Isaiah 45:20
Assemble yourselves and come; draw near together, ye that are escaped of the nations: they have no knowledge that set up the wood of their graven image, and pray unto a god that cannot save.
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(20) Ye that are escaped of the nations.—Primarily, the words point to the survivors of the conquests of Cyrus, who are contemplated as acknowledging the God of Israel. Ultimately the words find their fulfilment in the conversion of the heathen to the true anointed of Jehovah, of whom Cyrus was a type. They will bear witness from their experience to the vanity of idols. They will learn that it does not avail to set up (or carry) their idols in religious processions (Jeremiah 10:5; Amos 5:26; 1Samuel 4:4).

Isaiah 45:20-22. Draw near together — To attend to what I have said, and am now about to say again, concerning the vanity of your idols; ye that are escaped of the nations — Ye that survive those many and great destructions which I am bringing upon heathen nations for their abominable idolatries and other wickedness. Let those dreadful judgments upon others, and God’s great mercy in sparing you, awaken you to a more impartial and serious consideration of this subject, and induce you to renounce those idols which have now manifested their inability to afford any help to those who serve and trust in them. They have no knowledge, &c. — See on Isaiah 44:9; Isaiah 44:17-18. Let them take counsel together — To maintain the cause of their idols. See on Isaiah 41:22; and Isaiah 43:9; and Isaiah 44:7. Look unto me, &c., all ye ends of the earth — Upon these considerations I call upon all people, from one end of the earth to the other, to cast away their idols, and to turn their eyes and hearts to me, expecting salvation from me, and from me only; and they shall not be disappointed. And this is not only an exhortation to the Gentiles to turn from idols to God, but a prediction that they shall turn to him, and look unto Christ, who is and will be the author of eternal salvation to all that obey him, whether Jews or Gentiles, which is confirmed by the following verse.

45:20-25 The nations are exhorted to draw near to Jehovah. None besides is able to help; he is the Saviour, who can save without the assistance of any, but without whom none can save. If the heart is brought into the obedience of Christ, the knee will cheerfully obey his commands. To Christ men shall come from every nation for blessings; all that hate his cause shall be put to shame, and all believers shall rejoice in him as their Friend and Portion. All must come to him: may we now come to him as the Lord our Righteousness, walking according to his commandments.Assemble yourselves, and come - This, like the passage in Isaiah 41:1 ff, is a solemn appeal to the worshippers of idols, to come and produce the evidences of their being endowed with omniscience, and with almighty power, and of their having claims to the homage of their worshippers.

Ye that are escaped of the nations - This phrase has been very variously interpreted. Kimchi supposes that it means those who were distinguished among the nations, their chiefs, and rulers; Aben Ezra, that the Babylonians are meant especially; Vitringa, that the phrase denotes proselytes, as those who have escaped from the idolatry of the pagan, and have embraced the true religion; Grotius, that it denotes those who survived the slaughter which Cyrus inflicted on the nations. Rosenmuller coincides in opinion with Vitringa. The word used here (פליט pâlı̂yṭ) denotes properly one who has escaped by flight from battle, danger, or slaughter Genesis 14:13; Joshua 8:32. It is not used anywhere in the sense of a proselyte; and the idea here is, I think, that those who escaped from the slaughter which Gyrus would bring on the nations, were invited to come and declare what benefit they had derived from trusting in idol-gods. In Isaiah 45:16, God had said they should all be ashamed and confounded who thus put their trust in idols; and he here calls on them as living witnesses that it was so. Those who had put their confidence in idols, and who had seen Cyrus carry his arms over nations notwithstanding their vain confidence, could now testify that no reliance was to be placed on them, and could be adduced as witnesses to show the importance of putting their trust in Yahweh.

That set up the wood - The word 'wood' is used here to show the folly of worshipping an image thus made, and to show how utterly unable it was to save.

