Isaiah 44:6
Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.
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(6) Thus saith the Lord . . .—A new section opens, repeating the argument of Isaiah 41, 43 against idolatry.

Isaiah 44:6-8. Thus saith the Lord, &c. — Here God renews his contest with idols, which he insists an so often, and so much, because his own people were exceeding prone to idolatry. And who — Which of all the heathen gods; shall call, and shall declare it — Shall, by his powerful call, cause a future event to be, and, by his infinite foreknowledge, declare that it shall be. And set it in order for me — Orderly relate all future events in the same manner as they shall happen. Since I appointed the ancient people Αφου εποιησα ανθρωπον. Since I first made man upon the earth: so the LXX. And the things that are coming, &c. — Such things as are near at hand, and such as are to come hereafter. Have not I told thee? — Thee, O Israel, whom he bids not to fear. The sense is, I call you Israelites to bear me witness, whether I have not, from time to time, acquainted you with things to come; from that time — When I appointed the ancient people, (Isaiah 44:7,) from the first ages of the world. And have declared it — Have published it to the world in my sacred records. Ye are even my witnesses — Both of my predictions, and of the exact agreeableness of events to them.

44:1-8 Israel is here called Jeshurun, which means the upright one. Such only are Israelites indeed, in whom is no guile. Those that serve God he will own. He will help them over difficulties, and in their services. Water is the emblem of the Holy Spirit; as water refreshes, cleanses, and makes the earth fruitful, so do his influences the soul. This gift of the Holy Ghost is the great blessing, the plentiful pouring out of which God kept for the latter days. Where God gives his Spirit, he will give all other blessings. Hereby shall be a great increase of the church; thus it shall be spread to distant places. Was there any other Rock, or Protector, that could defend them? None besides could foretell these things to come, of which God by his prophets gave notice. All was set in order in the Divine predictions, as well as in the Divine purposes. Could any other have done so? Who can compare with Israel's Redeemer and King?Thus saith the Lord - This commences, as I suppose (see Analysis), the argument to prove that Yahweh is the only true God, and that the idols were vanity. The object is, to show to the Jews, that he who had made to them such promises of protection and deliverance was able to perform what he had pledged himself to do.

The King of Israel - (See the notes at Isaiah 41:21).

And his Redeemer - (See the notes at Isaiah 43:1).

The Lord of hosts - (See the notes at Isaiah 1:9).

I am the first - (See the notes at Isaiah 41:4).

And I am the last - In Isaiah 41:4, this is expressed 'with the last;' in Revelation 1:8, 'I am Alpha and Omega.' The sense is, that God existed before all things, and will exist forever.

And besides me there is no God - This is repeatedly declared (Deuteronomy 4:35, Deuteronomy 4:39; see the note at Isaiah 43:10-12). This great truth it was God's purpose to keep steadily before the minds of the Jews; and to keep it in the world, and ultimately to diffuse it abroad among the nations, was one of the leading reasons why he selected them as a special people, and separated them from the rest of mankind.

6. Here follows an argument for Jehovah, as the only God, and against the idols, as vanity (see on [792]Isa 41:4; [793]Isa 43:1; [794]Isa 43:10-12). Here God reneweth his contest with idols; which he insisteth upon so oft and so much, because his own people were exceeding prone to idolatry.

Thus saith the Lord the King of Israel,.... The King of the whole world, and Governor among the nations; and in a peculiar manner King of Israel, that nation being a theocracy; and especially King of spiritual Israel, or King of saints, be they of what nation they will:

and his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts; who redeemed Israel out of Egypt, from the house of bondage, and would again redeem them from the Babylonish captivity, and the whole Israel of God from sin, Satan, and the law; which he was able to do, being "the Lord of hosts", of the armies above and below:

I am the first, and I am the last; the first cause and last end, of all things in nature, and providence, and grace; all things are of him, through him, and from him; all things were made by him in creation, and for his pleasure they are and were created; and all things are disposed of in his providence for his own glory; and he is the first in reconciliation, justification, and salvation, and all are to the glory of his grace: or this is a periphrasis of his eternity, who is from everlasting to everlasting, without beginning or end, the Alpha and Omega; the same is said of Christ, Revelation 1:8, and all the other characters before mentioned agree with him:

and besides me there is no God: all others are only gods by name, not by nature, mere nominal fictitious deities, not real ones; and it is to the exclusion of these from the rank of deity, these words are said; but not to the exclusion of the Son of God, and the Holy Spirit, who, with the Father, are the one true God.

Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; {f} I am the first, and I am the last; and besides me there is no God.

(f) I am always like myself, that is, merciful toward my Church, and most able to maintain it, as in Isa 41:4,48:12, Re 1:17,22:13.

