and messengers of God (Mal 3:1; Mt 21:34, 36, 37; Joh 10:36); hence the singular, "His servant."

counsel—predictions; prophets' counsels concern the future (compare "counsellor," Isa 41:28).

Jerusalem—regarded prophetically, as lying in ruins.

Of his servant; of his servants, the prophets, as appears from the next clause, which answers to this, where he useth the plural number,

his messengers; Isaiah and other prophets, whom God sent upon this errand, to foretell the destruction of Babylon, and the redemption of his people. That confirmeth the word of his servant, and performeth the counsel of his messengers,.... Who, as he confirmed the word of Isaiah and other prophets, and fulfilled their predictions concerning the captivity of the Jews, and their deliverance from it; so he has confirmed and established the word preached by his servants, the Gospel, which is the counsel of God, delivered out by his messengers, the apostles, and first preachers of it; it being attended with the demonstration of the spirit, and of power, to the conversion of sinners, and to the destruction of idolatry and Pagan worship. By the Lord's "servant" some understand Moses, as Jarchi; others Isaiah, as Kimchi and most interpreters; and why not Paul, as Cocceius? though the singular seems rather to be put for the plural, as the next clause explains it; and so the Arabic version renders it, "his servants"; to which the Targum agrees, paraphrasing it,

"confirming the words of his servants the righteous:''

that saith to Jerusalem, thou shalt be inhabited, and to the cities of Judah, ye shall be built, and I will raise up the decayed places thereof; all which suppose that Jerusalem, which, in the prophet's time, was full of inhabitants, should be emptied of them, by the sword, famine, pestilence, and captivity; yet, nevertheless, there should be a return of the Jews from captivity, and this city should be peopled and inhabited again; and also, that the cities of Judah, which were now in good circumstances, should be laid waste, and all the adjacent country be in a ruinous condition, all which should be rebuilt and restored to a flourishing state again. The Lord had said it, and it should be done; as accordingly it was. This may be understood, in a spiritual sense, of the building up of the church of God, and the setting up and establishing the interest of Christ, by the preaching of the Gospel.

That confirmeth the word of his {d} servant, and performeth the counsel of his messengers; that saith to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be inhabited; and to the cities of Judah, Ye shall be built, and I will raise up her decayed places:

(d) Of Isaiah and the rest of his prophets, who assured the Church of God's favour and deliverance.

26. That confirmeth] is the antithesis to “that frustrateth” in Isaiah 44:25. (Cf. Jeremiah 29:10; Jeremiah 33:14).

the word of his servant … the counsel of his messengers] are parallel expressions for the word of prophecy. The sing. “servant” presents some difficulty. That it is equivalent to “prophet” is clear from the context; but that a particular prophet, such as Jeremiah or the writer himself, is meant is extremely improbable. It might conceivably be used of the prophets collectively, or of Israel as the bearer of the prophetic word, but the parallelism with “messengers” in the next clause is opposed to both these interpretations. The word should probably be pointed as a plural,—his servants; which is the reading of the Codex Alexandrinus of the LXX.

performeth] Lit. completeth.

that saith &c.] that saith of Jerusalem, Let her be inhabited; and of the cities of Judah, Let them be built. At this point, as Delitzsch observes, the transition is made to special predictions bearing on the restoration of Israel.

decayed places] R.V. waste places, or ruins.Verse 26. - That confirmeth the word of his servant; that is, of Isaiah himself, whom God calls "my Servant" in Isaiah 20:3. The "messengers" are the prophets generally. Before the return from the Captivity took place, it had been prophesied, not only by Isaiah, but by Jeremiah (Jeremiah 29:10-14), by Ezekiel (Ezekiel 39:25-28), by Joel 3:1), by Amos (Amos 9:11-15), by Obadiah (Obadiah:20), by Micah (Micah 4:10), and by Zephaniah (Zephaniah 3:14-20). This exposure of the infatuation of idolatry closes with an epiphonem in the form of a gnome (cf., Isaiah 26:7, Isaiah 26:10). "He who striveth after ashes, a befooled heart has led him astray, and he does not deliver his soul, and does not think, Is there not a lie in my right hand?" We have here a complete and self-contained sentence, which must not be broken up in the manner proposed by Knobel, "He hunts after ashes; his heart is deceived," etc. He who makes ashes, i.e., things easily scattered, perishable, and worthless, the object of his effort and striving (compare rūăch in Hosea 12:2), has bee led astray from the path of truth and salvation by a heart overpowered by delusion; he is so certain, that he does not think of saving his soul, and it never occurs to him to say, "Is there not a lie in my right hand?" All that belongs to idolatry is sheqer - a fabrication and a lie. רעה means primarily to pasture or tend, hence to be concerned about, to strive after. הותל is an attributive, from tâlal - hâtal, ludere, ludificare (see at Isaiah 30:10).
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