20. escaped of the nations—those of the nations who shall have escaped the slaughter inflicted by Cyrus. Now, at last, ye shall see the folly of "praying to a god that cannot save" (Isa 45:16). Ultimately, those that shall be "left of all the nations which shall come against Jerusalem" are meant (Zec 14:16). They shall then all be converted to the Lord (Isa 66:23, 24; Jer 3:17; Zec 8:20-23). Assemble yourselves and come; draw near together; to debate the business with me concerning the divinity of your idols, and hear what I have said, and am now about to say again, in that matter.

Ye that are escaped of the nations; the remnant of the Gentiles, which shall survive those great and many destructions which I am bringing upon the heathen nations for their abominable idolatries and other wickedness. Let these dreadful judgments upon others, and God’s singular mercy in sparing you, awaken you to a more impartial and serious consideration of this point, and cast off those idols, which have now discovered their own vanity and inability to help those who serve them and trust in them.

They have no knowledge; they hereby discover their deep ignorance and stupidity.

That set up in a high place, where it may be seen and worshipped.

Assemble yourselves, and come; draw near together, ye that are escaped of the nations,.... Not that escaped the sword of Cyrus's army, the Chaldeans; nor the Jews that escaped out of Babylon and other countries, by his means; but the remnant, according to the election of grace among the Gentiles; such who were called out of Heathenish darkness into the marvellous light of the Gospel, and escaped the idolatries that others continued in; these are called and summoned together, as to observe the grace of God to themselves, so to labour to convince others of their gross ignorance and stupidity in worshipping idols, and to judge and pass sentence on the obstinate among them:

they have no knowledge that set up the wood of their graven image; or that "lift up" or "carry the wood of their graven image" (d); the inside of whose graven image is wood, though covered with some metal which is graved; and for a man to carry such an image on his shoulders, either in procession or in order to fix it in some proper place for adoration, argues great ignorance and stupidity; such persons can have no knowledge of deity, that can believe that a log of wood, covered with gold or silver, graved by art and man's device, and which they are obliged to carry upon their shoulders, can be a god, or a fit object of worship:

and pray to a god that cannot save; itself, nor them; cannot hear their prayers, nor return an answer to them; cannot help and assist them in distress, nor deliver them out of their troubles; and therefore it must be the height of madness and folly to pray unto it.

(d) , Sept. "qui efferunt", Pagninus; "extollentes", Montanus; "qui gestant", Piscator; "gestantes lignum sculptilis sui", Junius & Tremellius; "qui portant", Cocceius, Vitringa.

Assemble yourselves and come; draw near together, {y} ye that have escaped of the nations: they have no knowledge that set up the wood of their graven image, and pray to a god that cannot save.

(y) All you idolaters who though you seem to have worldly dignity yet in God's sight you are vile and abject.

20. that set up the wood …] Render, with R.V., that carry, &c., in religious processions (Amos 5:26), or perhaps into battle (2 Samuel 5:21). That idols have to be carried is a sign of their powerlessness (Isaiah 46:1 f.; Jeremiah 10:5).

a god that cannot save] The contrast in the end of Isaiah 45:21.

20, 21. The heathen are now summoned together that they may consider this attribute of Jehovah’s character, as illustrated by the prediction of the victories of Cyrus. The question submitted to them is the same as in Isaiah 41:1-4; Isaiah 41:21-29, Isaiah 43:9-13 : who has foretold these events? But this scene is imagined as taking place after the great crisis is over; hence those addressed are the escaped of the nations (cf. Jeremiah 51:50), the survivors of a world-wide judgement, of which Cyrus is the instrument (see Isaiah 45:14).