6–8. There is no God but Jehovah and Israel is His witness: this is the substance of the verses, and the proof is the familiar one from prophecy.

the King of Israel] See on ch. Isaiah 41:21.

the Lord of hosts] this solemn appellation (see on ch. Isaiah 1:9) occurs here for the first time in this prophecy (cf. ch. Isaiah 45:13, Isaiah 47:4, Isaiah 48:2, Isaiah 51:15, Isaiah 54:5).

I am the first and I am the last] So ch. Isaiah 48:12; see on Isaiah 41:4, and cf. Revelation 1:8; Revelation 1:17; Revelation 22:13. besides me there is no God] a fuller expression of monotheism than ch. Isaiah 43:10.

Ch. Isaiah 44:6-23. The Reality of Jehovah’s Godhead, evinced by His Predictions, and contrasted with the manifold absurdities of Idolatry

The passage, which is merely a restatement of ideas already expressed, consists of three divisions:

i. Isaiah 44:6-8. A re-assertion and demonstration of the eternity and sole Divinity of Jehovah.

ii. Isaiah 44:9-20. A fresh exposure—the most complete and remorseless that the book contains—of the irrationality of idol-worship.

iii. Isaiah 44:21-23. An exhortation to the exiles to lay these truths to heart, and cleave to the God who forgives their sins and who alone can deliver. Isaiah 44:23 is a lyrical effusion, such as the thought of the redemption frequently calls forth from the prophet.

Verses 6-20. - A FURTHER CONTRAST OF GOD WITH IDOLS. The captive Jews, dwelling scattered in a land the inhabitants of which were, one and all, idolaters, and having by hereditary taint an inclination to idolatry, would be easily tempted, during the long and weary period of the Captivity, to put away the worship and even the thought of Jehovah, who had allowed their subjugation, and conform to the religion of their conquerors. Hence the repeated contrasts in these later chapters - specially addressed to caprice Israel - between Jehovah and idols, and the sharp ridicule of the latter (comp. Isaiah 40:18-25; Isaiah 41:4-7, 21-29). Verse 6. - The Lord the King of Israel. Therefore entitled to Israel's allegiance (comp. Isaiah 43:15). And his Redeemer; i.e. Israel's Redeemer - he who had redeemed them from Egyptian bondage - who will redeem them from the power of Babylon - who, best of all, will redeem them from their sins. The First... the Last (comp. Isaiah 41:4, with the comment). Beside me there is no God. This had been distinctly asserted in the Law (Deuteronomy 4:35, 39; Deuteronomy 32:39); but Israel could not be induced practically to believe it. The "gods of the nations" were supposed generally to be realities, actual powers, not perhaps so potent as Jehovah, but still real beings, capable of doing good and harm (see Isaiah 41:23). It is one of Isaiah's special objects in these later chapters to disabuse Israel of this notion (see Isaiah 41:21-24; Isaiah 43:9-11; Isaiah 45:5, 6, 14-22, etc.). Isaiah 44:6A new pledge of redemption is given, and a fresh exhortation to trust in Jehovah; the wretchedness of the idols and their worshippers being pointed out, in contrast with Jehovah, the only speaking and acting God. Isaiah 44:6 "Thus saith Jehovah the King of Israel, and its Redeemer, Jehovah of hosts; I am first, and I last; and beside me there is no God." The fact that His deity, which rules over not only the natural world, but history as well, is thus without equal and above all time, is now proved by Him from the fact that He alone manifests Himself as God, and that by the utterance of prophecy. Isaiah 44:7 "And who preaches as I do? Let him make it known, and show it to me; since I founded the people of ancient time! And future things, and what is approaching, let them only make known." Jehovah shows Himself as the God of prophecy since the time that He founded עם־עולם (יקרא refers to the continued preaching of prophecy). ‛Am‛ōlâm is the epithet applied in Ezekiel 26:20 to the people of the dead, who are sleeping the long sleep of the grave; and here it does not refer to Israel, which could neither be called an "eternal" nation, nor a people of the olden time, and which would have been more directly named; but according to Isaiah 40:7 and Isaiah 42:5, where ‛am signifies the human race, and Job 22:15., where ‛ōlâm is the time of the old world before the flood, it signifies humanity as existing from the very earliest times. The prophecies of Jehovah reach back even to the history of paradise. The parenthetical clause, "Let him speak it out, and tell it me," is like the apodosis of a hypothetical protasis: "if any one thinks that he can stand by my side." The challenge points to earlier prophecies; with ואתיּות it takes a turn to what is future, אתיות itself denoting what is absolutely future, according to Isaiah 41:23, and תּבאנה אשׁר what is about to be realized immediately; lâmō is an ethical dative.
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