Verse 20. - Assemble yourselves and come... ye... escaped of the nations. The prophet reverts to the main idea of the section, which is the conversion of the Gentiles, and calls on all "the escaped of the nation" - i.e. all who have survived the judgments of the time - to "assemble and come," to consider the claims of Jehovah to be the only true God, to "look to him (ver. 22) and be saved." The great judgments through which the heathen will be brought to God have been frequently mentioned (Isaiah 24:1-23; Isaiah 26:20, 21; Isaiah 27:1-7; Isaiah 30:27-33; Isaiah 34:1-10; Isaiah 40:24; Isaiah 41:11, 12, 25; Isaiah 42:13-15, etc.). They must not be regarded as limited to the time of Cyrus, but rather as continuing into the Messianic period, and indeed nearly to its close (see especially ch. 34.). Each one of them constitutes a call to the nations, and is followed by a conversion to a greater or less extent. They have no knowledge that set up the wood of their graven image; rather, who lift up (or, carry) the wood of their graven image (comp. Isaiah 46:7, "They bear him upon the shoulder," where the same verb is used). It was a practice of the idolatrous heathen to carry the images of their gods in processions, generally exposed to view upon their shoulders (Layard, 'Nineveh and its Remains,' vol. 2. opp. p. 451), but sometimes partially concealed in shrines, or "arks" (Rawlinson, 'Herodotus,' vol. 2. pp. 100, 101). There would be still among the "escaped" some who would so act. Isaiah 45:20The salvation of Israel, foretold and realized by Jehovah, becomes at the same time the salvation of the heathen world. "Assemble yourselves and come; draw near together, ye escaped of the heathen! Irrational are they who burden themselves with the wood of their idol, and pray to a god that bringeth no salvation. Make known, and cause to draw near; yea, let them take counsel together: Who has made such things known from the olden time, proclaimed it long ago? have not I, Jehovah? and there is no Deity beside me; a God just, and bringing salvation: there is not without me!" The fulness of the Gentiles, which enters into the kingdom of God, is a remnant of the whole mass of the heathen: for salvation comes through judgment; and it is in the midst of great calamities that the work of that heathen mission is accomplished, which is represented in these prophecies on the one hand as the mission of Cyrus, and on the other hand as the mission of Jehovah and His servant. Hence this summons to listen to the self-assertion of the God of revelation, is addressed to the escaped of the heathen, who are not therefore the converted, but those who are susceptible of salvation, and therefore spared. By "the heathen" (haggōyı̄m) Knobel understands the allies and auxiliaries of the Babylonians, whom Cyrus put to flight (according to the Cyropaedia) before his Lydian campaign. But this is only an example of that exaggerated desire to turn everything into history, which not only prevented his seeing the poetry of the form, but obscured the fact that prophecy is both human and divine. For the future was foreshortened to the telescopic glance of the prophet, so that he could not see it in all its length and breadth. He saw in one mass what history afterwards unrolled; and then behind the present he could just see as it were the summit of the end, although a long eventful way still lay between the two. Accordingly, our prophet here takes his stand not at the close of any particular victory of Cyrus, but at the close of all his victories; and, in his view, these terminate the whole series of catastrophes, which are outlived by a remnant of the heathen, who are converted to Jehovah, and thus complete the final glory of the restored people of God. Throughout the whole of these prophecies we see immediately behind the historical foreground this eschatological background lifting up its head. The heathen who have been preserved will assemble together; and from the fact that Jehovah proves Himself the sole foreteller of the events that are now unfolding themselves, they will be brought to the conviction that He is the only God. The hithpael hithnaggēsh does not occur anywhere else. On the absolute ידע לא, see at Isaiah 44:9 (cf., Isaiah 1:3). To the verb haggı̄shū we must supply, as in Isaiah 41:22, according to the same expression in Isaiah 45:21, עצּמתיכם (your proofs). "This" refers to the fall of Babylon and redemption of Israel - salvation breaking through judgment. On mē'âz, from the olden time, compare Isaiah 44:8. God is "a just God and a Saviour," as a being who acts most stringently according to the demands of His holiness, and wherever His wrath is not wickedly provoked, sets in motion His loving will, which is ever concerned to secure the salvation of men.
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